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I took a turning by Lucky Plaza and hid under the awnings from the rain. The rain beat down, beat down, beat down, beat down.
It should have masked me from the Angelkin, and perhaps it did, but the others found me.
That human shape, that fragile human form: I was a small shaped woman of some thirty human years, of dark hair cropped to my shoulders, of brown eyes, a BCG vaccination scar on my left shoulder, wearing nondescript clothes, knock-off jeans and sneakers, and an t-shirt.
Walking down Orchard Road, Singapore, above my head the sky crumpled like a used napkin and clouds amassed and in moments it began to rain.
There was a pile of empty human skins on the ground around me, the rogue elvenkind, and I knew I was in trouble. We Otherkin used to be mocked, taunted, we were once weak, trapped in our human bodies, human persons, but not since the Mythago bomb. Already I could see CCTV like eyes turning, and in the sky the ghostly form of Angelkin and Demonkin both. I felt his comforting presence besides me, in my head, saw him withdraw the two massive iron clubs he was famous for. I could feel him die inside, his scream, his growl, echoed within the chambers of my skull.
Humans do not truly believe, and when they see what lies inside, a primal fear takes them. But the attention of the Celestials would now be turned this way, to Orchard Road, to Lucky Plaza. Growl jumped as the knife entered, jumped before it, shielding me. She reached into the air and opened a door into a darkness.
And yet it had felt so real—no, more than that: it had felt so When we came home I escaped to my room. Then she saw my face and something in her changed and she came to me and hugged me, hard. Behind me angelkin descended from the sky and hovered over the fallen corpses, and demonkin swooped through the air, drawn by the smell of fresh blood. It had taken us this long to track her down, through the Middle East, Siberia—we lost her tracks in China and recovered them in Thailand. She was gone before I could speak and I realised I was holding a note in my hand that hadn’t been there a moment before. Excitement flared through me then, an unfamiliar warmth.
For a brief moment I remembered being a dragon—and I felt I was going mad. ’ my mother said, coming into my room with my bloodstained undies in her hands. I had chosen the leader’s, and now appeared to be a small Chinese woman of about nineteen. Then he lowered his head, and bared his neck to me in submission. I cast off the elven shell and stood as I am, woman, dragonkin.
The wind rushed in and I stuck my reptilian head out of the window, savouring the new sensations, the new smells. I roared and my flames burned the air and I took flight, shedding my human form entirely, taking to the air in my dragon form. I was a dragon, and my name was Tarasque and as I flew over the city of London I could see and smell and hear them all around me, broken free from their human-skin prison, the Otherkin, my kin. There were five of them in leather and spiked hair and semi-automatics and swords. Two were Chinese and one was Malay and two were white, but it made no difference, it was just their outer layering, like a sweet wrapper that could be discarded. Rain clouds in the distance, forming around the Shard. Shifting, my hard wings broke the enforced glass windows, shattering them and sending the fragment plunging downwards. Our soulbond was lost and I felt lonely, and afraid.
She pulled back from me in horror and I roared in triumph, and my flames hit the wall of the little kitchenette and seared them black. Before we separated into camps, into warring species. It felt as if I were back before Awakening, with no voices in my head, no one to share my head space with.
The place where the things we humans believe are become flesh.