SOMETHING CHANGING | MONICA WANG

 

Something stirred at the edges of her field of vision again. Gloria looked up from the corner of the living room. The walls remained still.

She flicked on all the lights on her way to the kitchen and, there, waited for water to boil while keeping her back to the stove. She avoided looking into the reflective surfaces of the kettle, the microwave, the fridge. When the water heaved in the pot, Gloria reached into the fridge. She grabbed items from the fridge one at a time, never letting its door block her view.

After dinner, she dashed down the narrow hallway. The bathroom fan drowned out other sounds. She left it off. As she washed her hands, she checked the mirror only twice: nothing appeared behind her, nor did her reflection move on its own.

When the front door opened, Gloria peered around the corner in silence. Her husband stepped inside. Gloria felt the tension in her face and shoulders dissipate. She smiled and walked over to greet him.

“Oh god.” He stared at her. “Oh my god.” He stumbled backwards into the doorframe.

As he ran across the yard, he looked around several times. In the semi darkness, Gloria wasn't sure if he looked frightened or disgusted. She hesitated. His reaction scared her, but she had seen nothing unusual at the door and far too many horror movies to risk venturing out without preparation. Gloria's husband got into the car and soon disappeared down the street.

Gloria ducked back into the house and locked the door. She crouched in a corner of the living room. The walls around her rippled—she couldn't tell if it was merely the effect of the tears burning her eyes. She blinked one eye hard as the other fused shut. Mouths split vertically down her forehead and across her face from cheek to ear. In her periphery, she saw the movement of her mouths opening wide. Gloria cried.

 

 
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Monica Wang grew up in Taichung, Taiwan, and Vancouver, Canada, and now writes in Germany. She is currently reading Kazuo Ishiguro, Marlon James, and Kaho Nashiki. Other than books, ballet was the first thing she chose for herself.


Cover image by Zachary Schomburg: photos of walls in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, an area that is very flat. The horizon lines on theses walls mimic that flat horizon line on its landscape.

Darla Mottram