short story, story promptAh, nice to be home again! Here is today’s 500 words, written while I struggled not to fall asleep on the train on the way back from London this evening!

Pandira is the daughter of a Shifter, a being that can change it’s shape to that of an animal. Being only half-Shifter means she’s also only half-human, but would she really want to give up that strange part of herself? Apparently, a science company is working on a ‘cure’ for the Shifter condition…


Pandira flattened her fuzzy black ears against the top of her head and huddled deeper into her grey coat. She tucked her chin into the red scarf wrapped around her neck and shivered. She liked winter, loved the snow and being able to snuggle up by the fire, but she didn’t like having to wait outside in the cold. She jiggled up and down, hoping that the movement would help keep her warm.

Hurry up, Carla! Why was her friend taking so long? If she’d known she’d be waiting out in the cold for nearly half an hour, she wouldn’t have agreed to come. Moral support? Whatever. She didn’t even want me to come inside with her.

She glanced curiously at the tall metal-and-glass building across the road that her friend had disappeared into. A massive logo slapped on the side of the building proclaimed it as being the Anibio Science Centre, which told her absolutely nothing about what they supposedly studied inside. Carla had seemed very excited and nervous about coming here, but she hadn’t told Pandira why she was coming here.

A gust of wind made her huddle against the wall. Snowflakes drifted down and settled on the concrete sidewalk. Pandira glared at the building.

“If you don’t come out soon, I’ll leave you here,” she muttered. “I’ve got better things to do with my afternoon.”

As if hearing her, Carla hurried through the revolving doors and across the road. A big grin was spread across her face.

“Finally!” Pandira exclaimed. “You could have warned me that I would be standing out here like a lost puppy for an hour.”

Carla giggled. “It was barely half an hour, Pan!”

“Humph. So, what were you doing in there?”

Carla glanced about and lowered her voice conspiratorially. “I’ve volunteered for a new test that Anibio is trialling.”

Pandira gave her a worried look. “Couldn’t that be dangerous? Who knows what sort of side effects you might suffer from? Especially when you’re a half-human.”

Carla cringed at her words. She had the ears of a pig and was very self-conscious about them. She always took great pains to dress in such a way as to draw attention away from her ears, or wear stylish hats and beanies whenever she could. You wouldn’t catch her dead with her piggy tail out in the open.

“These tests are especially for people like us,” Carla said earnestly. “They are trying to decipher which genes are the Shifter DNA in us. Once they can isolate them, they will be able to begin working on serums to remove that DNA.”

Pandira took a step away from her. “Take away part of our DNA?”

Carla rolled her eyes. “Come on, Pan! You of all people know what it’s like to be teased and bullied for being the spawn of Shifters. Imagine what it would be like if we looked like humans! Imagine the possibilities that would suddenly be open to us!”

Pandira self-consciously patted her round panda ears. Yes, there were times that she hated the fact that she was different. But did she hate it enough to want to get rid of that part of her entirely?

“If we were human, we could be anything!” Carla continued. “We could do any job, study any course, and live wherever we wanted! Isn’t that something you want, Pan?”

Is it?

Would you read more about Pandira and the Shifter situation?

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