Monday, December 27, 2010
Ossus Part 2- A Story Continued
So he stayed with the snow leopard for a time in his guise of cub. She marveled at how quickly he grew until at last they hunted side by side on the snowy plateau and down the surrounding slopes. Sometimes they ran for the sheer joy of feeling their powerfully fluid bodies in movement through the chill crystalline air. They were alone with the voice of the wind in the heights and only once did they observe, at a great distance, another large creature. It appeared to move effortlessly upright on two legs, floating a short distance above the earth, partially encased in a smooth skin of saffron and burgundy. The only part of it that came close to touching the ground below was the odd shimmering halo of light that surrounded its entire body. It was not so lovely as the snow leopard with her lithe grace and beautifully patterned fur. Still Ossus felt a great calm and admiration fill him as he watched the solitary monk and for a moment his adopted mother gazed in wonder at the serene, shaven human head atop the feline body of her son.
Then one day he lifted his nose to the wind and knew it was time to go. There was a new scent in the air, like her odor, only stronger, more musky and demanding. She felt a momentary pang when she sensed he was leaving, but already she had been distracted for days by the scent of the other, unknown male who prowled ever closer to her den.
Ossus kept his leopard body long enough to descend into a temperate valley but soon found the humid warmth oppressive in his heavy fur, a coat designed expressly for life in the chilly heights. He was sorry to dissolve the artful pattern of the spotted coat-- he had thought it one of his best efforts to date-- but entered joyfully into the change that brought him to the ground in the smooth skinned form of a long, legless being he saw hanging from a tree near by. Fueled by his hunger for small furred things swallowed whole he slithered forth hidden among the tall grasses and small stones, always alert to the scents brought to him through his marvelous, constantly flicking tongue. He reveled in the tickle of earth under his belly and the warmth of sun drenched rocks coursing through his blood.
He was uncertain how long he had slept when some movement sensed through his dream caused his elongated body to contract into a rough 's'. At that moment he felt the heavy vibration of metal striking stone near his head and in one movement rolled away and upward, closely followed by the old two legged’s cry as she watched him rise with the wings of a rock dove sprouting from his serpentine form. Long after the change was complete, he turned his feathered head down to see her still following his flight, no more than a toy sized figure leaning on an ancient hoe at the edge of a vegetable patch. He could still make out the dark 'o' of her mouth.
And so he again became a creature of air, some days drifting seed-like on the currents, on others winging swiftly, covered with air-filled shafts that bore him up to the brightness of the massive day star or among dark masses of grey-black water vapor that flashed and sparked with a powerful light of their own.
Looking down he saw green things everywhere and one day among them a glimpse of orange and black. It was the back of a creature not unlike the snow leopard, but larger and perhaps ( though he hated to admit it), even more powerful and beautifully made. Ossus watched as it stalked a slender creature with limpid brown eyes, an animal without voice until the end when the tiger's teeth found its spine and a strange high pitched shriek escaped its mouth. Ossus felt the creature’s final terror rush through him and for a moment he was both pursuer and victim, in another body high above the earth.
Then it was too much for him to sustain the substance of all three forms and he began to spin out of control, spiraling down among broken branches and leaves until he managed to snag with one hairy arm the thick vine of a jungle creeper. He swung hand over hand to the shelter of a large tree branch, where he cuddled up against another like him, already asleep, scratched his smooth belly skin and began to snore softly. (To be continued...)