THE JUNGLE BOOK

His hands reached out to her. She was quite pleased, as it had been awhile since anyone had touched her. To be sure, the backs of his hands were quite hairy, but the palms were smooth enough for purpose. He was glad to see her, he liked her smell. His conversational skills were not great, but then she’d had enough of those toxic exchanges where her words were picked over and her clothes were criticised. He would protect her, perhaps. He might ask her to be his mate. So long as no-one found out where she had gone. 

Of course, the home he offered was not what she was used to.  A nest in a tree, or a pile of dried leaves was not exactly luxury, but there was warmth and fellow-feeling. And frankness. Now and then she had a shock when she realised that she had fallen in love with an ape. In order not to stand out, she would have to work on becoming more hairy and changing her shape. Accordingly she started carrying heavy weights to stretch her arms, and she practised working each of her toes independently. It was nice to be prehensile. 

 

And it worked. She could swing through the trees. After some time, she saw a reflection of herself in a pool in the forest. Her ears had shifted, and her teeth chattered nicely - what need of words now? And her pendulous dugs swelled in anticipation of the little one to come. She had thought: “how difficult can it be?” But it turned out that it was easy. Not difficult at all. Not at all.

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© 2020 by Sue Harper

feminist gothic literature | tales of the macabre | fantastic and supernatural | gothic fiction | written by women | gothic literary tradition | gothic fiction | supernatural | fantastic and paranoia | literary female gothic | gothic narrative | stories of transformation and surprise | sue harper | short stories | feminist gothic literature | The Dark Nest | portsmouth university | emeritus professor sue harper | feminist gothic literature | tales of the macabre | fantastic and supernatural | gothic fiction | written by women | gothic literary tradition | gothic fiction | outstanding achievement award | british association of film, theatre and television | professor of film history at portsmouth university | film, media and creative arts | british academy and the arts and humanities research council | stories of transformation and surprise | sue harper | short stories | feminist gothic literature | The Dark Nest |