At the onset, Elyse’s mother had no visible symptoms, but she was conscious enough to describe a “mild head-sickness” before retiring to bed for the month. Elyse had to deal with its malformation, which appeared around the same time her mother awoke in the night screaming Hail Marys.
Malforms were known to hang around parkway forests. Elyse first met her mother’s malform on I-55. She was on her way to the pharmacy for extra-strength aspirin, but pulled over to investigate what looked like an injured animal. She approached it with the same caution she used when she tip-toed around her mother’s bedside, changing the pan without a clang and sweeping the floor just as noiselessly. If the malform was anything like her mother, it would appreciate her cautiousness at least on a subconscious level. Instead it used the interstate dell as a stage of mockery. Lying in the pathetic pose from home. Dry heaves and fake vomit. A garbled sound from one of its holes which could only be classified as “motherly.”