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Prey

Story by Susannah Pabot (Read author interview) March 29, 2015

She walks out into the foggy dawn, her hands cradling a mug of hot coffee. Blood streaks down the front porch into the wet grass. Erratic, revealing a struggle, a small body held down, flesh torn apart. Another fresh kill. This time the female, the only one left.

She checks the yard for body parts, paws twisted off, forgotten. Scraps of fur. Kneels in her bathrobe, scrubs the stained wood with bleach. Thinks of her children asleep upstairs. Soon they will be awake, running down the steps into a Sunday morning. What will she tell them this time? A fairy tale?

The truth?

Their father is gone and their house filled with broken things. Toys, furniture. Crockery. Countless cracks, tears, scratches. On the back of his dented pick-up, long ago, he called her “my bad luck angel”. She wanted them to have something alive, warm, soft.

Yesterday night she strengthened the hutch. Wound extra wire after their bedtime, sharp ends cutting into her skin. She thought she saw her boy’s face in the window, watching her crouched in the darkness.

About the Author

Susannah Elisabeth Pabot grew up between Austria and Cape Cod and lived in the UK for ten years, where she worked as a journalist and learning mentor for young children. She recently left London to live off rue Menilmontant in Paris with her French husband and growing family. Susannah’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared online and in two print anthologies. She is at work on a short story collection and a novel based on her experiences of living in more than one culture. This is one of her first flash fiction publications.

About the Artist

Marina Stracke-Lassmann is a freelance illustrator and web-page designer based in Vienna, Austria.

This story appeared in Issue Twenty-Four of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-Four
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Starting September 1, SmokeLong will launch a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop will happen on our dedicated workshop site. You will work in small groups of around 10 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft.