There was still blood on the wolf-pelt around her shoulders,

red and wet, like a whores first kiss bought and paid for

 with a steel smile.

The knife was warm in her hand.


Her father looked up with eyes wide as the moon,

the whites swallowing him whole.  The fear

was strong in him, and she could smell it in the dark,

a sour perfume.


“Daughter, how could you do this thing?” his gaping mouth

implored her. He belonged on his knees,

like a beggar. Belle had robbed him of his honour.


“My sisters let me in,” she said, careful to smile. He’d always

liked her teeth, compared them to pearls.

She tossed her head, let the moonlight catch

in her dark curls.


“I raised you to be a good girl.”


Good? The word tasted foreign on her tongue,

a starburst from the forgotten language of a frightened ghost

which chafed like shackles around a thin wrist.

Belle remembered how it felt to be sold.


“I shed my skin, grew another,

honed my pretty smiles,

and became a hunter.”


She turned her bed into a trap the beast died in.


While he cried out her name, she clutched the knife

and slipped it between his ribs.

There’d never been a sweeter sound.


Now she stared her maker down,

the half of her genes which betrayed her to a stranger,

and let him see her wolf-grin


as the flesh of his throat parted like silk.

She danced in the red river.


“That’ll teach you, father,

to sell  your daughter

for a flower.”