Dark Origins: Myths and Their Beginnings
By Somer Canon
Origin stories are a big deal to us. We love the beginnings of heroes, villains, sidekicks, and desperately unfortunate people. Of course, it has to go beyond your average air-sucker walking the streets fantasizing about a cheeseburger in order for the story to be good. We all started somewhere, much like David Copperfield tells us,
“To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born…”
We all begin that way, but unlike dear Mister Dickens’ character, it tends not to get much more interesting from there. We grow up, get older, and then we die. I admit, that’s a little condensed, but in the greater scheme of things we leave very little mark behind when we go. The job you leave behind is unceremoniously filled and within a few generations most of your progeny cease to know who you were at all. But those who are deemed worthy to get their own tales? They’re different creatures because they had secondary origins beyond simply being born. They were reborn as legends, near mythical figures who are remembered long after their deaths.
You probably know origin stories thanks to Batman and Spiderman, I’m betting. We have them practically memorized by now. If you haven’t seen the movies or shows or read the comics, then the internet has been happy to introduce you to them. But there are many more out there, smaller tales of smaller characters. Urban legends, for instance, almost always contain an origin story. They’re almost nothing without one. The ghostly apparition of the woman on the bridge, for example. Well you know how she got there don’t you? You don’t?!? Sit down, child and let me tell you about young women unhappily reacting to being dumped. It’s a real nail biter!
My book, The Hag Witch of Tripp Creek contains an origin story about a local legend. You know you don’t get a name like that without having a bit of infamy attached to it. The witch’s name is Suzanne Miller and she goes down a road that leads her to do some things that make her a hated and feared figure in her rural area. But unlike many others who take a path of moral bankruptcy, her motives are not exactly selfish. A grisly, unjust something happens, but not to her or anyone she loves, and she becomes fixated with exacting either justice or revenge. That tunnel vision ends up costing her and she pays a heavy price for something that really wasn’t at all personal to her. Her origin story is not of her own pain or of her surviving and thriving from a terribly difficult situation. Hers is one of anger and rage. If you asked her the big question, why, her answer, I believe, would be,
“Because I got tired of the bullshit,”
That answer absolutely does not excuse the ensuing nebulous behavior that is taken by many to be wrong and evil, but is seen by her to be righteous. But then again, you have to admit, it’s relatable. It’s an origin story with no straight lines and no easy answers and I hope perhaps you check it out and see if you’ve got the stomach, like Suzanne, to be the villain of the story, for reasons that are more complicated. See the beginnings of someone whose name will long be remembered in her little hollow.
About The Hag Witch of Tripp Creek: After a move to the country, urbanite Dawna Temple is not exactly charmed by some of the trapping of rural West Virginia, particularly the rumors that her new home neighbors a notorious witch. Determined not to fall victim to local superstition, she befriends the witch, a woman named Suzanne Miller, and finds that there is a deep and complicated story behind the rumors that damn Suzanne to be a pariah. After knowing Suzanne’s story, Dawna struggles with her loyalty to her new friend. So many others turned their backs on Suzanne, will Dawna follow suit knowing what she did?
About Somer Canon: Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of being found out as a weirdo. When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother