Gieriger Wölfe</i> (*)
THE TREES PEER down at me, watch me as I walk past, reaching their thin fingered branches out after me. Placating.
I follow my brother into the endless forest, quietly seething with hatred how dare he think he can force me to leave my home, my mother, all for his inability to stave off his wretched gluttony. My dear, sweet, naïve mother threw us out at father's insistence because of there being "too little food". Hypocrite; he said it as though he weren't the roundest of all swine, closely followed by his arrogant hog of a son. Every day while my poor mother is out at work, for work she must as he would never do so, my stepfather would devour half of the larder's contents before his piggy son's eyes and then sit idly by and watch his son gorge himself on the rest till both of them were straining at their shirt buttons, disgusting wobbles of pig lard that they both are. Wolves, no matter how vicious they may be, at least respect the ties of family and would share a fresh kill with every member of the pack no matter how inferior their rank.
Am I to follow this waddling young pig like a good little lamb should, off for the slaughter? I think not: "Brother, dearest brother mine." I call out as though honey dripped sweet and loving from my tongue.
"Yes, goose?" Says this grunting swine, lumbering to an unsteady halt and sneering back at me. I grind my hand into a fist, the claws biting soothingly into my palm as I fight the desire to fly at him for such a slight (as, now I think of it, a wild goose would) and instead answer: 'Where is it you take us Bruderlein(*1) , through the Great Forest so still?"
"Father said for us to go to Witch's cottage deep in woods and steal what food we can for to eat over winter. 'For else you'll be for pot' he said."
I try to keep my face as docile as younger sister should be and succeed until he glares vulgarly at me and trundles off once more. But I am no lamb, quite the opposite; I am a proud wolf pup fresh and awake from my first flowering; I refuse to be led by that which should be eaten. I allow myself a brief flash of teeth before my façade drops down once more and I walk quicker so that I'm in step with the hog.
Brother, do you know of the house thats made of gingerbread that Grandmamma lives in? It is half the way of the old Witchs house and Im sure Oma(*2) would have plenty of food to share with us we wouldnt have to steal from the scary, old witch. Im sure as a lonely old lady Granny has plenty of surplus food.
I am unsure if he will take the bait, for despite their gluttony pigs have been known to be cunning enough to fool wolves before.
But as I watch, his piggy eyes clearly warm to the idea of danger-free sweets and any suspicions his logical brain might have had are eradicated before they can even draw breath.
Take me there, dearest Sister, so that we might pay her a friendly visit. He grunts in what passes as his manners.
At this point I am unable to deprive myself of an exhilarating flash of unnatural teeth, but I neednt have bothered holding myself in; his thoughts were entirely clouded by the prospect of sugar. I skip forward in the semblance of excited lamb on first legs, but really I am trying to hurry him up so that I might get out of this skin and into a better fitting one. I hear him stumble behind me; he is almost as fast as he will go, lurching quickly behind me as I jump about, a baby deer. Ha!
I feel myself begin to change as we get closer to the centre of the Forest, to the crux of the matter, the trees softening our steps with their soft leaves and after a short time I am entirely free of my mask and lollop along on all paws; Im not sure where the skin has gone but now I am covered in lush grey fur that makes me feel more comfortable with the pig behind me; more in control. Oh yes, pig he is. He now trots forward on all fours too, a mimicry of my faultless, graceful gait.
It feels as though the forest will last forever, the trees barring any turns we might have made. But eventually we are let into a small clearing, the floor glistening moonlight and Sternchenstrahl(*3) so that the den is illuminated by quiet, watchfulness.
I cry out, except cry is not the word anymore. The word is howl.
Immediately my pack is around us, my family. A circle of howls fill the sky and intertwine with my own, reflecting off the trees and creating a melancholy melody.
Piggy is frozen, which is fine for us. We draw closer; as one we draw tight the noose.
Oma(*2) is first to pounce and then tis only a matter of time before we are a writhing mass of grey, brown, black fur, which is soon redder than it once was around our muzzles. The melody has changed its timbre and is reflected with the squeals of the almost-dead.
Eventually the spell of the smell of fear dissipates and we lounge around, our bellies full, some of us playing with the others and chasing each others tales.
We ignore the stains on our mouths, the stains on the grass; he was only one of many.
Tomorrow, Tochter(*4) , bring us the next.
(*) - Ravenous Wolves.
(*1) - Brother dear / dearest brother.
(*2) - Granny.
(*3) - Starbeams / beams of starlight.
(*4) - Daughter.