When Shadow-Beasts Stalk

July 27, 2019

 

When Shadow-Beasts Stalk 

 

Malina Douglas 

 

 

 

 

"Quick, get in—"

He slams the door behind me.

"Why?" I saw nothing

in the twist of brush;

the rain-dark, spindly branches.

"Creatures," he mutters,

stirring to life the embers.

I squint and frown

but see only black

through the frosted and little glass window.

"Tell me," I prod, as he sets out bread and steaming soup; potatoes.

'" 'Twas a girl your age,

but she disappeared--

found only a bone from her ribcage."

My hand shakes and my lifted spoon

spills red blooms of soup on his table.

"Was it the wolves," I ask.

"No, worse—"

I pull my chair close; listen—

"They can smell the sweat upon yer brow;

they are spurred by your fear-scent, hunting—

forest-lurking

shadow-beasts

with teeth and claws and hungry

—but no one who ever saw them close

has lived to tell the tale."

I gulp as the flames leap in the hearth

and shadows on the wall bend; flicker.

That night I hear howls beyond the house

as I lie by the sealed window.

—draw the blankets to my ears

hear their scratchings; muffled.

Sun floods in; the shadows gone

I creak the door open, dreading

a single sign

has been left outside—

the gleaming white bones of a rodent.

 

 

_________________________________

 

 

 

Malina Douglas enjoys spinning stories to thrill and inspire. Stories that walk the wavering line between fantasy and reality, that meld the real with the unreal.

She has published in Metamorphose V2, Indigo: A Western Australian Journal of Writing, Every Second Sunday: A Seoul Writers' Anthology, and in the Jungle Age, a website for writers. Her poem Red Fading, written in response to a painting, was published in Fusions, a collection of paintings and corresponding poems. Her 2018 publications include Writers Write, Foilate Oak, the 10th Anniversary edition of Consequence Magazine, and Sobotka Literary Magazine.

She tweets @iridescentwords.

 

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