A Flash Fiction piece.
Starring at the orange and pink sky, Thea reached absentmindedly into the bag hanging loosely from her shoulder. She fingered the bracelet inside, tracing a thin finger over the elaborately engraved serpentine features of the piece. She paused after reaching the cold, smooth turquoise stone that made up the eye of the object.
Glancing back at her campsite, she wondered if she would have enough wood to keep the fire going throughout the night. Fire was the only deterrent against the night scavengers that combed the desert. A fire meant the difference between life and death to many in this desolate landscape.
The sun set and Thea walked gracefully back to her place by the fireside. She would not eat tonight. A dietary fast was necessary for the spell to take effect, or so the Navajo holy man had insisted. This would be her first transformation, her first experience with shape-shifting. She couldn’t risk disobeying any of the rules. The spirits would be angry.
Retrieving the bracelet from her bag, the young woman placed it on her wrist while chanting the exact words the holy man had given. “Tl'iish, tl'iish, tl'iish,” Thea whispered, allowing the syllables to slide off her tongue melodically.
The fire caused the girl’s shadow to dance on the tent behind her as she chanted louder, raising her face to the star-filled sky. The snakeskin bracelet clung to Thea’s wrist and seemed to grow tighter with each of her utterances. Each scale glowed hot as it began to rise up the girl’s arm, consuming it.
A gasp escaped the girl’s throat as her entire body was consumed by the enveloping of the smooth scales. She felt herself drop to the ground with a dull thud, her chanting replaced with a resonant hiss.