Terrarium by Melanie Browne
Terrarium - Melanie Browne
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He feeds her pebbles, small and brown, that he collects from the playground or sometimes from the beach. He turns them around in his hand, inspecting each one for its color, before handing her a glass of sparkling water. There were days when she went without, days when he didn’t feel like collecting pebbles, and instead watched the television until nightfall. On those days, she felt sad and watched him until he fell asleep on the couch. She has a slight cough lately. The moss is growing inside her lungs tickling her throat. The black-light pills make her feel nauseous. When his friends come over he drags her to the kitchen table and forces her to remove her bra. He turns on the purple light and she looks away while they ogle her freak show terrarium heart, which changes upon her mood. The worse he treats her more violent the scenes become. Today he can scarcely believe what he is seeing. A tiny plastic version of himself, frozen in place, running from a bunch of plastic lions. He touches her chin and forces her to look him in the eyes, but all she can do is scream. He pulls her off of the table and lets out a deep sigh while his friends still stare at him in disbelief. She is softly crying as he walks over to the window and opens the curtains to let in the brightness of a chemical moon.
Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer and stay-at-home mom living in Texas. Her work can be found at places like Bartleby Snopes, Unlikely Stories, and Pulp Metal Magazine. She holds a B.S. in design from Texas Woman’s University.