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The bearskin is hot and heavy. Beneath it I am hair and sweat and fingernails, itching and bleeding, stinking with the filth of unwashed years. The people I pass recoil when they see me.

Good, I think. I recoiled from myself in the mirror long before my seven years began: there is a spiteful glee in my heart each time I see that they see me as I see myself.

But there is hope before me now, strong as silk, and I follow it grimly. Seven years I must wear this bearskin, seven years I must leave my nails and hair uncut, seven years I must go without washing – but at the end of it, so the man with the horse’s foot promised, I’ll have whatever I desire.

“You know what I want,” I told him.

In my pocket I carry half a broken ring, a promise within a promise. I find some comfort in its smooth curve, its raw jagged edges: touching it, I think of the woman who holds the other half. She loved me for myself, I think, for she met me as Bearskin. It cannot be my body she cared for.

When my fingers catch on the ring’s broken edge, I wonder if she’ll still love me when she sees me as I’ll become.
Written for Flash Fiction Month, day 20. This year I'm also fulfilling a challenge by an anonymous contributor - every character must be queer - as well as one by Teague-Drydan: At least half of the month needs to be fairy tale re-writes. Bonus if they aren't well known fairy tales. Fairy tale count: 11/16.

This is a retelling of "Bearskin", which is weird because it has the same name.

The rest of today's stories can be found here.

Wordcount: 218.

If you've enjoyed this story, you may be interested in the collection of all my FFM stories this year: Beyond Dreams. You may also enjoy my FFM collections from the previous four years: Borrowed Strength, Ephemeron, Palalgia, and Changeling.
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:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I really like the subtlety of this. You never spell it out but by the end it's perfectly clear what the narrator needs and will ask the devil for. 
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018   Writer
I'm delighted to hear it works so well. :D Thank you!
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2018
I seriously love the way you write. 
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018   Writer
Thank you! :thanks:
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:iconteague-drydan:
Teague-Drydan Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2018  Student Writer
Ooooo nice job!
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2018   Writer
Thank you! :D
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:iconteague-drydan:
Teague-Drydan Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2018  Student Writer
welcome!
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018
I like how the thing the narrator wanted wasn't made explicitly clear. It's thought-provoking.
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2018   Writer
Glad you thought so. :D
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July 20, 2018
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