(Note: This is a bit different. This is an outtake from when I was trying to figure out how to write my stories “Pigs and Feaches” and “Night of Their Conversion.” This bit includes the characters from the first and the setting of the second one and I’m not sure why I ended up separating the story concepts the way I did. It worked out, since both stories made good, Pigs to Apex Digest and Conversion in RevolutionSf, where it can be read online. But this kind of thing is why I say I have no idea how I do what I do.)
The night of their conversion
what if you knew you had only one night left to be human? what if you knew that was the last night you wouldfeel,breathe, eat, sleep, cry?what wouldyou do?
Rachel crumpled the scribbled paper and dropped it on the sidewalk. She looked around, waiting for Ellie. The rusted bus stop sign bent at an angle over the empty street. She could see every manhole cover for a block, and each one was nudged askew, a carefully disordered symmetry. Rachel made herself look beyond them, scanning the distant shops.
A gust of spring wind came down the street, rustling trash and pushing the power lines like lazy jump ropes. CIN-der-ella, DRESSED in yella…
“Whatcha waiting for?” said Ellie, behind her, and Rachel spun. She grinned, her hair wild from the wind.
Ellie had an armload of loot.
“I don’t know,” Ellie said. They spread all the stuff over the dining room table in the deserted townhouse they squatted in, looking at it by the light coming in through the french doors. Rachel’s Anthropologie jeans felt like heaven. She wished that there was more light so she could see better in the mirror in the living room. My God, she thought. My ass has never looked so good. Ellie had lifted a pale pink jacket for her that accentuated Rachel’s green eyes and dark hair. Ellie herself wore a chocolate twin set, delicate gold pencil skirt, and pumps. She looked like a secretary.
Ellie lifted up a narrow delicate leather purse, tossed it at Rachel. “This is Prada? My God, all my dreams, shattered.”
Rachel inspected it. “My mom always carried one of these.”
Ellie wriggled her nose. “Ugleee. No offense.”
Rachel shrugged. “Rich old lady bags. Rich bags for old bags. And you didn’t answer the question.”
“Oh I don’t know. Maybe have sex with some guy. Lots of guys.” She gave Rachel an oblique look. “All at once.”
Rachel made a noise. “Cliche.”
“Okay, party pooper, what would you do?”
Rachel pulled out a bracelet from the pile and put it on her thin wrist. It was an elaborate silver cuff that gleamed against her tanned skin. “I don’t know,” she said. She held put her arm, modeling the cuff. “It’s like, there’s only one night, right? But I’d want a night to be good, too. A night to do all those things I’m supposed to want to have done. Jump out of a plane, or ride a horse, or something. Only, all the infrastructure to support those dreams – pfft.” She waved the bracelet, and it glowed through the air.
Ellie looked up from the small compact and paused before applying lipstick.
“And I’m a cliche.”
“That’s just it! It’s a stupid question. How are you supposed to decide? And then the last night ends up being just like life anyway – you just sort of muddle it anyway.” She took off the cuff, and threw it across the room. It hit the hardwoods with a satisfying thunk, and rolled off into a dark corner. “The guy who came up with that question – what a jerk.”
“Yeah.” Ellie snapped the compact shut and got up from the table. “Let’s go kick his ass.”
Rachel peered into the corner where the cuff had landed. “Okay, but let me get the bracelet first.”