Her hair was red, or ginger to be precise, the tinge toward blonde rather than auburn, the bright breeziness of a summer’s day rather than the sweltering heat of the night. And she was beautiful.

“How it going? You must be Stephen. I’m Deirdre.” She said with a smile, pronouncing her name the Irish Gaelic way: Deerdra. 

She slipped elegantly to one side, pulling the door with her. 

“Come in,” she beckoned.  “You said on the phone that you haven’t had acupuncture before?”

“That’s right.” I nodded, “A friend recommended it.”

I stepped into a light and airy, reception room. Pictures hung along one wall. Images of Galway city: The Long Walk, Quay Street, and The Claddagh painted in rich, sumptuous hues. Along the other lay a soft brown leather sofa, a pile of magazines balanced on top of one arm.

“Well, don’t worry, we’ll take it slowly and see how we go…” Deirdre was saying.

A second woman appeared, shimming through the still open main door and almost knocking into me. She didn’t look well. She was too thin, her body somehow lacking substance as if she’d lost weight far too quickly or was recovering from a long, hard illness.  Her face, with the darkness around her eyes and the hollows of her cheeks, looked drawn, but the light in her eyes as she turned to look at Deirdre was bright, dazzling.

“Stephen, why don’t you go on?” Deirdre said quickly, stepping out from behind the door and taking the woman gently by the arm, almost as if to hold her there. She lifted her other hand, indicated vaguely. “Go on in, through my office, then to the left. I’ll be right behind you.”

I did as she said, moving across reception into a tiny office. To the left, another doorway—its glass door left wide open—led into a hallway with three closed doors: left, right and straight ahead. Uncertain, I looked back, raised one finger and pointed quizzically left.

“That one?”

Metamorphose V2

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Nina Oram

Originally from the UK, Nina Oram lives in the West of Ireland with her Irish partner and their very cheeky, black cat. Inspired by a landscape that she has grown to love, she began writing five years ago. She writes short stories in both fantasy and horror genres, and especially enjoys transporting Irish and British mythology into the modern world. She is currently working on her first horror novel based on the Irish Celtic God, Crum Dubh.

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