• Published 24th Mar 2013
  • 1,565 Views, 38 Comments

Forced World - Naden Gryphus

Nathan was just a normal guy until he got screwed over by his local scientific company. Can he learn to cope with his new life?

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My head felt like I had just gotten hit by a bowling ball. I just laid there for god-knows how long until I tried to move again.

Slowly, I started to take the world around me. I heard chirping, many birds around me. I could feel grass below me, and the intoxicating smell of the countryside sent me coughing once I noticed it.

I sat up and felt something fall into my lap. I opened my eyes quickly and took in my surroundings. I was laying in a clearing in the middle of the most beautiful forest I’ve ever seen, something out of a mythical land. Intricate trees around me and birds chirping over my head. Everything around me seemed attractive to my sight.

I quickly noticed something about my vision, I could not see anything with my left eye, I quickly put a hand over it, and felt a sharp sting of pain. I pulled my hand back and stared at it.

Something shocked me beyond belief. The ‘thing’ in front of me was not a hand. It was a claw. It looked like a weird mix between a claw and a talon. I quickly took a glance at myself.

I was surprised to find myself clad in dark feathers until the bottom of my neck, from there onward I was covered by short dark gray fur. I also now possessed a tail that looked very much like a lion’s would. I felt heaviness in my back, and looking behind me confirmed the fact that I now had wings.

“Holy shit, what the hell am I?” I asked myself out loud. I started to explore my body for the next couple minutes, just silent in pure amazement. I confirmed I was still a male, I think. And I seemed healthy enough, no wounds. The headache was already fleeting my body.

I grimly confirmed I no longer had a left eyeball, only an empty socket remained in it’s place. The scar seemed to be completely shut, as I felt no pain to the air around it, my eyelid seemed to be missing, strangely. I tried to forget the fact I was now a bloody cyclops.

I tried flapping my wings, only to find I could barely lift them from their idle spot glued to my back. No matter how much I tried to make them move, they wouldn’t budge.

I laid there with what I could bet was the most stupid looking face one could muster for a couple minutes. Until I came to the conclusion that I was either very, very, high from one of those damn drugs they kept pumping into me or this was the most sick, disturbing and beautiful dream I’ve ever had.

Finally taking notice of the weight in my lap, I discovered it was a leather pouch, meant to hang on your waist, strapped across one’s chest. It seemed rather simple in design. It only had 3 different pockets, the main flap, and two small openings on its sides probably used to store small important objects.

I carefully opened the main pocket and rummaged through it taking out everything I found and putting it on top of the pouch. I found a book and a case filled with what I supposed were pens, pencils and such. A pouch with a big red cross on its side, checking inside it confirmed it was a first aid kit. A bundle of cloth. An old-looking clock and a compass. Various supplies that seemed suitable for a camping trip were also inside, like some heavy packets of dry meat and dried fruits, a water pouch meant to be attached to a belt.

I took out what I first thought was a bundle of common cloth. It turned out to be a hood, more like a cloak for your head. It ended in a scarf. It was similar in color to my fur. I carefully put it around my neck.

I also found a small envelope, sealed with something I had not seen before. A wax seal, it bore a crest of an open palm.

I carefully opened it with my newly-acquired talons. ‘Man, having knives for fingers is never gonna get old.’ It contained two papers, I took one and opened it.

Dear sir/madam,

You are probably very confused right now, do not worry. You have been merely selected at random by one of our operatives to take part in one of the most important scientific projects of the century!

You may have questions in your mind such as:

-Where am I?

-Why am I here against my will?

-Why am I missing certain body parts?

Your location is classified, as that would ruin the purpose of the experiment. But know that our organization has made sure that the area around you is completely safe and free of any contaminants.* Do not panic!

The very nature of the experiment requires the subject to be transported against their will, as a volunteer would probably be far more prepared. And wouldn’t serve our needs as well as a complete random citizen would!

You may or not be missing certain body parts. Do not panic! They were removed from your body for the sole purpose of making your journey as pleasant as possible, our technology indicates that if we would’ve left them on you during your transportation, they would’ve been destroyed under the stress!

Please read the other letter attached to this one to know of your current situation.

Thank you sir/madam.

*Does not apply on random experiments

‘What...the...fuck...is GOING ON!?’

I could only stare at the letter in front of me, telling me I was taken against my will to take part in an experiment. I remembered the small conversation I had with the scientists, but I hadn’t taken it seriously. I was hoping it was just a normal kidnapping, well as normal as it could be.

I put the paper away and took the other letter, this one was also printed, but it’s structure was more of a list than a letter, like it was written in a hurry... Clearly this was made moments before it was put inside the envelope containing both of them.

There also seemed to be a small handwritten note on the bottom.

You have been outfitted with travel pack 08.

This includes:

-Standard Journal kit

-Standard First Aid kit

-Nourishment and Survival kit 04

-Camping pack 02

Your new species is deemed gryphus, omnivore, it has been confirmed they can eat raw meat without consequences thanks to their strong immunological system. This also means you can eat almost any fruit you come across, but be sure to taste small quantities first.

You were outfitted with a ‘light’ style of attire. This is composed by a fur cloak meant to keep heat inside and cold outside. Braces for your forepaws. Your new feathers and tough skin should help prevent injury and protect against weather.

The removal of your eye was necessary for your survival, your loss of peripheral vision is an important one, you must learn to cope with the changes in your body. Do not worry about infection, your wound has been completely cauterized, the nerves have been deadened and the scar is probably stronger than your skin.

Your body now has new strength and size, you are a quadruped, trying to walk like a human will only end in bruises. You may have noticed you have close to no control of your wings at the moment. This is normal, you must give time for your brain to make the right connections to the muscles.

You may find other subjects in the field. It is likely they will not be of your same species, but they will be carrying similar supplies to yours. It is advised for you to team up. As you increase your chance of survival. The phrase for you to recognize your fellow companions is ‘The open palm waves at you’

As for your previous life, do not worry, it has been taken care of.

Find shelter

Find a water source

Look for civilization

Good luck.

You need more help than this. You are stranded in a different world. No help. I’m sorry, I had no control over this. Find others, survive, the beings in this world are friendly, they will help you. I’m sorry. I’m going to help others get out before they get sent where you are. Good luck.

“Ta-taken care of? What the hell does that mean?” I asked out loud.

I did feel a little better that I was possibly not the only one around here, if I could find someone else it would, as the letter stated, increase our chance of survival. The person that wrote the note at the bottom probably didn’t like the idea of sending innocent people away either. It seemed like a nice thought that he was willing to help others.

Trying not to think too much into my situation, I thought of making sure I knew exactly what my current situation was. I put my new belongings into the leather bag and attached the water pouch to the bag’s strap.

I stood up on four legs, surprisingly easy, I felt heavy, but nimble at the same time. I assumed this is what being in shape must feel. I took a look around me, looking for any possible leads to a water source or shelter.

I was standing in a clearing in the middle of a forest, none of the flora looked familiar. So I decided to keep away from colorful plants and head downhill to try and find a water source, and hopefully, some shelter.

The walk in the forest was strangely quiet, I became quickly accustomed to the feel of my new body, even the new strange senses I had. I could hear almost everything around me so clearly. I could pinpoint the location of every noise that came to my hearing. I was thankful, maybe it would somewhat compensate the lack of depth perception and peripheral vision.

I looked up. The sun was in the middle of the sky, so I supposed it was the middle of the day. I still had plenty of time to find a good shelter. If there’s something video-games have taught me, it’s that you don’t wanna wander around at night, at least underprepared as I was.

In a short amount of time I heard the tell-tale sound of whooshing water; I started to head in the general direction of the sound until I came across a river, it was about 10 meter across. It extended to either side as far as I could see. Which was pretty far away, having one eagle eye was really useful for things like these.

I laid down next to the bank of the river, took off my water pouch and filled it to the brim. I took a large sip, filled it again and put it back in its place.

I looked into the river, it was calm enough to give me a blurry reflection of myself.

There was absolutely nothing resembling a human staring back at me. I wasn’t certain of what I was certainly expecting. What stared back at me looked like a badass over-grown eagle missing its eye.

I stared at the socket where my eye used to be. It looked strangely similar to the barren eyes of the ‘operative’ that indirectly brought me here.

That’s when it hit me. I was gone. The letter stated that my life ‘had been taken care of’’. I did not know what that meant exactly. I only hoped that my friends and family weren’t worried about me.

I was stuck here, and if not, I most certainly couldn’t come back to my life with this body. I would be shunned by society, or worse, captured by a shady organization an---

Oh that’s right. That already happened.

Complete loss of identity. That’s what I was facing. A complete life restart, too. An opportunity to turn my life around and make something good of myself. If you looked at the situation in an optimistic way. Of course, my mind didn't even think of it that way.

‘Stranded, alone, in a foreign body. What am I going to do?’

Once again, I tried to ignore the situation and focus on what was important at the moment.

I took out a packet of meat and tried to ration it as best as I could. I did not know how long I would be stuck in the wilderness. I munched on it for a few minutes to satiate my hunger. I took another sip of my pouch and filled it again before starting to walk again.

Never straying too far from the river, I continued to travel downhill following the river’s path. I supposed it would lead me to civilization, or at least, some shelter.

Looking upwards again revealed that the day was being quickly consumed, I calculated about three hours before sunset, and I most certainly did not want to be out in the dark. I decided to take the first suitable shelter I could find and continue my search in the morning.

The only thing similar to a shelter was the most enormous tree I had ever laid my eyes, er, eye on. It proved to be easily climbable with my talons and new found strength. I got as high as I could possibly get without falling off because of my weight. I was much heavier as a 'gryphus' than as a human. I eventually found a straight, big branch that could hold my weight.

An idea popped into my head. I was above the average treeline in the forest, and I could see much farther than just my immediate surroundings; I carefully took out my journal and a pencil from the case.

I picked one of the pages by the end of the book and started to crudely map my surroundings. I never really was much of an artist, but I could sketch landmarks to make a crude, but effective map. Using the compass in my pack, I was sure to mark general directions on it.

I began to notice smoke in the sky, following its trail downwards and straining my eyes to see as far as I possibly could, revealed a village, a town even. It was too far away to see, but I could distinguish it looked rather, rustic.

Deciding that was my objective for tomorrow, I made sure to draw it on my map. It was very far away, and I wasn’t sure of making it in one day, but at least I had a direction to walk to, and somewhere to direct my attention.

Time passed much quicker than I anticipated, and soon, the moon was looming over me. I put the book and pencil back in my bag and took a sip of my water pouch.

I absent-mindedly munched on some dried fruit while gazing the stars. I just sat there with a stupefied look on my face.

“Oh by the gods, so this is what no pollution does to the sky, eh?” I asked myself, it was very impressive just how beautiful the night-sky looked like. A clear sky and a high altitude gave me the best view I could get.

The moon looked specially stunning, it was a full moon, and you could feel the ‘power’ of the moon. It was hard to explain the feeling of it. But it could be described as that sort of energy you get from having a good day ahead of you. Even though it was evening.

I pulled up the hood of my cloak and rested my head against the trunk, laid my forelegs behind my head and took the universally known position of taking a nap.

The night was magical. There were so many stars in the sky, it looked like someone took some glitter and spread it all over a beautiful shining dark blue blanket. You could clearly see groups of stars here and there, daring you to find constellations. I could only admire the being responsible for such beauty in the sky. The sky almost seemed like the pay for the hell I've been through. I almost forgave the universe.

So much things had happened today, and I was still in the process of taking it all in. The sudden change of body wasn’t as problematic as I first expected, and the forest around me had proven to be forgiving enough to not kill me in my first day here.

I was sure that it was just beginner’s luck, as some would say

I was standing outside my house. I recognized the scene immediately, this was the night I was taken from my life. That blasted storm was still hitting the region pretty badly.

There was a distant rumbling, a truck coming up the road. The black van. It was here.

It stopped in front of my house. And three men with masks got off it, they quickly approached my house. At this point, I tried to move, to warn anyone. I was stuck there just to watch.

They surrounded my house, and one of them picked the lock of the front entrance. They quickly went inside.

I could only see the flashes of bright light in the windows around the house. Muffled cries of pain which I recognized belonged to my family. My mother, my sisters. The silence was deafening.

Then they came out. Carrying them. Like fallen game they loaded them into the van. And drove off.

I cried, I yelled and I tried to catch up with it. But I couldn't move. I felt heat building in my body, not of temperature, but of anger, pure hatred. I tried to yell, but my lungs were empty. I tried to run after them, but my legs wouldn't budge. I tried to get them, and I failed. The van was now but a dot in the horizon of my view.

All I felt was anger, a clear cut between hatred for the ones that did this to me, and for myself, for my weakness. I would find them. I would find them and make them pay, my thoughts were becoming sinister, out of line, plain out wrong.

Images of gore splattered through my head. Images of them, suffering. Yes, suffering. They would pay, all of them woul-

I felt something warm embrace me by my side. Not something hot, but something comforting. I turned to the direction of the embrace only to discover I was covered in deep blue mist.

“Don’t be afraid” said the strange being before me, with the most soothing voice one could imagine. It looked like a blanket of stars, moving stars, like if it was window into deep space.

My mind was slowly cleansed by those words. My anger slowly simmering down into nothingness by a beautiful blanket of the sky. My thoughts were dumbed down into simple, calm ones. I was at peace.

I let go of my emotions and woke up.

I startled awake, almost falling off my makeshift bed. I quickly blinked the sleep out of my eye and was greeted by bright sunlight.

What had woken me up was not, surprisingly the rays of sunshine in my face, but the loud swearing of someone below my temporary camp in the middle of the air.

I would take time to analyze my strange dream after, for now, I had to take care of my loud visitor. And I did it the only way I’d know. Like a damn coward.

I took a peek over the side of the branch I was laying on and I quickly identified the culprit of my rude awakening.

“WHERE THE FUCK AM I ?!” yelled the colorful being in the ground. It was a she, as I quickly deduced by her voice, some sort of small horse stomping furiously and throwing the most ridiculous tantrum I’d ever seen.

“THIS FUCKING LETTER DOESN’T TELL ME SHIT!” she yelled again. I remembered the letters I read about yesterday.

She was loud, I could understand that. And I quickly assumed that she was another human, gathering from her rather 'colorful' description of the letter. Not that I frown upon swearing when it is called for.

She didn't seemed like a threat to me, though. Considering I was now a huge eagle that could do a lot of damage with its talons. I decided it would be a good idea to meet up. Of course, easier said than done.

The letters contained a 'passphrase' that could be used between subjects for quick identification, between humans, as I assumed most of us were of a different species now.

“Th-The open palm waves at you!” I hesitantly said holding onto the branch tightly.

It had the effect I desired, she quickly looked up and scanned the area for my voice.

“Another one? Where are you? I’m sorry if I scared you!” she said in a much more calm tone of voice. Quite the drama queen, I suppose. Then again, I’ve been under-reacting to my situation.

“I’m up here, in the big tree,” I said loud enough for her to hear "um, I'm going to assume you're another human, right?"

She apparently noticed me quite quickly after I told her about the tree. She was looking up at me with big, wide eyes that were almost the size of her head

“Oh wow, you’re a... what the hell are you?” she asked with awe on her face.

I could easily see her from this altitude, I may have one eye, but damn, it was a good one. She was a small, well, compared to myself, equine of some kind. She was a deep dark green color, and her mane was only a slightly more light tone of green. She looked like she could camouflage pretty well in this sort of environment. Her flanks had the mark of a vial with some strange flowers as a background. They seemed to be part of her fur, rather than being painted.

She was wearing a mantle similar to mine, but seemed to be carrying a much heavier pack than mine. I’m not gonna lie, she may have looked tiny, but you’d have to be strong to haul that much stuff without a sweat.

“He-hello, I suppose you got sent here too, eh? Give me a second, I'll head back down."

I gathered my stuff and I carefully retraced my steps back down. In a couple minutes, I was standing right next to her. She wasn't very tall, she only came up to my neck. I held out my talon for an awkward handshake.

"Hey," I said with a shaky voice. I guess it would be a strange sight to see such a creature being scared by something as tiny as her, at least compared to me.

“Hi. Yeah! Name’s Lily, what’s yours?” accepting my ‘handshake’, that is to say, a talon and a hoof. She seemed awfully trusting, I would definitely not get close to something as big and scary as me.

“You can call me Nathan. As for your previous question, I’m now a gryphus, apparently.” I said pulling my talon back and standing on my four limbs again. I was still feeling uncomfortable about talking to anyone after what happened to me, but if something similar had happened to her, I figured I could at least try to be friendly.

“My letter said I was an ‘earth’ pony, do you have any idea what the hell is going on?” she said while taking a look at herself. She certainly did look like a pony of some kind, but why the earth prefix I could only wonder.

“Probably not more than you do, got kidnapped, got pumped with drugs, blacked out then suddenly I’m here in the wilderness, in the body of a mythological being” I explained while making wild movements with my talons to make emphasis. My natural reaction to strangers is basically making an ass of myself. Smooth, I know.

“I just woke up a couple hours ago, I- I still don’t know what happened, I was walking home, then it started raining out of nowhere, then a blac-” she spoke quickly, without pauses, about to break into tears.

“Black van, tall man in a suit came out and injected you with some sort of weird shit?” I rudely interrupted.

“Oh dear. How are we going to get back?” she said. Her voice still shaky, full of uncertainty and fear.

“I don’t think we can. I still don’t know why the fuck they would send us here, they clearly state in the letter they don’t know anything about here!” I was raising my voice, my mind filling with anger for the idiots running the so-called ‘experiment’.

“Bu-but my family, and my life! What- Why me!?” she was pacing around, looking at the ground. Looking miserable.

“Look, calm down. I don’t know, alright? Let’s just, calm down, and think.” I tried to calm her down, taking her mind off the fact we’re stuck here seemed like the most logical thing to do. At least that's what I did every time I thought about that.

“O-Okay. Do you have a camp yet? A water source, anything?” she said while looking at me with those enormous eyes, looking like a puppy begging for scraps.

I furrowed my brows at the question. I could still clearly hear the whooshing water behind me.

“Can you not hear the water behin-” I cut myself short realizing maybe my hearing was much sharper than hers. I can’t let the awesomeness of my new body get to my head, it seems.

“Never mind, yes, a few hundred meter that way there’s a clean river,” I said as I craned my neck behind me.

“Oh thank god. I’m so thirsty!” she exclaimed as she grasped her throat with a dirt-stained hoof.

“Here, take a drink,” I said as I handed her my water pouch.

“Thanks!” She quickly took it off my talon, but I was impressed by her ability to grasp onto it, with no fingers, nothing but a hoof. She seemed to notice the look on my face, because she gave me a look that said ‘Yeah, I don’t know either’.

“But, how can you...” I started to ask.

“I’m not really sure myself, if I try to think about it it just fails to work. Put it in the back of my mind and I can hold things.” she stated as if it were the most simple thing in the world.

“What happened to your eye?” she asked with an innocent tone of voice.

“Oh, I- They removed it, before they sent me here,” I grimly replied while covering my eye with my talon.

“I’m so sorry, I knew I shouldn’t have asked. I was wondering what the letter meant by missing body parts,” she said with remorse.

“It’s ok, I can cope with it. It was a bit of a shock at first, but I’ve been getting used to the lack of it.” I said quickly. It was true, I was slowly getting over the fact of losing my eye, the shock of being taken from home, well, that was a different story. I tried to ignore thoughts that came up telling me I was doomed.

She handed (hoofed?) me my water pouch back and I attached it to the leather strap again.

“Oh by the way, are you an herbivore? Or an omnivore?” I asked, it would make sense being an herbivore. But I should stop assuming things.

“The letter said herbivore,” she replied “by the way, we should find somewhere to make a camp, preferably close to that river you told me about.”

“Alright, let’s get to the river. I was thinking of a cave or something of the sort.” I said while turning around and starting to walk towards the river.

“Sounds good!” she cheerily replied.

We headed to the river to start our search. I felt so much better after meeting someone else stuck in the same situation. I may be socially awkward, and take a long time to trust others, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to have someone by of my own original species in a new world. I just had to swallow the situation and go with it.

‘At least I’m not stuck here with a psycho. What could go wrong?’

Author's Note:

That wraps up the second chapter.
Next chapter is going to take a bit longer than expected, but it's coming this week.
Hope you enjoyed it!
And as always, leave a comment/critique!