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The spiral staircase takes me to the door
with the cartoon wolf sticker, just like
the Craigslist ad said. The moon is full
tonight. Tires sloshing across wet snow,
the scent of burning wood, firetrucks blaring
in this Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood.
I knock and wait. Watch the children play,
earflaps bouncing, hockey sticks spitting up
ice, snow glittering like stadium lights.
Their cheeks are crisp with blood—
but the pills blunt my hunger.

Robin opens the door. Beard braided,
sooty-faced, shoulders broad from
the construction site. He scoffs at my stationary store
nametag—Bonjour! Je m’appelle Florian—and pulls me
inside. It’s a studio apartment. Candlelight, unmade bed,
guests on the shaggy carpet. There’s Marguerite, head shaved
with tarot cards, a long way from the fille du roi without
a livre to her name. I wave at Alexandre, who nods
by the couch, eyes spidery with mascara, bass guitar
out. And on the terrace: Célia. Dark fur shining like tar
in the moonlight, snout long and wrinkled.
When she crawls, she growls, kisses me
with a hot, feral mouth.

It’s our 350th anniversary.
Survived the Atlantic Ocean, scurvy, blizzards
and riots in the streets. Tourists from Expo 67,
debating separation on TV, bike lanes expanding
on every street. Through it all, we hunted,
howled and mauled, lived like exiled gods.
Meet up once a year to commiserate,
to celebrate: another year alive,
another year survived.

Now none of us have hunted
in over a decade. Modern life has
that effect on us, dulls instincts,
tucks tails between legs. Even when
the moon swells, we take our appetite suppressant
pills and masquerade: as store clerks, construction workers,
glum-eyed bass guitarists and professional psychics. We eat
thin-crusted pizza, sip bitter IPAs and chat—how Robin’s
drinking buddies side-eye his lack of aging, Alexandre’s fear
of intimacy, Marguerite’s entanglements with criminal
underlings—when we should be out hunting.
Even tonight, there’s not a prey in sight: just black bread
shiny with butter, sweet potatoes braised in wine and oils,
crepes stuffed with strawberries. Célia nibbles on scraps
under the table, yellow teeth flashing by my ankles. So old
that pills don’t work on her and she drools without knowing.

« Elle se sent seule. » Marguerite tells me.
Fireworks bloom across the street, but Célia
remains a shadow under gold streaks. Célia,
the original loup-garou, lonely? We watch
her watch the children’s faces ripen
with blood as they fight over the puck.
She licks her jaws and Marguerite’s eyes
grow wide in warning. « Elle a faim aussi. »

What if Célia snaps?
What then for her?
For us?

To cover our tracks, we have
to go back. Become ourselves
for one night—that’s enough.
We take Robin’s pickup truck into Trois-Rivières,
into remote villages we lived in when we were human.
Snow falls, melts on Célia’s plum tongue. Her lips curl
into a yellow smile, and I can see it so clearly now:
the pupils thinned, the zigzagging pawprints, the clawing
off of parts, the bullet-riddled aftermath. By sunrise,
we’ll go our separate ways. Some of us will come back,
some will meet our graves.

For now, we howl in unison,
as synchronized as a celestial
alignment. Before we split up,
we look at each other one last time.
There’s awe and terror,
profound sadness,
laughter. How amazing, to have known
each other. To have lived for so long
and still feel our existence is just a blink
in a cold, ancient universe. How brief
and dizzying, how we won’t change
a thing. How grateful we are for
all of it, to have been together,
moonlit.



Millie Ho’s work appears in Lightspeed Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, and others. She was a finalist for the 2019 Rhysling Awards, and lives in Montreal. Find her at www.millieho.net and on Twitter @Millie_Ho.
Current Issue
27 Jul 2020

Stefan škrtl další sirkou a zapálil jednu ze svíček, které s sebou přinesl, pak další a další, dokud je neobklopoval celý kruh. Hanna nakrčila nos. Svíčky vydávaly zvláštní zápach, ale ne nepříjemný. Připomínal čerstvě posečenou trávu. I jejich tmavě olivová barva byla nezvyklá.
半透明の大江さんが洗面所から出てきて、いつもと同じようにテーブルに向かう。見えない食パンにバターを塗り、見えない新聞を片手に頰張る。まるでパントマイムだ。私はフローリングの床に座り込み、一連の動作を眺めた。
By: Amel Moussa
Translated by: Hager Ben Driss
Many things in my kitchen resemble me; I relate to them; we entertain one another. Water, fire, and electricity vegetables, water rich fruits, and dry fruits
أشياء ٌكثيرةٌ في مطبخي تُشبهني أتماهى مع هذه الأشياء ونُؤنسُ بعضنا.
He ignored her remark, ignited another match and lit a small candle. Then another one. He continued until a circle of candles surrounded them on the stage. Hanna scrunched her nose. The candles exuded a strange smell, but not an unpleasant one. It resembled freshly mown grass. The color was unusual too, a deep olive-green.
By: Eisuke Aikawa
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
The translucent Ōe-san steps out of the bathroom and sits at the table as usual. He spreads butter on an invisible slice of bread, takes a bite, and chews it, holding the morning paper in his other hand. Just like a mime. I sit on the floor and observe his movements.
Issue 20 Jul 2020
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17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for our Mexico Special issue, which will be published at the end of November 2020!
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Strange Horizons lanza su convocatoria en busca textos narrativos para su Especial de México, que se publicará a finales de noviembre de 2020!
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