Eat me, eat me
The shrivelled branches like witch's fingers grasped the hem of Sarah's skirt as she skipped past them. Sighed sighs of discontentment when the material tore and they were left holding a scrap of her, as she moved on, away. Singing. Hand in clammy hand with the boy. He was here on a promise. She was going to show him hers. Then he could go back to the others with a full account of the texture, curve, scent and hopefully taste of the girl's cunt. Glass-footed as she was, and one eye forged from metal, a hapless, pathetic thing who hip-hopped around, bungled and fumbled and not-so-nimbled her way into their chorus chants of obscenities. Nobody liked her. But she remained an enigma to some, a plaything to others. And soon, a mass of moist adjectives to Thomas and his pals. If he found himself lucky. She had seemed quite up for a bit of hanky-panky. In fact, it had been her suggestion they go into the woods at the back of her grandmother's house for a bit of in out in out.
Thomas didn't much like granny's house. It smelled rancid, and everywhere pots boiled constantly, strange brews; bottles containing murky liquids sometimes seem to shift of their own accord high up on a shelf out of reach; any number of peculiar insect was marching up and down the stairs at all hours of the day, and there were what looked like mouse droppings in the corners of every room. But at the back of the house was the forest. Practically the old woman's back garden. He'd never seen her in there though. Neither had he seen the girl, dancing naked in the moonlight, as the story went. And he'd been there often enough, camped out through the night, high on insecticide and a certain joie de vivre at anyone else's expense, usually his mother's, who hadn't yet noticed her depleting money stash, buried as it was beneath the fourteen mattresses on her orthopaedic bed.
'Did you hear that?' The high of his lascivious promise had begun to dwindle as soon as dusk grazed the uppermost branches of the dark green canopy. He wouldn't have shown fear, and had never before felt fear with the lads, even when they'd lain around a fire in the pinched darkness of a November night in a clearing they'd called their own. No. He only felt the fear with her.
She shrugged. 'I heard an animal foraging or a leaf falling or a twig snapping or…' she pranced, tiptoes of tiptoes up to him, fingers clawed. 'Maybe it was a beast. A wild animal come to rip us to shreds'. And then she laughed the laugh that had earned her the name witch.
'Don't be daft', he said, pride enlarging his chest like a pigeon's. 'This is England. The most we're going to see is a stray badger.'
She took him deeper, deeper into the woods, to a place he'd never seen before. He didn't realize he'd been only on the very periphery before. Here was darkness like he'd never imagined. A darkness that penetrated to his marrow, that made his heart pound against the bars in his chest. So when the wolf approached he didn't at first see it. He only sensed a change, a quick inhalation from Sarah, the hairs on the back of his neck rise. And then, then, that terrifying howl by his side that had the piss running down his trousers and his legs buckling before he regained control and ran.
The wolf trotted over to Sarah like a trained dog. She stood stiff, barely daring to breath, back pressed against the bark of an ancient gnarly tree. The animal's snout was long, its eyes yellow as it looked at her, sniffed at her, not making a sound except for the short sharp inhalations of her scent, its damp nose pressed into her groin for a moment. And then it turned and ran. Following the scent of piss and fear.
* * *
The cold had begun to bite her by the time the wolf came back. She heard the padding of its paws, the rush of undergrowth, and she heard its whispers. It called her name, as always. There was blood caked around its snout, its whiskers were beaded. The scent was strong, red. She watched as its pink tongue curled out to smooth down the wet fur above its mouth. It seemed to grin at her.
"Come on my girl," it said.
She began to back away, stumbling, one fleshy foot feeling what the other foot couldn't. Tripping backwards over thick tree roots and brittle branches that tried to raise the hem of her skirt, tried to pick their way inside underwear, pinching her nipples, scratching her face and tugging on her hair. She turned, she ran in the direction of grandmother's house.
She stayed one beat ahead the whole time. She seemed to be running for hours, darting, stretching, kicking, skidding on golden fallen leaves, until she saw the back door and heard an almighty howl. Into the house she ran, pushing the door to behind her, but not fast enough as the wolf was in, sliding through the gap, too quick for a small human girl. He bounded on the settee, leaving muddy footprints, he skidded along the smooth wooden floor and BAM. There was grandma with a rolling pin in her hand. She'd hit the wolf on the snout, hard enough to hurt but not hard enough to knock him unconscious. In fact, all she'd done was piss him off. In one leap he was on her, tearing at sagging flesh and brittle bones and dried up fingers and toes till there was nothing left but a heap of grandmother in a pool of blood.
Sarah watched it all behind hands, she gasped and swooned and almost fainted at the sight.
"Bad bad bad bad bad bad wolf," she said. "You ate grandmother."
But the wolf looked so forlorn, so sad and pathetic. "I got a little carried away," it said.
"Oh, come here, you," she said, and rubbed the wolf's head between his eyes. "How could I ever stay mad at you huh?"
He nuzzled into her breasts and she bowed her head to suck the blood from his whiskers. And then, with a glint in her good eye and the charm of a smile around her blood-smeared lips, she patted her behind and waltzed into the bedroom. The wolf followed her, that grin, those eyes, those large teeth and damp nose to smell the sourness of the old lady's bedroom, the doilies and the false teeth and china figurines. The wolf knew prey from this. She was never prey. She was always plaything. And as she knelt on the bed and raised her naked rump to him, he mounted her slowly, pawing her smooth naked back, and knew he had found his other.