When I talk about variety in Lesbian Cops, I really mean it. Today's perspective is from Kenzie Mathews, taking you to the Alaska she knows in ways outsiders seldom glimpse.
Blog for “Raven Brings the Light” by Kenzie Mathews
My inspiration for “Raven” comes from 1. I’m Alaskan, and 2. I was very upset by the girl’s murder represented in my story. You can Google her story: Alaska, the girl in the box murder. In the real story, no axes or machetes were thrown. I borrowed THAT part from my misspent youth (and I won’t tell that story now ‘cos I’d like to use that little bit of personal history for something else.) Of all my stories, this one tends to deal with darker themes. I let the love and the lust in it keep it light, but I can’t help thinking of crime stories/cop stories as being something that works in darker places.
I think the case really bothers me ‘cos I could identify with her. I grew up in rural Alaska, and despite the wonderful Disney versions of Alaskan kids with dog-sleds sharing hot chocolate over bonfires, a lot of the kids here run into trouble. It’s cold, it’s dark, and hitch-hiking for miles to drink, smoke, take drugs and hang with your friends might be your only social outing. We all have done stupid things and trusted the wring people. I love Alaska, but the kids here have it rough. There’s a strict conformity that aids in social survival but also stirs up rebellion. Sadly enough, a lot of the teens drinking and drugging with their friends out in the dark cold are escaping something worse waiting at home.
I created the characters Thomasane and Chris with Alaskan personality and temperament in mind. Alaskans tend to merge vulnerability with toughness. We’re survivors here but we all need each other to make it through. Thomasane represents for me a typical mixed race Alaskan. She’s both proud and ashamed of her mixed heritage. She carries both fierce tradition and cultural shame and pain. Because of wide-spread alcohol and drug abuse, some villages work really hard to remain dry. For many years, the the only businesses we had open for 24 hours were bars, liquor stores, and video shops. Every Spring the news gives the increasing number of homeless Alaskans, mostly Native, who died in the winter.
Chris is Thomasane’s perfect foil, and she’s not going anywhere. I wanted the love and heat to be obvious between them. This story comes from a longer version that I hope to eventually make into a novel. I did take some liberty with the small town being accepting of a lesbian cop and her lover, though. Alaska can be judgmental and conservative, but it’s my story and I wanted an accepting environment.
All the Raven stories are true Raven stories. They are perfectly gruesome and gleefully funny. Alaskans tend to crack jokes like that. Alaska, it’s big enough to hide all the bodies. How do you tell the difference between a tourist and an Alaskan? Tourist only has one dog in his car.
Here’s a brief taste of the story:
The only thing Alaska promises for sure is a beautiful death.
Thomasane and her partner Brady were the first Troopers on scene. And I know that not because Thomasane is some super trooper, even though she is….it’s just that it’s all small town out here. We’re such a small collection of communities, we only have four pairs of Troopers. But the territory they cover is vast.
So, now when Thomasane said instead, “Chris, did I ever tell you about Raven and the Hunters?” I said no even though I’m pretty sure I told her that story first.
I put down my graded papers, pushing the dogs off the couch to make room for her. They settled on the floor, one on each side of me. My Chow Shepherd mix, Raulie, sat on my left. Ginger, the Labrador Rottweiler mix, laid down next to my right side.
Thomasane unbuckled her gun belt and hung it on the coat rack next to the front door. She covered it with her brown Alaska State Trooper jacket. I patted the couch beside me and gave her my best and campiest come hither look; I’m terrible at flirting but I cover my inadequacies with self-mocking over-exaggeration. Thomasane said once when we were first dating that clowns were holy. That’s funny to me because I think clowns are terrifying. What are they really thinking behind the makeup and costumes?
Either way, Thomasane thinks I’m funny. I guess it all works out in the end. In Thomasane’s family, no one ever dared to laugh or smile, much less talk. Even now, when her family calls, I know who it is based on the silence and breathing at the other end of the phone. Thomasane’s half Russian, a quarter Norwegian, and a quarter Native. She’s tall, dark and muscular, her blue-black shoulder length hair always pulled back tight in a pony-tail, her black eyes unreadable.
In my family, all we did was laugh, even when the joke hurt. It stopped us from killing each other or committing suicide. I’m all Irish: short with curves, and pale, with embarrassingly uncontrollable reddish brown hair.
Thomasane lay down next to me, her feet up on the couch and her head in my lap. I stroked her face, my hands cupping her chin and throat, feeling the tightness there loosen, feeling her swallow slowly, counting the slowing pulse in her neck.
“Raven was eating on the beach and a hunter came up to him. ‘I’m hungry,’ said the hunter. ‘Do you know where the good meat is?’
“Raven peered at him, thinking. Finally, Raven said, ‘See that island across the ocean? See that cave? All the hunters say it’s good hunting there.’
“So the hunter made a kayak out of his spears and parka. He was cold but he was hungry more. Then, the hunter took his kayak out into the ocean to row to the island. Raven flew above him, still chewing his meal. The hunter climbed out of his kayak and walked to the cave entrance.
“He peered into the darkness of the cave and asked Raven, ‘Where is the meat, Raven?’ Raven knocked the heavy stones down from the top of the cave onto the hunter’s head, killing the hunter instantly.
“ ‘You’re the meat, Stupid,’ Raven said, eating the hunter’s face. ‘I just don’t know why they fall for that every time.’”
“Oh, honey,” I said to Thomasane, kissing her soft mouth, my hand still cupping her chin.
My mouth lingered over hers and softly, she kissed me back, her tongue stroking, licking at my mouth. My other hand slid into her uniform and underneath her bra until it cupped her breast, her nipple hardening in my palm. I pulled and rolled her nipple between my knuckles, not quite cruel but close enough.