Part of being a taxidermist is knowing how the animal would prefer to be stitched and posed. Most people didn’t know that, but Richard knew what his clients liked.
He knew every animal’s final wish. He knew every regret, every hope, every desire. The squirrel that wanted to move like a snake, the mouse that wanted to strike fear in people’s hearts, the fish that longed to live in the sky.
The animals decorated his workshop: eagles with fins, ready to fly, bears with tiny rodent paws, chipmunks with the skin of reptiles. A thousand clay eyes followed Richard’s every move. They waited, set in wool and wire, for his signal, ready to be resurrected.