Christmas in July

Last night there were wolves in my bedroom, a bi-chambered den through the twisted sheets and rumpled comforter of my twin bed. Twin, as it was my father’s house, my childhood bedroom in the house he lived in for decades, long now sold.

Infested. The wolves slept, loose limbed and weak as the stray kitten who died this fourth of July, only a week after we attempted rescue, love. Auspiciously named Firework, he died in my mother’s arms.

Weak wolves sleeping in my bed, and it was Christmas; all the sisters and brother and stepmother and father I no longer speak to merry and present, a lackluster tree in the corner of the den, arrayed in crumpled strips of golden paper.

Alone, I pried a male wolf from the bedcovers, cradled him in both my arms like a kitten, a child. Down the stairs I went, calling for help.  The wolf began to fight, bared teeth and snarls, uncoordinated pawing. “How do you kill a wolf?”, I cried. Nails in my flesh; no answer.

I slew him in the stairwell, blood on the carpet, my fingers in his throat. I broke his limbs from his body, his heart from his chest. I ate him, raw muscle, damp fur, ligaments, marrow. I ate him.

Strips of matted pelt I placed neatly in the garbage can hidden in the pantry. No trash or guts visible, blood wiped from my chin.

The head and paws of the wolf I wrapped loosely in festive paper and placed under the tree for my father. Merry Christmas, we sing-songed each other, Merry Christmas!, as the lights flickered gaily and more wolves stirred in the sheets in the room above.

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