Previously published in Squid Quarterly.
In the North, there are women who can take an egg still thick with yolk and, by placing it in their mouths, tease out a mostly living bird. They warm themselves with cat’s blood simmered in copper pots, with cloves and pepper. In bright light, they are transparent. Their movements crackle in the cold.
The beautiful women of the North. Whose voice is spun. Whose teeth are small and sharp. Who are eight feet tall and wear dresses woven of their hair, small charms, and chimes knotted in the long, blonde strands. (When the wind blows the thin sound of these tin bells is carried by some odd acoustics to valleys and fields miles away.)
They are, it is said, devils. Who live as long as trees but always have ripe flesh.
Men line up to tease them from their caves. To have those voices like frost settle into the crevasses of their ears. Those who have succeeded are different from other men: their eyes are pale, more sensitive to light; they hear sounds other men cannot; and when they sleep, they sleep fitfully and have no need for dreams.

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