STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
The experience II
He looks over at me and then winks.
"It’s your turn Athena." Courage says in a deep voice.
After a deep inhale her bones begin to shift like Jason’s. Suddenly her muscles begin to bulge. Her skin rips open revealing yellow fur underneath. She falls forward as her clothes and skin burst all over the forest floor. Suddenly, a large cheetah falls gently onto the ground.
I turn to face Daniel. His transformation seems a lot less stressful than Maria’s and Jason’s. He takes in a deep breath and maintains it. I see his big shoulders expanding even more. Suddenly his outer layers rip apart and a muscular black lion falls onto the ground with a thump. He shakes off some remaining skin from his back.
"It’s pretty cool huh?" Athena asks in her deep feminine voice.
I open my mouth but no words seem to come out at first.
“I will never get used to seeing that.” I reply in astonishment.
“The surprise is still to come.” Courage says to me as we begin to follow behind Mane.
Together we continue up the trail. Courage and I stay in the back of the group.
"Is Eric and Jessica, going to transform too...?" I look down into the tigers yellow eyes and ask.
"Yeah they will, soon enough." He replies.
I look up at the sky as it begins to turn pinkish purple. The trail gradually starts to incline as we hike more and more. I almost trip over a root sticking from the ground but I catch my balance.
"Are you okay?" Courage asks, slightly amused by my tired stumbling.
"Yeah, I’m fine."
Courage manoeuvres his giant frame closer to me.
"Hop on me." He says.
"Are you for real?"
"It’ll be fun."
He stops and I lift my leg over his back with some difficulty. After climbing onto his back he begins to walk again.
"Ever rode a tiger before?" He asks.
"All of the time." I say sarcastically.
A minute later everyone stops at a vast clearing.
This clearing is wide with no trees, just a beautiful view of the colorful sunset.
"We’re here." Courage says then stops.
I slide off of his back to look at the sun peeking at me. “Whoa, this is absolutely beautiful.” I say to him.
Eric and Jessica finally take off their shoes and stuff them into a backpack. Eric walks over to me barefooted with a huge grin. He lifts me off of my feet and cradles me like a giant infant.
"What are you doing?" I ask.
"Go with him Iva, it’ll be fine." Jessica says.
Suddenly Eric begins walking through the clearing.
"Where are you taking me?"
Eric looks down at me and says...
"You’ll see in a second. Just trust me, you’ll thank me later."
"Okay." I reply weakly.
I look over at the sunset again, this time I gasp. I see these treetops in the horizon. He is walking me towards a cliff. My brain switches to panic mode instantly.
“Fasten your seatbelt, farm girl.” Eric says while laughing.
"What are...?" Before I finish he runs into a sprint and leaps of the cliff with me in his arms.
Suddenly I feel myself falling at an incredible speed. The adrenaline is expanding massively in my stomach. I let out a scream halfway down, but I can only feel it vibrating in my throat. The loud wind whistling at my ears makes me temporarily deaf. And suddenly before I impact into the ground I feel my body lift upward.
I incline higher and higher until I swoosh over the trees. My throat is burning from me screaming at the top of my lungs. We continue to incline higher and higher until we pause in the sky slightly. In this moment I can finally hear myself screaming like a crazy person. I feel my lungs slam against my back as I shoot towards the ground again.
The ground is approaching me rapidly. I close my eyes tightly while the wind blows hard against my face. Every inch of my body is over dosing on adrenaline as I plummet to the ground at a chaotic speed. I feel my body lift again but only slightly. Then, just like that, the wind is no longer blowing hard in my face, yet it’s now a gentle breeze flowing smoothly through my hair.
Eventually I stop screaming like a maniac and sluggishly open my eyelids. My tense body loosens but only partially. It’s as if I’m driving an invisible car in midair. I can see trees pass me. In front of me I can see the subtle sunlight and all of the glorious colors surrounding it. I realize that Eric’s arms are no longer holding me, yet these yellowish talons are holding me by my upper body and shoulders.
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Thursdays