The Power of Symbolism

Just been thinking about of symbols and the power they hold over people lately. Decided to do what I do best, and write it all out.

So this a short that would be taking place during Uncommon Animals, right before Hunter’s Moon.

And it’s from Sonja’s point of view, because I didn’t do enough of that when she was a main character.

***

The morning sun peeked over the orange and yellow oak trees outside Rick’s window and directly into Sonja’s eyes. She rolled over with a groan, burying her face in his empty pillow.

“Rick,” she whined. “You need light blocking shades.”

He chuckled above her. “Maybe for Christmas.”

She flung out a hand, trying to find him. “Come back to bed. The morning is evil.” She hit flesh and opened her eyes to hated light.

Totally worth it.

Rick towered over the bed. His spiky, golden hair glinted in the bright sunlight. He hadn’t put on a shirt yet, and the muscle tone of a trained monster hunter rippled as he pulled on his brown work slacks. She sat up and began tracing the red and black swirls that covered him from shoulder to waist.

A shudder ran through him as he stepped away. “Please, don’t do that.”

She laughed. “Why not?” She gripped his hips from behind, ready to trip him back into bed.

Rick didn’t play along. The heavy muscles she admired were rigid and his hand curled into fists.

“Rick?”

“It’s…” he pulled in a heavy breath. “That tattoo, it’s not a good thing.”

Sonja examined the black and red whorls. While they covered his back, the abstract design didn’t seem to look like anything to her. “Tell me about it?”

His shoulders sagged and his head dropped. “It’s the mark of a Speaker.”

She didn’t say anything right away. Rick was a Speaker. A human with a magical voice that only affected werewolves. While werewolves were still enslaved by the Tribes, the people that Rick had run away from, Rick lived with two werewolves. Matty was his best friend.

Still, something was missing here. She wrapped her arms around his waist, pressing the side of her face against his back. “Why does having a mark of what you are upset you?”

A great, hitching breath nearly jerked him out of her hold. “Werewolves are slaves, and I’m a Speaker. I have beaten werewolves that wouldn’t listen, before using the Voice to order them to into fights they couldn’t win. More than once. And at the time, I felt nothing. No regrets, no sorrow, not even anger. It was a job, just what I did.”

She didn’t know what to say, but he need something. “Rick…”

His tears splattered against her hands as he continued, “We call werewolves monsters because they can change shape, but I know who the real monsters are. People like me. It’s people who can ignore another person’s humanity, because they were told to.”

“You should get it removed.”

He laughed, but a laugh devoid of any humor. “That won’t get rid of my ability to control werewolves. I’ll still be a Speaker, with or without that thing on my back. I’ll still be the product of generations of slave owners, most of whom don’t even see what they do as slavery.”

Sonja found herself on her feet. She spun him around. “You are not your ancestors. You aren’t even the person who did that to wolves. You left that behind. You help werewolves now.”

A small, sad smile graced his face. “I help two werewolves. And no matter what, I won’t ever be able to help the rest of them. They’ll live out short, brutal lives, run by monsters who refuse to grant them humanity. That’s what that my tattoo stands for, and why I can’t ever get rid of it.” He brushed two shaking fingers across her cheek. “It’s okay, Sonja. I’m fine. I just don’t like you seeing it. I don’t want to remember my pride in getting that tattoo.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck. Rick clung to her, face pressed into her shoulder.

“It’s just a symbol, Rick. It’s not who you are.”

He shook his head. “Until my people stop handing out that symbol as something to be proud of, I’m stuck with it. I won’t get rid of it until they do. I’m not worthy of getting rid of it until that day.”

She pulled away. “You left them. How would you know they’ve changed?”

A real laugh dropped from his lips. “Don’t bring logic into this, now.”

She wiped at his face, brushing away the last of the tears. “You should still come back to bed. Now more than ever.”

He stepped closer, and kissed her. The kiss went on and on, as his fingers danced down her shoulders and arms, sending tingles straight to her groin. When he finally stepped away, she couldn’t quite catch her breath.

He flashed a smug grin. “Sorry, but I have to head to work.”

“You’re a tease.”

“That wasn’t teasing.” He pulled a brown shirt out of his closet. “That was a promise.”

Sonja giggled and threw herself back into bed.

“Now, that’s teasing.” And although Rick grinned, his red-rimmed gray eyes didn’t meet hers.

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