The Neris

The mythological creatures had a conference. Beings of legend gathered from near and far. There were many of the better-known creatures, like vampires and mermaids and unicorns. The less common beings hung around the edges of the room and tried not to look as awkward as they felt.

The neris saw a small crowd gathering in a dark corner. Curious, she wandered over. She hummed and people cleared a path without realizing it.   Sometimes her talents were quite useful.

In the center of the crowd, a human child was crouched down. The creatures around him were growling and yelling.   “Human, you don’t belong here,” a vampire said. “I should drain you for your insolence.”

“After I bite you,” said a werewolf.

“And I poke you in the eye,” a flying monkey said.

“I’m not a human,” the little boy said.

“You look like a human,” a dwarf said. “I don’t believe you.” He kicked the human in the shin. The flying monkey started pulling his hair.

The neris had seen enough. “Twinkle, twinkle, little bat…” she sang. Everyone in the area clapped their hands over their ears. The flying monkey darted away and the others followed, leaving the little boy sitting on the floor, hands over his ears.

The neris stopped singing. The little boy was humming and rocking back and forth with his hands over his ears.   The neris tapped him on the shoulder.   He turned and took his hands off his ears. “I stopped singing,” she said.

“That was you? It sounded terrible,” he said. He winced.   “Oh, wait, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

The neris laughed. “Of course it sounded terrible. I’m a neris. But my singing made everyone leave you alone didn’t it?”

“Thank you for that,” the boy said. Then he frowned. “What’s a neris?”

“It’s kind of like a siren,” she said.

“But sirens sing so well that they can lure people closer,” the boy said.

“Well, I’m the opposite of that,” the neris said.

“I get it, you’re like me,” the boy said.

“What do you mean?”

The boy scowled. “I look like this, because it’s the night of a full moon,” the boy said.

“I think they picked that so the werewolves could come in creature form,” the neris said.

“Exactly. But I’m a weren’twolf.   I’m a wolf every night except the night of the full moon. It feels a little unfair. Everyone keeps calling me a human, when I’m more wolf than they are.”

“That is unfair,” the neris said. She held out a hand to help him up. “I guess us outsiders could stick together.”

“That would be nice,” the weren’twolf said. “That way you can keep the human-haters away from me.”

“Then be prepared to have to endure some terrible singing,” the neris said.

The boy frowned. “Oh, my poor sensitive ears. Do you have any earplugs?”

The neris laughed. “Of course not. My singing sounds perfectly fine to me. Maybe you’ll get used to it.”

“I’ll do my best,” the weren’twolf said. “It would be nice to have a friend. Have you decided which workshops you want to attend?”

“I spend a lot of time repelling humans who drift to close to magical sites, so I was interested in the one on modern human culture,” the neris said.

“Well, I do have to try to blend in one day a month. That sounds great. What about the meditation class?” the weren’twolf asked.

“Let me read the description,” the neris said. The two new friends wandered off, laughing and talking. It was the beginning of a legendary friendship.