Author: Kafi Desir-Lorde
It took nine long seconds for my cells to transform. The dryness was unbearable. My innards felt charred and empty, especially my head; this was intensified by the vibration of my breathing chambers. I felt undulating friction between all of my exposed bodily fibres, the substances passing over and between them, fluid, but not in any way relieving this overwhelming inner drought.
The limited colour spectrum made my new vision challenging and I found it difficult to recognise the quarters I was in. I now had six eyes and my comprehension was under the sudden stress of three-hundred-and-sixty degree vision. There was a reflective surface I now wished to look in but I could only see a shiny absence of colour. I moved thinking I would see myself but I just didn’t. I could see every infinitesimal molecule that made up every piece of matter, my world was now a structured blur.
I was still trying to find the controlled use of my limbs; I felt the backs of my hands touching the floor, felt the huge shoulders they hung from. My centre of gravity was different, bigger, but I still had four limbs, strong hind legs bent like an animal that walks on all fours; large and agile. I had general control over the direction I wanted to move towards but practically no fine motor function. I used this time before the summit, getting acquainted with my new body. I arrived at the meeting on time and took my seat at a resting bay with the other Camakadāra diplomats.
Tu’aah took precedence over the meeting. Our language does not have words sufficient to describe the communicative processes of the Camakadāra. Their language is harsh, rasping, very loud and they use their entire bodies as vocal chords but they also transmit messages as energy. The projection of Tu’aah’s voice vibrated the air in the room.
‘Camkadā have water from VLSP371. All life there finish. One hundred years, no movement. We honour their dead, take and share water, honour our living.’ There was a tangible wave of warmth from Tu’aah melting towards us all, of jubilance and humility. Such a gift had not been found for many hundreds of years in our quadrant. ‘Water is life. Life belongs to all balanced worlds. We owe each other.’
Then he said something like ‘we have hiders, we fill building with bïïja, inside colour hiders.’ The feeling this time was intense: fear, distrust, rage. Tu’aah had not long began his proposal when I began to feel something attaching itself to my exterior from the air. I didn’t intend to make any noise but now, a kind of dusty sizzling turned all gazes towards me and when I spoke, it was with my human voice.
There was uproar, all Camakadāra shouting, gesturing their great limbs towards me. I did another varîua, all I could think to do was become a flea. I leapt from my bay onto the next; the Camkadā howled and shook as I ran through his hot body. I broke through flesh. I searched for the delicate spot between the jaw and ear of the two Camkadā between Tu’aah and I and heard their bodies fall once I’d made contact.
Tu’aah wasn’t ready. I found his lower right eye in one jump and pushed myself in. With this varîua I returned to my human form. Transforming within a body was unpleasant; my middle legs merged, my feet cracked through breathing apparatus, my fingers broke threads of tissue, my numb exoskeleton gave way to hyper sensation. I became a monster. Again.