Author's Note: For those who might not be familiar with the story, the "ram in the thicket" refers to Genesis 22:13, in which Abraham offered a divinely-provided ram as sacrifice instead of his son Isaac.
Dante said hell is cold. He is only half-right. Fire scorches my throat even as I huddle, frozen, against the thirst. I've tried to end the monster – by height, depth, poison, starvation.
I strangle my own breath against the Scent. Dear God, no! If not on me, have mercy upon Thy children!
Heartbeats draw nearer, filling my ears. I smell the Scent in my memory, and the fire flares anew. My trembling arms fight against the monster.
I kneel beside the savaged buck and thank God for His merciful gift – my ram in the thicket.