Warning: session_start(): open(/tmp/sess_b406e318c9b30d53340043350880a9e7, O_RDWR) failed: No space left on device (28) in /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php on line 20

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php:20) in /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php on line 20
Daily Science Fiction :: Incarnadine by J. C. Runolfson
Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






Incarnadine

J. C. Runolfson's fiction has appeared in Reflection's Edge, Flash Me Magazine, and the anthology, Cinema Spec. Her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, and Mythic Delirium among others. She lives in North Florida and is finally earning a degree in Creative Writing between wading into folk tales and wringing out myths. She rambles about all of these things, plus knitting and dogs on occasion, at seajules.livejournal.com.
The wolf meets a woman in the wood. The woman is red, from her hair to her lips to her dress to her long, sharp nails. Only her skin is pale and her eyes are dark, dark, dark. She lounges on the edge of a blanket, and spread out before her is a feast of the sort one doesn't bring to Grandmother: hunks of raw, bloody meat, long bones hacked up so that the marrow glistens inside, sweet, steaming organs and viscera.
Slavering, the wolf somehow manages to say, "Hello, Red."
"Hello, wolf." She offers him a close-mouthed smile and gestures with one languid, full-fleshed arm. "Help yourself."
He holds back long enough to consider the scale of the bones and the organs and asks, "Are you using me to get rid of evidence?"
The woman in red laughs throatily, but says only, "Are you refusing the offer?"
He has been hungry for a very long time and he is, truth be known, a greedy wolf. So he falls on butchered body and gorges himself, gulping down meat, sucking on the marrow, savoring the juices of the warm organs. Really, it is too much, and he knows it will make him sleepy and slow when he should stay alert, but he can't stop himself until all of it is gone and he is curled up on the blanket, licking the blood from his snout despite the overstuffed pain in his belly. Better that than the hunger.
"That was an excellent meal," the wolf says to the woman in red, remembering his manners again. "The finest I've ever had. May I ask his crime?"
The woman smiles at him again, showing teeth as long and sharp as his own. "He strayed. One should never stray unless one knows the wood well, don't you agree?" The woman in red laughs once more, and despite the drowsiness of a full belly, the wolf feels something he is not used to feeling in the company of an unarmed, unprotected human in his territory: fear. It's unexpectedly delicious, a relish on the feast. Then she asks, "Would you like dessert?"
She pulls another basket out of the hollow of a tree. He cannot eat more, he should not eat more, but when she draws forth more meat and bones and viscera, all as fresh and bloody as the last, he cannot help himself.
By the end of it he cannot move, and the woman still smiles her predator's smile.
"That was the lover?" he guesses, drawing out what he knows comes next.
The red woman rises. He sees now the axe she has been concealing in the moldering leaves. Its blade reflects the red of her as she raises it above her head. "Such a clever wolf. What a pity that you, too, are evidence."
"And who will you feed me to?" he wonders, staring up at the red, red, red of her.
Her answer is the gleam of white teeth as the axe falls.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, February 25th, 2016

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.9 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us

Warning: Unknown: open(/tmp/sess_b406e318c9b30d53340043350880a9e7, O_RDWR) failed: No space left on device (28) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct (/tmp) in Unknown on line 0