PLEASE START WITH CHAPTER ONE, published on February 16th, 2013. This is a fictional story, rough draft.
The alteration was gradual, so plodding slow that it was accepted as normal. Interbreeding with kin amplified the genetic mutation, cause unknown. It started with sporadic growth of fur, scales, or feathers for a short while and then the person would return to their normal human appearance. Eventually, members of the community would completely transform into another animal and leap off into the jungle or take flight. They would return later and have very vague memories but sometimes they never came home. These members of the tribe became known as Changelings.
Once in a while a Changeling would be killed because a non-transformed tribe member didn’t recognize the animal as kith or kin. Conversely, the animal-Changeling would sometimes harm or kill humans due to having the mind of a beast. Children remained human until the hormones trigger the Changeling tendencies as they entered puberty. The maturation process can be quite volatile. Due to the complexities involved with conversion, Changeling children go through a process called Fledging to learn to take command their emotions, the proverbial gaining of wings. Once they are fledged, they gained access the full range of their abilities. They can retain some human sensibilities when partially altered as compared to a complete transformation into the animal form. Otherwise, their skills are limited by emotional upheaval.
Changelings gravitated to the same kind. Monkeys with monkeys, lizards with lizards, spiders with spiders, and their progeny would be just like their parents. If they mated with a regular human, the surviving kids were considered to be Blank. Blanks possessed about half of the heightened senses of the Changeling but could not modify their appearance. When Changelings of different breeds mixed genetically, most of their children were stillborn or died soon after birth. If the child did live, it would be a Hybrid. The Hybrids were dangerous because they felt no allegiance to either Changeling-species and were prone to violence. It became forbidden for Changelings to mate outside their sub-species.
A direct descendent of the famous Tlsa-se was the young and talented Teng-se. She had grown up amongst her intellectual family and leaders of the Eagle Changeling clan. She had the privilege of being the bearer of Moon’s Shine for sacred ceremonies and healing sessions. Teng-se was rebellious and developed an illicit romance. She already had several children but this relationship was different. Her desire for Foulan-sa, a Blank, was strong. Her heart quivered every time she saw him. They had intertwined their bodies on myriad occasions and she could feel that she was pregnant. She hoped the news would make him happy. However, right now she had to gather some Moon’s Shine for her father to use on a patient. She took the sacred Moon Holder and walked across the valley to the Pool of the Moon. The small deep puddle contained a horrid smelling substance. It was black as night and shimmered like the light from a full moon upon the water. The ooze was thick and would burn with noxious smoke when placed in fire. A tiny speck of the black substance would shimmer like a rainbow when touched to the surface water. It was powerful magic.
Teng-se brought along her two eldest children. They were still learning how to properly collect Moon’s Shine. As they approached the pool, the children laid offerings and she smiled as they sung the thank you for the medicine mantra off-key. Teng-se knelt to scoop the black light into the Moon Holder basket. A funny monkey distracted the children who giggled and bumped into her. Teng-se fell headfirst into darkness. As she struggled, the thick oily mess only drew her in deeper. The children managed to grasp her foot and drag her from the deadly pit of tar. Her bones would not mingle that day with the animals that had already sunk to the bottom of the petrol pond.
Teng-se gasped and gulped down some of the noxious tar. She could barely breath, her senses were muted and she was frightened. Forgetting the Moon Holder, the children slowly led her back home. All the other patients were dismissed. Her father and Healer kin spent hours scraping off the gooey mess as she suffered. Curative rocks called sunlight were crushed and used to scrub away the remaining tar. A special tincture of the finely ground therapeutic stone was brewed with herbs. She consumed the bitter tasting potion to dissolve the tar in her stomach. The ongoing treatment was revolting and she struggled to endure each day. The child growing inside her was forever altered.
NEXT CHAPTER TO BE PUBLISHED SOON.
© 2013 Ima B. Musing