TITLE: Tyger, Burning
GENRE: Adult Urban Fantasy
Pretend you can hear. The scratch of pen on paper. Like mouse claws at a wooden door. Or perhaps like yellow toothpicks, splintering. But you are not a girl anymore, and this game does nothing for you now. You used to spend hours in your room pretending you could hear. The fatty bounce of flies. The cold fur of television static. Or you’d wait until the house was empty and run into the treeless expanse of your backyard. Run until your breath hitched – an undone stitch in your side – tumbled down onto bony knees, breathless, onto pale dirt, and then you’d force yourself to scream and laugh and scream. You knit new words out there, from ropes of spit and gnashing teeth. When your mouth could give no more, you turned onto your back and tried to translate touch to sound. Tried to feel pain as language. You looked up into the sky. Clouds smeared like bird crap.
Across from you now, Dr. Zoe LeBlanc puts down her clipboard. Tucks a wayward strand of hair behind her ear. Blonde. Late-summer sun.
That’s all? she signs.
Uncross your arms and lean against the table. You nod.
She takes you by the hand, tests the range of each joint. She focuses on your fingers next, first to fourth, then squeezes. The back of your hand pops open.
I don’t know, she signs, if we can improve the… She pauses, blinking. Her eyes are gray. She fingerspells, N-E-R-V-E C-O-N-N-E-C-T-I-O-N.
Withdraw your hand.