The grey light flooded the busy street as cars raced by Jenny. The sun was setting and she knew legally soon she would have to turn her lights on. She kept her focus in front of her, trying to maintain alertness, but wobbling nervously. It had been years since she had ridden a bike. People kept telling her, "Don't worry, you'll remember, it's just like riding a bi-" and she interrupted "because no one ever taught me and I'm scared of it? Nope that's love. Love is like riding a bike. And riding a bike is like riding a bike. That's the problem."
When her friend Sarah had given her her old bike, Jenny took it mostly because she was so happy that she had a friend at all, someone who felt close enough with her to do that. The bike was a symbol, and she was gonna ride the fuck outta that metaphor. Jenny loved having girlfriends and she seemed to have a hard time keeping them, because most of them were musicians or artists and after a few years of friendship they moved to New York or LA and she only saw them a few times a year. Jenny wondered if something was wrong with her that her friendships seemed short lived. She felt guilty that she worried she was hurting the people she loved so dearly, pushing them away. She never wanted to do that to Sarah. But the truth was was that she just happened to be friends with very driven ambitious artists. And maybe one day she too could fall into that category, but not anytime in the near future, not with her fears, not with the anxiety that haunted her life, not with her sickness.
A car honked at her, for seemingly no reason, her green sundress flew up over her jeans as she pedaled her pink bike. the street was really busy today with some quirky nudist parade, and she motioned to turn down a less crowded street. She had had to look up the turn signals for the bike. It turned out they were pretty self explanatory, left hand, right hand, crying and shaking, etcetera.
As Jenny turned, her bike got caught in the track grooves where the light rail was supposed to travel. The bike, which was probably going thirty miles per hour tipped over, and Jenny fell on her right side, twisting her foot underneath her, against the angle foots are supposed to go. She fell hard onto the street, amongst the busy cars, which just drove around her, honking.
Embarrassed, Jenny quicky jumped up, grabbed her bike, and wheeled it to the side of the street. She snapped her ankle back into place, and climbed back on her bike, tightened her helmet, and continued riding. That hadn't been that scary. She had been so afraid of falling down and as it turned out, it wasn't that bad at all. She could survive it. She was okay.
But why was she okay?
She pulled her bike over and felt her ankle. She had just snapped it back into place instinctually. It wasn't hurt or swelling or broken. She ran her hands over her muscles. Nothing felt like it would be bruised later... She was fine, too fine. She had healed immediately. Her body felt strong, athletic, capable, and almost hungry.
Jenny looked up at the sky and squinted through the dark rain clouds. The sun was setting now. She looked at her phone and scrolled through the calender. She stopped short when she realized her mistake. She had forgotten to factor in the extra day in February this year. Tonight was the night, not tomorrow. She hopped back on her little pink bike with it's wobbly basket and turned backwards. There was no time to call or text her friends and tell them the miscalculation. And if there had been, she couldn't have devised a ruse or cover fast enough.
She biked back towards her house as fast as she could, which in her current state, was faster than cars. Her pony tail flapped against her back shoulders, feeling longer, more luscious than it had been this morning, a mane of dark thick health, blowing behind her. Her muscles rippled with a violent animistic strength. That was good. If only she could get back home in time to where the chains and handcuffs were. The last thing she wanted was to hurt anyone, to claw their soft skin, to expose their juicy, spicy hot blood- no, she pushed these thoughts from her head.
Jenny wasn't far from home now. She had almost made it before the darkness took her over.
Just then the cop lights and siren flooded her awareness. It couldn't be happening. She was being pulled over. Jenny slowed down, stopped, and put her shoulda been broken ankled foot down. The cop came up to her. He was young, kind looking. He had a beard. He had a wedding ring. No.
"Sorry, miss, to have to do this, but do you have bike lights?"
"Maybe in your bag? You forgot to..."
"Run," Jenny choked out.
If Jenny had been her normal self she would have sobbed with guilt, but instead the frustrated feeling of shame only burned inside her like a fire. Her nails were growing. Her teeth felt strong. Her eyesight sharpened. She looked up and squinted through the clouds.
The moon rose over the mountains, thick, full, laughing at her, cackling at her pain, her violent anger and painful crippling guilt that she would have to live with, her inability to ever have a life, friends, family, love, or hope. This would be her burden, her curse, for the rest of her life, to be so isolated by her own darkness, so completely alone in her miserable monstrous fate. She loved so deeply, and that was the worst part of her existence.
I'm sorry, she wanted to say. But she couldn't. The change had began.