Genre: paranormal western (shifters)
They called it the “wild” west for a reason. For a young bobcat shifter, the hardest part was fitting in and staking a claim on her territory.
Where You Can Find It
- at the Storyteller’s Vault (DriveThruFiction)
It’s been a while since I had the opportunity to write in the White Wolf universe. When the developer, Bill Bodden, asked me if I’d like to submit something, I jumped at the chance. Reconnecting with the World of Darkness took me back to a time when I was just beginning my writing career. It was like going home. Warm and fuzzy, and toothsome. I hope you enjoy my story.
As I write this, Mr. McGraw—your sire—is lying dead on the road, at the mercy of wolves. The outlaws who invaded our home will be far downstream by the time the river thaws. After today, I will no longer be Mother. You must commit this to memory and then burn it. It is for you alone. It is your birthright to know me and to know how this land came to be yours, but if these words fall into the wrong hands, your enemies could use it against you in the cruelest of ways.
I was both your mother and your father, and no other person matters. Nevertheless, I will tell you about the man who delivered you into my belly so that you might understand the sacrifices it takes to survive in this decaying world. Myrtle was my twenty-seventh name, given me by a madam in Boston who said, “Never use your real name when whorin’. It’ll taint your soul.” She chose it for me because of the plant’s association with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and if that ain’t a laugh, I don’t know what is.
No one living but me, the First Mother, and now you, know my birth name—Deòiridh. It means “pilgrim.”
I was Myrtle when I met Mr. McGraw in the saloon in Florence. I’d come to Idaho to get away from the War of the Rebellion. It was the autumn of 1861, and word had spread about gold in the hills. The men there prospected, and the women took advantage of the men’s needs. Everyone was making a profit in those early days.
For me, their money didn’t satisfy. I saw the signs. The Cahlash was seducing them with gold, enticing them to spread their disease into the wild west. It wouldn’t last. Anything that shines that bright never does.
That first Winter was the hardest. Cold as a Chaya. It snowed for over a hundred days straight. Many men refused to take shelter—sure they would miss their chance at striking gold. Instead they lost feet, hands, noses, and ears to frostbite, lost their sight to snow-blindness, and lost their lives to the cold. Food ran short. Many survived on flour paste and spruce tea.
Occasionally, I hunted in bobcat form and provided extra meat for the women in the saloon, but I had to be careful. They couldn’t know I’d tracked and killed the prey myself, so I made up stories about the men I’d favored to get it. The saloon was a regular target for robbers who thought they deserved food more than womenfolk. We learned how to hide our stores in the snowbanks and cover our tracks.
Mr. McGraw became a regular in my bed. He thought my brown skin and female body gave him rights over me, and I let him think it. My subservience made him all the more eager to have me. I took his beatings without complaint and did everything for him that a good wife would—for a fee.