I’ll huff and I’ll puff

It’s a sturdy house, well-made, and the glass in the windows is thick and snug. It does no good: when the hot breath is on my heels it feels like straw.

And it’s not as if there’s any attempt at a polite visitor’s knock, either: with a rank, lupine stink the beast is there, rampaging through my rooms. What drives it? Some terrible lack, a gut-deep need, a loathing of its own rough and barbarous fur, so different to my clean pink skin.

When you come down to it, it would be more helpful if the damned house was straw; if at need I could explode through a wall in a frenzy of fleet-footed terror. But I’ve built it too well for that, and now the beast is in here with me. Instead, I pound my hands on the window and shout. The thick glaze between me and the world muffles me: I may as well be silent.

Did I mention the beast is invisible? You, the passer-by, may be moved to pity by my desperate breath on the window, but you can’t see what pursues me. And I’m a pig. It’s not like you’re going to be sympathetic to my squeals even if you could hear them.

The moment when its teeth meet in my heel and drag me backwards is the moment at which the house explodes outwards and I’m straw, whirling in the wind.

4 thoughts on “I’ll huff and I’ll puff”

  1. This story is about a pig trapped in his well built house and unable to escape the invisible wolf that is on the inside. He tries to escape or summon escape but is devoured helplessly.

    I liked the three wee pigs vibes and reinterpretation of the basic ideas. The paragraph around the wolf’s motives is lovely, esp ‘Some terrible lack, a gut-deep need, a loathing of its own rough and barbarous fur’.

    On first reading it gave the impression of lacking in any real content; would prefer if some of it was a little more obvious.
    The themes of isolation and being trapped inside and unable to communicate came out on rereading better and I really like: ‘The thick glaze between me and the world muffles me: I may as well be silent’ as a description of alienation.

    Also the idea of the wolf being invisible left me kind of confused and jarred, I see why but it didn’t work for me.

    Interesting how literal the photograph was in your story as opposed to the rest.

  2. Does it help to know that in my mind the speaker is actually the wolf, the pig and the house? This piece is uncomfortably close to allegory, so I’m glad the alienation thing was discernible.

    You are very right about the literal interpretation: the photo did some very weird things to my creative processes, I found myself having to account for its details rather than using it as a point of inspiration. Odd that that particularly literal response should also end up with a content-low scenario, but I think your point there is valid as well :>. On the other hand, I’m quite happy with this piece, for once; what it’s doing is rather strangely internal and symbolic, but it’s exactly what I wanted it to do.

    1. On second / third reading it was clear to me that there was strong allusion to being trapped inside oneself, unable to be seen or heard from the outside, unable to escape – feel like I wasn’t clear in the original comment. My difficulty was that this was deep enough to be completely missed on first reading.

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