Do Not Click Do Not Click Do Not Click
Hiss
Back

By Zoe Dalziel

Down a busy path, passed the glittering jewelry, an old box, covered in shining embellishments, catches my eye, but I quickly dismissed it, thinking that we won’t go in the antique shop.
“Just one more thing, dear, and then we can go and have some delicious dinner.” My mother, Lillyet, explains as we go through the old, dark, oak doors. She immediately starts walking towards the friendly-looking shopkeeper for a never-ending chat.
As I walk through the amazing shop, a strange, almost pained, voice hisses,
“Come here you foolish girl, in the window.” Then repeats,
“In the window, come on.”
I look at my mum, to make sure she wasn’t watching, then crept towards the window.
“The box! Yes, the boring old box, it is your destiny. ”It hisses yet again.
Heart pounding, I delicately stroke the beautiful box; its smoothness surprising me.
I gently lift the lid and peer inside. I sigh with disappointment as I stare at the dull, grey ash. Suddenly, like lightning, an emerald green snake, with eyes like blazing fire, leapt up and tore at my skin with both of its two heads.
Wait, I think sluggishly, that doesn’t sound right. I slowly look at the so-called normal snake. I blink and look again. It has two heads.
I feel a strange feeling, as if I am shrinking. My tight fitting clothes fall loosely to the ground. With all four of my eyes I look at my body. I have turned into a lavender-purple two-headed snake.
My mother turns and starts screaming. She starts shouting at me, screaming out threats and sickening questions. She doesn’t know that I am the snake.
Then the remembering begins. Through the dark torrents of memory, finally at the start of the demon snake curse, a tiny girl, no older than six, accidentally angers a god and is turned into an accursed two-headed demon snake.
I start seeing all the demon snakes there ever was. I watch as helpless young girls are turned into snakes of every different colour. Red, gold, brown, orange, black, white and many more different colours.
Then I recognize a face, from a picture a long time ago, my aunt, Tigerlilly, is bitten by a dark blue demon snake and transformed into the green snake that had just bit me. My auntie’s life is played before my eyes and then all turned black.
Now it is my turn. I see myself for the first time. All four of my green eyes are glittering cruelly, my bright green tongues surrounded by snow-white teeth, glittering with malice. My neck and tail spines are raised, glimmering in the small the light of the shop. The rest of my scales, smoothly overlapping one another, are a menacing, dark, distrustful green.
I have to get back to my human self without biting anyone! I think desperately, I don’t want to hurt anyone.
But slowly, as if blown by the wind, my human memories start to fade as the curses memories start coming in.
I look at my mother with new eyes, and hold onto the thought that she is my mother. She is my mother, she is my mother, she is my mother. I think over and over.
I start slithering around, wondering if a cure is hidden somewhere in the shop. I search in pots, look behind shelves, even slither under the floorboards, but all is to no avail.
Surprisingly the shopkeeper starts cackling madly,
“You’ll never find the cure! Ever since that stupid child disobeyed me you’re family will always be part snake!”
My mother looks up, shocked, from the conversation she’d been having.
“Waterlilly?” My mother asks in a strained voice,
“My precious, darling, beautiful Waterlilly?”
The shopkeeper is hysterically laughing, he tells her that it really is me and that she’ll never get me back.
I take a final look at my mother then keep my eyes trained on the shopkeeper. He keeps looking under his desk, maybe making sure the cure is safe?
Whilst he is informing my mother that “She’ll never get me back” I silently slither across the floor, pretending to look in pots whenever he looks my way. I am at the desk.
I slither underneath the floorboards and make my way towards where I think the charm box is. I silently poke one of my two heads above the floorboard. Spot on. I bring the rest of my body up and out of the ground.
As I slowly climb on to the shelf below the charm box I notice the chatter die down. I twist my self into a statue pose and hide among the statues. The shopkeeper peers down, eyes glittering with hatred.
“I know where you are.” He tells me but I can tell that he is lying because of the uncertainty in his voice. He looks; one last time at the charm box then stands up right and starts boasting again.
I creep onto the charm boxes shelf and peer inside. Inside there is a fantastic assortment of charms from love hearts to skulls. One in particular catches my eye. A two-headed demon snake.
I snatch it up and hide under the box. The charm becomes so hot that I have to drop it. It slides across to another demon snake charm. They start to glow and change colours.
I grab them both, ignoring the heat and take them into the open where I can be transformed into myself. I hide among the beads and jewelry. I hear a shout of outrage as the shopkeeper, I dare not call him a god, finds that the two demon snake charms are gone, but I ignore it.
I slowly start to grow, new clothes forming on my body as I rise. My second head slithers into my body and my first grows hair.
Imagine this: A female dwarf with green scales dropping off her body and only green slits for eyes. Her head is towards one side more than the other and there is a stump where a possible second head used to grow. She also has a stumpy tail. Mostly describes me.
All my scales fall off; I grow to my full height, my tight-fitting clothes finish forming, my hair grows to its full length and my tail and second head disappear completely. All this happens in a blink of an eye.
The shopkeeper falls to the ground, shouting in outrage, and slowly melts into a pool of lava, immediately put out by my mother. I run to her and we hug. We are both crying tears of relief. All is back to normal. Well, almost. I still hiss when I’m annoyed.



Brian Falkner Books