The Glass Girl

By Cayt Mirra

The girl was glass, hard but fragile. Her childhood had instilled in her one lesson: be careful. She was glass and must behave as such. She would stare at her transparent self in the mirror and wish herself iron, but glass she stayed.

People stared through her. As a child, she had tried to play with the other children and had shattered her left leg. It had taken the teachers hours to collect every little shard, and the pain that had reverberated through her was nothing compared to the hot agony of having it repaired.

Being glass as she was, she had no secrets. Every stranger could see the beat of her heart, the blood racing around her body. She felt as it all her emotions were on display, and so she endeavoured to have none.

*

A terrible storm spread across the land, enveloping the world in fog and snow. The glass girl stayed inside, listening to the cacophony of howling wolves in the icy woods, eventually falling asleep by the warm fire.

She woke to a scream. She wondered if she had imagined it, but it came again, high and urgent.

The glass girl ran out into the snow and wind. She followed the cries until she found their source, deep in the woods. A girl. She was unlike anything the glass girl had seen. This was a girl of shadow. The wolf had attacked already; wisps of broken shadow whirled around its snout in smoky tendrils.

The shadow girl looked at the glass girl with true fear. The wolf lunged at her again, ripping away layers of darkness. The girl seemed to fade and dissolve as she tried to escape.

The glass girl searched desperately for something she could use – a large stick or a rock. But there was nothing. It was just her. She stared at the Shadow girl as she faded away, barely corporeal. And in her, she saw herself.

The glass girl exhaled and planted her legs in the wet earth. With her right hand she gripped firm to her left arm and snapped. The sound that her arm made as it shattered seemed to echo and explode inside her head. It consumed her and she thought she would die. But she didn’t. She remained standing, holding the severed arm, pointing the sharp shards of her shoulder socket towards the wolf.

But the wolf was on the shadow girl now, tearing at her arms and face. Her cries weakened.

The glass girl stood behind the wolf and slit its neck in one smooth slice. The wolf fell. The shadow girl slid back, melting into the darkness of the woods.

And the glass girl dropped the arm that was no longer hers. The shattered glass of her shoulder cracked. The crack travelled across her chest, splintering off into a thousand pathways. And then her chest split open, breaking the glass girl irrevocably in two. And as she broke, she smiled.