One morning, without warning, I awoke in an unfamiliar world.
All I could see was green. Huge blades of grass shot up from the earth below. I tried to move as I normally would, but stumbled onto the ground, falling onto a large, yet gray and furry foot. I tried to jump away, but realized the foot moved with me. It belonged to me.
Not only was my world different, I was different too. I had no idea what I was or where I was, but I new I had to survive. I looked around, trying to find my bearings, and slowly crawled through the grass. The ground beneath me became wet and muddy, eventually making way onto a clearing and a small pond.
Here, I could see dark clouds drifting towards the sun. A thunderstorm was coming. Across the pond was a dilapidated tree, where blue birds made their home, chirping away, maybe warning their kin of the oncoming storm.
I could feel my heart beating faster than I ever imagined it could. I suppose that is normal for a rabbit, but somehow the tempo seemed to be increasing. My gaze leapt around the pond, searching for something, but I didn’t know what. Anxiety flooded my body. I had to run, now.
But from what? Why?
Suddenly, behind me, I saw it. All of my subconscious fears materialized into a single entity. A beast, clearly much, much larger than I would ever be, stalking me quietly to my left. Its snout was low to the ground and shoulder hunched. Its red fur was sleek, and calm. Its tail had a white tuft at the end and was tucked beneath its belly. It was a fox.
For a split second, I froze.
A complicated blend of emotions ran through me. I knew this was close to the end. I had to move, but where? I didn’t know. I didn’t care. I just ran.
First, I started moving along the pond and towards the tree on the far side. Can foxes climb? I didn’t really think about it at the time. I was moving off of pure instinct. I knew I was faster, but only for a short run. I needed to get away and do so as quickly as possible.
After running for as long as I could, I was still far from the tree and dashed back into the grass, trying to recollect myself.
The fox followed and I could hear it breathing way too close for comfort. I could not survive much longer, and it knew where I was.
Its muddy paw landed next to me, shaking the earth, but I was paralyzed by both fear and exhaustion. I felt myself fading. All-too-quickly, my vision turned black.
Suddenly, I felt nothing. No fear. No exhaustion. Nothing at all.
Was this death? Did I die in that moment?
No. There was something else. Something more.
Before me, I saw a blue light. I didn’t know what it was, but I walked towards it and tried to grasp it with my hand… A human hand.
Suddenly, the world came back to me.
Green grass before a tumultuous sky and a dilapidated tree. Below me, I saw a rabbit. It was breathing heavily, but immobile. I was the fox.
I knew what the rabbit had just gone through, and I wanted to let it go. I was a human, after all, right? I had some level of decency. Also, the thought of eating a raw animal still disgusted me.
For the rest of the day, I stalked the pond as a fox. I didn’t know what to do or where to go, but I enjoyed being at the top of the food chain for a bit. As I felt my hunger grow, I eventually started to wonder if my animal instincts would kick in like they did when I was the rabbit.
Would I subconsciously become so hungry that I lose my humanity? Would I be forced to eat to survive? I knew the answer, but didn’t want to admit it. To live, I would need to become the fox.
I started wondering what happened to the rabbit I had left earlier and ambled my way towards where I had passed out before, only to find that the animal had not moved. It was breathing slower now, but seemed to be in a vegetative state.
I laid down and rested my snout next to its face. It was entirely gray. A normal hare.
Why had I woken up as a rabbit? As that being? Where was my actual body? I looked around a bit without any luck, and walked towards the tree for some shelter during the oncoming storm.
As the day ended, I found myself falling asleep in a deep hunger. Again, I saw a blue light. This time, instead of reaching out, I tried to inspect it.
It seemed to constantly move, evading my view. I knew I dreaming, and knew this light corresponded to some creature around me, but didn’t know what it was, exactly. I imagined it was a bird on the tree above me.
Throughout the night, I tried to imagine the physical world as it was when I went to sleep, and found myself controlling a humanoid apparition. I imagined the tree and grass. The rabbit and fox. Then the pond before me.
I began to wade into it and felt the waters move around me. As I went deeper and deeper, I began see a blue light within the water. By now, I was shoulder deep. The further I walked, the brighter the blue light from water became. I could feel every drop of rain as it pattered on the surface.
I could feel tadpoles and minnows swimming about. I could feel reeds growing in the shallow regions and lily pads growing on the surface.
I had become the water, itself.
As the sun rose in the morning, I began to warm, and so did all the animals inhabiting me. Throughout the day, I had no desire to move. I felt content. Not happy. Not sad. Just content. I served a purpose in a greater ecosystem, and that was OK with me.
I have no idea how long I was that pond. It might have been days. It might have been weeks. One night, as the moon rose, I began to feel stronger. I don’t know how or why, but I was no longer content being just a pond. I was a human!
I could do anything!
I found myself trying to wade out of the pond, but couldn’t. After all, the pond was now part of my identity as well.
Still, the moon called. Beckoning me closer and closer. I felt a strong connection that forced me to do something.
So I moved. I began by trying to reach a human hand out of the surface, but the surface tension wouldn’t allow it. If I were to leave, I would have to use more force.
I coalesced a large body water deep below and stared at the moon beneath the pond’s surface. I was more than just the pond. I was also human. I could do this.
I launched myself forward, with all the power I could, and quickly found myself floating in the air, somehow floating above myself. Well, at least the being I had come to recognize myself as. I could no longer feel the reeds swaying in the night’s breeze or fish swimming about.
I was alone for the first time in a long time and it felt exhilarating!
I kept moving closer and closer to the stars, flying into the heavens above, with the moonlight shimmering throughout my new body.
I found that I could become anything I imagined. I started out as a human with giant frozen wings of ice, but then realized I could be anything.
I was once a human, but now I am a werewolf, phoenix, demigod, dragon, alien, demon, merman, vampire, ghost, superhero.
I am anything I want to be. Anything I can imagine.
I have no idea where my original body went, but I’m happy enough with the result.