The woman couldn’t sleep. She felt fitful and her brain tossed restlessly with thoughts. She climbed downstairs and pulled a soft blanket around her as she curled into a corner of the couch. She slouched under piles of papers from her briefcase, head bowed in concentration, a small lamp lit dimly next to her, while the night hours traded places with morning hours.
Without knowing exactly when, her body slid down deeper into the cushions, her eyes blinked more slowly and stayed closed longer with each fluttering until finally, they remained shuttered in slumber.
The hours marched on, disregarding the open windows and the curtains filled with damp, breezy whispers. But Hairbeast lay awake on the sleeping woman’s head, and it heard the whispers of the night wind, heavy with the promise of rain.
Hairbeast loved the rain. The rain, even just the tease of it held in a million half formed droplets held captive in the air, set Hairbeast free…and as the woman dreamed, Hairbeast grew. The tamed curls that lay against her shoulders and framed her face began to dance. The Hairbeast grew larger, and wilder, and more ferocious…still she slumbered on.
Where was she? From a floor away, her radio alarm clock talked loudly of unnecessary things, the disembodied voices almost screaming their banter as her annoyance grew, agitated and startled into consciousness. She pulled her hands over her ears, slipped deeper into the cushions and wished awful things on the people attached to the voices upstairs. Hairbeast watched her with curiosity from atop her head.
A humid breeze slipped through the window and played with the wild mane of curls, dangerously tossing a particularly unruly one across the woman’s face. She tried to brush it aside but Hairbeast fought back with a mass of tangled ringlets, swollen and feisty, rushing to fill the open spaces around her. She rolled off of the couch and clambered to her feet, cursing the barrage of wilderness atop her head and found herself staring at her reflection in the mirror above the couch.
It was huge. It was terrifying and unmanageable. She tried once more to push it back from her face but Hairbeast only laughed and grew wilder. She ran to the kitchen and tried to smooth the hostile mass with water, but water only made Hairbeast STRONGER. She cursed again, more loudly and vehemently. She raised her fist at her reflection and yelled
“BE STILL! I have work to do, and people to see, and you are too wild!”
But the Hairbeast only laughed and mocked her attempts to reign it in.
“YOU WON’T WIN!” cried the Hairbeast, “give in and join me” it whispered seductively….”think of all the fun we can have together…think of the birds we will catch and the small creatures that will lose their way in our mass and maze!”
But the woman stomped her feet, balled up her fists, screwed up her face and bellowed back
“NO! LET ME BE!”
It was too late. Hairbeast had grown too powerful through the night. It scowled, and snarled, and spit. It raised itself like a giant sail on a big ship, filled with wind and dew, reached out a thousand laughing tendrils and pulled the woman into its depths.