They brought her down the mountain the afternoon before the earth shook and the sea retreated and then returned four times stronger and taller. It was dry winter, and the camp was bored; the captain sent a troop of soldiers to push a slave up into the hills in search of gold. The further they climbed, the more desperate they all became, and when they found her half-frozen in the icy damp of a high cave, a shock of iridescent scales and bare breasts and buttocks, they forgot about the gold completely and stole her instead. As they wound their way through the camp, people stopped and stared at the woman tightly bound in horsehair rope. She was locked into a livestock crate brought off one of the ships after she attacked a cook who had reached out to touch the opaline spines along her back, and there she sat unblinking, slow pulse, as slaves, soldiers, and mistresses alike delighted in the way she changed colors when they poked her with sticks through the bars. After the disaster, the dead were disentangled from the mangroves and piled with trash into mounds along the beaches. The camp cried and prayed, and she sat in her cage, focused on the smell of sea brine and the cook’s meaty neck.

Sarah Arantza Amador is a graduate of the Creative Writing BA program at UC Santa Cruz and is a former Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish and Latin American Literatures at NYU. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with her dog Roscoe. She's most recently had fiction and poetry published in FIVE:2:ONE's #sideshow, sPARKLE + bLINK, Vending Machine Press, The Airgonaut, and Word Riot. You can find more examples of her fiction, scribbles, and oddities at She tweets @ArantzaSarah.