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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Beatriz Nogueira is fifteen years old when her life ends.
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Your quivering, alien shift from human to halfling to not-quite,   a carrion flower never in bloom, but burst.
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