By Kristina England

Laurie rolled over in bed and glanced at Jacob.

Jacob was supposed to be a one night stand... A week ago.

Laurie had rules in place for the duration of a relationship. She believed in the philosophy of get in, get out. Okay, she didn't believe in that philosophy but past experience told her it was the safest type of relationship for the men that came into her life.

She shuddered and peeled back the sheets. The air was tight with heat, the kind of August night that left you wet behind the ears. She looked down at her arms. She could see the signs of first shed.

Laurie got up and walked to the window. The moon was cut in half tonight. Perhaps the sky had swallowed the missing piece. She frowned, her eyes narrowing into slits. She couldn't risk falling for Jacob, even though she already had. She remembered her first few boyfriends, how she forgot the poison inside her when she was at her happiest. But no relationship was that perfect. The fighting would emerge and with it, the uncontrollable rattle inside. She could feel it. She had seen that side.

Laurie leaned over and grabbed her clothes. She slithered out the door, her body that of an elongated, carnivorous reptile, her fangs craving and fighting back the deep bite of love.

- - -
Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her fiction and poetry is published or forthcoming at Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Story Shack, The Quotable, and other magazines. Her first collection of short stories will be published in the 2014 Poet's Haven Author Series.

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