The last little pig built his house up out of his own filth and stink. Let it creep out as he hid in the tender dirt crevice at the far end of the field. The wolf had left a long time ago, had probably eaten and processed his brothers and moved on. He must have stopped looking for the third by now. It wasn't his fault he hadn't given them shelter.

At least the other two piggies would be been warm in the stomach of the thing. The third one still shivered, not knowing what to do, but not able to move against his mounds of dead skin flakes and puddles of old food and water, things his body was done with. He couldn't move or act in a place he was not supposed to be. He had felled that wolf over and over again for centuries. This wasn't any place he was supposed to be, not a place in which little piggies could move. He had extended out and beyond his time like a wet painting smeared onto the wall that held it.

He didn't know what skin flakes were, what stink was. They were just words to him, stacked up like a collapsed story. He didn't know them. They had no one to read them and give them meaning. They stood there like that.

When he found his mind three weeks later and still crouched there, he had to grab hold of it like a runaway balloon, not squeezing too hard for fear of ruining it. He had been too scared to really let himself think or gather up until that point, didn't want to look around after he had fled from his place in the field, the place where he was supposed to build the house of brick. He had seen the place just fine, but someone reading had skipped a word. They had left out the pile of bricks he was to use, and in his panic, he had fled blindly for the edge of the wood. He had hid here, eyes closed, not knowing if it was even filled or defined by the text. He hadn't looked up for nearly a month and a half, more scared of the nothing that would be there than the wolf that he outsmarted every time, or the piggies that were probably in his stomach now. They were gonners without the last house that he was to build.

He looked around at the piled words first, none that he had seen before. He pushed them to the side with his flattened hoofs and looked to the forest. It was only about two trees deep. When he stood on his somehow unweakened legs, he stepped beyond the first row and saw that they had been arranged like a checkerboard so that they perfectly blocked the white nothing of the page that shot beyond them, grainy and casting imperfect shadow. He felt as if his teeth had been rubbed against a wooden popsicle stick when he saw it. A sensation he knew and couldn't identify.

When he turned around finally, sweating and real, he was terrified by the ill scribbled scene. He felt as if he were standing slightly above it, like the other two piggies weren't all there. Something had been taken away, and it wasn't the house he had failed to build.

He could see the wolf standing over them, mouth low, their heads almost in it. He was not so menacing when seen so clearly for so long. He was not moving, and neither were they. The story seemed to have stopped itself when it got too far beyond what it knew. The pig tried to speak, but it wasn't working.

He felt his skin growing cold hairy and pink, something he somehow hadn't known before. He fell to all fours, shat, blinked, and saw that the half ripped page was now a book under his hoof. He grunted and nibbled at it, confused as ever.

About the author:

Yes yes, Paul Schwartz lives in Louisville, Ky. It is in that very city that he complains, stomps, and writes. If you need him, just scream.He's always around somewhere, and god damn, he's always ready.