The Meat Forest
by John Haggerty
Dmitri laughed in my face. ‘Who is going to stop me? I do what I want.’ He looked out into the drizzly evening. ‘I can get you out of here. Do you want to go?’
‘What? Out of the camp? How?’
‘How do you think?’ He nodded toward the gray forest that crowded the perimeter, where the electrodes got too weak to keep it out. ‘Through that.’
‘Through the forest? I thought it was impossible.’
Dmitri tilted his head up. Beneath his jaw were tattoos of two men’s heads, done with red and black ink. Their faces were contorted in an expression of horror; their eyes closed. He pointed to them. ‘Do you know what they mean?’ he asked. I shook my head. ‘I’ve gotten through it twice. The only man in New Russia. I’ll take you.’ He paused, looking me up and down. ‘It’s probably a lost cause. I don’t think you’ll make it. But if you’re interested, come to my hut tonight.’
I looked back out at the forest. It wavered in and out of focus in the rain, gray and silent. When I turned back around, Dmitri was already gone.