- Vol. 04
- Chapter 06
As patriarch, I had been shape-shifting through various forms, some to educate the youngsters as to camouflage while hunting, some simply to entertain.
Eventually the younger children were put to bed in the boles of nearby Molave, stunted and twisted by the magic of the sacred glade, and I sat on The Warlock Stone, solemnly gesturing for silence. The laughter subsided, allowing me to begin my tale in the fashion of our kind: telepathy and nuances of the body position.
"I was happy in my original home, content in my primitive existence: hunting, playing and loving with my family and friends in the small community in an island group of unspoiled forest, rivers and beaches.
Then the ‘tourists’ came and though they were an exciting novelty for a while, they brought with them a sense of privilege – as if their mere arrival gave them entitlement to our home. They didn’t like our ways, how we looked, what we ate.
Mere annoyance at first, they arrived in increasing numbers. They heaved like pus on an infected wound, devouring our space, destroying foliage upon which we and our prey depended.
I was all for war when they killed sister-son, but the elders vetoed it, recognizing that it would invite catastrophe. So we maintained our meek appearance and traded for enough of their pump boats to carry us away from the pristine islands the invaders were set on despoiling and headed towards the sun, relying on the fish and rain we caught – ignorant of just how long the journey would be.”
“What was that they called us, sire?”
My eldest daughter was talkative. I gave my mate a look. She gave me one right back. No sexism here.
As-wang, I enunciated carefully. It had been years since I had spoken. I always found that the quiet life, with non-verbal communication, was one of contentment: no room for misunderstanding or that human vice: deceit.
I continued in normal lack-of-speech pattern.
“We had had to correct course several times to follow the water-bearing squalls. We were hardier than the ‘tourists’ who had usurped us, but we could still die of thirst.
Hunger was not an issue. Fish, turtles, and sea-snakes that had lived full lives followed our boats and came to our call when we were hungry. Nature provides.”
I was going to continue, but a slight inclination of the head from my mate brought my attention to the subtle indications of sleepiness among the children.
“And that’s enough for now–”
A slow head swivel from her mother put paid to that objection.
“There will be other nights, my child,” I messaged. "We have time."
Walking behind the semicircle of children, my mate flashed through a series of forms I had always found particularly appealing.
I switched to human form and affected a yawn. “I need bedding myself.”
She, whom I adored, whatever form, waggled human eyebrows at me over their heads.
I heart-hugged her in the silence of our minds.