what to wear when…reconciling with the wolf. years before red meets her last huntsman, she tries to kill the wolf within her and pry free its clawed grip on her body. she keeps a cleanly separated house: red cloaks in one closet, furs in another; plates for poached eggs and plates for raw, bleeding meat. her two piles of knives and spoons shine in the light of the moon. for the only time since she first saw her own transmogrified eyes, she tugs off the cloth that covers her mirror at wolftime. a red blush blooms on her cheeks. her bloody, mussed hair stickily sits on her scalp. how dumb i was, she thinks, to believe that red was other than the wolf. i am reddest when i am the wolf. her reddened face splits into a grin (or a fanged threat, for it’s hard to know which language she’s thinking in: animal, human, or unforeseen hybrid). her lips drag back past black gums. behind them, yellowing fangs frame a red, thick, long, red tongue. she stares straight at her eyes in the mirror and sees the wolf flicker in them. she neither attacks nor avoids, as she usually does. instead, she and the wolf circle each other, nipping and sniffing. they draw up treaties and seal them with side-by-side signatures (her school-taught, looping cursive and its stamped paw-print). they divvy up and share the space of her. she exists in an appraising, raised eyebrow. it paces in her pounce-ready muscles. the seams between them close. an alliance brews in her belly and the marrow of her bones. at peace and equal at last, they stand together, a unified front against huntsmen and prey. it nuzzles her knee. she strokes its back, feeling its (and her own) shoulderblades shift under her hand. her fingers sink into its fur and all but disappear, save for their furrowed wake. they form a two-souls, one-person pack of their own.
more little red riding hood