Inside the Wolf
by Brittany Warman
The inside of the wolf's stomach is swollen red silence. The walls come in and the walls go out - in, out, in, out - and I wait, small and folded up inside myself inside the wolf. I am waiting for something I cannot name. There is no death here, only the familiar press of his skin against mine. The air becomes heavier and heavier as my fear fades into shame. Red drips from the breathing walls and he shutters all around me, content.
No one can consume you without your permission.
The inside of the wolf's stomach is haunted. I find my grandmother in the redness and we huddle close together like parenthesis around our clasped hands. What is left of my self breaks open between us. I couldn't begin to say how long she has been here. I try to tell her that it's all over, that I don't have to be afraid anymore, but she looks away and says I was always a curious girl. Together we stare up through rib bones at unending red shadows pulsing to a heartbeat that isn't mine. I tell her, this is not what I imagined.
The inside of the wolf's stomach is a cage for little girls lost. As he sleeps, I lie awake in the darkness, remembering. Come closer. What big eyes you have. Close closer. What big ears you have. "Closer still" his lips had whispered against my neck. What big teeth you have, ah, so much the better to eat me with.
Brittany Warman is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and is currently working on her master's degree in folklore and literature at George Mason University. Her creative work has been published or is forthcoming from Jabberwocky Magazine, Cabinet des Fees: Scheherezade's Bequest, Magpie Magazine, Finery, EMG-Zine, and The Sarah Lawrence College Review. Her website is www.brittanywarman.com and she journals at briarspell.livejournal.com.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
The majority of my ideas for stories have their roots in the folktales, fairy tales, and myths that I study in academia. I have always loved and been inspired by folklore and my work there has encouraged me to think in new ways about the oldest of stories and to then twist them into unexpected new shapes. There is always more to discover!