'A Dying Fire' by Chris Milam

A man in a wolf suit caught a whiff of tobacco and trotted off in that direction.

A woman in a caribou suit watched the chunky, controlling man-wolf. She ignored the no smoking policy, took another drag.

The bespectacled fake predator eyeballed the two-legged hunk of aging meat. He was a ravenous pack of one. His debauched mind was a conductor of blood flow.

The prey was bored of the chase. She wondered if any of the bored zoo animals dressed up as humans after dark determined to find a spark inside fenced enclosures or on top of artificial boulders. Probably not, she thought, because the tranquilizers neutered the inner-scream for connection and intimacy. She fantasized about a feathered dart entering her thigh like a bee sting. Take me out, paint the sky black. Hello, woozy siesta. Measure my teeth and fingers. Look for signs of disease in my eyes and throat and soul. Give me a reprieve from this silly, pointless game.

Creeping along with the grace of a decommissioned tank, he finally cornered her behind the sloth exhibit. Checkmate.

But the caribou felt nothing.

The wolf felt something.

Some things never change, they both thought.

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