Sylvia yawned and rubbed her eyes. She batted her eyelashes and tugged gently on her cheeks with slender fingers, trying to wake herself up. Sitting on the bed and leaning stiffly against the back wall, she threaded her fingers through her curly blonde hair to scratch the back of her head. Flakes of skin sprinkled the bed sheets and she frowned, wiping them away with a somnolent sweeping motion. The events of the night before had left her tired and sore. Wondering if she should be ashamed or embarrassed, Sylvia swiftly glanced at the two sleeping figures in bed beside her—still and somber as stones.
Not wanting to disturb the others, Sylvia planned a mode of escape that would guide her silently off the bed and into the bathroom. She would roll to the right—away from Janine's side—then slide onto the floor, collect her clothes off the carpet, and tip toe to the bathroom door, which she would then slowly crack open just enough to slip stealthily inside. Sylvia took a deep breath, but as she began to put her plan into action, she ran into an impossible complication. Her crotch was fixed to Janine's hip. Sylvia's eyes traced down Janine's body, avoiding the spot where she knew they were somehow connected. Tommy's legs lay under Janine's legs and Sylvia's eyes grew large as she examined the thick layers of skin that wrapped around their four knees. It was fresh and without wrinkles, grotesquely resembling the skin of a newborn. A newborn giant rat baby. Sylvia tugged slightly and subtly where she was connected to Janine and dared not look between her legs. After some time she realized that she was utterly and permanently stuck.
"God hates me," whined Sylvia, "He saw me last night and now he wants to punish me." Sylvia felt a single tear roll down her delicate cheek as she tried desperately to push her thoughts away. She clamped her eyes shut, struggling to relax her mind. It was too late; her mind was already running ramped with twisted ideas and illusions.
At her bedside she saw the images of the three crooked nuns from Catholic, school standing in a row and staring. With their ghostly white and scaly fingers, they each covered the wide eyes of a minute, innocent child crowded around their ankles. The nun in the middle was snarling. She was snarling as if she wished she had broken every bone in Sylvia's body back in grade school with the ruler she used to wave around. Back then the crudest thing Sylvia could remember doing was asking about evolution during a science class, which evidently was a punishable offense, deserving of bloody hands, a sore ass, and being damned to hell a few times by the same nun in a matter of seconds. Now, in the crowded room, with the red-heated light of dawn beckoning through a single window, Sylvia knew that she had sinned, but did she really deserve this?
"Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence," breathed the middle nun, her hands, larger than the face of a classroom clock, now began to tenderly suffocate one of the children at her feet.
Sylvia stopped breathing. "I must be going insane," she cried. Sylvia whipped one hand onto Janine's shoulder and shook ferociously, but Janine would no wake. Unable to shift her eyes away from the nuns, Sylvia, tears streaming down her face, watched as the child under the fat hands of the middle nun passed out gracefully onto the floor. Sylvia shrieked and hoisted herself forward, only to be restrained by the others—the heavy unconscious bodies and the squishy rat skin. She watched the dead child rise slowly from the floor, a look of pleasant relief drawn upon his face as though he had never committed a sin in his life. He regretted nothing—The poster-child of innocence—Moses saved from the water! The child disappeared into a bright light, and then the floor was empty.
Janine rolled her eyes around in her head before deciding to wake up, and when she did she stretched out her arms so wide that she smacked Sylvia upside the head. "Oh! I'm sorry, err…what's your name again?" asked Janine.
"Sylvia," mumbled Sylvia between in between chokes and sobs. Then she turned her head towards the ceiling and demonically mumbled, "…and I suppose I deserved that too, didn't I?"
Janine laughed, "I said I was sorry. Shit happens. But, man, I have such a headache. Just don't hit me back 'cause my head might explode."
Sylvia didn't respond. "Hey, can you pass my glasses?" asked Janine, "They're right next to you on the dresser. I can't see shit without them."
"No," replied Sylvia.
Unsatisfied with that answer, Janine threw her hands onto the bed and with the intention of lifting a leg, shook her four-knee, the conglomeration, violently in its fixated position. "What's going on here?" shouted Janine, "Did you tie our legs together?"
"It's our skin. It…it's been fused together," cried Sylvia.
Janine laughed in disbelief, "Are you telling me that because I'm so hot, we've all just melted together? I must be some hot momma, Sylvia!" Janine, buckling over with laughter, long dark hair flying wildly around her head, slapped her knee. She slapped her knee again. She slapped her knee a third time, this time with so much force that her hand sunk an inch into the mounds of excess skin surrounding it. "This isn't right," said Janine, in a monotone that she used only when she exhibited true seriousness.
Her mother always warned her about these kinds of things. About punishment. About consequences. About freak accidents, with an emphasis on freak. Janine thought she was smarter than her mother, so she never listened to her. She even prided herself on the fact that she never listened to her mother, knowing that if she had, she would never have amounted to anything.
"You're ugly!" her mother would yell at her in Vietnamese. It was times like these when Janine would clench her fists, from preschool all the way through high school, and vow, a promise permanently engraved into her skull, to prove her mother wrong. The words ringing in Janine's ears, ever since she was a child, "Nobody marry girl like you."
"Prove her wrong…" it was tattooed to her. Tattooed to her head, where she desperately convinced herself of self worth, and on her hip, where she was connected to the beautiful and pure Sylvia, and on her knees; would she ever walk again?
"Oh Janine, you've done it again…" Janine groaned to herself, "Too sexy for your own good."
Both girls hugged each other and cried. They cried for what seemed like hours. It was hours; Tommy was keeping track of the time. With one eye ajar, he watched the girls as their eyelids swelled up and their sclera's grew red and puffy. He watched them squeeze each other with fear and grief, leaving bruises where their thumbs had been. He watched them struggle to reach Janine's glasses, somebody's phone, anything to help them. He watched them scream until their throats grew scratchy and sore. He watched them banging their bloody fists on the walls, begging for somebody to rescue them. He watched them pet each other on the head and comfort one another, whispering, "Everything is going to be all right." And Tommy had never been so happy in all his life.