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Still Rising

I posted a while back that I would be included in an anthology titled, Still Rising. With the issues of Black Lives reappearing as topic of conversation and the injustices faced through racism, it was only right that as an author, a story is told to highlight these conversations. Before agreeing to participate in this particular anthology, the old folktale about Goldilocks and the Three Bears, illustrates the reality that black people often face in America. Goldilocks, the privileged blonde hair beauty found herself lost in the woods, where she eventually discovered the home that (unbeknownst to her) belonged to three Bears (later to be identified as Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear). Hungry and exhausted, she let herself into the home where she ate their food and eventually fell asleep in one of the beds. Not only is this a form of trespassing, and breaking and entering, but a reflection of "white entitlement" that is often found during those times of white people seating in spaces that are not designed for them.

That's racist and promotes segregation!

This country was founded for the benefit of white men and women. Laws, employment opportunities, education, and even the standard of beauty has always been toward the upliftment and empowerment of white supremacy. I could go on and on; but spaces that are created specifically for black people to find comfort, acceptance, empowerment, education even, are far too often infiltrated by indignant people of non-color who feel that it is necessary to push for equality (when it benefits them) but not when it comes to total acceptance of all persons regardless of race, nationality, creed, etc...

Although, times have changed, gone are the days of the Willie Lynch Letters; Jim Crow laws; and public lynching's, why are black voices still being snuffed out? Why is it ok for the police to be called when there is a group of black people celebrating and loving life in a public space (*cough, cough* like a park) or for a man to clearly yell out "I can't breathe" and still die in the hands of law enforcement or for a man who is going for a jog (minding his own business) and gets chased down by racist pricks and shot? Or, what about the young innocent black man that was killed "by mistake" (eye roll) in his own apartment by (white) female cop?

Yes, I am a little angry as I write this.

But going back to my original point, the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears has quite a few parallels to life as a Black person here in the U.S.. But rather than rewrite the tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I decided to use werewolves (Goldilocks and the Three Weres').

Check out the snippet below:

“It is unfortunate to report that another young wolf was found dead today just outside of Milly’s Market this morning. Officials believe that the young wolf who is best known by his pack as ‘Ziggy Thompson’, a popular artist in the community with a lot of potential as described by his peers. The details of the case are pending as officials are still searching for the culprits involved. Hate crimes have escalated over the course of the last year here in Bristol County and law makers are convening to discuss a course of action to…”

“This is some bullshit,” Chauncey growled as he took a sip of his beer. “We all know who is responsible for this shit.”

“Shhh,” Mabel scolded. “Be mindful of young ears.”

“I’m sorry love,” Chauncey continued. “But this has been going on for too long. Humans fear us – always have.”

“It’s sad because they just passed the Inclusion Act,” Mabel said sadly.

“We are stronger and faster than their best athlete,” Chauncey griped. He took another hard swig from his Budweiser can and pushed himself off the tattered sofa.

“Please sit down Chauncey,” Mabel pleaded. “the last thing neither of us need is for you to topple over.”

“Oh, hush Mabel,” Chauncey grumbled on shaky legs. He reached for the arm of the couch to steady himself. “You remember me back in the day Mabel. The Rock had nothing on me.”

Mabel chuckled and shook her head. “Oh, I remember alright.”

“Damn right woman,” Chauncey declared proudly. “I was an Alpha before they broke up our pack…”

“I remember…” Mabel whispered as she poured herself another cup of tea. “I remember the day all too well…”

“What happened?” Timothy, the youngest of the pack quizzed as he attempted to sneak into the kitchen.

“Go on!” Mabel scolded, shooing him out of the kitchen. “Dinner’s not done yet and we have to wait for the others to get home.”

“Ok…” Timothy sulked, moving slowly towards the couch where Chauncey returned.

Mabel shook her head, her dark locks falling from the high bun she tied them in on top of her head. She looked over at Timothy’s small frame, her heart suddenly pained with concern. In a few years he will be of age and will be forced to join the work force like his brothers. Humans would see him as nothing more than a threat as they have always viewed their kind. And it was unfortunate that his dark skin nearly made the barcode that had been tattooed on him at birth invisible. That would prove problematic should he be forced to engage with law enforcement.

“Why don’t you sit down and let Pawpaw tell you a story,” Mabel offered, placing a hand on her round hip. That might keep both of them busy, she thought to herself.

“Another one?” Timothy whined as he approached his grandfather. “His stories are soooo long...”

“Now you hush up little pup,” Chauncey barked as Mabel chuckled to herself. “Come sit over here with me little T,” Chauncey continued. “There is a lot that’s been going in the world…a lot that will one day affect you.”

“Like what?” Timothy asked as he plopped down on the couch.

“Well, you see that picture of that young male right there…” Chauncey pointed out at the television.

“Yeah. That’s my friend’s brother,” Timothy said sadly. His large green eyes filling with tears. “They said that there is gonna be a funeral…”

“Yeah…” Chauncey agreed. “All of the packs will be there.”

“Why did they do that to us?” Timothy continued, studying Chauncey for answers.

“Humans tend to hate what they do not understand,” Chauncey stated before clearing his throat. “That’s why Papaw wants to tell you a story…ever hear of the folktale ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’?”

“The teacher told us that in school,” Timothy admitted. “But what does that story have to do with Ziggy?”

Chauncey looked back at Mabel who stopped drying the dishes to smile. Her eyes recounted the memories of that fateful moment in time that would shape their world forever. Chauncey remembered that day like it was yesterday. Old feelings of rage and hurt bubbled to surface of his skin, forcing him to suck in a deep breath to calm himself.

“There was time when humans had no idea that our kind existed outside of myth,” Chauncey began. “For centuries we were able to live amongst humans without dispute. We thrived on the outskirts of humanity, close enough to be in contact but far enough away to remain undisturbed.”

“And what happened?” Timothy whispered.

“Well, it all started with hair as yellow as the hay on the wagon she came riding into town on…”

“Chauncey!” Mabel frowned.

“Well, it’s true,” Chauncey laughed. “That snow bunny caused more harm than good that day and as far as I’m concerned –

“Chauncey!” Mabel fussed.

“Alright, alright I’m just kidding,” Chauncey chuckled. “But this is more than a story young pup. It’s a cautionary tale and a reminder of just how far we have fallen as a race.”

“But we are so much stronger than the humans…we are faster too,” Timothy countered.

“That may be true, but they have us beat by numbers…there are more of them than there are us. And they have spent more time on this planet unaware of our existence; and them knowing that there is something that looks like them but is stronger frightens them. They seek to contain or exterminate everything that is different.” Chauncey sighed and eyed his grandson, who stared back at him curiously. One day Timothy will become a strong wolf like his father and perhaps he even carried the Alpha gene which would make him even more a threat to the humans.

“So, who is Goldilocks Papaw?” Timothy asked.

“The reason why humans and shifters will always be divided,” Chauncey began evenly. “Here is how it all started…”

You can purchase your copy of Still Rising by clicking on the following link:

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