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  • Writer's pictureGrant Stoye

A Dream of Teeth

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

I crawl into bed hungry, a gnawing ache in my gut.

Soon my heavy eyelids give a final blink, and I am falling through the veil of dreams.

The grass is wet beneath my feet. I look down at the spongy turf, still slick from the mist and the rain. These are cold times when the night sky chases the sun early, and all this damp grass becomes frost by the morning light. It’s easier to track this way.

It took a sheep in the night. It slashed the ewe’s throat, dulling the bleats that would otherwise wake the men who slept by the hearth. When they woke, they saw crystalized blood coating the pen, and the other sheep huddled in a corner closest to the hut. The scent is sweet to me, an aroma that sings victory and death and sets my mouth to water, but I know this isn’t the time to indulge. The large man pets my head. Soon, he says to me. Soon we hunt.

His son yearns to feed me, knowing what hunger sets my stomach to tremble in the morning, but the large man won’t let him. The boy pleads, his fingers running over my wiry grey coat, yet the man knows I hunt better with the ache. We understand the way of things in a way the boy does not. The way he soon will.

We are running over the wet grass. I strain at the rope, the scent of the monster in my nose. Their feet plod along, the mud sucking at them, slowing me down. The man carries a bow, a quiver, and a cruel dagger, the boy has a club and a knife. I have my teeth, my claws, and my strength, and I know that alone I am weapon enough for them.

Soon we are in the forest, the aroma strong, and we see the prints of the monster in the muck. There are drops of blood in the leaves. A foam adorns my mouth, my teeth nipping, I pull at the rope with power that nearly topples the man. But he knows. He knows that I sense where the monster is now, and a grim smile splits his bearded face. He turns to his son. The son smiles.

I am released.

Large dark trees are a blur, my paws pound the forest floor with fury, and my tongue lolls. The scent grows stronger, becoming a primal scream that echoes in my mind. The blood is my siren.

The wolf barely leaves its den before I assail it, snarling. My jaws open, my teeth bare, and I am a furious maw, preaching death. We connect. We tumble. We fight.

This is a battle that has raged for eons, of teeth and claws and blood and bone. For survival. For revenge. For the joy of jaws clamping tight and blood spattering on dark grey fur. It’s not twin growls that the trees echo, but the rumbling of our packs into infinity.

Its claws sink into my hide. Its fangs rend my thick matted fur. I see the whites of its eyes. Any other prey and it would be victorious. Any other prey and it would praise the night with crimson teeth glistening under moonlight.

But I am not any prey, and I will not be denied.

Its foreleg splinters in my jaws with a crack. I muscle it to the ground as it nips at me, and I press my bulk to pin it. I rip into its torso with my paws, and soon it knows that this is the nature of things and all of us will meet the great beyond. Its throat bathes me in hot blood, and soon I am gorging.

In the distance I hear the joyous shouts of the man and his son, notes of fear dance around the fringe of their tones. I do not heed them. I feed.

I wake.

And I am full.

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