This is a good place, thought Ell, warm. Ell slept.
She awoke to cramping in her shoulders and neck. Her legs tucked up close to her chest, her neck bent almost double bent. She blinked her eyes open to a gentle, green light surrounding her. She found this comforting and Ell rested.
The cramping intensified.
She had to move, stretch, lift her head. There was a crack and a tearing sound, light blinded her. She blinked eyelids shut and lifted her head higher, inhaling sharply. The smell of the world rushed into her nostrils. She was overwhelmed with memories of green trees and deep, rich earth. Images flashed into her awareness, too fast for her to catch hold of, all of them centered within these dense, fragrant rememberings.
A slight breeze drifted around her, cool against her wet skin. Breathing deeply, she thought, I know this world.
Carefully she opened round-pupiled, golden eyes, slow to adjust to the bright light of a sun-lit day.
Blinking, Ell looked down at herself, mottled greenish brown body still curled within the translucent grass-toned shell. She struggled to lift a delicately scaled, earth-toned forearm free. Waving it in the air, enjoying the movement and the feel of the breeze on her skin, she noticed a soft flap of skin underneath, stretching from her forearm to her body. As she peered down at herself, she pulled hard to free her other forearm. The wing skin was caught under her body. She lurched and fell over, carrying the shell with her.
Lying on her side in the damp earth she thought, I am Ell. I am Guardian, and promptly fell asleep.
Tiny thoughts pricked her awake, feeling thoughts, cold…, and she was cold. She felt heavy and tired. It would be so hard to move. Warm... Tiny, hands, surprisingly strong, pushed at her shoulder, leaf-green fingers pulled her wings.
Ell recognized a familiar tingling warmth filling her heart space.
She clung to the thought of warmth and pushed hard with her legs feeling the shell slip off. Digging soft, hatchling claws into the earth, she struggled to push and pull herself up onto wobbly legs and forearms.
It was an awkward process, requiring several attempts.
A shimmer of translucent wings assailed her. Warmth! The pinpricks of excited thought jabbed at her awareness, even as the little hands grasped and prodded her. Pushing with her legs and pulling with her claws she crawled to where the little ones led. Finally, they left off prodding at her and she collapsed onto her side, limbs akimbo.
Here, the sun shone strong and warm onto the flattened stone upon which she lay. Grey rock radiated heat upward into her body, warming and soothing her. Exhaustion overcame her, even as she could hear a slight rumbling in her stomach and Ell slept.
Tiny blue and green fliers, wings sparkling in the sunlight, ranged over Ell’s body, patting and caressing her, and finally settling down to rest pillowed against her.
A rumbling, gurgling, feeling noise jogged Ell awake, eyelids flying open. Hungry…I am so hungry, thought Ell. Her companions startled upward and flitted about, arms waving, tiny mouths making mewling cries of distress.
One, green-skinned flier hovered, wings beating furiously in front of Ell’s eyes. Moving closer, she patted Ell’s muzzle several times with tiny hands, then she zipped off into the trees behind Ell. Others darted off in the same direction after her, wings a blur of motion.
Ell turned her head, flexible neck twisting, to follow their flight behind her. As she did so she was distracted by the sight of her own small tail, scales blotched with green and brown. She hadn’t been aware of it before.
I like it, she thought, and wrapped it snugly as far as it would fit, around her abdomen.
Then, stomach rumbling ominously, she settled down uncomfortably to wait.
©Holly Hildreth 2019
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