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Quirky bizarre fantasy adventure, rated for all ages.


Frantic, he climbed out of the Belly of the Beast. For the first time in what felt like centuries, fresh air. Unable to get enough of it, he breathed it all in.
He really did feel different, now. Initially, he had been convinced it was all just spiritual make-believe, but he really was a different man now. He had been doubtful, but now he felt invigorated. He was sure, he wouldn't look back anymore. For the very first time, he even felt ready to throw his name away. Didn't ever like it much, anyway.
His hands had cramped themselves tightly around the edge of the exit. He was surprised to see the veins underneath his skin so clearly, pearls of sweat stored up between them. This was the first time he felt the toll the journey had taken on his body. He climbed out fully, put his feet on the barren earth outside, and took a number of deep breaths.
Suddenly, the sound of buzzing wings above him. He looked up at the grey, sunless sky. A large, insectoid creature from above slowly declining towards him. Even though the thing itself looked like a giant, nightmarishly deformed grasshopper, the wings in particular looked too large and completely out of place - probably stitched in from a different creature.
Without giving him the slightest glance, it entered the Belly of the Beast. Still, as it passed him, he couldn't help but feel a deep shiver come over him. He would probably never get used to the fact that these creatures saw him as one of their kind.
He couldn't help but think of the stories they were telling each other about the rite of rebirth - about recruits coming back from it with an extra appendage, or even looking like a complete freak of nature. Rumor was, if the slightest thing went wrong - like the dosage of the toxin being just a little bit off - you would wake up too late, late enough to be a bit too far on the wrong side of the transformation process when you came back to life.
Rapidly, he looked down at himself, then moved his hands across his face and back. He laughed, nervously. Nothing but rumors.
He looked around until he saw the large towers of the chapel, standing alone in the wasteland. Determinedly, he set foot in the direction of his new life.
He wouldn't look back.

As he got closer to the chapel, he saw a woman waiting in front of the large, ivory-colored doors. Her hair was roughly combed back, but largely unkempt, resembling the mane of an animal. She wore a plain black suit - the clothes of one of the Spokesmen.
As the Spokesman took sight of the newly reborn, she put her hand over her mouth. It wasn't until he was close enough - until she could see the clueless look in his eyes - that she started laughing uncontrollably. It was the laughter of someone who had completely lost her mind.
"Don't mind her.", someone said - a second Spokesman whom the reborn one had somehow not seen until just that moment. It was a man with a shaven head and a tall, wide figure, standing just a bit behind the first Spokesman. He had no idea how he had not seen him yet. Maybe there was something elusive about him - maybe he just hadn't fully regained his senses yet. The second Spokesman continued: "She has chosen to be called The Hyena. And there had never been a more fitting name."
The Spokesmen were the only ones who had real names - upon becoming a Spokesman, you got the chance to choose a name for yourself again. Everyone else was just a nameless one, or, under circumstances, a Spokesman's tasked one.
Finally, Hyena's laughter died off. He hadn't noticed yet, but Hyena had sharply yellow eyes without any white in them. They reminded him of a lizard or a cat. "Just look at yer bum, already!", she exclaimed.
He did immediately and was shocked at the sight - there was a thin, scaly tail growing out of his lower back, bending upwards to greet him. Quickly, he turned around himself a few times, unable to comprehend that this tail was part of his body - but it was, and it didn't look like it was about to go anywhere.
He felt a firm pat on the back. It was Hyena's hand; he could feel small claws growing out of each of her fingers, slightly ripping into his robe. "Welcome to the Hive, tailed one!"
He really was a different man now.

Submitted: February 26, 2014

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