The Postcard and the Prescription // Ray Ball

The Postcard and the Prescription

He received a postcard from his sister in the mail that afternoon. The glossy front depicted the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, suckling from the teats of the she-wolf. He pondered a theory remembered from a college elective on Ancient History. Linguistic evidence linked the she-wolf to an ancient sex worker who took pity on the twins. Tenderness and compassion threaded delicately into the violent tapestry of Roman foundation myths.

His sister had written:

Dear Todd,

I hate that you are finding out this way, but I left Jim. I left the country, too...! I’m in Rome trying to channel my inner Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m not ready to forgive Jim for lying and cheating, but the hazelnut gelato and the beautiful churches are helping some.



P.S. You should probably call and check on Mom. Sorry I can’t help more, but I just can’t deal right now. I need to take care of myself.


While Todd slowly turned the postcard back over, his mother Helen opened up the medicine chest in her spacious bathroom. She took out a plastic container of pills that she had recently had filled at the CVS a few blocks from her upscale condo. She had only recently developed the condition, and her cheeks flamed as she thought about anyone at the country club finding out. She shuddered especially at the idea of that smug bitch Carolyn Gibbons learning about her disorder. The pills rattled in the container. She had started to peel the corner of the label and now she smoothed it back down.

Drug Facts


  • Prevention of transformation during nights near the full moon

  • Slowing of transformation during night of full moon

  • Prevention of transmission of disease through biting and scratching

  • Reduces hair growth


  • This product contains wolfs bane.

  • Potential side effects include exhaustion, craving mutton or rabbit, excess salivation.

Do not use

  • With any other drug containing wolfs bane unless advised to do so by a physician

  • In conjunction with other sedatives

  • If taking the blood thinning drug warfarin

  • While wearing St. Hubert medallions

When Using This Product

  • Do not use more or less than directed by physician

  • Avoid contact with silver

  • Marked drowsiness may occur

Stop use and consult a physician if

  • You become sleepless during the new moon

  • Your hair starts falling out in clumps

  • You develop an urge to eat your own children

Ray Ball, Ph.D., is a history professor in Alaska. She is the author of two history books and her creative work has recently appeared in Cirque, L'Éphémère Review, Okay Donkey, and The Cabinet of Heed. She tweets @ProfessorBall

Image by Riccardo Cuppini

#fiction #vol6 #halloween #boneandink #rayball #flashfiction #werewolves #prose

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