by J. Bradley
It gave up its skin without a fight. No threats to tell its father. No summoning reinforcements. I slipped on the tree trunk, snapped the gauntlets around my wrists, my fingers sliding gently into its hands.
“What the Hell are you wearing?” Mitch, his pack of hairless wolves, stomp over, their wide strides closing the distance between us quickly. I press a button on my gauntlet. Panels all over my torso slide down, leaves floating out of them gently, then swarming all over my body.
“Wanna find out?” Mitch’s hands respond. A leaf slices open his left wrist. Another takes two fingers. He rolls on the ground, hemorrhaging in blood and tears. Mitch’s pack turns, walks away quietly.
I tuck the notebook beneath my arm, look both ways before walking down the steps of my house. One of these days, what they ruin will wrap around me like lacerating armor.
J. Bradley is the author of the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012). He lives at iheartfailure.net.
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