Carmen Stevens: Carmen Snaps

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Carmen woke after several minutes. At first, she felt weak, unable to roll onto her side. After several attempts, she managed it, and her hand flopped to the floor. The harder she stared at it, the clearer it became. It wasn't a hand at all. It was a talon. A crookedly sharp talon. Her other hand was exactly the same.

The sight of the change sent an electric shock through her. Shrieking, she managed to stand, almost falling back. She couldn't feel her legs, or at least, they didn't feel like her legs. Her arms, too, were like phantom limbs, only the reverse – she could see them, and move them, but they were numb.

She shrieked again to see if her voice had changed. It pained her to know that it had – it was deeper, scratchier. She felt her face, accidentally cutting her cheek with her new claws. Her eyes burned with tears that wanted to escape, but in her new humanoid, monstrous form, she could not.

Carmen made her way back into her father's room. Part of her did not want to see her reflection in any kind of mirror, but a larger part of her curiosity wanted to know what had become of her face. She squinted as she stumbled into the bathroom, and turning on the light, she peered into the dusty mirror.

If she still had a heart, it stopped beating. She gasped and walked closer to it, disbelieving the image presented before her. She had to crouch having grown a couple of feet, the top of the mirror cutting off the top of her head.

She looked exactly like the Ripper, except her frame was somewhat thinner. Her face retained some of her human features, including her brown eyes, though now they were tinted with green. The wet skin of her cheeks hung from either side of her nose. Her dark blonde hair was gone, revealing a scaly scalp, with some dark, matted hair starting from the nape of her neck and trailing down her back.

She could not comprehend what kind of monster she had turned into; she could not recognise her own face. Terror overtook every sense, but she could not release it with tears. She simply could not cry, as if she had been prohibited from displaying emotion. Well, except from anger, and hate, and all the dark, dangerous feelings that allow evil into the world. Those she could feel, and those were the feelings that were starting to shape her.

'What are you?' Carmen asked herself. She wanted to make sure she could form words and speak like a human. She could, but the words terrified her – the question, and the tone.

She could not endure staring at her reflection any longer. She turned from it in one heavy, clunky motion and walked out of the bathroom with heavy feet. Her eyes never looked at the skeleton of her long-gone father. She hated him. She hated him so much.

And she hated her mother. A hot contemplation pressed on her brain, the evil thought of dispatching her ungrateful mother once and for all. But then she knew the eternal torment of being stuck in a godforsaken hotel was a much better punishment for her. Little did Carmen know that Caroline was lying on her face in her hotel room, dead, with a knife in her back.

Carmen didn't want to spend another minute in the Sunnyside Hotel. Neither did she want to be seen out in public, dressed as a discount Ripper, like she would plague the town for all its ills like the Ripper had done. If anybody saw her, they would strike her dead. If her friends saw her, they would strike her dead. As always, she had nowhere to go.

An image flashed in her mind. An agonising pressure strangled her brain stem before the sharp pain stabbed its centre. She was having a vision; the most painful vision she had ever had in her life. At first, all she could make out were four walls, badly burnt, debris everywhere. Desks had toppled over, while some remained fixed in their places. She was in a classroom.

It was so unfamiliar, yet she vaguely felt like she had seen the classroom before. It was that vagueness that confirmed where her vision was taking place – the Lakefield View Nursery. She had not set foot there since she was a child, and only on occasion did she recall some fantasy of what the nursery looked like. Along with the Go to Sleep nursery rhyme, the mere thought of the place still existing chilled her. But in her new body, she couldn't feel the chill as she had done before.

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