claire wahmanholm


I was the first one to see them. For many nights, the others had been describing a strange scent. A new one, not our own. We all knew the particular timbre of our combined smell. Now there was an unease, an out-of-tuning that cast strange shadows on the path and raised thick forests where there had been none. One black afternoon, among these new trees, I counted our eyes, the sheen of the fire upon them. Far too many. Far too close. When daylight flickered on again I lost them in my tender blinking. I took out my eyes so they could not lie. I cut off my ears so they could not mishear. Still I knew the beasts were there, the sulfur of their fur thick on my tongue, their musk thick in the roots of my hair. I could still smell the others on the air, but farther and farther, more and more air between us. More and more sulfur. More and more fur.