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The Wendigo

Kayla Goldman

I creep through the cavern

My footsteps light and hurried

Dragging along a pail

From the days’ hunt in the town.

Crushed bones

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

A gloom

Which even my fire can’t break.

I settle the pail to the ground and shout to the void

“I’m back!”

“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.

 


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