by Bethany Cutkomp
The moonlit garden churns before their eyes, trading a star-flecked sky for a lawn freckled with clovers. What an acrobatic night! When the first sprite stumbles and sprawls among the petunias, her witnesses double over in hysterics. The pansies glare. The tulips shut their petals. At the edge of the pond, the bullfrogs grumble to themselves. The faerie folk let their grip on their blossom goblets weaken, sloshing liquid onto their slippers. Too funny! Too funny. Something stirring their guts and thoughts seems off, but their lips feel too fuzzy to articulate. They press sticky fingers to their mouths and hum, slurring disjointed harmonies to the crickets’ tune—marvelous music to frolic to. Fumbling for each other’s hands, they skip and trip over their own feet. What fun! What danger! Twirling themselves into enchantment, they lose track of their minds and sensation in their limbs. No longer safe from themselves, the dancers drop dead by sunrise, succumbing to exhaustion and vomit in their lungs. Field mice pause, wrinkling their noses at decay warmed by daylight. Once fungi eat away the remaining flesh and mark their graves, mortals marvel at the dew-kissed ring formed in the morning grass.
Bethany Cutkomp (she/her) is an emerging writer from St. Louis, Missouri. One day, she hopes to publish YA novels and befriend the wild opossums that live under her porch. She has work appearing in Worm Moon Archive and Split Rock Review. You can find her on Twitter at @bdcutkomp.