The next morning, you come to while sitting up, hands tied behind you, and sore you wake up in a chair, in a dark room, illuminated only by candles, only meters away from you. Farther than that you don’t seem to see anything, you hear a low drumming noise in the distance. Your pupils shrink as you realize what’s going on, the feeling of fear beginning to weigh down in your stomach.
“We must rid him of his cursed body.” chanting around you can be heard, a dark figure can be seen before you; the elderly turtle who had saved you. He holds out his hand toward you, colorful beads adorning his fingertips, the hanging bracelets knock together and form a gentle chattering sound; a stark contrast to the heavy pounding of your heart. The thundering drums begin to grow louder, you look around and as your amphibian eyes adjust, you begin to see some of the eldest children surrounding you. They play their drums while covered in cloth loin, fur capes, and feathers sprouting from the tops of their heads. It appears as if they’re doing an ancient familial ritual. Before you on the ground, you notice that the candles make a shape; one resembling an oblong octagonal polygon.
The fear begins creeping through your body, as you slowly begin to realize what type of ‘ritual’ your housemates were referring to.
“And now we must sacrifice your cursed body to help us get to the bottom a this.” The tortoise gestures for the drumming children to take a step closer. They obey as the ancient one begins to chant erie illegible words.
Your mind races. What do these strange people have in store for you? Is today finally going to be the end of your adventure? You feel tiny hands beginning to smear across your mucus-covered scales. Your heartbeat rises rapidly as the adrenaline begins to rush through your veins. Your mind begins synthesizing thoughts of its own.
“Swampy homelands, silly trinkets, magical rituals. This MUST be a shaman priest’s cult village? And I must be their sacrifice?” it all makes sense to you now. Their hospitality, the insane amount of offspring, the annoying talking that you now regret tuning out over these weeks.
The hands begin engulfing you, pulling at every grabible place on your body, the pain begins to overtake you. Suddenly a loud crack noise breaks through the now booming sounds of chanting and drumming. Your eyes glued shut begin to slowly relax and loosen as you sense those around you beginning to back away.
A scraping can be heard from behind you. You turn your head reluctant to see what’s behind you. A tail? Your tail? They popped off your tail, a wash of sadness falls over you as you realize your disfigurement.
The small figures escort your disembodied tail over to the elder where he places it into the center of the polygon.
“And now we seek to destroy this curse!” The elder yells in his slow boring tone, before throwing the tail into the fire.
“NO!” You scream, as the chanting and drumming rises to a loud booming thunder that causes you to double over in your chair. The smoke from the fires flare up wildly as your tail burns to a crisp, you can barely see what’s going on in the volatile reaction.
Moments seem like centuries as they pass, the smoke begins to clear and you see all of the shadowy figures standing before you. Your face full of inquisitive questions as you wonder how the hell you’re still alive at this point. The elder steps forward.
“I see. So That's how we can cure your curse.” The elder sifts around the ashes, your tail
now stretched thin like loose skin, he turns it over and smirks. You still remain dumbfounded.
“What the hell is this about?” you shout. Not noticing the elder picking up the loose skins and dusting them off. The children begin to untie you.
“The Sky Denizens have showed us what you need to continue your journey. Surely you didn’t expect to live with us forever right?” He lays the skins on your lap. Your eyes light up, and the icy rock in your stomach instantly melts away when you realize the elder has gifted you a new costume for a future transformation. “I don’t fully understand what this means, but the Denizens always know what is right for anyone.”
You remain seated, baffled by the trauma of this experience. You laugh to yourself and shrug as you clutch the outfit tightly in your arms.
That evening you share your gratitude with the family, leaving with your outfit to continue your journey to your next experience.
Written by Driftingdragon on 14 December 2019
The end (for now)