The Neris, the Weren’twolf, and the Bicorn

Sally, the neris, was attending yet another mythological creature conference.   At least this time she could look forward to meeting a friend. Of course, at a conference this big, it was difficult to find someone, even if you agree on a general area to meet.

Skirting around the edge of the crowd, Sally saw a group starting to gather in a dark corner. Angry vampires and werewolves were yelling at something that she couldn’t quite see.   Sally smiled and hurried over.

It looked like a small human child was huddled on the floor in the middle of the group, but Sally knew better. She cleared her throat. The child looked up, saw her and grinned as he covered his ears.

“Don’t ignore us,” a werewolf growled.

Sally cleared her throat again, a little louder. The vampires and werewolves turned around. “Go away, little girl,” a vampire said.

“Yeah, leave us alone, whatever you are,” a werewolf said.

“I’m a neris, and that’s my friend,” Sally said.

“Whatever,” a vampire said. They turned around again.

Sally began to sing. “Row, row, row your boat…”

The vampires cringed and the werewolves howled as if they were being tortured. They all clapped their hands over their ears and ran. A large area cleared out around them. Sally walked over and tapped her friend on the shoulder.

He looked up. “Done singing?” he asked.

She nodded and he took his hands off his ears. “Hi, Ralph,” Sally said. “It’s too bad the conferences are always on the night of the full moon.”

“Yeah,” Ralph said. “Any other time and it would be me chasing them around.”

Sally held out a hand and helped him up. “It does make it easy to find you,” she said.

“Thanks, Sally,” Ralph said.

“No problem.” Sally pulled out her conference booklet. “So, which class did you want to go to first?”

Ralph opened his booklet. “I was thinking modern problems for monsters, what about you?”

“The panel discussion? It could be good,” Sally said. “Let’s go.”

The panel was boring. The kelpies were upset about boaters and garbage in the water. A werewolf said that all the air pollution gave him asthma and made it hard to howl at the moon. “It’s all complaining without looking for solutions,” Sally said.   “These aren’t even modern problems.”

“What do you mean?” Ralph asked.

“Oh, people have been throwing garbage in the water for a long time.   And when they all used wood stoves, you should have seen the smoke everywhere,” Sally said.

Ralph looked surprised. “You lived back then?”

“I’ve been around for hundreds of years,” Sally said. “I was hoping they’d tell us more about the internet.   We really should have more of an organized online presence.”

“Werewolves only live as long as humans do,” Ralph said.

“That’s because they’re humans most of the time. You’re a weren’twolf. I imagine you’ll live thirty times as long. It just makes sense,” Sally said.

A dryad turned around and shushed them. “Let’s get out of here,” Ralph said.

They went to the food court and walked past the booths. “What do you want?” Sally asked. “I think I’ll get some seaweed wraps.”

“I want a giant turkey leg,” Ralph said. “How are they that big?”

They bought their food and looked for an empty table. There was a table at the back that had some space. A unicorn sat there, slumped over and picking at his plate of clover. He was unusual for a unicorn. Right below his pearly white horn, there was a smaller silver horn.

Sally smiled. “Let’s sit there,” she said.

Ralph and Sally took their trays over to the table. “Can we sit here?” Sally asked.

“I guess so,” the unicorn said.

They sat down. “Hi, I’m Sally. I’m a neris. This is Ralph. He’s a weren’twolf.” Ralph waved and the unicorn sat up straighter. Sally smiled again and leaned in closer. “Are you a bicorn?”

The bicorn leaned back and nodded. “Yeah, that’s me. Barnabas the bicorn. Please don’t call me Barney.” He sighed.   “Are you going to tell me that I’m not really a mythological creature because there are lots of things with two horns?”

Ralph snorted. “No. I hear that too much myself to say it to anyone else.”

The bicorn turned and looked at him and nodded. “Fair enough. What’s a weren’twolf, anyway?”

“I’m a wolf except on nights of the full moon.   Sally’s a reverse siren. Her singing repels anyone listening,” Ralph said.

“We’re unlegends,” Sally said. “The creatures that they don’t write stories about. Did you want to join us? The conferences are more fun with friends.”

“That does sound nice,” the bicorn said. “What class are you going to next?”

“I was thinking the class on myths retold sounded fun,” Sally said.

Barnabas and Ralph looked through their booklets.   Ralph nodded. “I picked the last one, so it’s your turn anyway.”

“It might be fun,” Barnabas said. “I’m in.”

“Great,” Sally said. “Can we call you Benny?”

The bicorn nodded. “Benny is fine.”

They grinned at each other. Mythology would never be the same.