A weight suppressing my chest awakens me. I gasp, sweating, only to find that there is an object spread across my body. In this room, the world looks like a pool of grayish blue, dimension only defined by the inky shadows cast through a single window to the right. The soft, pale periwinkle of my linen drapes filters the moonlight, and in it, I can see a mound lying arched across my torso, a compilation of honey-turned-gray scales topped with rings of black. The figure is no more than a faceless rope of heavy flesh, laced between the sheets—motionless, yet menacing—in its perpetually still vigil.
A few seconds is enough time for my eyes to race over the room, my heart to speed up involuntarily, and the sweat to become induced by nerves. I feel that my left arm is lifted by a thick ring of cold scales wrapped around it protectively, my wrist dangling from the elevation. Before I can tell myself to lie still just a bit longer, my unsteady hands are already inching across the sheets, material burning beneath them like nails on a chalkboard.
By the time my palms have moved hardly half an inch away from their starting point, I feel a pressure plague my left upper arm, paired with a sharp, tingling pain in my fingers. I can feel my pulse pound against my skin in the area of the source, the feeling you get when your blood pressure is being taken; only, there is no mercy here, and I feel as if my entire arm will burst.
My mouth is gaping, lips trembling with each squeeze on the arm. Then, as if it was merely a child gripping for its mother after being momentarily awakened, the pressure ceases, and, slowly, I feel my heartbeat expand to the rest of my body; there is no longer a nearly audible ring of pain sounding in my ears, only silence assuming its position.
For a moment, I swear I can survive if I just lie here motionlessly, practicing this still, impassive pose, mimicking the predator. However, my human mind simply cannot settle on the fact that this will go away. Call it stupidity, bravery, or the intricacies of curiosity, but I lift my head in the slightest way I can manage, my eyes straining downwards in the hopes of seeing anything that may help.
As I do, I'm met by an immobile, statuesque head the size of mine, albeit the similarities cease there. Its eyes are nearly invisible, tinted by that same honey hue, yet cleanly flecked by single black slits for pupils. The leopard pattern across its body has morphed into abstract lines and shapes mimicking broken parentheses. The black markings are symmetrical on either side of its face, and the way it keeps its head hovering above my chest allows the light to glimmer in its beady eyes—gleam against each scale decorating its face.
It feels like a staredown I can't tear away from, but there's no opponent in this. The animal doesn't blink, doesn't move—I can hardly see the faint inflation and deflation in its midsection indicating breathing against my own stomach, nor is it noticeable when the pupil focuses on something different in the room. Albeit, there is an opponent in this.
Though it is the literal face I've been anticipating—the profile of a nightmare—I slow my thoughts to believe that perhaps there is a solution. If it has a head, it has a tail. If there's a beginning and an end declaring that this is a single entity, then I can escape its seemingly endless body—its everlasting presence—and rid myself of all its honey-colored, leopard-spotted glory.
Cautiously, and while keeping the creature's head in my sight, I move my right leg towards the edge of the bed. I think if I sprint quick enough, I can slip my arm through the loop of flesh it has me bound by. I relish not feeling its body near my leg yet, but when I begin to move my left one, causing my hip to shift, I see its pupils moving suspiciously. It reminds me of a statue coming to life.
Its tongue flickers out as its body slightly slithers, loosening the grip on my arm. In the same instant, its muscles contract, and I find another seething course of pressure tingling within the flesh of my imprisoned limb.
The pain is not as bad as before, however, and I figure that this is the opportune chance to escape. Propelling myself forward with my right arm, I slowly rise. I had planned to leap as fast as my body could take me, but the feeling of its immense weight sliding off of my body has me hesitating to make it so conspicuous.
My toes touch the cool tile of the floor, and my heart races triumphantly. My head reels, but all thoughts are quickly demolished by a force against my neck, tackling me onto the floor in an instant.
I quickly scrape my nails against the misshapen jaws that are pressing protruding sets of fangs into my neck, and as I attempt a scream, it comes out gurgled and compressed. My throat burns with incisions that are lengthened from my thrashing. My mind is fueled by adrenaline and sheer horror.
My body is encompassed by this thing. My chest is unable to rise, no matter how much I gasp for nonexistant air. I slowly feel the creature twisting around my body, relentlessly tightening until my ribs are bending inwardly with a sickening ache of unbearable pain. I am being crushed, as surreal, yet frighteningly corporeal as it feels. My lungs are still contracting, burning for air, but the muscles in my cheeks are aching with strain from trying to breathe. I manage one sliver of a gasp, and as I cough back out, there's no air, only something thick and heavy in my throat. A spray of blood stains the smooth, white floor level with my dying eyes.
My pencil is trembling in my hands. I'm sitting in a desk, but it feels as if my entire body has gone numb at the surface. The fingers on my left hand rise to brush against my throat. It feels as if somebody has punched me there, but my fingertips detect not a sore spot nor scar to be found.
What was I so concerned about a moment ago? There's something plaguing my mind, dropping rocks in my stomach and making my tongue feel swollen and clammy, as if there's a dream I can't quite remember, one that makes me cringe with regrets and fears.
The teacher is droning on at the front of the college classroom. I try my best to tear my eyes away from my desk and focus on any word he's saying, but it's nothing other than unintelligible buzzing to my ears. My eyes are sluggish as they scan the room of varying students. It feels unreal to sit alongside this many people, as if they're mannequins, only placed here as part of the background—a backdrop that I feel vulnerably out of place in.
I realize my unsteady heart is making my breathing ragged, so I inhale deeply. My senses are bitterly met by smells of lemon-scented floor cleaner and crisp book pages. That, paired with the merciless fluorescent lighting, gives me a headache. I suddenly feel the need to be somewhere darker. A cool room with cold sheets and lighting that is gentle on my eyes suddenly feels desirable.
My thoughts aren't quite placid, nor are they even sensible; therefore, the tiny voice telling me that I have several more classes to attend makes my mind full of dread. I don't think I can handle half a day of this unbearable white lighting, incoherent mumbling, and robotic background.
I get up, habitually grabbing my bag before leaving the classroom, never meeting anyone's eyes, never really thinking. I leave the building altogether. Each step feels like a leap forward, as if time is passing twice as fast as usual, the polar opposite of how it felt merely moments ago. The sunlight is far more comforting than the oppressive white light of the college building, but it is still too bright.
I suddenly feel nauseous from all this walking. I hold my head, collapsing into a sitting position on the nearest sidewalk. I close my eyes, seeing two tiny circles the color of—amber, is it? Or sand? Nevertheless, they're marked with slit pupils. I blink my eyes open again, cursing those two spots of light that the sun had probably temporarily stained my eyes with, but as I notice the dark grain of the asphalt begin to blur and spin, I close my eyes once again, this time gripping my fluttering stomach.
Now my eyelids are the color of a diluted periwinkle blue, but I know it's only the pressure of this headache and how hard I'm forcing my eyes shut that's causing all this. I feel far too dizzy to open them again, though, and as the vertigo blends with the nausea, I feel a faint approaching.
My body is slick and cool against the warm sunlight. Suddenly, the external warmth is gone altogether. I feel as if I've fallen into a deep slumber, and as I attempt to pry my eyes open, I'm staring at sheets that are highlighted by moonlight.
What was I so concerned about a moment ago? I can hardly remember why I feel slightly uneasy. I stare forward, blank and patient. I feel something rustling the sheets, shifting my body ever so slightly, but that part of my midsection is out of my vision, so I simply tighten around the limb of my prey. I think it has awakened.
Gradually, I feel it shift. I curse this troublesome bedspread for being my only restriction from attacking. I am glad, though, when the prey has moved to the point that it is hardly covered by this useless fabric, allowing me to take the opportunity I've been waiting for.
I strike, sinking my fangs into the flesh of its throat, coiling my body around it immediately. I revel in its helpless attempts to fight back. I am the snake.
A/N: I dreamt last night that all my snakes escaped. In the dream, I was woken up by my baby ball python. It had somehow grown to seven feet and was preparing to slowly constrict around my body. This was inspired by that, plus my imagination for the second half. The snake in this story is actually a bateater python; quite beautiful hybrids.