Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
 
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First Blood

by Sarah Deckard


The children in the village used to call me Chucha Krásniy or "Little Red" as a joke because I always wore the same burgundy woolen cloak.

"It's red like blood," they said. "Did you bleed on it?" Then they all laughed, though I did not know why.

"No," I told them. "My mother made the dye for me because red is the color I like best."

It was true that my cloak was old and had dark stains that wouldn't wash out because I had worn it so often. It was my only cloak, which showed how poor Mama and I were. Ever since Papa went out to hunt last winter and never came home, we have not had enough to eat. So there was no money for a new cloak. My face felt hot because I thought the other children saw it as funny that I could not get new clothes. They must have thought that because I was poor I was dirty too. So I said, "I have never bled on any of my clothes."

"Never bled, never bled." they chanted.

And sometimes one of the older girls would snicker, "Well, you will soon."

Then they all scattered like a flock of geese as I charged into them, my hands in fists, saying, "I'll make you bleed first. You see if I don't."

When this first happened, I went home to my mother and told her what the children said. I asked her why they were so cruel to me because I was poor.

"Don't the poor deserve kindness like everyone else?"

Mama's face scrunched up like it does when I come home covered in pine needles and mud stains. I thought she was going to yell at me, but she continued to stir the soup without saying anything for many moments.

Then she told me, "The children are not laughing because your clothes are old." Her voice was serious and a little sad. She did not go on.

So I asked, "Then why do they ask if I bleed on my clothes?"

"Because women bleed," she said, her voice hard and sharp like the edge of a knife. She looked into the steam as if she saw something far away there.

I asked her what she meant.

"Galina," she said, her voice soft as wool now. "When you become a woman you will understand. But you are only ten now and can still afford to be a child. Don't listen to what the older children say. There is more than one way a person can bleed. Go play now. You will find out what kind of blood they mean in time."

As I left the cottage, I knew that she was thinking about Papa because I was. Our hearts bled because he was gone forever. After I had closed the door, I could hear my Mama crying inside. I went into the woods to sit alone and think about what she had said.

####

That was three years ago. By this age, I knew what kind of blood the children meant. But I still had not bled the woman's blood. My mother said it was getting to be past time for me to have it. Yet I could not bring it on any more than I could stop the bleeding in my heart for my father's loss and my mother's sorrow. I still had the red cloak which the children teased me about. I had a small body for my age so the cloak fit even though it was too short to look proper. It was very stained by then and worn through in places. We could not afford extra fabric to make patches to cover the holes. Nor did we have old clothes we could spare to cut into patches.

So I wore my old cloak to spread seeds for the geese and gather their eggs. When I slopped our hog, the muck of it sloshed onto my now brownish-red cloak, which was covered in fur from tending to our goats. Dirt stains came from sitting on the ground weeding our little garden. And as always little threads got pulled and balled up from blackberries thorns and pine bark as I gathered the fruits and nuts among them.

For almost a month, I had been visiting my babushka, who lived a half a day's travel from the village in the woods. She had been sick with some mysterious illness. My mother charged me with her care. So I brought her herbs, eggs, goat cheese, and milk. I could not tell exactly what was wrong with her and she would not say. But she felt warm to the touch and she acted different. She asked me each time I visited to bring her meat, even though she knew Mama couldn't afford any. Babushka told me to slaughter the sow; but she was to give birth soon. It was not autumn -- the time to butcher the suckling pigs and cure their meat for the winter. Babushka had eaten her own geese already as well as her goat. I wondered how she would have any eggs or milk, besides what I brought her. She was almost too old and naturally too sick, to go out in the woods and hunt for wild carrots, leeks, pine nuts, and other plants to eat. I worried for her.

She also talked of Papa.

"Viktor," she said, "He hunts deer, rabbit, squirrel, sometimes even bear. But it is no good, not enough. I need more meat, sweet Galina, to keep up my strength."

It is odd how she talked of Papa as if he were still alive. But Babushka was often delirious at night. She woke from sweats calling Papa's name. She said he visits her, but when I tried to tell her it was just in dreaming, she insisted he comes to her. Her eyes glittered fiercely when she said this. Then they died down like glowing embers and she seemed to remember herself. She patted my hand.

"Don't worry, Viktor will take care of me. And you too and your dear Mama in time. We will be a whole family again."

"Yes," I said to her, as she fell back into wild dreams, "Someday we will be with Papa again."

I thought to myself that Babushka may be seeing him sooner than I had expected. But since I was needed at home to help with the chores, I could only stay the night. Babushka seemed better in the mornings and afternoons, although she was tired from fitful rest. She was able to patter around the house and care for herself.

I told my mother about all the things Babushka had said. She explained that it is very hard to lose a child. "You could not know, Galina, for you have never been a parent. But having your child die before you is the worst thing that can happen to a mother or a father."

"Is it worse than losing a husband?" I asked.

Mama looked out the window in the direction Papa took on his last hunting trip. Grief seemed carved into her face which was wooden like a doll.

"Yes," she says. "It is even worse than that."

"Is it worse than losing your Papa?" I asked, my lip trembling as I followed her gaze out the window I had last seen him wave good-bye to me from.

She turned to look at me then and opened her arms to wrap me in them. I walked into her embrace and she held me close.

"Maybe," she said, beginning to hum a quiet tune. I let her hold me for a few minutes as I sniffed back the tears that had been leaking from my eyes.

"Then Babushka must be very sad," I said.

"Yes, I am sure she is. You see there is a time for everything in life as well as a rhythm. It is not natural for a child to die before his parents. So when that happens it is very tragic. Parents want to know that when they die their children will still be able to go on living. They want them to have the chance to fall in love and have children of their own, then have the joy of watching those children grow up. Your Papa lived to do most of that, but he missed seeing you grow up. I think Babushka is sad because of that. She is also very sick. So you must prepare yourself in case she joins your father soon."

"Is that why she keeps talking about him as though he is visiting her?"

"Maybe," Mama said, "but it could just be part of the fever. Before you go visit her, next time I want you to take the eggs, cheese, and milk into town and sell it to buy her some meat. Everyone needs meat now and again, especially when they are sick."

####

It was a week later when the moon was almost full that I began to bleed the woman's blood. My mother told me to remember the phase of the moon for that would tell me when the blood would come again. It was easy for me to remember because I felt as swollen as the fat moon in the sky. My mother told me this was normal and that the feeling would wane with the moon.

"Women are connected with the moon's cycle, just as men are connected with the sun's. We have thirteen moon cycles a year. Men have only twelve months, four for each season to work with the earth. The woman with her thirteen cycles cannot be portioned up in that way. Men do not understand what they cannot easily divide and so do not understand the mystery that lies within every woman. This takes time even for each young woman to learn, but eventually she begins to feel her intuition and to develop her inner wisdom."

I heard all this but did not completely understand. Mama told me that I would someday. She had always been right before, so I trusted her in this.

She sent me off to the village market to trade our goods for some red meat. As I was walking I heard laughter. Two girls nearby had seen me and began to jeer.

"Little Red, she hasn't bled,

She's still not a woman yet."

I had bled. I was bleeding still. But I had no desire to shout it out to them on the street. My face was burning, as was my heart. I usually ignored their taunts. For some reason, I was ripe as a summer berry with anger. I picked up a stone that was near my feet and hurled it at them. It hit one of the girls in the ribs. She screamed and they turned to run away as I threw another rock and knocked the other girl in the back.

"We'll see who bleeds in the end," I cried after them.

I went on to the butcher's and got the bad end of a deal for a brace of coneys. I told him I could practically snare rabbits myself. But it came down to the fact that no one wanted what they already could get, which was all I had to offer. He wouldn't give me even a slice of ham, saying it was too valuable. I left even more flustered. Back home, mother prepared the young rabbits into a stew. It was afternoon before I started the journey to Babushka's. I knew I had to hurry or I would be stumbling in the dark.

All went well, until I saw a figure coming down the trail towards me. It was a man who was dressed in greens and browns to blend in with the forest. I could tell right away that he was a hunter, by his stealthy tread even along the path. As he approached, I could see that he was not one of the villagers. His clothes were a little too fine though they had much wear. He had a strange emblem on his jerkin. Slung across his back was a large crossbow loaded with a silvery looking bolt which was larger than any I had ever seen. I wondered if he hunted bear with it.

"Halt!" he commanded when we were a few paces from each other. Eyeing me with suspicion, he said as though he were accusing me, "Now what would a young girl like you be doing out in the middle of the woods so close to dark?"

Everyone was making me angry lately. I retorted, "What would a strange man want with a young girl in the middle of the woods so close to dark to stop her on her way?" I would not let him see how scared I was. I thought some bold talk would make him see the wrongness of him stopping me.

"He would want to know exactly what he's dealing with before turning his back to her." He still sounded as if he knew something which I didn't.

"Let me go on my way," I demanded. "It's getting dark and I have to make it to shelter before nightfall."

"You must realize I can't do that without first knowing who you are and where you are going. For your own sake, if you insist. After all tonight is the night of the Blood God Moon."

I had heard of this moon. It was supposed to be very rare. It happened only when the full moon turned red and was said to drive certain people mad who were touched by its red glow. Legend told that they ran about like wild beasts, killing and mauling people until they finally ran into the wild howling. The ancient priests were said to have made a human sacrifice on that night to appease the Blood God and so hold the madness at bay. I did not remember ever having seen a Blood God Moon, but I knew the villagers would stay indoors tonight because of the old superstition. I shivered. I did not want to be under the Blood God Moon, or out in the woods at night, or with this man who reeked of danger.

"My name is Galina," I said. "My babushka lives off the right fork in this trail. She is sick and needs me to bring her food and herbs. Now you must let me go."

"The right fork you say? I haven't been down that way yet," he muttered. "Where does this trail lead?" he asked in an authoritative voice.

"To the village eventually, but it's a long walk. I'd watch out that you don't get caught in the rays of the Blood God Moon if I were you. Since that's what you seem so worried about."

"It's not the moon that worries me," he said giving me another look over.

"Then what does? I mean, what are you hunting with that giant crossbow?"

"Wolves," he said, in a low growling voice.

I laughed. "Wolves? Don't you think that wolves are a little too small for that bolt?" I asked.

"Not these wolves," he said, and laughed dryly as he began walking again. "You just hurry to your grandmother's and make sure to bar the door. I'll be back that way to check on you and your story. But for now I have some tracks to follow."

I looked back but he kept walking down the trail. Looking for tracks? Right. Only people walk on paths. He was obviously not the tracker he pretended to be.

When I arrived at Babushka's house, I was tired from running. Part of me had been running to outrace the night and the evil legend of the Blood God Moon. Another part of me had been running from the ill-boding hunter, especially because he had said he would come around this way. I knocked on Babushka's door and entered just as the sun set. There was no moon that I could see in the sky, whether red or its usual pale yellow.

Babushka was lying in bed in terrible pain.

"I heard your footsteps on the threshold," she said. "I knew it was you at once." Her eyes were aflame in the wan lamplight, as though she was surprised by her own power of hearing. I almost commented on her good perceptions, which I had thought were getting worse with age. After all, I couldn't always here footsteps at the door, but I lived in a noisier house. There was a haunting quiet to Babushka's cottage that was only broken by a gurgling in her throat. It sounded almost like the growl the hunter had made. I brought her some water to soothe it. Babushka was sweating as though her fever, which had been a mild warmth compared to this, had gotten very much worse. I felt guilty for leaving her side for almost a week. But she had been able to walk and take care of herself before now. I had hoped the herbs I brought would help her, but this was a sickness beyond my mild skill to treat.

Babushka tossed in pain for a few minutes. Then she lifted up her head and began to sniff. "Meat," she said. "I smell meat. You have brought me some."

How she could smell the cold stew in the earthen ware with the cracked lid I did not know. It didn't have the rich aroma of stew simmering over a gentle fire.

"How did you know?" I asked somewhat astonished.

"Good nose," was all she said. Yet she seemed almost as surprised as I that she could smell the food.

I took the stew out of my basket and showed it to her, smiling because I could make her happy. "Here this will give you strength." I said, "Let me just put it over the fire to heat it for you." I began to walk over to the hearth.

"No," said Babushka in a strained and hoarse voice. "Give it to me now. I can't wait. I am so hungry." She groaned.

I made a look of distaste at the thought of cool stew. She saw it, even with my back to the fire and my face in shadow.

"Don't look at your babushka that way. In hard times, I have eaten much worse than cold stew. You wouldn't know yet, Milaya Moya."

The way she called me Sweet One, unnerved me. It was sly sounding, not like a babushka, more like a weasel. She had also said "yet" as though something dark was approaching me, something she could see with her new keen sight while I was left blind and unsuspecting.

She motioned me over to her. I held out the dish containing the stew, which she took and devoured faster than I thought possible with her sore throat. She didn't act so weak after she ate, and she seemed to become more aware. There was a keenness in her eyes.

Babushka sniffed the air, once, twice, testing her nose. "Blood," she said. "But not animal blood."

We gave each other mutual looks of confusion.

"There's no blood, Babushka." I said in a weak voice. But I thought of my woman's blood. Surely she could not know about that. Even so, it reminded me that I needed to tell her.

"Your moon cycles," Babushka said first. "You've started them."

"Yes," I said amazed. "They started earlier this week. But how could you have known that?"

"Intuition," she said. "You'll have it too someday. Maybe very soon." Her grin was wide and toothy. It made me uncomfortable.

All of a sudden, she fell back against the bed and let out a howl of pain. She began to sweat and writhe again. I did not know what to do. She started to yelp and snarl. I looked out through the shuttered windows and saw for myself the Blood God Moon rising over the edge of the horizon. Its crimson light fell on my face and for a moment I was in awe. Then I heard Babushka's guttural noises from behind me and turned to see the light of the moon falling over her figure, staining her skin and blankets like blood. I wondered if Babushka was one of the people who went mad during the Blood God Moon.

As I looked at her, she began to twist and curl up. She started with a scream and ended with a howl. Her face grew longer and her ears became pointed. Her thin frame bulged muscles and she started sprouting grey fur all over her body. I watched, hypnotized, though my heart pounded with fear. I could not force my trembling limbs to move. The transformation was swift. One minute my babushka was lying under the covers, the next a werewolf was ripping them to shreds.

I screamed as she turned her attention toward me, gargling the word, "Blood." My legs found themselves then and began to run towards the door. She ambled after me. I knew she needn't rush. For even as my desperate will to survive made me believe in escape beyond the door, I knew that I could not out run a werewolf in the dark woods. She could probably smell my very skin now and would track me by the scent of my fear.

I unbolted the door and flung it open. Outside, I saw a tall figure in the shadows. At first I thought it was the huntsman come to check on me. I ran half-blinded with tears towards him. His arms opened to receive me. Just then the Blood God Moon peered from behind a tree. A scream caught in my throat at what I saw. Another werewolf, black as coal, stood where I thought the huntsman had stood. I tried to stop but ran straight into his open arms. I struggled and twisted my head back to see my babushka werewolf loping over to us. She didn't need to help hold me still. This male werewolf overpowered me by a hundred fold. As I flailed, I prepared myself for death, and found a stillness in the struggle. I thought, "Ah, this must be the wolf that bit my babushka." At the same time I realized this is what the hunter had meant when he said he was hunting wolves. I remembered his oversized crossbow with the silver tipped bolts.

The bite came before I had time to think of anything else. It was on my arm, not my neck where a killing blow was expected. Still the stark pain of the fangs driving into my flesh made me dizzy, then nauseated, then faint. Everything stopped spinning and faded until it was black.

I woke up with a start. I was lying in my babushka's bed. My left arm throbbed with pain. I saw that it was wrapped with bandages. I was alone. I tried to get out of bed but my limbs were weak and it was as though there was a great weight on my chest. I lay back and rested.

In a short time, the door opened and I was back in my nightmare. Two large, lumbering figures that looked like a cross between a human and a wolf, entered and came to the bedside. I wanted to scream but the noise of it died in a gasp as the two figures crouched beside me. The grey one took my arm tenderly in her large, paw-like hands. She started to remove the blood-stained dressing and put ointment on the large puncture wounds. I flinched. I couldn't watch, so I looked over at the bigger, black wolf. His golden eyes looked pained as he gazed at my arm. Then he looked into my eyes. His were wide with a hint of wildness in them. At the sight of my fearful face, he hung his head and looked almost tearful. I thought I heard the hint of a whine as he spoke the word, "Papa."

Confusion took me. The word had no meaning for me coming from his mouth. I shook my head, not understanding. I looked to my babushka-wolf for an answer. She nodded at me and pointed to the black werewolf. "Viktor," she said and at last I understood.

####

In an instant, I realized why my Papa had been gone for four years. He was protecting us and the other villagers from himself as well as protecting himself from the villagers. But I didn't understand why he had come back now, nor why he had bitten Babushka and me. I asked him with tears in my eyes.

"Hunter," he growled, "Chase me far. Herd me back here." He parted some fur on his right side to reveal a fresh scar that I recognized as a crossbow bolt entry wound from ones I had seen in smaller game. He continued, "Hurt. Sick. Come home to die."

At this the babushka-wolf interrupted. "Home to Mama." She gave her son a loving look and let it linger on him. Then she turned to me, "No lose again!" she said firmly, but with a faint whine. "Deep lore. I know. Heal Viktor."

"I see. But...Papa," the word stuck in my throat like cobwebs clinging there. It had been so long since I had used the word and saying it to this half-man, half-beast was more than awkward. "Why did you bite us?"

I had heard rumors that werewolves are mad monsters that kill without thought. But there was restraint in these two creatures. Neither had tried to kill me. Their speech and actions were deliberate, rational. They were as much human as wolf.

"Lonely." The black wolf responded, howling the word. "Family now. Galina, love." I thought of my father alone and tortured with this affliction out in the wild for four years. He must have thought he would never be able to go home to his family. Then when he found himself near his mother while he was severely wounded, he had crawled to her cottage to tell her the truth of what had befallen him before he died. But he had not died. With her ancient wisdom, she had saved him. Then he was forced to choose to go back out into the wild alone to face the hunter or to start his own pack with his real family.

Even though I wanted to hug him, I was still afraid of his werewolf form. I had missed him so much, but I still found it difficult to believe that this creature was really my father. Yet blind hope made me willing to believe almost anything, so long as I could have him back.

Babushka-wolf said, "Old. Weary. I chose it. Save Viktor from hunter."

"The plan," Papa-wolf said. "So hard, one to one. But two to one...now three."

"What can I do?" I said. "It will take until the next full moon for me to change."

They explained with their limited words what I was to do. I had told them that the hunter said he was going to come around this way. We planned the perfect trap. Something in my blood was already stirring. Was it the excitement of the chase? I could feel the moon calling to me, strengthening me. The idea of blood splashed in my mind for a moment, quickening me. I had a deep hunger for meat.

####

I was running through the snow in my cloak which was like new scarlet under the red moon. The color of fresh blood instead of its usual dried blood tone. I was falling on purpose along the path and crying out for help. It was not long before the hunter side-stepped from behind a tree into the path, his crossbow drawn and at the ready. I feigned a scream when he appeared.

"Oh, help me please," I said panting. "A monster, a horrible monster, broke down the door of my babushka's cottage. It came at us and we tried to flee. But oh, I don't think my babushka got away." I was able to cry real tears, thinking of my Papa turned into a monster and how much I wanted to see him in human form again. I recalled my terror at being caught between Babushka-wolf and Papa-wolf to put the right fear on my face.

"So you're not a wolf after all," he said glancing at the setting moon. "Well, let's go see if we can't save your grandma or at least take down the beast who attacked you." He started moving back the way I had come. I lay in the snow where I had last fallen and he turned back to me. In a harsh voice he said, "Well come on now, you don't want to be left alone with that monster rampaging around after you. Keep up with me and you'll be safe." I got up and went obediently to his side.

"He probably followed you which means he is close by." The hunter sniffed the air. "I can almost smell him."

I stepped aside knowing it was me that he could smell wolves on. I instinctively knew that Babushka-wolf had circled around behind us. I waited for the cue from Papa-wolf, hoping I was strong enough for the task.

The yip came and the hunter and I both saw Papa-wolf moving quickly through the trees to left. The hunter aimed his crossbow at the moving black figure. He damned the trees. I saw Babushka-wolf creeping out of the woods on the other side. Papa-wolf howled to cover any sounds she might make. The hunter fixed his aim on Papa-wolf. I gathered all my strength and heaved my shoulder into his left arm causing his crossbow to swing right just as he shot. His bolt sped harmlessly between the trees, wide of the mark.

He cursed again and swung his left arm back to hit mine right where I had been bitten. I hollered in pain and was smacked to the ground.

"You little..." he began as he fumbled for his next bolt. Then he saw where my cloak had fallen back revealing the bandage on my arm.

"So that's it!" he said, pausing. In his wide eyes, I saw mine flashing with excitement at the fear of the prey. He looked up from me, expecting to see Papa-wolf coming at him. But he was looking the wrong way. For at that instant, Babushka-wolf leapt upon him from behind. Once the hunter was on the ground, Papa-wolf came out from behind the trees bounding over to help. But it was done. Babushka-wolf's jaws were clamped on the man's throat, letting all his blood run out onto the snow. The hunter's head was turned to face me and I watched the life drain from his eyes with a fascination that both disturbed and enticed me. I was starting to think like a wolf already.

It was Babushka-wolf's first kill, which I intuitively understood was very important. But when they rent the body open, they offered me the heart -- the primary piece. I took it carefully, a little revolted but realizing it was an honor and hungry for meat. My pack members told me that it would be important for me to eat as much meat as I could during the next month. Papa-wolf said that that he tried to avoid humans, except sometimes, when a lean winter drove him to eat their sheep and other livestock. Normally, we would be hunting elk, bear, and other wild animals. I could start small with hare and deer. But sometimes, like this time, humans would come hunting us and then we would have to kill them. Papa-wolf also said that the night of the Blood God Moon was sacred and every werewolf had to eat human meat on that night. So I might as well get used to the taste of it. He told me this as I took my first bite of the hunter's heart.

####

The next day, I woke up to Papa's face. Not Papa-wolf this time, but the Papa I had known before he went away.

"Galina," he said and held me in his arms, which were still big and strong but human for now. Babushka was there too. She looked like she felt well again. I hugged her. I was so happy to have my Papa back that I didn't even think what this meant for us all.

Then Papa explained to me, "I cannot go back to the village because everyone there thinks I am dead. I can't justify my disappearance for four years. So, Galina, it is your duty to go back to the village and tell Mama. She might not believe you at first but when you show her the wound she will know. She is to come to Babushka's cottage if she wants to see me. Neither of you can tell anyone of my return. Your mama will sell the house and animals and act like you are both moving away.

"During the month, you will become more wolfish. Your senses will become keener, your hunger for meat stronger, and your reactions faster. You'll also feel more aloof from the people of the village. Finally, near the full moon you will become very ill with the changing sickness. It will go just as it did with your babushka. On the day before the full moon you must bring your mother here. I will bite her and a month from that time, we will be a family again -- a pack. Then we will move to the wilderness to hunt. But it is you who must convince your mother to join us. Do you think she will?"

I thought about Mama's sadness since Papa disappeared. I remembered how often she looked out the window that faced the snowy plains across which Papa had trudged away to go on a long hunt that last day. He had been on a very long hunt, but now he was back. I wouldn't have to try to persuade Mama. She would come. I told Papa so. She missed him so much that she did not care in what form she had him back or what form she must take to join him. I remembered too her saying that the loss of a child was worse than losing a husband. And if she did not come, she would lose me too because I was going with Papa and Babushka. I wanted to, but moreover, I no longer had a choice.

I thought about this the whole way home. Mama, Papa, Babushka, and I -- a whole pack again. I thought the word "pack." I meant family; but family meant pack. I could feel the tingling of my instincts in the back of my mind. I let them come forward. I breathed the deep pine scent of the forest, wondering how many new smells I would be able to catch when I became a wolf. My mind strayed to thoughts of tracking by sight and sound and smell. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a \ small animal dash into a bush on the edge of the trail. Without a thought, I leapt after it. The squirrel skittered up a tree, my clawed hands narrowly missing it. I wasn't quite fast enough yet, not in this form anyway.

I began to think about the change. I remembered my first taste of blood. The memory was so vivid that it filled my mouth, causing it to water. I was coming upon the village now and I could see children my age talking in clusters like so many sheep to be scattered. I thought about the other blood and their taunting. I walked through the back streets to my house, my mouth grinning a toothy smile.

"We'll see who bleeds in the end," I thought, as I came to my front door.

Indeed, my thoughts were already growing wolfish.

THE END


© 2009 Sarah Deckard

Bio: Sarah Deckard just graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in English- Creative Writing. Her poems and short stories have been published over a dozen times in magazines and anthologies such as Transcendent Visions, Kinships, Minas Tirith, Evening Star: The Journal of the American Tolkien Society, Northern Stars Magazine, Children, Churches, and Daddies, Twisted Tongue Magazine, Ethereal Tales, Moon Drenched Fables, and Dark Distortions. She recently published a compilation of short stories entitled Tapestry of Tales: Classic Fairy Tales Retold which can be found at the following link: Authorhouse.com Bookstore: Sarah Deckard.

E-mail: Sarah Deckard

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