by Erik Amundsen
Thirteen steps into the tangle, and there was no path, you were held, thorns like the warning teeth of a cat had enough — no blood, just stop, just stop, and there will be no blood. And when the sun got ripe red and heavy, were you frightened to be among the wolf peaches with the wolves? They gave you something to eat that at first thought was poison, heavy and red. They go pink when you boil them, put them in, take them out quick, just to loosen the skin. Down under the tangle, the wolves slither and rattle, shed their skins and rise up, naked but with instruments — when the sun gets ripe, they play harps and fiddles, heavy and red. Some seeds will stay when you crush them, one or two, it can't be avoided, however you try. Put them aside, just put them aside, they will grow on their own, or they won't. Those wolves learned new tricks, how to be low, how to move in the tangle, and now, they have built up a kingdom on rabbiting blood, and a royal minstrel. That would be you. In the land of performers, a muse entertains, and you inspire them. They steal butter, copper kettles — it's all you need, the toothy fingers pushing flesh, there won't be any blood, just stop. Crushed, and cooked in stolen butter, cursed and blanched and set to music; crush them, crush them. Your spoon still sits beside your ankle in your boot, and were you free to move, you'd take it up, and taste what you've created. The wolves all agree you are such a very good cook.
Erik Amundsen is a medium monstrous humanoid, always Chaotic Evil. He has published in Weird Tales, Fantasy Magazine, Mythic Delirium and Cabinet de Fées, as well as here. Erik is the author of the bi-monthly Fantasyscapes column in the Black Gate Magazine blog. He is currently reading C.S.E. Cooney's Jack o' the Hills, and not just because she's his editor there; he swears that's just a coincidence. Erik lives in central Connecticut.
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