It was earlier that same day that Olivero Russo had decided to make more bread. He first plucked up the pot he’d used before, but the warped one caught his attention. The thought of lopsided bread seemed funny and he set the pot to soak. Some hours later, and with a walk in the woods while the dough rose, the bread was finished and filling the house with a fragrance that demanded: Eat me! He popped the loaf out of the pot and turned it over in his hands a few times to enjoy its odd shape. Then he thought, Why wait until the kids arrive? It’ll be cool, and that would be a shame!He tore off a large chunk and wandered into the garden where he sat on a rock with a flat top. The bread was crusty and chewy and very satisfying.
. . . And yet . . . What had he done differently? Something was off. He took another bite, chewed thoughtfully.
From the corner of his eye, he saw three beasts galloping towards him. One looked like a cat with blazing eyes, but it was made of sharp sticks that composed and recomposed in ever-changing feline shapes, clattering fearsomely as it lunged forward. The next was in the form of a bat, but blazing, raking the air with its hot wings like a violent bushfire. And the third was a lizard with armoured skin, leaping and clanking, its tongue flicking out to lick its puce eyeballs. And they were all as big as Chianina bulls.