“Ah yes.” Zachariah somehow managed to smile even with the lips and face of a deer. “There are many, more than you might think. Typically there’s at least one shifter species in every biome, often around three or four. And if that sounds like a lot, you should see what it’s like under the oceans and seas.”
“Any of them like you?”
“Entirely depends on what you mean by that,” he snickered. “But no, I alone am like me here, and no one else here can do what I can.”
Gideon left it at that. He figured he wouldn’t be able to get much more out of Zachariah at this point. They rode on deeper into the dead forest with snow-white grass until they came upon what looked like a large village weaved from black, embroidered tapestries and dark grey and white material akin to webbing. Zachariah turned his head at Gideon and winked. This must have been where the Anansi lived. Going in, Gideon could see some people. The pair grew closer to the Anansi wandering the village and going about their day.
They were ghastly pale like a corpse drained of blood. Cheeks came either hollowed and/or with pointy cheekbones. Everyone seemed tall—roughly close to seven feet tall—thin, and slightly gaunt (even the children, who looked like malnourished teenagers), yet everyone wore an earnest smile and waved at Gideon and Zachariah with wide, open grins, putting on full display two long, thin vampire fangs that poked out not far above from their bottom lips; these teeth were even visible when lips were kept shut. Their eyes were small and sunken with often pale-yellow irises. Pale lavender on their heads and ashen white eyebrows seemed to be the only hair on their bodies. (Past the village, Gideon saw something big move through the trees, and there quite a lot of them… and he swore they looked like spiders.)
When more and more people had taken notice of the two, a crowd of hundreds formed around them as people poured out from their homes. The people waved and many called out Zachariah’s name in greeting. It amazed Gideon on two levels, because it seemed that everyone knew Zachariah and they could recognize him regardless of how he looked. From the forest swarmed a wave of titanic spiders the size of small cards, consisting of countless different species that had a vast array of characteristics. The eight-legged arachnids quickly morphed back into the familiar humanoid forms of the Anansi and joined with the crowd.
“Alright, ride’s over,” Zachariah quietly said. He leaned to the side and let Gideon slide of onto his feet. From a very large hut came a woman with very long, pale hair that went down to her calves. She seemed shorter than the others, and something told Gideon that she was older too despite not looking it; this woman must be the leader of the Anansi. Their leader whistled and sent dozens of people scattering back into their homes to bring out all manner of food, decorations, structures, and instruments. And with a clap of her hands the people rushed to assemble everything and set into order, with a large party constructed in a matter of minutes. Upon completion, the Anansi broke into song and dance with each other and ended up dragging Gideon into participating. As he was pulled into the lively crowd, Gideon saw Zachariah walk away with the Anansi leader.
Written by KnightofFellsia on 17 May 2018