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Ayla-Monic McKay

Snake

When we met, her hair was dark with strawberry blonde roots.. #032 Chocolate Bark against pale skin. Striking. She wore it down and tucked behind her right ear, exposing a sharp cheekbone, a wide, severe jawline. She smiled without showing her teeth. She would one day swallow me whole.

Two years later she traded #032 Chocolate Bark for #109 Shadowfax, a half shave, a perm. The perm hid the strawberry blonde roots that always foiled her attempts at a striking hair colour, exposing that part of her that she didn’t want to see in the mirror.

She had a habit of playing with my own messy tangle of brown curls. She would review all the edgy haircuts I could try. Haircuts like the ones worn by the lesbian comedians she made me watch with her every week.

Six months after switching to #109 Shadowfax, she ditched the perm and let the half shave grow in. “It's just too much work,” she explained when she came back from the stylist with a pixie cut and freshly dyed roots.

***

When we met, she was on a heavy black eyeliner kick. It looked a bit raccoonish, to be honest, but she made it work with those bright green irises and withering glare. She could destroy a man at fifty yards, just by raising one perfectly drawn-on eyebrow and narrowing those dark-rimmed eyes just so. Her disdain was palpable, the damage tangible.

When she looked at me, though, her eyes would transform. When our eyes met, she was inside me. She wrapped herself around my heart, squeezing just enough to prevent my escape, her tongue running the length of my spine, tasting every vertebrae, every disc.

Eventually, she switched to a more subtle brown eyeliner, long before the #109 Shadowfax revolution. She kept the perfect eyebrows, and the killer glare seemed somehow even more deadly. I was only on the receiving end of it once, and I prayed for days for her to look at me in her other way again, to crawl back inside me and squeeze my heart with her long, smooth body.

***

She eventually gave up #109 Shadowfax, too, and allowed her strawberry blonde to grow back in. She let it grow long again, framing her face, lending colour to her translucent skin, a coral undertone that blushed across those cheekbones. It fell across her narrow shoulders and down her long, slender back, until it finally reached her slim hips. When she stretched out on the bed, she elongated herself, reaching above her head, wrapping her legs around each other, creating one sinewy trunk. Her hair splayed out across her back, pink on white, warning colours if I ever saw them.

She ran a brush through it every morning, stroking the smooth locks with horse hair until they shone and she gleamed. I would sit on the bed and feel her wrap around my heart as she examined her hairline, her skin, drew a manicured nail along her sharp cheekbones. Then our eyes would meet in the mirror and I could feel her tongue flicking down my spine.

***

Sunlight streamed through the window. She was curled up next to me, on top of the covers, resting against my bulk, basking in the warm pool of sunlight. My heart constricted. She had always been beautiful. Each consecutive change brought out more of whatever it was that made her seem to transcend her human form. She loved change.

Her most recent transformation was her most beautiful yet, accentuating her long, slim body and her compact, strong muscles. Her green eyes were more striking than ever. She could still drop a man at fifty yards, and she didn't have to raise an eyebrow to do it anymore. It was a privilege to have been alongside her for each iteration of herself.

Her eyes cracked opened, two slits, when I shifted to better curl around her body. She uncurled herself and slid over me, resting her head between my breasts. The sunlight beamed across her back and I ran my fingertips down along her spine, gently. She was warm and smooth and I shuddered as she slowly wrapped her body around mine.