excerpt 2, Chapter 3
I went to bed that night too afraid to go and watch the darkness at the edge of our yard. I had to count backwards from 100 just to get myself to sleep, but it was no better there. I dreamt I was immersed in that darkness, stepping between the trees to follow a wild dog that panted and jogged between their black trunks, looking back every few steps to be sure I was still there, his high shoulders revealing white luminescent bulbs as his breath slipped out in ghostly clouds in front of his long nose, all lined with teeth that flashed dully in the phosphorescence the surrounded him.
In the chill I could feel that breath sticking to me beneath my nightgown, stealing down my belly and between my thighs, seizing my chest. I didn’t want to follow him. I could feel his excitement and it scared me, but I was more afraid to turn around and try and go back without him. The way behind me was being erased with every step, leaving me no choice but to keep pushing forward, willing my legs to bend and move, the numbers persisting. I could feel myself mouthing them as I went, 76, 75, 74, placing my bare feet carefully on the ground beneath me. 70, 69, 68, the jaunt of him slowed and stopped in a clearing I had never seen. My skin was soaking now from his breath and my hurrying. I could feel my body aching with it, the cold sinking between my ribs and underneath my toes as I edged forward, closer to his pulsating body. I could make out his tongue in the moonlight of the open space, hanging long past his gaping mouth, the yellow of his long teeth dripping, eyes reflecting shapes of men somewhere in the mist that I could not see.
He wasn’t looking at me anymore. He seemed to have forgotten that I was there, his long, pointed ears searching for something I could neither hear nor sense. He wanted me, but I didn’t understand what that meant, and it was dawn when I woke up, still wet with his breath.