I am the last of my kind.
The final descendant of the Arthur Eld.
I am the lone remaining Feminist since my world moved on. The man in black has the answers I need. He can bring me to The Dark Tower. The Dark Tower – legend slithered down from my mother and her mother and her mother and light years of Feminists beyond holds – is the nexus between the two universes: the old universe of Feminism, and the ever-slipping portal into the universe of Male Approval.
I have been following the man in black for a stretch of desolate time, the exact length of which I’ll never be quite sure of. It could be decades, it could be eons, it could be a fortnight. He eludes me expertly, and yet on some long, journey-filled nights I feel that he could be mere yards ahead. Stories were passed down on scrolls before everything moved on that read that the man in black can help me make Feminism a thing, so that I can finally stop banging my head against the wall.
When I met Josh – a weak, yet whip-smart eleven-year-old boy – he first told me to stop banging my head against the wall. The barn that he slept in was old and the infrastructure was rotting. He said that my head-banging could damage the walls of his only shelter and that I was scaring him.
Meek, innocent Josh. If only he knew. Banging one’s head against the wall is what Feminists do. Though he wouldn’t know that, of course. In my fitful, sun-drenched days, I forget that the lessons of the old world are no more.
Only I remain.
Genevieve was the last real Feminist trainer. She’d round us all up every morning – Becca, Francine, Jillian, and myself – and work us until we bled. I think back to those dewy mornings spent outside in the royal courtyard before everything moved on. The girls and myself were of the Arthur Eld. Our mothers were all fierce, respected Feminists.
No one lived except me. When Genevieve gave us our Final Task to be sent out on our own, they crumbled.
Our challenge upon turning the age of eighteen years was this: To learn that Male Approval is worthless, and that caring about it and basing your level of happiness over a lifetime on whether you have it or not, and that throwing other women under the bus because you want it is, in fact, not our destiny.
Our Final Task was to learn these seemingly impossible truths, accept them, and fashion ourselves an independent lifestyle that did not require the precious drink of Male Approval that we had been raised and bred to believe was life’s real purpose.
Jillian was the first to be banished. She failed the initial Instagram challenge: To look at a handsome man’s photo of his dog, and not immediately assume that he’d make a great boyfriend.
I don’t like thinking about that day. Our morning stretches before Jillian’s Final Task was the last time that I would see her alive. Genevieve was ruthless.
I successfully completed my Final Task. I sent a hawk to peck out every living man’s eyes, so that the male gaze no longer existed.
And then everything moved on.
Josh shakes me awake. I’ve been dreaming again. My dreams are the only place where the old world comes back to me in all its vivid shades.
“I just saw a dark figure walk over that sand hill,” Josh alerts me.
“About how tall was he?! Do you remember? Tell me everything, boy.”
“‘Bout six foot. But with his dark hat, I’d reckon about three more inches than that.”
It was him. The man in black. The one who could finally give me the the relief of not having to bang my Feminist head against the wall anymore. The one who held the secrets of the Tower.
The multi-dimensional, universe-connecting, all-powerful, deadly Tower. Where my world can finally make sense. Where my mission has led me.
The Tower: where Feminism ‘becomes a thing’.
I am the last of my kind. And my head hurts.