William "Broad Back" McGovern
The Golden Shield
William McGovern’s, known as “Broad Back” is well known. The Cahalith often tells it himself to new pups who are a bit too eager to taste blood.
Before the change, I was a lot of things. I was an alcoholic cop who was the son of an alcoholic cop. I was a man about to lose his wife, his house and his future to divorce. I was also the son of divorced parents with a mother I never saw. I’m not blaming my parents, because I was just too weak to break the cycle.
I loved my wife. I loved her smile, and I loved her stupid jokes. I love the strange places I’d find her working on her article. I was married to a reporter, do you believe that shit? I loved how she would try to ferret information out of me, and how I would deny her. She would never use it, but it was fun. She didn’t love the drinking. She didn’t love my fits of rage. Secretly I loved the fight. The struggle made me feel alive, and it made me feel like she really cared.
We had been fighting more lately. She would have these bouts of intense jealousy, and she would demand to know where i was. She would pick fights with me over stupid things like chores or my boots. You might be thinking to yourself, isn’t this normal shit? I also started having dreams. I would find myself, totally lucid standing in front of her grave in the middle of winter with a small squat figure lingering by my side. There were mornings where I would wake up with the taste of blood still in my mouth.
She was going to leave me the night of my first change. I threw a vase at the wall. It wasn’t the first thing I broke, but this belonged to her grandmother. I was spoiling for a fight. She hit me that night. Wailed on me, and I just took it. I treated it like some kind of joke. No, worse, I thought it was fun.
She was going to leave me that night. When her old man showed up, and he helped her put her bags in the car, I stood stoically watching. At least that is how I looked. Inside I was boiling. I really didn’t get it. I started drinking. I started thinking about how I killed her in my nightmares. I started thinking I should have killed her rather than let her leave. I drunk myself to sleep that night. I fled my weakness by hiding in the glass.
When I awoke the next morning, I was in the Graveyard. The one where my dad was buried. I was naked. There was blood under my nails. There was blood in my mouth. I washed up. I called my partner. I went home, and I went about my life. I tried to ignore what the dreams of what happened that night. My partner and I never spoke about it, but he gave me a pamphlet for AA.
It was two days before we found out she and hers were all dead. She lived upstate. Apparently, a bear got it to the home, and it murdered them. I knew it was me. I buried her by my father. I buried her family too. I spent the next three days in bed mourning my wife. On the third day, she appeared at the door. A tall woman who looked about 32, but who I knew somehow. “You’ve had three days. Now its time for you to own your mistakes”
That is how I reunited with my mother. That is how I became a shield bearer.
That was 30 years ago.