Ravish by Rainstorm
by Jade Leone Blackwater
“Don’t come any closer.”
“Just lemme look—”
Justice snaps back in the crook of a stump. His chest is heaving, straining for oxygen in the thick summer air. Tonight’s been a real toad-strangler: even the katydids sound wet.
“C’mon Justice, I’m sure it’s not so bad—”
He’s starting to make inhuman noises—sort of a wheeze-growl that begins in his belly and snorts its way through wet nostrils. Justice’s breath is accelerating, focused: he’s winding up.
I take a leery step back. The woods are dark early for the summer. Must be the rainstorm—
“Sure J?” I force my voice flat.
“…d-d-don’t you think you should get the f-f-fu—”
Justice’s back lurches and he cuts wind. His belly swivels from his hips, chest dropping heavily to the damp earth. His skin darkens like mist crossing the moon. Penetrating eyes train slowly back, my heart gropes its veins for flight.
I pummel forward. Muscle and bone lurching in frantic commotion while my mind congeals in a puddle of memory: a black-eyed man at the bar, drinks, cash, clouds, cabs, park trails… I listen, craning in the chimera to hear his words, “Where… where… …”
My chin hits ground. I slap my hands desperately at the darkness, legs tingling from the long sprint. At the smell of bourbon I turn; my eyes close on the wolfish snout of a lean, semi-erect wolf-man. I open my mouth, the rain pounds down.