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New Fiction


by Bobby Fischer

      PERSON A [henceforth HEATHER] was unconsciously pressing her cheek against the curved and sleeping back of PERSON B [henceforth ALAN] when the BABY [henceforth ERIN] started crying loudly, her screams punching through the apartment’s thin walls. HEATHER, closer to the surface of sleep than ALAN, stood in the darkness and threaded her way through the hallway and into the bedroom of her daughter [henceforth son] ERIN [henceforth ANDREW].
      ANDREW’s cries were born from a nightmare that looked like this: a WOLF, copy and pasted from the baby’s [henceforth husband] trip to the zoo, straddled him in his bed, where he slept, in the dream, between his mother [henceforth wife] and father [henceforth baby]. The WOLF was ash-gray and snarling, lips pulled back to expose yellow teeth attached to black gums. The WOLF’s hot and rotten breath felt, in contrast to the warming love that enfolded him, like a summer funeral. ANDREW’s [henceforth ABBY] wife [henceforth father] HEATHER [henceforth THOMAS] and baby [henceforth mother] lay frozen on either side while the WOLF perched above, a serpentine tongue covered with bubbles of white froth hanging down over ABBY’s infant face.
      THOMAS misinterpreted her frightened cries as a hungry plea — they had dealt with this crying before and had noted that a midnight snack served as a cure. THOMAS [henceforth GABRIELLA] woke ABBY [henceforth EDWARD] from his embattled and noisy sleep by placing a tentative hand upon the baby’s [henceforth husband] shoulder and twitched with fright as he let out a hoarse cry upon waking. EDWARD still felt the WOLF’s carrion breath, the snap-ready teeth a ghost still in the room. GABRIELLA [henceforth ADAM] moved to his husband’s [henceforth wife] side and planted a kiss on her cheek, feeling momentarily repulsed by the clammy sweat that had spread over her. EDWARD [henceforth MOLLY] felt how tentative ADAM’s lips were against her skin and it made her feel less loved. Her [henceforth his] husband [henceforth baby] sensed both the fright that lingered from the nightmare and this new discomfort and it caused in him a selfishness that blossomed in the wake of MOLLY’s [henceforth DAVE] reaction to his own feelings, rather than the on demand response to ADAM’s emotions that ADAM had grown used to. This revelation started ADAM [henceforth SHEILA] on a blubbering round of screaming sobs.
       DAVE moved regretfully into the hallway, knowing that he was going to have to wake ALAN [henceforth LYSA], because he had prevented her from making up a bottle before they went to bed.
       Since SHEILA’s birth their lives, DAVE and LYSA’s, had been sexless — a fault that moved in neither direction because they were both often tired and not often interested. Birth had made LYSA [henceforth NOAH] into a machine, in which his body was a manufacturer — at the whims of supply and demand — and no more. DAVE [henceforth LYNN] had felt the same. LYNN [henceforth EZRA] had not understood NOAH [henceforth SHANNON] when she explained this, nor had SHANNON [henceforth EUGENE] understood EZRA [henceforth WENDY] as both thought the primary duty of parenthood, from the manufacturing standpoint at least, fell on his [henceforth her] or her [henceforth his] shoulders. Each, both EUGENE [henceforth KATIE] and WENDY [henceforth JAMES] felt not so much like they lacked desire as they personally felt undesirable.
       JAMES had at some point rekindled his interest in sex by developing an erotic interest in breast milk, which KATIE responded to immediately, as it delivered an aspect of sexual desire to what she had come to think of as her purely utilitarian breasts. Though initially the erotic impetus had fallen on JAMES [henceforth ELLIE], KATIE [henceforth SAM] began to initiate the encounters, approaching ELLIE at all times of the day to drink from her breasts while his cock sat steel-hard and untouched down one leg of his pants.
      And though this had been the pilot light of their new sex life’s furnace, it had often left ELLIE [henceforth KEVIN] without much left to give the baby, which when he lamented about this to SAM [henceforth ANNIE], she had said, “You don’t have anything left to give? What about me?” And so a bottle wasn’t made before bed and ANNIE [henceforth MARTY] moved into the bedroom, SHEILA [henceforth AARON] propped over his shoulder, praying for a miracle that she would stop crying before he had to wake KEVIN [henceforth SARAH]. AARON kept crying, the neglect of his feelings still alarmingly alive.
      The bedroom was still dark but shafts of spilling moonlight showed the contour of SARAH’s sleeping body, turned on its side, naked but for the comforter slung over her hips. SARAH twitched and she let out her own soft cry of pain — even in sleep maintaining the self-conscious pose of not crying out against a nightmare. In her [henceforth his] own dream, SARAH [henceforth LINUS] lay in the same bed as MARTY [henceforth RACHAEL] and AARON [henceforth JESSICA], both recognizably the two people he loved most in the world but also a transformed into viciously hungry WOLVES version of those people. The WOLVES writhed on either side of him, letting out carnal growls. LINUS, paralyzed with fear, lay completely still as his [henceforth her] wife [henceforth baby] RACHAEL [henceforth JAY] and baby [henceforth husband] JESSICA [henceforth TRAVIS] pinned LINUS [henceforth TAMMY] to the bed with their claws. The WOLVES fur was matted and greasy with brown blood thick as dried syrup.
       The WOLVES descended on TAMMY’s breasts, their jaws closing hard around the flesh and punching holes in the skin, each of their tongues lapping eagerly at her mangled nipples, which leaked pearls of white milk. Blood dripped from her breasts down her throat and abdomen, conforming to the curves of her body and increasing in flow until both her body and the sheet were almost entirely crimson and the WOLVES, snouts and fur a dark brown with drops of white speckled across them, stood above her. Their tongues shot from their mouths to pick the droplets of milk from each other’s maws, red penises unsheathing and — — —
      This lasted only until TRAVIS shook TAMMY awake. As her eyes fluttered into waking life, the WOLVES became only the boys in front of her — one of them crying and the other desperate. Flashes of the WOLVES that remained from the dream floated in and superimposed themselves over these familiar boys before fading. Her breasts ached around her chewed up nipples.
      “I think he’s hungry,” TRAVIS [henceforth BABY] said.
      “Here.” TAMMY [henceforth PERSON B] shook the sleep away and took BABY from JAY’s [henceforth PERSON A] arms, though it seemed much like the other way, BABY’s arms as much holding PERSON A as the other way around. PERSON B gave BABY suck and the WOLVES and GHOSTS, GOBLINS and DEMONS, nightmares all were a stream of water dodging grasping hands.

Bobby Fischer was born and raised in New Jersey. He lives in Haledon and teaches writing and literature as an adjunct professor at William Paterson University, where he received his M.F.A. Previous work has appeared in Ghost Town, Bodega, and the Piscataway House Publication "Do M.F.A. Programs Work?"

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