Issue #82

Spring 2022

Book, Some Stray Woods, and Appetite

by Nikolaj Volgushev


I pick out an old book in a winding bookstore, it's a novel by a writer whose books I thought I had all read and re-read but here is one I had never even heard of before, a heavy dense beautiful book, yet when I bring it to the cashier he only shakes his head and apologizes, I cannot sell you this book sir we don't carry this book in our store, I try to argue my way, insist, employ more and more elaborate arguments to prove the opposite, but he just gives me a sad smile, I cannot sell you this book sir it is not even a book, look again, and when I do I see that what I'm holding is merely a heap of dry leaves already fluttering in a hungry, rising wind.


Some Stray Woods

Some stray woods got into my backyard last night. They stood still like a wall just outside my porch door, carrying a rogue wind in their branches, and scraped and knocked on my windows. They dug up the flower beds with their roots and littered leaves and acorns and twigs all over. Stray woods are a total pest. I went out with an ax and a box of matches to scare them off, but as soon as I stepped outside I got lost and had to wander among old, mumbling trees all night until I finally found a particularly ancient oak under the cover of which I fell asleep, promising myself to build a taller fence tomorrow, a fence so tall that even the tallest oak would not be able to step over it.



On my walk through the park I see an elf. He is sitting among the branches, eating a leaf. The leaf is a deep green and looks delicious. The leaf looks fresher than the freshest salad. It makes my mouth water. The elf stuffs another leaf into his mouth, and another. In no time he has devoured every last leaf in the tree. What an appetite. I grab a fistful of leaves and get to the business of chewing, worried to miss out on my share.

Author Bio


Nikolaj Volgushev's fiction has appeared in the Cafe Irreal; Hoot; Cleaver Magazine; Cease, Cows; and other journals. He currently lives in Goettingen, Germany, where he writes, programs, and does other things along those lines. His short story "Pete and the Elephant" appeared in Issue 55 of The Cafe Irreal, and his fiction has also appeared in Issues 72, 74, and 77.