Page 6

The men in purple come running.  Their heads swivel about in search of movement.  They spot her, squatting on the ground munching on her half eaten roll.
“You, thief.  Stay where you are.”  One of them points a finger at her.
She bolts into the crowd.  There are crashes and shouts behind her.  The men are yelling to one another, splitting up and trying to corall her into a corner.
A closed cart blocks her way forward.  She rolls under and finds that behind the cart is a narrow alleyway that goes back about 4 feet before it hits a locked gate that opens to another street.
“Left!  She ran left over by the pork merchant!”  The voices are fading already.
She waits until the shouts fade altogether.  The pink sunset fills the top of the walls of the alley.  She closes her eyes, hoping that sleep will mask what remains of her hunger.


Page 5

The run brings her to another alley.  A still life filled with city leftovers.  One shoe.  A ripped shirt.  The front half of a cat skeleton.  Indistinguishable paper bits mashed between clumps of dirt and leaves.
No food.  She nods, acknowledging outwardly her new found hunger.  She tries to imagine hunger in the detail she imagined stabbing Thaxton.
Instead, her mind returns to the market.  Where there is food for sale, there is food wasted.  She walks again, dreaming of feasts made from bread scraps and fruit rinds.
The crowd merges with a smell of cooking meat to lead her back to the market.  Within 100 steps the air is filled with the scents of sweets, spices and sweat.
The sun is an hour from setting.  Some stalls are closing.  Most are open, their merchants still calling out prices to the wandering multitudes.  She walks by a shuttered fruit stand and plucks two discarded apples from the ground.
Walking and eating, she spots two men in purple who are watching her.  She slows down, slips behind a bread stall and sits on the ground.  By the time she has finished both apples, neither of the guards has made their way to her spot.
She picks up a half eaten roll from under the wheel of a cart.  To the left, she spots a girl with darting eyes carrying a bag of bread running.  She tries to follow but it's like chasing a drop of water over glass.  She slows down and chews the bread.


Page 4

She grips tighter.  Her knuckles go white.
“Hand me the knife.”  He steps closer and brings his voice to a whisper.
She shoots out a palm to his chest.  Thaxton stumbles back slightly and grunts.  He extends a hand and opens it slowly.  “The knife.”
He sighs and pulls out a medallion from under his shirt.  It is a wooden wheel, strung with a fraying leather cord.  He spends a moment looking at it and then tucks it away again.  “No one in Thuja openly carries a weapon.  You are drawing attention to yourself.”
She grinds her teeth side to side.  A vision of drawing the knife and stabbing Thaxton in the chest plays out in her mind’s eye.  She sees the arc of the weapon.  She sees the blade penetrate the flesh, miss the ribs and piece the heart.  She sees his body slump lifeless to the ground.  She growls quietly and shakes her head.  Shakes the vision away.
He steps forward again and again she pushes him.  As he staggers this time, she runs.  People watch.  Thaxton watches.  No one follows her.  No one stops her.  They move out of her way silently and continue on.


Page 3

“I need your help?”  She looks at his hand.  It descends back to his side.
“Take a look at the people walking in the street.”  He turns slightly and gestures to the passing crowd.
She looks.  “Why?”
“Look at the women’s hair.  The style of their hair.”
Without exception, all the women are wearing long hair in a pony tail. Her hand reaches up to her own hair, which is in two braids.
“Unbraid it and wear this.”  Thaxton hands her a hair tie.  “Braids have been out of style for several decades.”
She unbraids her hair and puts it up in a pony tail.
“We can get you new clothes too.  At the church, I have some.”  He looks off to the left.
“What's wrong with my clothes?”
Thaxton snorts.  “They are out of style.  Out of place.  Out of time.”  He looks down at her waistline.  “Your knife.  We should get rid of that right away as well.”
Her hand shoots to the knife hilt.  Grasps it.  “My… my… my… kn… knife?”
He raises a hand up slowly and extends it toward her with an open palm.  “Yes.  Your knife.  No woman in Thuja carries a knife.  Look for yourself, if you need to.”


Page 2

She stands too quickly.  The scene before her distorts.  Fuzzy people walk by in a parade of hazy colors.  She leans against the wall and waits.
When her vision clears, she steps into the street.  To her left, an open air market.  To her right, an open gate. On the opposite side of the street, a man in a blue shirt.  Past the gate, she sees a road, grass and trees.
She walks toward the open road but begins encountering a thicker and thicker crowd of barely moving humanity.  The more she tries to move toward the trees, the more disapproving their faces become.  Near the gate, three large men dressed in purple are letting people out one at a time.  She watches.  They ask each person questions.  Some people they hand bags to and then wave them outside.  Other people they simply wave through.
The crowd inches forward.  Now she can hear the questions.  Now she can see more detail.  They are asking each person for a card.  She checks her pants pockets and finds nothing.  She turns and begins walking against the crowd.  Their bodies quickly surge forward into the space she had occupied.
Leaving the crowd behind, she spots the man in the blue shirt again.  He is looking at her, smiling.  She stops.
He walks over to her and offers his hand.  “My name is Thaxton and you need my help.”


Page 1

Heel, toe.  Heel, toe.
Each step a rhythm.  Each step a unity.  Each step an entry, exit and datum.
Steps become motion and motion direction. Direction begets sound and through this new crack a will emerges.  An uncertain will.  Uncertain if it is coming or going but there is rhythm, motion, direction and sound to be acted upon and that is something.  Something.
Now the presence of others.  Other steps.  Other rhythms.  All of them walking.  Will walking.  A crowd moving.  Will waking.
Vision and smell arrive together, a intersection of sensation that slams awareness into her forebrain.  She keeps walking.  She is thirsty.  There is a smear of input and then a young brown skinned girl of perhaps eight years is handing her a cup of water.  She takes it.
The girl is probably talking.  Lips are moving but instead of hearing sounds, she sees letters falling from mouth to ground.  She drops the cup and it shatters.  The young girl’s eyebrows smash together and she might be shouting.  Probably.
There is a push.  Some people gather.  Then the rhythm of footsteps sweeps to the foreground again, this time as a run.  This run brings feelings.  They are difficult to name.  Perhaps there is only one feeling tinted with shades of other feelings.  The feeling pushes her to run further and faster, delivering her finally to a seated position.



You want a silver bullet.  Actually, before you want a silver bullet, you want a werewolf.  You want evil in your life so that you can kill that evil.  Actually, before you kill that evil you want to project all your evil into that evil so that you're good.  Yes.  You just want to be right and that requires that something else be wrong.  You just want to be 100% right and that requires that someone be 100% wrong.

There will be a moment, as your silver bullet pierces the werewolf's heart that good will win and evil will lose.  There will then be that moment, the one that follows the triumph in which the dead werewolf changes into a dead human and who were they?

Were they pure evil?  Did you kill them or the werewolf?  What is good now that evil is dead?  Is there another evil, another pure evil to define you?  Should you have chained the evil deep inside the center of the earth, hidden it away and only told stories about it, thus keeping it alive but away so that you can stay pure and good and it can stay corrupt and evil yet it can not touch you?

What if the problem of good in the world is equally as troubling as the problem of evil?  What if the real problem isn't the chicken and the egg but instead the werewolf and the silver bullet?