The Adventures of Velvet Honeybone, Girl Werewuff
by Carole Lanham
Many stories have I, and this is but one…
It starts with the moon and ends with the sun.
It’s about a young girl who sat under a tree.
Velvet, she’s called, and Velvet is me.
I filled a twig basket with bread and black ham
And took it one day to give to my Gram.
Dressed in a cape, the colour of frost
I went off in the snow and got myself lost.
In eleven short months, I was soon to be nine.
Too big to snivel or whimper or whine.
I sat by a tree to ponder my lot
And a great sneaking shadow discovered my spot.
Ham will draw trouble, as anyone knows.
Bears like to eat it. And raccoons. And crows.
I reached in my basket and offered it quick
And the great sneaking shadow gave it a lick.
Safe! You might guess, because you don’t know
That ham to a beast is not good as a toe.
Snapping and cracking, It broke me apart.
Sticky and torn as a strawberry tart.
Its eyes swam with Evil like fish in a can
And perhaps in there also, was some trace of a man.
And, one or the other, I’ll never know which,
Brushed my ripped throat with a tender kiss.
I stared unblinking from the bed of my grave
Past the princely Moon and it’s howling slave,
At a shivering tree with ice cycles for teeth
Where upon a lone branch, clung a last violet leaf.
Shaped like a heart, it fell on my breast
And when the sun came, ‘twas all that was left.
My wounds had sealed up, like it were a dream.
The beast was quite gone, the snow smooth as cream.
But hung by its hood on the bough of a pine
Was a cape the color of a Valentine.
Never pure white as it was before.
A crimson secret, ever more.
For weeks, I fed dollies and played at jacks
And the moon, as it will, began to wax
And when it was full, a terrible thing!
The brain in my head began to sting.
It itched, it burned, it shrank to a nut.
And, muscle by muscle, my strings were cut.
My skin sloughed off and underneath
Were fur-covered bones and yellowish teeth!
And, here is the part that I don’t like to say
But it happened that Dempsey was over that day.
Dempsey, dear Dempsey, my cousin of four
Towering his blocks on the nursery floor.
Sweet as a dumpling, with red apple cheeks
(they’d be scrubbing them off the wallpaper for weeks)
A more mannered boy, there never will be.
I ate him like licorice, my darling Dempsey.
This poem and more can be found within the pages of The Whisper Jar, a collection of short stories and poetry by Carole Lanham. Also in this collection is the short story that became the basis for her novel The Reading Lessons.
“I do not know what you have done, but put your mouth right here. Confess your crime to this fruit jar as though it were God’s ear.” ~ from The Whisper Jar
Some secrets are kept in jars — others, in books.
Some are left forgotten in musty rooms — others, created in old barns.
Some are brought about by destiny — others, born in blood.
Secrets — they are the hidden heart of this collection. In these pages, you will encounter a Blood Digger who bonds two children irrevocably together; a young woman who learns of her destiny through the random selection of a Bible verse; and a boy whose life begins to reflect the stories he reads…
Most importantly, though, if someone should ever happen to offer you a Jilly Jally Butter Mint, just say “No!”
About the Author:
Carole Lanham is the author of twenty-four short stories and three books, The Whisper Jar (Morrigan Books, Oct 2011), Cleopatra’s Needle (Black Daisy Press, coming in 2014), and The Reading Lessons (Immortal Ink Publishing, Jan 2014). Her work has twice appeared on the preliminary ballot for a Bram Stoker award, she was shortlisted for The Million Writers Prize, and she has won two national writing contests.
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