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Short fiction: The Pigs
A little horror in honour of Halloween...
There were once three brothers who went out into the world to seek their fortune.
First they came across a farmer with a barn full of straw.
How much for all this straw, they asked.
It's not for sale, the farmer told them. It's for the cows.
But the brothers would not take no for an answer. They beat the farmer and broke his bones and made off with his straw, laughing and giggling all the way until they came across a man with a wood store full of sticks, ready for the coming winter.
How much for all these sticks, they asked.
But the man did not answer because he had been born deaf and none of the brothers knew a word of sign language so they took his sticks and they beat him purple and blue until he stopped fighting back. They tipped him into a ditch to sleep it off and down the road they went, laughing and giggling all the way.
It wasn't long until they came across a house made of bricks.
How much for all these bricks, they asked.
Please sirs, said the boy. This is our home. It's not for sale.
But the brothers only laughed. They chased him down and when they caught him they hung his skin from the flagpole and beat his daddy while his mother wept below.
And down the road they went, laughing and giggling all the way. And the boy's mother buried her husband and she buried her son in that old cemetery that lurks at the heart of every village where the people know what it is to love and they know what it is to lose and they know what it is to live - and always in that order. There amongst the gravestone, the mother whispered a prayer to all those other mother spirits who sleep within the deepest moments of the earth. She prayed for the souls of her husband and her son. She prayed they would find their way to whatever lies beyond, if anything lies beyond. And she knelt upon the sodden ground among those grassy gravestone and she howled.
She howled and something deep within the virgin earth was broken. Walls fell. Foundations crumbled. Gods vanished in a puff of clear-headed purpose. Unquestionable truths were stripped naked in the streets and the bare-faced lies of power were held to account in the hearts and courtrooms of every home.
In the time of the wolf, the door must be opened or it will be torn from its hinges.
And on that day, three brothers will crawl out from behind those fragile sheaves of paperwork they have piled high upon those polished wooden desks and they will peer out into the darkness from the top of their strong, tall towers and on that day, when they hear the howling of the wolf, you can bet on your life they will shiver.