by R.S. Bohn
Castor's wife's loom had broken. She showed him where. He examined shattered bits of wood, turned them over in his paws, considering. He shook his head.
It was my mother's loom, she said.
I will build you a new one, he said.
It won't be the same, she said.
When she was alone in their lodge, she sat and cried for her loom. When she had cried enough, or all she could, she took a piece between her paws, began to gnaw.
Castor searched the woods surrounding their pond for a week before he found the right tree. It smelled soft and wise, and he asked the birds in its branches if they'd mind moving, and told them why. The birds respected Castor and his wife, for both were fair and kind and kept their young from gnawing trees unneedfully. So the birds agreed, and when they’d moved, Castor began to work.
Before the moon had fully risen, the tree fell. When the north star had swirled the world around like a cape, Castor had carved the tree into many pieces. One by one, he brought them to the lodge, swimming quietly back and forth across the pond. If his wife’s dreams were troubled for his absence, she never left their nest, nor came looking.
By dawn a new loom stood in the lodge’s great room. When Castor’s wife rose yawning she found Castor waiting, his tail thumping lightly on the floor. She saw the loom.
Castor waited while she circled it, sniffed, testing carefully.
Do you like it?
Yes, she said. I like it. She opened a saved basket of shed moose hair, and began weaving it into the loom.
Castor left her, and went out to his day’s work. When he returned, exhausted, still anxious, his wife showed him the new blanket she had woven.
So it works, he said.
It works perfectly, she said. Perfectly. She patted her belly, brown and sleek. One day, she said, our sons will have a sister, and this loom will be hers, and her daughter’s too.
They kissed as they always did, mindful of big teeth, and then she showed him what she’d made of the old loom, the broken parts reborn as little beavers and birds and all manner of forest creatures, each given life by those same clever teeth.
Let’s set them afloat on the pond, she said. And they sat on the roof of their lodge, and by and by the moon rose and watched too.
R. S. Bohn is desperately in love with words, even the ones with bad reputations and duct tape on their shoes. She writes, she craves, she sees dead dogs in her dreams, she can drive a stick. Prefers Southern boys. Her work has appeared in The Molotov Cocktail, A-Minor, Six Sentences, Cast Macabre (upcoming), and Short, Fast, and Deadly. Her first chapbook is forthcoming in October from Deadly Chaps: www.deadlychaps.com. She writes flash fiction that usually isn't very flashy (and sometimes isn't fiction). Find her at http://rsbohn.blogspot.com.