And a bit more, so long as the well is full and the rains keep coming.
She's pretty sure someone else is wearing her skin.
It's frustrating, that feeling. She invested a lot of time into that skin. She knew she wanted it from the moment it spoke up, vocal among the splinters of trees and hanging, crowded forest vines. She'd watched it, slipping between the bars of light, stepping carefully over wet moss and embedded stone, and with twin red marks smeared onto the rises of her cheeks, she stalked it, licking sweat and salt from her upper lip, feeling the grin crack against her flesh. She'd followed it, watched its steps, pressed her fingers into the twin divots left impressed in the slightly damp dirt, feeling for the pressure of a limp or a wounded ankle or the gait of a run. It hadn't noticed her, and then it had, and she stood against the background of magnolia and looked it in the eyes. She'd extended a hand, and unable to look away, it took her fingers in its own and they tangled, like weeds, like overgrown field grass.
When the act was done and the clearing stained with the red of conquest, she rose, the air steaming around her like a fetid halo. Loops of insides crowded the ground, the muscles shone and quivered with the ropy evidence of death laced with the bright white tendons of fear. She'd gloved and slipped the skin as if pulling the hair of a lover, and in fistfuls, it was hers.
Was. Was being the operative word. She'd spent months tanning it, shaping it, kneading it until it was supple and lean between the knots of fingers, until she could turn her cheek against the soft scrape of leather. She knew every impacted hair and the grain of pores better than she knew her own. Strips of it had become her necklace of teeth; the great vast hide of it had become her shadow, draped against the corners of her bones. It suited her. At times, in the dark of the night, she thought she could hear it whisper back to her, helpless. Safe and secure, she slept beneath the murmur of skin.
And now, there's tension. Perhaps there are small holes she didn't remember appearing. The skin is marked with wear she doesn't remember creating. There's scratches from the inside as if something, not her, tried to claw its way out alive. Her eyes narrow, focus, shift from one point to the next, seeking to translate the patterns. Are those words that the skin murmurs, or are they a heartbeat? She remembers the tightness of muscle beneath her hands, the wet grip of need and hunger. The skin seems brittle, fragile, in its softness now.
She doesn't know how to retrieve it.