Saturday, August 9, 2008

Growing up

by Amanda Cast

This is a short story that I could not get out of my head. It might be inappropriate, but I wanted to show how innocent the two of them really are. Plus, I am still stuck on what I should do for chapter 53... Part of me wants to write about hunting a bear and part of me just wants to introduce Grizzle and get over with it. Being stuck is the lame, but it's what I get for writing on the fly.

Something uncomfortable, but not sharp or painful, settled under Serene’s skin and made her restless. She turned and rolled over until her sheets and thin quilt were twisted around her body. She itched, and her skin felt bunched and tight. After an hour of trying to fight it off she rolled out of bed.

The space between her legs was hot and wet. She went to the privy to wash up and found out that it was blood. She was bleeding.

She sat there even after her butt started to hurt. Her mind could not fathom what was happening to her, and the bleeding would not stop. Terror froze her and made her mind stop working.

It was Pandora’s voice that pulled her out of her mental funk. She called out to her cousin and when Pandora opened the door she stepped back, shocked.

“Serene? What is wrong?” Pandora asked as she looked away from her cousin.

“I’m bleeding, Pandora,” Serene said anxiously and then a sob escaped her throat. “It won’t stop.”

Pandora frowned. “Have you tried healing yourself?”

“I don’t know where the cut is,” Serene said, but now she was too hysterical to actually try.

“All right,” Pandora said with a frown, but her head was still turned away from Serene. Seeing her cousin on the privy was not her idea of something to see first thing in the morning. “Just calm down. I’ll see if it’s something Greg knows about.”

“Greg? You can’t go tell Greg!” Serene screamed.

Pandora was glad that Serene had taken the time to put more permanent charm on the doors and walls so that the hatchlings could not hear her. The last thing they needed was for them to know that something was wrong with Serene. “I’ll be right back.”

Pandora left Serene to her crisis and went to find the one person who actually knew things about the human body. Hopefully he would know what Serene was going through.

She found him wrangling up the hatchlings in the den. They were huge now and hard to get around. Topaz was still working on widening the hallways and rooms so that there was more space.

“Children,” Pandora said in the most commanding voice that she could manage. “I need to talk to Greg. Will you please settle down until we’re done?”

“What about breakfast?” Rubio asked. “I’m starving.”

“Me, too, Mother!” Star said and writhed on her belly for emphasis.

“I’m sorry, dears,” Pandora said, “But this is important.”

“What’s wrong?” he asked as they walked down the hallway to Serene’s room.

“I don’t know,” Pandora said and let him enter the room first. She stepped in behind him and closed the door. “But she’s bleeding and it won’t stop.”

“Where is she bleeding?”

Pandora frowned and shifted uneasily. “Between her legs,” she said quietly.

“How old are you two again?” he asked.

“Thirteen,” Pandora said.

He sighed. “Well, she’s starting a little later than most girls do. Your mothers and teachers never talked to you about that sort of thing?”

“What sort of thing?” Pandora asked.

Greg took a deep breath and turned away from her. His head was tilted back and he put his hand over his eyes. He said something in his native tongue. “I’m going to need the ring for this.” He left the room to retrieve his language ring and came back. “All right, I’m sorry, Amazon. Can you get her out of the privy?”

“I don’t know,” Pandora said. “Give me a moment.” She walked over to the door and cracked it open. “Serene, can you come outside?”

“No, there is blood everywhere. I can’t.”

“What if I got you something else to wear?” Pandora asked.

“No,” Serene said. “I’ll bleed all over that too.”

Pandora turned back to Greg and shut the door. “She won’t come out because she is afraid of bleeding over everything,” she said.

“I heard,” Greg said. He knew the mechanics of a woman’s body and he knew about their trip through puberty, but he had no idea what the subtleties where. “I’ll talk to her through the door. She doesn’t have a spell on that too, does she?”

“No,” Pandora said.

Greg walked over to the door and pressed the palms of his hands onto the wooden surface. It was rough and poorly done, but then they were not professional carpenters. “Serene, are you all right?”

“I’m dieing!” she screeched.

“This is going to be hard, considering she hates me,” he said quietly to Pandora.

Pandora pressed her lips into a line and shrugged. “You have to try.”

He sighed. He would do almost anything for Pandora. “All right, Amazon.” He turned back to the door. “You’re not dieing, Serene. What you’re going through is completely normal.”

“Normal? I’m bleeding and I’m not injured. This is not normal!” She was hysterically screaming at him now.

Greg gave Pandora what he hoped to be a pleading and pathetic look. It made his skin feel dry and too loose all at once. “It is, Serene. I promise. Pandora is going to go through it, too. It’s part of growing up. Congratulations! You’re a woman now.”

The door opened quickly and knocked Greg in the nose and on his chin. He fell back, holding his face. “Fuck, Serene.”

“Don’t talk to me like that!” she screamed. “I’m bleeding! This is not natural.”

Pandora stepped between Greg and the crack in the door with Serene’s face stuck in it. Pandora pushed Serene’s head back in and shut the door. She pushed her entire weight against the door. Serene beat herself against it but the door only hopped a little bit before resting back into its place.

Serene screamed a few hysterical obscenities and Pandora just shrugged at Gregs incredulous expression. “Sorry,” she said inadequately.

“I don’t know how I’m going to explain to her that she’s going to bleed like that for a week every month,” he said. “I was wondering why she was so cranky lately. I mean, more so than usual.”

“Why does she do this once every month?” she asked.

“I keep forgetting that you two are so incredibly sheltered.” He sighed heavily. “Look, this is awkward. I’m only sixteen. I don’t know what to say to you. This is a conversation mothers have with their daughters. This is a school lesson. Teachers dedicate at least a week once a year to preparing girls for this.”

“So what does it mean?” she asked.

“It means that Serene is now able to get pregnant,” he said. At her horrified expression he said, “It will only work if she has sex, and who is she going to have sex with? Me?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Please tell me you know what sex is,” he said. It had never come up before. It was something that Pandora and Serene had never even mentioned to him. His crude jokes always went over their heads and he only thought if it at night when he was getting ready to sleep and in his dreams.

Pandora looked uncomfortable and her feet shifted. “I…” Her mind worked furiously to try and connect the word with meaning, but she could not and she just shrugged.

“Oh, hell,” he said. “I don’t know if I have time to explain it to you. The hatchlings are waiting.”

“Serene isn’t going to leave that room until you explain what is going on to her. I don’t understand and neither does she. You don’t like her, but what if it was me locked in the privy.”

“You wouldn’t knock the door into my fucking face,” he said. Pandora’s narrowed eyed glare made his face turn white. “I’m sorry, Amazon,” he said. “I… look, I know I don’t have the patience for her. Maybe if I explain it to you, you can turn around and explain it to her.”

She just stared at him.

“Where do babies come from?” he asked.

“Uh… from a woman,” she said. “Her belly gets big and then out comes a baby.”

“Now it sounds like you’re joking,” he said. “Ok, when a man and woman feel a certain way about one another… they have sex. Sex is where…” he trailed off. How was he going to explain what a penis was? “All right, you have a vagina. That’s what’s bleeding on Serene… sort of… but not really. It’s where the blood ends up exiting the body anyway.”

“I think I’m going to be sick.”

“There is nothing sick about the human body… ok, I’m lying, I guess, but this is natural and it happens to every woman who lives long enough,” he told her. “OK… a man has a penis. It’s what they pee out of and what something called semen comes out of.”

“What is semen?” she asked.

“It’s what men contribute to the process of making babies,” he told her. “It’s this sticky white stuff that has sperm in it. The sperm travels up the woman’s reproductive organs and can, potentially, find an egg and then babies are made.”

“That makes no sense,” she said blandly.

“What? Did you think they pop out of nothing?”

Pandora shifted uncomfortably.

“You know how dogs and deer and all that crap mate?” he asked.


“Well, it’s the same freakin’ concept,” he said. “Only they don’t typically have a period because they get pregnant. The period means that Serene is not pregnant. Really, it’s good news. Could you imagine a pregnant Serene? Nine months of total bitchiness.”

“Well, I never thought of it like that before,” Pandora said, “And Serene is not bitchy.”

“Oh, yes, she is,” he said. “Now, maybe you can convince her that what she’s going through is better than the alternative. I’m going to go get pummeled by the hatchlings.”

“Greg, I don’t know if I can tell her all that.”

“You’re a smart girl, Amazon. Figure it out. I can’t handle her. she’s crazy.”

“But what’s a period?”

“It’s what she’s going through now. She’ll bleed for a few days and then it will stop, and then in three or four weeks it will start over again. It’s something like a twenty eight day cycle. She’s less likely to kill you than she is to kill me. You have fun with her. I’ll take care of the freakin’ flamin’ bunch.” He turned and walked away from her. There was nothing she could say to him about it.

Pandora took a deep breath and then sighed heavily. She eased off of the door and stretched her legs before opening the door. “You’re not dieing Serene. You’re just not pregnant. Get over it.”

“How can you say that to me?” she asked.

“Clean up, and we’ll find a way so that you can stay active through the day an not ruin your clothes,” Pandora said. “Greg is mad at you for almost breaking his nose. You should apologize.”

“I’d rather talk to Greg.”

“Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you treated him like that.” She folded her arms over her chest. “Greg is not someone you can just push around. He knows more about everything than we do. He even has a better understanding of the hatchling’s magic. You should be nicer to him.”

“I can’t stand him.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, but you should be nicer to him. I would appreciate it, and so would the hatchlings. It upsets them when you’re mean to him. They love him, too.” She took a step back. “Think about that.”

No comments: