My hand was still there, I thought. In his. Sweating, and he was dumbstruck at her, mouth agape and I was staring at the twins through the fire. They were also staring through the fire. My other hand was on my leg plucking at the garter without me noticing at all. From my periphery, I could see the alien admiring my thigh, or what I thought maybe–the etched star atop it.
“Bravo, Freya!” the man who offered me the beer said. “And way to intimidate us all!”
I pulled my hand away without meaning to just instinct. Suddenly very close to a stranger and also being pulled the other way. I was squinting towards the man but trying to look at the cloaked woman too. Had I really just been twirling in the center for an hour?
“This suggestion for a theme was from another guest actually and I should give more details before we continue,” she waved her hands towards the fire. “Especially since there are new people here. But I just wanted to make sure I was first.”
“Naturally,” a woman laughed.
I hadn’t noticed many people yet. The woman laughing also had a dark bob and was wearing all black but no cloak. More like shiny see through tights with black platform boots and a strappy halter but black nails, sharp, like the others. Next to her: a mousy companion fiddled with her hair and my mouth dropped open on accident. Someone cleared their throat. Freya. And she was peering at me; sticking her tongue out of her teeth a bit. I was digging both of my hands, claws out, into my skin and realizing I’d met the mousy one before.
“This is the woman who saw her own death. How we play is the first story sets the theme, the tone, the characters and all the little details. You have to use the elements already introduced,” she was stolid as she explained, with no gesturing, hands crossed in her lap. Lifeless. Kind of stoic. Even though that story felt alive, she seemed inert. “And continue the story about a woman who saw her own death.” She paused. “Other than that: be creative and of course, don’t be last.”
She smiled. I held back a cough.
“Isn’t there like a rule or something?” another man spoke, to her left.
He tapped her thigh. She stared at him but didn’t say anything. They seemed intimate. My throat felt dry and I had something stuck in it. Like I couldn’t swallow. I just kept needing or wanting to swallow and couldn’t. I felt dizzy. I felt Sansom put his hand back on mine. I didn’t turn to look.
“That was just a drinking game we played last year. No rule tonight. Just the theme,” she waved him off.
“I’ll go,” one of the twins interjected. “I have a good one.”
She ran her nails over her hair like she was going to tuck a strand in but didn’t which made me think it was a wig. I was also wearing a wig. They are stiff at times. I could see her eyes were very delicately painted as she looked at the ground. Her eyebrows were carefully drawn in an arc and in the same shade as her winged eyeliner; the same shade as her mascara. Perfect, steady, meticulous hands she had
“It’s called the woman who ran from the wolves.”
“Oh, that’s the rule,” the man snapped his fingers. “I remember, last year we said, put the titles at the end because it’s scarier.”
Freya nodded and held her hands out, “Continue. It’s fine. There was another rule too but we are past that.”
The woman smiled.
“Certainly, I didn’t ruin anything yet.”
Then she smiled even wider and her fangs were shiny in the glare of the fire and I caught her eyes: green. Bright green
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