You try to open your eyes wider to focus and call out Bagheera’s name, but you feel so drained now your eyelids stay drooped halfway down. Before you can call for Bagheera the lamia leans closer, blocking you from seeing anything else, and shifts from rotating her head to swaying side to side.
“Sleep . . .” she purrs, swaying her head up one side. She lifts her eyelids with each upward movement, and your eyes lift groggily, matching her movement. This fills your sight with more colorful rings and you grow sleepier at your eyelids trying to rise through your daze.
“Sleep . . .” she says again, slipping to the other side. You follow her eyes, swaying with her as her gaze pulls you up only to drop you back down. Your eyes keep drooping heavier and heavier. If you could just shut your eyes for a moment you feel you could think straight, yet you know doing so would make it too easy to not open your eyes again.
As you try to remember your friend’s name and call for help, you can only yawn as your eyes slip closer to darkness. They close, but you struggle to gather your thoughts and pull your eyes open as you squeak out the start of Bagheera. Your mind feels so soft and swirled you can’t get control of your mouth, and you mumble trying to say Bagheera.
As your eyes drift shut and you struggle to open them the lamia speeds up her rotating head to drag you into a swaying sleep, coiling her tail faster around you, around your shoulders, zeroing in on your neck. The loops are so heavy, dragging your mind, but in a moment the lamia will hold your neck and stop your speech. You need to gather what remains of your mind and call for help. You rally your thoughts and speak.
Before you further call for help the lamia’s tail winds around your neck and squeezes tight. You gulp at the force, her thick coils squeezing all down your body. Your eyes pop open and the jungle becomes visible as the force snaps you awake. You can see Bagheera down the branch; he’s hardly moving. Did he hear you?
As the tight coils settle around you the colors ripple back through your vision, turning the jungle dark and blurry. You hear Bagheera through the fog of your mind.
“It’s no use arguing anymore, now no more talk . . .” Bagheera’s voice fades as your mind fades under the lamia’s spell. A deep, soft warmth overtakes you. Your body tingles in her coils, your mind feels electric, and a grin spreads over your face as euphoria takes over your mind. You grin wider as you hear the lamia giggle; you’re happy that the wonderful, perfect lamia is happy. You would do anything to make her happy.
“They won’t be here in the morning,” she says. You feel a desire to make that happen, to not be there come morning. You settle for the next best thing, to give yourself to the lamia’s power and let her do with you what she will.
A shout cuts through the darkness and a rumble knocks the thick weight off you, snapping you awake. Your jumbled mind returns, thoughts twisting. Your head feels full of pretty paint, but it’s leaking out. You try to remember what happened.
“You have just made a serious mistake.”
You look up to see that pretty lamia you’d stared at a little too long, and whose coils—you blush—are still loosely around you. Her back is to you as she slithers to Bagheera, who backs up down the branch. Is she threatening him? He tries to convince her to stop, but she tells him to look her in the eye.
The eyes . . . Just like you’d been doing. You felt dizzy, like you lost control when you did that. Bagheera might be in trouble. Maybe you should help him. Your skin brushes the lamia’s scales; they feel nice. Helping Bagheera would mean rising from the coils. A flash of color in your head reminds you of how good it felt to stare. Maybe you shouldn’t interrupt Bagheera and the lamia.
-33a No, help Bagheera! This lamia is bad news, and even if you disagree with Bagheera he’s still your friend and guardian.
–33b Don’t help him. They’re probably just working out a difference of opinion in a mature, rational way, and it’s good if the lamia shows him pretty colors so he knows the error of his ways, and you want to sleep in the lamia’s coils . . .
–17c You don’t know! You don’t know, man! You can’t handle having to choose all the time!