By Saswati Chatterjee
One of you is not like the others. I suspect it is you.
The others were born at dawn; you stretched your neck, sinewy and perfect, at midnight. Your brother played in the edges of twilight, you darted about in its shadows as secretive as your heart. You whisper like a leaf falling in the forest while your brothers are a waterfall, loud and heard.
You sneak past my feet like I would not sense you there. My shadow cools your back, my sunlight warms your toes though you prefer to stay hidden.
My daughter, my daughter. How fast can you run? Can you hide so well in the long nights? The owl will not be so welcoming with her cool embrace when your brothers tear her wings to shred and sharpen their teeth on her beak. The bees will not bring to you honey from broken hives, no rabbit will come to your insistent call. The forest will yawn, long and dangerous.
Ah, my daughter. How will you hide? Your feet are swift and your gaze is sharp, but sharper yet are the wolves’ claws.
Your brothers will sooner see you broken than let you run.
Run now. While I stretch my branches into thorns to rip flesh, while hawk and eagle still watch, while the way is sure and the path is known. Run. Run while you can.
While I am what I am, they will never get past me.
Saswati Chatterjee is currently based in New Delhi, India. An avid reader and gamer, she can usually be found haunting her computer or failing that, the closest horror novel.