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Lusus Naturae

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     It all started with two old men, and a strange machine. Their facial features wearing the same grim expression. The pair knew that this would be their last chance to change things before the end of the world crashed down upon them and all of the people that they had come to care about. The last chance either of them would have at redemption or a slim chance of survival.

     The one in the long coat nodded to the other. He flipped a series of switches before slamming his hand on a button. The world flashed white.

     When the light died down, something about the two men was different. They were younger. Stronger. They also weren’t human.

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     When you had wake up that morning, you expect another day of running for your life, and nothing else. Just like the last week. And the week before that. You manage to find a large backpack, and stuff it full of canned food. Digging through the cupboards for anything edible, and manage to find some spam. That shit never expires and you aren’t about to leave it behind. Meat is rare around here, especially with the giant monsters that had decided to crash this dimension and leave the town in ruin about a month ago.

     You, as well as the others, ran for it to try and get the hell out of dodge but something was keeping you in. It was like a giant box that ranged the whole town. Nothing coming in, nothing going out. The town resigned itself to this strange and ruthless world that that fucking triangle called ‘Weirdmageddon’. The name was a little much, but you’re not willing to be caught to take it up with the dorito douche-lord himself.

     You cook the meat as quickly as you can. The smell might attract unwanted visitors, and with food like this, anyone falls into that category. When you go to grab the knife in your belt, you notice that something is strange is going on. You feel weird. Namely, your skin, or lack of it. Instead of normal human flesh, you see claws, and fur and small feathers running up your arms. You also notice that your clothing had somehow changed to support your new form. The pants are very uncomfortable, so you ditch them. If you’re a creature now, you don’t need clothes in the first place, but you don’t get rid of the shirt. It was your favorite one, and if anything, it would remind you of when you were human.

     Sitting back, you notice that the fur isn’t only on your arms. It runs up your shoulders, and you try to turn around and look at your back. That’s when you see the wide golden wings spread behind you.

     “Holy shit.” You whisper, but you can tell that voice feels different. Your voice sounds like more of a screech than words. You clamp your hands on your mouth, and feel something that isn’t normal at all. You get up, and pad around the house to search for a mirror. When you finally find one, the tiny feathers on your face fluffed up under your hair and you look into your newly golden eyes. You look like a creature from that one movie. What was it called again? Oh yeah, it was that wardrobe movie. Narnia. You look like the birds in the big fight scene. Golden feathers and all. If you remember right, you were a griffin with hair. What the actual hell. You expected chaos, but not this shit.

     You shake your head, needing to eat before you deal with all of this nonsense. You might as well just hide in a cave or something when you go back to the forest. Live the rest of your life out alone like the strange mythical creature that apparently is your life now.

     Actually, no. Fuck that shit. You’ve always wondered what it would be like to have wings, and you’re not going anywhere until you find out just how this whole flying thing works.

     The meat tastes better than normal, but you chalk it up to the distinct lack of meat in your diet, and go on your merry way. By that, I mean you struggle to put the damn bag on your back before mangling the straps and end up hooking it to a large belt instead. After you finish fixing up your new sachel, you wander outside, wondering just you you’re supposed to blend in as a giant bird cat thing-a-bob with some vaguely human features.

     You almost bolt out of the front door before you realize that this might be easier under the cover of trees that lay conveniently close to the back door. By the time you get back there, you notice a red light pass by. You wait until it passes to streak into the trees. You struggle to stay on your back two legs, so you end up running the way that you had watched other animals do. It felt weird, but not as weird as trying to run with two legs and bumping into things. You end up leaping over fallen logs with your wings held close to your body. You don’t notice the ledge until it’s almost too late. You grab onto a tree, digging your claws in until you’re sure that you’ve stopped. The tree is left with large claw marks in the wood when you let go. You decide to follow the ledge until you find somewhere safe to spend the day, and learn more about some of this new body of yours. You end up climbing a tree and finding a place where the branches support your weight. You were glad that you used to weave things together as a kid. Hopefully you wouldn’t be too bad at making a nest. It was the best idea that you have for a more permanent settling place, and the trees were especially thick in the middle. Besides, when does anyone looking for a monster ever look up?

     By the time night falls, you had gotten the nerve to jump from tree to tree in search of branches to frame your home with. You had torn some from trees a little ways away to use. They weren’t too comfortable, but you were starting to think that it might be a good idea to leave the comfort part of the bedding for tomorrow.

     Days pass, and you still hadn’t tried flying. Instead, you passed the time adding more sticks to your nest. You were proud to say that it was coming along nicely, and you had even found a large patch of moss that you used to line your bed.

     You tried not to think about falling when you try your wings. You wouldn’t admit that you were scared, but you were. Your feathers seem frail. Like they wouldn’t hold you up, even though your wingspan was truly impressive, and you spend hours watching other creatures fly through the skies the way that you had dreamed of for so long. You watch them closely before stretching your own wings to mimic what they were doing. The little birds cock their heads at you while you mess with your wings. You gave a little flap, and found the tips of your feathers brushing the ground.

     The only way to practice this was to either go to the edge of the cliffs or to try a branch. You would try the branch first.

     As it turns out, it’s hard to learn to fly when you can’t find a branch without other branches getting in the way. You ended up climbing to the top of your home tree, as you had taken to close it, and gliding from it to another tree a little ways away. As long as you kept your wings out, the wind would carry you. You don’t dare enjoy your first try for fear of falling. The third time, you give a little flap. It doesn’t do much, so you gave the air a stronger push. You feel the new muscles stretch and contract, and the rush of wind running through your hair, and through the feathers that keep you aloft. After you land, you end up catching something for dinner before retiring to your treetop home for the night. You don’t have the energy to stay awake tonight. Not after your first real flight.

     As you settle down for the night, you don’t notice several streaks of red fur heading towards a cabin close to your home. You stir only when a howl pierces through the night. Before letting dreams of normality take you to a more peaceful place.