"I fear we're running behind schedule," Cellia the green orb said. "The storms... they are coming."
Cellia the girl searched the purple skies of her strange new world. "Everything looks the same, though. How can you tell that it's going to storm?" she asked.
"Because it always does," the green orb answered. "Every night. Oh, how I wish we had a safe hole to hide in. The storms here are some of the worst conceivable."
"Oh no!" Cellia cried. "Are we going to die?"
"Yes," the orb said, "though not here. Stay close to me."
The wind began to pick up as the two took shelter in a tree's roots. The wind whistled at first, and then began to hum, all the while picking up velocity. And then it began to scream, softly at first, like a tea kettle, and then growing louder and louder, until Cellia had to cover her ears. The girl tried to call out to the orb, to ask what to expect during a storm in the strange world, but the noise from the wind was too loud, and her words were lost.
The wind began to tear up small trees and bushes from the spongy landscape. The trees would bend and creak and then make a popping noise when they finally let go of the ground, before they twirled and tumbled up into the swirling gray clouds that were pouring into the sky like thick batter. The translucent grasses, too, began to lose their places in the ground. They would flutter and shake as the wind loosed them from their homes. When the grasses too started to fly up into the churning sky, it appeared as if millions of streamers were moving through the air. It was a beautiful sight to the young girl hiding in the tree roots, but a terrifying one as well.
After the ground had nearly been scoured of all plant life, save for the odd old tree here and there like the one that the orb and Cellia were hiding under, the sky began sending down a volley of sparks, that burned phosphorescently in long trails that hissed and cracked when they reached the ground. The sparks were blue and purple, yellow and orange. And as they fell their size grew larger, until they began to act like rockets more than rain. They blew huge holes into the spongy ground, sending dirt up in great sprays. What was all the more strange is that the explosions were almost completely silent. Cellia watched as an entire hillside was blown away by the meeting of a purple spark with an orange one. Her own tree was now shaking in the wind; how much longer could it possibly stand?
And then an eerie calm took hold, and the winds began to calm a bit. Their howling grew quiet.
"Was that it?" Cellia asked, breathlessly.
"Just the start of it, I fear," the orb said.
"But what are we going to do? The storm is going to kill us!"
"Kill us?" the orb asked. "No, no, it won't kill us. You cannot die here, Cellia."
"But the hillside... all the explosions!" the girl cried.
"It may look terrifying, but it will not kill you. Nothing here ever dies, it is only transformed."
"Transformed?" Cellia asked. "Am I going to be transformed?"
"You already have been, Cellia," the orb said. "Look at yourself!"
The girl looked down, and the first thing that she saw was that her fingers had begun to shrivel up.
"Oh no!" she cried. "My fingers!"
As she was staring at her hands, her fingers completely retracted into her palms, which began retracting into her forearms.
"Cellia!" the girl cried. She looked over at the orb with her same name, and saw that it too was changing: tiny little fingers began poking out of the smooth shell of the orb, which became hands. It looked as if Cellia the girl and Cellia the orb were trading forms.
"Is this supposed to happen?" the girl cried, as the calm of the storm passed and the winds began to howl again.
"Everything is supposed to happen!" the orb shouted, and then it was too loud again for anymore conversation.
Rays of light began to cut through the ground from below like scabbards, thrusting up towards the turgid skies. And then the tree whose roots the two Cellia's were hiding in began to shake. The girl was trying to hold on, but her hands were now smooth and fingerless, and so she was completely untethered when a great gust of wind struck the tree and finally loosed it from the ground.
Up, up into the sky the girl whirled, through the shafts of white light coming up from the ground, through the rainbow projectiles falling from the skies. Her arms were torn off completely, though it didn't cause her any pain, and then her legs. She watched them float up into the storm, and then she saw her torso leave as well.
How she now looked as she flew up through the turgid grey skies into a glowing yellow world above them the girl knew not. Warmth and quiet enveloped her as she continued to fly up, through another ceiling of clouds into a place of green light. And then the green became orange light, and then all the light disappeared at once, and Cellia was formless in a formless world, defined only by a canopy of stars.
"Hello?" she asked, only to hear her voice reverberate back to her in a thunderous echo.
"Hello!" a voice answered.
Cellia turned around without turning and saw what looked like herself, only she knew it couldn't be.
"Who are you?" Cellia asked.
"I am you, I guess," the image replied. "It looks as if we've swapped forms!"
And then Cellia saw herself reflected off a wall of water sheeting down from somewhere indefinable: she had become a green orb.
TO BE CONTINUED...