Sticky | by Zoë Johnson

3 mins read

You are struck motionless by the way her skirt flares when she twirls like that, fanning out into the empty spaces of after-school hallways. It’s quiet here. There’s only the hush of fabric licking out to barely brush against locker metal. The soft fall of her feet turning and turning. Her deafening smile.

“I freaking love this skirt,” she says, still twirling, and you cannot answer because your mouth is a barren wordless land, parched by this new and strange desire.

Femininity has never ensnared you like this, has never been the pendulum swing of a pocket-watch hypnosis before now. And yet.

There she is, dancing. Here you are, spellbound.

The flaring circle of her skirt is the unseen net of a spider’s web and your feet are glued to the floor, your tongue tangled in the stickiness of the threads, unable to utter a sound―unable to do anything but vibrate in the vain attempt to free your wings.

She is still smiling at you, her skirt now whipping around her legs with the momentum of her sudden halt and you want to know if she is one of those species that bleeds its victims dry.

“It looks really cool,” you finally manage to agree and the click of your throat when you swallow sounds too loud.


She is grinning again, down at where her hands are smoothing the skirt along her legs, and you want to know how that smile might feel against your skin. You want to know if she is hungry, want to know if she is the sort of creature that wouldn’t think twice about taking a bite of you right here in the middle of the hall.

You want to know if she might anyway, if you asked her to.

Zoë Johnson is an emerging transgender non-binary Indigenous writer living in the mid-Michigan area. They are a current graduate student in the creative writing MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Work of theirs is forthcoming in the second edition of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves from Oxford University Press.

Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash