“Such Bright Eyes, and So Still”
by Jason Westbrook
An elderly woman was first to notice the baby asleep in the coils of a python. Her screams summoned the manager, who extracted the sleeping child from the terrarium. The baby, curiously quiet, examined her with bright, unblinking eyes as the police questioned first her, then directed their attention to the sweating, panicked manager. She quietly slipped out of the pet store with the child to her car, and then to home. Such bright eyes, and so still, she thought, holding the child tightly, the child returning her grasp tenfold with arms that belied their strength. Her ribcage cracked, her mouth gaped and gave out its last breath. The child’s jaw slowly unhinged, its forked tongue tasting the air.