Book 6, Chapter 38

In the instant it took for my conscious mind to catch up with what I’d said, tension gelled around us.

“Um,” I fumbled, trying to find a way to cut through it. “I mean: Hans is a werewolf, too. It’s not his fault or anything. It was an accident.”

It didn’t work. If anything, the tension sprouted spines.

“Fuck you,” Shantaya said. She enunciated it very clearly in the calm night, and threw it like a dagger at Hans. His jaw tightened, but he didn’t lash back at her. She didn’t give him time to. “What the fuck?” She yelled, her voice rising in tempo and volume. “Why would you… Why would anyone…. Why was it Jeremy for fuck’s sake?! What the actual fuck?!” Her wolf had started to pace around her, infected by her emotion and feeding it back to Shantaya as it prowled angrily.

Hans swallowed once, working his jaw. His wolf stirred, but after bumping its head against his thigh it settled back down. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Hans said bluntly. “I was weakened and lost control. Daniel and Jeremy paid for it, and you and anyone who was with you, as well.”

“My sister,” Shantaya snapped. “My sister is one of those monster… one of us, you bastard. And Jeremy, and even that jackass Jacob. Jesus! Jacob was bad enough as a jackass, and you went and turned him into a werewolf?! What. The. Fuck. I saw him turn into a monster. This isn’t fucking made up!”

“I know,” Hans said. He managed to remain calm in the face of Shantaya’s jumbled outrage and fury — I was a little impressed with him, but only as much as I could be given how much of me was overwhelmed with sympathy for her. I’d been there, when the world turns upside down and inside out and suddenly you don’t even know if you can really call yourself human anymore. I had no trouble imagining how rattled she was, and she’d been holding herself together all night because she was compelled to take care of me. She’d probably been on the edge of snapping apart the whole time.

I know I would have been.

“It was an accident,” Hans reiterated, “but that doesn’t excuse it. I know it’s hard and overwhelming, but I’ll take care of everyone the curse has passed on to. You won’t have to go through it alone.”

“Alone?” Shantaya blurted. Her eyes were wide with outrage. “Of course I won’t be alone: my sister got turned into a wereweolf too! But that doesn’t mean we want any damn thing to do with the guy who started it!”

I felt an almost imperceptible urge to twitch with each of Shantaya’s statements. They lashed at my guilt: it was an accident on Hans’ part, but I’d deliberately fed on him, tearing open his aura and leaving him vulnerable to his wolf taking control. Lewellyn had pushed that damage over the top, but if I hadn’t….

“It’s not his fault,” I blurted. “I’m the one who started it. None of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t gotten involved.”

Shantaya and Hans ignored me.

Of course they ignored me: they were enthralled by me. As far as they were concerned, deep down in their souls, I could probably do no wrong.

Fuck me.

“You don’t want to go through this without guidance,” Hans said flatly. “I know what it’s going to be like. I have a safe place for you to shift on the full moon. This entire apartment complex used to belong to the pack; we can put it to use again.”

“Woah,” Shantaya said. Her hands clenched into fists and her stance shifted. “Woah, wait! You want us to fucking move in with you? After what you did to us? Are you insane?

I thought I saw Hans flinch. It was just a micro expression, but it was hard for my heightened senses to miss: even with my aura filled out, the tension was tripping my panic triggers which were riling up my supernatural instincts’ tendency to go into observation overdrive.

“Only on — or near — the full moon,” Hans asserted. “And it needn’t be with me specifically. There are plenty of apartments around here, all with just as much access to a secure basement. And that’s the important thing: that you’re keeping your wolf-self secure and unable to run rampant.”

Shantaya scoffed. “Right, like you’re an expert on that.

Hans’ temper finally seemed to break: his brow pinched into a furrow and his jaw set in a scowl. “I have dealt with my curse for decades longer than you’ve been alive,” he growled. His wolf rose to its feet, teeth on display. Shantaya’s wolf snarled back. “Wolves are pack creatures. They operate on a hierarchy. Right now, your wolf is trying to decide if you are higher than it, and if you don’t reign it in, it will control you. And if you don’t keep it secure when the full moon rises, it will go after threats to its pack first. Threats like anyone you care about who isn’t already a lycanthrope. Understand?”

Shantaya pulled herself up taller, but she still looked shaken. “Are you threatening my family? My friends?!” She spat the words out as an accusation — but not as antagonistically as she had her earlier outbursts.

“You know I’m not,” Hans said darkly. “You are the threat to them if you don’t treat this seriously. And that means calming down and accepting whatever help you can get. Including mine.”

The tension broke.

Shantaya seemed to shrink in on herself. She shook her head vehemently. “No,” she said. “No. I’m angry. I have every right to be angry.” She looked up at Hans, and I saw tears glisten in the corners of her eyes. “I’m not going to just sit down and shut up while everything goes crazy. I won’t! I saw what this does to people. I saw what Jeremy turned into. I saw what happened with Jacob. I’m not going to… I’m not a monster.”

The last protest was almost a sob, and it was too much for me. Just days ago it had been me. I pulled my awareness back, and the ghost-wolves faded out of my perceived existence. In their absence I could suddenly see Shantaya differently. Without the context of her wolf, she was just a stressed, exhausted teen on the verge of tears. And Hans was the hulking bulwark of inevitability standing ready to crush her.

“Go inside,” I said quietly. No one reacted, so I said it louder: “Go inside, Hans. She understands. I’ll deal with this part.” I didn’t want to. If there was anything I wanted to deal with less than one of my own breakdowns, it was someone else’s. But life is unfair like that, and I was the only one on hand who had anything remotely like an idea of what Shantaya was going through. Or at least, anything like recent experience with it.

Hans took a deep breath. Then he turned stiffly and strode away.

I went to Shantaya and hugged her about as awkwardly as when Fumiko hugged me. “You aren’t a monster,” I told her. It was the best thing anyone had said to comfort me, so I tried to use it to comfort her. “You aren’t. Being a werewolf is a horrible, messed up thing that has happened to you — but it isn’t because of fault or blame. You didn’t do anything to deserve it. You couldn’t have done anything to avoid it. And it doesn’t change who you are, deep down. It doesn’t.”

I had no idea how much of what I was saying was repeating what people had told me, or how much was what I really believed, or how much was just me saying what I hoped was the right thing to say. If Megan had still been here, she would’ve been doing a better job at it than I was — but she wasn’t here, and Shantaya was crying on my shoulder.

“How do you know?” Shantaya forced herself to ask. She pulled away, and her jaw trembled, but she was holding back her sobs. She scrubbed her cheeks with the back of one hand. “You’re a…” She stopped, unable to voice whatever the next word would be.

Monster? Vampire? Murderer? Emotionally Manipulative Psychopath? Undead Mind-Controlling Super Villainess bent on City Domination? Or at least bedroom domination. Or being dominated in the…. stop it, Abby!

I couldn’t figure out how to reply. “I died, like, a week ago,” I said on autopilot while my brain went in circles, trying to figure out how she saw me. I couldn’t bring myself to check her leyline: I knew it would just show me that she was enthralled and thought I was fantastic. Almost blurting out that she thought I was… something… was probably closer to what she really thought of me than I could ever know from spying on her soul. “So I kind of know what it’s like to have the world go upside down and inside out.”

I let my hands fall to my sides and I stepped back. “Magic is real. So are monsters. But monsters were real before, and they were all people, you know. Like: rapists and murderers and people who abused their kids and stuff.”

“Politicians,” Shantaya offered with a half hearted snort. “Racists,” she added more firmly.

“Yeah,” I said. “All that shit. It didn’t take magic for them to be monsters. And being a monster doesn’t stop them from being a person. So… I think that being a literal monster doesn’t stop us from being people, too. And people get to choose if they’re going to be one of the real monsters — one of the metaphorical monsters — because that is determined by what we do, not what we are.”

I stopped, thinking about what I’d said. I’d just been running on autopilot, but now that I was reflecting on it…. Yeah. I’d said that because I actually believed it; not because it was just what would be the ‘right’ thing to say.

“Preaching to the choir,” Shantaya whispered. I glanced at her, uncertain what she meant: she’d said it with feeling, like maybe she’d thought about this sort of thing before. She snifled and rubbed her nose with the back of her arm instead of explaining.

“What do you mean?” I asked. I wasn’t too certain I wanted to know, because my hold on this idea that I wasn’t a real monster even if I was a literal monster was still tenuous. But I couldn’t help myself.

Shantaya looked at me, and for a moment I think she was really looking at me. Looking past the ‘this is a vampire’ and ‘for some inexplicable reason I think the world of her’ bullshit. She scoffed slightly to herself: something between a snort and a laugh.

“Did you grow up around many PoC?” Shantaya finally asked.

I hesitated. “PoC?”

“People of color,” Shantaya said. “And I’ll take that as a ‘no.'”

For some reason, I felt a flash of defensiveness. “I grew up in a small town,” I said. “And I was really introverted.” Also, the extent of the ethnic diversity that I could recall from my highschool was one guy who’d claimed to be quarter Native American, and a girl with some kind of ancestry from the Philippines. I remembered that being a big deal for some reason. She’d been pretty and popular, though, so she’d been way out of my social circle — which had consisted of me — and I hadn’t paid much attention beyond trying my best not to do anything mortifying around her.

Shantaya held up a hand in a ‘stop’ motion. “Woah. Slow down. I haven’t said a thing critical of you or your hometown, now have I? But if you’re gonna get defensive, I’m guessing you know there’s something wrong on some level, so you just think about that. Later. My point, to get back to now, is that I know what it’s like to be treated different for what you are, rather than what you do. I mean, Jacob doesn’t mess up white girl’s names — and that’s just the fucking tip of the racism iceberg. Jeremy lost his job for being a ‘thug’ and he was a volunteer librarian. So when you say we aren’t necessarily what people say we are, just because of something we happen to literally be: I get that.”

I bit down on the inside of my lip, mostly to bite back a response that I was pretty sure would wind up being seriously inappropriate somehow. Partially because: why did I want to argue when she was agreeing with me?  And partially because: what did I know about being on the receiving end of racism? I mean: I wanted to say we’d dealt with that back in the civil rights era, because that’s what they said in school.  But if that wasn’t the case, how would I be justified in judging it?

I mean, if someone told me that they’d experienced shitty treatment just because the color of their skin, where did I get off claiming they hadn’t just because I had a preconceived notion that racism didn’t exist anymore? I’d accepted what Emma told me about being polyamarous and bisexual, because she was polyamorous and bisexual and I was just figuring that out about myself — I hadn’t even known polyamory was a thing. So shouldn’t I take Shantaya’s word for it, when she described what she and that other kid, Jeremy, had personally experienced?  Especially since my skin meant that I’d never go through whatever they had, myself?

And did that explain why was I suddenly feeling uneasy with the fact that there hadn’t been any… any people of color in my school, back at home? Or in my circle of immediate friends, now? There’d been a couple who sat in the back in anime club in college, but I’d been too much of a neurotic wreak to reach out to anyone I didn’t already know.

Holy crap, was I racist?

“Yeah,” I said, unexpectedly shaken. I think I managed to cover it up, though. Maybe I was just sheltered? Anyway: The important thing was that Shantaya seemed to be comforted by the parallel. I could deal with my own crisis of conscience later. Hell, I could literally take a long, hard look at my soul and try to figure that one out.

“You know what pisses me off?” Shantaya asked. I wasn’t sure who had started it, but we were walking now: not quite back toward the house, but not directly away from it either.

I made some kind of inquiry noise, too busy with my introspection to form a proper response.

“It’s such a stupidly minor thing in context,” Shantaya said, “but: Black people being portrayed as ‘animalistic’ is so overdone it’s a trope. And now here I am: A werewolf.” She laughed, but there was a level of unease in it that pulled my attention out of my head.

“What is it?” I asked her.

Shantaya chewed on her lip for a moment without replying. We walked a little further, and then she finally said: “Do you think it hurts? Changing shapes?”

Oh. “Yes,” I said — unwilling to lie about it. Hans had told me that it did. “Hans told me that it did. But he also said that after a while, the pain… it doesn’t fade, but it becomes common. And the experience of having a wolf’s body and senses becomes worth it, when you choose to do it without losing control to the spirit wolf that’s competing with you.”

“Oh,” Shantaya said softly. “I mean… I saw Jacob shift. And it looked… Oh, god: Jeremy. He’s already been through that. And Janiqua is going to. And…” Her eyes started to brim again. “This sucks,” she said quietly.

“Yeah,” I said again. I didn’t know what to add to that.

Shantaya glanced over at me. “But you said that we don’t have to lose control?” She sounded so hopeful. “That guy, Hans, told you that shifting isn’t so bad if the wolf doesn’t take over?”

I nodded. “Not on the full moon. You won’t win that contest, ever. There’s too much tradition of magic behind it. But the rest of the time… Yeah.” And if the wolf chooses to give you control, I thought but didn’t add. I wasn’t sure if a wolf would do that for me again, and I didn’t want to get Shantaya’s hopes up. But it did make me wonder why more werewolves didn’t partner with vampires in order to have their wolves enthralled and kept under control.

I was going to have to ask more questions about the Council of Thirteen, wasn’t I?

“Okay,” Shantaya said. “I… I’m going to go talk to him. I mean: I’m still mad. But we need to know… and it was an accident. Curtis explained that. Even if knowing that doesn’t help.” She hesitated, then added: “Do you want to come in?”

I stopped, and so did Shantaya. I shook my head. “Not quite yet,” I said. “I think I’ll wait for Ben and Fumiko and the rest to get here.” I had a lot to think about, and that was something I always did best alone. “You go in, though.”

It probably showed just how seriously Shantaya did take her new condition, and how desperately she was looking for a silver lining to being a werewolf, but she didn’t argue that she needed to stay with me. “Okay,” she said. “Just: be careful. And if anything happens, shout and I’ll hear you.”

I nodded. “I will,” I promised.

I waited and watched Shantaya dash back to the house before doing anything else. Then I looked around, and finally I found an unobtrusive spot where two of the apartment buildings merged together, making a little nook in their shared yard. I went there and sank down on my heels, sitting in the concealment of the building’s sides and the scraggly bushes planted along the front of them.

Okay, yes: I was now one of those creepers who snuck around in bushes outside of houses at night. At least these houses weren’t occupied. That made a difference, right? Right?

I squeezed my eyes shut and shoved that worry aside for later. I breathed in, and then I breathed out. I had a lot of thinking to do, and a lot of soul searching, too. I stopped breathing. Then I stopped my heart beating. Then I stopped hearing, or seeing, or feeling, or anythinging as I quelled every living aspect of my body and reached out — forcing my soul to let go of it’s connection to my body; striving for dormancy.

Because, I reminded myself as my awareness blossomed into a sphere around my corpse, I can see my soul a whole lot better while dormant.

Midnight Moonlight, Book 6

17 responses to Book 6, Chapter 38

  1. Eren Reverie

    It’s a little odd that this chapter coincided with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. (Okay, it’s coming out a day after. That’s still close enough to count as coinciding with the general time frame, right?) That is, however, a coincidence. I knew that overt and subtle racism would be things I’d have to look at way back when Fumiko was my only non-white character, and as I’ve written (and become more woke, myself) I’ve realized I’d also have to eventually look at things like white fragility, white washing, etc. The characters I’m writing are, quite simply, the sort of people who would be knowledgeable and upset by that kind of bullshit.

    I’m really nervous about taking on those subjects, though. Not because they’re bound to stir up emotions and possibly some kind of back lash (I mean: I would’ve figured all the lgbt and bdsm stuff would do that, too — though there’s something especially volatile when race comes up and white fragility enters the conversation) but because, frankly, I’m a white transgender girl. Writing a person of color’s perspective on racism is *not* my place. Were this not a work of fiction, I would be keeping my mouth shut on the matter and making room for actual people of color to share their experieces.

    Since this is fiction, though, I hope I can at least do a fictional story’s justice to the truth of the matter — and I am very seriously concerned about saying something wrong, portraying something poorly, or otherwise screwing it up when I do present those views in the story. If I am somehow fumbling the matter baddly, I welcome correction and education. Or, if you have experience with this and want to share it in the comments: Feel free to. I personally hold that any space I have control over is a safe space, and that includes all of my blogs. Plus, so far my readers have all been pretty awesome and understanding folks, when they’ve commented. 😉

    Anyway… yeah. With all that weighty, serious stuff said: I hope you’ve enjoyed the chapter. Thanks for reading.

    • Don

      I’m white. But I grew up in the blackest part of Norfolk, only white kid for miles around.

      After moving a few times, I found myself in the neighborhood again around 9 years old. I ran into a friend I recognized, he asked me to walk with him to the store. We took a different route than I remembered, ended up in a back lot. My friend led me to his brother, who with a group of his other friends, pinned me against a fence, beat me up and pissed on me.

      I thought they were just being jerks. I didn’t connect it with racism until much later as a teen, after running into situations like that again and again. I thought I was just unlikable. Socially awkward. While I was, the damning character trait I had was that I was white.

      I’ve had a lot of time since then to reflect on that. And the result is that anyone who brings up race – either as a reason to look down on others, or as a reason to feel victimized – pisses me off.

      I have no patience with the race card, or with people who correlate ‘oblivous’ to ‘racist’. If you’re not noticing that other people are suffering because of their color, that does not mean you’re part of the problem. In fact, the more you notice these things, the more racist you become. You’re judging experiences based on an arbitrary feature.

      Culture is more of a factor than race. Family, friends, those are factors in how well your life experience is. Money is probably the biggest factor of all, in hundreds of ways people don’t automatically recognize. Race, though? It’s a strawman. It’s only important because people make it important, and if someone isn’t overtly getting on your shit because of your color, then don’t start yourself, as a victim mindset or as a perpetrator. Either is equally disgusting, because the line between victim and victimizer is hair thin when you’re dealing with such logic.

      Morgan Freeman sums up my feelings on racism better than anyone else. Look up his interviews on the subject. When asked, ‘How are we going to solve racism?’ his answer was, ‘Stop talking about it.’

      There are so many much more dangerous, awful things in our world to stress over, racism just doesn’t merit the energy. Especially since all that energy does, is feed it.

      • Eren Reverie

        I think I’m going to have to disagree with your analysis, at least as far as it pertains to racism in the United States and how to deal with it. Your exerience was certainly horrible, but when I look at racism as an institutionalization and societal integration of discrimination, the statistics in this country back up its existence: lower wages, disproportionate incarceration, etc.

        I know that correlation does not necessitate causation, but when you take into account things like Jim Crow laws, racial profiling, and so forth it becomes pretty clear that these things are not at all coincidental.

        For the same offense, white people are statistically more likely to get lesser sentencing than PoC. And so on, and so forth. Not talking about it, as far as I can tell, just allows the system to keep on as it has been — which is no solution at all. I’m much more of the opinion that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, had it right when he said that the freedom is never given freely to the opressed, it must always be demanded from the opressor.

        Being ignorant isn’t something that someone should be blamed for until they’ve reached a point where their ignorance is willful: a choice to disregard what they are being told or to dismiss facts. The problem there is that regardless of any ‘fault,’ people living in ignorance of a problem is used by others to dismiss its existence. As Edmund Burke said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Whether that action is the result of ignorance or unwillingness to intervene is, as far as that evil is concerned, completely immaterial.

        • Don

          When I said strawman, I mean it. But it’s complicated by our nation’s history. It doesn’t look like a strawman. But it is.

          How can I put this?

          Right now, the national argument isn’t about overt racism, but about the subtler socioeconomic pressure as it relates to race. That’s fine. But you have to look harder at the word ‘socioeconomic’.

          It is entirely possible in this day and age for blacks to rise on their own merit – but if they come from a damaged community, it’s a strike against them. If they’re poor, it’s another strike. If they don’t know anybody who’s a lawyer, or a doctor, or a successful businessman, that’s a third and damning strike, because those connections *matter*.

          You would think race would be another strike. It can be, history has shown that. But it’s really not, right now. What is so horribly damaging is the effect of communities.

          Imagine neighborhoods and even large cities where most people are 3 strikes out.

          But those are hard enemies to finger. So…

          Throw in news reports of white people hating black people. Nevermind that the actual statistics for hate crimes are roughly an even distribution per capita across all races, it’s constantly in the conversation – because the U.S. has a history of it, and comic-book stereotypes are making loud noises on every side. Now… NOW you have something simple and easy to blame. The man. And all the complicated stuff about interpersonal relationships and the importance of building communities drops off a cliff.

          People think of professionals as people who work at their job and take off the job at home. But they’re not. They teach by example, they help form networks, they lift the entire community of their own friends and family up – and in communities that lack them, that is a grievous hole to fill. An almost impossible one.

          By focusing on race as the problem, instead of individuals and communities, racism and those “Good men who do something” are ascending the original error into the realm of the absurd.

          You can’t tackle the symptoms of racism by standing against racism, because the symptoms are *not caused by racism*. Everyone has to deal with people who cut you down. If it’s not race, it’s height, or wealth, or acne.

          Now, overt racism is different. Hate crimes happen, and should be treated as such. But this indirect-subtle-racism b.s. is diverting attention away from the wrong things.

          Seriously, watch Morgan Freeman’s talks on the subject. It’s eye opening.

          • Eren Reverie

            I’ve watched Morgan Freeman’s talks on the subject as you suggested, and I’m going to have to continue to disagree with you. Sure, there’s a lot of intersection of issues — but for PoC, the socioeconomic factors you’re mentioning are the product of laws based in white supremisism. That makes them “symptoms of racism.” On top of that, they are integrated into our very culture — tropes like ‘The PoC dies first,’ the PoC ‘thug’ and so forth exist in fiction exist because they were created out of a racist mindset — which means, intentionally racist or not, perpetuating them is perpetuating racism.

            All those strikes against your hypothetical PoC trying to rise their stature have been institutionally reinforced — that’s racism in action. And it seems to me that the BLM movement is very much in response to overt racism, even though it raises awareness of subtler expressions of it as well. ~_~ Look at the percentage of incarcerated PoC compared to Caucasians, despite the disparity in their corresponding population sizes. Look at racial profiling.

            Actually, take a look at Martin Luther King Jr’s letter from a Birmingham jail — but first read the letter that it is a response to. The rhetoric of the people trying to shut down the civil rights movement then is the same as that in use today (at least, when people today bother to use rhetoric rather than spouting off hatefully), and MLK’s arguments can almost verbatim be applied to the issues raised by BLM on behalf of PoC, and faced by BLM as a protest organization. Just change ‘segregation’ to ‘police brutality.’ And that’s telling.

            I do agree to an extent that how the media talks about racism is problematic, though. It seems to reinforce it more than it informs about it, especially in how violence against or by PoC is often shown in detail, while violence against or by white folks is given less sensationalized coverage. This furthers stereotypes, which furthers discrimination based on those stereotypes.

            Anyway, your point of view is appreciated, but I don’t think we’re going to be able to make a dialogue out of it. If you find the portrayal of race relations in the story to be unrealistic, feel free to speak up — but otherwise I’d like to let this particular discussion of it end here.

            Thank you,

  2. magicdownunder

    I have a Asian background, I use to live in a poorer predominately white community in South Australia and in my experience I didn’t even notice racism while growing up (this maybe because I had white grandparents (since my mother was adopted). It was only until I moved into the city that minor racism occurred though at that point I was so jaded by TV it didn’t really bother me.

    No real point in sharing this story, just wanted people to know that not all predominately white poorer communities are raging pitch folk welding Red Necks.

    • magicdownunder

      *fork (*_*) – I don’t know why the word “fork” in underlined red and needs spell checking…

      • Eren Reverie

        Yeah: in my personal experience, subtle racism is a lot mor common than overt. To this day I don’t know if my sister, who is a PoC, went to a different school because of her educational needs or if the color if her skin was a factor. I do, however, know that I was raised to be blind to the derogatory and discriminitory things I witnessed, in person or in the media. “Explicit” racism was derided and people were fast to reassure each other that they were good people — and they basically were. But anything out of sight was willfully kept out of mind, and anything subtle was normalized.

        Basically, “moderates” are way more common than klanners, but, well… BLM wouldn’t exist if there weren’t a serious and ongoing problem. And Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was spot on when he called out white moderates in his letter from Birmingham jail: even today, what he said still applies.

        • Eren Reverie

          As an addendum, MNML, though I don’t know off hand if I’ve ever explicitly said it, takes place in the United States of America, though. I actually based Abby’s home town on my own, the only difference being that there was a single male student with ancestry from the Philippines in my high school class, before I moved to a college-esque school for my last two years. And where I grew up, we were essentially told that racism flat out did not exist anymore — and not to pay attention to the fact that for some reason there were no PoC in our community.

          Later, in college, I found out that my home town actually used to have a very large Klan presence. But I didn’t even know that being pulled over by the cops because of the color of a person’s skin was even a thing that happened until it was brought up in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

          And now we have freaking Trump as president elect, and the “alt-right” neo-nazis and white supremacists coming out of wherever they’ve been lurking, and all kinds of institutionalized prejudice and discrimination, to such an extent that BLM is a thing that exists. And rightfully so, because it is, in this country, incredibly necessary. :/

          Anyway, yeah. I’m getting a little ranty and I apologize for that. Thank you for sharing your experience — and I do hope that I wasn’t portraying all rural white communities as rabidly racist. I think that the actuality is a lot more “moderate” than that, with racism manifesting most often in subtler ways than anything I’d call “rabid.” Unfortunately, unless it’s confronted I also think that subtle racism just serves to maintain the status quo of discrimination, and even normalize the people who are rabidly hateful.

  3. From what I noticed, the racism in this series is pretty tame in comparison to reality. A good thing in my opinion. Growing up and living in south Louisiana my entire life surrounded by people of all colors, I’ve seen racism that is subtle, blatant, or just outright unreasonable hatred and has gotten me steeled for this kind of stuff.

    A lot the people of color down here seem to feel the need to propagate their respective stereotypes and lower their self images. About 1/3rd of whites seem to have a similar problem with superiority complexes.

    I lived in a ghetto for a few years at one point. Honestly, I feared for my safety every time I stepped outside just to get the mail. It wasn’t because it was a low income area either. I’d lived in several other places where people were just barely scraping by, but that place, was just bad. I’d heard gunshots just across the street on multiple occasions. Years later, I still can’t figure out what the point of the gangsta ghetto atmosphere was all about. There was more than one freaking police station a block away and that shit still happened.

    Unfortunately, racism is a thing that isn’t going to go away until we all have the same skin color. It’s a defensive instinct against the “unknown”. I’ve often found meeting white strangers isn’t as anxiety inducing as meeting strangers of color. From what I’ve learned talking to others, PoC have the same feeling when meeting with someone “different”. As humans, we just feel more comfortable around people who are the same as us.

    I take after my mother’s side of the family so I look German. Very German. My dad’s side of the family came from north Africa and the Mediterranean area to the States some 400 years ago. I have slaves in the family tree and a few pictures of a great grandfather who looks like he came straight from Africa.
    Being so white, I am unable to experience such things myself, as horrible as they are. I can’t say I can or ever will truly understand what it feels like to be marginalized like that.

    And lets face it, people will ALWAYS find something to hate about each other.

    Sorry for the high school book report.

    Thanks for the chapter, I love your story, and I’ll be sure to point out racism that is unreasonably unrealistic in future chapters if I see it.

    • Eren Reverie

      Thanks, and I don’t mind the high school book report at all — I did ask about people’s experiences, after all! It’s been interesting hearing from people outside of the states, but I’m glad to hear from someone in the US, too.

      I personally grew up in an extremely white town.
      Even now that I’m in a city, it’s kind of astonishing how prevalent the racial divides are. I know that’s not the case for all cities, of course, but in this one? Wow.

      I know that my own experience is really skewed toward ignorance, even with my best efforts at getting past my background. And I’m very concerned with underselling the importance of the issue — but unfortunately, because of my experience I’m a lot more suited to write Abby’s persepective of discovering it than I am the PoC characters’ of living it. (Which is probably why there has been so much anxiety posting and replying on this chapter, on my part, heh.)

      Anyway, I am striving to write as authentic I story as I can (for a story about vampires, werewolves and faeries!) whenever it comes to real-life issues, like living with an anxiety disorder, being lgbt or polyamorous, or experiencing racism or discrimination or dealing with abusively critical parents or whatever else. I’ll offer all apropriate thanks to anyone who calls me out on setting up strawman characters or whitewashing, pinkwashing, or anything else of that nature.

      I do want to say, though, that I think the issue of feeling safer when meeting people with the same skin tone has more to it than just being a matter of feeling safer meeting people who are similar to yourself — at least here in the US, and in my experience. And that is that white folks are nervous about meeting PoC because we’ve been socialized to think of them as ‘thuggish’ and criminal, and PoC have grown up knowing that if it comes down to thier word against a white person’s, the law is going to persecute them. In other words, all other things being as close to the same as possible, white people have an extra, socialized, imaginary fear of PoC — while PoC have a very real expectation that they can and will be harmed by white folks — whether they be individual white radicals, or our institutions, which were founded in and perpetuate white radicalism and supremism.

      • fangfan

        silencecomes’ statement about our instinctive fear of people who seem “strange” to us is certainly true. We instinctively “know” since stoneage, that unfamiliar individuals mean potential danger, we feel uneasy when we hear people near us speaking in a language we don’t understand, especially if they happen to look at us, because our inner ape instinctively fears that they are probably talking about how to best hit us over the head and eat us for lunch. We cannot completely stop those feelings, but it already helps when we are selfaware and reflexive about it. In Germany, PoCs are quite common in many of the bigger cities, but extremely rare in rural areas and in many parts of eastern Germany, and guess what, the idiot nationalist racist groups are strongest in those areas where you hardly ever see a foreigner. Once you are used to the sight, it becomes less alarming to your instincts, even more so once you actually get to know people of another race and deal with them in your daily life (provided of course, you get to now them by normal social interaction, not by one part dragging the other part into a back ally and beating him up 😉 ).

  4. Plaguehunter

    After a week or so I’ve finally read it all. Hi. Only just found this and finally caught up, plenty enjoying it so far, now to throw in on this topic.

    First. Frankly, I’ve never heard of this PoC phrase before, I guess that’s because I’m from England and frankly we don’t give much of a shit to what your skin colour is here (also, having phrase to refer to people with coloured skin, in my opinion, a more polite and less racist way of pointing out that they are still different from white people, which, frankly, is counterproductive to the idea of saying that there is no meaningful difference between white people and coloured people as a person), although that could 1. be because of the area I’m in for why we don’t really care or 2. I’m a miserable antisocial shit who doesn’t like to socialise with anyone at all so I never noticed. Probably the first because I doubt I wouldn’t have noticed at least the presence of racism. Probably. There’s also the fact that I seriously doubt that PoC phrase is really, if at all, used here. What we generally struggle to understand is more mental illness than race, which again, could probably be because I’m more exposed to that because I have one myself.

    tl;dr to make sure people don’t get the wrong idea because I know I’m bad at making my point in long, explanations: I don’t care what colour your skin is, I don’t see the point in making a distinction based on it.

    Second. This is about the website itself, now I read across multiple devices, my PC when I’m at it, tablet for in bed/on the sofa, and phone for when I’m outside, so I have had to update which chapter I’m at when I change device, which, when I’m moving to my PC, isn’t an issue, but when I’m moving to a mobile device, it is. There are 2 problems/annoyances, the first is the archives drop-down menu, because of the way mobile devices work, if a drop-down menu doesn’t have a link in the mouse over section (The archive word) when you click on it, the drop-down menu won’t appear, so I can’t get into the ToC, whereas I can get into the other drop-down menus because they do have a link in the direct button, so if you could add a link to the archive button, it would make things so much easier for mobile devices please. Second problem. This appears in lots of websites but the fact that the upload date is in the website address for each chapter page, I can’t just go to a different chapter by changing the numbers in the address, because I’d need to remember the upload date as well, which isn’t going to reasonably happen for people (also, manually typing in the dates on mobile devices is really awkward, and annoying when I accidentally hit the button to clear the entire address bar, at which point I have to start over again), which wouldn’t be a problem if I could access the ToC, which, once again, on a mobile device, isn’t possible through the navigation buttons, and I just looked and your naming format for the ToC book webpages isn’t consistent, which will make it even harder once again to remember. Now I won’t ask about removing the date from the chapter pages for the ones uploaded so far, because I know that will be incredibly annoying, but it would be much easier to go around if it was possible to access the ToC from the navigation bar, but that is the whole point of this ramble for mobile devices, we – or at least I – using safari on an apple iPad, and chrome on a Samsung phone, can’t access it.

    tl;dr for the website problems: add a webpage link onto the archive button and that will get rid of 80% of chapter page navigation issues for mobile devices.

    Finally. There. I’ve finally caught up after about a week give or take, now to go and catch up on everything else being distracted by this made me drag behind on, seriously, how dare you make a story I enjoy so much I end up behind on reading other stories. The nerve! 😀

  5. Star34

    Hello and it’s been a long time, but I finally got over being sad. Just saying that I am back again, and now have about 2 books to read thru. Since I think I left off near the start of 4.

    I am around again and missed Abigail.

    • Eren Reverie

      Hi; welcome back. I’m sorry you’ve been sad — I hope Abby and company’s shenanigans can provide some happy entertainment. 🙂

  6. I’m a bit late here but I have one question. “In the instant it took for my conscious mind to catch up with what I’d said, tension gelled around us.” …gelled?

  7. Unfettered

    I think this is beautifully written, and I am so glad to see the race and werewolf issue brought up (along with race in general). This is one of the things I love best about mnml–you don’t shy away from these things, and you bring us great characters and fantastic plot.

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