“After Red cut her way out of the wolf’s belly—after she wiped the gore off her hood and cape, her dress, her tights—she again found herself standing on the path that wound through the forest toward her grandmother’s house.

Along the way, she met with the wolf, with whom she had palavered the first time and every time since. Afterward, she went to her grandmother’s, where she again discovered the wolf devouring the old woman, and where he waited to devour her too, as he had before.

Once again she was lost, and once again, she cut herself out of his belly and back onto the stony path.

Over and over, she did these things until, desperate to break the cycle, she laid across the stones and, with the knife her mother had given her, gutted herself, quickly, left to right.

She cried out in wonder at the bright worlds she found hidden within herself,
and with shaky hands she scooped their hot wet flesh into the open air,

where
with a flick of her wrists
she set
them each
free.”

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