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Mosquito - Chaya Chudasama

Marleigh had fruit punch blood and all the boys wanted a sip.

She said she would sell them used tampons starting on the seventeenth, and when she woke up that morning, there was a line at her front door.

Marleigh’s dad called the police, said there was a hoard of sex-crazed lunatics outside his house waiting for his daughter and to get them the fuck off his property.

Marleigh stood in the window and winked as each of the boys was dragged away by the scruff of his shirt.

When she was nineteen, Marleigh asked her mom why she was like this. Why her blood was fruit punch instead of iron and salt like her friends’. Or even blueberry lemonade, like the women who stood on street corners selling their veins to the bloodthirsty men in the financial district. Someone told her once that blue bloods only drank blue blood.

Her mom didn’t have an answer. Some girls just have that special red.

In college, she was a hummingbird. She studied art history because she loved to talk about art but had no vision of her own. Her parents wanted her to work after, so she did a minor in transferable skills.

After long months of searching for gallery jobs, Marleigh was hired to write social media at one of the big companies with the big buildings in the city.

She sat in a small cubicle with dirty grey boards for walls and wrote words about how companionable mosquitoes could be, if one only procured the company’s product.

The loneliness was noxious.

A man from one of the offices with windows asked her to drinks after work one night. She said yes but later. Alcohol didn’t mix well with cramps.

Window-Office nodded and gave her his card. Marleigh stared as he walked away.

The girls she worked with were neon.

They invited her to weekend brunches where they made fun of the older women with their pearls and mimosas. Twenty-something girls don’t brunch to socialize, they brunch to bitch.

One of the neons, Number Three, dragged her to e{x/r}otic, a club through a dirty door in a dark alley. The lights inside were violent and midnight.

The club was young men on one side, young women on the other, and Number Three dragged Marleigh by the wrist deeper into the room.

The man on their table was tall, slim, the kind of guy who used to run after her before Window-Office was the only one interested. The dancer smiled when they sat down and leaned close.

Once his eyes were in front of hers, Number Three grinned, pulled the man’s arm up to her face, and licked.

There were small slits all over the man, his arms and legs littered with short, shallow lines leaking a deep brown.

Number Three offered the arm to Marleigh, said he was delicious, like cola or licorice or some other sweet dark thing, and she should really have a sip.

Window-Office was sweet when they went out. He paid for her food and drink and took her home after dinner but didn’t go inside because he was a self-proclaimed gentleman. She kissed his cheek before he could leave her doorway.

He kissed her mouth and she smiled when he turned to leave.

The day she donated to the Southeast Northwestern Blood Bank, she was green. They said her fruit punch was only from Mid-Germany, in hiding since that war with the Irish. She was the first one in twenty years to bleed fruit punch.

The administrative assistant smiled at her when she left. A toothy smile with black and yellow and split lips. Thirsty eyes followed her as she walked through the blood bank doors.

She told Window-Office about her fruit punch as she walked home and heard his sympathy in the white silence of the call. He wanted to know why she hadn’t told him sooner and hushed when she teared up. He said he wasn’t into blood, but he was into her so would she like to come over for a bit. Marleigh sniffled and let her phone guide her to his couch.

A week later, Marleigh dropped dead, flat on her face with a knife sticking out her back in the lot outside Window-Office’s apartment. And that toothy smile, the black and yellow and split lips, stood behind her.

The smile knelt by her side. Pulled the knife from between her ribs, took a long, hard lick.

He spat stale red on the concrete.


Chaya Chudasama is a creative writing and gender studies student earning her BFA somewhere in Oregon. She writes about crayons and being kicked out of your home and hysterectomies and seahorses, queer women of color and mental health. She writes because she believes that even the weirdest subjects will reveal humanity.


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