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 again.

"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 broken-down buildings.

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 of Lauranne.

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