• Dream of Shadows

Moult by Vincent Paiement Désilets (June 2022)

I was born covered in blood – as a human, as a man, as a monster. Filthy.

Father brought me to the barn one evening.

“Gotta turn you into a man,” he said. “Separate the strong from the weak crops.”

The horse had a jagged cut across its throat. It had struggled. A hoof twitched in the hay.

As my father skinned the animal, I stared into its vacant eyes, kept in blurry peripheral the chunks of dark skin, long strips of red, tossed aside.

He handed me the knife. His shadowed, sweaty gaze waiting to be filled with contempt or pride.


At dawn, I loathed my face. Hated how my hands felt.

I sneaked out. Mist hovered over the grass. I picked carnations and brought them into the barn.

Bloody hay. Broken chain. No horse.


A distant neigh ruptured my heavy night. Hooves abused the wooden floor on their way to my door. My nails pierced my skin as I covered my eyes.

The stench of decay wrapped the room. The horse snorted in my hair. It wanted me to look.

A trail of blood led to my bed. Exposed muscles glistened under moonlight. Ribs poked through rotting flesh. Its disheveled mane drooped like dead vines.

As long as I was me, it wouldn't leave.


My father dropped his scotch when he saw the shreds of skin hanging from my bloody face, as I approached with the knife, ready to crop the evil out of him too.




Vincent Paiement Désilets is a writer from Montreal with a background in moviemaking, psychology and science.

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