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gecko girl gone cold - natalie d.c.


there was once a gecko girl trapped in a palace. she had webbed hands & feet, skin spotted by an array of colors, & an affliction that caused her never to speak. the palace she resided in lay on a deserted island in the middle of what she’s read in the many books scattered throughout her library to be called the Mediterranean Sea. the reason for the island’s desertion, she cannot be sure. whether plague, war, infertility, or something even more insidious, she cannot be sure. for she was born from a dying woman, one who faded away so slowly & so painfully, it wasn’t until the gecko-girl was of walking age that the groans of the woman from her bedchambers finally ceased. the gecko-girl buried her on the shores of the island as soon as she was of strong enough age to pick up a shovel. until then, however, the palace reeked of death, & the gecko-girl spent most of her days in nature, in the forests & hiking trails & abandoned houses & shores of the beach that eventually led to what she referred to as The Outside. the gecko girl knew there was an Outside; every book she had picked up & scoured through over the years spoke of a world of mountains, volcanoes, rivers, lakes, deserts, tundras &, most intriguingly, cities. places nonexistent on this little island, where all the gecko-girl could do was roam, read & ruminate. she always stuck to the sunny places – she was half-gecko after all. she hated anything remotely resembling the cold – whether it was the cool breeze of the sea across her neck or the frigid chill of an oncoming storm, the gecko-girl always shuttered away into a warmer spot, a blazing place where she could rest in flaming peace. one day, however, on one of the gecko-girl’s endless routine walks, she found herself surrounded by cold. no matter where she set foot, what little hair she had atop her arms & legs stood on end, her skin grew prickly & she felt unable to move any farther. she made it atop one of her favorite boulders, but it was as cold as the air around her. once she regained her strength, she made a break for the beach, hoping its warm sandy shores could offer her some relief. alas, the beach felt as dead as she always feared the people who used to reside on this island. the sand was cool to the touch & one splash from the sea’s tumultuous waves was enough to leave her paralyzed. frustrated & terrified, she ran towards the palace, her little prison, her home that no longer felt like home. she pressed herself against every tile, shrouded herself in every blanket, & even attempted to light a fire, although it never so much as sparked to life. desperate, she wept atop the bed where she assumed she was born, where her mother lay, dying, for years on end. the gecko-girl will never know how she survived so many years without her mother’s lively touch – without anyone’s lively touch – but, with this cold, she feared she wouldn’t survive much longer. she sent a prayer to the winds, hoping that someone on The Outside would think to travel to this forgotten, far-off island in search of a gecko-girl gone cold.


Natalie D.C. (she/her) is a 20-year-old artist and writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her writing grapples with her erratic mental health and paradoxical queer half-Moroccan identity. She has been published in The Echo, Porridge Magazine, Pile Press, Art, Strike! and elsewhere. When she isn’t busy working towards her BA in Public & Professional Writing, you can usually find her re-reading her favorite book over and over, baking with her little sister or filling her walls with anything and everything that makes her smile. Her debut poetry chapbook, blue pearl, is available for purchase from Bottlecap Press.


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