Chapter Fifteen

Macie bundles through the crowd and makes a beeline for Pierre, and there’s a touching moment as boy and dog are reunited. For what it’s worth, I’m thinking that the time for formalities is long past. I nod to Rosaline’s daddy, who’s looking as unimpressed as a three-hundred-kilo buck with a bushy moustache can. Continue reading

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Chapter Fourteen

I take my cell phone off the back of the toilet and click the power button, expecting it to light up and show me the time, but remembering sadly—and not for the first time—that the phone died hours ago (or was it days?). I press and hold the button again, hoping that its dead battery might miraculously come to life, but when it inevitably doesn’t, I put the phone back on the tank in a huff and try to get comfortable on the ceramic tiles, leaning back against the hard edge of the bathtub. I close my eyes and extend my legs as I try to relax. Continue reading

Chapter Thirteen

It was half past three in the afternoon, and the bi-monthly meeting of the town’s support group for monsters with social anxiety was winding down. Once again, as with each of the previous four occasions, Esme had been the only attendee. There had been a brief moment of excitement an hour in when a disembodied voice had suddenly blared out of thin air behind her, causing her to think that she’d been joined by an invisible man. She’d been disappointed to find that it was just a podcast blaring out of a mobile phone that someone had left on a table when they visited the little boy’s room. Continue reading

Chapter Twelve

“Oh! Mon amour!”

I rush to Pierre’s side as he hits the ground, head thumping hard against the concrete floor of the garage. I momentarily panic at the thought of it breaking open like a soft melon. But it doesn’t—people, it would seem, are sturdier than I remember them—and I cradle his head in my lap. Or, more specifically, the lap of my front hooves. I stroke his hair off his forehead, which is warm and much too moist, and lean my face close to his to make sure he’s breathing. When I feel a small exhalation from his nose, I give a sigh of relief and look over at his friend. Continue reading

Chapter Ten

It takes a minute for me to register the pain between my legs, but once my body processes it, it’s like a small fire erupting through my groin and up my back. I cup my hands over myself as I crumple to the ground, making strange mewling sounds that leave everyone—myself included—uncomfortable. As I fall in a heap the rat thing—when did Ben adopt a rat thing?—smacks me hard over the head with the dull end of his spear. I try to cover my bits and my skull with my hands at the same time as the thing lifts his stick to smack me again. Continue reading

Chapter Nine

I reckon I make a pretty package, trussed up in spider webbing like a turkey for the table. Only my heavy boots are poking out the one end, and my long beet-red face out the other. Two-dozen quantlings and more are carrying me above their heads into the undergrowth, and I wouldn’t like that situation any day of the week, but these guys are the world’s worst mail couriers. By the time they’ve bounced me off a passing tree or dropped my corners into swampy puddles for the tenth time, I can honestly say I wouldn’t even hire them to do baggage handling at the airport. Continue reading

Chapter Eight

Normally there’s something beautiful about early mornings in the country. The quiet of the forest, the smell of the dew on the grass, and breathing in the crisp clean air while enjoying a hot cup of coffee. The idea of a warm drink out on the porch is especially appealing on such a cold-to-the-bone day, or it would be if I wasn’t still in boxers and a thin t-shirt from last night. There’s water on the porch from last night’s rainfall, and the wood is slippery under my bare feet as I walk to the edge of the top step. Continue reading

Chapter Seven

I ain’t one of those old men who’s afraid of new tech, and I’m proud to say that know my way around a smartphone with the best of them. But my phone is slippery in my hands with sweat and panic, and I’m swerving all over these country roads as I try to tap out Pierre’s number on the keypad. Not for the first time, I find myself lamenting the times when honest-to-goodness buttons were an actual thing. Continue reading

Chapter Six

I lie back on the couch, slouching on the brown tweed upholstery, and put my feet up on the coffee table (something I’m sure has mom rolling over in her grave). I pick the remote off the cushion beside me and flick on the TV set, scrolling through the recorded episodes on the PVR. I cast a nervous glance around my living room, suddenly paranoid I’m not alone, before selecting an episode of The Bachelor and pressing play. Continue reading