Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Family Secret

 (as mentioned in an earlier post, I occasionally give the children writing assignments. To make it fair, as well as to showcase what kind of writing I expect out of them, I assign the same writing to myself. Today's writing was simple - if you could turn into any animal, be it a real animal or a fictional, mythical animal, what would you turn into?)

"Why did you throw it up there?"

James hung his head and shuffled his feet. "I thought I could throw it hard enough that it would go over the roof and roll down the other side."

"Then I would catch it!" Jacob grinned, bouncing a bit on his feet. "And I would throw it back over!"

Sigh. Parenting could be so frustrating sometimes. The last thing I wanted to do was borrow a ladder from the neighbor so I could get the damn frisbee off the roof.

Then I remembered. I had a way to get up there without a ladder. I motioned for the boys to follow me into the house. "Can you keep a secret? A really big secret, that you can't tell anyone no matter how badly you want to?"

The boys looked at each other, and nodded. I shut the front door behind them and walked towards my room.

"I have a surprise to show you. It's going to really startle you, but trust me, you won't be in any danger. Our family has a big secret. I haven't told you before because I didn't think you were old enough to understand or to keep it secret from your friends. But you boys are getting old enough now, and I think you will understand, when you see this, why you can't tell anyone. Our family can transform into an animal being. Everyone in the family has a different form. My mother, for example, turns into a fox. My sister turns into a hawk. I turn into something rather large...I don't want to rip my clothes when I change, so I'm going into my room to transform. I need you boys to let me out after because I can't turn the doorknob in my animal form. Do you understand?"

Two pairs of blue eyes stared up at me. "What do you turn into?" Jacob asked.

"I think it will be better if I show you. James, I want you to be the one who opens the door, okay? I'll bump the door with my head when I'm ready."

I shut the door on their excited expressions. Setting my clothing neatly on the bed, I took a deep breath and felt the bones in my body soften, re-molding. Muscles stretched, tendons strained, and my tailbone lengthened as fur began to sprout from my skin.

"What do you think she turns into?"

James rolled his eyes. "Duh, she's just playing with us. She doesn't turn into anything. I bet she's going to bump the door, and when I open it, she's gonna jump out and try to tickles us."

Jacob slumped. "Oh."

. The sound of something large bumping up against the other side of the door echoed strangely down the hallway.

 "Get ready to run - unless, of course, you want to be tickled." James whispered, and opened the door as Jacob took a couple of steps back.

The door opened and I watched, amused, as James took one look at me and backpedaled, falling onto his ass with a startled yelp. For some reason, Jacob was already halfway down the hall, but he stopped when he saw me and stared.

I just stood there. I knew the first sight of my animal form would be a surprise, so I gave them some time to get used to it.

Jacob was the first one to get over the shock. "Awesome!" he crowed, and bounded over James to stand in front of me. "Cool! Do you have claws and everything? Fangs?"

I held out a paw and extended my claws, then raised the paw to my mouth and pulled back my lips. I watched as he examined my teeth, and as James shakily rose to his feet and approached. He hesitantly raised his hand and petted my head. I rewarded his bravery with a loud, rumbling purr, and he chuckled, still a bit unsteady, and asked "What are you?"

Pushing past him, I headed for the back door, pawed at the knob, and looked back at the boys. "You want me to open the door?" James asked. I nodded, and he turned the knob. I bounded into the back yard, enjoying the sun on my back as I strode to the garden. Finding a bare patch of dirt, I smoothed it out and then wrote with a single claw, carefully forming the words.

Black Jaguar

"Cool." the boys breathed in tandem. I flicked my tail and then jumped over them, raced to the garden shed, and in one bound leaped to the roof. From there it was an easy six-foot leap to the roof of the carport. I pranced up the curve of the roof, and eventually found the damn frisbee that had started this whole mess. I hung my head off the edge of the roof and dropped it.

Stupid toy.

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