Creatures of Love
by Benjamin Woodard
On the sheeted dinette wait two zombies. Their heads house about as many teeth as Nicholas, the wrinkled man who rests outside the RV on a green lattice lawn chair. He drives these molded monstrosities from one campground to the next every summer. Swaps out LEDs for blacklight bulbs and charges fifty cents per admission. His motto: shouldn’t everyone enjoy gore? Back inside, Frankenstein’s creature points with mismatched fingers at severed limbs dangling over the kitchenette, and in the bedroom, on all fours, a wolf man waits, crouched atop the full bed. Tattered clothes cling to his bushy body. His head twists to one side, fangs bared. Freaky, you say while you examine the bloodied teeth punching through the beast’s gums, as you stand surrounded by the assembled dead. Then a creak from behind. It’s Nicholas climbing the stairs. He introduces you to his big, happy family. A whistle escapes when he speaks: Go ahead and feel his fur. Feels real nice. You comply. Run hands down the lycanthropic body as moonlight from the small bedroom window spills across your fingertips. The hairs are soft, nice, just as Nicholas promised, and touching them reminds you of your childhood pet, a retriever named Charlie. How strange to find his memory in a place like this.
Benjamin Woodard is editor in chief at Atlas and Alice. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and teaches English. His recent stories have appeared in, or are forthcoming from, Monkeybicycle, jmww, Atticus Review, and other journals. His short essays appear in the anthology, Miscellany, from Run Amok Books. Find him at benjaminjwoodard.com or @woodardwriter.