Sometimes it looks like racism because it is

•July 15, 2019 • 3 Comments

In the modern society, people are quick to say that it is not racism. I have been bullied by two young white women and their clique for about four years now. Their forms of bullying are numerous, and they often recruit other people from their popular group of young, mostly thin, predominately white 25 to 33 year old “mean girls.”

This is a screencap of one of the ringleader’s comments from SFGoth Group on my politely worded petition:

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Death Guild is an organization that was started by personal friends of mine back in 1993. Although a lot of them are attached to the logo, and are angry, they are actually personal friends of mine. This is not a crusade against Death Guild, it is a crusade against racism in the club. This girl and her friend are directly responsible for a number of racial microaggressions, tenter bullying, smear campaigns, shunning, ostracization techniques, completely false or blatantly exaggerated rumors, and other bullying techniques directed at me, an up and coming black writer who regularly vends at the aforementioned goth club.

This girl and her friend created a hostile environment, tripping me when I was loading equipment out of the club, intentionally hitting me, and speaking in extremely fallacious and loaded terms about me. Their longstanding bullying and character assassination attempts are all directed at me, a 51 year old African American goth who was one of only two black folks on the first night the club was in operation to the best of my knowledge, and is the only one of those still attending.

The woman this quote comes from was involved in a bullying campaign back in late 2015 that culminated with my attempting suicide. The nature of this bullying attempt is particularly heinous. Here are the details:

  • My former fiance Gregory Hug, who has since passed away (May 26, 2017) was standing outside of the club, Death Guild, telling everyone he was HIV positive, and that I was his exgirlfriend.
  • This woman and her friend were hostile towards me due to my association with the other woman’s exboyfriend.
  • In order to “troll” her exboyfriend, they created an elaborate lie to convince him and his new girlfriend that I had exposed him and his new girlfriend to HIV
  • When he was single, he dated a lot of women, and I was one. As far as I know, the only black one out of seven or so girls. I had spent the night with the guy and made out with him in morning before he got in his car and when to work.
  • The guy was/is an alcoholic. He passed out in the car and threw up earlier in the night. They created an elaborate timeline in order to “teach him a lesson” about drinking and hooking up. As I didn’t know he was still sleeping with his exgirlfriend at the time. They were going to “teach him a lesson” by “trolling him” about how he probably had HIV from me.
  • I was attacked by groups of people who were bumping into me and hitting me and talking loudly about my HIV status as a result. This is a very serious allegation and a very serious matter. I did not have sex with him at all, but in order to sell the idea that he might have contracted HIV, they fabricated tales of sex in the period of time where he had been unconscious. What actually happened during those hours was that I spent 2 hours drunk-driving him home because I wasn’t very sober. This was over 4 years ago, by the way.
  • I attempted suicide over these false allegations, over the loss of the relationship with the young man in question, over the bullying, the lies, my ex-boyfriend’s HIV status, and my mother’s cancer, as she had been getting chemotherapy twice a week. She died in January.
  • I am HIV negative and had not had sexual contact with my HIV+ ex in about 5 months on the night in question.

After a while, the young man in question straightened people out and told them that we didn’t have sex. In fact, we were petting and didn’t have any kind of contact that would have had ANY percentage chance of passing along HIV at all.  Every time the rumor clears up, they restart it, and they fabricate more and more details that are false, they take other things and blow them out of proportion.

They also used the fact that they have ruined my relationship with him to keep it up, as I have to wait for word of it to get to him so he can clear my name YET AGAIN every time. I heard they have threatened him. Starting a false rumor that he has HIV is definitely bullying him. Trying to break him up with his new (Latina) girlfriend of the time by insinuating he has HIV is bullying him. He’s Asian. These girls have bullied and vilified and slandered both of us at various times, although the one in the message above isn’t always on the same side as the people bullying him.

For instance: Once I was going to a dungeon (that is. S&M) and had a back of floggers and whips with me. The other young lady and a friend started running around the club telling people I was armed and dangerous and had weapons, which related to the kink toys.

Just to clarify, I am not boycotting the club. I am not going there because these girls have created a hostile environment. Since I work or vend their, they have created a hostile workplace environment. I would not be going public if I wasn’t constantly being gaslit by these popular girls, their friends and associates, and more of my friends than I would have liked. It is very painful for me.

The logo is a lynching scene. These girls are forming up something like a mob to bully me, a black woman. It is like something straight out of Jim Crow. I almost killed myself over their bullying. Something needs to be done. I don’t know what will be done, if anything, because insular communities hate it when you “snitch” or tell outsiders. But I feel like a domestic violence victim who is being told its all her fault.

 

Goths are not an oppressed minority…

•July 11, 2019 • Leave a Comment

The language on the Death Guild website explains that their choice, to use a lynching scene as their logo, was one to show solidarity and identification with marginalized people who are murdered for their lifestyle:

“Our logo, a hanged man blindfolded and swinging from the limb of an oak tree, is representative of many things. It is a rallying point for those escaping oppression for there(sic) choices of lifestyle. It is a depiction of the fate of an ignorant society. It is the darkness that so many fear as they are terrified of dying. It is a symbol of strength, the oak, a guardian of sanctuary. My roommate Cathy painted the original picture of an actual oak tree, its location is known only to her and myself.”

The choice of words suggests that they are referring to vigilante lynch mobs which rounded up and murdered people for miscegenation (race-mixing), homosexuality and the like. The problem is, goths are not an oppressed minority group like those who have been historically executed by vigilante groups for homosexuality, being transgender, being in an interracial couple, or just plain being black.

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After leaving the club on Monday upset because I have been bullied by thin, white, cis newcomers in a club where I – a 51 year old African American pansexual enby woman who has been a part of the goth scene since 1981 and a part of that club since it opened in 1993 – reflected upon what a woman named Barbara Ditz told me about how she protested the logo from the start, and how it sent a message out to people of African American heritage like myself who are in the club which is hard to miss:

“We feel oppressed and don’t have any problem appropriating Jim Crow era images that are hurtful to black people in order to express how oppressed we feel as goths and how that is just like black folks being lynched”

No. Just no.

So I post this petition and the response is just… wow, some of the comments. So culturally tone deaf, apologistic, defensive, and down right bigoted. I will try to get some screencapped and erase the names and put them in here later. Shameful.

Here is my petition. Please sign it.

https://www.change.org/p/death-guild-ask-death-guild-to-retire-the-lynching-scene-logo

 

The Oppressor’s Mantra

•July 10, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Don’t talk about black pride
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside
Don’t talk about queer pride
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside
Don’t complain, because you’ll make
Your oppressor feel bad
The mentally ill have no filter and
You’re giving the allistic a sad
Don’t you realize white people
Also have pride?
You’re an angry black woman
Police your tone, girl
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside

You’re going ballistic
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside
Social justice is sadistic
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside
You’re clearly jealous of people
That’s why you’re complaining
We are post-racial
Racism is waning
Trump isn’t really President
You’re imagining it all
And this oppression is something
You’re feigning
All that aggression is surreal
You just want attention
Squeaky wheel
You’re attention whoring for the poor
With all your class warfare
And social justice war…
Warrior, you’re making shit up!
Crazy black bitch,
Please sit down and shut up
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside.

There isn’t any problem
You’re taking folks for a ride
You’re saying things in public
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside

Censor yourself
Keep the status quo
Don’t rebel
Marry and Reproduce
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside
#keepyourinsidevoiceinside

Happy Juneteenth

•June 16, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Good News from SF BayView

Happy Juneteenth! SF Foundation invited the Bay View to apply, and got a grant! Bay View Archive Project For years, theywere told that the Bay View is too radical, too “edgy” to get a grant. Now the mighty San Francisco Foundation has kicked that obstacle out of the way, inviting them last year and again this year to apply. Last year a technical problem got in the way, but this time the grant – for $20,000 to the Bay View Archive Project – is signed, sealed and delivered. Their current website goes back only 10 years, and with the funds they’ll post as many of the previous 10 years’ stories as they can.

Juneteenth at Eastmont in East Oakland Report

I felt happy when I was dancing in the parking lot shouting “Ghetto International” with Jennifer Johns and the young ladies on stage.

I felt happy when I was shouting “I am a colored girl” with the other black woman on the stage, even though I was aware of being light skinned and biracial. After she uplifted all the dark skinned sisters, then she turned around and included the light skinned sisters and our brown Latina sisters who live here, and then all of the other colors and then said pink is a color, too, so the white girls could stand out there in the parking lot with all the colored girls.

I felt happy, doing Capoeira dance and martial arts moves with my Hello Kitty back pack and my skull fascinators and my black lipstick and Theda Bara eyeliner.

I felt happy when I got a mammogram out there and got to wait in the parking lot doing Juneteenth instead of having to get one in Berkeley at LifeLong Alta Bates. I was happy because I got to get my mammogram in a mobile office andd my hour in the waiting room was an hour out in the sun smiling and laughing with my neighbors.

I felt happy doing my goth chick club dances next to the elders who were line-dancing to the super hot cover of Boo’ed Up. I felt happy, even though sometimes I missed my mother – who was dark skinned and not mixed like me, but also a goth – who knew how to swing dance because she learned from her daddy who used to wear a Zoot Suit. I felt happy, even though sometimes I wanted to cry because I am over 50 now and my mommy is dead, and we can’t hold hands and dance and dare everyone to guess if we are mom and daughter or a lesbian couple anymore.

I felt happy when the younger black man asked me to sign his petition and said he knew me from Death Guild.

I felt happy when the grandson of my former pastor JR Richardson, the pastor who cast a vote and then went home and died peacefully in his sleep on died on Election Night 2000, came told me he STILL uses the video production skills my mom, brother and I taught him at th old public access station to videotape churches and secular, as well.

I felt happy when the Juneteenth in the parking lot on Bancroft at Eastmont reminded me of Juneteenth at Kimball Park in San Francisco and all the years me and mom wrote grants for non profits out there including SF Juneteenth.

I am proud of who we are, even if our Juneteenth is in the parking lot of a concrete institutional structure that houses police, social services, and low income medical care on one side and CVS and DeeDee’s Discount on the other side. I hope they make it an annual event.

Happy Juneteenth. I love Oakland.

Kill Switch “Travels” Sneak Peak

•June 14, 2019 • 2 Comments

HorrorAddicts.net Press presents…Kill Switch

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

 

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

A Sneak Peak Inside… 

KSss

TRAVELS

JERRY J. DAVIS

The phone had been ringing for quite a while.

Dodd noticed the ringing. Then he noticed it more. It was like he was coming back from somewhere down a long hallway to find a phone ringing at the very end. Then it took him a moment to realize he should answer it, being it was his phone.

He tore his eyes away from the large 3-D television screen and looked around his living room. His girlfriend was there along with some other friends, all of them staring at the screen. The phone rang on. No one noticed but him.

Dodd struggled to his feet and walked across the living room to the adjacent kitchen. He groaned. The time display on the telephone’s screen read seven-past-midnight. What was he doing still awake? It was a work night. The caller was probably Toby’s wife calling to get him to come home.

Dodd picked up the handset and touched the button to accept video. Instead of Toby’s wife, it was a cartoonish avatar for DeliveryMart.

“Hello, Dodd Corley! Sensors indicate that you are engaged with numerous guests watching a program and your refrigerator reports low stock on wine, beer, and snacks. Can we send more?”

“Um, what? How did you—”

“Great!” The avatar’s generated smile gleamed, and a twinkle showed in its cartoon eyes. “We’ll send it right over.” It broke connection and the screen displayed the date and time.

12:10 am. He had to get up for work at 5:30 am.

I’ve got to get these people out of here. He walked back into the living room.

“Okay, it’s time to call it a night. It’s way past my bedtime.”

No one looked away from the television. No one made a move. His girlfriend, Sheila, was only a few feet away, and she hadn’t heard a word he’d said. She stared at the screen with glazed eyes, breathing slowly through her slack mouth. Colors from the giant screen reflected over her white face.

He reached over and shook her.

“Are you asleep?” he asked.

“Huh?” She blinked, then turned and looked at him. “What?”

“I said, are you asleep?”

“Oh.” She held out her empty wine glass. “Can I have a refill?”

“A refill?”

“Yes, please.”

“Sheila, I …”

She smiled sweetly at him. “Please?”

Dodd took the glass and headed back to the kitchen. This is getting out of hand. I’m just going to go to bed with them here.

In the kitchen, he opened the refrigerator and kneeled down, holding Sheila’s glass under the tiny silicone spigot. A pale red liquid dribbled out, Vinny’s Uncommon ‘41, the best hydroponic wine money can buy. Sure enough, it was almost gone. The screen on the refrigerator indicated more was on order.

Haunting, racing music drifted in from the television—the endless soundtrack of the Travels Station. It seemed to spin around him in the air, the stereophonic sound bouncing through the kitchen. As he listened, he forgot what he was doing, swaying back and forth to the gentle rhythm. As he finished filling Sheila’s glass, he got another for himself and filled it as well. The Travels music was so relaxing. He felt light. He took the two glasses of wine back into the living room and eased himself down on the couch next to Sheila.

“Here,” he said.

Sheila took the glass wordlessly and ducked as he put his free arm around her. Dodd sipped the wine and the image of the rolling ball on screen pulled at his eyes like a magnet. For a moment he resisted, looking over at his friend and co-worker, Bob Recent. He was cuddling with his wife, Denise, at the opposite end of the couch. Both held empty wine glasses in their slack hands, and Dodd felt guilty he hadn’t given them refills. His other friend, Toby Whitehouse, was beside the Recents in an over-stuffed chair. He, too, was holding an empty glass.

Didn’t I have something to tell them? He couldn’t remember. The screen reclaimed his attention.

The surreal, multi-colored sphere had made its way down to a virgin beach. Early-morning sunlight streamed through large, mist-shrouded waves as they crashed ashore, and gulls soared in the lazy glowing sky. Music surged and ebbed with the scenery, never stopping and never repeating itself.

Dodd raised his wineglass to his mouth, but nothing came out, it was already gone. He let his hand drop, forgetting the glass, watching as the sphere bounced higher up on the beach, rebounding off rocks and driftwood, hitting patches of sand, and sending up clouds of slow-mo drifting particles.

Suddenly, he couldn’t see the screen. His eyes struggled to focus on a dark silhouette, inches from his face.

“Hey,” a voice said. “Been ringing for a while, man. Had to finally let myself in.” It was the DeliveryMart android with his groceries.

Dodd glanced over at the time display. It was close to 2:00 am.

“Jesus!” he exclaimed.

“You’re frying your brain watching that stuff,” the android said. “Touch here.”

Dodd touched his finger to the reader in the android’s palm, accepting the delivery. The machine was right. They were frying their brains. He stood and turned around to say something to Sheila, but she was still staring at the screen. Bob and Denise were equally oblivious.

He helped the android put away the groceries and said goodbye, then returned to the living room. For a moment, he considered just going to bed and leaving them to themselves, but Bob and Denise had to work just like he did. Maybe all he had to do was remind them of the fact.

Dodd leaned over his stack of video components and hit the main power button.

“Hey,” he said in a loud voice. “It’s after two in the morning!”

 

******************************************************

 

EDITED BY:

DAN SHAURETTE

& EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:

H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON,

DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT

PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

 

Available now on Amazon!

Interview with Scry of Lust author Sara the Black

•May 31, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Sara The Black

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Sara the Black is an introverted California native hermiting deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Proudly multicultural, this primarily Sephardic Jew/Kaldresh Romani was raised in Southern California. A Gender Queer, Asexual, Intersex disabled adult living with multiple chronic illnesses, Sara opted for retirement off-grid with a fiercely independent private contractor/writer companion and neurotic female feline minions. -She- is an unapologetically voracious reader with a healthy appetite for street tacos, good beer, and Hello Kitty

Scry of Lust

Dark and seductive, alluring and imaginative, perverse, shocking, and at times hilarious—Scry of Lust is an arousing collection of erotica, paranormal romance, sexy poetry, and kinky tales that will spark your desire and quicken your breath. Indulge in the lustful imaginings of this diverse group of writers, all by your naughty self, or share it out loud to entice your lovers. Scry of Lust will charm the pants off of you—literally!

Profits from this collection are being donated to the San Francisco AIDSWalk, through SFGoth Team #5015, in memory of Gregory Hug.

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Sarah the Black with Greg Hug

Writing Sample from Ego: Free Me

I burrowed deeper into my thick hoodie as I stormed out into the cold night. Dolly’s version of ‘Jolene’ queued up on my playlist. I cranked up the volume on my player app and filtered out the passing chaos of the city on a fast walk of a few blocks to my refuge.

It was one of those quirky secrets a city like San Francisco could swallow up and only be a hidden gem to true devotees of the darker side of consensual interludes. Yeah we had our share of sex club, bath houses, fetish bars and porn studios but EGO was a deliciously filthy mix of the best parts of the above with a dedicated cast of burlesque and cirque du freak acts. I reached the quiet unmarked door manned by Tiny, a huge Samoan dude in full Class A’s and a Jack Skellington beanie set at an absurd angle on his enormous bald head. He stepped in front of me with a dramatic scowl but those bright green eyes sparkled at some inside joke we’ve never uttered out loud. I pulled the hoodie back enough to show my face.

“Kit…its been a while.”
“Yeah um…I’ve been busy with stuff.” I glanced up briefly before looking back down at my threadbare Chucks.
“Stuff…yeah. They’ve been asking about you.”
“I owe them an explanation, especially Daddy Mao.”
“Yup. Go on in.” He grunted, giving me a slap on the back.
I swiped my membership card on the reader.
**BEEP**

Finally.

I stashed my gear at coat check and headed straight to the bar. Behind me the house DJ was playing a Dub step/WitchHouse mix with seriously cranked up bass. The bartender Katia made eye contact with me and looked momentarily stunned before assuming the usual mask of pleasantry.

“KIT! OMG BABE!!” she had a Jack and Diet Coke (light on ice!) mixed up and slung my way before I had a chance to respond. I smiled and shook my head before chugging round one of liquid courage. She refilled it as soon as the glass hit the highly polished black lacquered counter.

“Thanks.” I was relaxing into the next round when Katia looked up and her face immediately went pale. I glanced at the antique mirror behind the bar and studied the crowd behind me.

There in all His splendor, stood Daddy Mao.

Our eyes met via the warped reflection. A finely drawn eyebrow arched briefly before Daddy spun on 5” platform heels and sauntered in an effortless stride into the back hallway.

I slowly finished my drink then slapped down a crisp new Cnote on the bar with my glass securing it.

Rolling my shoulders and giving my neck a satisfying crack, I followed Daddy Mao into utter bliss.

Interview:

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Q. How did you find out about the Kinky Writer’s Group or Munch at Wicked Grounds? Was it online, in person, through a referral, and how well did it meet expectations when you arrived?

A. I’ve been invited several times but health and transportation issues have kept me from attending thus far. It seems like a lively group- I encourage those less hermity than myself to attend and unleash their yearning creativity.

Q. When did you first start writing? Do you feel it was your purpose to put writing in the world – or do you view writing as a hobby, and how did you begin to love writing if you do love it at all.

A. I’ve always written. It was a major survival mechanism against an absolutely atrocious childhood. As an emancipated teenager, writing helped me put reason to paper and guide me through decision making skills I didn’t have a mentor or an archetype to draw upon.

Q. Before Scry of Lust, had you ever put your writing out into the world in any form and if so, how and where?

A. I was published in a ton of underground zines in Southern California and more recently up in my WA stint. Most of it was poetry, off grid survival articles, costuming addendum to convention panels and workshops, some ghost writing for authors published through Eloras’s Cave, an article or two regarding medieval musicological theory. I haven’t published any personal pieces, absolutely nothing with a touch of self experience emancipated unto fiction until this year. My domestic partner is a ravenously prolific writer and between the call out for submissions and seeing him tap away one amazing piece after another I decided what the heck why not?

Q. Some of the pieces in the anthology are sci-fi leaning; others are fantasy, real life scenarios, poetry, or transgressive fiction. How would you describe your own brand of erotic fiction?

A. Real, raw- profoundly emotional. I write what I know. I was born intersex and was gender assigned cis female. Up until recent life events I was heavily into the modification, suspension and ‘Freak’ scene and I’ll always feature or at least hint at these details in future writings. I keep Kit’s biology purposefully vague, preferring to focus on the human experience of a scene. As a former High Protocol trained submissive that later graduated to being an instructional Top, consent, negotiated perimeters and through aftercare are essential not only in a deeply emotional piece but obviously in real life as well.

Q. Many of the people in the anthology are marginalized in one way or another. Women are underrepresented in horror while men are underrepresented in the romance literary genre, queer people are under-represented in literature and disabled people and ethnic minorities are more often written about by others than able to self-represent. Do you view yourself as a member of any marginalized communities and if so, how do you feel about the representation of those communities in both this anthology and in erotica in general?

A. I think I hit most of the big check marks on this one. Being a gender queer intersex disabled minority female that is openly of Sephardic Jew, Romani and a smattering of other exciting genetic queries I see this very strongly in the realm of writing, period. I think there is an uncomfortable amount of focus on race and identity when there’s a push to make a quota or find another marketing angle for a tired publisher/event. There are an amazing amount of undiscovered authors out there that don’t fit the classic ‘marketable’ mold. I wish more of these amazing people had a chance at mainstream recognition.

Q.  Erotica seems to have a bad name in certain circles as a trash genre – do you think that is true? Anne Rice said that erotica and romance are maligned because they are genres written mostly by women for women, do you think that is valid? Finally, do you think people view male-written erotica like John Norman’s Chronicles of Gor as any more or less trashy?

A. I love me some ‘Bodice Rippers’…but I also enjoy intelligent, deeply complicated fiction where people express sexy and panty melting moments. To both dismiss and systematically lump all erotica and ‘trash’ and ‘smut’ is honestly denying oneself an opportunity for moments of escape and self reflection. I think women know the things that make a reader tick or in this case, um…purr?

Q. I think male written erotica has more acceptability because its viewed as subjective since the main subject- females, are not a state of being they are intuitively aware of being. Its like someone that writes about serial killers but isn’t one if that makes any sense.

A. Which of the other writer’s stories did you like the most and want to recommend that the readers check out? I know you loved the whole book, but this isn’t the question. If you wanted to entice the prospective reader to buy the book, name 1 to 3 works that you didn’t personally write that you would point them at to read first. And why?

I haven’t read any of the offerings on this compilation. I’m waiting for the weekend after my outpatient surgery to curl up and really immerse myself into a huge spectrum of experiences. This sounds like its going to be delightful.

Q. Finally – since this is horror blog – what is your favorite scarerogenous hot sexy scene in a horror movie, and do you think it is appropriate or inappropriate to be turned on by this?

A. Ha! I’ll blame Merlin Monroe for this final question right? Easily has to be the scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula between the Brides and Harker. You have to also consider what a seriously sexy mofo Gary Oldman was in the role as well all decked out in improper period attire. That cravat, Gods forbid!

The Red Bride by Omewenne

•May 31, 2019 • Leave a Comment

THE RED BRIDE by Omewenne

Little Ola was watching her Grandmother walk slowly away into the meadow which lay before The Great Forest; Grandmother who wore her long coarse pale gown, and the waving grain blowing in the cold North Wind. It was late in the day; the sky was darkening. Grandmother looked behind her at Ola so far away, Ola with tears in her eyes. This time her dear Grandmother would not return. Grandmother would simply disappear into the woods, not to go gathering food but to go away forever. Grandmother was the only one who looked after tiny Ola. She had told Ola to stay close to the younger mothers; that maybe one of them would take her in. But Ola had golden hair which meant she was marked for the Wolf Priests. This marred Ola for superstition so other children stayed away from her that is unless they too had golden hair and were little girls. There were only a handful of girls with golden hair. These girls shared curious glances between each other. Ola didn’t know nor did the other little golden haired girls, that they had been marked. The little golden haired girls didn’t know why others avoided them, or what it meant. The marking was a custom but a secret among the adults. Why Grandmother hadn’t told Ola wasn’t clear.

There Grandmother was along with a smattering of other old people. Frail people in fact, all the remaining in the village, now in the meadow, destined for the unknown in The Great Forest. Ola was taught to fear The Great Forest. It was sacred and dark things happened there. The wind was cold so Ola wrapped up in her goatskin to keep herself warm. Her Grandmother had been stripped almost all her garments. Ola could see her grandmother shivering and holding her arms close to her body as she slowly walked without even her stick deep into the meadow. Driving them on were many strong young men who prodded the elders on with great long forked branches while they themselves were dressed warmly in heavy furs of goats and deer, and fur wrapped boots. And so the elders were forced towards The Great Forest. This was the way of the people. There was little to sustain the elderly; no older person wanted to live to be resented for their invalidity. Still the old people looked back at the crowd of younger people watching them from the village with sadness in their eyes, and fear as the older people carried on into the woods. An hour or so must have passed as the light was nearly gone from the sky. When the sky was black, torches appeared in the meadow and drew nearer to the watching villagers. The deed was done, the old driven out. 

Ola ran to her stone dwelling and sobbed uncontrollably. There was now no one to take care of her. No one to gather her food; she would have to do it herself. How was she, alone, to survive? Something in her felt her Grandmother at her side saying,”Don’t be afraid, Ola! You must be brave.” Ola remembered hearing her Grandmother agonizing from time to time in the past,”Oh, I am a coward!” This scared Ola; she would not be a coward; she would be strong and follow the mothers into The Great Forest to gather food in the daylight. Ola would do as she had watched her Grandmother do so many times before, before the time she could not remember, adding the ingredients of her gathering to the cauldron inside the dwelling and making a stew which she could then eat for days in the winter. If she were fortunate perhaps the women would give her goat meat for that is what the people bartered for with the goatherds, the strong young men who had forced out her grandmother. Ola would have to be a big person and do as the big people did. For now she would feel the loss of her beloved Grandmother, pine for her, cry out until she fell asleep on the bed of pelts and dried grasses.

Rain fell for days to come. Ola knew the Great Goddess of the Sky was weeping for the old who had been absorbed into The Great Forest. In some dwelling deep into the woods, Ola thought, lived her Grandmother now. Some day the little girl would go and find her when she was brave enough, and she would bring with her food which she gathered as an act of gratitude. 

On a day of gathering the women villagers drew their children near to them and left their dwellings to go into just the outer rim of The Great Forest for herbs and fungi. Ola ventured as well staying close to one family, mimicking their actions. After awhile the mother of the family, who had dark haired children, hissed at Ola to go away,”You are marked, let us be!”

Little Ola took the few herbs she had gathered along with some water from the stream flowing in a crook in the earth; with the water she filled a dried animal stomach. Ola made her way back to her dwelling alone in the pelting rain, beating in blows against her body in the cold, cold air. She worried she might become sick with the shivers but then thought about her Grandmother’s cowardice and vowed to remain strong.

At the stone dwelling she emptied her collection of herbs into the cauldron and began with her stone striker to set a fire in the little pit in the center of the room. She had never set a fire before but had watched her grandmother-she must be able, her very survival depended on it. She struck and struck, her little fingers beginning to bleed, but finally a flicker, then a flame burst over the bracken and twigs – fire! The cauldron was then very awkwardly lifted and placed (with all the strength in Ola’s little body) atop the fire. All there was to do now was to wait for the cauldron to stew.

So life was for little Ola even when the snows came, when she was sluggish, wanting only to curl up in her bed. The wonder of snow on a child was lost on her.

The day came when one of the goat herders entered her dwelling, scaring her. He said to her,”Come, child! All of the brides must gather for the ritual of the white goats.” She was stripped down to her coarse white under gown by this man.Then the man took a frightened Ola’s arm with great force and so she followed him shyly out towards the center of the village towards the sound of tremendous drumming to where she saw a rather curious thing. Five white goats where suspended upside down from tall wooden poles in a ring where the other golden-haired little girls were brought by other goat herders. All of the villagers surrounded this ring as the golden-haired girls, shivering in the snow, were set beneath each goat.

Suddenly through the crowd came five giant men wearing what Ola guessed were ferocious looking wolf masks made of wicker and fur. These masks covered the men’s entire heads; they seemed also to be dressed in wolf pelts or so Ola thought but didn’t know for certain. These wolf priests terrified the girls to the point where they began to scream. Each of the wolf priests came to stand before each of the little girls and the white goats which bleated endlessly upon seeing the priests. Ola remembered that wolves came from The Great Forest and ate from the wild beasts which roamed there. But why were these tall men dressed as wolves?

Ola summoned up her courage, looking up at the priest but she could not see his eyes through the mask, she asked,”Do you come from The Great Forest? I must find my grandmother who lives there now. Do you know her?” 

The wolf priest looked down at her for some time but said nothing.

Please! I wonder what has become of her!”, Ola cried over the great beating of the drums.

The wolf priest did not respond.

All at once the drums ceased. There was fear in the air. The wolf priests went to their belts and drew out daggers. Ola looked way above her head to the face of the goat, very much alive and hanging over her head. The wolf priest slit the throat of the goat with the dagger. Blood engulfed poor Ola who began to scream. All the little girls screamed. The wolf priests threw off their masks and drank from a potion hung around their necks, gurgling it down. Ola saw that her priest was a swarthy, rough skinned, dark haired man with blood shot, very pale blue eyes and bushy eyebrows which met in the middle. He and the other wolf priests then let out a horrible howling cry to the sky.

The women and men called out now to the little red girls,”Run! Hide! Run into the meadow, to The Great Forest! Run, Red Brides, run!”

Ola and the other Red Brides did just so as fast as their little feet could carry them. The villagers made a path for them to the snow-wafted meadow.

Run, Red Brides, run!”, the villagers continued to cry. Ola did not look back over her shoulder as she made her way for the snow covered meadow where not long ago she watched her Grandmother walk away into. Ola thought she would find her now. Those wolf priests are only men; there is no magic to them! The Great Forest approached as the snowy meadow’s grasses whipped coldly at her little body and the bodies of the other Red Brides. “Keep coming, Ola!’, she heard her Grandmother say,”Come home to me! I am waiting for you!”

Omewenne for Blog

Biography:

Omewenne was adopted from care in Detroit, Michigan into a Catholic Military family and grew up on both coasts of the USA and Japan. Fleeing from her fanatical and controlling, abusive father, at eighteen in 1984 she landed in San Francisco where she shared a friend’s flat. Omewenne reinvented herself and became a kind of subcultural celebrity in the 1980’s and 1990’s on Haight street to start then onto the club scenes in various circles, then as an actress on stage and screen, playwright, singer composer, poet, and short story writer. Record deals and book deals evaded and failed her but she has been captured in photographs and in films including “Never Met Picasso”, “Stroke”, and a pixel portrait by George Kuchar called simply “Omewenne”. Having wrestled with mental illness since a child she became lost in the psychiatric realm. Marrying in 2001 to an Englishman she swapped countries for the Netherlands and began to research her new world. In Cornwall in her cottage in 2009 she had a massive breakdown and fled to Portland, Oregon where she stayed briefly and manged to maintain her poetry and research into ancient texts. It wasn’t until her return to Cornwall that short stories and music returned to her.