CALL ME TENDER by Brooks Sterritt
I was tending the livestock when I stepped on something spongy in the low grass, a brownish blur that rose up, wrapping itself around my legs, and I went down struggling, tried to free first one leg, then the other. I made a desperate barking sound, moaned and cursed until her grip extended to include my torso and I felt like I did when I almost drowned once. But this was different—it was like wrestling a man, only stronger and more flexible. I could smell her old milk breath. She dragged me up a tree until I felt weightless and even closer to death (at 53 I've reached the average life expectancy for a male in my country). I wormed my mobile phone out of my pocket with a free arm, used speed dial and yelled some intelligible things into the handset, and though she had relaxed her hold (she was probably tired from the climb) my voice redoubled her efforts so I bit her, thinking "I will cause you pain" (not in those words) before I heard men shouting and could breathe again, but for how long?


Brooks Sterritt lives in Boston where he is the fiction editor of Redivider. His fiction has appeared in Barrelhouse, Wigleaf, Word Riot, and elsewhere. Find him online at
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