In the Fullness of the Moon: A Fiery Fairytale

She walked along the rocky path, her basket bumping against her knee with each step. Granny and her damn snacks, she thought, glancing angrily at the hamper with its jaunty gingham cover. She spied a run in her tights where the rough cane had caught a thread, laddering all the way up the side of her leg and disappearing under the petticoat ruffles that hung beneath her red velvet skirt. Classy, she thought, and took the wicker handle in both hands, holding the basket out in front of her.

***

Fallen leaves crunched beneath her shoes, as she traipsed deeper into the forest. The trees became denser, the shadows darker, the air cooler, and when she gazed upwards, she could barely see the sky beyond the branches high above.

A rustling noise sounded from the undergrowth, and she stopped and peered into the gloom.

“Who’s there?” she said, her words quivering.

A deep growl rumbled in return, and an enormous grey wolf stepped onto the path in front of her.

Her heart instantly began to pound, thumping against her ribcage. She looked around to see if she was still alone, already knowing that she was.

“Go away,” she yelled at the wolf, fear colouring her voice.

But the wolf kept coming.

She stood perfectly still, transfixed as the beast moved towards her, its huge paws padding silently on the dirt, its amber eyes never once leaving her face.

Her hands began to tremble. “Please,” she cried. “Please… Please… Please hurry up I have an appointment in town at three.”

The wolf rose up on its hind legs, and a rush of heat surged through her body as she lustfully watched her lover transform.

In just moments, he stood before her, naked and human, thick muscles rippling and glistening with sweat from the exertion of the change; a brilliant smile spread across his impossibly handsome face.

She shrugged off her cape and dropped her basket to the ground as she practically sprinted towards him.

He reached out a powerful arm, hooking it around her neck and drawing her into his broad chest.

Their lips crashed together, hungry and urgent, all wetness and teeth, lost in each other’s taste.

He artfully unlaced her bodice, his kiss never faltering, his mouth never leaving hers, and as she wiggled her dress from her shoulders and let it fall to her feet, they tumbled to the ground in a tangled mass of limbs and unchecked passion.

***

“You really need to get over this little red riding hood kink of yours,” she said as she straightened her skirt and dusted the dirt from her tights.

“Maybe next time I can blow your house down,” he said, with a grin. His teeth were already starting to change; canines poking down over his still puffy from kissing lips.

“As long as there’s blowing involved babe, I’m all for it.”

He threw his head back and howled.

***

She sighed as she watched him lope into the cover of the trees, the early afternoon breeze ruffling his soft, grey fur. “Until the next full moon,” she called after him, and a shiver of anticipation ran down her spine when he turned and snarled, his amber eyes glowing with promise against the darkness of the forest.

 

© Amy Hutton 2020

Freedom Ride

The glow of the moon peeked through a small, rust hole in the corner of the trunk of the car. It was the only light The Boy could see. A tiny ray of hope in the darkness. The air was full of dirt and gasoline, their fetid odour mixing with his own sweet and pungent stench. Tiny droplets of sweat trickled off his hair, stinging the corners of his eyes. His jeans were wet from urinating where he lay. In that trunk. That trunk to freedom.

This Younger Man said that he was there to help. Told The Boy he would get him out. Help him escape from the cage The Boy had lived in since the Older Man took him all those months ago. The Boy didn’t know exactly how long it had been. He had stopped counting after a while.

This Younger Man had come to fix the generator, the one that lit The Boy’s dank cell. He told The Boy to hide in the trunk of his car; to lay silently on the cold and greasy metal. He told him he would take The Boy to the cops. That everything would be okay. That the next town was only an hour away. But now it was night time and The Boy was starting to wonder if he’d made another stupid mistake.

The Boy should never have got into the Older Man’s car all those months ago. Should never have been so trusting. But he was desperate. Desperate to escape a father who turned his fist to his son, once his wife was no longer alive to beat on. He’d seemed nice, the Older Man. He wore a crisp, white shirt, with a pen poking out of an ink-stained pocket. “Damn pen,” the he had said. “I’m just going to drop by my place to change, then we’ll be on our way.”

The Boy had sat on a scratched and weather-worn sofa on the Older Man’s porch, sipping lemonade. He was on a farm. Land spreading out as far as he could see. The Boy had never been on a farm. Never been out of the city. He was enjoying the warmth of the sun, the cool liquid running down his throat.

Then, he awoke in that cage.

The Older Man never touched him. Never spoke even spoke to him. Not even when The Boy screamed and cried and beat his head against the bars until he bled. He kept The Boy fed. Even gave him a TV. The Boy asked why he was there. He begged to be set free. But the Older Man only ever smiled. The same smile The Boy had trusted the day he got into that car all those months ago.

“Not long now,” The Boy heard whispered through the steel above him. Then the thud of footsteps, followed by the metallic slam of the door. As the engine came to life with a shrill squeal followed by a roar, fumes seeped through the small, rust hole that had given The Boy such hope. Then the car started to move again. But towards what, The Boy didn’t know.

© Amy Hutton 2019

Anaphylaxis

The dining room was laid out perfectly. The knives and forks evenly spaced, the elegant plates emerald green with a splash of red around the edges, the napkins folded neatly in the glasses. A giant bowl of salad sat in the middle of the table like the star of the show, a small pot of oily dressing beside it. By the window was a vase of bright yellow daisies, their petals turning joyfully towards the sun. Everywhere was colour, echoing the brightness of the day.

When the man arrived, he happily looked around, oblivious to the trap that had been laid. He was sweating of course and mopped his brow with a handkerchief. His thin, black hair plastered around the sides of his puffy face. He smiled and took the chair opposite mine as he thanked me for the kind invitation. I smiled back, making sure he felt welcome. As he sat, I noticed a button was missing from his shirt. I could glimpse his hairy gut oozing through the gap in the thin, cheap material. I could see the stains under his armpits. I shuddered as I remembered his stench.

Outside the sky was clear and the kind of deep blue that accompanies a steamy day. The air was heavy with the scent of jasmine and the promise of the afternoon offered no relief from the oppressive heat of the summer sun. People spoke of the cool change that must be coming, as cicadas chirped merrily – their ever-present drone laying the background to season.

I could hear the family next door laughing, living their normal, happy lives, as the children ran about the lawn, their giggles floating towards me on the warm breeze. How I envied them in that moment. How I envied their innocence.

At first it sounded like he was clearing his throat; a small noise that no-one noticed but me. I calmly placed another fork full of food in my mouth. He reached for his glass as he began to cough violently. He tried to drink, but the water spilled out over his lips, splashing down his shirt and on to his trousers. As he gasped and clawed at his throat, people rushed to his side, loosening his tie, and slapping his back. His face changed colour like a confused chameleon. First white, then pink, then red, now purple. I was waiting for blue.

He was on the floor now, his eyes bulging and bloodshot, his doughy face finally the colour I’d been waiting for. Someone with a phone was shouting, asking if the man had any allergies. I feigned panic, and in a fabricated display of terror worthy of an Oscar, I shook my head “no,” while thinking, peanuts, he’s allergic to peanuts.

The ambulance was coming now, I could hear its siren’s song. But it would be too late.

As I took a sip of my wine and quietly enjoyed the chaos swirling around me, I thought about how peanut oil made such an excellent addition to salad dressing.

© Amy Hutton 2019