((Feel free to comment!))
Felisa woke several more times, over a span of time she had no way of measuring. Each time, panic threatened to overwhelm her compeltely. Each time, something sent her back to sleep. But each time, it took longer for the panic to take hold.
Finally, she woke again. Her altered forelimb, with its M’an hand, lay in sight in front of her. She waited, tensed, for the full-blown panic to sweep through her. But it didn’t. It knotted her stomach and shallowed her breathing somewhat, but no more than that. It seemed as if she, and her body, had learned that there was no point in giving it free rein, as she’d only be sent into unconsciousness again.
Felisa decided it was time to take stock of her situation. This meant sitting up–which was a more difficult process than she’d imagined. She kept moving her limbs in ways she was accustomed to, and kept ending up in uncomfortable, precarious positions. Finally, she gave up, and sprawling, half-reclined, on the strange metallic object she’d been on since she first woke up, she growled softly in frustration.
And then, suddenly, she was sitting upright.
She blinked in surprise. It seemed that, once she’d stopped trying to move herself as she would in her accustomed body, this body had been able to take over and bring her upright on instinct alone. ‘I must take note of how it feels next time, so I can do it myself,’ she thought.
The sound of a Big One’s voice behind Felisa whipped her head around, and she nearly fell off her perch. A M’an was standing nearby, watching her intently. Though her perceptions were completely different in this body, she thought it was the same one she’d followed those many days ago–and the same one she’d caught a glimpse of when she was trapped in the metal box. She cringed back, but the M’an made no move toward her, simply making sounds in a soothing tone.
After a while, though she still kept a eye on the Big One, Felisa tried to discover more about what she looked like now. She reached up and patted her face, all over, several times, but she couldn’t conjure up a coherent image in her mind. She froze suddenly as she saw the M’an rise up, and watched him warily as he walked slowly over to the side of the room. He picked something up, then turned and approached her even more slowly, making calm noises to her all the while.
If she could have fled, she would have. But Felisa was sure she couldn’t even walk in this body at this point, let alone run. All she could do was sit there, trembling, as the M’an reached out, lifted one of her hands, and placed the object in it. He raised her hand up, tilting the object, until she caught sight of a Big One’s face in it.
Startled, she look at the M’an. He bobbed his head up and down, and pointed first to the image, then to her, then back to the image, then back to her. She realized that he was telling her that the image *was* her. She’d seen her reflection a few times before, in still ponds. But this…it was as if someone had taken water and frozen it, but kept it clear–and warm, she discovered, as she touched the surface.
Felisa finally focused again on the image the reflection was showing her. She studied the round face, the thin, pointed nose, the thatch of ginger fur on her head that seemed to be her only fur. And then, she saw the eyes–eyes as green as her own had been. She stared into them, until suddenly, they blurred, and she felt water trickling from them, running down her cheeks. She pawed at her face for a moment, frightened by what was happening. But then something, an instinct that seemed to come from the same place inside her that had moved her into her sitting position, told her that it was all right, that this was a natural thing. So she let the body do as it would, a part of her almost abstractedly interested in the flowing water from her eyes, in the hiccoughing sobs.
After a time, the M’an was beside her again, holding something to her lips. Without thinking, she gulped the contents down, feeling the cold water soothe her tight throat. In a few minutes, overwhelming sleepiness took hold and stilled her crying; she lay back down and let sleep claim her.
((To be continued…))