Last month we challenged our writers to create a hairy-raising short story using our latest prompt for a chance to be featured on our blog! We had some amazing entries and we’d like to give a big thanks to everyone who participated. We love to see all of the different ideas that can grow from a single writing prompt!
Our winning entry this month comes to us from Jane St. Clair! Congrats Jane! Check out the prompt and the winning entry below:
Sarah first noticed that something was wrong when she would shave her legs in the morning, only to feel the prickly cactus growth of new hair on her legs by the afternoon. Maybe it’s some sort of hormone imbalance she thought, scratching at her legs. It was only when the she began to notice new hair cropping up in places where hair never used to grow that she started to get concerned. Soon, she found herself fighting a losing batter against it as it threatened to cover her head to toe.
By Jane St. Clair
Sarah first noticed that something was wrong when she would shave her legs in the morning, only to feel the prickly cactus growth of new hair on her legs by the afternoon. Maybe it’s some sort of hormone imbalance she thought, scratching at her legs. It was only when the she began to notice new hair cropping up in places where hair never used to grow that she started to get concerned. Soon she found herself fighting a losing battle against it as it threatened to cover her head to toe.
She tried every product on the market to get rid of body hair. Special shaving creams, waxes, electric lasers, and even an antique machine from the 1920s called The Beauty Zapper. Nothing stopped the constant growth of hair all over her body. Her doctor had no idea how to help her. He had never seen anything like her case before, and he could find nothing in any medical journal like it either. He vetoed her idea of taking chemotherapy drugs as too dangerous.
To make matters worse, Sarah began to think crazy thoughts. She would think about attacking her dog and eating him. Maybe she would suck the blood out of her baby niece. Then she noticed that her teeth were growing longer and sharper, and that she was hungry all the time for red meat. Her voice was deepening and she realized she could roar anytime she wanted. Her sense of smell improved, and her vision and hearing grew keener. She was aware of every little thing around her. She felt less fear, and was even unafraid of walking alone late at night through city streets. She felt beautiful and wanted to display herself. She found pride in her roaring and her strength. Her job bored her. She preferred to creep and stalk.
Within a month Sarah quit working. Her landlord evicted her, and she had no money, not even for food. None of that mattered. She lived unafraid outdoors, eating road-kill or whatever someone left on the ground or in a dumpster. On occasion she would kill a squirrel or a mouse and eat it raw.
When Sarah’s husband Kevin came back from Europe, she hid from him. He was boring to her and besides, it had become too much work to talk and use language. She had stopped thinking weeks ago and lived instead on the instinctual level –eating when she was hungry, sleeping when she was tired, and giving no thought to the future or her own mortality. Her new world was so much more alive and full of color than the one she had shared with Kevin. If anything, she longed for a male creature like herself so she could mate and give birth.
Then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the hair on her body began to thin out. Her incisors shortened to their regular size, and her voice changed back to a higher pitch. She began to think and plan again. She quickly realized that the constant stream of words in her head only gave her anxiety and dread, and she longed for her other life.
Then one day as she was walking in her old neighborhood and thinking about her resume, she saw Kevin again. He rushed up to her, his face full of joy, and his voice full of hope.
“You’re still alive! My darling, I’ve looked everywhere for you,” he said. “Thank God I’ve found you!”
“I’ve been ill,” Sarah explained. “I’ve been too ill to find you. I’ve had a kind of amnesia. For a long time, I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. I didn’t even remember how to speak. And now I can’t remember anything of that time in my life.” The truth was she could remember every moment of the strange interlude.
“You’re home now, and that’s all that matters! I love you, Sarah!”
Kevin had bought a house for them and even collected all Sarah’s things from her landlord. He set up the house as if she would come back to him, painting the rooms the same colors as their old apartment, setting up her home office just as she had it, and even arranging the kitchen with the daisy pots she had once loved.
“I always knew you’d come back!” he said. “I knew one day you’d walk back and be mine again.”
That night Kevin cooked her favorite foods for dinner, setting the table with candlelight and flowers. That night when they made love again, he was surprised by the ferocity of her response to him. Sarah had always been a timid person, and she had never shown such wild abandon.
The next day he wanted to keep celebrating her return. They went for a drive in the country and stopped at her favorite beach. They had lunch in the restaurant where he had proposed to her.
That evening when they were driving home on a dimly lit, isolated road, Sarah suddenly yelled to stop the car. Kevin hit the brakes, and watched as she jumped out and ran down the road. He shut off the car and followed her. He watched as she picked up a dead possum by its tail, shaking it a little as if to make sure it was dead. She had this strange expression on her face, overly animated and excited, and she put her teeth together to make a hissing sound.
“Sarah, what are you doing? Put that down.”
“It’s fresh kill,” she smiled. “It’ll be good eating tonight.”
“Put it down, Sarah.”
“No, I want it. You can’t take it away from me. It’s mine.”
She got a vicious and brutal look on her face, a look that frightened him. For a split second she turned into something savage, and then just as quickly, she morphed back into herself.
“We’ll just take it home, okay?” she said. “Just this once. Just this one time. Okay? Kevin?”
For more work by Jane St. Clair check out her website janestclair.net.