by Iris Green
Ellie sat at her desk watching a live stream of Kira attempting to sleep displayed on her laptop screen. She was restless and fitfully twisting in her sheets. A message alert popped up hiding Kira’s bare restless leg.
“Is your sewing machine set up?” It was Abby, who was supposed to be at Ellie's house a half hour ago.
Ellie was resentful that Abby was seventeen and able to drive, yet still insisted on walking the half mile to Ellie’s house.
“Yeah,” she typed.
“Can I use it?”
“Of course stoopid!”
The window closed and Ellie continued watching Kira, trying to will her to restful sleep through the internet wires. By the time Abby arrived Kira was out, though once in awhile her body would flinch like she was having a bad dream.
“What are you getting into today?” Abby asked.
“I wanna redo my Kanaya,” Ellie answered.
“Don’t fucking do anymore Homestuck.” Abby’s dark eyebrows furled together as she frowned. This leant a cartoonish look to her round face that was made to mostly display smiles with deep dimples that extended out to smile crevices, like parentheses for her mouth.
“Everyone’s doing Homestuck again, and I got all the shit. It’s a lot and it was expensive. I still like her and I ain’t throwin’ all this away.”
“You’re not even a Virgo.”
“I am in my heart.”
“I don’t give a shit. I made a damn paper mache chainsaw. Shit! Why did I even marry you?”
“Have it your way,” Abby resigned. “I’m finishing up my OC. He’s a smol bean boy with no parents and the ability to detect vampires. I need your sewing machine to finish fringing the cape.”
“Everyone can detect vampires as soon as they bite into your wrist.”
“See! That’s the attitude from the Homestuck community talking. You’re already in character.”
“Let’s just chill. I’ll help with your OC and wait to get into Kanaya till later.”
“Sorry. That’s not cool. Were you gonna shoot some content? A little song and dance?”
Ellie shook her head, “I just wanted to get into something and avoid the rest of the day.”
Abby was silently thoughtful for a few minutes as she opened Ellie’s sewing machine cover and inspected the set up. “Time for total truth?” She asked.
Ellie nodded in the affirmative.
“I always have my Rose in the backpack.”
Ellie smiled. The bedroom was bright with sunlight from the open windows making clear the white and pink walls her parents had let her paint alone. Posters of her favorite manga characters decorated one wall along with her own creations. Mostly colorful representations of characters she’d cosplayed in the past and a few dark charcoal self portraits.
Abby and Ellie were free of school today yet both of their parents had to work. Ellie had the whole house to herself since she was an only child. Abby was escaping three older brothers and one toddler sister, leaving babysitting to the guys for a change. Ellie never wondered why Abby had a self harming habit. She couldn’t imagine having one sibling, much less sharing living space with so many. Though she did admire Abby’s brothers with distant envy.
“Let’s blow off this day together,” Abby offered.
“You got your wig?”
“Yeah. Always. Squiddle shirt and hip hugger skirt. Thot red lipstick.”
“Always prepared like a good Homestuck scout. I didn’t ever know that.”
Ellie nodded again.
“It’s a deal I made with my mom and therapist. I said I’d give up hurting myself but get to keep Rose with me, always handy.”
“Your mom’s pretty cool.”
“She’s never surprised when Rose sits next to her on the couch to watch Netflix.”
Ellie felt they both were luckier than most of their friends at school. “My dad laughs at me about being such a gay boi. He’s totally inappropriate, but he never gave me any shit about it. Never hated me or punished me or said anything about goin’ to the camps. I promised I’d always be his little girl forever.”
“That’s one thing I can’t do. You’re lucky to be out.”
“I thought you’re a girl?”
“I’m gay as fuck hoe, otherwise I’d put the moves on you but you’re a smol boi.”
“I have all the girlie parts.”
“Is that an invitation?”
“Just information. Get into Rose and maybe you’ll find out who I can be a girl for.”
“My manly boi,” Abby quipped. “I’m so proud.”
“You want to continue as my wife you'll cut this shit out.” Ellie’s eyebrows tried to furrow but not successfully, since her brows matched her light blonde, short cropped hair. Instead, her forehead formed comical wrinkles that matched the continuous bright disposition showing on her face. Ellie couldn’t frown if she wanted to, but always thought she was somehow managing it and getting her point across.
“Sorry baby. I didn’t mean to disrespect my platonic hubby,” Abby puckered her lips and aimed a squeaky kissing sound in Ellie’s direction.
Ellie started taking her street clothes off to get into her long red Kanaya skirt. “I’m going with a black fitted workout top instead of my old t-shirt.”
“It doesn’t have the Virgo emblem,” Abby observed from her seat at Ellie’s desk.
“No, and I’m not wrapping my tits today either, I don’t care right now. I don’t know what I’ll do later. I got new horns in the mail though, I haven’t opened the package yet.”
“Exciting!” Abby exclaimed. “What was wrong with the other ones?”
“I busted them, both, at the same time in the back pocket of my jeans.” Ellie looked at her porcelain white skin in the full length mirror on her wall. She studied her arms and turned to look at her back.
“I can’t wait to get a tattoo.”
“You’re not getting a Kanaya tattoo,” Abby ordered.
“Well, you have two years to decide. A lot can happen in that time.” She was distracted by Kira’s laptop. “What are you logged into?”
“Live.somethin. I dunno.”
“This girl’s asleep.”
Abby sat at Ellie’s desk for a better view. “Shit, everyone on this channel is asleep.”
“You’re watching people sleep?”
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
“It’s comforting,” Ellie explained. “I dunno, I just like it. It helps my anxiety, especially when I can’t sleep.”
“Do you do this?”
“Stream myself sleeping?”
“Yeah. It’s like having hundreds of people watching out for you. It helps me fall asleep.”
“Yeah dear. It really helps.”
“Have you ever done that to us?” Abby inquired with anxiety.
“No. I do good streaming content. I’m not a hack!”
Abby stared thoughtfully at Kira being broadcast to the laptop screen, who was finally resting peacefully in her half lit bedroom. “I’m intrigued.”
“We could do it at the same time some night. See what you think.”
“I’m sleeping over tonight…”
“Do it in the same room?” Ellie acted shocked.
“Yes. In costume!”
“You want old men logging in and jerking off while we sleep?” Ellie was disgusted at the thought.
“We don’t have sex!”
“We sleep all over each other. Sometimes I wake up so tangled up in a leg lock I can’t get away to pee.”
“I just thought it would be interesting content,” Abby speculated. “You get many followers?”
“Like four hundred, sometimes six.”
Abby stole another quick glance at the laptop. “This girl’s got over twelve hundred.”
“She’s been at it a long time. She gets depressed so she spends a lotta time in bed.”
“Let’s try it!”
“We'll we have to wear pajamas then, or our onesies. No bare skin. The thought of pedophiles makes my skin crawl.”
“But we’re cosplayers!”
“We can stream cosplay all you want today, but we sleep with clothes on.”
“Deal!” Abby’s eyes sparkled. At first the sleeping phone cam sounded stupid, but the way Ellie explained it made her interested. There was something publicly intimate about the idea. “You use the laptop for this Live.thingy or your phone?”
“It’s easier with the phone,” Ellie explained.
“Let’s set it up then and do our makeup.”
“Cool,” Ellie agreed. “You need to make an account too.”
Abby watched as Ellie was now considering the snow white skin on her thigh as a canvas for her future tattoo. “I want to bite your shoulder right now.”
Ellie’s head spun around like she was shocked, but a large smile exploded on her face and her bright blue eyes lit up like neon. “I wanna let you.”
About the author
Iris' history of publications includes Slice Magazine, Downstate Story, Bluffs Literary Magazine, and SciPhi Journal. Her novel “The Rules” releases August 2018 from Ninestar Press. She studies English/Literature at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and hope to use those learned skills to enhance her writing ability.