Weremoose

“Whimpering on the snow-covered ground, Darkfoot expected the moose’s giant hooves to trample him.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, Issue #9, May 2014


A shadow of antlers stretched ominously over the snow.  Darkfoot crouched behind a fallen log.  White flakes tickled his muzzle, but he dared not shake them off.  With its long legs, the moose could easily outrun a young wolf like him.  Or kick him in the skull.

If Darkfoot downed a moose alone, though, then his pack would never mock him again.

Giant hooves clomped into view.  Legs like four-year-old elm trees bent and passed before him.  Darkfoot sprang at the moose from behind, aiming for its massive neck.  The moose turned, and its brown-furred head, nearly the size of Darkfoot’s whole body, swung at him.  Knocked him from the air.  Destroyed his plans to prove himself.

Whimpering on the snow-covered ground, Darkfoot expected the moose’s giant hooves to trample him.  Instead, he felt the dull, stabbing pain of a leaf-eater’s teeth on his flank.  Panicked, pained, and confused, Darkfoot lost consciousness.

* * *

He awoke covered in snow, under the dull glow of the winter moon.  His pack mates nosed him gently, rousing him to get up.  He could see the laughter in their eyes.  He’d taken on a full grown moose and lost.  He’d taken on a moose alone.  He was a fool like they’d always thought he was.

Darkfoot tried his paws and found they held his weight, though his side throbbed in pain.  A crescent of tooth marks marred his flank, angry with blood.  He licked his fur clean.  Then, dejected and limping, Darkfoot followed his pack mates home.

* * *

Night after night, Darkfoot stayed home to heal while his friends, his brothers and sisters, went on the hunt.  The pain in his flank ebbed, but the crescent scar remained.  It marked him as separate from the others, a badge of his lunacy.

As the winter moon waned, Darkfoot grew increasingly solitary and strange.  His pack mates brought back food for him from their kills, but he barely ate.

On the night of the new moon, his pack downed a moose.  The flesh tasted wrong on his tongue.  The flavor lingered like guilt over a broken taboo.  From that day on, Darkfoot wouldn’t eat meat at all.  Instead, he munched on the winter berries down by the river and, stranger still, gnawed on the twiggy branches of young oak trees and the fallen needles of pine.  His pack thought he would surely starve.

Darkfoot, however, felt a new strength growing inside him and found new comfort in his solitude.  His legs felt long and powerful; his shoulders broad and heavy; and a sense of majesty filled him at the slightest turning of his head.  His pack saw a mangy, sickly wolf.  Darkfoot knew better.  Darkfoot saw the shadow of what he was becoming stretched across the snow before him.

Darkfoot saw the shadow of antlers.

Feral Unicorn

“The snowy whiteness of his fur and the pearlescent shine of his horn bespoke purity, but I could swear the bastard was glaring at me.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Luna Station Quarterly, December 2015


As I brought the mug of fresh-brewed coffee to my lips, the steaming liquid froze solid.  Startled by the sudden coldness in my hand, I dropped the mug.  The handle broke off when it hit the linoleum floor.  To make matters worse, the magic wore off almost instantly, and the mug-shaped block of coffee-ice promptly melted, puddling on the floor. Continue reading “Feral Unicorn”

Hot Chocolate for the Unicorn

“The Unicorn shuffles his hooves in restless excitement as I open the cupboard with the mugs.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, March 2012


The curved neck and stretched wings of the black Dragon dwarf the figure of the doe-like white Unicorn.  They make an unlikely picture behind the glass panel and aluminum frame of my sliding glass kitchen door.  As always, quite the sight to see.  I ask them in. Continue reading “Hot Chocolate for the Unicorn”

Gerty and the Doesn’t-Smell-Like-a-Melon

“It was oblong-round and green with paler green stripes: it looked like a melon. But… She sniffed all around it. And, then, she sniffed all around it again. It did not smell like a melon.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Golden Visions Magazine, October 2010


Gerty had been snuffle-snorting about the melon patches all morning.  She was looking for little people to play with, but all the bugs and mice seemed to be hiding today.  Dormancy was in the air.

She tried asking a bird to play with her, but it was so high in the branches of the karillow tree that she had to shout at it.  And the master scolded her for barking.  The bird flew away anyway.  They always did.

Continue reading “Gerty and the Doesn’t-Smell-Like-a-Melon”

The Wharf Cat’s Mermaid

“Mari scratched at the crate of fish, hoping to claw out a piece of the delectable flesh she smelled inside.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in ROAR Volume 5, July 2014


The scraggly white kitten crouched, trembling, behind the crates of fish.  The smell was thick, but the scraps were thin.  She’d been skittering from one stall to the next at Fisherman’s Wharf all day, mewing for bits to eat.  Few of the vendors favored her with more than a glance.  One had chased her off with a broom. Continue reading “The Wharf Cat’s Mermaid”

St. Kalwain and the Lady Uta

“Today, though, the sound of the hoof beats kept growing closer, and St. Kalwain scented oats, mint, and the salt of sweat in the air.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in ROAR Volume 4, June 2012


Snow bent the boughs of the karillow trees, and ice silvered the soft buds at their tips.  Spring had come too early this year, and all the eager young plants would pay a price for their enthusiasm.  Flowers killed by frost.

St. Kalwain didn’t mind the snow.  His black fur was thick and warm.  He found it insufferably so whenever he kept the company of humans.  Their houses were always warmed by raging hearth fires.  Their walls held in the heat.  And they insulated themselves with layers of cloaks and clothes.  They expected him to layer himself with clothes too.  He remembered a time when he chose to wear clothes out of modesty.  Now, he preferred to sleep in the wild.  In the snow.  Alone and far from humans. Continue reading “St. Kalwain and the Lady Uta”

Sheeperfly’s Lullaby

Sheeperfly's Lullaby
“Soft-as-Snow ripped a hank of her wool out with her own teeth, and the butterfly grasped it with his six legs.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in A Glimpse of Anthropomorphic Literature, Issue 2, March 2016


Sheep tell many tales as they graze. There’s little to do in a grassy field but count the clouds, search for four-leafed clovers, and tell tall tales.  Yet, some of the sheep’s tales are true, and when Soft-as-Snow stares at the clouds with her liquid brown eyes, she isn’t counting them.  She’s searching, seeking, and hoping against hope — waiting for White Wings to return to her. Continue reading “Sheeperfly’s Lullaby”

Shreddy and the Christmas Ghost

Shreddy and the Christmas Ghost
“The colorful little lights danced in the reflection on the window, but Shreddy stared past them into the darkness of the early December night.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Anthropomorphic Dreams Podcast, AD 049, December 2012


Everything was going wrong this Christmas, and the dogs were too stupid to care.

Usually, after the Feast of the Giant Bird, Shreddy and the dogs were given table scraps to eat.  As a cat and a mediocre hunter, Shreddy relished the chance to taste the flesh of an avian larger than himself.  He looked forward to it all year.  Thus, he watched in utter horror as one of the Red-Haired Woman’s dinner guests scraped all the plates off into the trash.  No taste of turkey this year. Continue reading “Shreddy and the Christmas Ghost”

Frankenstein’s Gryphon

Frankenstein's Gryphon
“Flowers in small bouquets, mostly the yellow and white blooms of arctic poppies and snow buttercups, and other tokens such as handmade dolls or tiny flags marked most of the graves. The largest patch of freshly overturned dirt, though, bore no markings — no tokens of love.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, November 2015


Igor the arctic fox lurched across the tundra, limping from the deadened feeling in his left hindpaw.  That paw had never fully woken up when Frankie Mouse reanimated him.  The electric surge from the lightning bolt hadn’t made it that far, but Igor was still grateful to Frankie.  Without his kindness, Igor would still be lying in an unmarked grave, forgotten and unmourned.  Instead, Igor adventured across the tundra on glorious missions in service to the most magnificent mouse throughout the land. Continue reading “Frankenstein’s Gryphon”

The Carousel of Spirits

The Carousel of Spirits
“He’d noticed the gray shimmer, like smoke or a cloud, in the corner of the carousel room a few weeks ago.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Sorcerous Signals, February 2014


The carousel turned, and Artie watched the ponies go by.  He shifted his weight as he sat on the green, metal frame bench.  It was one of many around the edges of the giant, window-walled room that housed the carousel.  Artie was beginning to think that he should upgrade the benches.  These ones looked nice, but they weren’t easy on an old man’s back. Continue reading “The Carousel of Spirits”