Shifter: The First Time I wasn’t me

This is a new story about a SHAPESHIFTER

The lore is mostly pulled from the show Supernatural with influences from Norse mythology. I claim no higher or better knowledge on shifters; I just liked this particular brand of lore. And if you ever want to discuss lore, PM me because I know nobody who likes it D:

Warnings: cursing

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Shifter

The First Time I wasn’t me

Being a shifter is a lot like being a schizophrenic, except the real you is the voice in your head. It was touch-and-go, standing in Kaitlin’s skin and trying to understand the part of me screaming “your name is Bridget!”

“No, I’m Kaitlin,” I taunted the mirror, goading the other part of me into frenzy. My lungs were pulling too strongly for air, panic was settling just under each rib, and my skin was itching anew. I wanted to just rip out of the skin—again and again and again. I gripped the sink’s edge, letting the alien dark locks fall over my face. No Kaitlin’s face—I was wearing Kaitlin’s face just like I was wearing her skin.

My spit turned dry and gritty in my mouth—a mouth smaller than my old one. It was uncomfortable and new and familiar all at once. I met green eyes in the mirror: at some point mine had been brown right? I used to have auburn hair. I used to be two inches taller. I used to have a chip in my left, lower canine. Now I was Kaitlin, though, and she was leering at me unsteadily in the mirror. She was watching me like one watches a skittish animal, about to run in case I reared up again and burst through my skin.

I didn’t. I settled deeply into Kaitlin’s persona, shifting through memories and thoughts and tiny flashes of what she was seeing. Even miles apart, I could see the psychology text book in front of her, open but unread. She was worrying about her mother again and if she really went to Hell like the priest had said.

Soon her thoughts stopped blaring siren loud in my skull. I could gather my own in small bunches and my voice didn’t sound quite so irrational. It was as if I finally found some middle ground that was still heaving but less tumultuous. I found footing in my head on the heels of the conclusion that I am a shape shifter and this is what I do. I shed my skin to wear someone else’s face. Okay, yep, totally normal.

I gingerly outlined the ridge of my cheekbone, or new cheekbone or Kaitlin’s cheekbone. I experimentally pressed my fingers to my palms, feeling the different strength in the flex. Kaitlin was more fine boned than I was and the whole body had a different, more airy feel to it. Her mind also ran on a different language—not language as in Spanish or English, but just how she thought. I was mastering it slowly, sinking into the regular rhythm of disordered tension that constituted her pattern.

Then, snapping my eyes open, I felt my voice—my old voice—tell me I couldn’t stay like this. I wondered why, it was comfortable now; I was used to this new feeling of two in one. It berated me, though, sending grains into Kaitlin’s thoughts until mine settled within hers. A headache flared for both of us and I wobbled unsteadily. “I’m still in college,” I said out loud.

Then, the weight of the situation bore down on me. I was still in college. This meant that I had an ID—a picture ID—that got me in everywhere. Right now I wasn’t Bridget Jones, I was Kaitlin Fuller. There was no way in Hell I could function on campus in a new skin. I needed my old one, which looked revolting as it decayed in heaving sighs on the floor.

Instead of pulling my skin back on like an old shirt I decided that shifting might be the better method. I tried to remember myself and my thoughts—I tried to connect like I had done with Kaitlin. But there was no one there. It was like hearing dial tone when the other line is disconnected. It was disorienting, horrifying, because the voice that was me was screaming ‘I’m gone, gone gone!’

Stumbling, I made it to my desk and pulled out an old photo album my mom made me take to school. It was silly, a trifle, but it made her so god damned happy to know I’d have memories from home right by my Calculus textbook. I quickly flipped through the pages, seeing familiar faces but in the sense that they were familiar to Kaitlin. It took me a full five minutes of pushing Kaitlin’s thoughts out of my head to finally recognize the people as my family and not Bridget’s mom and dad. I also found myself in a few pictures—I looked alien, unreal. I didn’t look myself because, under my skin, I didn’t look like much of anything.

I wasn’t anything. Bridget Jones was no more.

I pulled out every photo that held the old me in it. A picture of me at my fourteenth birthday party; a picture of me with our new dog, Hermes; a picture of me holding a trophy I won in second grade: I lined every picture around me and tried so hard to connect to that image. I imagined pulling it on like a coat, sliding into the finer threads of myself until I was knotted tightly. But it failed, it failed so miserably I was crying because ‘I’m Kaitlin’ kept hitting every attempt, solidly, at each turn. The little voice that was the old me was still screaming ‘I can’t keep this shit up, I need to get out of here. Because I can’t live here because I don’t exist—only real people live here and not me.’

I was nothing more than the echoes of Kaitlin. It was frightening and too real. I had no idea where to go, I had no idea who to tell, if I should tell anyone, but I knew I couldn’t stay. It was the only clear thought among the muddle in my head: I couldn’t stay. There would always be another me—another Kaitlin—and we couldn’t exist in the same country. Maybe not even in the same world—regardless I had to go. To where? I didn’t know. The best plan I could come up with was to leave.

And I did. I cleaned up the mess first, which was not as revolting as one would think; or maybe just knowing it had to be done made my stomach tougher. Then I packed up Bridget’s bags with Bridget’s clothes and left Bridget’s dorm. I stumbled outside into the large town, the life buzzing and making me disoriented. So much of me—the monster in me because I was a monster—wanted a new skin. One I didn’t know well so my thoughts could be more centered, more controlled. “But I won’t shift until tonight,” I had promised myself as I limped my way through crowded streets. I wouldn’t change again until tonight and, by then, I should have a better handle on what to do.

part 1– -part 2- –part 3– -part 4– –part 5– –part 6- –part 7

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