Forgotten Menagerie : Blog Hop
The Curse of Shifting, the Curse of History – Forgotten Menagerie
Becoming a werewolf or other type of shifter is often referred to as a curse. For centuries, alleged werewolves were hunted alongside witches, and the “satanic” or pagan influence that caused their ability to change had to be exorcized or cured. In my story, “Mirrors, the Moon, and the Boy” (part of the Forgotten Menagerie anthology), the protagonist’s family believes the shifting to be a curse handed down as a punishment. The story is set in contemporary Spain, and follows Eberado, the last of this cursed lineage.
Eber’s ancestor was a soldier with the conquistadors in the New World when he became a shifter. Family lore established that this curse was a result of how he treated a native woman, and later family members vowed to continue the curse as a penance for the abuses carried out by the Spanish conquerors in Latin America. When Eber looks in the mirror, he sees a face and physique that could be that of a rampaging warrior.
What does this curse mean to a man living today? Eber feels isolated, reluctant to get close to anyone. He is cursed, and doesn’t deserve love.
He also feels a very strong connection to the past:
I was sixteen. My father took me out into the garden and told me my legacy. I watched in awe as he stood naked under the moon and changed. He touched me carefully with his nose and took my arm in his mouth and bit down. I wasn’t afraid.
I was Pedro, agonizing over his family’s past sins. Hearing God speak like the rumble of thunder inside his head.
My first change. Afraid then, trembling naked in the night, pulled away from and yet somehow more deeply into myself at once. Exploring the night with new senses, with my father present but not guiding. I had to find my own way.
I was Martín de Zorita wandering back into his camp, horrified and suspicious. What demon had possessed him, and would it come again?
I was Luis, under the heartless eyes of the Inquisitors, begging for a mercy they could not grant.
I was in Peru, tracking Pizarro’s route, learning it all from the other side of history. Breathing in the heady warm air and wishing the moon were full.
Eber belongs to an elite gay club in Madrid that’s set in an historical villa with ties to his ancestor. Here, past and present meet. The club is named Conquistador; the fact that Eber is a regular there shows again how much he is trapped in the past.
Conquistador is not only a sex club, but that’s definitely a large part of its appeal to the members who seek discreet sex partners. And Eber’s found one advantage to his curse: he can partially shift to give himself an exceptionally large and flexible penis. This has made him a popular lay, but he can only accomplish this on the nights surrounding the full moon. His conquests only get to see him on these nights, and if anyone suspects he has secrets, he pulls away.
In a sense, Eber fetishizes his curse and the burden of the ancestor’s misdeeds that it represents. So he makes himself a fetish object for other members of the club. Eber is so blind to any aspect of his sexuality or attractiveness that doesn’t revolve around his partial shifting that he doesn’t recognize the danger when one of his conquests becomes obsessed with him and determined to discover his secret.
Eber hopes to spend the night with Miguel, a young American man who started working at the club recently. But Eber won’t let himself expect more than a one night stand, even though he’s been thinking about the newcomer for months. On the night before the full moon, they finally come together at Conquistador. If all had gone according to plan, Eber would have taken the small satisfaction his curse allowed, given Miguel the night of his life, and then let him go.
But with secrets come those who’ll go to extreme measures to unearth them, and with curses come those who might offer a cure. Suddenly, it’s the full moon, and Eber must decide if the past is going to rule him or if he can take a step into the present and dare to put his burden in perspective and allow a lover the chance to get to know all of him.
You can find “Mirrors, the Moon, and the Boy” in the newly released Forgotten Menagerie anthology from Storm Moon Press along with four other stories about unorthodox shifters! I hope everyone enjoys the story!
Avery Vanderlyle lives in Boston with a partner, hangs out in the bisexual community, writes as a hobby, and plays with cats. During the day, she works in the software industry. Reading fanfiction is a guilty pleasure of hers; it’s one of the few places where bisexual characters are a regular feature (even if they rarely identify as such). She can also be found playing Role Playing Games and attending a local science fiction convention or two.