The Snake and the Mantis

Praying_mantis_portrait_edit33

I try Tinder. I download it at work, in the lull between customers and coupons. I upload a few photos. The aces of the bunch. Everyone has exactly five photos they look good in, and it is up to you how you play them.

I start swiping. It’s a good time. I’m not overly judgmental, but it’s a digital game of fuck, marry, kill.

It takes me awhile, but eventually I swipe right on a blonde guy with a bio entirely about pizza (kind of funny), a girl with a gorgeous half-sleeve tattoo of a snake devouring the sun, and again on a guy who has nice arms. He doesn’t seem very smart, but that isn’t a priority.

Throughout the rest of my shift, my phone vibrates. It has begun.

When I get off work, I’m excited, and there’s a feeling inside me like hunger or thirst. As if I’m a spider; I know juicy morsel have fallen into my web.

***

The blonde is easy. We meet for pizza and he tells jokes and I laugh and playfully hit his shoulder. The night wears on, and after the movie he too-casually suggests going to his place.

“That’s what we’re here for, right?”

He blinks rapidly. Like he’s sending a telegraph with his eyelids. Blink, blink, stop. Blink, blink.

“Hey, alright,” he says. He takes my hand and we go up to his apartment. He doesn’t feel very strong.

We kiss in front of his bed, and he pushes me onto it, and pins my hands above my head. His other hand snakes down to fumble at the button of my jeans.

I give him credit for trying, but I roll on top and take control of the process.

***

We lie awake, after, and he keeps saying: “Wow.”

I stare at the ceiling, wondering why he hasn’t gone to sleep like everyone else does after sex.

He gets out of bed and I see him fully naked for the first time.

I think “That does it” and I leap off the bed, tackling him to the ground.

He laughs. “More already?”

I don’t respond. My face has fallen of and my mandibles latch onto his face. My true foreleg bursts through the skin on my arm, and I drive the serrated blade into his chest.

There isn’t much blood. He thrashes tonly twice.

Somehow, I’m expecting him to blink again when I saw off his head, but he just stares at the ceiling, his expression screwed into a bloody sneer. It looks like his orgasm face.

***

Nice arm, buff guy, he’s even easier. He messages me, asking immediately if I’m down to have sex, ASAP.

I consider ignoring him simply because he wrote: “ASAP” in the message, but I’m still hungry.

We do it in his car, in the back seat, my head bouncing off the rubber door handle. He doesn’t last very long, and when he makes his “aaagh” sound, he looks down and smirks at me, as if to say: “You’re welcome.”

I reach up like I’m pulling him back down for more lovin’,┬ámy serrated claw sliding out of my skin like legs slipping out of underwear. It crashes into his eye, but way too hard. His head turns around all funny and then I realize it’s because I’ve broken his neck.

***

Tattoo girl looks delicious. She wears a black midriff that shows of her bellybutton ring, and a sleeveless to show off the tattoo as well. It’s black and red, a black snake eating a red sun, swirling around her arm.

She comes directly to my place, and we talk over coffee. She doesn’t say much, which is annoying because that is normally my move. Eventually, she points at my bedroom door, and I nod.

We go in there and she’s very sweet, kissing me all over with warm, soft lips. She starts sucking on my neck, biting me in that gentle, sexy way.

I raise my claw, and I’m about to strike when I feel two slivers stab into my neck, and the hand I have on her waist is now touching rough scales. A huge, black python is writhing on top of me, its fangs deep in my neck.

I change too. The mantis and the snake thrash in a delirious, murderous love, until I start to fade. I grow tired and fall still.

She starts to constrict around me.

“Eating me,” I think. I’m kind of mad, because that’s my move.

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