A sample from Marta Urushadze’s short story “Arrow”
Kato woke up screaming and kicking. She crawled out of bed and hit the ground, one leg remaining on the bed. Her lungs were on fire, skin thick and cold as ice. Her head felt like it was splitting in two. She was probably dying. There was no other way. She was scratching the floor, hoping to divert her attention from the fact that she couldn't breathe. She tried to remember every religion and every god she'd ever heard of. Repeating their names again and again until all the gods united into one luminous being and suddenly the pain disappeared without a trace. She turned on her back and let out a loud laugh. She was alive.
She got up and made the bed. Of course, she had no idea what had just happened and why. She decided to leave it in the past and head to the bathroom. But, when she touched the doorknob, she noticed a golden shimmer between her eyes.
When she looked in the mirror, she froze. There was an arrow coming from the back of her head, through the middle of the forehead, right in the place some people say the "third eye" rests.
Kato smiled faintly and touched the golden arrowhead.
It felt strange to the touch, her fingers went numb. It was hard to say, the arrow was cold or really hot. She felt a dull vibration coming down her fingers.
And with her mind's eye, she saw a faceless centaur, with thick, black hair flapping in the wind. He spat on the arrowhead, shouted something at her and drew the string as far back as possible.
So that's who shot her! But it was a dream, how could a magical object follow her to this boring reality? She shrugged and started brushing her teeth.
If someone saw her, she'd probably have problems. She didn't need that. Didn't like to socialize with people much. She lived alone, translated some texts, went to the cinema club nearby with two of her friends and that was it.
But now, this arrow flew out of nowhere and it would cause problems. She was sure of it. She spat the foam into the sink and sighed.