The fox’s smile returns. “Ah, no. You see, you aren’t the only one like this,” it uses its tail to gesture to your new form. “There are others. Many others. Male, female, both, neither. They came through other doors in other rooms and donned new skins of various kinds. Some are close, others are far. The question you would have to ask is whether or not you wish to meet them. And whether or not they wish to meet you.”
You feel a rush of something upon hearing these words. You aren’t the only person here. You aren’t the only one who put on a strange costume and got turned into some sort of animal hybrid. But the way the fox says these words strikes you as off. Not threatening, no - the fox gives no signs of threat or ill intention, even with the usual stereotypes of foxes obvious in your mind.
“What do you mean?” you ask.
The fox cocks its head to one side, then to the other, thinking. “Do you remember what time you found the first door? The one that led to the series of doors you wound up choosing from?”
You blink a few times and think. You can’t, though you believe it might’ve been the early afternoon? Or was it the early morning? You end up shrugging.
The fox nods to this, its eyes reflecting a knowing look. “Time is a strange construct within this whole realm of yours. It moves as you see fit, as it does for all others who are in similar positions as you. That is to say, dear, some have been here for a long time. Long to them, at least. While the room itself isn’t dangerous - no creature here, nor plant, nor anything else, will mean you harm - those like you, ordinary people given fantastical boons… they may not feel the same way.”
You feel a lump form in your throat as the fox looks off into the distance. You ponder its words, ponder the meaning. It’s a lot to take in, after all.
“So there may be people here in these costumes that… are hostile?” you ask.
“To varying degrees, yes,” the fox replies. It strokes its chin with one paw. “Some are experienced with the inner workings of this place. They know, or knew, how to find a ‘costume’ that they felt more befitting of themselves. And of those, there are a sparse number whom have tapped into the deepest benefits of the creature they’ve taken the shape of.”
You shift where you stand. The words are a bit vague, a bit too wordy, but, you process the fox’s meaning - in other words, there are people here that are more like the animal or creature whose costume they started to wear.
The idea itself seems odd to you, and yet, you can see some merit in it. You don’t know what sorts of people these are, what sorts of lives they have lived.
There is a portion of you that wants to meet someone, though. To find out what sort of costume they put on - if they ended up in the same gender or the opposite, or if it was a normal creature or something like yourself. You feel a wave of questions bubbling about in your mind, bouncing round and round.
The fox watches you. Its expression is a knowing one. “You can understand, then, that some may not take too kindly to a new face bustling within their territory. But that, as I said, is a minority. Most are like you - fledglings who have only just begun their adventures.”
Written by Hollowpages on 22 December 2019
“And how do I find them?”