Before this, I’m lonely.
She radiates heat. She’s half asleep, but I part her cracked lips with mine. Her breath is caustic, mouth like stale crackers. I cool her neck with a needful touch, caressing swollen lymph nodes.
“Sara, what’re you doing?” She’s bleary-eyed.
It’s my sister in our parents’ bed. They take good care of her.
I wrap her in my spider limbs. “It’s the fever,” I say. “You’re hallucinating.”
I brush the hair from her sweaty forehead and her body relaxes. I savor the lingering taste of her saliva. It tastes like the promise of love.
Sydney Hartle is a Michigan girl and recent college grad who peaked at age 6 when she met her celebrity crush, General Shang from Mulan, at Disneyland.