The Real Thing

The Real Thing crawls out with barely a glisten
from the stairs at the end of the dim hallway.
It looks up at you like some modern Grendel.
The Real Thing says: “Yeah. You. Hello.
And hello to the night
you dare approach me.”
You think, “I didn’t think the Real Thing
would be quite so real.”
The Real Thing sits back on its haunches, filing a claw.
The Real Thing glares at you.
Smirks.
“I like that you weren’t expecting me,” it says.
You take a step closer.
You can hear the Real Thing’s breathing
turn to a low growl.
It opens its mouth
and begins to file its teeth.
“Fuck,” you think. “Fangs.”
You take one more step, flex your fists,
take two steps, three steps.
You can smell the dirty fur, the wet feathers.
The Real Thing stinks
of your sweaty disappointment.
You flex your knees, getting ready to fight.
The Real Thing stands up suddenly
and tosses its head back and forth.
You go in to get it.
You go in.

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