I laid on my bed, staring up at the white ceiling as it turned different shades of green and blue. A ‘high’ is what they called it. A medical induced one, anyway.
“I thought weed was supposed to calm you, make you feel really chill.”
“Aren’t you chill now?”
I sat up slightly and glanced at the wobbly Reggie, who leaned back in the one chair in the room. Flopping my head back down, I sighed, “I would be if the ceiling would stop moving.”
“Ooh, whats that like?” he asked, the legs of the chair dropping down as he sat up straight.
“Like being in the belly of the beast,” I replied. Then snorted.
Reggie did, too. “Id say its more like floating beneath the ocean,” he nodded.
“Or, above it, as you stare down at the crashing waves below you, just waiting for the moment you fall.”
“You’re so dramatic.”
“This ceiling is dramatic,” I retorted.
I allowed the silent crashing of ceiling waves to fill my head for five minutes. Then, I spoke up again, “I’ve never been to the ocean.”
“That’s ’cause you’re lame like that.”
They started to turn pink and yellow. “Do you think people see monkeys as red when they’re high?”
“Why, are you seeing monkey?”
“No, just thinking about them.”
“I don’t know what people see when they’re high.”
“Haven’t you ever been high before?”
“Nope. I sell drugs, I don’t do them.”
“If I smoked my own weed, Id be out of a job.”
I exhaled. “What day is it again?”
He snorted, “Last time I checked, it was Friday.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s right. My dad came to visit me the other day, Wednesday.”
“Oh? He did? How was that?”
“Apparently, smashing a pudding cup into the table because it wont open is considered violent behavior.”
Reggie snorted. “Really? Is that what those bruises on your wrists are from?”
I raised an arm and stared at the red marks. “Nope. Those are from the male nurse I punched. Apparently, that’s frowned upon too, so they restrained me.”
“Why’d you punch a nurse?”
“Because he wouldn’t give me a replacement pudding cup. I was still hungry.”
Reggie burst into laughter at that.
I smiled a little, too. The ceiling seemed to shake with his laughter.
“I wonder if my dad will visit next Wednesday.” It was the only day we were allowed visitors
“If he’s not too ashamed to call you his daughter,” he snickered again.
“Hey, Reg,” I sat up again and stared at him. He dropped the front legs of his chair and looked at me, a smirk still on his features as he nodded my way.
“Sub, crazy girl?”
“… How did you even get in here?”
As I race through the infested forest of Belate, a jungle as thick as your amazons, running for my life so this lizard-snakes mother doesn’t chomp its jaws down on my blue behind, I try to run through brain exercises to distract myself from my impending doom.
Think happy thoughts, Tiberia. Think happy thoughts.
Ah, scalpels. Yes, scalpels make me happy. Specifically, my scalpels. Cleaning them in cloric acid, watching the silver shine through.
Money. Money makes me happy. Money makes me very happy. Perchance, if I had some money, I would not be running for my life, with a dead snake head in my sack, and its mother slithering behind me, “Ah!”
I jumped with a screech as the snake clamped down on my tail. The poor thing, I had just grown that back.
With its length, it whipped its head back and yanked me off the ground. In an effort to save myself, I pulled a scalpel from my boot, twisted my body and sliced my own skin, cutting my tail as close to its jaws I could get, and fell back down against the vine floor.
Dirt. I was now really happy for dirt. Nice, soft dirt. For if it weren’t for dirt, I would probably have a shattered collar bone, or worse, a broken spine.
And a tail that grew back. Yes, I was very happy for a regenerating tail. My balance would be off for a day or two, but my tail was a rather resilient limb, in that it would stop bleeding after an hour or two and slowly grow itself back. In fact, as most species would consider it a pest during battle, I cherished my tail, as it could hold the light when I did not have a proper lab with the proper lighting to do my work in.
I huffed and clawed at the ground to get back to my feet, blood spilling from my gaping would. That would need to be clamped soon, though, so I did not attract more ferocious animals.
Running once more while this mother Spiner finished off what little of my tail she had devoured, I scanned the area around me for a plant that would paralyze, or poison the beast. My eyes and nose were of average use to me, I was happy that my thirst for knowledge has trained them in the ways of botany.
There, in front of me were gooberries, a blue carnivorous plant that released a sweet paralyzing goo as it touched your tasteful, before shooting thorns from the fruit to rip an eaters throat and stomach open.
I had never been more happier to spot a carnivorous plant. I snagged the base of the plant and tugged as hard as I could. I was yanked off my feet, unable to uproot the plant with my strength, and fell flat on my back. Oh for the love of science, why did I have to be so weak!
The beast slowed its slithering, reeled its head back and dove straight down to swallow me in one blow. My mono-blade stuck in my backpack, I had no time to retrieve it before I was Spiner food. I let go and rolled away as far as I could, happy for my quick thinking skills. The large snake dug its teeth into the dirt, snapped down on the gooberries and swallowed.
I finally stopped in a pile of ivy, and covered my head counting backwards from three,
The Spiner’s stomach bulged out and exploded, shooting its guts twenty feet outward. If it had not been for my weak strength, it may not have swallowed those gooberries. And for that, I was very happy that I had spent my lifetime training my mind and not my body.
As I was a female of science and not religion, I did not put much faith into divine intervention. However, I did believe in luck. And I was very happy of how lucky I had been these past few weeks.
I stood and brushed the snakes guts and ivy from my chest and legs, happy and delighted to be born a Torbe, a species that was naturally resilient to most poisonous plants.
I took a moment to clamp my tail, hissing in pain. Then, I retrieved my mono-blade from my sack, cut part of the Spiner’s head off, the part with the venom, and retraced my steps back to civilization, to claim my reward.