Black Cloud of Scales

Contributor: Nicholas Slade

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I was walking my dog when I spotted a black water moccasin lying in the grass next to my apartment. As I stared at the venomous serpent, I wondered why it was here. Not particularly why it was lying in the grass, it was sunny day after all and snakes do need their sun. No, I was thinking more along the lines of why was it here in this neighborhood, at this time, at this place. Was it here to eat the abundant lizards that I sometimes stomped past as I pretended to be a reverse Godzilla? Was it here to find a nest to make more little, living venom-bags? What was the reason? After a little thought, I came to one conclusion: it was just here to ruin my day. I knew this, as I was having a good day up to the point that I spotted that living embodiment of death. I had seen it many months before and I had prayed everyday that I would not see it again, but I had no such luck this day. You see, I am of the paranoid sort, or as I like to say, I have a constant sense of heightened awareness.

As I continued to stare at this viper, it seemed very indifferent to my presence, and I will admit that I was a little offended. I guess you don’t have much to fear when your spit can melt through flesh. I did everything I could to get it to leave without getting too close, but no matter what I did, its position remained unchanged. The more it ignored me, the more convinced I became that it’s entire purpose was to be a black cloud on my otherwise sunny day, a black cloud of scales. With my dog becoming restless, I decided to leave it be. After walking my dog around the neighborhood, I returned to find the snake gone. Hopefully, it will be more than just a few months before I see that cold-blooded boot material again.

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Nicholas Slade is a writer currently living in Florida. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to Florida in 2012 and is currently studying for his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. He has previously been published in Linguistic Erosion, Farther Stars Than These, and Yesteryear Fiction.
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