Never is one glad to be cursed with a younger sibling, especially one of the same gender, and all who refute this are either liars or actually mentally deficient enough to look forward to having to share their parents’ attention and love with some annoying interloper. Why anyone would want a younger sibling at all is anyone’s guess. The only thing that my idiot brothers have contributed to my life is several tons of frustration and a few instances of being obligated to protect or avenge them…but, I digress.
This, dear readers, is the horrific tale of how I, Silver Malcom Bendis, was cast from the desirable position of Only Begotten Son into the far less comfortable positon of First Son. You see, in the Bendis family, the Second Son is always the one that everyone expects to succeed and excel as a werewolf hunter. The First Son and any who come after the prized Second are saddled with low expectations…in some instances, barely being noticed at all by both kin and colleagues alike. Though, things went slightly differently in my father’s generation since Uncle Falcon cavalierly discarded the Code in favor of his own. In that case it was his elder brother, my dearly departed uncle Eagle, who became the shining star of the Bendis line. Unfortunately, I never knew the man. He breathed his last only months before I took my first breath. Alas, such is the life of a warrior.
Well, let us begin this tale at the beginning…the dreadful, traumatic beginning. I was but an innocent child then, only three months away from my second birthday. It is a period of hazy memory, but this one stands out for the sheer horror of the event. I had awakened in the middle of the night by a horrible nightmare and had gone hurrying up to my parents’ bedroom to curl up between them for comfort. When I opened the door, however, I was met with the most horrible scene that my young eyes had ever beheld. Both of my parents were stark naked, rolling about on the bed, doing and saying the most horrible things that I had ever heard and seen! To this day, merely remembering that terrible moment makes me want to tear out my eyeballs and soak them in a solution of scalding hot water and chlorine bleach! Naturally, I screamed my little lungs out.
The next thing that I remember of the experience, I was being sat down and told that what I had just seen was “beautiful” and “natural” and, most horrifically of all, was how babies were made! I was not comforted in the least, and the very next day I simply had to vent in the only way I knew how…complaining to my older sisters.
“Daddy had his thingie in Mommy’s jay-jay!” I cried that disgustingly sunny afternoon.
“So. That’s where babies come from, dummy,” Flood said in her typical unsympathetic manner. “Duh.”
Then, I began bawling all over again and River had to cuddle and comfort me for nearly an hour before I finally calmed down. I was truly inconsolable then…but it was much worse only a few months later.
It was only two weeks from my birthday, and I was so excited. I was about to turn two, which meant that I would finally get to start training with my sisters. Oh, I could not wait to receive my first lessons in hand-to-hand combat and marksmanship. I wanted to train hard and grow up to be a great warrior like my father, worshiped by my colleagues and feared by werewolves everywhere! Maybe even try my hand at world domination one day. A man needs a hobby, after all…
But that terrible morning, just after breakfast, Mother and Father called a family meeting. Family meetings are never good things. They usually mean that either someone has died or someone is in trouble. That particular meeting’s bad news was that Mother was pregnant. My reaction was one of deep, visceral displeasure. Mother, if you were to ask her, would likely call it a temper tantrum…but that is not so. It was justified rage. After all, how could they be so cruel as to go ahead and have another child without my permission! And they had better not have gone ahead and made another boy! If I had to be subjected to the presence of a younger sibling, at the very least they should have had the consideration to make me another sister!
“You can’t pick and choose whether the baby is a boy or a girl,” Mother said as I lay there on the floor, expressing my disapproval, “it’s random! Like a coin flip!”
Those words were even less comforting than her initial announcement…and I was sentenced to an unjust time-out for expressing my outrage.
I languished in the depths of my despair for two months until my aunt Osprey—may the gods rest her pure and effervescent soul—stopped by for a visit. After a good tickle session and blowing a few raspberries on my belly, she finally managed to cheer me up and distract me from my troubles. However, this crisis still weighed heavily on my mind, and so I eventually asked her advice on how to make it so that the baby was a girl and not another boy.
“Well, with baby lizards and crocodiles, the temperature an egg is kept at can push things one way or another,” she said. “If the egg is kept on the warm side before hatching, it’ll be a boy, and if it’s kept on the cool side, it’ll be a girl.”
That was just the ammunition I needed. Of course! It was brilliant! All I had to do was keep Mother’s belly as cold as possible so that I could ensure that my new sibling would be a sister!! So, that very evening, I snuck down to the kitchen and filled up an icepack. Then, I made my way back upstairs, snuck into my parents’ bedroom, and placed the icepack directly on the offending baby bump. Everything was going according to plan…until Mother rolled over. The cap of the icepack fell off and ice and cold water spilled all over the bed, awakening both of my parents from their slumber. They were not amused.
This turn of events earned me a long lecture about how human babies are not the same as baby lizards, a round of fifty push-ups, and a “Go to bed and think about what you’ve just done, Mister.” However, I was not dissuaded from my task. If an unborn child’s gender could be influenced while in the womb, then I would figure out how and make sure that I remained the only boy, come Hell of High Waters!
From then on, I asked every maid in the house about ways to make sure that a baby was born a girl. I tried to get mother to eat or drink every recipe they recommended, tricked her into every silly activity I could, did every silly activity that I could…until the day of reckoning finally arrived.
It was a frigged day in the middle of Februne. There was the most glorious blizzard that day. The wind howled like a chorus of banshees and the air so thick with falling snow that one could see nothing beyond the windowsill if one looked outside. While the adults all complained of the foul weather and my sisters gleefully nattered on about what they would do outside once the snow let up, I was content to stare out of the windows at a world completely erased by falling snow. I have always been fond of stormy weather, the way that it commands total attention by silencing all else in the world around it, consuming and ruling over all of creation. Such a beautiful thing.
Suddenly, the peace was shattered as Mother began to go into labor. Everyone began rushing about like headless chickens, fussing over her as they led her away to the delivery room. Father spirited my sisters and I off to the adjoining waiting room as the midwife—who had come to stay with the family before the storm began because mother’s due date was so near—began barking orders left and right. This was really happening. In a few hours’ time, I would be someone’s older brother. I felt sick and nervous and chilled to the bone all at once. Had my efforts been successful or would they all come to naught? I would soon see.
If fifteen minutes is eternity to a young child, then those next ten hours were infinity. I waited on pins and needles, barely ate anything, and had to be led off to the bathroom because I would otherwise have just sat there waiting with my bladder ready to burst like an over-filled water balloon. My entire future was riding on the outcome of this birth. That day shall go down in history as one of the few instances where I was actually, truly afraid of anything at all.
By ten in the evening, the weather had finally broken, the clouds departing to reveal a sky full of stars and a bright, full moon glowing amongst them like a spotlight before a sequined curtain. Was this spotlight for me? Oh, how I longed for that to be so…but that was not the case. At forty five minutes past the hour, the muffled sound of a crying infant leaked through the closed delivery room door. At the same time, I heard what sounded like wolves or wild dogs howling outside. Maybe it was only my overactive young imagination, the sort of illusion that only a child’s mind can conjure up while still entirely sane…but that is how I remember it. A moment later, the midwife emerged from the delivery room with the most gut-wrenching news that I had yet received in my young life—trumped only by the news of my beloved aunt’s untimely demise eleven years later—the baby was a boy.
Everything that I had done to ensure myself another sister had been for nothing. I had failed…and now the spotlight that was the full moon was focused on a new star, while I was demoted to a mere supporting character. The Second Son, the one who would be remembered as the greatest and lavished with all of the attention and accolades that the world could possibly scrape up for him…Father’s new favorite. No. Looking upon that pink, wrinkled little thing in my mother’s arms, I made a resolution that that would not be the end of things. If this little runt wanted a war, then he would get one! I would either destroy him or best him as a warrior—as a living being—but I would once again command the spotlight! I would once again be Father’s favorite! I would not…will not be ignored!!
And so ends my tragic tale, dear readers. I shall give you the rest of the week to sob for my sake as I—
Not so fast, Silver! I’ve had enough of you taking over my Twitter account and my blog!! Now, go back to your own world this instant…before I tell your mother!
I would. Now get!
*Silver exits, stage right*
Ahem! Sorry for the mess, guys. Oh, well. Join us next week when I…well, I have no idea what to write for next week, actually. So, I’m counting on you guys to send me suggestions by either commenting on this post here or tweeting me @DanielleVFreman with #SRCBlogSuggestions and tell me what you’d like to see. Also, you can apparently see what exactly Silver was doing all week on my Twitter account by searching up #SilverBendisWeek. I’m scared to look, but Inferno told me it was rough…