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How Not to be Seen
by Michael Bard
Michael Bard -- all rights reserved

They say that Jaspar was a very quiet and a very shy boy. He never said a word unless cornered. When forced, he just nodded or shook his head. Rarely mumbling out a few words. He never volunteered to write answers on the chalkboard, or to help out others, or for anything above what he was required to do. He just did his schoolwork quietly and well, handing in unassuming little neatly written papers and quietly taking home his As. The only subject he didn't easily master was math, but he still got okay marks.

Of course, the other children weren't ones to let a quiet little person remain a quiet little person. Obviously, if he wasn't going to come out and play with them, he was something evil and slimy that had to be saved, or utterly destroyed. All little children are monsters after all.

So they hounded him mercilessly. Throwing him to the ground, stealing his books, slashing the tires on his bike, dumping ink and non-toxic skin-friendly water based colours over his head. They threw mud in his hair, clawed at his face, and buried him in their bodes, shoving his cheek into the ground.

Of course, they only did this where no adults could see. After all, adults were blind, they couldn't recognize Jaspar's evil, and would try to protect him. The wisdom of little children is far stronger than that, easily outwitting the clumsy movements of the adults, and making every effort to either correct, or destroy, poor little Jaspar.

As for Jaspar himself, he never fought back, for that would draw attention to himself, attention he couldn't bear. Instead, by force of necessity, he taught himself the secrets of How Not to be Seen.

Oh, it was little things at first. Taking different routes home, carrying a second coat so that he could switch to a completely different appearance if he had but a moment out of sight. Moving swiftly and quietly. He learned to poke his eyes out in front of his head on little scaly domes, taught himself to peer in both directions at once for the omnipresent tormentors, giving himself time to Not be Seen by them. He forced his toes to grow long, to end in long manipulative digits and strong little claws that could dig into wood, but never to be used to fight others. The same claws grew on his hands, and soon he could climb a tree in seconds, slither up a lamp post or flagpole, and cling there for hours, hiding where the other children would never think to look.

But they grew wise to his tricks, and he had adapt further.

Greenish scales grew onto his body, giving him protection if they caught him, but more important, being able to mirror his surroundings. He could change their colours, make them show a dull blue sky, or the waving banner of a flag. It was never quite perfect, but he was always working on it. Of course, to use this he had to dump his clothes, but his scales give him insulation too.

Except for his feet. For whatever reason, he feet were always cold, and he always wore socks to try and keep them warm.

He learned to run fast to escape the wild packs of children, growing a long scaly tail to aid him in climbing, and counterbalance him in his runs. When he was in school, he wore nothing but socks, and learned to make himself look like he was wearing clothes. Of course, running in just socks on the ground, or on the branches of trees, wore them out awful fast. But his parents kept him well supplied.

It fooled the adults, but the children knew better. They just went after him all the harder, knowing that he was a threat.

It might have continued indefinitely, little Jaspar growing to adulthood, sneaking around the adult world with its tall towers and endless meetings, except that fate seemed t have another plan for him. For, though he completely mastered the art of Not Being Seen when he was awake, his body never quite got it when he was asleep. And, eventually, what had to happen, happened.

He was asleep, door closed, Do Not Disturb sign hung on the knob. Nobody's sure why, but one night his parents choose to check on him. Maybe they'd heard rumours planted by the children, unable to catch him. Maybe they heard a sound. Or maybe it was fate driving Jaspar to his destiny.

So they quietly opened his door, and turned on the light to make sure their son was okay.

His mother screamed, his father grabbed a convenient baseball bat.

Why? Legend says that their child, or what had once been their child, was sleeping all snug in his bed. But he wasn't human anymore. He was sleeping curled up, in a nest of his blankets, wrapped up in a long green-scaled tail. His head was hairless, covered in green scales.

The light jerked him awake and his eyes moved in all directions, each finally looking at one of his parents. That was when they screamed, for they saw nothing human, but a hideous monster, a thing, a beast to be destroyed.

They saw a giant chameleon, or anthro chameleon to be more precise. Their son, or what he'd become, still had his hands, his mind.

As his father approached, as his mother screeched, little Jaspar thought, not panicked, and decided to leave. In a blink he vanished, or more truthfully changed his colour to match his blankets. Then he leapt and run, claws scratching on the carpet, his form blurring as he changed his colours to match. He leapt for the window, slid it open, and fled into the night. Of course, being in bed, he forgot his socks.

So, he's still lurking, or so they say. Invisible, sneaking around, totally secure in his ability to Not to be Seen. He moves from house to house taking what he needs. Not food, not books, but something even more important.

For anthro-chameleons don't like cold feet, and always need more socks.


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Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard.  Please send any comments or questions to him at mwbard@transform.com