The shooting pains had started in her hips, like joints too close to a fire. A pull, tight pressure, crackling inside like kindling, she thought about aging and wondered if this was it. Traveling downwards, pain gripped her kneecaps, tightening the skin, walking had become troublesome. When it hit her calves, she was no longer upright, but writhing on the floor, twisting, contorting, squeezing out salty tears thru hard shut tight eyes. "Why did I spend my life standing on my feet?" Thoughts raced. Arthritis, osteoporosis, debilitating, life threatening disease attacking muscle. "What was the name of that disease?" Words stuck, clung in her throat and panic took up a residency in her head. Her mother's words came back to her. A swim meet and a pulled muscle. Epsom salts. a hot bath.
Dragging herself into the bathroom, pulling herself up onto the side of the tub, she flipped on the hot water. Spying "invigorating bath salts" resting on the side, she poured them in and hoisted herself up, swinging her legs over the side and into the warm water. Feeling proud of being so self sufficient in this moment of panic, she applauded herself quietly and looked down at her aching legs.
"Why do my legs look so dirty?" Reaching for a bath sponge, she ran a hand down her left leg, the skin had turned rough to her touch and felt scaly. Filling the sponge with moisturizing body wash, she ran it over her thigh. "that's weird, my thighs look huge..." Lifting her foot out of the water felt heavy. "Wait, why do my thighs look like one thigh?" The skin on both upper legs had grown over the other, a greenish hue was growing and she could make out large semicircles of flesh raising before her eyes. The shock of it made the pain secondary. Mind racing, skin stretching, morphing into scales. Both legs were quickly becoming one. Trying to pry them apart, hands fumbling and scratching, screaming came to mind, but no sound came out!
A two foot tail fin had sprouted where her feet had been! The beauty of it, a different green, like pthalo dancing with moss, took her breath and she slipped under the water. Instant calm enveloped her, opening her eyes, she was breathing. No panic, the pain had subsided. The water felt natural as if she'd lived in it her whole life.