Sheering happened once a season, and the entire town came to watch. Afterwards the old men were brought back to their tree houses in a cart drawn by goats.
Whenever the church bells in town chimed he would begin a long, violent tirade of swearing. He stopped when the bells stopped, he claimed to remember nothing.
On the island, after the war, they set about creating a new society. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be fair. Almost fair. Fair for some. They’d work it out as they went along.
At the expense of the town’s new mayor each citizen was provided with a wooden spoon and a healthy pullet. Critics claimed the campaign also promised a fly swatter.
Dirt was swept from the corners three times a day and put into small glassine envelopes for regular patrons. These were flaunted at social events.
The wind was howling, shaking the house, reminding him that we are weak and temporary.
Bins of apples were traded for horse tails. Festival masks were assigned. Villagers chased and nipped at children. Dogs lit their pipes thoughtfully.
A small mountain cabin stuffed full of wet leaves. A failed experiment for eternal autumn.
There was a horror on the roof, there was a terror in the woodpile, there was a ghost in the pantry, there was a witch in the attic, there was a demon under the stairs… None of this was mentioned by the house inspector or real estate agent.
The Viking on the street corner had the password, but the powerful meds the druids gave her destroyed all short term memory.
She presented herself to him wearing the skin of that thing they found in the barn. “Do you like it?” she asked.
The next morning they found the masks broken in the fire pit and their car wouldn’t start.
Tucked inside the space below the house was a new thing, trembling, eager to meet them but worried they hadn’t yet made the proper mistakes.
The Food Thing arrived so they hid their hands and tightly closed their robes.
The grove at the center of the island was full of dugout canoes and handmade posters with rousing political slogans. Election day was close.