“My feet hurt. This bridle is too tight. Your ass is too boney. Why do I have to be the horse?” Having taken on the person of a jidda for a while, Baltha was highly empathic and absorbing a lot of Tante’s crankiness. Tante had plenty to spare.
“Hey, you’re the one who wanted to be the shapeshifter. You can take whatever form you want, I’m stuck in this crappy bleeding body being the freakin’ spawn of Satan. Deal with it!” Tante’s menses had gotten much more difficult to deal with away from the women of her tribe.
Baltha responded to that one by shifting herself into a drop of perspiration, one which was just at that instant jumping off of her former equinity into the atmosphere, dumping the unholy one flat on her skinny butt into the dust of the road to Sydney.
“You bitch!” Tante’s rage brought lightning crashing down out of the single little puff of cloud that Baltha had joined.
“I’ll show you bitch!” A she-wolf appeared at the still smoldering site, snarling.
A large viper approached the pair as they circled each other, preparing to do battle. He watched them for a while before he spoke up.
“Ladies, ladies, please. Calm yourselves.” He slithered between them.
The Taphao Thongian twosome was taken aback.
“Who on Earth are you?” they asked, almost simultaneously.
“Gwardar the Brown.” he hissed. “What, you assume you’re the first exo-dimensionals to come to this place? So typical of those who take on the species you’ve chosen, arrogant as all get out and blind as cave fish to the rest of us here.”
Tante just stared.
Baltha, having horsed around for the past several days, caught on more quickly.
“Oh, so humans really aren’t the only forms on the planet that matter!” Baltha shifted herself to match Gwardar’s form. “Hey, this is kind of nice, I like your brainstem a lot, it’s so simple!”
“That’s not fair! I want a reptilian brain, too!” Tante whined. She’d been working for days on perfecting the pitch and nasality necessary to achieve maximum annoyance potential.
The two serpents intertwined into the shape of a double helix and did some serious bonding, bonding so good it left them both vibrating. The waves emanating from the pair switched Tante’s developmental genes back on, dragging her through menopause, where she dropped off her bloody old ‘anky for good, allowing her transformation into the true crone-hood of old age.
“Or not.” Tante smiled, a much more mature version of her former self.
The snakes uncoupled. Gwardar was limp, spent by the dance of delight. Baltha was coiled and ready to strike again, should he recover himself anytime soon.
“Thank you my friend, I needed that.” Tante stroked Baltha’s serpentine head. In response, she flicked a forked tongue in the air before shifting herself back into human form, now a young male.
The pair look down at Gwardar, who’d rolled over and gone to sleep.
“Our friend conveyed much knowledge to me during our coupling.” He had a slight lisp. “We must find something called an apple tree so that we can undo the eating of its fruit. That’s what set the stage for the mess we see before us. He tells me it was all the fault of the female, she who tempted the male into the feast of the apple’s flesh. If we can stop the eating of the fruit of knowledge, we can save the world.” Balt stated his case with certainty.
“Say what?” Tante had already felt that way about that bit in the book that Tamminya had insisted she read. She did’t get it then and she didn’t get it now. “That makes no sense. If the fruit gave these beings such great knowledge, why are they so clueless?”
“Ours is not to question why.” Balt was really working on surety.
“Ours is to totally question why, how, when, where, and what for! Why else would we have this irritatingly large brain? And how does a person undo something that happened so long ago?”
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
Tante just looked at him.
“Sorry, I seem to have picked up on some odd frequency here, let’s regroup.”
Another shift, this time back to canine form, albeit one less threatening.
“No, I think that whole story was bogus, don’t you?”
“Oh sorry. Let’s try it this way.” Tante laid her hands on her friends furry face and thought about it.
The only thing that the man and woman in the story learned after eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge was that they were naked, and it apparently embarrassed them. Why that should be the case is beyond me, and why their god should be mad about it even more so. I mean, he made them that way, didn’t he? And why should doing the snake shakin’ boogie that makes babies be sinful if they were supposed to go forth and multiply? I mean really, what kind of a sick bastard was this god guy?
Baltha wagged her tail and panted. Tante rubbed her BFF’s neck in that spot that made her leg twitch.
It seems to me that maybe being expelled from the garden for no good reason and into a life of slavery to the man with the shekels is just a story these beings have been sold. The kids marketing this crap must be top notch coders. I mean really, what’s a shekel good for? You can’t eat them.
As if on command, Baltha barfed up a coin. It’s true, dogs will eat damned near anything.
“C’mon B. We’ve got to find this garden so that these folks can get back to it.”
The pair had yet to see a city, had little concept of just how far out from the garden humanity had wandered. They and humanity were in for a few surprises.
The End is Near