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I am Legend

I would never hurt the children. My attention to the children is not as predator… But as guardian. The scream that came from behind me was loud.

images and words by Myron Ropp
©Myron Ropp

©Myron Ropp

I watched as the two of them left the light of the sun… and drifted into the shadows that are known as LaFosse Swamp. The boy looked to be around ten, the girl around fourteen or fifteen; obviously brother and sister. Their strawberry blonde hair matched. Did their parents not know what danger was inside those shadows? The perils: quicksand and sinkholes. The animals and critters are unforgiving: venomous snakes, recluse spiders, black bears with little cubs this time of year, alligators, some reaching lengths of fifteen feet and pushing the scales at eight hundred to a thousand pounds. Black panthers, yes, panthers; huge cats that are almost invisible in those low lights. They are fearless and cannot be reasoned with or scared away. And then… there is me. The locals call me the Rougarou, the swamp werewolf. I am legend. Most people do not believe in me, but I am very real. The sun is setting. Soon, very soon, the moon will be its glory, and I… will undergo a most dramatic change. Now… Tell me… What shall I do about these two children?

©Myron Ropp

©Myron Ropp

The change: imagine the structure of a man, altered. The bones themselves elongating, the joints and cartilage popping and snapping to accommodate that growth, the sinew and muscles stretching over those. The organs expanding, lungs that take in more air, eyes that see in the lowest light, ears that hear a leaf falling from its lofty perch and landing on moss, the nose and smelling sensories now a snout with large nostrils. Then, there are the teeth. The change takes very little time. The pain is beyond truly describing. The normally 6’1″ man that was once me… Now stands close to seven foot. When I am in change… I am not out of control. Quite the contrary, I am aware of everything: body, mind and soul. Be not deceived, I am the most terrifying thing you have ever seen in life… Or in your most horrible nightmare. The moon is in its place. I am now… In mine. My urge is to howl and acknowledge what has just transpired, but not quite yet. There are the children. Even now I can hear them, even though they are quite some distance away. In a matter of mere seconds… I can see the boy.

©Myron Ropp

©Myron Ropp

The boy’s back is to me, he is totally unaware of me. But where is the girl? I stop mid stride. Something is not quite right. I fear nothing in these swamps, yet… I feel like I am now the one being observed, watched. Hurt the children? I would never hurt the children. My attention to the children is not as predator… But as guardian. The scream that came from behind me was loud. Setting every nerve in my body on high alert, right upon me, shrill and high pitched: the panther. I spun around to confront the beast. Ward it off until the children could get out. There stood the girl. On seeing me… She, of course, screamed again. Me, on realizing that it was not the she cat… howled.

©Myron Ropp

©Myron Ropp

Again she screamed and in grabbing her brother’s hand who had run to her… Made haste at full speed. I followed them until they were in the clearing. They never stopped running, even as they disappeared from my view. I was not totally forthright about stating that I feared no creature in these swamps. I have fought and tangled with many a panther as the Rougarou, I have the scars to prove it. It is their cry that sends shivers through me. Ask anyone of the swamps; what does the cry of a panther sound like? They will tell you, “it is the sound of a woman screaming in terror”. Rougarou and panther, canine and feline; we still fight like cats and dogs. When that scream emitted out from behind me, truth be again known, if I had not shed my clothes before the change, I would have soiled them. The cry of a woman. Two children entered the swamp; a child and a young woman are who emerged. Me? You will hear from me again.

2 Responses to “I am Legend”

  1. Miguez says:

    Fabulously entertaining as usual my dear friend! How I look forward to each story!!!

  2. Myron says:

    What a constant encouragement you have been. I am so thankful, and appreciate you.

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