Apple Snow Alone
Margaret Patton Chapman
In the broken-down city where life was barely lived anymore there lived
a very small girl named Tiny, who made it snow apples when she cried.
In the broken-down city in which Tiny lived nothing did what it was
supposed to anymore. The buses were all weed gardens. The skyscrapers
were all aviaries. Wolves prowled the streets, looking for people to
eat, and non-wolves prowled too. All the beds in the city were so
filthy that the sewers were the only nice place to sleep anymore, but
the sewers were filled with cannibals and so the only places left to
live were dumpsters, if you were regular sized, or garbage cans if you
were small like Tiny.
Tiny lived in an old fashioned tin trashcan and she spent most of her
time hiding from the animals and people who wanted to eat her. Before
she was alone she had parents. Her parents were regular sized people
and so had made a good and hardy meal for the wolves. After the wolves
ate her parents, they rubbed their fur bellies and stared at Tiny with
their glassy eyes and said, "We are sorry we had to eat your parents,"
but Tiny didn't believe them. The wolves said, "We promise, we only ate
them because we were starving, we aren't evil," but Tiny ran from the
wolves, crying and shaking with fear, and when she cried apple snow
bounced off the sidewalk and the wolves said, "Thank you, thank you, we
will eat apples from now on," as they ran up and down chasing the apple
snow and even the cannibals in the sewers started eating the apples
that came down through the storm drains, only occasionally
supplementing that with people.
And every night Tiny would cry apple snow, because she was alone in the
world, and every morning she would make a breakfast of her of tears.
Eventually, despite their promises, the wolves and the other
carnivorous animals got sick of eating apples and started stalking her
"We are starving," said the wolves as Tiny was leaving her trashcan one
morning to gather apple snow. "We are sorry, but if we do not eat you
we will die."
"If you eat me I will die," said Tiny.
"But there are two of us and one of you."
"But what will you do when I am all eaten up?"
"We will go back to eating apple snow."
"There will be no more apple snow when I am eaten," said Tiny. "It
comes from my tears."
"God damn it!" cried the wolves. "Is there no way we can win?"
"No," said Tiny. "I'm sorry."
"Then what is the point?" asked one wolf to the other.
"There is no point," said the other wolf. They were both crying huge
wolf tears over the futility of life in such a broken-down place, tears
that fed no one.
"Fuck it," said the wolves. And they decided to just have wolf sex
until they died.
Which they did.
And Tiny cried over the death of the wolves despite the fact that they
had eaten her parents, and the apple snow fell in great heaps and
mounds and built up in giant cold apple drifts against the sides of the
But soon Tiny was found by a pack of somethings which were not wolves,
but might have been coyotes or a jackals, and the non-wolves did not
care about Tiny's apple tears, or her logic. They ate the small girl
and one of the wolves that had died from over-exertion. Then, thinking
about the future, they buried the other wolf-carcass in the last of the
apple snow for later.
Margaret Patton Chapman lives in South Bend, Indiana. She's got work in or coming from lots of awesome mags:
SmokeLong, Diagram, Juked, The Collagist, and others.
Detail of photo on main page courtesy
W i g l e a f