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Offer Your Throat

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“On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?”

Strat lay back on his mattress in one of the labyrinthine passages of the Deep End, thinking over the words. He didn’t know why that question had become so important to him. It was one of those strange bits of poetry that just seemed to come to him, washed ashore from his stream of consciousness, but it had taken over his mind ever since. And he just wished he could figure out the answer. But he had a strange feeling, almost like intuition, that the answer wasn’t meant to come from him. If he could find someone who could find the solution, then, and only then would he be truly satisfied.

And yet, none of the people he’d asked had the slightest idea how to react. Tink’s earnest “yes” as if happy to be invited to whatever Strat had in mind was cute, but not quite what he was looking for. Blake was just his usual flirty self, which was always fun, but he didn’t really focus on the question. And he still hadn’t been able to bring himself to ask Zahara. She seemed like the most likely option among the Lost, always so confident, always one step ahead of the pack, and he didn’t know where else he’d turn if she didn’t have the answer.

He sat up, frustrated, and in that moment he realised he wasn’t alone. Standing in an archway was a lone figure, casting a long shadow into the room. Noticing she had his attention, she stepped closer, chequerboard skirt swaying. Mordema? He wondered what she was doing there for a moment before his eyes fixed on her. And on the flower clutched between her teeth, in that wonderful wide grin of hers.

She’d been raised by wolves. She had the red rose. It wasn’t the answer he was looking for. But well, it was the best he’d had so far? So he tugged at the loose collar of his cutoff shirt, leaned back his head... And he offered his throat.