You open your eyes…
…and find yourself in a rainforest. You have no clothes, your cane is missing, but you are able to stand without any issue. You hear the sounds of life all about you…ranging from small insects to birds, to monkeys in the trees. A blur runs by, you catch a glimpse of a road runner, running at high speeds across the ground…are directly into a tree. The impact stuns him, and a Cheetah pounces from above, eating it. It turns to you and grows, but you understand it plain as day.
“He who rushes forward too quickly cannot see his true path.”
You hear the sound heavy of walking behind you. An ostrich walks into the clearing. The Cheetah growls at it and it buries its head in the dirt. The Cheetah walks slowly to it. Grows at it several times. The ostrich doesn’t move. The cheetah pokes it with a claw. You think you hear a squawk muffed by dirt. The Cheetah turns back to you.
“He who does not move at all and tries to ignore his problems is also lost”
The Cheetah then quickly strikes at the ostrich, killing it.
“Are you either of these? For your actions suggest it to be so…”
“The last I remember I took one of those pills – suppose the risk of coma outweighed imminent death at the time. Subject zero showed brain waves as if in an extremely vivid dream – perhaps this is my mind berating me for taking such risks for mere monetary gain. That Cheetah is unnatural – I never though myself one to have a dream guide. My leg feels perfectly fine as well, good range of motion and no stiffness or pain. I suppose the best thing to do from here is get a lay of this dream landscape.”
Moving slowly to a tree with one eye on the cheetah, I wave it to follow – one hand over the other and up I go. “It seems foolish but perhaps if I can bring closure to this dream I’ll find escape… at least to one with more amiable surroundings. I always enjoy those dreams featuring Vannessa, Growl.”
“I am no fool, those Ratites ran alone into your jaws and fangs. In my fear I shielded myself within the herd, even a hunter of your skill would have trouble finding the wounded zebra amidst all the monochrome chaos. I will acquiesce – we all have room to evolve, to improve, I know that better than most.”
Running a testing hand along my all too real seeming leg, I gaze out over the tree tops…
The Cheetah climbs along side you, silently joining you atop the branches. Staring out, the forest stretches in all directions. The trees are nearly uniform in height. The only thing breaking the tree line is a tower made of stones connected by thorny vines. What appears to be a stone obelisk sits at the top.
“If evolution is what you seek, then that is where you must go. But beware, evolution selects only the strongest to continue existing…it takes the elements of those strong enough and uses it to replace those who are too weak. The weak never know…until they are replaced….”
You glance out and notice, with some amazement, that there is a branch…or maybe it’s a series of branches, that have grown together along the tops of the tees leading in the direction of the tower. The branch is large enough that walking in it would almost be like walking on a narrow path.
“Take my skills…and follow the path to test your might…”
The Cheetah places a paw on your bare chest and slowly fades out of existence. The Mark of the Cheetah is clearly visible where the Cheetah touched you.
You begin to follow the path and you find you have the grace, balance and controlled speed of the Cheetah, allowing you to race along the path at speeds you could only dream of with your lame leg. Thinking of your leg, you notice it does not seem to be causing any issues with your movement, despite the fact that you are pushing off strongly with it and moving far faster than any man you have known.
In matter of minutes, you reach the base of the tower. You see a door carved a part ways up the tower…maybe 50ft or so above you. Coming from the door, you hearing the panting, moaning and groaning of people, both in pleasure…and in pain….
You feel the growl of the Cheetah in your mind, “Find that which belongs to you…”
“Building on the backs of the weak and blind to find my own path – the very core of research medicine. Test and test and test upon the weak and lame so your discoveries can avail the masses and finally oneself. Wise words – as suits a spirit guide birthed of my mind.”
Gazing up the craggy stones I stare at my hands – ever soft and delicate – but now they feel strong and possess a hardness foreign but at the same time familiar mine. “Time to take my place on the pinnacle, for a time.” _Digging my fingers into the smooth worn stone seems so easy now, my keen eyes finding the handholds with the briefest look as my strong hands wrench my body each perilous foot upwards like it is but a straw doll. “If this is the evolution I can attain here – then it is what I seek, it is what I will take.”
Pulling the heavy door from the cliff wall is difficult – even with the skills I’ve been gifted with – but it would have been impossible without them… when I was weak. The smell of blood, sweat, and sex billow out from the door assaulting my senses and in the dark haze within the undulating forms – the throws of passion and of death. I can feel the weakness in my limbs now from the climb, the inside of the tower seeming so much larger that without, the far reaches shrouded in shadow. “If the weak give unto the strong here – I will need their strength to make the summit. All of us are life, and we can give of ourselves by force or willingly.”
Stepping into the roiling crowds I see one lusty lass and know from her I can quench my thirst, drinking deeply of her mouth for a few moments before passing her to another enraptured being. Glancing into the darkness I notice a woman surrounded by babes – pushing them to the sides like the weak of the litter I sup upon her offering of life as they cry beside me. The woman simply stares at me with a look of fulfillment and peace upon her dry lips. Life has it cycles, but even it can evolve. I let the nipple slip from my lips, my stomach sated, and share with her a wet kiss. Perhaps the next who travels here we see benefit from my small act of kindness – perhaps that person will be the one who consumes me.
I gaze around and see men butchering and eating the flesh of man only to be killed in turn – looking down at this swollen breast leaking its thin nurturing fluid I can only shake my head and continue on.
Feeling sated, you continue onward through the tower leaving these weaker creatures behind and climbing to higher floors when able, usually upon the backs of others.
As year near the top a new noise is added to the strange mix of sounds, frantic struggling and running feet echo through a door way in front of you. A body stumbles past the door way deeper into the room in front of you. A large stone object hits the ground near her and bounces away.
As you step into the doorway fully, the body turns. It’s Roslyn and, like you, is fully nude and has the paw print of an animal on her breast. You recognize it as a raccoon’s, although you’ve never had the reason to study a raccoon’s foot before. Her brown eyes are alight with both fury and desire, he hair billowing wildly behind her. her feet scramble for purchase and she launches her self at the stone object, just as two other bodies comes out from the darkness and tackles her.
You now see Vannessa and Allen struggling to pin Roslyn while trying to keep from being pinned by each other. Vannessa has the talons of an eagle on her chest, placed such that the hind talon lies in the valley between her breasts and the others spread across her stomach. Allen has two snakes, one encircling each wrist.
You feel a pull towards the stone object, but some energy holds you in place. Two balls of spirit based energy appear in your hands. You don’t know how, but you do know you can control them. The Cheetah stirs inside of you. “Choose one….”
“I see past the flesh before me and I understand – they were blessed with abilities yet they do not know how to use them. Their ears are deaf to the spirit – the raccoon in Roslyn could secret the prize away with its cunning and keen wit while Vannessa could take a better vantage and swoop in to take the prize from the lesser prey species. I was hoping I would see Vannessa – that she would be the Eagle is little surprise and I see the clear victor here.”
I reach out with my spirit to the Eagle spirit – beckoning it to withdraw and allow its prey to bicker before the prize. I share my feelings with it – the thirst for blood and the sensation of being unstoppable. “Vannessa, feel the spirit within you. Use it, the snake and a raccoon – they are nothing but your prey. They can not hold you from the prize – strike them down.” Even as I watch her hands curl into bony claws as she pins them both by their throats to the stone floor in a spray of blood. The hunt and smell of wet flesh has consumed her mind now and the object they fought over lies forgotten in the dank chill.
The force that held me seems to have passed and the sound of rending flesh to my side no longer troubles me as it once would have. I know the object before me it the key to my evolution – the keystone of my transcendence from man. All I need do is grasp it…
You pick up the stone object, now able to see it clearly, it is a book, with the cover made of hard gray limestone. The book seems sealed shut, but what is holding it you cannot tell.
You feel your body phase, and you are moved by some unseen force to the very top of the tower. There you see a bookshelf with an empty spot at the end of a shelf. If that spot there is a book cover, made of some form of light stone that acts almost as paper. It fits the stone book you have perfectly.
The front of the cover has a title on the front, written in blood, and in a language that you do not remember ever seeing but you somehow understand perfectly. It says _______’s Knowledge.
The Cheetah speaks again in your mind, “Place your name and claim your knowledge that will lead to your evolution….”
Glancing around, you find a sharp stone and with precise medical training, you cut your finger to let your blood flow. You press you finger to the book cover and sign your name, somehow doing so in this language you still don’t recognize. The book shines for a moment and then opens. On the pages are the secrets of life. How to create it, mold it, control it. Every medical professional in the world would kill to have what you hold in your hands.
Then your mind is drawn to the other books, which, when read show how this knowledge as guided entire countries while being hidden form the masses. That this knowledge gives one the power to shape the world as they see fit…and that because of that, the world you once knew is a lie. You can explain how you know this, but it your very core, you know that the world you live in is a mere husk of the world that could produce the knowledge held in these books. And now, you have access to it.
The Cheetah purrs delightedly in your mind, “Very good…you have become what men can only dream of becoming…use the knowledge well, but do not rest…the world continues to evolve…”
The tower fades from around you. Blackness engulfs you.
You here the hum of fluorescent lighting.
Dimly, you hear a man’s voice." “Welcome….to the Real World….”