Daisy spends Nick’s birthday sporting what could only be described as tragic eyebrows.
It’s fine, Nick reassures her, a strand of pale hair pushed behind her ear, an equally tragic look on his face; if it’s because there is no rising desert island capitalism that cares about the things Daisy’s money could have gotten for him, or because there’s no elder ocean god that cares about what Daisy’s magic could have made for him, or simply because they’re used to mirroring each other’s every mood, little quirk and neurosis, Daisy can’t tell.
It doesn’t matter. The island is unmovable, unshakable, uncaring. Daisy kicks the ground.
Nick spends most of the day with Damian. Or maybe it is half of the day, or maybe a couple of hours: Daisy thinks about being thirteen and grounded for attempted murder and missing Nick’s birthday, except this time she didn’t do it, but she still doesn’t get to spend the whole day with him.
Instead she dances to no music, using a palm tree that’s grown towards the ocean as her barre, holding her foot over her head and bending at the waist. She tells herself stories, too –she’s told herself stories for days, elaborate tales of drama and intrigue keeping her entertained which keeps her sane when this island refuses to do either– stories about a couple of undercover spies in taiwan ordered to kill each other, a young girl in rio the janeiro growing up to be the most beautiful woman in the world and the world cursed to never know of it. She dives off the cliff with her clothes on, and when she comes out of the ocean she roasts a starfish over the fire, and it tastes like low tide. It’s alright, she tells no one in particular. It could have used some Roquefort.
Clea’s impromptu beach party comes and goes like a dream, barely lit and surreal, cast in moonlight and stretched out into infinity.
There’s coconuts and shells used as speakers and half-assed truth or dare and a fire, and more coconuts and dancing and Clea’s kaleidoscope hands on her waist and Daisy looks at them and only them.
When it’s finally her turn to dance with the birthday boy Nick’s phone hits an early 2000s trashpop playlist and Daisy forgets what she was so annoyed about, their shoes long abandoned, the driftwood they used to light a fire burning blue, violet, blue, and if they close their eyes they can almost pretend it’s neon lights.
They fall asleep on the sand, far away from the ocean where a crazy random high tide could not possibly drown them. Daisy’s arm is draped on Nick’s chest, over the place where his side of their golden spool of thread must reel him in, the ocean humming a song she thinks she can almost understand now, hanging over her head, but she falls asleep before she can figure out what it’s saying.
She wakes Nick up in the middle of the night.
Next to them are Clea and Damian, and Arash must have had the reasonable idea to go sleep in the shack. The driftwood fire has died, and the guests have gone home, and the entire island is quiet, as if time had stopped for them, as if a sudden movement could break the illusion. Daisy covers Nick’s mouth so he cannot scream.
She motions for him to be quiet, conspiratorial and knowing, grinning wide enough to split the world in half. Her hair drapes a curtain between NickandDaisy and the rest of the world, casting her face in dark blue, right before morning blue, the silver and black of arcane shadows.
She takes Nick’s hand and guides him into the jungle. She gives him that look that means he is not allowed to bitch. She brings them past the shack and the palm tree shaped like a rollercoaster and the pentagram of sharp rocks she’s been carefully arranging for her ritual, past the rosebush, into a maw-like cavern, all darkness and shadows until they reach a clearing hidden where the rock must have caved in a long time ago. It’s a perfect circle of lush green and early morning light, trees as tall as houses, low sturdy shrubs made strong by the years of sand and salt washing everything to its barest bones, its truest forms.
The air smells like Holy ground. Even Daisy knows it: She retraces her steps like she’s dancing a classic, careful not to disturb the sanctity of the place, trusting Nick to do the same. She holds his hand and kneels like she’s praying. Behind a large palm leaf she shows Nick what she’s been hiding for days; here is her gift and she hopes it is enough: A family of baby marmosets, all curled together in their nests, sound asleep and unafraid.
Snotgirl sketches! I’m going to be at AX this year in the artist alley, table A09. This will be my tenth and last year tabling, so come by and say hi! I also made glittery Snotgirl keychains.
Also Snotgirl is coming back next week! If you have an Amazon account, you can get it digitally through comiXology, or support your local comic shop and buy a copy on Wednesday. The volume is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other retailers.
lolll maddy im transferring to an out of state college and im broke as hell and so i tried to find a sugar daddy but im gay as hell and i have a girlfriend so i wanted something strictly platonic and i didn't expect a response a dude replied like 3 hrs after i made my profile and my gf supports 100% lol