September 13, 2012

Excerpt from Ogre Baby

Here is an excerpt from Ogre Baby, one of the stories in our upcoming issue, Teeth and Tongues, by author Ann Ewan:

Ogre Baby
The first time I saw a dead human, there were only eight of us smalls and I was just learning to stagger about on my new legs. The big ogre had slung the dead human over his back, so that he had to stoop down low to come into the cave, and we all ran to see what he had caught. He wasn't called "Tribe" yet, but just Big, the biggest of us, the one who brought food.
Grinning proudly, he pulled the dead human from his back and slammed it down onto the floor for us all to see. The human juice was red, not black like ours. "Real meat!" he said, especially to me, the newest, who hadn't seen something like that before. "The only real meat!"
He used his long curved claws to rip a hole in the human's belly and started pulling out the soft guts, shoving them into his mouth with both hands. The reek made me feel sick and hungry at the same time. My mouth filled with water, even though I knew I wouldn't get any food because I was the smallest and all the others were crowding closer, whining and slobbering. Hoog elbowed me in the face and Dross stepped hard on one of my feet.
            "Meat!" they cheered and begged. "Real meat!"
            One of the older ones asked, "New baby?"
            Big looked up with his mouth leaking red human juice and said, "No, this is old meat. Need fresh for new baby."
            While he was distracted, two of the smalls grabbed meat, and there was a loud crack as one of them, Croak, snapped off one of the dead human's hands. Big roared with rage and batted him away so hard that he hit the cave wall and slumped down, asleep or dead. Nip scampered out of range, with inside human meat dangling from his teeth.
            "My meat! You smalls wait till I say!"
            Big picked up the human hand and stuffed it into his mouth. The other smalls had scattered and I got a chance to edge closer, careful to keep my hands to myself. The human was shaped much like us, except where Big and Croak had ripped him, but the only hair he had was on top of his head. He was turning grey from lying around dead. His arms and legs were spindly compared to ours, and with that and the hairlessness he looked puny, more helpless than a dead deer. He had a belt with weapons, a sword that was a tiny model of Big's and a knife, but they hadn't done him much good.
            The other smalls began to creep back, pushing me out of the way. Big belched and suddenly crooked a fat finger at me to come closer. "You! Gerl!"
            The others fell back and let me through.
            "Heart meat." He held out the red drippy thing he'd just been snacking on. "Eat. Get strong."

Keep an eye on the blog for more excerpts from Issue 7. And if you'd like to pick up a copy, we'll be launching the issue at Kafein on October 5th. Check out the Facebook event for more information.

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