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?
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.