Jan 23 2010
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Between one flicker of a dim street lamp and the next, a new being flashes into existence. The apparition slumps against a brick wall, cool rain dripping down the face as it stares, wide-eyed and bewildered at the unfamiliar surroundings. Of course they are unfamiliar- the buildings and streets are as new to these eyes as the watcher is to them. Even the body is a strange physical hindrance, but when it begins to move, shivering uncontrollably, the watcher realizes it is cold. This is a new sensation, and it is considered with confusion.
The possession of a body is itself new and different, though it cannot remember what it was before, if indeed it was anything at all. It is young and female, and she knows that she is a girl.
Not only has she a body, but something more as well. A second layer above the skin, artificial, and with a moment's thought she knows the word for it: clothing. She has clothing. But the clothing is not thick. It is not meant for these conditions, for the dark of night and the water pouring from the sky.
More words come to her as she thinks, and she knows that if she only waits long enough then soon, soon she will understand what has happened, why she is here. But to wait out of the weather (rain, the word whispers through her mind) would be best. She needs to find shelter. The girl examines her long limbs closely and the words come: legs, feet, standing, walking. Walking is what she wants to do.
The girl places her hand against the rough brick behind her (building) and pushes. She comes stumbling up, just catching herself on awkward feet. She stands uncertainly, shaking, precariously balanced with only two small points of contact with the earth.
Walking involves lifting one of those points and placing it in front of the other and she is loathe to try it, but she does so. Braced carefully against the building, she takes her first step. Her second. It is familiar within seconds, and she braves taking her hand from the supporting wall. Success- she stands and walks. Her lips curve in what she realizes is a smile.
The girl's triumph is short-lived. Now, behind her, a sound- a growl. Thick and low-voiced, an animal snarl causes her heart to leap into her throat and her breath to come short and fast. The growl repeats, sounding closer. She hears the soft pads of some nightmare creature closing in. Terror grips her.
Her new skills are all she has. She lifts one foot, sets it down, lifts the other. She does it again, faster, faster. Now she is moving, leaving the dubious shelter of her brick wall and traveling, alone, by foot, and she knows the word for this new action:
The cool evening rain makes her clothing stick to skin, and now she is running down the dim city street with no thought in her mind other than fear. She does not know where she is going. She only knows that she must keep running, she must save herself from her enemy.