by Michael Carter

Roadkill. That’s what he needed. That’s how he’d make the Yeti. He couldn’t do the killing himself; he’d been through enough death already. He’d let others kill the animals, and then he’d take their skins. 

Yetimaker roamed the backcountry roads looking for unfortunate creatures who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. He sought curved roads, dusted lightly with powdery snow over ice, that left no time to react. He sought narrow straightaways, lined thickly with pine trees, where speed would creep up on the driver at the exact time an animal sought safe passage. 

He mostly found deer, but their brown fur wouldn’t work. He needed white. He’d take their tails, though, provided they weren’t soiled. Hares, lemmings, and foxes, in their winter-white coats, were what he desired. 

Occasionally, he found them in trappers’ snares. Other times he found them in the forest with a bullet wound in the wrong place—a bad shot by a hunter that permitted escape but later led to a slow, solitary death. 

Yetimaker collected the small bodies and took them home one by one. He hung them upside down by their feet. After the thaw, he’d make an incision at a foot, trace down and across the rump, and then back up to the other foot. He then peeled the skins off like socks. He pinned the pelts to cedar boards, fleshed, salted, and tanned them. 

The first pelts made the soles, tops of feet, and ankles of his Yeti. He stuffed the boot-like cavities with straw to keep their form and absorb odors. He proceeded upward as he collected pelts. He would cut to size and stitch them with a heavy waxed twine. When he reached the waist, he attached the half-body to a dressmaker’s form base to hold it upright. 

He continued up, stitching his Yeti together with ridged, moccasin-like seams. He completed the torso, then shoulders, arms, wrists, and paws. He spent considerable time on the face, making sure it was just as he remembered. The white deer tails became a beautiful head of hair. 

Yetimaker left a slit in the middle of the Yeti. There he stuffed more straw and shredded linens. He also placed inside things of sentimental value: a small photograph, dried rose, sweater, some jewelry. He took pieces of mica from his gem collection and flaked them into the cavity. He believed the sparkling flakes would bring the Yeti to life. 

It didn’t work. The Yeti remained cool and still. So he took more desperate measures. 

At night, Yetimaker put the Yeti to bed. During the day, he placed it in various poses. He also moved it around, hoping new locations or sensations would awaken it. He even took the Yeti to the backyard. This scared some neighborhood girls and they complained to their parents. Yetimaker tried the front porch. He received glares and giggles by passersby. Finally, someone called the authorities. 

The Inspector knocked on Yetimaker’s door and announced himself. Yetimaker invited him in and consented to a search of his home. 

“We’ve had several complaints from your neighbors about you lugging a full-sized doll or mannequin around outside,” the Inspector said. “They’re getting creeped out by it, so I figured I would stop by to inquire.” 

“I’m very sorry, I’m just lonely,” Yetimaker responded. “I’m trying to find ways to pass time. You know I’ve been living alone for a while.” 

“Yes, so I’ve heard. I’m sorry for your loss.” 

“I will keep her inside, Inspector.” 

“Also, you can’t go around taking roadkill without a permit. It sounds silly, but it’s against the ordinances to harvest roadkill.” 

“I did not know that, sir. My task is complete, so I will take no more.” 

“What are you doing with this thing anyway?” 

“You see, Inspector, I thought that if I stitched together this Yeti, she might come back to life. I put mica and other good things inside, and I hope and pray that she will rise.” 

“What makes you think that will happen?” 

A tear dripped down Yetimaker’s hairy face. He wiped it with the white fur of his paw.

Yetimaker looked up and said, “My wife, she told me so in my dreams.”

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