Nancy D Valladares


August 1931

It was increasingly clear to her, the longer she spent at the experimental station, the more unsettled she became. It wasn’t what was changing within her, but the how. She wasn’t sure when it began, or if it would stop. She was afraid to tell Wilson about the newfound sense of thereness she had acquired. It felt a bit like her bones and her skin were slightly off, like a blanket of flesh was refracting off her frame at a wrong angle. But in that slow, thin tearing up of her skin, other spectrums of something had been opened.

Mrs Popenoe, can you hear us?

Smells had suddenly become overwhelming. She had become accustomed to the various scents of wet soil and clay at the dig site but in the gardens, whenever she entered the grove of newly planted fruit trees, she felt like she was being swallowed into the root systems beneath.

Mrs Popenoe?

Perhaps she shouldn’t have come?

Or maybe she had been bitten by something that had made her delirious as she was. It wasn’t uncommon for people to go mad in a place like this, with the kaleidoscope of fevers and illnesses she could be infected with. She would wait for a bit. It hadn’t manifested into something physical yet, not that she had noticed. She would ask Maria to check the following days if she noticed anything off after she bathed.