Chapter 4

Chapter 4


 

Hisss...

 

Hisssss...

 

Hisssssssss...

In case you're wondering, that's what horrified screaming sounds like in snake language.

It's my screaming, which really just makes things all that much worse.

Hisssssssssssssssssssssssss.

Yes, those are the hisses of a man turned serpent, a soul and mind trapped in a suddenly different reality, and completely unable to cope.

Dignity is forgotten in this place.

In the empty void that it had once taken up, there is nothing but fear and confusion, and... skin.

Shed-skin to be more exact: mountains of it.

They're huge.

Seriously, if the shed-skins that are all over the floor have any meaning, I must be tiny.

Even the smallest of those is twice my size, and I already feel like that's not a very good thing.

Was I the runt of the litter? Do snakes even have litters? I honestly don't know.

If I'm a snake, how the heck can I even ask that question? I don't know the answer to that either.

Hisssssssssss...

That's the sound of released terror and existencial anxiety manifested to language.

It's making me feel a bit better. Stress management, or something close to it to settle into the pressing sensation of reality altered.

This... this is going to take time. This is definitly going to take some time. Why the hell am I a freakin' snake-

HISSSSSSSS-

Okay... alright, I gotta calm down. Deep breathes... don't think about how those feel weird too. Chill, relax, calm... calm...

Calm.

Okay.

It's okay.

Even if I'm a snake, I can probably decide to approach the matter with some semblance of stoicism. Rational thought can defeat almost anything, given enough time... probably.

That might have it's work cut out for it, but I'm willing to give it a chance.

I mean, lets first consider the positives here: It could have been worse.

Reincarnation is real, for one. I mean, that's cool right? Not really dead, even if I'm dead.

And well, seeing as how reincarnation is real I guess I could have been born a bug or a fish or something. Maybe even a tree- what if I had been born a tree? They don't even have brains! Would I even have known I was a tree?

Come to think of it, snake brains aren't very big: How have I been I thinking like a human, while possessing the brain of a snake?

That makes no sense... This makes no sense. This make absolutely no freaking sense-

Hisssssssssssssssssssssssss

Serpent-migrane.

Time to abandon that avenue of thought. I'm a snake with the mind of a dead person. Logic doesn't need to apply completely just yet, context is required.

Where am I?

There's something I should know.

What has happened to bring me here?

Was it just dying? Was there some fine print I missed?

There's another couple.

More pressing, where the heck am I? Right now, where is this, exactly?

Hisssss...

It's a cave.

A dark, cold, moist and unpleasant cave filled with snake-sheddings.

Oh.

Something moved.

Hiss-No. No stop that, instinct says that's a bad idea. The non-human logic isn't cool with that movement.

Trust your gut, that's what they always told me... yeah, there's something else here. Something is shifting in the dark over... there...

"Don't move." Instinct might as well be saying that again. "Don't move a single tiny muscle."


 

Complying with this sort of logic seems to be the best course.


 

Yes, there is indeed movement. I'm definitly picking up movement, even though it's pretty damn dark. I could tell somehow, my eyes are different... this isn't like what I remember seeing being like. Colors seem odd, but it's a difficult thing to describe.

Like a grey-scale, but not? Human-side here is picking up on it, but it's not confusing- just strange.

Doesn't matter I guess, I can see something moving along.


 

Slowly but surely it seems to be shaking... almost. Slow but steady.

Listening... I find this even weirder, honestly. Not like a human ear, but more like a rattling inside my head. Like my ears are covered and muffled a bit.

Only I don't have ears.

"Crunch"

"Snap"


 

Ah, right there. That's an odd mix of sounds to go with the weird motion.


 

"Crunch"

"Snap"

 

 

Hmm... a "Crunch" and "Snap" sort of sound. Curious.

 

I want to look, but instinct is vetoing this. Human and snake are in conflict here.

 

"Don't you dare move." Instinct is shouting. "But I want to see what it is!" Human side complaining.

 

"Crunch"

"Snap"

 

Hmm.

If I still had normal skin, I think would be feeling the prickled scalp sensation by now.

Prickled scale? Something is... not good. Not good, I think the noise is something I don't want to encounter.

"Crunch"

"Snap"

"Crunch"

 

 

It almost sounds like... Jaws?

Like something is munching down on food of some kind.

Hmm...

Well, it's not moving much. Noises aside, I think I'm probably alright for now. There are other things to look at anyways, and they're not so far away. Like right here, beneath me there's some cold rock, a little bit moisture.

Above me looked like a... ceiling? It's a stone sort of rounded ceiling, so I'm in a cave? Maybe?

Do snakes like caves?

Hmm... I don't know, maybe some of them do. I guess that makes sense.

Now what's this here behind me...

Oh.

Scales.

Wow, that's a lot of scales.

Not scary scales though, actually I feel a bit of kinship here... I wonder...

Is this... Mama snake?

I think it is- this is definitly mama snake. Do snakes normally know their mothers?

Maybe? I wish I wasn't so clueless here. Maybe I should try to get her attention?

Hmm... weird.


 

Mama Snake doesn't seem to be moving much.

At all, actually.

But there's that noise still...


 

"Don't move!" Ah, there it is. Instinct holding firm here: don't move. Gotcha-Gotcha... but y'know, I'm not really sure what that leaves me with. To do, I mean...?

 

Am I just supposed to stay here forever? Just sort of sit still and wait until... what exactly? What am I even waiting for?

Heck with that, I want to slither a little. Couldn't do that as a human, I bet it's at least a little fun.

Instinct: "DON'T- [Vetoed]

Heck with that. Human side is in control here little snake mind. Human-side wants to take a look-see.

"Crunch"

"Snap"

"Crunch-"

"..."

 

Hmm... it seems the "Crunching" has stopped.

 


 

Instinct: "DON'T MOVE!"

"Crunch"

"Snap"


 

Hmm... it started back up. Weird.


 

Instinct: "DON'T- [Vetoed]

We're about to slither more. Waiting still is lame and that noise is still a little far away to see clearly. Seems a little big though...

Actually, isn't that a little too big? Whatever it is, this thing huge, and are those... are those legs?

Yeah, those are legs.

A lot of legs.

"Crunch-"

"..."

 

Hmm. It stopped again.


 

Instinct: "DON'T MOVE! DON'T MOVE! DON'T-"

 

 

Well I'll be darned, Instinct sure is screaming. Honestly though, how bad could this really be?

"Crunch"

"Snap"

 

See? It started back up, no worries. Slithering for a better look never killed anybody, relax.

 

So this thing... it's a bug of some kind? It must be a bug, looks like a bug.

A really big centipede?

Lots of legs... body segments. Yeah, that must be it. It's a huge bug- I hate bugs. Human-side hates bugs, and snake-side just seems to be half a second from pissing itself.

Can snakes piss themselves?

There's a question.

I'm blocking instinct out, but man is that thing screaming. It's just a bug! What's the big deal?

I mean, as a human I used to swat these guys with my shoe. A giant centipede or no, I'm not that scared.

What is it eating though? I wonder, I mean it's still going to town on whatever it is... Pretty big meal...

Hmm... it's...

Oh.

It's eating Mama snake.

"Crunch-"

"..."

"..."

"..."


 

I think it's looking at me.