About Lycanthropy
Michael Peck

Lucinda’s sister came back into the room after washing her hands. Rested her hands on the bulge of her pregnant belly.

“What are we going to do with it?” her sister asked.

Lucinda held the 4 x 6 painting close. Shrugged.

The warped canvass had been duct-taped to the underside of the mattress in their great-aunt’s austere bedroom (bookshelf, pembroke table, a second bookshelf).

Both sisters were sweating.

The painting: late 18th century, Lucinda estimated.
The painting: a woman holding a gender-indefinite child in a Virgin and Christ pose.
The painting: The child.
The painting: But the child was completely hirsute.
The painting: A child covered in brown fur.
The painting: His blue eyes contrasting sharply with his animal body.
The painting: His mother blank, inscrutable.

And obvious to Lucinda by the boy’s lassitude that he was dead before the painter had finished. Lucinda examined the background, the blue-tinged walls, the pembroke table.

“This is the same room,” she said.
Her sister said, “The same room as what?”
“As the one we’re in.”

She slid the painting under the bed, mumbled as she refastened it to the bed-frame.

“What?” her sister asked.

Michael Peck was born in upstate New York and began writing soon thereafter. His fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in The Believer, Juked, Eclectica, The 2nd Hand and others. A book reviewer for the Missoula Independent, Mr. Peck lives in Montana.