“Cutting Teeth,” by Kirsty Logan, is a story about choices; in many ways it’s about the choices that we all make as we enter adulthood, as we live and stretch in relationships. It’s a story about potential. It’s a story about men and women.
The narrator is reminiscing, or spinning a story, or simply narrating, the story of their conception and the life of them and their parents prior to their birth. The child’s mother, Ash, is a hunter who runs with a wolf, as a wolf, under the moon and brings home her prey to carve, to salt, to season, to dress. She uses their meat and fur and feathers and bone, as hunters do. The child’s fathers are Caleb, who runs Loch Ness boat tours, and Zev, who is a wolf.
Caleb doesn’t know about Zev, does’t know about Ash’s other, wilder life. Caleb doesn’t know about the wild child, half wolf and half human, shifting between two states, in Ash’s womb.
Of course, Ash doesn’t know just how wild Caleb’s friends – his very human friends – are until she encounters them drunk in her living room.
Ash and Caleb need to make decisions about who they are and who they want to be, what they want to be. The unborn child has to decide which to be, human or wolf. All three stand to lose something no matter what they choose. Human. Wolf. Husband. Wife. Man. Woman. Hunter. Tour Guide. Every choice opens a door; every choice closes a door.
As short stories go, this is a very short one. It’s very good, very well written and interesting. I’m a sucker for werewolf stories, but it’s such a well-trod genre that it can be hard to find stories that do something new. This one works in part because it’s not about being a werewolf: it’s about being.