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The Big Bad Wolf



He is out there, somewhere. Emilia can hear him howling after hours, his bestial wail rippling through treetops, shaking earth. Well aware of his numerous atrocities from the tales Reuben would tell her (Alex couldn’t have cared less when she came around begging for a story before bedtime, but Reuben was always good for a tale or two), she feels as though she has a thorough knowledge of fairy tale and folklore’s public enemy number one. In her heart, she could never forgive him for what he did to Peter, Little Red, and those poor pigs who weren’t very good at construction. 


He is real, Reuben would insist, and he lives in the creek behind our house. I fought him once and barely lived to tell the tale! But not without THIS [at this point, Reuben would always roll up his pant leg to reveal a somehow nearly perfect spiral scar where Pixie had once bit him as a young, undisciplined puppy]. Mixing his mythologies, he would then add a bit about how any day now he might turn into a Big Bad Wolf, too, but how he would never hurt her in spite of his inherited lycanthropy.


Now, skirting the creek bed, she fills her pockets with rocks—imaginary grenades, just in case—keeps her broomsword held high. Summons the spirit of the Great Mifune when the wind barrels through, almost tipping her over, a solitary tingle tracing down her spine as stars cackle, shadows slither, and she hears him calling.

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