The Unseen [Labyrinth] Oct 28, 2016 16:58:15 GMT -5
Post by Zora Hendrix on Oct 28, 2016 16:58:15 GMT -5
It’s so dark, was all she could think. And it was; The darkness stretched out before her in swirls of graded depths, lapping at her feet like waves. It’s dark, she thought again, trying to look down at her paws. But there was nothing there in the inky blackness, a blackness that seemed to swallow her whole. Probably just a dream.
She’d had dreams like this before, plenty of times. She was pretty sure everyone did. Or maybe she’d just seen it in the movies. But this time she wasn’t floating in the void that seemed simultaneously empty and filled to the brim -- this time she could feel her feet firmly planted, feel the grit and dirt in between her toes. She wriggled her toes in the cool sand, enjoying the feel of it on her calloused feet. She felt her body moving, felt the muscles in her neck and spine twinge as she craned her head to look anywhere, everywhere, in an attempt to see (or even sense) something, anything. Her own pulse was a drumline in her ears, as if she could hear the blood as it rushed through her veins with an almost deafening roar; she even felt the pulsing heat in her fingertips.
Zora blinked and held her paws out in front of her, or she thought she did. It’s too dark to see, she thought again. Thank you, Brigadier General Obvious. Think, Zora. Think. You don’t have fingertips, not anymore, or toes. At least, not like you used to. They’re still there, I guess, just different. Uglier. Harder to use. At least you still have an opposable thumb. Maybe you’re more human than you think? Nah. You’re half hare, half caribou and all Haribou. Remember? Think. Think about something besides “it’s dark.” Maybe it’s not as dark as you think. Or maybe it is. I don’t know. I’m your subconscious or something, so I can’t really /see/ anything. But I guess I know things you don’t. Or things you do know, but you’re scared to admit you know. How meta is that?
She touched her fingers to her cheek, shocked to find it smooth, silken to the touch. There was no thick, brown fur, no wiry whiskers to tickle her hand. She rubbed her equally smooth, furless hands all over her face, searching for any signs of the usual thick fur that plagued her. Instead she felt plump lips, a rounded, normal nose -- to the side she felt ears, ears shaped like a person’s ears, with weird lobes and all! It wasn’t possible. Was she human again?
Zora felt for the curved, sharp antlers that had grown from her skull, or for the long, thin ears of the hare. Her trembling hands felt only a pouf of hair, not fur, but actual hair. Her hair. The texture was so familiar and yet so foreign; Memory had become tangible, but not visible. Just a dream. It had to be a dream. There was nothing else to explain it. The depths, the roaring of her blood, the feel of a face and skin and hair of a person who had stopped existing so long ago … A dream. An impossible, desperate dream.
She blinked and suddenly the world was blinding white, the pitch veil shattering, falling away in a billion fragments and raining down around her like obsidian glass. She screamed, afraid they would slice through her flesh. But no harm came to her, and she realized she was standing in the sun, feet planted on a patch of dirt and moss in the cobblestoned streets of the Nakoma, the brick-laid homes towering above her. Her home. She stared down at her hands, her ten smooth fingers, her flat, rounded nails. She examined the lines on her palm, tracing them as she had done as a child.
She heard a voice, then, sharp and demanding, asking her who she was. She recognized the voice, and as she blinked away the blinding sun, she could make out his form, green scales glinting in the bright light.
“Pax?” She said. “Pax!” She exclaimed, letting out a loud laugh, a mixture of surprise and joy. “It’s me! I don’t know how, but, look!” She said and held out both her hands to him, wriggling all ten of her normal fingers at him. She even stuck out one foot for good measure, giving her toes a good wiggle. “This is some befok shit, right?”
She saw his eyes narrow a degree, his lips press into a snarl. His long, snake-like fangs flashed at her as he let out a deep, chilling hiss, his forked tongue flicking out and tasting the air, trying to scent her. She took a step back, knowing what that meant. Pax thought she was an enemy. A woman slowly materialized from behind Paxton’s serpentine frame, staying his hand as he reached for his knife. Zephyr!
“Zeph. It’s me. Zora! I know this sounds crazy. I know I look different. But they -- they changed me back! I don’t know how ... I mean, do we ever know how the hell the White Coats do this to us? But the scientists must be up to their old tricks --”
Zephyr raised a slim, clawed hand and Zora fell silent, her mouth still parted slightly. Zephyr’s light green eyes were a fixed, blazing glare, and suddenly she had a bow in her hands with an arrow nocked and pointed at Zora’s throat. “I don’t know who you are. But you’re definitely not Zora.”
“Not Zor … What? Zephyr. C’mon. You lot are takin’ the piss. This is some prank to get back at me for putting that itch weed in Pax’s hat, right? That was like a week ago!" she said with a half-hearted laugh, somewhat frantic in her efforts. "And look, his hair’s almost grown back in! Still a little patchy but, I mean, Hallie’d still kiss him, I bet. And besides, we’re best mates. You know me. Just ‘cause I don’t have the big ears … Well, okay I still have big ears. Thanks, Dad, am I right?”
Shut up, dumbass! You're blabbering like an idiot. They don’t recognize you. You have to run.
No. I won’t run, not from them. They’re my family.
No, they’re not. Your family is dead. You are the only one left. Your mother sacrificed herself, so too your father, your aunt, your sister. You fed off her spirit, her soul, stole her strength so that you could live.
I know. I know all that.
These people are not your family. They are not of your flesh and of your blood.
No. They’re my heart and soul. I would die without them.
The two of them stepped forward, Pax with his knife drawn, Zephyr with her bowstring taut and arrow ready to let fly. Zora saw the look in her eyes that she had only ever seen directed at the enemy, the threat of death and rage blazing in them, emanating in waves of what felt like actual fire. It burned her soft, furless skin and she reeled back in pain as her skin blistered from the invisible heat. “I … Please, guys. It’s me. It’s Zora. You’re my family. You have to believe me.” She felt hot tears streaking down her cheeks, too distracted to revel in the strange feeling she had so long yearned for.
“Zora is gone. You’re an imposter, a spy.” Pax hissed, spitting on the ground at her bare, human feet. Zephyr said nothing, her only expression that of her lip curled up in a grinning snarl. And then she let fly her arrow, and Zora felt it before it hit her square in the shoulder. She flew backwards, the arrow seeming to burn a hole straight through her as the heat spread. Pax and Zephyr were shouting at her to leave, and as she stumbled to her bare feet she felt Pax’s knife slice down her back, cutting through her clothes, flaying her soft, dark skin from her back. She knew she was screaming but she couldn’t hear it above their cacophony of roars and shouts, so loud they seemed to echo and rattle in her skull, so loud she could feel the vibrations of their horrendous screams in her teeth, in her bones.
She knew she was bleeding, knew she had to find safety. But she couldn’t outrun them. She couldn’t escape the two people she trusted most in the world. She felt another arrow, another cut of the knife. She tried to run but her soft, bare feet slipped on the blood-slick cobblestones. Another voice rang out. Persephone! Seph! Zora tried to form the words but couldn’t speak around the blood in her mouth. But Persephone only wailed, a horrible, shrieking moan that hit her like a wall of volcanic wind, the skin on her face blistering and cracking from the heat. Zora could hear nothing but their cries, feel nothing but the scorching fire, see nothing but the darkness descending on her again. She tried to call out, to scream, to cry, anything -- but she couldn't make a sound around the blood filling her mouth. Her skin was slick and slippery with blood, and she ran her fingers over her smooth, furless, blood-slick cheeks as the chaos and darkness swallowed her whole.
It’s so dark, was all she could think. She blinked, or she thought she did, and suddenly she was staring out at the sea, the waves crashing on the cliffs far below. She held her hands out in front of her, wriggling all ten of her soft, silken fingers. She felt the slick warmth of tears as they rolled down her cheeks. She could hear their screams behind her, feel the heat of their hate even now at her back. She stared out at bay, and it seemed to beckon her with its cool breeze. She yearned to feel the waves lapping at her feet, feel the salty water against her skin, the seaweed tickling at her toes, the memories of a person who was long since gone. The wind whispered in her ears as she let the cool water sink into her bones, soothing and soft as it drew her under. “It’s so dark,” was all she could think to say as the salty water filled her lungs and she let the darkness and the quiet envelop her. “Then turn on the damn light!”
ooc| befok = zulu slang for "crazy, mad"
will add table later!