The Hunted
By Laura McHale Holland

They held hands as they walked along the sidewalk on Main Street. He wore a tuxedo he’d picked up for two bucks at the Salvation Army. She wore a red leotard, red cape and red shoes pulled from the free box at the community center.

His feet were bare and hairy, but nobody they passed noticed. The shopkeepers, the moms with toddlers in tow, office workers sipping their morning Joe were all trying not to stare at his head, which was a wolf’s head with silver fur and fangs that gleamed in the sunlight when he smiled at his companion, whose face was obscured by her cape’s floppy hood.

The two reached the end of Main Street and turned left onto a road that led to the woods nearby. As they turned, a man in jeans, plaid flannel shirt and black baseball cap wobbled out of a bar at the corner. He looked toward the woods and saw the wolf and girl walking together. They were still holding hands.

The man stumbled to his truck and pulled a pistol out from under the driver’s seat. He shot the pistol once into the air before trundling off in pursuit of the peculiar couple.

Five days later, the man’s body was found floating in the river that rippled through the woods. The word on Main Street was that he lost his footing, slipped into the water and probably hit his head on one of the boulders near the bank.

Meanwhile, the couple who had strolled down Main Street sat in their cabin deep in the woods. They looked like an ordinary man and woman long accustomed to each other’s company as they played gin rummy and admired their new pistol, which they’d mounted above their front door.

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