Three Scairytales


The girl always kept her face hidden by the deep, scarlet hood. She’d be gone days, loping down the woods’ long-trod trails. Stories followed her like minnows after live bait—relentless, endless, ravenous. She’d jumped up and down on her grandmother’s skeleton, howling. She could grow poison berries and bewitch you into eating them. She had a tail. Other children followed her to pet her warm back, then were never to be found. True, true, true, and true. But was her scent truly gamey, her smile really wolfish? Her innocence, like a dead leaf that lives off a green branch?


From a distance, Ronan thought he’d seen a precise path of snow, long and silvery white. Then it moved, revealing a face perfect as a mask. A hunter, he followed quickly, but the woman was faster, insubstantial as starlight. Two right turns, three left. Along paths unknown to Ronan. She was in and up the tall stone tower, Ronan pursuing, unsure if it was his footsteps or his pulse pounding. Higher, higher, her hair a battle flag behind her. Ronan entered the round room, littered with bones white as Edelweiss. He reached for her, catching nothing but gauze and fury.


As far as 8-year-olds went, they were especially small, the boy pale, the girl downright gaunt. Days, they’d sleep entwined like a bell-pull. Nights, they’d wander Manhattan, stopping dead like two griffins. One breathed in while the other coughed out. One listened while the other laughed, high and cold like a silver bell. One night they found the pills on the street, littered like Halloween candy—pink, red, yellow—ending at the basement door. The dealer was warming a spoon over the flame. The twins devoured the pills, burned furniture, drained the man’s artery before he could even name them.


Lynn Mundell co-edits She was born too close to Halloween, ergo her slightly dark point of view.

Photo credits: Adam Graham, David Garrison, Jennifer Orange






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