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My Beastly Knight (Chapter 1)
School is never something I enjoy. Sure, I had a few friends, but no one I was that close to. Most people called me a freak because I still believe it the things my dad grew up believing, so thank God it was summer. My dad was half Menominee native American, and half German. My mother was some other German woman that my father met. My grandmother disapproved of them being together, but before she could put an end to it, my mom got knocked up, with me. After I was born, my grandmother ridiculed my mom, until one day my mom packed her bags a left me there with my dad and grandmother.
I grew up learning stories of the wolf men, who protected our tribe from danger, and brought food to feed our tribe. My great grandfather was the tribe’s chief, so now my grandmother tells all the stories at the bonfires we have every month. Though the last couple months, I’ve been skipping out on them. Not only do I get made fun of at school, but the people who believe in the same thing I believe in totally ignore me. Usually I get out of the bonfires by saying I have homework, but since its summer, I have no excuse.
“Roxy!” my grandmother called, “Your father is already there! Let’s go!”
“Coming grandma,” I said, grabbing my car keys and heading out the front door of my house, which was over a hundred years old. My great grandfather built in for his wife. Grandma was sitting in the front passenger seat of the car.
“Roxy, why don’t you have your feather in your hair?” she asked.
“It’s right here,” I said picking it up off the dash board. My hair was braided in pigtails. “I’ll put it in when we get there.”
“Fine,” she said to me, “we’re late.”
My ‘95 blue ford truck roared to life. I pulled out of the gravel drive way and headed to the bonfire, which was always in the center of town, right next to the town council building. As we parked, we looked at the fire with flames licking up high in the air. I saw the people my age, around 16 or 17, all talking, all had dark brown hair and tan skin. I already felt like I didn’t fit in, my grandmother doesn’t look remotely similar to me. I have blonde hair and blue green eyes, she looks, well, like a Menominee Indian.
We walked up the sidewalk and I sat down on the blanket that my dad had laid out. He was over talking to our neighbor, Mr. Fields. I worked on putting the feather in my hair as my grandma took center stage, preparing to start the story for tonight. Soon enough, my dad sat down next to Lily, his girlfriend, a few blankets away from my own.
“Look around, look at each other. You’ve known some of these people your whole life. Some you may not have ever known. All of you have secrets; you may even be keeping the secret of being half man half wolf, like last month’s story. Tonight’s story is similar. A wolf man’s love, some ask how could someone love a monster, and some of you may be monsters yourselves. Who knows? The wolf man, when he does become a wolf man, in other words the chosen protector, will set eyes upon a young woman. This is where love at first sight becomes true. Something sparks within the wolf man, a deep connection that both, the wolf man and the girl feel. Almost like they know the other’s life story by just one look. The two are soul mates, the heavens chose for them to be together, and forever they live.
I know this story was quick and informative, but I know that magic will work tonight. I cannot speak for the fear of the magic slipping away. Figure it out; is you true love here, around this very fire?”
My grandma always likes to finish out her story with a question. It leaves the listeners pondering the story. I took my grandma’s advice and looked around at the other people on the blankets. My eyes scanned quickly over the group of the reservation teens, and kept going. Something caught my eye, more like someone. I looked back, and there was John looking at me. He was the newest guy here, meaning, he was born somewhere else because of his dad’s job, but when his parents divorce, back to the reservation he came. He’s lived here for about 5 years.
John was staring into my eyes. I tried to break eye contact, but I had a weird feeling in my stomach that wouldn’t let me take my eyes off of him. I couldn’t tell if it was seconds or minutes, but I finally dropped my eyes from him. Standing up, I felt a little wobbly, but I regained my balance, and headed over to my dad.
“Hey, dad, I’m heading home,” I told him.
“Aw, come on Roxy, stay here, mingle a little, get to know the other kids for once,” my dad coaxed.
“Yeah, the ones I’ve known since the diaper days,” I scoffed, “see ya,” and I headed off to my truck. While I was crossing the grass to the parking lot, I turned around to take one last glance at the bonfire. John was gone. I turned back around and stepped into the parking lot.
I saw where John went. He had the tailgate to his truck down, and was laying there looking up at the stars. He shot straight up when he heard me walking across the parking lot towards my truck. I pulled the feather out of my hair as a passed, but, just my luck, the wind picked up and blew the feather out of my hand. I did a loop in the air, and landed right in John’s hand.
“I think this belongs to you,” he said smiling and holding it out.
“Thanks,” I said taking it back, wondering why he was smiling like he’s stupid.
“So, that was an interesting story Mrs. Jones told, wasn’t it?” he asked.
“Yeah, I guess, she’s gotta great way of telling them, but I already know most of the old wise tales. Her favorite one to tell at home is the wolf men, who protect us from danger. Like there’s so much danger out here on the reservation,” I scoffed, “I mean, there’s the occasional bear here and there, but no real danger.”
“You’d be surprised,” he said.
“You’re probably right,” I said, “see ya around.”
“Um, wait,” he said, “I have a question for you.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“When, we saw each other like 5 minutes ago, did you get a weird feeling in your gut?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t put it quite that way, but yeah, sorta,” I said.
“Do you want to hang out?” he asked.
“Um, I’m really tired right now. Maybe some other time,” I said.
“Oh, alright,” he said, “see ya later.”
On the way home a thought about all the stories my grandma had told me, and especially the one she told tonight. Is it possible that there could be real “wolf men”? There’s no way….