Monsters are real; in every sense and in every way. For those of you who are skeptic, well, let me tell you a story of a monster so real that even you cannot deny; a monster called cancer.
I’m not allowed to tell these kinds of stories; well really, I’m not allowed to speak at all. It’s not that I’m mute or stupid, although some may suggest that I am, but that there are some secrets so unspeakable, that they have the tendency of searing lips shut. For thousands of years, those secrets remained unspoken, until now. Sure, you may have heard a version, a rumor or a flat out myth of what I am about to tell you—not about what happened in Hennen or even about Rebecca herself; but about fairies.
No, this is not that kind of fairy tale. Although fairies do exist, they subsist quite differently then how quixotically they have been illustrated in such stories. It has been perceived, for say that a fairy is a sort of bug-like being which is shaped like an infinitesimal human with wings and magical capabilities. None of this is true. There is no magic in this world, not anywhere. Fairies are basically humans, just with one small difference; they suffer no illnesses. Now, to say that there is no magic does not mean that there aren’t supernatural things afoot. But like beauty, supernatural is in the eye of the beholder. What may seem odd to you may be perfectly natural to me, and what appears out of this world to me could be simply logical to you. Why struggle over the concept of magical things, when reality is so much more powerful?
Power, ah yes, that’s where I will start. Our story, as many do, begins with power. Not to beat a dead horse—bear with me; it’s been a while since I’ve stretched the old vocal cords, never mind tell a whole story—but power is not magic. It is far superior. The universe was formed by a greater power, and it is that same power which dwelled in a world called Hennen.
I guess its time to tell you who I am, even though I doubt that you’d understand, but here it goes. I am what you call the dew in the air; and I exist everywhere. I have seen many things, and I witnessed what I am about to tell you first hand. The first thing that you need to know is that there was once many more planets in the universe than there are now, and all of them thrived with creations and beauty. Creatures with the appearance of humans also roamed the many earths rotating within the galaxy. These beings boasted great intelligence and health. They were as tall and as short as you and I; round or slender, or somewhere in between. Clothed in light and with long or short hair in any color, these people were beautiful. Fairies, as they were called, were the greatest among creatures in all of the planets.
Hennen was a privileged and prestigious planet resting just above the earth; home to royalty. It was perhaps the smallest planet, but the most beautiful and glorious of all. It was a picturesque kingdom with great grandeur and wealth. Only nobility dwelled in these lands and it was through Rebecca’s ancestors that illness has never manifested in any planet—even Earth. It was not that the gene of illness was nonexistent, but that it was kept from growing beyond its bud. Every century, a royal heir was born, harboring the forbidden gene, and from the beginning of time, that heir was sacrificed to the maengu water spirits. These deities would devour the flawed heir and health would prosper for another century. It was a cruel act, but the fairies in Hennen believed that it was necessary. They feared illness and death above all else, and would do anything to prevent it from penetrating their worlds.
Just over a hundred years had passed since the last sacrifice to the maengu, and Rebecca’s parents feared that their unborn princess would be the next offering. Yet, when she was born, there were no flaws upon her flesh. It was believed that a mole or a birthmark, as mankind knows them as, were actually marks of the ill-fated gene. Her parents joyfully celebrated her birth and her health and would spare no expense in her upbringing. She grew to be a beautiful girl, perhaps the most beautiful fairy of her time, but there was something different about her. She was no ordinary fairy princess and was considered peculiar among her people. She would often disappear for hours, when she was supposed to be dedicating her time to her education and etiquettes instruction. She was a lover of the wilderness and would almost always find herself by the Falling Rivers of Hexamine, a large river cascading into six waterfalls where the maengu await their sacrifices.
“What on Hennen are you doing here?” her mother’s voice wasn’t exactly soft as she rebuked her child.
Rebecca had sun kissed blond hair which waved in the sweet lily filled breeze as she sat regally on a raised curve of the ground with her feet dangling into the river. She had been splashing the ripples of the water with her feet as her toes danced in the waves—seemingly careless of the dangers her toes imposed within these forsaken rapids. She did not fear the maengu, which worried her mother the most.
“Get out of that water right now, young lady, or so help you, you will kill us all!” shouted her mother as she grabbed her arm tightly and heaved her out of the river, “Are you insane?”
Rebecca glanced up at her mother, as her brown eyes deepened in her remorse and even the green ring which could be seen around her pupil was shadowed by the richness of her iris. Tears began to flow steadily down her face; Rebecca wanted nothing more than to please her mother, but she also adored the river.
“I’m sorry mother,” she whimpered softly.
“What am I going to do with you, Rebecca; I can’t possibly explain this away. You better pray that the maengu did not desire the taste of your flesh, and hope to God that no one saw you here,” she continued to rebuke her daughter, “you know how special you are.”
“You mean, because of this?” Rebecca asked as she pushed her sleeve over her shoulder revealing a small, but perfectly round birthmark.
“Shhhh. Don’t ever expose your mark or speak of such things,” her mother ordered as she desperately pulled Rebecca’s sleeve back above her shoulder, “God forbid anyone finds out!”
“Why does it matter so much?” Rebecca foolishly asked her mother.
“You know what that mark means; you carry death with you! When are you going to take this seriously, young lady? You are not to leave the safety of your room without permission. I need to know where you are at all times, for everyone’s sake. Where you go, death goes; can’t you see that?” she attempted to reason with her, pointing towards a slouching patch of lilies just to the right of Rebecca, wilting in the girls presence.
Rebecca’s eyes widened in the sight of dying flowers as the grieved girl fell over them weeping, “no, no, not again! No!”
“Look at me, child,” her mother said as she leaned over, placing her hand around Rebecca’s chin and gently raising it up to look into her devastated eyes, “I’m not trying to be hard on you; I just don’t want to lose you. You know what they do to children like you.”
“Maybe they should do that to me,” Rebecca cried as she wrestled her chin out of her mother’s hand and glanced over to the river.
“Don’t ever say that! We will find a way to break this curse, but until then, we need to keep everyone safe. You understand that, don’t you?”
“Yes, mother.” Rebecca replied softly as her mother took her hand and led her into the direction of the castle; the girl’s head turned, peering back at the river as she walked away, with death lurking in her shadow.
A fat lilac tree, bursting with purple blooms, shivered erratically in the distance, as if someone were shaking it. A cloud of pollen circulated around the tree as petals drifted to the ground. A short and stout man clumsily dropped down from the broody branches, landing on his hands and knees. He slowly stood to his feet, holding his back, as he painfully stretched out his abdomen. He appeared to have been crammed in that tree for quite a while, stalking the princess. He wore a prideful grin on his face, satisfied in what he had just overheard. His evil agenda would see the fairy princess cast into the river and fed to the Maengu while her parents are dethroned for keeping such a secret. With the royal family out of his way, this man could finally claim the throne for himself.
Aloysius was a devious kind of man whose nose was as crooked as his integrity. He was rich and powerful, but not in direct line for the fairy throne. The King and Queen all but banished him from the planet, but even banishment would not have prevented the events that were about to transpire. His evil objective was so profound that it consumed him; he would live and die for it, if necessary. He lusted over supremacy and sought to possess not just Hennen, but every planet under the sun. Aloysius went about his wicked business and collected every noble man and woman, setting them amongst each other awaiting his condemning declaration about the princess.
“People of Hennen, I urge you today to take action against the disturbing news I have just witnessed of your princess. Her Highness wears upon her flesh the mark of death!” he reported enthusiastically, as if it were good news.
“Liar!” many cried, while others shouted unrecognizable words that muffled by the crowd’s angry chants.
“I assure you, the mark exists just above her shoulder.” He guaranteed them.
Their expressions made it clear that they did not believe the man’s word, but the seriousness of the accusation that he laid at their feet could not go uninvestigated. They had no choice but to summon the princess and view the evidence Aloysius described. However, this would not be easy, for she was the crowned princess, the heir of Hennen and her parents could just as easily wage a war against them for even asking. The best way to prove Rebecca’s innocence was to seize her unexpectedly and when without protection. She would have to be stripped of her robes in public, so that there would be no further doubt of the girl’s flawless flesh. Aloysius was sent under the canopy of the night to collect the child.
He dragged the girl, head covered with a charcoal grey hood, into the center of the court yard where the nobles gathered. She was not confused but very timid, and spoke with a stutter when interrogated in front of the masses. She was too young to navigate her way through the questions, and the king and queen were nowhere to be found. The girl looked desperately for her mother, but with tears flooding her nose, she could barely see. Aloysius brutally tore Rebecca’s sleeve over her shoulder revealing the mark in question. The crowd gasped and cried, both sorrowful and angry. They loved their princess, but they were furious, and they didn’t love her enough to risk their own lives to illness.
“She’s a disease!” One shouted while pointing at her and another leaped up, grabbing her by the back of her neck, “she must be exposed of immediately!” he yelled.
Rebecca wept and pleaded with them, begging them for mercy, but as they began to drag her away, she knew her fate. For the first time, she feared the maengu.
“I’m not sick, I’m telling you, I’m not!” she begged, but with no reply. As they drew closer to the river, the queen could be heard scurrying in the distance, screaming at the top of her lungs.
“Release her at once!” she ordered, but without obedience she realized that they no longer reverenced her as their queen. “Nooooo, please, leave her alone! She’s just a child. Please!” she wept, but again without submission. She fell to her knees, stricken with terror and grief as she watched her daughter reach out for her, tears streaming down her frightened face, as they cast her into the river.
The crowed shouted for joy, believing they had vanquished illness from their world, while the queen wept bitterly on the ground, paralyzed by her emotions. The ground became dewy and slowly turned to marsh as the people ceased their celebration to take notice of the change in their climate. The wind grew brisk and clouds rolled over the sky. The river’s once ferocious waves paused, while what sounded like a growling stomach echoed from the water. Everyone starred silently at the river, curious of its grumble.
“The maengu spirits are hungry still; the girl did not satisfy their thirst! Let us throw the deceitful queen in as well. Perhaps she will quench their appetite,” Aloysius suggested, but the crowd seemed hesitant to obey. The queen was not marked for death like her daughter and regardless of her lies, she was still their sovereign.
“Do not be fools, this is not your beloved queen anymore,” he said as he kicked the queen’s left side, causing her to shift onto her back. “She has brought sickness into Hennen. She is the trader—not us—I tell you, we must protect our world, our children. The queen has no concern for our young; she only cares for her forsaken daughter. If we let her live, she will seek vengeance on us for damning the princess—of which we had to do. Throw her into the river with her daughter,” he ordered, as if he was king, but the people refused.
“Do it!” the queen shouted unevenly, as if her voice was paling in and out, “throw me down to my daughter. I order it! Obey me, at once!”
Aloysius grinned, for it appeared that his cruel act had broken the queen. It seemed extreme for the queen to share her daughter’s grim fate, but, perhaps the queen knew something they did not. Aloysius grabbed the queens ankle’s and began pulling her towards the river, and although many tried to pry his hands off of her while others grabbed onto her wrists pulling her backwards, they could not contain her. Many fell to their knees in intense regret. “What have they done?” they asked themselves as they sensed that not only would the queen share the princess’s fate, but so would the entire universe. They recognized in this moment that the old traditions were wrong, and now, they would all pay the price for the lives taken by the maengu.
Suddenly the waves broke their halt, rushing in from the deep and crashing into the land. They rose straight up into the sky, like a tsunami, and stretched out past the shore, swiping through the kingdom with wrath. Every creature was flung into its rebuking currents, twisted, turned and colliding into each other as they were swept into the river. Rain wept from the sky in barrelfuls and without cease, flooding the world in its entirety. The planet overflowed to the point where it could no longer hold, as it burst, pouring out onto the world below; the earth.
Earth at this time was no longer vacant; it had bloomed and blossomed with life and beauty, and seemingly without illness, just like Hennen. Creatures possessing the Earth also lived for thousands of years. It was the same everywhere; but life everlasting brought only evil. Waters rushed into the earth, flooding it for forty days and forty nights.
Rebecca and her mother were tossed through the waves, clinging onto each other while other fairies were sucked below the currents into their watery graves. “My darling child,” the queen whispered as she wrapped her arms around Rebecca, glad to see her alive.
The form of a woman materialized from the water and cradled Rebecca and mother, protecting them from the tsunami’s wrath. They didn't know what she was or why she was protecting them, but suspected that she had to be a maengu water spirit. They floated gently down stream as they were sifted into Earth. After forty nights had passed, the violent rain ceased and the water was calm. This is when the mysterious woman sheltering them spoke for the first time. She did not mention her name but spoke only of a prophecy.
“Your kind has brought shame upon the galaxy; believing that in your superiority, that even death has no authority over you. Therefore, all fairy possessed planets have been destroyed and no other planet will ever host life again, except for Earth, where all who are born must die. It is the way of the world, and even perfect health will not remedy your fate. Man shall also die young, for like fairies, they have sinned in their lust for everlasting life. Yet, because you refused to sacrifice your daughter like your wicked ancestors did, there may still be hope for you. And if there is hope for you, then there is hope for man. But, you will be tested. Your daughter shall indeed fall ill and the fate of the world will rest upon whether or not she lives or dies, for the world shall live with her or die with her. In her illness, her heart shall be tried, and unless it is pure, she will succumb to it,” the woman declared as a great wind drifted in from the east drying out the waters.
As the years passed, Rebecca and her mother had all but forgotten about the prophecy. They lived their lives quietly and humbly, and as Rebecca grew older, she fell in love and had a family of her own, a family who would never be made aware of her fairy linage. Yet, there was a certain mysteriousness of it that twinkled within her eyes. The only thing she had left from Hennen was an old paper and lace fan, which was tucked in her garments the day of the flood. It was a special fan with extraordinary qualities that even Rebecca was unaware of, and, something about it brought out that twinkle in her eyes.
Rebecca’s beauty was sublime and her personality was intoxicating. She was quick and clever and perhaps a little mischievous—all fairies are. Her witty and playful nature exuberated joy and enthusiasm, and everywhere she went, hope seemed to follow. She would radiate sunshine, and when she smiled, it was almost as if the sun itself was beaming out of her. A bit of a warrior, Rebecca was fierce and determined. Nothing could stop her; not even cancer, or so she thought.
She had so many goals and reasons to live, from her beloved children, husband and family and friends to fulfilling her life long dreams. Her schedule was so full that death just wasn’t convenient. Yet as it goes, Rebecca’s destiny would not be convenient, fair or fun, but marked with sorrow and agony. She did not yet realize it, but illness was already laced in her blood, cancer, upon her bosom. She was a loving mother and a wife with overwhelming support, but no one could prepare her the battle she faced—the war between life and death.
Rebecca loved to walk along side the beach as the crashing waves calmed her weary mind, and she walked often, as her beautiful auburn locks thinned and fell out. With each day that passed, her body grew frailer and her pain more profound. I’m sure that there were times that she contemplated giving up, after all, there are fates worse then death, and cancer is one of them. Yet every time she would consider such a thing, she would picture the face of her daughter and sons and of her husband and grandchildren and all her future grandchildren. She knew how much they needed her still and she felt a sense of responsibility to live. She remembered the prophecy once spoken to her and she knew that this was the illness predicted. She wondered what it meant to have a pure heart, and whether or not hers was. This disease has been spreading like wild fire for some time now, and it was no respecter of persons. It murdered many of pure hearts, so, what did her heart matter?
Rebecca felt overwhelmed and insecure of her fate; she was just a child when the prophecy was made and the years since were many. She often wondered if it was just a vivid nightmare or figment of her imagination, after all, she and her mother never spoke of it again. For all she knew, it wasn’t real. She could barely even remember Hennen, and after all the years, she even questioned its legitimacy. Could it have all been in her head, or does the fate of the world truly rest in her hands? All she knew for sure was that she was sick. Cancer had become her and it was now controlling her, her family and her friends; it was slowly destroying their lives.
Every day, she spent hours in deep meditation and contemplation, considering the prophecy, and in time—as her bones grew weak, her blood flow slowed, her mind exhausted and her flesh ached—she accepted it. She knew in depths of her soul that she had to survive this disease, or not only will her family perish with her, but all men, woman and children in the world. What is a fairy anyways, if not healthy? She knew that she had to find a way to defeat cancer and somehow rid it from existence. As far as she was concerned, it had already claimed enough lives. Rebecca was sick alright; she was sick and tired of meaningless death.
Why is there such a thing called cancer, anyways? What’s its deal and why in tarnation is it so hungry? Is there a way to kill it? Like, really kill it—and then bury it—and never be haunted by it again? Some people say it’s the food we eat, or simply in our genes, the sun, or just bad luck. But, let me tell you, it’s so much more than that. It is a disgusting little demon that thinks it has the authority to kill us all; a wicked, nasty cockroach with nine lives. Its deceitful and competitive, with a thirst for blood; a real-life vampire as a matter of fact. It fights dirty, it cheats, it steals and it will stop at nothing to win. It is more pigheaded and stubborn then every man there is and has ever been put together. It is an intelligent illness that likes to play games, such as hide and seek, and is a master at riddles. It is a sadistic serial killer with an unquenchable appetite for death. How dear it infiltrates our world and infects whom ever it chooses, that prideful little monster.
Rebecca became more determined in this moment as she pondered such things, simply refusing to die. It wasn’t her life that she cared about; in fact, she thought nothing of it nor did she consider her own interest. She held onto her breath and forced her heart to beat as she willed herself back into health. Surviving cancer isn’t like winning the lottery, it is not luck; it is faith. Science and man can only do so much; the rest is in God’s hands. She prayed, she gave thanks, she loved, she forgave, she let go, and she trusted. When she felt too tired to get out of bed, she forced herself up. When she felt too sick to her stomach to eat, she ate anyways. Every time she felt like crying, she laughed, and although she felt like dying, she lived. She lived her life day by day, never giving up. She surrounded herself with her loved ones and never professed imminent death, but rather claimed heath for her life. She kept a positive attitude, and even when she felt like hating the world, she loved them. As ill as she was, she continued to help others and work incredibly hard to make a difference in the world. Everyone told her to focus on herself and not worry about anyone else; to go home and rest, yet, she had but one desire in life, and that was to help as many people as she could.
One night, when she was feeling especially weak, she noticed a burning sensation in her chest. It was so strong that it woke her up from a deep sleep and kept her up all night. She could barely stay still with it, but neither could she move whilst it antagonized her. She stood up from her bed, and that’s when she saw a dark figure—like a thick shadow—form in front of her. She felt the hairs on the back of her neck stick up as goose bumps began to freckle over her arms. Her heart fluttered in its presence as she recognized the evil figure standing before her. As the shadow solidified, what was a demon, took the form of a male fairy from Hennen. Aloysius, who was presumed dead, stood with perfect posture before her. He had an exaggerated smirk on his face and a mischievous glare in his eyes as he tilted his head to the right.
“You!” Rebecca blurted out in absolute shock.
“Is that how you welcome an old friend?” he said as he began to circle around her, “I must say; you look dreadful.”
“How are you here? You are supposed to be dead,” she asked.
“You can’t kill cancer,” he replied, suggesting that he was the very illness reaping havoc within her.
Her eyebrows arched, suspicious and confused at the same time. She was mortified by his presence and wanted to immediately rid herself of it. She shoved her hands into his chest as hard as she could; pushing him down to the ground, as she fled out of the room. Yet, before she could even get to her staircase, he rematerialized in front of her. She was so tired and weak that she just didn’t have the strength to heave him out of the way.
“What do you want?” she asked with fleeting breath.
“What I have always wanted from you, princess, your life,” he answered as he stepped towards her, causing her to retreat back.
“Why? Hennen no longer exists for you to rule. There is no profit in my death for you anymore,” Rebecca argued.
“Hennen was never what I wanted, you foolish girl. It is the Earth that I desire. And for me to have this wretched planet, you must die,” he said to her as he grabbed her by the shoulder, yanking her towards him.
Just then, she realized that he was demonic presence carrying a deadly disease; he was cancer himself. Rebecca was infuriated in this realization, as she ripped her arm out of his grip and socked her fist into his long crooked nose. Even though she was weak, her adrenalin provided an impressive amount of force behind her punch. She turned with a jerk and scurried into her bedroom. Inside her nightstand was the lace fan that she kept from Hennen. She dashed over to it, pulled out the draw and scooped up the fan with urgency.
This was no ordinary paper fan. When I said that there was no such thing as magic, I was lying. There is, but, ordinary people could not possibly fathom it; and because of its dangers, the very existence of magic remained a secret. Sure, there are rumors, but, I assure you—no one you have ever seen or heard of has ever witnessed the use of magic. It is that rare. Rebecca was not even sure if her fan did in fact wield magic. She remembered her mother telling her how to use it, and that it was an ancient family artifact passed down over the generations. It certainly did not resemble a wand, and there was nothing extraordinary about its black lace. It was a beautiful and elegant fan, no doubt about it, but how could something so dainty be used as a weapon? Even Rebecca questioned this, but, she didn’t have time to test the theory; not with cancer right behind her.
With a snap of her wrist, the fan spread out in front of her face, and she disappeared. Aloysius looked around the house hectically for her, but she was no longer there. The fan brought her to a safe place where even he could not follow. In this place, she began to heal. Soon her strength returned and even her hair had begun to grow back. However, she knew that she could not hide from Aloysius forever. She needed to find a way to kill him, but how do you kill cancer? All she knew was that it was possible, and whether through science, magic or the by the grace of God, she was going to find a way. However, what she didn’t realize was that she already had; through herself.
Each day that she grew stronger, Aloysius was somewhere in the world growing weaker. As her hair grew, his shed; as her color deepened, his faded. And on the day she was told that she was cancer free, Aloysius perished from the very disease that he was. It was like the world stopped spinning for a moment, mostly because it did, as her doctor’s words penetrated her ears. She paused, with an ecstatic look on her face, and then she let out an elongated gasp.
“I’m cancer free?” she asked, almost in disbelief.
“You are; congratulations!” The doctor replied enthusiastically as she began weeping joyously. She knew in that moment that cancer would be gone forever.
That was a strange day, as everyday there are nearly one hundred and fifty thousand deaths, but this day, there were none. Rebecca won the war and abolished cancer, for good, and as promised, world would go on spinning. Rebecca would live a long life, filled with more happiness then she could ever dream of. Although she was the last fairy, there is a bit of fairy in all of us. For all a fairy really is, is love. That is why when the other fairies forsook their very nature and sacrificed their own kind to preserve their health, their world was doomed. Yet goodness still existed within Rebecca and her mother. It was a goodness that our hopeless earth needed, and it dwells within her now, bringing health and prosperity into the world. She lived, thus, so do we. Thank you, Rebecca, for not giving up and for knowing how valuable your life is to all of us.
(featuring Rebecca Lee Modeling)