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God's Cough


Thunder = God coughing, her father once told her to put her at ease. She holds this thought now as she swishes through thorns, ready to face true evil.


She finds the Big Bad Wolf curled around the trunk of a tree wriggling in the rain-softened leaves, pawing at darkness, snout entangled in his chain. Though the storm has died down some the trees continue to drip hauntingly, rhythmic like death-chimes. She angles the flash light to see in-detail those long, deep cuts that glisten like the inside of a salted grapefruit. Kneeling beside the wounded panting creature, peeling wet leaves out of his fur one-by-one, she untangles him. "It's ok, boy." As The Big Bad Wolf licks her hand, its tongue like sandpaper. "Here boy." Reaches for the water to give him a drink and the light tickles the surface of his food. Sparkles dancing, shining up through the bottom of the bowl. When she dips her hand down into the bowl she understands why—it’s like wasp stingers. Somebody has crunched up some bottles, mixed it in with the food.

Now, under the light, she can see her hand is smeared a bright red, the Big Bad Wolf’s tongue bloody and crusting, infected-looking. The bowl remains full. He must've decided days ago that it was better to starve than endure the pain of eating any more glass.


She picks through her backpack desperately for something, anything to gnaw through a chain. "Just a second." But nothing will, and suddenly she can feel the Big Bad Wolf’s teeth clamping down on her tiny hand. It doesn’t hurt. You could barely call it a bite there is no fight behind it, no fight at all. So she leaves the teeth in, with her free hand placing a thin jacket over the beast, petting him as he squirms, scoots up some on his little length of chain. One unburnt eye glassy, swimming in agony, in bewilderment, in all the unanswerable questions (Was I not a good boy?               Why is this happening?         Why me?)          and all the while God coughing.





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