The girl lay, loosely curled, in a garden next to a gravel path, the autumn tones of her jacket blending with the dried leaves and flowers, her long brown hair collecting leaves. An early spring sun kissed her face, and here and there the plants around her showed the first timid hints of green. One of her hands lay outstretched, flexing unconsciously as a snake, blue with dark markings dancing down its body, entwined itself between her little fingers.
Perhaps she was dreaming; her other hand grasped at the soil. Only it wasn’t soil, it was another snake, gray and pale, as thick as her wrist. At first I thought it was dead, but then it began to move, unwinding and refolding endlessly, neither head nor tail discernible in the mass.
Another snake, the color of brick with black accents, reaches out timidly and touches the girl’s face with its shy tongue, and her cheek dimples with a fleeting smile. Another snake, orange-yellow, is coiled by her head.
The longer I look, the more snakes I see, surrounding her peaceful slumber, sharing her radiant warmth in the weak sun, whispering reptilian secrets that she probably can’t hear.