Wolf in Her Teeth, Issy M Flynn
2nd Place Winner of the "In the Woods Somewhere" Contest
Do not venture to the path where the flowers grow, little one, bruise-blue and ripe for the plucking. Do not be drawn by that fire in the night that flickers like a beckoning friend. For it is there she waits for us. Nobody remembers which wolf did it, gobbled that crone in the flowery gown and set her witch-daughter upon us. With wolf in her teeth she stalks these trees, hunting our heads, her silver axe swinging, in return for that ancient crime. The stories tell of a girl in red but that was long ago. Now she wears her last kill like a gown, all the better to spring from the dark and lop the head from your soft little body. You’ll join your father, your sisters, your grandfather, your ancestors outside that little wooden cabin in the clearing, where the smoke clambers into the sky. Generation after generation, row upon row, each piked head caught in its very last snarl, jaws wide in fury or panic or a plea for mercy. Stay close, little cub and you may escape the fate of the thousand-year howl.
Issy M Flynn (she/her) is a writer and publishing professional from the UK. Her work has appeared in The London Magazine, Severine Literary Journal and will appear in Neon Literary Magazine next year. She can be found on Twitter at @isabellemarief.