Sweat rolls from the simple part in my hair down my forehead and onto the crease in my upper lip. My limbs shake and suddenly go limp under the light blanket of messy hay that covers my clothed body. A howl pierces the night; it is silenced by the choked buzzing of what sounds like a chainsaw.

I step outside. The body of a werewolf is dragged into the building before me. I follow the blood trail.

Nothing I haven’t seen before. I wrinkle my nose slightly at the eviscerated being that lies on the operating table and the demented-looking woodsman slow-slicing it to pieces with a hacksaw. His glazed eyes look up and meet mine.

“I dooon’t like youuuuuu!” he growls gutturally.

“Silviu! Not in front of others!” His mother steps in from behind me and slaps the back of his head as if she’s done this hundreds of times before.


She has.

“You’ll excuse my boy. He is strong in here” – gesturing to his stomach – “but weak in here.” His head. I already knew that.

They take the undesirables from the forest, cut them up, and grind them into sausages. Once upon a time this would have made me go pale in the face and retch. I’ve been around death far too much. Perhaps even developing an unhealthy obsession with it.

I was supposed to disrupt things, so I did. I destroyed their equipment. Little did I know that their obsession with making stew out of the local fata pădurii, tree-like creatures that I hadn’t yet seen up close, went beyond a relatively benign culinary fascination. I ended up freeing several prisoners from their underground bunker. Reserves in case they cleared the countryside (unlikely).

“Mami says you’re too strong to make sausage out of,” says Silviu. Another swat to the back of the head. “You’re not welcome here!” says Mami Dimir and stalks off.

I return to the barn and fall into an irritable sleep. The chill of the country air slips into my nostrils and caresses my temples until my breathing becomes peaceful and rhythmic. In my slumber I walk through verdant fields and run my hand through lilies and lilacs.

Sweet dreams.


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