Red Riding Hood in the Court of Law by Avra Margariti

(Scarecrow jurors made from twigs and grass; homunculi witnesses molded out of forest loam. Red Riding Hood, dwarfed like a shrub among pines, defendant without attorney. Behind the bench, stomach distended, skin rippling, the wolf in a judge’s robes, the judge’s flesh between his teeth.)

Tell me, Red—

Didn’t you wear a scarlet cape when you met me—that is to say, the wolf? A beacon amid the dull, dark firs and ferns, the color flashier than a vixen’s foxfire coat?

Didn’t you Tweet from your main account about the romantic appeal of monsters? A rhetorical question, for haven’t I the printed proof right here?

Didn’t you post that polarizing 55k fanfiction on your blog about—what was it? Ah—consensual non-consent? Full of oxymorons, aren’t you?

Didn’t you find a long teratoma patch on your body: hair and teeth emerging like a wolfing, a mutant flower in bloom? Didn’t you try to hide it under turtlenecks and makeup? Dear, have you always been this bad at denial?

Did I—that is to say, the wolf—find you, stalk you, chase you, or did you call out to him, a matador’s cape enthralling, ensnaring the beast?

Didn’t you label yourself a lesbian, but lusted after that boy in the werewolf mask last Halloween? You say you wanted to be him? But did you procure any proof of that in my court of law?

Didn’t you acquire a taste for blood, poking at your sore gums, the growing aches of wisdom teeth? And what about the small bones in your jewelry box? Did you find them buried in the garden, the owl’s pellet, meat-dressed and gathering flies on the side of the road? Or did you pare bones out of bodies yourself?

(Scarecrow guts flying every which way, homunculi melting under a yellow-eyed glare. Red Riding Hood breathing wildly, claws and teeth bared. And the wolf so very tall still behind his bench, carrying so many meals inside him—grandmothers, hunters, judges—so many tongues with which to lie and deceive.)

Really, Red—

are you that different from the wolf—that is to say, from me?


Avra Margariti is a queer author and poet from Greece. Avra’s work haunts publications such as Baffling Magazine, Wigleaf, Best Microfiction, and Best Small Fictions. You can find Avra on twitter (@avramargariti).