A Day in the Sun, Revisited
by Thomas Mc
Note: This story is a response to some readers request for more information on a specific incident in the story A Day In The Sun and is a companion piece to that story. It shows the other side of that incident.
Stanley looked into the mirror to check his barbarian costume. It was for their day at the renaissance festival. He actually looked pretty good and that was not an empty boast. All his life he had been able to see beyond the surface disguise and into the truth beneath. This also included his own image in the mirror.
This ability was definitely a mixed blessing. He could look at a person and immediately see who they really were, not the socially acceptable face they presented to the world. He always knew when he was being lied to and could usually divine the truth behind the lie. The down side was that when he watched a play or a movie he saw the actors rather than the characters they played.
This made him particularly effective as a private detective. It also meant that he was able to make enough money that he could easy take a long hiatus every spring for about three months. He usually spent most of that hiatus here at his cabin deep in the Connecticut woods.
As he studied his costume his gaze drifted upward toward the real reason for his yearly retreat to this cabin. They were particularly impressive this year. They had grown to just over a foot long with six points and he would be stuck with them for over three weeks until he finally shed them. The thick fur that covered most of his body could be easily hidden under his clothes but there was no way to hide the antlers. For about two months each year he sported a very impressive set of stag antlers. He had come to accept it as the price he paid for his ability to see beyond the world's disguises.
When they had first started to appear, about the same time he hit puberty, he had questioned his mother about it. She had turned away from him and refused to answer. Because of his gift he had clearly seen the deep pain and anguish that his condition, his questions and her memories had caused her. He never broached the subject again. The only clue he had came later that night when he overheard his mother crying out in her room and cursing the name of Julian. Now he was approaching his forty-fifth birthday and still he had no idea why he was the way he was nor the significance of that name.
His gaze shifted again as Wanda entered the bedroom in her sexy barbarian hunter's costume. They had been married for almost fifteen years. Because of his uncertainty about his own genetics they had never had any children. Sometimes he wondered if they had made the right decision. She reached out and touched one of the antler points. "My, my, you sure seem to be exceptionally horny today." Then her voice shifted to a deeper very sexually suggestive tone as she ran her fingers along the antler down to the base. "I love a man that gets downright horny now and then." She threw in a suggestive wiggle. "I like it."
"I'll show you horny." He replied as he swatted her butt and gave it a squeeze.
She squealed and jumped then she broke into a delightful giggle.
She was ten years younger than him and she loved him with all of her heart. One thing about his wife, she refused to let him feel sensitive about his horns. From the moment each year when the tiny nubs began to grow until he finally shed them a little over two months later, she was constantly cracking jokes about them. The horny crack was just one of the comments he could expect to hear many times during this period.
He turned and embraced her, lifting her off her feet. "I may be horny but it's only for you." He gave her a long passionate kiss then set her back on her feet. "We had better get going or we'll miss the morning ceremonies and I know you'd shoot me if I made you late."
She pouted at him. "Hey, I only shot you that one time."
He gave her a pat on the butt as they hurried out of the cabin. They climbed into the conversion van which was the only vehicle they had found with enough headroom to accommodate him at this time of the year. As the van pulled away from the cabin, he gazed over at her and thought how ironic that she was dressed as a hunter then his mind wandered back to the day that they met.
~ o ~
Young fifteen year old Wanda had gone on her first deer hunting trip with her father when they had gotten separated and lost. Then she had caught movement among the trees and saw a magnificent set of antlers. She fired at the spot in the bushes, saw the antlers drop out of sight then rushed over to claim her prize. She arrived at the spot at the same time as her father. But it wasn't a deer that lay on the ground; it was a man with the antlers of a deer that they found. And he was still alive.
Wanda's father was a volunteer fire department EMT and had been able to treat the strange man's wound. It had not been too serious. Since they were unsure where they were, they pitched their camp right there for two days while they cared for the strange antlered man. During that time they talked a lot and got to know the unusual looking man. They learned that the man's name was Stanley and that the antlers and thick body fur were real and that he had no idea why he was the way he was. The man healed very quickly and after two days he was able to travel.
He led them to his cabin and they spent the night there then the next morning he led them back to their own camper.
They had kept in touch and five years later Stanley and Wanda had married.
~ o ~
So far the Renaissance Festival had been a blast. Like the last few years he got many curious stares but nothing more. During this time of the year, this was just about the only place where he could be among a large crowd of people without causing a major scene and no end of trouble for himself. Stanley was standing near a tree on the edge of the common eating area waiting for Wanda to return with drinks for them both. As he was waiting he was scanning the colorful and interesting crowd when he caught sight of a very unique couple on the other side of the open area. The woman was dressed as a forest sprite and was quite beautiful, but it was her male companion that had arrested his wandering attention and caused him to blink in surprise.
The man was made up as a half-lion rogue but what surprised him was that he was unable to see beyond the man's disguise. Then it hit him like a ton of bricks. That was not a mask or makeup. That was his true appearance. He was exactly what he appeared to be. He could also see that the beautiful, and vaguely familiar, woman was fully aware of her companion's nature and was very much in love with him.
The lion-man had apparently noticed Stanley and also blinked in surprise.
Then Wanda had approached with two cups of beer. She glanced over at the lion-man then did a perfect double take as she recognized the woman with him from her large collection of society and celebrity magazines. "Hey who's the beast with Catherine Chandler?" She fully expected Stanley to be able to recognize the person under the lion makeup.
Stanley replied almost nonchalantly. "He's exactly what he appears to be."
Wanda's head snapped back to look at Stanley in surprise. "What?"
Stanley shrugged. "He's not wearing a disguise. What you see is his true appearance."
Her eyes got as wide as saucers as the meaning penetrated. "But . . ." She glanced back at the couple.
He grinned. "It seems that I'm not the only one here that is hiding in plain sight." Then he chuckled. "Don't stare, you'll make them nervous." He took his beer from her, linked arms with her, and, with a quick nod to the lion-man, they strolled off together into the crowd, to see more of the Renaissance Festival.
As they walked among the shops they talked about the lion-man and Catherine. Wanda was speaking. "I know that Catherine Chandler has had three girls. Do you think that that lion-man could have been the father?"
Stanley shrugged. "I don't really know. I don't see how that could be possible . . . but . . ." He had stopped speaking and stood staring into the shop they were about to enter.
Wanda followed his startled gaze and gasped in surprise. Coming out of the shop were two young couples. One couple appeared to be in their very early teens and the other appeared to be preteen. The males however were both half-lion and there was no doubting their relationship to the other lion-man that they had seen with Catherine Chandler.
As they watch the two young couples walk away from them Stanley finally spoke. "It seems that he is also the father of two boys as well." He glanced over at Wanda. "I guess it is possible."
Wanda pulled Stanley around to face her and looked intently into his eyes. "If someone like Catherine Chandler can have children with her lion-man and make it work . . ." The beginning glimmer of hope showed in her face. "Do you think that maybe we can do it, too, and make it work?"
Stanley could clearly see the flicker of hope and longing in his wife's face. He knew that she wanted children but had, for their fifteen years together, gone along with his desire not to take any chances. He glanced up and spotted the retreating backs of the two young couples disappearing into the crowd then back down into his wife's eyes. "Maybe we were a bit hasty when we agreed not to have kids." He saw the flicker of hope grow into a flame. "I guess we could at least give it a try." The flame became a forest fire as she threw her arms around him in a tight hug.
~ x x x x x ~
Stanley gazed down lovingly at his wife and their newborn baby girl cradled in her arms. The little girl had her father's eyes and nose and her mother's mouth. There was no sign of fur or antlers as yet. They had both agreed to name her Catherine after the woman whose bravery had inspired them to take this step. As he thought about that encounter nearly five years ago he wondered what Catherine Chandler would think if she got a message from a total stranger thanking her for giving them the courage to have children despite the uncertainties of the husband's genetics.
Stanly glanced up at his father-in-law. "I can't thank you enough for your help."
"Think nothing of it.." He smiled back. "So much of my work involves tragedy and terrible injuries. It's nice to help in something like this, now and then. Especially when it is my own grandchild that I'm delivering." He placed his hand on Stanley's shoulder. "Congratulations, son."
Wanda looked up at him. "Thank-you Daddy."
He touched his daughter's face. "You're welcome honey." He snapped his EMT medical case shut. "I'll leave you to yourselves now." With a wink and a grin he left the room.
Stanley smiled at Wanda. "She's beautiful my love, just like her mother."
Wanda smiled up at her husband. The tiny nubs that once a year became full blown antlers were invisible under his thick light brown hair. "She is beautiful." She looked down and caressed the infant's face. She looked over at the three year old boy standing beside his father. The fur on his little body was almost as thick as his father's. They would have to wait until he reached puberty to see if he developed antlers. "You're a big brother now, Victor, and your little sister will be looking up to you for guidance."
The little boy nodded solemnly back at his mother then stretched to get a better look at his new baby sister.
'Beauty and the Beast' and its characters are owned by Witt-Thomas Productions and Republic Pictures. No infringement on copyrights is intended. This story is presented merely for the enjoyment of fans. Original concepts and story elements may be used by other authors as long as appropriate credit is given.