Most Tall tales are medium-length or short stories. Tall Tales have the ability to expand the bounds of reality and belief. They are folktales that tell the story of everyday occurrences and transform them into stories of the supernatural.
Native folktales (Legends) include animal tales, creation myths, and Ghosts. Cherokee storytellers, of the Appalachian Mountains, continue to play an active role in the folklife of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Charlotte-Sophia of Mecklenburg; originally went by the title Princess Sophia, but time changes everything. Charlotte was taking her usual afternoon stroll through the city, thinking about her life story.
Through marriage to King George III, the princesses’ title became the Queen of Great Britain, Ireland, and British America. Over time that changed as well.
Charlotte loved walking through her city. She felt alive and at one with her people. She, after all, was as multi-faceted as her people, and had been through many struggles.
Her olive complexion came from being half-German and half-Portuguese, Charlotte was, what people called a Melungeon, which meant she was a mixed race. There are thoughts that the Melungeons are “tri-racial”, in relation to other nearby civilizations, but in their culture, they call themselves the Portygee, or Portuguese.
Charlotte thought back to when her people were under the Majesty of her crown. How they loved and adored her and the King. How they were a proud and fiery people.
The Revolution began in April 1775. The colony of North Carolina had barely incorporated her name into their, now largest city, in 1768. The Queen City had only been 7 when the Revolution started and she was 15 when it ended in 1783.
During the war Charlotte had been occupied, by British General Charles Cornwallis, but within 2 weeks of occupying the city, her citizens caused such turmoil for Cornwallis that he left with a final exclamation that “this place is a damned hornet’s nest.”
Seventeen years after the war ended, King George III’s health declined because of a genetic condition called porphyria. Mental illness also plagued the King, and was spoken of as ‘a melancholy beyond description.’
Today Charlotte’s husband would’ve been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, and with care and concern, be given treatment. But history remembers him as The Mad King George.
When the Revolution ended, the people of North Carolina still thought of Charlotte as their Queen City, regardless of their newly found statehood. And although she still held Majesty in their eyes, the divorce was set in stone. The Queen City was without a King.
For almost a century Charlotte fought internally with the loss. It was her gunpowder and percussion cap ways that she thought would help her grow. It did bring the hornet nest to life, but her civil war only set her back. Instead of flourishing she was stunted.
Some would say, that focusing on her personal civil war, was unhealthy. Admittedly she was living in the past, but as she walked further in her city, Charlotte wondered, was that wrong to do?
Should she let the loss of her King go? Should the past not be a part of the future as well. Should her inner struggle not be acknowledged. It certainly wasn’t something to be proud of. Lessons were learned.
Isn’t it all… the good and the bad…a part of the legacy she would leave? Shouldn’t her anger, sorrow, and frustration be a part of understanding what we overcome in a time of depression?
Charlotte believed In Destiny.
Buried on her land was a person the world called Americas Preacher. He too believed in Destiny as well.
Reverend Billy Graham was a Presbyterian preacher. Per the Presbyterians everything is set in stone…so the past and the future are already happening…. Right now…..this is predestination. This is destiny.
Billy Graham’s grave was inside of Charlotte. He is buried, at a memorial garden…next to his wife….in loving memory of what they shared in life together.
It was learning from Graham that helped Charlotte recognizing Destiny. It is what helped Charlotte grow.
Emotional Healing is the process of Grief & rebirth. It is the same as death and rebirth. The loss of a past relationship…well…no one can replace the wound of loosing a King, but no one should be held back by it either.
Charlotte continued her walk through her city streets. She came to an intersection and waited for the light to change.
While standing there, a motorcyclist stopped at the light. She met the glance of the light-skinned man passing by on his motorcycle.
She waved and thought to herself…If only my King wasn’t lost…she gave a smile and a wave.
This… “is a beautiful city.” She whispered to the air……..
Charlotte “is a beautiful city” Kyle S King said behind his helmet, as his eyes caught those of a beautiful brunette standing on the corner.
She was pretty and light skinned like him. He would have stopped to talk, but he was on a time sensitive mission.
Kyle S King was, what the old timers called, long in the tooth, and his cycle wasn’t in much better shape. It was beaten and torn like it’s driver.
Kyle crossed his finger each time he made the monthly trek through North Carolina. He had to get to the coast before sunset or there would be trouble. Tonight was the full moon. There was little time for delays.
Former 82nd Airborne paratrooper, Kyle S King was leaving Charlotte for another long road trip to Wilmington. Kyle usually spent the time driving to the coast remembering the reason he was cursed to do so. A story to real to deny.
As a veteran he was strict on his time management. Looking down at his watch, he thought to himself, how much his life felt like a tall-tale. It wasn’t as stress free as the Cherokee and old-south stories he heard from childhood. Stories of Briar patch rabbits and foxes were much happier. Kyle S. King’s tale was much darker than Uncle Remus’ tales.
Army life was different than the civilian world. In the military you are addressed by your last name. When Kyle S. King heard his name called, He would often respond faster to King than Kyle.
Staff Sergeant King had been given a nickname as well. He didn’t just go by Sgt. King to the members of his squad. The soldiers under him called him “Sargent Red-bone King”, eventually shortened to “Red King”
In civilian circles, to be called a Redbone denoted his bi-racial heritage. Sometimes considered derogatory in certain pockets of the South, it was a colloquialism, used to say a person had a lineage of being either Cherokee or African, depending. The Red King had a noble heritage; The Red King was both.
But the nickname, among the squad, was given to him for a different reason. It had more to do with a combat mission gone wrong than the southern colloquialism. Staff Sgt Redbone King got his name from a bloody day.
The US Military is a volunteer force. In combat zones Your life operates on a minute by minute basis. When you join the Military you know you or your friends might die in the line of duty, but there isn’t a soldier in uniform that doesn’t realize they volunteered to take a bullet for America.
Dessert Shield began on January 17 1991
Deployment from Germany had finalized. Movement of the troops required countless train cars, 152 US transport ships, plus air movement. Assisting in the deployment of troops was a first for ‘U.S. Army Europe’, as well the first war deployment from Germany.
When the movements were in place, Ground operations began on February 24th. Flown directly from Fayetteville NC, The 82nd Airborne Division dropped into combat.
By February 27th, three days later, President Bush declared Kuwait liberated.
But what happened to the Red King in those three days went beyond a simple explanation, and would have repercussions for decades after.
Taking a bullet for your country is a soldier’s noble death, but to take that bullet twenty five years later, when the war is said and done, is a whole different thing.
During Desert Storm, the 82nd Airborne Paratroopers protected the flank as fast-moving armor and mechanized units moved into Iraq.
Security forces moved forward at start of day: There were two scout platoons and one mechanized infantry company conducting zone reconnaissance seven kilometers forward of the front line.
Upon entering Iraq, the 82nd Airborne was tasked with securing Tallil Air Base… now called Nasiryah Airport… also to clear it of Iraqi troops. Along the way paratroopers battled Iraqi forces.
THATS WHEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. IT WAS A HOT ZONE .
At 1:07 AM Feb 25th Long Range Surveillance Detachment Team 2 requests extraction due to hot landing zone.
Tactical Command’s Post Journals says that this request came at 1:10 AM
An hour later at 2:10 AM Two Apache and one Blackhawk helicopters were launched to extract Long Range Surveillance Detachment Team 2.
According to The Road to Safwan, six American soldiers were killed the morning of Feb. 27. Another 30 were wounded. Five tanks and the same number of Bradleys had been destroyed.
The destruction was shown to be made by depleted uranium rounds. In other words, an armor-piercing bullet only fired by American tanks during Desert Storm.
That was the story given to the public.
Fire in Babylon
Staff Sargent Kyle S. King had come down hard on the jump. The 20 mph punch when he hit the ground hadn’t gone well.
His leg was broken in two different places. Iraqi troops were firing at his location from a roof top parapet. The bullets were missing him, but they were close. Pellets of sand kicked in the air next to where he was lying.
King pulled his heavy body through the sand. Probably due to a severed nerve, He had lost sensation in his right leg. The agony of the fractures wouldn’t be holding him back. Finding limited shelter behind a short wall, King positioned himself out of the enemy line of sight.
His mind was racing. Blood was everywhere. There was a 5 foot trail from where the landing went wrong, to the wall. Kings head was racing. Things weren’t looking good.
As blood-loss started to occur King’s mind phased in and out of consciousness. Flashes of grey were starting to happen and tunnel vision was threatening to kick in.
In one flash, King thought he saw his grandfather standing in front of him but he knew that couldn’t be real. Except that it happened over and over.
In the flashes his grandfather was reciting an old Cherokee Legend of the wolf-shaman.
With each jump back to reality, King was noticing something strange going on. After his first flash he noticed that his leg had realigned.
On the second flash, the wound had healed. His grandfather spoke of the shaman as a sorcerer that could disguise himself as an animal, and that Cherokee do not see a difference between wolf and man. Both are animals.
On the third flash, King felt no pain and a strange red hair had started growing from his hands and forearms. His grandfathers story continued with the shamans power to ward off death, that although death and return are a natural part of the cycle, the Shaman could halt the progress through rapid healing.
On the final flash King found himself in a crouched position staring at his hands. His nails and fingers were reshaped and the nails looked as sharp as razors. His grandfathers final statement was, that despite the power to do so, the burden of being able to stop the cycle of death and rebirth cursed the shaman to wander in madness as a red wolf……and there was no turning back
King woke up from his torpor to find all Iraqi troops dead. They were torn to pieces as if an Apache helicopter had unleashed fury on them
His platoon was in the same state and it appeared that a number of vehicles had fired on each other, as if they had a mutual target between them.
It wasn’t until the Blackhawk came for evac that Staff Sargent Kyle King knew he was the only soldier left and he had no memory of what had happened.
The Blackhawk pilot that called in the pickup described Staff-Sargent Kyle S King as ‘so bloody that he couldn’t see his skin through the caked on gore. That he was ‘red from head to boot.’ The pilot said ‘he was so bloody the floor of the Blackhawk was slippery getting in and out.’
The statements and the nickname stuck with SSG King till his early retirement in 1998. The mystery of that day in Iraq, stayed dormant for over ten years. Then in 2001, while on a day trip from Charlotte to Asheville, King’s motorcycle slid off the road, knocking him unconscious.
When he woke up, he found a small black bear lying dead at his feet and his bike was lying mangled at the bottom of the hill. At first King wanted to believe that the blackout and dead bear had happened from some form of PTSD caused during blackout, but the bear’s wounds were hard to ignore.
Based on the bite marks on the remains it looked like the bear had been attacked by a large dog or wolf. There were also tufts of red wolf hair caught in the bears claws.
The only wild population of red wolves in the world, are found in North Carolina. For generations the red wolf could be found all over the Southeast part of the North-American Continent. Now the only place red wolves can be found is in Eastern North Carolina, along the Outer Banks (OBX). The Red Wolf is fighting for survival.
The numbers were larger in 2001, but as of 2021, only 8 red wolves were known to remain in the wild. King knew it wasn’t one of the last Carolina Red Wolves that killed the bear.
The Red King knew it was his shaman form. It was the werewolf in his blood that had done the deed.
It was at that point that Kyle King knew he was the monster that destroyed his platoon during Dessert Storm.
The Red King’s ability to control the changes worsened over the years. Initially they seemed to appear when under duress but, as time passed the transformations started happening under a full moon.
It was 2021 , and in the three decades since the war, countless other incidents had happened. The Red King had learned to be in the wild when the change happened, to stay away from people.
King had been fortunate. In each of the transformations only animals were attacked. Until 2019.
That’s when the reality of living with the beast within came to a dire and tragic turn. It was on a blood moon. The Red King had gone through his normal routine of finding a remote location and staying out of civilized areas.
But this time it wouldn’t turn out well. The remains of three teenage boys were found in the woods outside of Carolina Beach. The scene would make the news.
The three boys had been camping in the woods in the outskirts of Wilmington. The Red King hadn’t foreseen them being there. Their remains were discovered strewn over several acres of the woods.
Burdened by the slaying, The Red King decided he was a menace to society. He made final plans that month and prepared for the end.
At about hour two of the drive from Charlotte, the Red King steered his motorcycle into a small side entrance to Greenfield lake Amphitheater, in Wilmington. In his pocket was a loaded M-1911 with a silver bullet nestled in its chamber.
The Red King had brought the Silver Bullet to Wilmington for one reason. To kill a werewolf.
The walk from the Amphitheater to the lake was short. The oily black water of Greenfield lake reflected the trees over its mirrored surface. The Spanish moss, dangling from the branches of the pines, hid water-moccasins in their network of branches.
There were likely alligators too. This area was not for the typical passer by. The Red King knew there wasn’t going to be any interference from the actions he was about to take.
The Red King made his way down a short path, to a wooden bridge, At the end of the path, where the bridge met the land, there was something out of the ordinary. Someone had left a wheelchair on the bridge and a burnt out bottle rocket.
The Red King sat in the wheelchair and looked across the bridge. He would miss Charlotte but, it was time to take the silver bullet to its final destination.
Ranging from combat injuries to invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, even toxic exposure to chemicals and oil fields, Gulf War veterans are still fighting for their health and well-being 30 years later.