POUNDING THE gavel against the podium, the room goes silent. “I call this meeting of the Willow Creek council to order.”
The Town Council President, an eagle shifter, Shannon stands up and says, “First order of business, we need to discuss what to do about Mr. Weaver’s articles.”
Shifters of all kinds call our town home, only a few outsiders have ever ventured here. For years, shifters have been happy to be secluded in our own little piece of paradise. We felt safe to be ourselves, be that lizard or wolf, or anything in-between. As a bear, I was able to roam the forest, never worried that I would be trapped or shot. It was a shifter’s heaven. Everything changed a few months ago.
All of the shifters are trying to talk over each other, but no one is really saying anything of any importance. Looking towards the council, I ask, “Does anyone have any new suggestions on how to handle Mr. Weaver?”
When Mr. Weaver first showed up wanting to write an article about our town, we were not overly concerned. He worked for a small newspaper in one of the nearby towns and was writing articles about the surrounding area. He said he was really excited to write about Willow Creek. He claimed our town was one of the very few places in the country that still held the Americana vibe. He visited every Mom and Pop shop in town, asking questions and taking pictures.
The town council discussed it, and we didn’t see the harm. What kind of trouble could a few stories in a small town paper cause? When his article was picked up by the Mobile City Star, I started to get a little nervous. After that, outsiders started coming to town. They would visit the shops and restaurants, putting money in our pockets, so I tried to stay calm.
“I kinda like the man, would hate to kill him. Everything would be fine if those papers would stop printing his articles.” A coyote shifter shouts out. “You never should have given him that stupid interview.”
As the so-called mayor, he came to me, wanting an interview He didn’t realize that I’m not just a mayor, that title means so much more in our little community. A member of my family has held that title since the day Willow Creek was settled. Someday, I hope my son will be leader, but that’s looking more doubtful as each day passes.
“I had no choice but to give him the interview. If I hadn’t talked to him, he would have kept asking everyone else questions about me.” I defend myself, even though no one has the right to question my decisions. “With that being said, if anyone has a problem with the way I run our community, let me know. We can settle this in the forest, fight to the death.”
Everyone goes quiet, not one of them willing to challenge me. Nodding my approval, I go on. “I only gave him basic information. The rest he got from digging around.”
Mr. Weaver wanted to learn everything he could about Willow Creek’s history. He even wanted to trace my family line, all the way back to my great, great, great grandfather, who founded the town nearly two hundred and fifty years ago. I did my best to keep my answers vague, but that seemed to only make him dig for more. Somehow, he realized that nearly all the men and women living in town were descended from the original settlers.
When my interview and his findings were published, the associated press picked up his article. Everyone wanted to know how a town stayed so small, so isolated, in this day and age. Some reporters went so far as to say
we were some type of cult. That’s when the wackos started showing up. If I have one more person stop me in the street to bow at my feet, I’m gonna let my grizzly bear out to eat them.
Someone else shouts out, “I think killing him is the only answer.”
“Agreed,” says another. “I could visit him at home. My scorpion could take him out in his sleep. He wouldn’t even feel that much pain.”
Frustration fills me and my hand automatically goes to my beard, tugging at the ends. When my claws begin to grow, I realize this arguing has gone on long enough. Banging the gavel against the podium again, I gain everyone’s attention. “We’re not killing the man, and that’s an order. His death will just make things worse.
We’ve gone over this a million times. Dozens of ideas have been presented to the town council, but none of them will stop the damn gossip about our town. As much as I like the idea of getting rid of Mr. Weaver, we can’t kill the little bastard. Doing so would just gain more attention to his articles and won’t stop the damage that’s already been done.
“What we need is to bring in outsiders that we can trust. We need to find human husbands and wives,” I say, trying to hide the distaste from my voice…………………………..