Qia wants help. She is scared of the monster, FEAR, the giant monster, but her father won’t listen. She sniffles and tries, but she can’t stop crying. She goes to her room, because her father has turned his back. Her mother is drawing. They are busy. They don’t like it when she is scared.
FEAR is enormous and pushes into the room with her. She cries harder in her room with the door closed. No one can hear her now except FEAR. FEAR is large and has horrible drippy teeth and too many arms and keeps swatting at her. Qia gives up and lets FEAR swat her. She sits on the bed with her knees up and puts her head on her arms.
FEAR rages around her room.
After a while Qia is tired of crying. She lifts her head off her arms.
FEAR is smaller. Still bigger than her father, bigger than her mother, but just standing and looking at her. FEAR looks tired too.
Qia pats the bed beside her. FEAR hesitates and looks scared. Qia waits. FEAR shuffles over and sits beside her on the bed.
The room is very quiet. Qia finds a scrap of tissue and blows her nose. She looks sideways at FEAR.
FEAR’s head is down and FEAR seems to be crying. Qia reaches out and takes FEAR’s paw. One of the paws. There are a lot.
FEAR holds her hand tightly and then leans against her. Qia wiggles over a bit more to give FEAR room. FEAR sighs and then snuggles down onto the bed, massive drippy toothy head in Qia’s lap.
Qia strokes FEAR’s fur. It is very soft and dark purple.
FEAR is the first monster that Qia makes friends with. There are many more.
I was thinking about this story even before the Ragtag Daily Prompt: bugbear.
When we danced at Glen Echo in the 1980s, there was dance etiquette. We did not have dance cards. Instead, we would see someone we wanted to dance with, sometimes while we were dancing with someone else. One finger meant next dance, two meant the one after that. If both were taken, a head shake. No one could remember beyond two so the etiquette was not to make promises beyond two dances!
We finally meet again at a live band dance. I have not seen him since August. It is January.
“Hello!” says T. “Where have you been?”
“That is a great question!” I say very cheerfully.
He is looking at me.
“Oh, what a great song!” as the next song starts. I tap my foot.
He narrows his eyes a little, but replies “Shall we dance?”
We dance really well together. We have danced off and on for nearly twenty years. I asked someone for his last name just a week ago. I may have known in the past, but I had forgotten. It doesn’t really sound familiar. I do know he worked for years in counseling.
The band is loud so not conducive to talking much. The dance ends and he twirls me to a close embrace. He walks me back to the tables.
“You have not been at dances much.”
I blink at him. “You said your dance card was full.” I say.
I sigh, trying not to exaggerate too much. “You asked me personal questions. Then at the next dance you tell me that you have a woman for every night of the year.” I flutter my lashes down. “I do hope you mean dancing.”
He is silent, absorbing this.
I am channeling my Tidewater Belle mother-out-law. “Ah am sure you are very busy.” I look modestly down at my lap, glancing across his lap as I lower my eyes. .
“Hmmm.” he says.
“Ah was so amazed that you had a woman for every night of the year that I could hardly bear to go to dance.”
I look through my lashes. He is studying me.
I smile sweetly. “Perhaps you could let me know if your dance card clears a little. Mind you, dancing only. Ah can be a little old fashioned about some things.”
The story is fiction. The photograph is from my wedding, 1989. He’s hamming for the audience again. I do not know who took this!
This is Grace, a Winter Break Sea Serpent. She is visiting the Kingson, WA, in the park right by the ferry dock. There are many other creatures. I am not sure what the Sea Turtle’s name is, but she and Grace are clearly friends.
This all seems to be very watery.
There are some more earthly critters, if this is what I think it is.
Striking terror in the heart of gardeners everywhere.
We can work it out, the song says. But no, maybe not, not always.
Trauma bunnies together. Walking. Why would you walk with me, I am so down? Oh, you are a trauma bunny too. Walking on the beach, slowing down, looking at rocks. The walks get longer and longer. You bring FOOD and tell me I have food insecurity. I laugh. But it is true.
Comparing notes about childhood. You say yours was worse. Yours was terrifying. You ran away over and over and over, but came home. Small children need food and shelter. You get older. A neighbor says if you run away now, you will never stop running. You do not run away permanently. But you still run.
My childhood has no bruises to the skin. But the bruises to the heart are a nightmare. You finally say that I win, my childhood was worse. But I was not trying to win, I want to say. I was just telling you as you’ve told me.
We have both survived damage and coped. I have the resource of a grandmother with money who paid for medical school. I apply without telling my parents, after my mother says, “You don’t want to be a doctor. It’s too much work.” I am a poet, a writer, being a doctor so I can study people and have children and be certain there is food. Job security. And food security, true. With a husband or without.
You fight school all the way, but when you are told that you will be a failure or in jail, you decide that you will prove them wrong. You are still proving it. You won’t tell how you make your money, not to the locals, but the new car every two years tells them you have money. And it’s the wrong kind of car: a liberal car for a professed conservative. It stands out.
We start playing trauma bunnies after six months. You want me to come to dinner and I turn New Yorker and direct: is this a date? You are surprised. I set the boundaries and you think about it. And say yes.
But trauma bunnies is not as much fun as the beach. We get close and intimate and then you run. When you run, I run too: the other way. I don’t chase you. You haven’t experienced that before. You keep coming back. Why aren’t I chasing you? Because I too am a trauma bunny, remember?
Back and forth: close and far, together and apart. All holidays become times when you run, so that I will not be part of the family. I announce that I am now your mistress and you can’t be with my family either. Back and forth. Closer and then you refuse to come to my son’s wedding. Far again.
You say the summer will be very busy. You say your focus is music. You say we can go to one beach. One beach? For the whole summer? I run to europe and you are surprised. I ask, are you too busy to have me around? No, you say. But when I return, you have a friend staying with you. Intimacy disappears.
I am tired of it. My daughter is here.
At last I bring up sex: are we done with that?
No, you say. We have visitors.
Wouldn’t stop me, I say.
You say, sex is still on the table. Then you hem and haw. You say sex is not important, you can take or leave it. The friendship is more important. Well, the friendship is most important, but sex IS important to me and hello, it’s damn insulting of you to say you can take or leave it. Leave. This is all triggered by your yearly family get together. You need me at a distance so you won’t be tempted to invite me. You don’t want me there so I am distanced again.
And I am done, done, done. I dream of a small child, a wild woman, a woman doctor and someone new: a quiet woman. I think about the quiet woman and I ask the other three. Yes, they say.
The quiet woman is the adult. Not the mask of the professional, not the wild defense fighter, not the small child. The small child has healed. She is the connection to the Beloved, to the source of the poems. She blesses the others. The quiet woman takes over.
The quiet woman takes over. She says goodbye, farewell, Beloved keep you and bless you, you may contact me any time.
You are in your cave alone and do not answer.
You may end up there, alone, alone, alone. You want freedom most of all, you say. Another song: freedom is another word.
Yes it is. People can change and grow. But some want to and some don’t and sometimes we don’t grow at the same time.
Yes, says the quiet woman. Sometimes we don’t grow at the same time.
Fade to quiet.
I took the photograph from a canoe at Lake Matinenda in Ontario, Canada.
The witches are out in the Halloween Parade downtown. Many are belly dancing.
The smallest children are not quite sure what to make of the witches. All of the monsters and demons and dinosaurs and witches are here replenishing the legends. The smallest children aren’t sure about me either.
One small child looks at me and says firmly, “Cwab.” Another one stares at my claws until he is led out of sight. I think he is wondering if humans can have claws for hands and WHY? Others are from the east coast: “LOBSTER!”
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: replenish.A friend took the picture of me.
Trigger warning: non graphic mention of child abuse.
I don’t notice that things are frozen at first, because the cats aren’t frozen. I do notice the light. Also I notice the change in sounds. The car outside in the street is not moving nor making sound. Uh-oh.
I go to the front door. Might as well if everything is frozen. I just finished putting on make up, which always means a dangerous mood.
She lands first, on a white flying horse. Who smiles at me, showing fangs. Smoke is coming out of the Pegavamp’s nostrils. Eeeee.
Arty herself is in silver and black today. Silver cloth with black embroidery that seems to be writing a little.
“Good morning, Goddess.” I say, bowing. The other horses and dragons and flying motorcycles and pterodactyls are landing as well. Sol Duc is in the window. Elwha has gone to hide, quite sensibly, I think.
Arty stomps her staff on the ground. “I am really pissed.” she says.
“They named a rocket after you.”
“That penis toy? That is supposed to please me while they are killing virgins who refuse to tent their heads?”
“Sorry.” I hang my head.
“And do you know how much the smoke is going to shorten the lives of my birds and stags?”
“A lot, I think.”
“Do you all want to starve in the dark?’
I look up at her then. “No. I want grandchildren and a healthy earth.”
“Work harder.” she snarls. The rest of the dangerous crowd is muttering and snarling and the local cats have come out. They are sitting very respectfully at a distance. Rooftops. The ridge above my house three blocks up. The tree tops are frozen too.
“Do you need prescriptions again?” I ask. “I see that there have been a lot more rapists jailed. Thank you, Goddess.”
She looks tired for a moment. “We are hunting them everywhere: cities, countryside, hovels, palaces, movie sets, where ever.”
“You don’t turn them into stags any more?”
“Yes, sometimes. My hounds love to tear them apart. But sometimes prison is slower and crueler and a better punishment.”
I kneel. “What service can I do, Goddess?”
She touches me with the staff. I feel a hard bright shock, pain that roars through me and is gone.
“Write this. Write my warning. If this continues, it is death in the cold dark of nuclear winter and we will begin again.”
“Is that the only choice?”
“Oh, no, we are all being very creative. One suggestion has been the sperm banks. There is nothing that says they can’t be used to make one gender only. The one that rapes less and doesn’t kill young girls for what they wear.”
“Thank you for your warning.”
“Stand up.” she says. “You and every abused child, male or female, are under my protection. Yet the cycle must be broken and the abused must not become abusers. Write this.”
The Pegavamp drops one knee and she steps up easily. The other riders start to roar and shout and howl. Her winged creature jumps in the air and the whole group follows. There is a snap and they are gone.
The car in the street is moving and the treetops as well. The cats stand and move away.
Trigger warning: non graphic mentions of date rape, child abuse. A dark story for the Halloween season.
Mr. Smith is telling me about his daughter’s addiction to meth when the commotion starts.
He doesn’t seem to notice. I ignore sirens because the fire house is 6 blocks up the street, but I hear hooves. And people in the waiting room. Loud.
And Mr. Smith…. appears to be frozen mid-sentence. Uh-oh.
I am not frozen. I open the exam room door.
Artemis is there. Breastplate, feather headdress, inlaid turkish recurve bow, and she is not wearing a lady like toga. She is wearing armour. She is grinning at me.
There are lots of people milling around the exam room. Horses outside. I suspect 200. Or more.
“Quaaludes.” says Artemis.
“Ok.” I say. “Um.” I am thinking about the DEA. I get my paper prescription pad. Controlled substance, of course.
“We’re going to do a little pillaging.” says Artemis. “Kind of like date rape. Only in reverse.”
“Happy to help.” I say. “Uh, Bill?”
Artemis grins. “Well, he’s not the only one. You’d… well, you probably wouldn’t be surprised, would you.”
“No,” I say grimly. There are men in the waiting room too. That’s a bit of a surprise. I know two of them. Attended their funerals. Aids.
“I need enough for all 200 to…. well, discourage date rape and Cosbying.”
“So 600? Or 1000?” The DEA will throw me in jail. I write the prescription. Artemis touches it and it blooms in her hand, to 200 prescriptions.
“Don’t worry. The pharmacy is in Hades. The earthly DEA won’t have a problem.”
My receptionist is frozen too. I nod towards Artemis’s band. “I thought it was virgins?”
“We were all virgins once,” says Artemis, fierce. I can’t argue with that. She smiles again. “Thank you. We are going to have some fun. Sweet sweet revenge.”
I don’t really want details. My imagination is way too active. “Blessings.” I say.
“You too.” She turns, holding up the prescriptions. “Mount up!” Two women are riding velociraptors. Some of the horses have wings and other have horns. Three glow red and breathe fire. Some people are riding stags. They all have bows.
“You do need a bow.” says Artemis, looking back at me. “You’re a good shot.”
“Ok,” I say. I watch them leave in the air. The air starts looking a little thick and I go back in the room with Mr. Smith. I return to my position as best I can remember and then…
Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.
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