Abnormal (Story by Risa Peris)

He was acting differently. He had a different smell. Moldy bread on some days and cinnamon on others. He quit his job. I screamed and we fought. How would we pay the mortgage and keep up with the bills? I was a surgical nurse and was not underpaid, yet one income scared me. My husband scared me.

I took a sterile swab from the lab at the hospital. One night, while he was sleeping, I swabbed his mouth. He merely snorted and swiped at some invisible something in the air. I gave the swab to the lab tech. 

“What am I looking for?”


I went back to the lab the next day. The bespectacled lab tech handed me a report. 

“Nothing,” he said. “Come look.”

I went to the microscope and saw a perfect skin cell. 

“No disease. Nothing.” The lab tech walked away with a smug look. 

When I got home, my husband was blasting music and cooking enchiladas. There was a fierce look to his face. I shed my clothes and got in the shower. My husband opened the shower door. 

“Go away,” I yelled. He growled like some wolf and proceeded to rape me. His eyes glowed red. Then he took a piss in the drain in his soaked clothes and went back to crashing things in the kitchen. I packed a bag, stashed 2000 in emergency money in my purse, and fled to a motel for the night. 

I went to work nervous and distracted. I was in the middle of lancing a wound when the lab tech came to me. 

“I messed up. I don’t know how…but…well, the lab report on the actual sample is not normal. It’s all over the place and when I did a smear again I saw animal cells mixed with human cells. I have to go to the chief with this. Which patient did this come from?”

I dropped the gauze in my hand. “It’s my husband.”

“Sorry. There are no normal cells. He’s…I don’t know.”

“Half animal.”

I went home that night and listened to my husband growl at the moon from our bedroom window. 

This was my life now. Abnormal. But maybe all lives are. Even if just 1%. Damn that perfect cell that gave me hope.