I run, I run, I run. I don’t think about where I am going. I’m too confused.
I’m terrified. I can’t understand why I am on all fours. I’m in some kind of trance.
Soon there are trees around me. Grass under my feet. I am on the vacant plot between our small suburb and the highway.
Here I am able to relax a little. The patch of land is deserted. I see some cars coming down the highway – very few. I look up. The moon shines bright like a giant eye. Without knowing why, I call into the night.
Again, that wild howl cuts the air. That’s when I realise – it’s coming from me.
My body tenses again. There’s something wrong with me; something has happened to me. I pace up and down the barren field, agitated.
I’m thirsty. I see a pothole. It was raining three nights ago, so there’s water in it. I lower my head to drink. I see a reflection in the puddle.
It’s not me. I look closer. I don’t understand this at all.
A cat. But not the kind of cat people keep – something bigger. A face looks back at me that I don’t recognise – dark fur, green eyes, fangs.
I’m frightened; I run away from it. I wish I could wake up. I’m so scared. I think, ‘Just look at the traffic, and wait to wake up’.
So I sit patiently, watching the odd car come by, and wait for this dream to end.
It doesn’t. I’m more confused than ever. I don’t want to look at myself in the puddle again. But I have to. I need to know if what I saw there is real.
I walk over to it again. As I do so I look down at my feet. I see paws advancing, making no noise.
My breath catches in my throat.
I can hear everything – mosquitos, the quiet breath of the wind, the gentle roar of far-off traffic.
I take a deep breath and look into the puddle again. Again, that same face.
I am a leopard. A black leopard with shining green eyes.
Now, I have heard about this kind of thing before. In books, in intsomi, even in movies. I have seen a movie where a guy turned into half-wolf, half man. And I heard a story about a witch who could turn into a fox.
But I am not a witch, and I’m not in a story. I’m real. And this isn’t a movie, either.
I drink some of the water. I lap at it with my tongue. It tastes brackish, but cures my thirst.
I need to think.
As I am drinking I see my paws changing. They’re becoming smaller. My hands emerge. I notice I am crouching in an uncomfortable position.
I touch the water. My hand again. I am … me again.
I need to work out what to do. Piko will be frightened of me now, but he also might tell people.
I look at my arms and legs to check that they are there.
I can’t believe that five minutes ago I was a completely different creature. I’m still stunned. I think I must be in shock, but I’m also … awakened, somehow.
This is happening.
I don’t know why, and I don’t know how.
But this is happening.
“Well, well, well,” I hear a voice behind me say.
Tell us: Do you believe people can really change form and become an animal? If so, in what circumstances?