Young Bones

Author:Amanda C. Davis Source:dailysciencefictionRelease time:2018-10-16

I longed for young bones.

The worst of it was, after long eons, I forgot my offense. I would creep through forests and hide in caves, moaning through my hideous lips and teeth, "Why?" I hunched in bogs sifting my gems of memory in search of the pitted stone of sin that might justify the pain. So few remained. A dress, a cat, a rose, a crown. Nothing to earn me the shape of a monster.

I may have forgotten the sin, but the curse lived with me. Its scales on my skin. Its heart in my ribs. And its deep, wild hunger in my belly.

More than hunger. I craved.

I remembered a woman who could be kind or cruel, who taught me the danger of magic. "With faeries or beasts, in palaces or pits,"--I heard her where she was not--"you must never eat what you crave, or be enslaved to it forever."

But had she ever felt such a clenching of need? The want so strong it conjures taste when you salivate, and the drool slips between disgusting tusks into matted fur? The intolerable incessant desire? I obeyed her, but I was enslaved nonetheless. Oh, I craved, and for one thing alone.

I longed for young bones.

I must have realized, and heaved myself into the wilderness before the curse took full hold, because I think back--a child, a school, a dance, a pond--and oh, I could have had my fill! They surrounded me once, though I did not recall any names. I could have devoured young bones until I split. I could have been such a monster.

It would be no worse, I sometimes thought, than the crouched and muddy monster I am--but I remembered enough to be repulsed, to hide for one more day, to chain myself from seeking what tempted me day and night.

And it did tempt me every day.

And every night.

And every day.