“Tooth, Tongue, and Claw” by Damien Angelica Walters

In a tradition as old as the monsters, a young girl is handed over to the terrible beast that lives secluded in his cave just outside of her town. The odds that she would be picked were so slim, but she won as one of the second born daughters in the town. The beast does not treat her particularly cruel. Yet, she is still a prisoner. Every day she paces through the great stone caves searching for an exit, and she fights him when he wants to touch her unable to tell him no. Part of the arrangement involves the townspeople removing the girl's tongue so she can better serve her new master. He is not a rational being, and her days are running out each time she tries his patience. Her options are to escape soon or die.

About the Author
Damien Angelica Walters is the author of Paper Tigers (Dark House Press, 2016) and Sing Me Your Scars (Apex Publications, 2015), winner of the This is Horror Award for Short Story Collection of the Year. Her work has been nominated twice for a Bram Stoker Award, reprinted in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and published in various anthologies and magazines, including the 2016 World Fantasy Award Finalist Cassilda's Song, Nightscript, Cemetery Dance Online, Nightmare Magazine, and Black Static. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescued pit bulls.
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