I have a secret to tell. You might want to sit down for it.
I have a secret to tell. You might want to sit down for it. You’d prefer to stand? Don’t play the hero, now, it will not get you very far. Fine, suit yourself.
The truth is, I change in the shadows. No, not like a werewolf. I don’t become furry or howl at the moon when night falls. No, I grow scales instead. At night they have a pearlescent coating, shifting from soft lavender to blushing pink hues, with my every movement. Some of them look faintly blue or turquoise. I grow a tail. I don’t turn into a mermaid, or anything as beautiful. The tail I have is spiky and chunky, like a dinosaur’s. It probably makes me look fat as it swings clumsily behind me. Finally, I grow a pair of hideously large, bat-shaped wings on my back. They are thick, black, and leathery in texture. It would be too ridiculous if they were shiny and pearlescent like the scales on my body.
You could say that I turn into something that resembles a dragon, except the dragon I turn into is nowhere near as majestic or imposing as the drawings on the glossy pages of fairytale books. I’m big, clumsy and surprisingly mopey. Most of the times I have barely been able to lift up my massive body and take flight. I never tried to breathe fire. Every time I thought about it I felt a choking, dry, burning sensation at the back of my throat. This is how I imagine people who smoke a pack of cigarettes in one sitting end up feeling in the end.
Every time I transform, my skin gets tingly and itchy while the scales fall into place. My head feels lightweight. Once it’s all over, that’s when a real heaviness sets in. My lungs drown in imaginary water as I try to breathe in deeper and slower. The blood drops from my head, and I get cold at the tips of my ears. This is when I feel so heavy that I just want to let gravity pull me down.
I did say that I change in the shadows, though a lot of the times they don’t need to be physical ones. I pass through much fewer real life shadows than I do mental ones. But the transformation is real. I can only get my old body back if I escape the shadows in my mind, but my successes are getting fewer and father in between. Every time, it’s like I step into a dark puddle that ends up being deeper than it seemed at first. I free fall in the midst of freezing cold, black water. The milky spot of light gets lost somewhere above my head. The last time I got lost, I couldn’t resurface for months. I kept on drowning without being able to fully drown. I don’t know how came back out, but now the sun feels too bright. It stings my salty eyes.
I don’t know how much more time I have left, so I need you to listen carefully. I’m getting weaker every time I change. It’s getting too hard to pull myself out of the shadows. I need you to do this for me the next time it happens. You know in which direction the light is better than I do. I need to run towards the light. Only when the light hits my face will my dry skin turn human again and my lungs empty of the watery air that fills them up.
You can do this, I trust that you can. The only catch is to find me. In daytime my colourful scales look dull and brown. You might easily mistake me for a fallen log in the shadows of the forest, or a strange and lazy crocodile. I have to warn you, I’m very heavy; but you must do everything in your power to pull me up. I am afraid that one day I will be too weak to get up on my own. This darkness scares me and this body weighs me down too much. Can I trust you with this task?