By Henna Cho ‘14
At dawn he was groggy, with his brown hair peppered with streaks of blonde encircling his face as he got up and stretched. He brushed his teeth quickly, fitted on a pair of mismatched socks then hopped down each step with a clumsy sort of grace before smiling with crooked teeth that lined an overbite. His mother told him he’d get braces, soon enough, but not just yet. By noon he was out and about with his friends, running, laughing at recess. The freckles sprinkled on his high cheek bones lifted, touched by the color of strawberry milk because his light skin could not take even the gentlest kiss of the sun. He ate the lunch his mother packed for him daily, he played tag, he loved his friends. By evening he had finished his homework, or what he could. He argued with his older sister, he watched television and cheered on with his favorite hero, imitating the motions with short but awkward arms and legs that flung around with an utter lack of finesse. At night, he was tucked in, the toes of his small feet curled inward with the cold, his eyes the color of the trees in the forest blackened by the night. His mother sang him to sleep, her voice low and sweet as lemonade that lacked just a touch of sugar. He fell asleep, he even dreamed most nights of adventures that he might never know while awake.
But then there were the nights, the nights when he woke up eyes gold and pupils stretched thin under the intensity of Diana’s silver glow. He felt his fingers and toes shrivel up, his nails pulled out as if they had just barely become the missing pieces of lead from pencils. The fur on his head, the fur on his neck thickened, darkened over pale pink flesh and pushed through rags of pajamas that tore in two as his shoulders caved inward and his ribs inflated and ballooned to stretch out the skin on his sides that were now only just covered with thick and hairy moss that rooted and broke into stone. Still crooked, still overbitten, teeth that now curled in wickedly, sharp to rip flesh and strengthen jaws that could crush bone. There were the nights in which his laughter turned into screams, howls, moaning out and grabbing hold of the darkness, stirring the tears that accompanied perfectly the singing from such a low and sweet voice.