This post was written in response to this week’s Creative Writing Challenge: Metamorphosis, which asked to “tell us the tale of a human-animal transformation”.
I sit on my windowsill, watching the street below, while I absentmindedly chew on the last of the stale crackers. Days have past since I last left the apartment, and my supplies are running low. For some reason I do not feel worried. A strange calm has settled on me, and neither impending starvation or the possibility of transformation seem to have much effect on me.
The street below is a scene of chaos. The human world is frozen. Cars stand still, abandoned in the middle of their journeys, the morning commuters either transformed or hiding from their fellow travelers. I have not seen a single human being for what must be two days now. But the street is far from empty of life.
The event that became known as The Transformation began about a week ago. First there were scattered rumours. Somebody’s father, another person’s friend. People disappearing, and animals found in their place. Soon the twitter-sphere was going mad with speculation. A crazy cult that kidnapped people and left animals instead, was the preferred theory for a few hours. But it did not take long before someone witnessed a transformation, and the debate centered on the believers and unbelievers. Soon enough there were no more unbelievers. The discussion moved to the how, why and who. But by that time it was too late. Not long after that twitter fell silent, as did the rest of the internet.
My brother was the first of my family to transform. It seemed only natural that he would go from a shy bespectacled child to a tiny mole. We tried to keep him safe but one day he was gone. My mother was next. She turned into a lion, her fierce temper transformed into golden fur and lithe catlike strength. I hid in the closet until she found her way out of the apartment. Then I bolted the doors.
Outside a gazelle jumps gracefully over obstacles, chased by a pack of wolves. An absurdly beautiful flight in the midst of the rubble of humanity. When the wolves catch the gazelle I feel sad, but watch them nevertheless. What would I do if they were not animals but the humans they used to be? What if a gang of men with machetes were hacking another person to death in the street?
I wonder why I have not yet transformed. Are there others out there like me, still waiting to change?
I wish I become a bird. I long to taste the wind as I abandon the solid earth beneath my feet and take flight.
The crackers are long since gone. The ruins of what once was a city spreads out below me.
I can feel it beginning. I am stretching; my bones reforming, my skin regrowing. It hurts but feels strangely pleasurable at the same time. I look at my arm, hoping to find out what I am becoming, but my mind is blurring. It is becoming hard to focus. My consciousness is breaking up, dispersing like snow in a storm. Instances flutter past like fragments of a mirror that once showed a whole and now makes no sense. my arm… something I need to know
wind, hunger, pain
longing to flee