The Return (A Flash Fiction Piece from Myths & Meditations)

Little Anna’s hands are chubby like those of a cherub. She has never seen an angel, but if she did, it would not strike her as any different than pigs that walk erect, or wolves who prefer to wear granny clothes rather than to prowl about naked in the night. Despite her chubby little fingers that have difficulty grasping, Little Anna is in the habit of grabbing her companions by the hand into one adventure or another.

Just because Little Anna has the hands of an angel doesn’t mean she is an angel. She is a human child: four feet in height and round at the belly. Her soft, fine hair is corporeal, and so is the lilt in her step. She understands nothing of the word “innocent,” since the adults around her only think it when they see her, but never pronounce the word aloud.

When Little Anna meets Peter the Pig, she mistakes him for a dog. Outside of his brick house, which has grown cold and enormous without his two brothers, he crouches on all fours, digging a hole to bury their remains. By instinct rather than choice, his tail wags back and forth like that of a dog. Little Anna can’t resist tugging the wagging tail. This behavior is not a sign of mischievousness, but a desire to give and receive affection. This, in fact, is what Little Anna does on a daily basis to her pet Kitty. She tugs Kitty gently by the tail, till it rounds its back coyly, flips over and begs to be scooped up in her arms. She then rocks Kitty in her arms tightly, (but not too tight) and coos and caws. In this way, Little Anna makes up for any lack of human affection. Therefore, when she sees the tail wag, she can’t resist. She wants this pig, (which she mistakes for a dog), for her very own pet. It is only when the pig stands up erect that Little Anna realizes he is not so little after all. Peter the Pig stands one inch taller than she; a little pig compared to hogs, but not compared to Anna. So Little Anna refrains from calling him Little Piggy, and calls him Peter instead. He shakes off the dust from his hooves and holds one out to greet her. He doesn’t mind that Little Anna calls him Peter, since names have no meaning to him one way or the other. Though he initially thinks it odd that she calls him Peter instead of Pig, he swiftly dismisses the notion and allows her to take him by the hoof. Besides, he has done his duty as the sole surviving brother, is ready to stride in the warmth of the sun, and is pleased to make a new acquaintance.

In the meantime, Little Anna’s pet Kitty, whom she left behind in her last adventure, is gnawing at the walls of candy and cake, partly out of boredom, and partly out of dismay. Without anything or anyone to play with, Kitty regrets having given Mouse back his tail, because once he plugged it back in he scurried away into the nearest crevice. Kitty prefers licking the walls of candy and cake over nibbling on the crumbs of gingerbread – the gingerbread crumbs left behind by Little Anna’s greedy hands, the hands that grab, grab, grab.

And while Kitty’s tongue grows raw, red, and cracked from all this licking, Mouse tunnels his way from Gingerbread Land. He tunnels away until he’s under the muddy, soggy earth. The muddy, soggy earth trampled upon by Nephilim feet. The Nephilim birthed by angels and whores.

When frolicking about in this Ancient world, Little Anna had seen neither angels nor whores, who cavorted in dim caves and caverns. But she often spotted Nephilim on the backs of ancient turtles or climbing magnificent trees. One day, the booming stampede of these great big giants sent Little Anna whirling away from this world of old into the dark, dark forest, where she took the hands of a brother and his sister on into gingerbread land.

Little Anna has only a vague remembrance of the world of the Nephilim, perhaps because her little brain has no room for such great big memories. However, she remembers clearly the little picture books read to her while sitting on her mother’s lap. Whether golden eggs or little red hens, great big giants, or gingerbreads, they still fill her with wonder. There has always been something familiar about these stories, even when read to her for the very first time. That is why even if Little Anna should someday see an angel for the very first time, she will neither wince nor cry.

Little Anna and Peter the Pig hold hands now, skipping down a foggy bridge over a canal. Though she has never seen a canal before this, Little Anna is filled with recognition. She and Peter sigh in wonder, something like the first breath that must have been taken by the first humans.

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