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When Yuri was dead they flew back to the witch's yard, and Shuck followed his scent to his body. Shuck dragged him back to the witch's porch, and the gowned arm reached out of the dark to lower the basket. It took Shuck no time to drag him into the basket and curl him up so that he fit inside, but it took the witch a minute to pull him up to the balcony, even with her unnatural strength.
When Zarwan returned with his rag of sweat he saw Yuri's sneaker bounce over the lip of the balcony and into the darkness. He carefully squeezed his rag into the birdbath, where the birds drank his sweat as if nothing had happened. The witch's arm came out and lowered the basket to the porch. Because he hated losing, more than anything else in the world—that was the difference between him and Yuri—Zarwan walked up to the basket, took his pie, and walked back to his Saab. That day, he ate in the car, with the doors closed.
The next week he came back with a different sophomore. Meanwhile, the witch ate Yuri slowly, for while the birds drank the sweat of the young men and the young men ate the pies full of birds, the witch needed to eat the bodies of those who were truly brave. Otherwise she would die. She gnawed Yuri's bloody bones in her stained gown, as the Alpha Chi Rugby players who ate her pies maintained the University of Massachusetts Amherst's prominence in the Division II Northeastern Rugby Conference. The team even had a winning streak; it was described in a number of student newspapers as an "empire" and a "dynasty." Eventually, it reached the American Collegiate Rugby Nationals, which were held that year in Tampa.
Benjamin Nugent's memoir The Shapeshifters is forthcoming from Scribner. His fiction has appeared in Tin House, and his non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Time. He's an MFA candidate in fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship.