Monday, August 18, 2014

Mythical Monday (58)


It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.


This week we have:
Author Kerry Schafer
Talking of Bigfoot.


Beware the Bigfoot

Since I write books set in the Between – that place between dreaming and waking where anything is possible— I have the pleasure and privilege of bringing in any sort of creature I choose. All of the Between books have dragons. Between features a penguin. (It was a happy surprise to discover that penguins are one of the totem animals for dreamers and visionaries). The third book, The Nothing has griffins.

And in Book Two, Wakeworld, I borrowed some myths from my local Pacific Northwest.

Sasquatches.

You probably call the creatures Bigfoot (Bigfeet?) You've seen TV ads that turn them into a joke, and maybe even some of those reality shows where not so bright, so-called researchers set out into the wilderness tracking tales of a big hairy beast that they assume has a brain the size of a pea and no inclination to the destruction of humans. Because, you know, if you do find a Big Foot he's going to be fuzzy and cuddly like a giant teddy bear.

I even saw one TV show where a group of women, sleeping in a flimsy little tent without any meaningful protection, were convinced they could lure the beast out with their feminine voices. As in, it would be sexually attracted and come out to investigate. I'm assuming that in the reality world if there is such a thing as a Sasquatch and if it decided a human was worthy of its sexual attention, it might not be a pleasant experience and you might not live to trade gossip with your friends.

Here's the thing. The Native Americans have legends of the Sasquatch, and in those tales the creatures are supernatural and unfriendly, not something that you play around with. They have an ability to mess with things like, oh, time for example. Guns misfire in their presence, or don't fire at all. They can raise the water level in a lake and drown you if they feel like it.

Oh, and they stink like something between carrion and skunk.

Not exactly a sexy beast that you want to get it on with.

It seems logical to me that if there is a Between, why wouldn't Sasquatches belong there? And if they are found in the forests of the world, it's probably because some dreamshifter got careless and let some slip through into the waking world. Which is pretty much what happens in Wakeworld. Weston, aka Morgan, is a reluctant dreamshifter who uses his ability to help hunters tag something a little more exotic than usual. He uses Sasquatch tales to his advantage:

"He had permitted rumors of Sasquatch sightings to judiciously leak into the community. Bigfoot hunters paid even better than the average sportsman. Truth was, he’d had a few glimpses of the big beasts in the dream landscape, including one too-close encounter that left him wary, but although he saw them often enough, they always slipped out of sight and left him well alone."

Which is all fine and wonderful, until it all goes terribly wrong with a hunting party consisting of an old man, Carpenter, and his granddaughter:

"Hell and damnation. They hadn’t followed. He could barely make them out down in the shadows, braced back to back with rifles ready. Down the ravine on either side, branches swayed. A loud banging sound, as of sticks against tree trunks, and then that howling again that turned his bowels to water.

He tried to shout but found he had no voice. He ordered his body to go back down, told himself that he must not abandon his party. Throughout his long life he’d faced down all manner of creatures without fear. Now he stood silently cursing himself, shivering like a rabbit under the paw of a coyote, and watched the hunting party, his hunting party, that he had abandoned and run away from.

Two dark shadows were visible now, emerging from the trees. The offensive stink was almost unbearable, wafting up to him in waves that set him retching.

The beasts were well within range, out of the trees now and visible. They were roughly man-shaped but covered in brown fur, bent forward a little at the hips, with long apelike arms and human hands. As they moved, they banged on tree trunks with sticks, keeping up a constant howling.

Carpenter’s rifle leaped and then exploded in a burst of fire. The man went down with a scream and one of the beasts leaned over him, blocking him from sight. The girl, still self- possessed and externally calm, took aim in turn. Her finger pulled the trigger. The rifle clicked. Nothing happened. She tried again. Another click.

Still the creature advanced toward her.

At last she screamed and broke into a run. One of the man-creatures shambled in pursuit, graceless and awkward, but fast.

Dropping to one knee, trying to steady his shaking hands, Morgan drew a bead on the Sasquatch and fired. It kept running. He fired again. Saw in disbelief a little puff of dirt and rock as the bullet struck way wide of his target.

But even as he fired again it picked up speed, long legs covering the ground in a shambling stride, caught Jenn around the waist and swung her up over its shoulder. She struggled and fought, beating with her fists on the beast’s back. Her eyes found Morgan and she began to scream, still not in a panicked fear but half plea, half command. “Help me! Morgan—”

Both of the creatures turned then to look up at him. He felt the full force of their burning eyes, a pressure on his brain, a searching.

Revenge."

There are two takeaway messages from this sad story.
1) If you encounter a Sasquatch out in the wild (or definitely if you find one in the city, since it's probably rabid) run like hell.
2) Remember that it came from the Between, and look out for an open door.




Author Bio:

Kerry Schafer is licensed both as a Mental Health Professional and an RN, and spends most of her daylight hours helping people--usually even with a smile. In books, she gets to blow stuff up and kill people (or possibly dragons and exploding slime toads). She has published two novels with Ace Books: Between and Wakeworld. She is also the author of The Dream Wars e-novellas.

Kerry and her Viking live in Colville, Washington, in a little house surrounded by rocks, trees, and gangs of deer and wild turkeys.

Find Kerry:
Twitter:  @KerrySchafer

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