Windows to the Soul
I remember something my mother told me once: The eyes are
windows to the soul. No matter how you change, your eyes will always be windows,
looking in upon the same soul. I never understood what she meant by that. All
I knew was that soon, I would no longer be my happy, Green Kougra self.
Captured by mad scientists as I strayed too far
from home one day, I didn't know much, only that I was to be morphed into something
else. Even if I could get free and find my mother again after they were through,
how could I convince her that it was me? She would be looking for her little
Annallia, not some other pet.
"So how did you get here?" I looked up, and saw
my cage-mate, a small Brown Uni.
"Strayed too far from home. Some mad scientists
picked me up."
He made a face. "I got dumped in the Pound because
the Lab Ray changed my gender. My owner didn't want a male Uni, so, off to the
Pound. I got picked up by those same people. By the way, my name's Chryani."
"Annallia." I turned back to my corner, burying
my face in my paws.
The clang of the metal door opening too fast
and too hard brought me up, my face pressed against the bars of my cage. A few
white-coated men walked in. Next to them walked an Orange Zafara, her eyes blank,
as though she had been brainwashed or hypnotized. She carried a basket of vials
under her arm, each filled with a different-colored liquid. The corks that topped
each glass container were different colors and held different symbols. The one
that I could see was white with gold sparkles, with a pair of dice imprinted
on the cork.
The one apparently in the lead pointed at several
different cages, then reeled off a long string of species names. I quailed as
one of the flunkies approached my cage and opened the door. A long, hairy arm
reached in and slipped a black rope halter over Chryani's head. I could only
cower in the corner as the Uni was dragged out.
He and several other pets of varied species and
color were led forcibly out the door, the blank-eyed Zafara following behind.
About an hour later, several different pets were
led in and dispersed into cages. I gasped as a Red Mynci was thrust into my
cage. He seemed a little shell-shocked, but his eyes reminded me of Chryani's:
mellow pools of a warm chocolate color, deep and penetrating.
"...looking in upon the same soul," I muttered.
I thought I might be beginning to understand what my mother had said. "Chryani?"
I asked, a bit nervously.
He let out a sigh of relief. "Yes. I wasn't sure
you'd recognize me, or believe me."
"So, do you know what they're going to do next?"
"Not really...." he frowned. "I heard them talking
about 'morph all' and 'then mind-wipe', but that's all I overheard."
I paled. "Believe me, that's bad enough."
"I do believe you," Chryani told me. "I personally
want to get out of here."
I agreed with him whole-heartedly, then curled
up in my corner and went back to sleep.
I was woken by rough hands pulling a collar and
muzzle combined over my head, and I knew that it was my turn to be morphed,
if not brainwashed. Naturally, I dug my claws into the floor, but I was dragged
along with those who had not been morphed the day before, my claws digging grooves
in the floor.
I tried sitting down, but I was just pulled along,
albeit at a much slower rate. It took them nearly half an hour to get all of
us to their lab-like place.
Predictably, we were force-fed the vials, one
by one. I watched the vials and how each pet changed, and had pretty much figured
out the system by the time it was my turn. The symbol meant species, and the
color determined color, surprisingly enough.
My sharp eyes observed each vial and the change
it produced. The white-and-gold vial with the egg on top produced a Christmas
Pteri. The bright blue, sparking container with the pair of dice on the top
made an Electric Zafara. Next, an ugly olive-green tube with a claw symbol on
the cork turned the Eyrie in front of me to a Mutant Kougra. Murky yellow with
a claw made a Yellow Kougra.
The symbols were directly indicative of the species.
In the scant few moments before I was forced to drink, I observed the liquid
and symbol. Dark reds and purples mixed inside, and a pair of dice branded it
as a Zafara vial. I presumed it was Darigan.
It tasted really nasty, let me tell you that
much. Knocked me unconscious, too. I came to by having cold water thrown on
top of me, and was then re-harnessed and dragged back.
My mind was working as well as ever, though,
and I noticed that where my Kougra claws had dug into the floor, thick strips
of metal had been ripped out. I was stronger than I thought. The idea popped
into my head in an instant, and I snagged a few in long, nimble fingers. I was
tossed into my cage unceremoniously, landing almost on top of Chryani.
"Sorry," I panted, pushing myself up. My new
body was still a bit clumsy, me not being accustomed to being a Zafara yet.
"Are you Annialla?" the Mynci asked.
"Yes," I gasped, at the same time looking myself
over. My hind legs were big, strong, and built for jumping, while my forelegs
- arms - were spindly, but my fingers were strong and flexible. Two strange
red growths sprang from my black-spiked back. I presumed these were wings, and
that I was indeed a Darigan Zafara. "Chryani, I'm fairly certain, but please
tell me anyway. What am I?"
"Darigan Zafara," he told me.
"All right," I nodded. My wings were moving of
their own accord, to take up less room in the cramped space. They folded tightly
against my back, and I realized that my new species instincts were starting
to kick in. "Anyway, Chryani, can you pick locks?"
He nodded. "I learned years back, while I was
still a Mynci and hadn't been zapped to a Uni. I'm kinda glad to be back in
my original form. But why do you ask? It's not as though we have lock picks."
I smiled, baring sharp teeth. "Oh yes, we do."
I held up the thick splinters of metal I had picked up, and Chryani gasped.
"Those will do quite nicely. I'll get to work
right away." He took the metal from me and reached his arms through the bars
and began to insert the picks in the keyhole, producing a grating and clicking
sound. I kept my ears open for the door opening.
It took him about half an hour to get to the
point of being close to finishing, but I heard the door slam open. "Chryani,
you better hurry. They're coming back, and I have the thought that they're going
for a mind-wipe, now that we're morphed."
"I'm going as fast as I can!" he whispered back,
sounding panicked. My nerves grated on each other as the humans came closer
and closer to our cage, and he continued to fiddle with the lock.
The humans came to the cage across from us, and
Chryani pushed the sliver he was working with one last time. The door sprang
open, and we tumbled out. "Come on!" I screamed, swooping up the stubby-legged
Chryani and bolting for the door. The humans came after us, running as fast
as their legs could allow.
Chryani squeaked as I ran at the door, but my
guess was correct. It opened automatically, unpushed, and we raced through.
Twisting corridors led us outside, and to a steep
precipice. The ground below was flat, but I had no doubt that the drop would
kill us. I remembered my new wings, though, and threw myself off, my wings unfurling
to catch the wind, and escaped, just as a white-coated human lunged for my tail.
Chryani gasped as he felt the wind fly past him.
"This is amazing, Annallia!" he called above the rushing sound. "I've never
really flown before!"
"So glad I could help," I grunted, weighed down
by him. The ground was rushing up fast, and I quickly prepared to land.
My feet touched the ground hard, leaving deep
imprints. I hauled them out of the soft earth and put Chryani down before surveying
"I know this place," I muttered, seeing the dwelling
in the distance. "I live nearby. My mother will take you in. That is...."
"If she recognizes me," I finished glumly. "I'm
a Zafara, not a Kougra. Even my color's changed!"
"Aww, it won't be that bad," Chryani consoled
me, placing a hand on my shoulder.
"I suppose," I muttered, but my eyes were downcast
and watering as the two of us approached the rough home where I and my mother
I lifted a hand to knock on the door, and the
rapping summoned the Blue Kougra almost immediately. Her eyes were filled with
surprise as she took in the Zafara and Mynci standing in front of her. "Annallia."
"Mom?" I queried. "But... I'm a Zafara... how
She lifted a paw and placed it over my lips.
"The eyes are windows to the soul," she whispered in reply. "No matter how you
change, your eyes will always be windows, looking in upon the same soul."
Then, I finally understood.
Author's Note: All pets made up, etc. Hope you enjoyed, I'd love to know
what you think, so feel free to Neomail, but please, please, please, no guild