Wolf dragged Red away from the bones. “You don’t need to see those.”

She let him walk her outside. Red took one last look at it: a five room rancher, half brick half siding, a planter with fake flowers out front, two open cans of molded tuna on the porch left to feed stray kittens that’ll never be cats, the cross still standing inside, against the front window. Grandma’s stretched voice in a sermon is the ear worm Red can’t ever shake off. She damned Red, a loose girl — when you lay with dogs, you get fleas. Now proof: the absence of blood between Red’s legs and her Grandmother’s dry, dirty bones.

She put a hand to her throat. Screaming had sucked air from her body she was now desperate to gulp back in. She panted, filling herself breath by shallow breath. “How could you let it get that out of control?”

“You told me to eat her.”

“But…I didn’t tell you to kill her.”

Wolf ignored this and put his arm around her.

“She was my grandmother, for goodness sake.”

Red turned from the fish-caked, rusting silver can. Her stomach jerked — Oh God, not that, not that, not that. She thought about the blood, not pregnancy blood, her grandmother’s blood and her stomach quivered again. Grandma was smug, a look of satisfaction on her face right before Wolf bit into it.  Red will always hold on to that “I told you so” smirk when the guilt rises in her gut, solid like the baby she couldn’t admit was there. Red grabbed Wolf’s slick paw and jerked him forward, deciding never to see that house again. They ran. Red’s dogged breathing alerted the world to their presence, to her condition. She wouldn’t last much longer. Wolf bent over, motioning to get on his back and ride. She did, clutching the fur around his neck, wet gray spikes piercing the space between her fingers. He did not stop until they reached another road, another city, another planet, she hoped he would never stop — don’t stop, don’t stop, she whispered.

They reached a wooded clearing deep in a forest on the other side of the world. Red sat beside a large tree and plucked a leaf from inside her hair. “What now?”

Wolf dropped to his haunches and inhaled the fresh sweat between her thighs, a long pull of her earthen ripeness that lifted him from the ground like a cartoon dog, eyes closed in rapture. This is why she fell for him, why she went along with his insane ideas. Her neck bent backward as she laughed with such a loud hysterical sobbing sound it made her belly shake and moan.

After, Wolf staggered around, spent, then ran a paw through his hair, and thought out loud, “I can eat the baby too.”  

“No.” She said.

But why not? She thought. Why not?



tyreseTyrese L. Coleman is a writer, wife, mother, and attorney. She is also the fiction editor for District Lit and an associate editor at SmokeLong Quarterly. A 2016 Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a nonfiction scholar at Virginia Quarterly Review’s 2016 Writer’s Conference, her prose has appeared in several publications, including PANK, Buzzfeed, Brevity, The Rumpus, Hobart, listed in Wigleaf’s Top 50 (very) short fictions, and forthcoming at the Kenyon Review. She lives in the Washington D.C. metro area, and can be reached at tyresecoleman.com.