Black Howl by Christina Henry

Description : Black Howl
“LEGS IN THE AIR, HEELS TOWARD THE CEILING. CRUNCH, quick!”

I lay flat on my back, legs extended up, and started crunching as the instructor counted off reps. After about three movements the atrophied muscles in my abdomen started to scream for mercy. My legs dropped toward the ground.

“Uh-uh-uh. No, no, no,” the instructor said to me as he walked around the classroom checking our form. He was a tall, handsome African American man with the demeanor of a drill sergeant. “Keep those legs up.”

He grabbed my ankles and jerked my legs back into position. I tried to remember why I had made this asinine New Year’s resolution to lose weight in the first place. Beezle had laughed for a full half hour when I told him I was going to an aerobics class.

“You should be going with me, too,” I’d said. “Except that you’d scare the crap out of all the fit people.”

Beezle had patted his round tummy indignantly. “I’ll have you know that I am the perfect shape for a gargoyle.”

“Yeah, a gargoyle that gets out of breath going to the kitchen for snacks,” I’d replied.

“Better to get out of breath in pursuit of chocolate than in pursuit of a fitness you will never achieve,” Beezle had said.

I’d sworn then and there to lose thirty pounds by June. In retrospect, this was a stupid thing to say out loud, because if I didn’t lose the weight, Beezle would harass me about it for the rest of my life.

“Fifty more!” the instructor shouted.

I groaned and glanced at the clock. Aside from my possibly fruitless pursuit of rock-hard abs, I had a secondary motive for getting up at the ungodly hour of five a.m. and making my way to the local YMCA. I had a soul to pick up, and...
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