I creep through the cavern
My footsteps light and hurried
Dragging along a pail
From the days’ hunt in the town.
Both white and red-stained
Illuminate by the light of my lantern.
A warning for all those come
“You best stay out”
Of course, I do no such thing,
Why should I?
When my pet resides deep within,
And is awaiting my return
With unequaled glee?
At the end of the path
Which even my fire can’t break.
I settle the pail to the ground and shout to the void
“Did you miss me?”
My precious pet calls to me
With a wondrous rumbling noise.
Oh, so she did miss me?
I’m pleased to hear that.
I think she’s earned a reward for being so patient.
I pluck out a chunk of meat from the bucket
And raise it so she can see
“Come here,” I command.
First into the light are her talons,
Broken fingernails that dig into the earth.
Each the size of my hand.
And I revel in the scraping sound,
Her long bony tail makes
As she creeps forward
And towards my warm embrace
Her antlers form a misshapen halo,
Distorted and incomplete.
Her brown fur, matted and dirty
Does little to conceal her ribcage
Nor the entrails that hang beneath.
My dear sweet pet,
extends the off-white branches on her back
Up and towards the ceiling
In her joy,
Dislodging stalactites that crash to the ground
Shattering to a shower of rock and rubble
She lowers her head to look at me
So, that we’re eye-to-socket.
Dropping the remains of her prior meal,
A femur? Perhaps an ulna?
I scarcely focus on that.
Her tongue emerges and licks her teeth,
Obviously awaiting her treat.
Who am I to mistreat my pet?
I hand it to her without delay.
She purrs and devours it in one bite
Twisting her neck so I can scratch her ears.
I take the time to think;
My dearest little pet-
People are starting to become suspicious
From the constant disappearances.
We may have to leave soon,
Before your food runs out.
But don’t worry, my dear sweet Wendigo.
I won’t let you starve.