By Anaïs Godard
The first time my husband transformed into a goat, I thought it was merely a quirk of his, a strange habit I had overlooked before. But as the moon rose higher, his behavior turned increasingly erratic. He bleated, pawed at the ground, and charged at me with his horns. I tried to evade his absurd advances, but he caught me off guard and left an angry bruise on my arm.
The following morning, he was back to his human form, pressing a kiss to my forehead and heading off to work as though nothing had happened. I convinced myself that it had all been a nightmare, a figment of my imagination, perhaps spurred by his recent ascent to the esteemed position of wildlife biologist in the realm of entomology. Yet one evening, he shifted into a wolf.
I barricaded myself in the bedroom, but he howled and scratched at the door until I relented. I tried to reason with him, but he lunged, biting my shoulder. After he’d returned to his normal self, we talked, and he was remorseful, vowing that it would never occur again, admitting that he did not understand what was happening to him. And despite the throbbing in my arm and the panic gripping my heart, I resolved that he was going through a phase and needed my support. But within me, something elusive and nascent began to stir, a flickering flame struggling for air in the pit of my stomach.
The next time my husband shifted, he turned into a bear. He burst through the bedroom door, pinning me to the ground, jagged fragments of wood piercing my cheek. I felt his hot breath on my neck and his claws digging into my skin. I screamed for him to stop, but he seemed not to hear me.
Weeks bled into months, and my husband’s transformations grew more and more disturbing. He morphed into a lion, a crocodile, and even a giant squid, each form more vicious and unpredictable than the last. My attempts to soothe him, to reassure him of love and safety, proved futile. I feared that if he turned into an elephant next, he might trample me, and I might not survive. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to abandon him. Amidst the madness, there were glimpses of the man I married, tender and loving. In those stolen moments of humanity, he would hold me tightly, caress my hair, and whisper sweet nothings in my ear. It was these fleeting fragments that anchored me to his side, even as tendrils of dread coiled tighter around my soul.
One night, my skin began to stretch and contort as if it could no longer contain the turmoil within. I had ignored the signs for too long, too frightened to confront the truth. At dawn’s break, I awoke to discover I had transformed into a wriggling, squirming worm. My husband gaped at me with a strange blend of wonder and terror. He prodded at my larvae form, trying to make sense of the impossible.
With each passing moment, my body grew larger and more vibrant, while my husband—now a rhinoceros—loomed over me, his colossal weight threatening to crush the fragile life taking shape beneath him. Yearning for strength, I strained towards the flickering beacon of hope within me, feeling it pulsate with energy and potential.
Pain, searing and liberating, erupted along my spine, tearing open my skin. Emerging a butterfly, my wings unfurled, carrying me away from lingering pain and toward the promise of a new existence.
And now, I face a new challenge, as my husband is a butterfly catcher.