Size / / /

In this false future of Nazi costumes

my friends and I wear gas masks

rendering us unrecognizable on a playgound.

We are called a wolf-pack

and you, Red, are nothing but bait

to test my sense of duty.

You resemble a young girl I knew

and failed to kill. They picked you out,

called you a terrorist, ran you ragged.

Named you her sister.

And again, as a dog returns

you know I will chase you, your basket

of weaponry, your red hood

into the darkness. You will be hurt,

and I, unable to save you,

the one to fire the shot,

unable to leave the pack,

a shadow wolf, gnawing his own leg to bone.

Jeannine Hall Gailey ( is the Seattle-area author of Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006) and She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011). Her work has been featured on NPR's The Writer's Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. Her website is, and you can see some of her previous work in our archives.
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18 Sep 2023

Ama’s arm rested protectively around the girl’s shoulder as the giant bird glided above, its head angling right to left. Violet-black wings soared across a cloudless sky, blocking the sun’s midday rays and swathing sections of the village in deep shadow. Given its size, this argentavis was one of her first, but too far above for her to differentiate by name. Even across the distance, Ama could feel its heartbeat synced to hers, their lives intertwined until death.
She is leaving the world that is pink with desire, on her gray cardboard rocket ship.
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