tumblr retelling

oh daughter of the dragon,
goddess of southern sea,
born red-faced with iron lungs
from your mother’s prayers and
chewed-up peonies,

they say you did not cry
for thirty days but at fifteen
silenced seas. go forth

riding nimbostratus horses and
look upon your knees at
two warriors fighting for your hand
under mount peach blossom’s trees.

yes, it’s true you were born quiet
but grew up loud in-between.
and when they told you to raise children,
you raised oceans in your voice no one had ever seen.

—  astagesetforcatastrophe, ode to mazu

They got the story wrong,
the wolf was never to blame
I was not taking a stroll
to visit Grandmother’s house,
I was stalking my prey

My cloak is not red
for any other reason
than to hide the bloodstains

But give me a basket of baked goods
and big doe eyes,
maybe then I will be harmless

You may continue to tell people
of my little girl innocence,
unassuming victims
are the best kind

But remember,
I do not smile
with my mouth closed
just to be sweet,
but to hide my very sharp teeth.

—  Red Riding Hood, from Fairytales Retold by Olivia Larson

So I’ve been thinking: 

Yesterday a Super Junior text post went viral on Tumblr, a post retelling an infamous Strong Heart Choding Junior story, and there were so, so many new young fans asking ‘wait, is this for real? did this really happen..??? WHAT?’ and I realized the new generations don’t know SuJu - at all! They missed the time when there was Strong Heart, when SuJu used to go on these shows and tell this type of crazy stories, missed the heroic Dream Team episode they shot right after the fight and which helped them make up, missed the iconic Inkigayo incident which had fans in a meltdown and racking their brains trying to understand what went wrong for over a year(!) until members finally explained it in the above mentioned story. They probably weren’t given info about ‘it’s refreshing!’ game, about the airport fashion traditions, even classics like EHB, Full House or Intimate Note! But I bet they were instantly given Hate 101 about each member’s misstep with 5 different variations of exaggeration, reaching and taking out of context straight to space. And it’s so sad that the negative moment has been given a priority over 10 whole years of non-stop sheer fun, warmth, happiness the group had (and still has) to offer, of endless unimaginable antics the likes of which you haven’t seen with new groups, or how when a young group does something silly you smile to yourself remembering that time SuJu already did it on a crazier scale. 

I don’t know what brought this on but I just find it so sad and such a pity that so many are missing out on Super Junior because of image and hate.

And I haven’t even said a word about their musical side yet.

Excerpt - Memoir, Summer 1883: Conversation with Noah

I had eventually given up with the flint and rested against the tree, absorbing the quiet surroundings. Abruptly, I heard footsteps—rather, the unmistakable whir of a young Survi-vor running at top speed. In a fraction of a second, Noah was sitting beside me on the ground, his hair windblown and his clothes di-sheveled from the run.

“Hi, Sadie,” he said, his chest heaving a little bit. Noah had not yet stopped aging, so he was capable of getting tired or short of breath with exertion. He was precisely my age and, though I wasn’t especially close to anyone in my generation, I guess I was closest to him. Noah and I had grown up hearing the story about two babies being born at exactly the same time at a stressful moment in our history. Other than that, no one ever talked about the process of childbirth. And they never let on who be-longed to whom.

“Hi, Noah,” I said, perturbed that my time alone had ended.

He lay back on the twigs and leaves on the ground and tried to catch his breath. Noah looked exactly like Lizzie. His hair and eyes were fair, his skin rosy. I don’t know whether Lizzie was still having children when Noah and I were born, but if she was, it meant that she was definitely his mother, which hurt me a lot to realize that meant she wasn’t mine. Then he eyed the tree I was leaning against. “Interest-ing list,” he said, nodding toward the carvings.

I shrugged. “You wouldn’t say anything about it, right?” I asked.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he said. “You have enough trouble, as I see it.”

I shrugged again. “I don’t think it counts as trouble that I don’t have an active power yet. That can’t possibly be something I’ve done wrong.”

“I didn’t say it was. I just know they’re giving you a hard time about it. I wouldn’t want to make it any harder on you than it already is, especially since John seems to be the most concerned about it,” he said. He sat up and pulled his knees to his chest, his posture mirroring my own. I felt some ambivalence in the air between us, and then I could sense some tension. This extra sense had been developing lately, and I believed it was the beginning of my so-called powers. But it didn’t seem to fit with any of the powers of any of the original elders, so I had yet to mention my budding talent to anyone. It was useful in learning some things, though, like how Noah was starting to envision a life where he and I would end up together in some form or fashion or how the tension in that moment stemmed from his concern over what he perceived as my rebellion. I couldn’t place how I knew this, I just did. Unfortunately for him, these feelings became more articulate at the precise time at which I had decided I would, one day, live outside the walls of this city. I had realized that this would mean going against part of the purpose of this family (rebelling, as he feared), and I knew I could not bring anyone into it with me. In essence, at sixteen years of age of what was destined to be a very long life, I had decided that I would spend my life alone.

For better or for worse, I had kept that promise. I regretted it every day.

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Excerpt - Homecoming: Entering the Gates

John laughed. “Oh, child. You think you know so much, but your ignorance would astound you,” he said. “Have you forgotten Hannah’s powers? That she can see our future, and foresee dangers? And what dangers are there for Survivors? We can only be hurt in our hearts, and you are the first to have committed this sin against us. What could you possibly warn us about?” he prodded.

I had not expected this to come up so soon. I thought we’d sit around the long oval table in the cloisters of the chapel where they all met to talk. I thought I’d tell them quietly and calmly. I hadn’t expected to speak over the wind, out in the open, not even protected by the city walls with the rest of the town on the other side of the gate listening to every word.

“She clearly has no reason for trespassing here,” William said. William was so young. He had been only fourteen when he stopped aging. I was at least a head taller than him, and looked down at him, surprised.

“Is it trespassing to visit one’s family? To seek fellowship? To worship together?” I asked. I hadn’t necessarily envisioned sitting through a service with my family, but it was not something I would object to. It might be the only thing that would get them back on my side.

“You see, John. She has not forgotten the Lord. She knows Him still. I can feel it in my bones!” Lizzie said with enthusiasm.

“That much is true,” Hannah called from her perch at the end of the line. “I have seen her in my visions. She is still a woman of God.” I was winning back some support.

“Maybe we should go inside…” Andrew began.

“Silence!” John snapped, unable to tolerate their sympathy toward me any longer. His thoughts flipped through his mind so quickly I couldn’t completely catch them. They were all colored with rage, though, so I got the gist. “She can fool us!” he screamed. “She can lie to any one of us. She has the devil in her!” He believed this. “You listen to me, child. Look at these, the faces of your family, one last time. You will turn around and run from this town like you did the first time you abandoned us, and you will never, never come back,” he seethed. He turned his back and walked up the short hill to the gates of the city. Nine of them followed him, but Sarah and Hannah looked at me and only slowly shifted their bodies toward the gates. Andrew doubted John’s decision, and Lizzie looked at me longingly, and remained still.

“There are others like us!” I cried out. Everyone froze. The quiet humming I had heard from the other side of the wall erupted into whispers and gasps.

All the elders looked at each other then at me. I expected them not to believe me, or to think I was trying to deceive him.

But to my surprise, John quietly said, “Come with us.” It took me a moment to realize I would have to move my feet for this to happen. They waited until I reached them, then we walked into the city as if they were strolling…or marching me to death row. The gates closed behind us. Perhaps I should have thought twice before blindly following them.

The entire family was waiting inside the gates; they had all come to see the show. No one spoke to me when I entered the city—they only stared—but their thoughts told me the story clearly: They had been ordered not to speak to me under any circumstances. They had also been assured that the elders had had no intention of letting me inside the city walls.

Many of the older generations were appalled that I was walking the streets of their hallowed ground again. I caught Noah’s eye. He look bewildered. Others of my generation and those below me had mixed feelings. Some of them were happy to see me, some of them were jealous of me.

We proceeded slowly down the main road to the church. The saunter through the streets had been intended as a parade of shame, designed to embarrass me. It hadn’t worked. No one here knew how detached I was from them. It was filial piety that had brought me back here to warn my family of Mark Winter’s threat. There was nothing more to it.

Down a long hallway to one side of the chapel was a row of rooms used for various purposes. At the end of the passage was a dark, wood-paneled room dug out of the ground. It had a thin window along the ceiling and only one door that faded into the woodwork once it was closed. You’d have to know where to look for it to find it. There was a long, oval table cut out of a gigantic slab of marble that was getting worn around the edges. Eighteen wooden chairs—carved when they had settled here three centuries earlier—surrounded it. I had been in this room only once, when I had taken a few things I knew I’d need before I left. Some things the family owned had great value in the world outside our walls but no significance inside of them. I was certain that they had no idea of the worth of these items, so when I stole a handful of very small things from their stash upon my departure—a sin, I admit—I didn’t think anyone would notice, much less understand what I had taken from them.

We walked single-file into the room. As I crossed the threshold, I felt my senses drain and my mind go quiet. I could no longer feel anything radiating off the elders. The intensity with which I could see the world faded into what looked somewhat like normal sight. I tried to envision Corrina’s mind, but I could come up with nothing. I felt panicked. Lizzie walked me to a chair at the far side of the table, her arm around my waist, and she sat to my left. Andrew sat on my other side. I faced John.

“What is it?” I asked, feeling uneasy without my powers.

“Never you mind that,” Catherine said. She was enjoying my fear.

“Honestly, Cattie,” Lizzie said. “The room is protected, Sadie. Your talents are stopped at the door. They’ll reattach to you when we leave,” she explained. I nodded quietly, more timid than I was before. I realized I hadn’t noticed it the last time I was here because I had been alone. I slid my hand under the table and pressed my fingers into it. The marble gave way as my fingertips sank into the stone. I still had my strength, then. It was our individual powers that were stripped in this room.

Catherine rolled her eyes. “A pity the poor little traitor can’t sense what we’re feeling,” she mused. Catherine and the rest of them had no idea that what I had lost was the ability to read their minds. They had assumed my powers would have remained stagnant in the time I was gone, as theirs had remained the same for over three centuries. “Ah well, she needn’t her talents here. She knows we all detest her.”

“Not all of us,” Andrew corrected. I smiled at him.

John began to speak first, but Andrew raised a hand to silence him. He studied my expression, then slid his hands toward me, and took one of my hands in his. “You have nothing to be afraid of,” he said.

I was very lucky to have him on my side. As one of the three original elders—he, Lizzie, and Hannah had been the first to evidently stop aging—Andrew was the patriarch of our family. When he asserted his rightful place, they were obliged to listen. Having been the eldest boy when they were exiled, John had taken a piece of power for himself. He more outwardly seemed to be our leader—he enforced rules, created discipline, was feared. But, still, Andrew came first. There were many in the family who never understood the distinction, but it was shockingly clear to me in that moment.

“Sadie, you said there are others like us,” he said, his voice very soothing. I nodded. “Can you tell us more?”

“I saw something,” I said, “something that only one of us could do.” I looked around the room at the expectant eyes and began to explain.

I told them the whole story. I described in detail how Mark Winter killed the man just by willing it so, and of how he had set the body on fire. I told them about how he had come to see me in Nashville. How he warned me not to follow him. How he knew that I was not a human either. Quietly, apologetically, I shared his ominous threat against them.

They listened intently. I expected them to be outraged, concerned, even shocked, but they remained quiet, calm.

When I finished, it was silent. I squirmed in my seat.

“I have a question,” Rebecca began. “Your talent, Sadie—how you can find people? What is it you feel from a creature to be able to find it again?”

I tightened my brow. This was a loaded question. I chose my words carefully, trying to find a way to answer her question honestly without explaining to them all I could do.

“I suppose it’s mostly something I hear and partly something I feel. The sounds are the most unique—they make people easy to find. Sometimes there’s a deep tug in my stomach, though, pulling me some way, guiding me to what I’m looking for. That part is harder to explain,” I said.

“So did Mark Winter sound normal to you? Did you get the same things from him you usually get from humans? Or from us?” Rebecca asked.

“I could not feel anything from him at all,” I said. Their expressions instantly grew wary.

“Is it because the filthy human world has deteriorated your powers?” John asked pointedly.

“No,” I said. “I have gotten much better at reading humans,” I said. That was true except for emotional moments like with Cole. “When I returned today, I found that I have an easier time reading us, too,” I explained, counting myself among the group in front of me. A corner of Andrew’s mouth turned up when I made the distinction. No matter how much I wanted to be a human, it didn’t change what I was. Even I could admit that.

“Why do you think you could not feel anything from Mark Winter?” Andrew asked.

“I’m not sure,” I said. “My skills are not flawless, I’ll admit, but no one has ever been completely blocked from me. But Mark Winter is so tightly guarded that it feels like he isn’t even really there.”

Andrew spoke. “I think we must find Mark Winter. We must bring him here and ask him of his heritage and his powers. He has many talents, and it would be beneficial for us to know how he received them. It would be unwise to continue in ignorance now that we know he exists,” he said. Then he turned to me. “Sadie, will you give us a moment to discuss our plan of action?”

I nodded and rose from my chair and made my way to the door quickly.

“I’ll join her,” Lizzie said, catching up to me, “if no one minds?” she asked, looking at Andrew.

He nodded. She opened the camouflaged door, and we stepped through it together. Once outside, the door sealed itself shut. There would be no way to get back in until someone opened it. I immediately felt clarity in my mind and my senses.