29 October, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

There’s only the headpiece to go now, so he takes a minute to look at it, inspecting the form he’s about to assume. He snarls and tries to imagine that the sound is coming from inside it, that he’s a helpless victim--his sister, maybe--faced with this awful thing that actually is him. Then he’s really inside it, and he’s ready. His room is different from a wolf’s-eye-view; everything looks suddenly flimsy and breakable. He has claws now and powerful lupine muscles. He howls and it’s a good howl.

Down the stairs he runs, and when he sees his sister at the bottom he stops for a moment, growling a threat, then leaps up and knocks her to the floor. “Get off me you brat!” she starts to say, but he tears her throat right out, and the words with it. He’s eating her words, he thinks. Funny.

The next thing is his mum’s new coat, the blue one with the brass buttons. He heard her talking about how much it cost, and now he has to take it apart to see for himself. He swipes at it with his claws and it disintegrates like wet tissue paper. “Max!” comes a cry from the next room; his mum must have found his sister’s body. He rushes down the hall and into the kitchen, where he leaps on to the table and sends the crockery flying in all directions. Smash, smash, smash it all goes, except that he’s howling so loudly that he can’t hear it.

“Max!” his mum is in the doorway now, her face a luxurious purple. “What are you doing?! Stop doing that!” He rolls along the table and falls on to the floor; he scrabbles among the fragments of broken crockery, but his mum is too fast. She grabs him by the scruff of his wolf’s neck and hoists him up into a painful two-legged standing position. “You’re going straight to your room you monster!” Then she carries him there. He passes his sister on the way up; she’s clutching her throat, but it seems like she’ll survive after all.

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