Creative Writing Challenge: Metamorphosis

The history of narratives about human-animal metamorphoses is a rich one, from folk tales and myths to schock horror films and Kafka stories. Steal freely, or mash up old ideas to give them a new lease of life

View of the Bernese Alps from Feldbrunnen

“Hello mum, hello dad, I’m here for the school holidays“ and Klonk arrived, glad to be able to spend the next couple of months with his parents. Klonk’s mother and father both worked away from their planet Ying doing observational research on planet Earth. Klonk loved to join them as it was fun on planet earth and he had made a few friends there on his visits. His parents were also glad to have their son again and they were both astonished how he had grown.

Father Bong put his arms around his son.

“How you have grown, at least a head and shoulders taller than the last time.”

“If he carries on growing so fast he will soon be ready for his metamorphosis” joined in mother Groga.

“No not yet” answered Klonk, “I want to spend this holiday with my friends and not start working. My teacher in the school said I am very good at chemistry and physics and all going well with the metamorphosis I can also go to one of our outposts for some research work. Perhaps on earth in the Arctic, but I have to pass my exams first of all.”

“Did you arrive with the supply ship, son?” asked Bong “food is getting low and as you know earth has nothing that we can absorb.”

“No problem dad, the crew have already put the food into storage and said they will be back in a couple of earth weeks with more supplies. Mum they have also brought a new television with satellite to enable us to watch the new programmes that the earth people are watching. Can I go out and play now, I saw some of the village boys just on the lower slopes as we landed?”

“OK, Klonk, but be back in an icicle melt, for your evening meal.”

“Will do mum” and Klonk was gone.

First of all he had to climb the stairs to the entrance. Living inside an earth mountain was fun, but they had to remain hidden from most of the earthlings so the entrance to their home was well camouflaged. He opened the door and was confronted with the white world he was used to. Ice and snow everywhere, although this for Klonk was home territory. It resembled very much his original planet which was covered in ice and snow. For this reason he was covered from head to foot with white short fur, thick and impenetrable for the cold winds and ice. He only really felt uncomfortable when the sun poked through, although at the height of approximately five thousand meters above sea level he still felt comfortable. He did not like to go lower as it could get so warm that he would dry out, so he had to rely on the children from the village to come to see him. He made a welcome scream and soon heard the answer from the village children and made his way downwards on the path.

The village children came towards him and there was a big reunion. They came from the country of Nepal, although belonged to the outer villages somewhat higher in the Himalaya mountains. Although Klonk did not understand everything they said, they were friendly children and Klonk being so tall would carry them on his shoulders, running with them and jumping and everyone had fun. He showed the children how to dig holes in the ice layers making a house and would chase them over the ice fields, pretending they were too fast, although Klonk had such big feet, he never had a problem to catch up with them if he wanted to. Suddenly the father of one of the village children appeared and signalled to Klonk he must go. Klonk knew what this meant, the other earthlings were near, the ones who were not allowed to know that he and his family even existed. The children of the village hurriedly covered his footprints with snow to leave no trace and went back to their villages. Klonk made his way back to the mountain where he lived.

“Dad” he asked his father “why can I play with some of the earthlings, but not all. The Sherpa children are so friendly, but one of their fathers came and said I should disappear as the other earthlings were near bye.”

“Son, there are some earthlings that do not mean well with us. The people in the country of Nepal live high up on the mountains where it is cold and inhospitable, but these people, known as the Sherpa are something like us. They enjoy the cold and the heights. This is one of the few places on earth that resemble our homeland. However, there are earthlings that want to prove they can also live in these places, and they are the earthlings we must avoid. A few of our ancestors were careless. Those that also lived in this research station some years ago. They would take a walk outside without being careful and were seen by these other earthlings. They left their footprints in the snow and our feet compared to those of an earthling are at least four times as large. Our bodies are also covered in fur, darker than yours and in the fur change season, some of us left traces. The earthlings that found our footprints and fur decided that this mountain was inhabited by monsters and begun to hunt us. For this reason it is better when we stay in our home inside this mountain they call Everest and only venture out when it is safe.”

“But dad, why cannot all the earthlings be as nice as the Sherpas in Nepal?”

“I wish they were son, but Earth has become an uncomfortable colony. We used to have a research post near a country called Tibet, but this got very dangerous. Our people were wiped out by bombs that were thrown into this country. Although we lived on the upper slopes the vibrations were felt and our homes were covered in so much ice and snow our people could no longer free themselves.”

“Bong what are you telling our son” said his wife Groga. “It is just better if you stay with us inside the mountain and do not venture away. Now come and eat, the ship brought some ice bird from our home planet and I am looking forward to the meal. Our last supply came to an end last week and as you know that is a delicacy on Ying.”

Klonk decided to forget the subject of humans and was glad that the Sherpa kept the secret of their existence for themselves. He stayed away from the lower slopes of the Mount Everest for the time being. If only he had his metamorphosis. Then he would be big and strong like his mother and father and squash those evil earthlings that were destroying the living quarters of the friendly people in the mountains.

After the meal father Bong fitted up the satellite television the supply ship had bought and they could see what was happening all over the world. Klonk found it sad, he saw only war and destruction on this television and told his father to find another channel. He then switched to one of the other snowy countries in the world and Klonk was happy.

“Look dad, there are children like the Sherpa children. The same size although their faces are different and they are sailing over the ice on something flat. That really looks like fun.There are some big humans as well, the ones that have metamorphosed. They have things strapped to their feet and are also running on the ice. I want one of those things.”

“Klonk you don’t need things like that to help sail over the ice, you can use your feet.”

“No, mum, it is not the same. I want one of those things to sail over the ice.”

“Listen to you mother Klonk. Our people do not need such constructions. Our bodies are built for the ice.” but Klonk was not happy.

The next day he called to the boys in the village but they did not come. Instead he saw from the distance another sort of earthling, dressed in white clothes. The Sherpa were always dressed in colourful dresses. There were Sherpa with them but they were carrying large bundles on their shoulders and the white earthlings were walking ahead. He went back to his parents and told them what he had seen.

His father and mother were not happy and told Klonk he must now remain indoors. The humans were again planning to climb this Mountain Everest and if they saw their footprints there would again be people coming to the mountain to look for them.

“But mum they were walking on those things we saw on the television yesterday.”

“They are not for us” said Groga “and let that be an end to it.”

Klonk could be as disobedient as any other child at that age, so he waited until his mother and father slept and went out on the mountainside down to the camp of the earthlings. He saw they had parked these walking instruments outside their tents so he took two of them back home.

The next morning the mountain climbers saw that two of the skis they had brought with them had gone. They wanted to blame the theft on the Sherpa, but when they looked down onto the snow they saw enormous footprints.

“The Yeti, the Yeti” they screamed out and decided to follow the prints.

When Klonk’s mother awoke in the morning she went to Klonk’s room to wake him. Imagine her surprise when she saw the skis lying next to his bed.

“Klonk wake up and tell me what those wooden planks are doing next to your bed. Where did you get them: from the Earthlings?

“What is all the noise about” Klonk’s father said.

“Klonk have you stolen those objects from the earthlings. I hope you covered your footprints afterwards.”

“It was dark dad, and I heard the earthlings moving so I ran has fast as I could back home.”

“meaning your footprints are still to be seen” added Bong.

Bong then went to the entrance to their home and saw the large footprints from Klonk. He managed to brush over them with his long tail and hide them so that it looked like the footprints had stopped half way up the mountain. He then re-joined his family.

“I have covered the footprints as well as I could and I hope they do not suspect our presence.”

“Bonk come here”

“I can’t dad”

“Why not Bonk?”

“I think I am metamorphosing” was the answer and sure enough Bonk’s white stubby fur was falling out of his skin, being pushed out by a much thicker and longer dark fur. The skin on his feet was peeling and a pair of feet twice the size were growing onto his legs. He had also grown a long tail like his father.

His parents knew they would have to leave their son on his own to go through this phase in his life. A Yeti always braved their metamorphosis alone. After half an hour earth time Bonk appeared from his room, but now looked almost the same as his father. At least for an earthling, only a Yeti could tell the difference.

“Son I am proud of you, you are now a full grown Yeti.”

“Yes dad, and now I will go out and frighten these Earthlings away.”

Before Groga and Bong could stop him he took the skis in his hands and went out and walked towards the earthling’s camp. The earthlings saw him but were so frightened of his size and shape that they just could not move. He took the skis and slid down to their camp on his feet with no problem and put them back in the snow before the tents. He then turned and moved as fast as possible back to his home. The Earthlings were frozen to the spot (and not only from the cold temeperature) and Klonk found that his big(ger) feet could move faster than any pair of skis on the ice.

He used his tail to swish away the marks in the snow and returned home to his parents, telling them what had happened.

And so life went on in the cave under Mount Everest. Klonk was now a full grown Yeti. How the Sherpa children enjoyed riding down the slopes of their mountain on his shoulders. The big feet were better than any skis the Earthlings had, or even the sleigh that Klonk had seen on the television.

When the earthling mountaineers returned after climbing the Mount Everest and told people that they had seen the Yeti, or abominable snowman as it was also known, no-one really believed them and put it down to hallucinations due to the thin air on the summit of the mountain, but we know better.

Creative Writing Challenge: Metamorphosis

Daily Prompt: Say your Name

Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

Photographers, show us  YOU. 

Me, mum and dad small

Things were complicated in 1946. Most of the infrastructure in the Dock area of London, where my parents lived, was destroyed and hospitals were either non-functioning or full up. Just imagine thousands of men returning from war service arriving home to their wives or girlfriends. They got married, which my dad did (on the right of the picture), and their wives became birth machines, to make up for lost time. I am the Yul Bryner lookalike in my mum’s arms.
Due to this situation my mum (in photo in the middle) was sent out of London to a very nice village called Hitchin, where the Mile End Maternity Hospital had requisitioned space in their hospital for the mothers-to-be. She had to wait two weeks until I arrived and lived in a home with other pregnant women and said it was quite fun. The women often met in town and had a chat together. Unfortunately they were the cause of a blockage on the pavement. Just imagine about 10 pregnant women, ready to drop any day, forming a group. Other pedestrians had to make a circle around them. They just took up too much space. In the meanwhile dad was all on his own living with his in-laws, and paid mum a visit at the week-end.

So they were the circumstances I was born into. Dad away, mum staying in a home and no-one knitting awaiting my arrival.

Then one day I decided this state of affairs must end, so I gave a few kicks and there I was. Then the next problem arose. I had to have a name. I never had a problem with my kids, it was all thought out as soon as they started kicking around, but with mum it was a bit different. She was probably so preoccupied with not seeing dad, and living somewhere strange, that a name was something she never really thought much about.

One day the registrar arrived at her hospital bed and asked what the name of her daughter was to be. Mum and dad were sure they wanted a Maureen. However, in that crucial moment when the registrar was poised with his pen, mum said Patricia. She will be a Patricia. Ok, I had no say at the time, Maureen or Patricia was all the same to me, as long as the milk bottle was available.

It seems that my grandmother, mum’s mum, liked the name Patricia. So at the last minute I became a Patricia. Not enough with this complicated name, mum added an Ann to it (note without an “e” at the end). So there I was Patricia Ann Relf. Relf was a problem on its own. It has been spelt as Rolf. Rolph, or Relph, but the simplest spelling “Relf” seemed to be the most complicated for some. If you try to trace your ancestors in a genealogy site, you have problems, it being spelt in many different ways over the centuries.

Dad arrived for a visit after hearing that his long awaited heir had arrived. OK, I did not do him the favour of being a son, but I do not think he really cared eventually. The next problem was getting me home. Unfortunately I chose 6th December to make my debut. This was not a good time. We did not have a car and mum and dad, complete with a week old baby, had to take a long train journey to get home. We arrived at a central station in London and dad wanted to take a taxi: no deal. It was after the war, everything was upside down, and mum told me the taxi drivers were only interested in taking American GI’s as good payers in their taxis. I do not know whether this was a good story, or whether it was true. I do know that dad’s patience was gradually exhausted, mum was not too good and probably I was screaming my lungs out. Dad almost got into a fight with a taxi driver. No-one told me how it ended, but eventually they got me home.

Back to the name: Patricia very quickly became a Pat. I cannot remember anyone calling me Patricia, although my dad’s mum, grandmother Relf, always called me Patsy. I think there was something about “little Patsy” but when they all realised I was growing fast and was the tallest kid in the street, the little was dropped. Ann was a problem. I always had to tell people it was without an “e”. If mum had called my Anne I would probably have had to tell everyone “with an “e”” so one way or the other, it was complicated.

You think it was now settled? Not really; twenty years later I arrived in the German speaking part of Switzerland. The “c” became a “z” meaning that I was now a Patrizia as the Swiss Germans had problems pronouncing the “cia” bit. No-one seemed to shorten the name in the German language, Pat being something less known. So now everyone was calling me Patrizia.

I married a Swiss with a French name, which I have problems to pronounce correctly, so things just got more complicated eventually. I definitely made sure my two sons had names which could be pronounced in English as well as German with no difficulty.

And just to add, no, I would not rename myself. Official correspondence in Switzerland was often addressed to the wife using her maiden name as “Mrs. Gerber-Relf” in  my case, and that is ok with me. We Relfs are few and far between. Gerber is a name that forms the population of some villages, especially in the Emmental, where our Gerber branch originates. I am proud to be a Pat Gerber-Relf in Facebook and that is enough. After all, what is in a name?

Daily Prompt: Say your Name