Relee the Squirrel's Domain

CONFORM

by Relee the Squirrel

It's morning, and I'm awake. The alarm clock says seven AM. I roll out of bed and plant my feet on the floor. I stand up, naked, and tug open the curtains of my window. A beam of burning white light blasts away the shadows in the bedroom of my apartment, as tiny motes of insubstantial nothing dance in the corners of my eyes. Today is another workday.

Stepping into the bathroom I take a quick shower and chase the sleep from my eyes. I do my business and read a bit of the news from yesterday. People keep going about their daily lives, same old-same old. I wash my hands and check my reflection in the mirror. Looking good.

I walk into the kitchenette and fry some eggs and bacon and I drink my morning coffee. I flip on the television to catch the morning news and check the weather. Another average day in the city. I throw on my white dress shirt, jump into my tan business pants, and affix my tie. Shoes on and it's time to go to work.

I commute by train. A short walk through a crowd of silent people with their eyes on the ground, never daring to catch a glance from oneanother. Their faces are plastered with grim frowns and every one is dressed just the same as me. In the glass of a worn old storefront I see the reflection of the crowd yet I can't make myself out among them.

I reach the train station and board the train, and it's all the same but standing still. In the far corner of the cab a woman in brightly coloured clothes struggles to contain a rambunctious toddler, and quiet his cries for attention. Everyone in the cab turns their gaze in the other direction, as if the colourful display of childhood angst could not exist.

I exit the train and walk amongst the dark and brooding people again, and somehow find my way to work in the office tower that looks just like the other office towers. I navigate the lobby, and ride the elevator to my floor in silence along with a dozen other people. The door opens upon a labyrinth of cubicles, each coloured the same, each manned by another person dressed the same as me. The sound of typing fingers is almost deafening, interupted only by the occasional scream of a dot-matrix printer that should have been replaced twenty years ago.

I take my place in the cubicle designated to me, though how I find it each day I do not fully understand. I sit in the chair that is the same as every other chair, and I begin to type at my keyboard. The sound of my typing joins the chorus of the floor's ambient sound, and I loose myself in an almost hypnotic trance as I work. Time rolls by in ages of dark boredom and silent acceptance, untill the end of the work day.

I stand up and walk out of the office, again navigating the labyrinth as if I was part of it, or it was part of me. I stand in the elevator with a dozen people and none of us speaks a word. I walk through the sea of unseeable faces, and ride the train through the grey towers. I walk up the street and find my apartment building. I ride the elevator, this time alone, and I disembark on my floor. I enter the hallway, and walk the same path I walk every day, back to my apartment. This is my life. I have always lived this way, as long as I can remember. The woman on the train changes, but nothing else does. Today, however, something is different. As I turn the knob to enter my apartment, I feel an excrutiating pain on the back of my neck, and I slump to the floor, blacking out.


I wake up suddenly, and feel somehow different. My eyes open, then squint shut as they are burned by the light of a naked bulb set into the ceiling. A sudden breeze runs across my skin; I am naked. I run my hands over my body, and I feel my skin and yet it feels different. It's too smooth, to soft; I am hairless. My head is bare but also the hair on my skin is gone, and even my eyebrows are missing. I can't seem to move my head. Around my neck I feel something hard and firm, like a stiff leather collar, yet so wide that I can't bend or twist my neck at all.

On my wrists I feel something as well, and I hold them up in front of my face. As my vision clears I see shiny black leather bands lined with four D-shaped metal rings. My ankles are just the same, on the white sheet of the matress. I look around the room, and see a bold crimson red. The room is painted a solid colour, except for a white moulding for the last six inches at the ground. The floor is hardwood, tightly packed strips of golden brown wood laminated together. The room is like a cell, only six feet by six feet, with an old-fashioned door in the corner, and a single metal framed cot as it's only contents. The room is lit with a naked incandescent bulb, however there are no switches on the light, nor are there any switches or power outlets anywhere in the room.

A cold breeze trickles in from under the door. I stand up, then crouch to the floor. I lay down on my belly, and my hairless skin is chilled by the cold wood floor. It is difficult to position myself with the collar on my neck, but even when I place my head against the floor I cannot see anything under the doorframe. I lift myself up slowly, and stand. I take a deep breath, and try the doorknob. It turns and clicks, but the door does not open. I sigh in disappointment, and decide to knock firmly on the door, in case someone is on the other side.

Time passes, and I hear something. A loud click, clack, click, clack, like a woman's high heeled shoes. I step back from the door. The lock clicks, and the knob turns. I take another step, my back to the wall. The door opens, revealing a dark hallway. The wall is painted back, but otherwise it is the same as the room I am in, with white moulding and hardwood flooring. Standing in the doorframe is a woman. Her skin is a pale almost-white with no blemishes, save for a glaring red welt on her left thigh. She is wearing an elaborate leather costume that accentuates her features sharply. A shiny black leather leotard covers her midsection, but large holes have been left to let her ample breasts stick out. They are lifted and presented somehow by the garment, without being covered at all. Another hole reveals her belly, from just below her breast to just below her navel. Other holes reveal her thick hips, though a second leather garment worn over the first covers her crotch. Her arms have leather straps leading down to fingerless gloves and in her right hand she holds a long, coiled up whip.

The woman's legs are bare to her knees, but on her lower legs she wears knee-high leather boots, with sharply pointed toes and high stiletto heels that seem at least five inches high. Her head is completely covered in a leather hood, and her face is hidden behind a thick gas mask. Her eyes are covered by tinted black glass, giving her an alien appearance that shocks me. Her chest heaves with her breathing, and loud rasps of air escape from the mask.

The woman speaks with booming a voice that seems to come both from the mask and from beyond it, filling the room with sound. "YOU WILL FOLLOW ME." she bellows. I nod yes, in response, and she turns her back. Like her front, the back of her leather outfit has a cut-out hole revealing the same perfect almost-white skin, but here there are three bold red lash marks, partially healed but still glowing. They look excrutiating, yet the woman shows no signs of pain, discomfort, or emotion.

Gazing at her back I am stricken with the notion that she is thin and vulnerable, standing on shoes that no-one could be stable in. I could easily shove her down and run for my life. I feel a fear, that there may be guards, there may be yet more locked doors. Both thoughts are suddenly extinguished as the woman takes a step forward, and I take a step forward to match. She walks into the hallway, and I walk into the hallway. She turns, and I turn. We walk together, or she walks me, what seems like a mile down an impossibly long corridor of uninterupted black walls, white moulding, and hardwood floors, lined with endless antiquated wooden doors, like two mirrors placed side by side, I cannot see the end. We stop, and open a door. It leads into a room with deep purple walls, but I cannot see what is inside the room, because when the woman faced the door, I faced the wall.

We enter the room together, and I see that it is different. The room is three times the size of the cell where I awoke, exactly. Specifically, it is as large as nine of that cell, and the vaulted ceiling is three times as high as the ceiling where I awoke, and the ceiling in the hallway. The perimeter of the room is lined by a continuous low worktable which is covered by countless tools that defy description. Some of the tools are a metalic silver, others a shiny black, and some mix metal with black, but all of them are foriegn to me, and their purpose unknowable. The worktable is interrupted in only two places. The first is the center of the wall where the woman and myself entered the room through the old wooden door. The second is in the far corner of the wall to my left, where a second old wooden door is set into the wall.

In the center of the room is a bizzare machine which stands twice as high as I do. It looks like a series of nested gleaming silver C-shapes, with a shiny black harness in the center that would wrap around a body's middle, arms, legs and head. The woman walks forward, next to the machine. I walk forward, into the machine. I slide my arms up into the arm-holders, and use them to pull myself into position, so that I can slide my legs into the leg-holders. The black harness straps itself around my middle and around my head on its own, or perhaps the woman strapped it into place.

As if waking from a dream, I can again think for myself. Why did I follow that woman? Why am I strapped into this machine? What is about to happen to me?

I feel a cold and hard plate press against the back of my skull firmly, and stick there. The woman appears in my field of view, and I see her place a shiny black square firmly against my forehead. It is cold, and it sticks in place. The steps back, and leaves my field of vision. Moments pass, and I hear a loud humming. The room starts to rotate around me. I start to rotate. First I rotate clockwise in a horizontal pattern, then I suddenly begin to rotate in a vertical direction as well. A third direction is introduced, and my body is rotating wildly in three different directions. I feel nauseous and the room begins to blur. I spin faster and faster, and I feel a tugging on my skin, as if it is about to peel off. I am surrounded in purple light and crisscrossing bars of metal. I am surrounded by darkness. In the darkness I hear a single word, resonating through my body and echoing in the deepest part of my mind.

CONFORM

The gong rings, and I'm awake. I sit up straight, turn to my side, and stand up out of my bed with the others in the main slave quarters. We all walk together through the automatic shower, which cleanses us of the sweat and grime of the sleep-time. I walk into the dressing area and affix a black leather thong between my legs, before lining up at the door for morning inspection.

The mistresses' heels click on the hardwood floor as they inspect us, one on each side of the line. We all stand erect and do not move under their masked gaze, untill they are satisfied. The sound of a whip rack rings out through the air, and as one we all walk through the wooden door and into the den.

I quickly gaze across the room, as does each of my fellows. There are one-hundred and thirty seven guests in the den, to be served by twenty slaves; us.

I know my own role better than I know my own name, Slave Six-Eight-Two-Three. I take a tray and hold it aloft, standing next to the bar. Drinks and snacks are placed on my tray, and I instinctively carry them to the right table. The guests ignore me as surely as they ignore the presence of a table or chair.

I work the floor, never deviating in my behavior, carrying drinks and snacks to each guest as they arrive or depart, along with the other slaves. My head is held high by my collar, and by the pride I feel in servitude. The gong rings, signaling the end of my shift. I line up in front of the old wooden door with my fellows. The mistresses stand on either side of the door, watching and inspecting us as we file out of the room. Beside us, the new shift enters the den, taking the places we had.

Surrounded by the red walls of the slave quarters, I remove my leather thong and place it in the chute. It will be cleaned by the cleaning slaves, and I will wear it next work-shift. I walk across the room and sit in the restoration chair, along with four other slaves. We restore ourselves five at a time. The chair is a metal throne set into the wall, with a hard black plastic seat. It accepts my urine and waste, fills my belly with nutrients and water, and exercises my genitals with a robotic armature. After a time measured one half-hour, I am completely refreshed and satisfied. I stand up in unison with my four fellows, and proceed to the slave study. The green walls are soothing, and I sit in a wooden chair while I read classical literature and books of science and mathematics for exactly one and one-half hour.

All of the slaves are now refreshed and our studies are done. The gong rings and I walk to my bed in the slave quarters. I sit down, then raise my legs and turn into the bed, then lower my body and hold perfectly still with my eyes closed. The instant I close them, the lights in the room go off, and I enter sleep-time.

This is my life. I have always lived this way, as long as I can remember. The guests in the den change, but nothing else does. Today, however, something is different.

The gong rings, and I'm awake. I sit up straight, turn to my side, and stand up out of my bed. A mistress is standing beside me. "YOU WILL FOLLOW ME." she says. I follow her. She leads me through a different door, as another slave is lead into the quarters. She leads me through a long hallway, though the distance is meaningless. We walk together into a room with solid gold walls. There is a man sitting on a throne atop a layered dias. His skin is golden, as gold as the walls of the room. His eyes are golden, and piercing. Slaves like myself, women and men, are laying in strange poses, randomly scattered up the steps.

The mistress kneels down, her head to the floor. I kneel down, my head to the floor. This is the True Master. We cannot see him, but we feel him, as he gestures to us to rise. We stand. Beside the True Master stands a guest. I have seen him before in the den, but only now do I truly see him. He is not a man, or a woman. He is an alien creature. His skin is a yellowish brown, and his eyes are like marbles. He has no nose, and where his mouth would be he instead has four long tentacles. His hands are long, the bones of his fingers twice as long as a human's, and he has an additional joint. He is dressed in an opulent robe of yellow and orange, gilded with golden highlights, that drapes to the floor, hiding his legs. A high collar surrounds his slightly pulsating brown head. From his sleeve he produces a small fabric sack, blood red and tied with gilded thread. He drops it at the feet of the True Master.

The True Master makes a gesture with his hand, and I am free. I gasp for air as the shock of liberty rolls over my conciousness, and I catch a glance from the eyes of the creature. I freeze, paralyzed, and begin to feint, blacking out. In the darkness I hear a single word, resonating through my body and echoing in the deepest part of my mind.

CONFORM

A flash of light, and I am awake. I am cold, and my body is coated in slime. I stretch out my arms, but they touch the pulsating skin of my pod and recoil back against my body, just like every time I wake up. I struggle to hold my breath, knowing what comes next, but I can't stand it. I gasp for air, and the stink fills my nostrils. I gag, and wretch, but after several minutes I calm down. I get used to the smell every morning, but it's like the first time I ever smelled it, every day. Fish and dung and sulpur and other things that smell like nothing I've ever smelled before.

Awake for at least ten minutes, the tiny pod finally opens. Its fleshy walls pull apart like a sideways eyelid, releasing me from my slimy encapsulation. Warily I stretch one long, gaunt leg out of the pod and my slimy, webbed foot flops loudly and wetly on the cold bone floor. Secure in the discovery of stable ground, I lift my bloated blue belly out of the pod, carefully balanced between my two long, thin legs. My thick and wide tounge hangs over my belly button as I stretch my short arms behind my back. My huge round nostrils snort loudly as I take in the scent of the room, and my beady black eyes dart side to side, seeing the two creatures just like me stepping hesitantly out of their own pods.

The Fleshwarpers' council is done for the cycle, and it's our job to clean the room for the next meeting. Strange ichors decorate the floor, along with litter, shredded paper, and ashes. I squat low between my legs and slurp my giant tounge across the filthy bone floor, sweeping it clean. Though I cannot twist in any way to see it, I know that between my legs, behind me, there is a second mouth on a blue fleshy tube, sucking on the floor and chewing up the larger trash. I know this because my two fellows have one, and because I can taste everything it eats. But for all the awful flavors, this is my purpose and I must fulfill it.

Unable to speak, my fellows and I corrdinate with signals from our tiny, three-fingered hands. We efficiently and completely clean the bone of the floor and chairs, as well as the pulsating, fleshy walls. Our backs excrete a viscous slime as we work, and we rub against the walls to keep them healthy. It takes a while, but we never miss even the tiniest bit of dirt or dust. It all rests in our bellies before we reluctantly return to our pods in the back wall, going to sleep for another cycle.

This is my life. I have always lived this way, as long as I can remember. The messes on the floor change, but nothing else does. Today, however, something is different.

A flash of light, and I am awake. After ten minutes of fussing and struggling my pod opens, and I step out. I squat down, and I lick the floor like I always do, my rear-mouth eating a particularly coarse nugget of... something grainy and disgusting. Loud booming noises ring out from someplace outside of the council chambers, but I barely notice. My whole existance is in this room, and my job of cleaning it, and the noise isn't making the room any more or less dirty.

Suddenly the chamber door opens, a loud fleshy ripping sound as it is forced. Nobody has ever come into the chamber while it is being cleaned before. We all turn our eyes to the torn flesh of the council chamber door to see what is happening.

Creatures begin to enter the room, three of them. They all look the same, like giant versions of ants, which are creatures I have eaten before during my cleaning duties. They have four legs attached to a central body, with a large thorax behind that. Their front legs however, are arms, and their bodies are bent as if standing up. Their heads are huge, with thick shells and giant pincers suggesting soldier ants. Their bodies are covered in a thick, shiny orange carapace. They are carrying strange objects in their hands that look like the water pitchers sometimes left in the council chambers, but with grips for their claws. They point the pitchers at us, and the one in the middle makes loud screeching noises while it twists its antennae.

I stand still, watching the strange creatures, unsure if I should return to my pod or continue to clean the council chamber. After a time, about thirty minutes by my estimate, more of the creatures appear in the pulsating hallway outside the council doors. One of the creatures walks over to stand behind me, and the others stand behind my fellows. It pokes me in the back with it's pitcher and scretches. After a short time I realize it is ordering me to move out the door. Glad to have orders, I obey them and walk with my fellows into the hallway. Three other ant-creatures are in the hallway, though these ones have much smaller heads. Next to them are large fleshy sacks, the same orange-colour of the ants. The large-headed ant pokes me in the back with it's pitcher and gestures at one of the fleshy sacks. I lay myself in the sac as I would my pod, and it is closed up over me. Time passes, and many strange feelings fill my body. I have a sense of traveling very far, and traveling only a short distance. A powerful, pervading warmth fills the fleshy sack and fills me, and I start to drift out of conciousness, and the world fades to darkness. In the darkness I hear a single word, resonating through my body and echoing in the deepest part of my mind.

CONFORM

I scent the air and know the desires of the queen, and I am awake. My mandibles click as I stretch my legs against the fiber of the hive. I arise from my resting place and walk towards the smell, my antennae twitching to scent the air. I find my task, an egg is in front of me. I reach out with my arms, covered in orange carapace, and rotate the egg. I turn, and see another egg. I rotate the egg. I walk two steps and see another egg. I rotate the egg. I turn around again and walk forward, and I see another egg. I rotate the egg. In my day I rotate fourty-eight eggs, each the size of a full grown antman. I am very strong. I am a worker drone. I scent the air and know the desires of the queen. I leave the hatchery and walk to the tunnels. I dig with my hands in the soil, creating a mass of dirt and grime, and I lift it. I carry the dirt through the tunnels, through the city, and out to the surface. The Rings of Xxdakledak twinkle in the violet sky, but I have work to do. I return to the tunnels and dig out a patch of soil and rock, and I carry it to the surface. The trek is long, and hard. I carry soil as large as my whole body out of the hive three times, and my body is worn. I scent the air and know the desires of the queen. I travel to the cafeteria.

I take a clayware bowl and a cup from the basin and I walk up to the trough. I fill my bowl with squirming grubs, shavings of tuberous plants, and the white fungus grown in the deep tunnels. I fill my cup with water. I eat my meal in a brief and efficent manner and return the bowl and cup to the basin. I scent the air and know the desires of the queen.

I travel far through the hive, and I travel down. I travel to the deep tunnels to the fungus farm, and find the place for my task. I see a leaf in front of me, and I turn it over. I turn to my side, and I see a leaf in front of me, and I turn it over. I walk a few steps and see a leaf in front of me, and I turn it over. I turn over sixty-five leaves, and my body is aching with exhaustion. I scent the air, and know the desires of the queen.

I gather up a collection of fungus from the leaves, and carry the bundle up out of the deep tunnels, up into the hive, up to the cafeteria. I use my mandibles to cut up the fungus into tiny portions, and drop them into the trough. Beside me, another worker drone pours out a stoneware bucket of squirming grubs into the trough. Beside him, another worker drone shaves gathered tuberous plants with his mandibles. My body is at it's limit. I scent the air, and know the desires of the queen, but I am weak, and collapse. I fall into a slumber while my body heals, and a worker drone takes me to my resting place. This is my life. I have always lived this way, as long as I can remember. The order of my tasks changes, but nothing else does. Today, however, something is different.

I scent the air and know the desires of the queen, and I am awake. The hive is under attack. I rise from my resting place and screech out a battlecry. I grab an acid-gun from the wall of my resting place and travel to the central hive. Howling red demons fly through the air, as globs of acid and bolts of flame are tossed between combatants. Gibbering lumps of pale flesh with long arms and clawed hands ebb and flow like a flood of horror and death through the tunnels.

I take a position behind a barricade with a soldier and three other workers, and I open fire with my acid-gun. The fleshmonsters melt as we hit them with our acid-guns, and their bodies evaporate in an acrid shower of black soot that paves the floor of the hive, yet as many as we kill, more pour out of the deep tunnels, and slowly their claws get closer and closer. Suddenly a massive bolt of flame crashes against the barricade, dropped by a flying monster in the domed ceiling of the central hive, while being chased by three winged antmen. We duck behind the barricade, but the break in our line of fire was all the demons needed. They were upon us before we could fire another shot, masses of claws and biting mouths that tore at our carapaces. I thought I would die, but I am alive, broken and helpless. The tide washes over me and time passes. The scent of the demons only grows stronger, and the scent of the hive grow stale, and grow old. I scent the air, and I do not know the desires of the queen. I am alone, and broken.

Above me, a red-skinned demon with long black horns approaches. His cloven feet shake the foundation of the hive as he grabs my broken leg. I am dragged into the center of a befouled circle, drawn in the ichor of my companions. The demon chants in a language so foul that my tiny sound receptors burn from the mere utterance, and pain wracks my body as purple and green flames erupt in the circle. A furious anger fills me, and hatred, but my conciousness fades to darkness. In the darkness I hear a single word, resonating through my body and echoing in the deepest part of my mind.

CONFORM

I feel the lash of the dark master's whip, and I am awake. Furious, I slash my claws at the air, and snort angrily. My reward is another lash of the dark master's whip. I screech in servile appology and hurriedly waddle my stumpy legs away from him, but in my black heart I hate him all the more. I waddle into a corral and he shuts the gate, it was all a part of his plan. All around me are fleshy white lumps of demonflesh, with long arms and sharp claws, and biting mouths all over, just like me. But they're not like me at all, no, they're weak pathetic nothings, and soon I'll be the one with the whip, and then they'll be sorry!

The ruddy soil beneath my legs is glowing an angry red. The dark masters are teleporting us again. I gnash my teeth excitely and stretch out my claws; we're going to war. A bright red flash fills everything, and then we are there.

A bright ball of fire lights the blue sky as white tufts of cloud sail overhead. Yellowed plants at my feet wither away from our very presence. The dark lords appear in a flash amongst us, and the whip digs into my flesh. I know the direction to go, now; away from the dark lords! I run as fast as my stumpy legs can carry me, moving like blood with the others as we coarse across the field towards the town. The sky darkens as thick black clouds race across the horizon. The dark lords magic brings storms and rain, and lightning strikes in the town. The scent of blood hits the air as the closest demons begin the slaughter, and I feel the bloodlust fill me. We spill into the streets, flowing down each street and into the buildings. I hunger, so badly, but for the longest time there is nothing around me but my fellows. I dig my claws into one of them, but another digs his claws into me, and we continue. Then at last, a four-legged creature straight ahead!

I tear at it's huge belly with my claws, and sink my teeth into it's hot flesh. It tries to gore me with its stubby horns, but I am strong! I knock it over on it's side and bite its legs even while it kicks me. It cries out, MoooOoOOoo as it dies, and I revel in the slaughter.

The darkness and the blood seep into this place, and time passes. The slaughter goes on, as it always does, untill the dark lords catch us and herd us into their corrals.

This is my life. I have always lived this way, as long as I can remember. The creatures we slaughter change, but nothing else does. Today, however, something is different.

I feel the lash of the dark master's whip, and I am awake. Screeching with pain, I waddle off towards the corral before I even know I'm moving. One of the other demons in the corral bumps into me, and he growls angrily. The weak pathetic fool, how I hate him! He should have watched where I was going! I tear at him with my claws, but he dares to strike me back! I screech and back off slowly, the pathetic fool has no idea the horrors I'll inflict upon him...

The ground beneath my feet glows red, and I know that it is time for war. I seethe angrily, but grow with excitement and the knowledge that I will soon have fresh blood upon my claws. The world flashed red and we had arrived.

The sky is black and sunless, and there are only high rocks and a layer of pale blue sand beneath my feet. There is light, but the source is absent. The dark lords appear, with their whips, but then I realize there is something in front of me. A shambling mass of black liquid is wobbling to stand, as if it was alive! I roar and snarl and charge at the thing, tearing at it with my claws. Black liquid splashes on the rocks and sand as I break the thin layer of skin holding in the creature's ichors. I tear it apart and it falls lifelessly beneath me. The bloodlust burns in my eyes, and at the beconing of the dark lords' whips I charge forward, up a steep hill, hungry for more carnage. In my fury I barely notice, but I am first! I am ahead of all those slavering weaklings! I shall be the one who chooses where I go!

I crest the top of the hill, and then I see the ocean. An endless ocean of black liquid. I don't stop. I keep charging, right into the ocean, and something grabs my legs. I'm instantly pulled deep into blackness. With incredible speed I am shuttled through nothing. I slash with my claws and bite with my teeth, but there is nothing there but black liquid. Suddenly, there is nothing. I am completely alone, surrounded by blackness. Furious, I slash my claws and gnash my teeth on nothing, untill time passes and the bloodlust leaves me.

Pressure occurs. A sudden and terrible pressure, and then I feel different. Strange. For the first time since I can remember, a sense of calmness is washing over me. I relax, and feel at peace. The hate leaves me. The anger leaves me. The flesh leaves me. All is darkness. In the darkness I hear a single word, resonating through my body and echoing in the deepest part of my mind.

CONFORM

A moment elapses, and I am awake. I am darkness, in the darkness. I am liquid. I slide through the black, more and more, traveling far. I solidify the edges of my form, and launch my pseudopod. It hits the sandy blue ground. I tug myself out of the ocean, and bring my mass up high. Waddling on pseudopods I carry myself away from the ocean, and into the sand, and the rocks. I travel to a crack in a boulder, and press myself against it. The firmness of my skin breaks, and I spill out into the crack, filling it. I pour through the crack, deeper and deeper, untill I drip out into a chamber. I collect myself and form a skin. I raise my mass and form a pseudopod to feel my surroundings. Rock. Rock. Rock. Round squishy thing. I take the round squishy thing with my pseudopod, and tug it into my mass. I coat my mass around the round squishy thing, and squeeze it untill liquid comes out. I collect the liquid into my form, then release the firm, pulpy thing. I extend my pseudopod, and feel my surroundings. Rock. Firm, pulpy thing. Rock. Crack. I extrude myself into the crack, and drag my form back up through the space. I carefully maintain pockets that contain the liquid, and eventually I make it to the edge of the crack. I gather my mass and form pseudopods to waddle back to the ocean. I slide my body into the blackness of the ocean, and release the skin on my form. I retain the pockets of liquid, and speed off into the blackness.

Time passes as I move, but I find my proper place, and I open the pockets of liquid. The liquid spreads out into the blackness and becomes part of it. Some of it becomes part of me. The blackness feels pleased. I feel pleased. I drift away, out of conciousness, untill the moment I am needed.

This is my life. I have always lived this way, as long as I can remember. The route to the round, squishy thing changes, but nothing else does. Today, however, something is different.

A moment elapses, and I am awake. The great darkness has need of me. I travel through the darkness, to the great darkness, and spread myself over the edge of his form. He forms an eye, and gives it to me. I undulate with endless gratitude, but he beckons me to watch closely. I extend my pseudopod with my new eye, and watch what happens in the pocket in the great darkness.

Strange creatures are standing on a flat surface inside of the pocket. Three of them. They have thick pink skins, strands of fibers on top, and loose outer coverings. Long drips hang from below the rough-spheres at the top of their mass, tucked inside the outer coverings.

With them is a form of the great darkness. A blob of inky black, with pseudopods forming arms and legs, like the creatures have. They offer a thing to the great darkness, a thing made of thick woven fibers that form a bowl, a bowl with a handle, and in that thing, there are many round things. Some are squishy, others firm. The great darkness is gesturing to me.

I enter the form of the great darkness, and flow to the pocket, where my form drips down from the ceiling. The creatures hold out a firm bowl, and catch me in it. They bow to the great darkness, then disappear in a flash of light, along with me.

We are in a strange place of hard edges, and grey masses. Light is uneven, forming columns of light, and shadows. The creatures overturn the bowl, and empty me into a large tube filled with a strange green liquid, and a shape that looks like one of them. My form spreads out through the liquid, dissappating. My conciousness fades, and another sort of darkness surrounds me. In the darkness I hear a single word, resonating through my body and echoing in the deepest part of my mind.

CONFORM

It's morning, and I'm awake. The alarm clock says seven AM. I roll out of bed and plant my feet on the floor. I stand up, naked, and tug open the curtains of my window. A beam of burning white light blasts away the shadows in the bedroom of my apartment, as tiny motes of insubstantial nothing dance in the corners of my eyes. Today is another workday.

All Content Copyright Arthur Payne, AKA Relee the Squirrel

Last Update: January 6, 2009