Scales

INT. ASHLEY’S BEDROOM – DAY

Looking up we see ASHLEY EDWARDS (15, silently strong) stand over her large fish tank. Through the hazy flow of the water we see her bedroom, which bares the usual trappings of a teenage girl. A colourful bedspread with an aquatic theme, a poster on the wall of some innocuous boy band, and her desk and shelves littered with notes, cards, homemade jewelry and various other odds and ends. Imposing over all of that is Ashley.

Ashley looks at her right hand intensely, first the palm and then the back. Then she looks down into the clear water of the tank. Two goldfish swim in there, one golden, the other black.

Ashley looks back at her hand, takes a deep breath, then plunges it into the water of the tank. As she does so her hand, every bit of skin that is submerged in water gets covered with dull, thick, grey-green scales.

Ashley quickly whips her hand out of the water. She studies it again. It is still a bit wet but otherwise once more returned to it’s normal coating of skin.

Ashley looks down at the water once more, and slowly lowers her hand back in. As she does so this time we watch as the thick scales push themselves up and through her skin before laying down and locking themselves over it to cover her hand completely.

Ashley forces herself to keep her hand in the water. She takes a few deep, calming, breaths, and smiles at the submerged hand before her.

Ashley wiggles her scale covered fingers and giggles. She sways her hand back and forth across the tank, it easily cuts through the water. Ashley spreads her fingers wide and notices for the first time the webbing interlaced between each gap.

Ashley pushes her arm further into the tank and watches as the scales climb up every inch of skin that enters the water.

Ashley covers her mouth with her other hand as she laughs out a gasp. She looks around to make sure no one heard.

In the tank the fish have taken an interest in her fishy fingers. Ashley reaches one out and gently strokes the black fish, then giggles as it tries to mouth at her finger.

SUSAN (O.S.)
Ashley, time to go.

Ashley looks to the door, and pulls her arm out of the tank, the scales retreat back into her skin as it leaves the water.

ASHLEY
Coming, Mum.

Ashley looks at her wet but now perfectly normal hand once more and smiles. She puts the lid back onto the fish tank, turns, and exits the room.

The black fish swims erratically in the tank, then stops suddenly. The little fish spasms, it’s back tail whips back and forth. Slowly it mutates, growing larger. Sharp, narrow, teeth push themselves out of it’s mouth. It’s eye’s grow large, and cloudy. It’s whole body pulsates as it pushes outwards, forcing large spines out of it.

The mutations stops and what is left behind now resembles a creature from the dark of the ocean floor.

The creature quickly whips around and snaps at the small, goldfish behind it. The small black monster grabs the gold fish in its needle-like teeth and tears it in two.

Through the window Ashley climbs into the back of the car and drives away.

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