Going Batty

three bats hanging upside down in a cave
Image by tomatomicek from Pixabay

I folded my fine leather wings around my compact body, braced to come out to my ultra conservative parents.

We creatures of the night scurried and flurried from the unkind rays of sunrise, back to sanctuary. I had arrived at the cave first, girding my furry loins, knowing my family would implore me not to make this life choice.

Mum and Dad gracefully glided in beside me — Mum chittering at Dad to wipe those few drops of blood off his face.

It was now or never.

“Mum, Dad, I have ….”

My brother chose that very second to swoop in with his signature perfect barrel roll. This time he failed to stick the landing and grazed the wall before plummeting to the guano-covered floor. Raucous laughter echoed from family and neighbours as he shook his dazed head and wobbled to his perch.

“Were you dining at the hospital again?” Mother asked him. “Did you learn nothing when you nearly died from feasting on a cancer patient?”

“No, Mum. Yes, Mum.”

“But that’s where all the best drugs are…” he whispered to me.

I shrugged and tried again.

“Mum, Dad, I need to….”

Ignoring my hesitant squeak, Mum persisted questioning my brother. She was like a dog with a bone when she sniffed misdemeanour on her pups.

“Well, what happened then?”

“It’s okay Mum. There was this fella wobbling about on his bicycle, looked to be an easy mark. He barely even noticed I was there so I took a good long drink. Tasted a little funny but I liked it.”

Mum shook her head in despair.

“At least I have one sensible offspring. Valetta, please tell me you don’t go around drinking alcoholic blood while you are underage?”

“No Mum, I…”

“It could be worse” interrupted Dad. “My cousin Bob told me about Uncle Lionel coming out. Such shame on the family. Bob’s beside himself.”

I blushed as scarlet as a critter that’s already rust coloured can. This wasn’t getting any easier.

“Oh, poor Bob!” said Mum.

“Live and let live!” said my brother. “Uncle Lionel’s not hurting anyone.”

Hope rose in me. I may have an ally.

Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash

But both Mum and Dad rounded on my sibling furiously.

“How can you say that?”

“What kind of vampire bat are you?”

“Don’t you know we have thousands of years of tradition to uphold?”

My brother backed down and wrapped his wings over his head. Maybe the whisky had been talking but it had nothing to say now.

Mum’s radar moved to me. She stared intently.

“Valetta, what’s that on your face? Honestly, you’re as bad as your Father.”

Cowering under her gaze I hastily licked up the drops of sweet red tomato juice.

“That’s better. Now what were you saying, Dear?”

I took a huge breath and spilled my guts — “Mum, Dad, I’ve given this a lot of thought. I’m coming out too. I’ve become a vegetarian.”

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