At long last, I present to you: A Black Sheep Among Black Sheep is Just a Sheep.
I wrote this one a while ago, under very different circumstances. I was running an online magazine at the time, and dealing with a great deal of harassment from a bunch of morons.
This story, above all else, is meant to convey the irony of being an “outsider among outsiders.”
It’s a story about standing on the sidelines and watching as strangers not so different from yourself–or even people you once loved–slowly die.
It carries the pain and isolation of that time: A dark, bleak winter that only grew colder as the seasons changed.
This story is based heavily off stories shared with me by my father: Stories of his grandfather in the Carpathian hills, who he never actually met in this lifetime. My grandpa told him stories, however: He had a dear companion who never left his side. A giant sheepdog so powerful he could fight off a pack of wolves alone. A monstrous beast with a collar of spikes and a heart of steel.
All my life I’ve loved dogs and bonded with them deeply, and I always felt the strangest sense of sorrow that I could never know this creature. In my mind, I suppose I built him up to be majestic beyond reason. But as the story says, “There were no dogs like Jankó, not in Magyarország or the Free Worlds or the Ends of Time.”
Anyways, my original intention for this story was to demonstrate how fucked up it is to gang up on people and laugh at their suffering when you know nothing of their true struggles. But that anger has long since passed; I know greater sorrows, now.
Yet strangely, I look upon those days with fondness. It hurt deeply to watch strangers deface and spit upon the project I created with my brother: It was one of the few that my family supported and encouraged–even my grandma, when she was still alive. But at least we still felt something. At least we created something that imploded the burning fires of hatred behind the eyes of others.
Hatred, or jealousy?
The story has a very different meaning for me, now, after I’ve faced even greater injustices yet: Injustices both of the flesh and of the spirit that may very well haunt me forever.
So go on . . . Take a trip back to old Carpathia, and to the edge of reality . . . But don’t get lost along the way, regardless of what strange sights you see.
And although the Terrorboric hellscape ringing throughout this story may carry you back to your own personal hell, remember that it’s a story for all of us.
Everywhere. In every timeline. In every generation. We deserve a bone every now and then, after all. And I can almost guarantee that no matter who you are, or how we know each other, I know you well enough to inject a shred of your best and worst traits into this story.
But don’t think you’re special just because another outsider with a keen eye remembered you. If you want to be special, you need to stand out. You need to speak up. You need to stop being a bystander and reunite with me in our own metaphorical Igvarmord beyond wrong and right.
Otherwise, you might just go unnoticed. After all . . . A Black Sheep Among Black Sheep is Just a Sheep.