The sound came out of nowhere and bore down around us until we turned into something new. Everything was becoming, then. Everything was unlike. Stones became women. Rabbits became hawks. One particular toll bridge near the coast became a gasp of smoke trailing through the air, and everyone on it was drowned.
We wept and tried to stay inside like the TV anchors told us to, when they weren’t becoming crickets or razors or combs. At night, we clasped one another’s hands, bracing ourselves for the morning one of us would wake beside an opal or a snail. I had dreams that you became an egg and I crushed you in my sleep. I woke every morning with tears streaming down my cheeks. We will love each other no matter what, we swore in vehement whispers. And yet, each time we stood together folding laundry or washing dishes, we thought, There is a hand that may become a scorpion’s tail. When we made love, we thought, Her eyes may soon be the eyes of a paper doll. Meanwhile, everywhere, the sound went on and on and on.
Our neighbors turned into dustpans and car keys and long, lithe jungle cats we could not name. There was no rhyme or reason, no like according to like. One woman turned into a lovely yellow slime mold, while her husband turned into a teacup and broke when he dropped onto the tiled floor. Our mailbox became a small girl with a lisp. We looked after her out of a sense of obligation, though she did not seem to know us, and only wanted envelopes to put into her mouth. Eventually she wandered off and we never saw her again, though we did look.
All the while, we waited. We were consumed with expectation. We thought we could feel it coming. Every morning, stretching on the edge of the bed or examining ourselves in the mirror, we thought we noticed signs of our impending transformation. A twinge in one shoulder, a strange cast to the whites of our eyes. Maybe a shower of coins, we guessed. Maybe a length of wire.
We were becoming roses, though we didn’t know it at the time.
Carlea Holl-Jensen was born on a Wednesday. Since then, her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Necessary Fiction, Grimoire, and Fairy Tale Review, among others. She is the co-editor of The Golden Key, an online journal of speculative writing, and co-host of the podcast Feminist Folklore.