“melt” | flash fiction

She dug her toes into the deep grass of the hillside, groaning in rapture as each digit was swallowed up by green. The bird tried to call her name again, its voice sounding like an old chalkboard. She ignored him.

The bells she had tied in her hair were slowly giving way to gravity, ripping out strands of hair as they fell, plunking down onto the mossy carpet. Hot, heavy sunshine beat down on her rapidly balding head, scalp broiling and turning deep magenta. She closed her eyes and swiped her blotchy pink tongue across the sweat on her upper lip.

Her breath wheezed loudly in the heat, hurting her lungs. A slow tickling was starting below her ankles as her feet disappeared into the dense grass, and she sat down. The bird was further away now, looking at her from a small tree with its dark green head turned to the side, beady-eyed and disapproving.

She bared mossy teeth at it as the last of her hair fell out, rusty bells tinkling morosely as they sank into the earth. One long feather stuck out unnaturally on the bird’s left wing, and it shifted with discomfort on the stained-black branch while it continued to watch.

The tickling spread to her legs and buttocks, the tapering tips of the grass reaching almost to her stomach now. Raising her peeling face to the sun, a hoarse scream broke through the cobwebs in her throat and startled the bird from its branch. It flapped once twice three times and became a pinprick against the massive, white-hot sun.

There was no sky, only heat and brightness and the loud noise continuing to rake through her throat. The bird had left her.

Her breasts were overtaken by the heavy grass as she began to sink even faster, the ground liquefying in the heat of the sun. Muddy green sucked desperately at her skin and neck and finally pulled her under. The screaming became a resigned silence.

The tickling intensified as her body began to dissolve, bit by bit, the earth claiming every particle and fiber and cell as its own. Only the crown of her bald head remained, blistering and stubborn. Blades of grass hissed angrily around the defiant dome, whipping at its sides. The scattered atoms that used to be her pinkie finger twitched.

A winged shadow circled over the green hellscape, dancing across the bubbling, shifting surface as it drew closer and closer.

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