The Velvet Chamber
An Anthology of Revisioned Myth and Fairy Tale

Explore the dark side of the female psyche --A CALL FOR WRITERS supports The Velvet Chamber

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wolfskin by Roberta Lawson

1AM, and the wolf is at the door again. Such a long, long Winter. Mother is flagging. First it was chickens boiled in the pot, herbs and plump potatoes. First it was bacon sizzling on a griddle, splayed eggs and slabs of toast dripping butter. First it was family by the hearth; cosy, lazy evenings. But the Winter just went on and on, and father never returned home. Wolf's at the door. One freezing December day my youngest sister disappeared in the forest and who knew if it was screaming or the wind blowing we heard, mother, who knew? The forest is haunted, mother.

We curl in tighter in our house like a shoe, we wrap around one another and we will never be warm enough. No, we will never last out this Winter. Something dark and probing is eating mother from the inside. The wolf is rattling our windows, the wolf that looks like father. Griddled mice and dregs of whey, daren't leave the house now. Spiders on the grill in our blind, blind house. I sleep with a paring knife under my pillow and say prayers for Summer. The wolf watches my slumber, like he used to watch my sister. Paring knife under my pillow, I dream of skinning so many things...Three mice, a human arm, big bad wolf. Skin falls back like peach-fur. Is that the wind outside, screaming? Mother, mother the wolf is rattling the door-frame! I'm almost ready, though awful-skinny. (Our Mother is haunted. Mother stares only at windows, ceilings, looking for father and our stolen sister.)

The wolf is clawing through the tired door. Don't be frightened, mother! The wolf's breath pours in like carbon monoxide. Mother is shaking like a landslide, and I am lunging for my pillow. Mother, mother, I'm ready, my teeth and nails like sharpened knives, and I'll huff and I'll puff...

The whole house blows black, the colour of wolf-fur. Winter stretches wide as a spider, ready to gobble.

Roberta Lawson lives, breathes and writes in Brighton in the UK. Her writing has appeared in places such as Prick of the Spindle, Sein und Werden and Thirteen Myna Birds. She never grew out of (original) fairytales. This piece appeared in 'Disenthralled.'

Image: Isabella the She Wolf

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