The Wives Are Turning into Animals
The husbands are almost sure of it. They have strong memories of an earlier time, of the wives with soft smooth faces and ten fingers and toes.
But lately, things have changed. Some of the wives have grown scaly patches, or sprouted thick pelts. Some wives have shrunk considerably. White, wide wings have unfolded, horns have appeared, tongues have grown longer and rougher and pinker, noses wetter and more sensitive than before.
The men have grown uneasy at night, listening to the wheezing and snorting of the wives as they sleep, as they embrace their husbands with tentacles and talons and long tails. The husbands aren’t sure what to do, whether to say something. They wonder if it would be rude to ask about the wives’ new appetites, their sudden hunger for mice and mealworms and raw, wriggling fish. They worry that they won’t be able to keep these ravenous wives fed. They worry that the neighbors will complain about the carcasses littering their lawns.
The husbands worry, most of all, that their wives will finally fly or crawl or swim away, untethered from the promises that only humans make or keep.
Amber Sparks is the author of the short story collection May We Shed These Human Bodies, and the co-author, with Robert Kloss, of the upcoming The Desert Places—both published by Curbside Splendor. She lives in Washington, DC, with a husband and two beasts.