My new girlfriend has a snake tattoo that stretches across her back. It curves and twists from her left hip, its scales so realistic they look as if they’re glistening in the light. The head drapes over her right shoulder, its black eyes icy and hollow, yet alive.
I’m drenched in cold sweat. I dreamt the snake had come to life and wrapped around me, its thick body tightening against me. Cold, smooth skin squeezing me in an embrace. My blood caught in flattened veins and my heartbeat became jagged, the muscles growing and retracting sharply, desperate for oxygen. Pain ebbed and flowed as the slow, harsh remnants of my heart’s rhythm echoed inside me.
I stroke her back. The snake shimmers, its head resting on her hip.