Luckily, you’ve separated a calf from its herd. It darts into the woods. You follow, your entire family at your heels. Together, your panting fills the forest with moist and rhythmic movement. If you sense anything, it’s that nature doesn’t always want you inside it. But there you are, gnawing through nature’s ribcage. You drag the calf from the woods into the light. It is not alive; a pulse remains in your jaws.
You stare at the river from the bridge that spans it. Your chin rests on the metal railing. You feel the bridge start to shake. When the wobbling becomes more pronounced, you hear the footsteps—marching toward you, fresh from the blackberry patch, an army of children, their mouths smeared into a constant opening.