Corina’s skin is a circus tent. Her red-striped peppermint scars are a reminder of Christmas and family traditions. The obedient poodles of her childhood dreams jumped through hoops of fire until they became bald and grotesque. Poor dears, now, they no longer yap. They sometimes run across the sawdust floor of her silence and scratch to go out. Actually, all the animals and freaks want to go out, including the clowns, but even they are caged by costumes and makeup.

Corina wears feathers and pretends she can fly. She bites a dangling rope and spins like a ceiling fan. Alfredo, the tight-rope walker, is the only one who has ever gotten close to her, while she’s mid-air. Once, he touched her. He reached out his warm palm and caressed her leg. She slowed down and goose-bumps erupted on her surface, as if all the happy children inside of her released their balloons at once and applauded.

She smiled that day. A genuine, unrehearsed smile. And for a moment, she opened her eyes and gave him permission to see behind the scenes. He's been teetering on a thread ever since.

"Tethered Lashes"
Copyright: © 2009 Paula Ray
Paula Ray is a musician from North Carolina. A crazy rhythm pulses through her veins. She often writes surreal dark fiction, while humming melodies she's yet to put on paper. You can find Paula at her website http//


  1. Disturbing, in a good way. I love the opening line; had me immediately hooked.

  2. Great story, Paula!

  3. thank you so much, Angel and "mystery guest" - I know who you are :)

  4. This is rockin hard core. Pay attention, people. This is how it's done! I give this 10/10 stars. Brilliant.

  5. Great first line and loved the imagery of the goosebumps/children's balloons - evocative stuff. Great read.