Yara-ma-yha-who

Aasimah Khan

The outback really was astoundingly beautiful. Little more than sparse vegetation broke the ocean of sand around the gravel road and it all struck of a feeling of intense desolation. 

I had been in it little more than a week and I already was starting to love the landscape. 

Heat and the glaring sun didn't bother me. Yes, sometimes loose dirt and pebbles would blow with the stale wind and whip at me but, seeing as I was totally and utterly alone, I had quickly let scales grow over my uncovered skin and it was no longer an issue.

Spit was what had brought me there. The spit of a yara-ma-yha-who, a creature of Aboriginal legend, to be exact. Yara-ma-yha-who were supposedly red, squat beings that dropped down from fig trees and drained the blood of their unfortunate human victims, and then swallowed and regurgitated them repeatedly while alive, turning them into another of their species. I had a theory that it was the saliva that caused this change and in any case the legend was worth looking into, in the possibility that the yara-ma-yha-who's transformational properties could help me reverse my 'condition'. 

By then I had long forgotten when I had first been cursed, but the memories were fresh in my mind. I was off in the mountains when the talisman had branded my palm, and I had gained my strange abilities.

When I had my first taste of adventure.

The wind picked up and something flew into my face, obstructing my vision. 

Black horns sprouted from my head involuntarily and I waved my arms madly, scared that I was about to be swallowed by some terrifying Australian beast, before I had the sense to pull the mystery object off my face.

It was a flyer, not a yara-ma-yha-who. Oh well. 

I laughed at my own mistake and accidentally incinerated the paper when fire came shooting out of my throat.

Oops. 

The ashes blew out of my hands and I continued walking, grinning widely. After all, why shouldn't I have been happy? The sun was shining, I had rid the earth of another piece of litter, the tumbleweed was tossing, the building was looming-

The building was looming?

My feet stopped short just before I passed a solitary structure, and I couldn't help but stare.

It looked like it was falling apart but a newly-printed sign was hanging over the door.

The Adventure Club. 

Ooh. Sounded like my kind of club.

I walked up onto the creaking porch, shook my head to return completely to my human form, and knocked three times on the door. 

No answer.

I knocked again.

Nada.

I assumed that I wasn't knocking loud enough and tried once more, more pounding than knocking.

The door fell in. 

"Hello?" I called, stepping in, "Anybody here? I'm sorry about the door!"

Footsteps sounded on the stairs and I brushed off my leather jacket as best I could, smoothing out my hair and trying to look somewhat presentable.

When I looked up I was met with a pair of startingly green eyes.

"So tell me, what are you?"

The End

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