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Wyvern Lit
Photo Feb 18, 20 04 28.jpg

The Autumn Kill

Fiction by GennaRose Nethercott

The Hunter’s Moon is come. It is time to cull meat from the woodlands. I will shuck flesh like cornhusk. I will snap open a living belly like a pocket watch. I know rabbits will hide anywhere — in a coin purse; down wells; tucked into their own mouths. Deer flirt with invisibility. They weave yarn through their antlers, blanket themselves in wren feathers and branches. What a waste. What a fool’s sport. I carry home their bodies in a cotton sack. Warthogs do not hide, but bullet towards me, stinking of clumsiness. I pirouette once and tusks shed. Twice, and skeleton whips loose from muscle. Thrice, and lungs silence like drum skin, smothered.

I was killed once, too — swept from my mother’s bed and carved into a huntress. The village sharpened my hands into arrowheads. Turned my hip to dagger sheath. My teeth, they filed down to points. They made me chant the song a spine sings when it breaks. Little lullaby. When they married me to the Hunter’s Moon, I wore a wolf-jaw crown. I braided sinew into my hair. Our wedding bed was built of talons and blood and light. We are hungry, o huntress, my neighbors said. The fury is sweet in you, now. It will choke many elk to their knees. It was fatten us through winter.