Boidae “Dae” Salazar loved the Reptile House at the zoo. She would spend hours in there carefully observing and imitating lizards, turtles, and especially snakes. She wanted more than anything to be free like the animals she saw in cages and behind glass.
Freedom is an interesting concept. The zoo animals weren’t physically free but she envied them nonetheless. They were free because they existed as they were, not as they hoped to be. Dae wanted that.
On a whim, Dae tried talking to her favorite animal while playing in the neighboring wood. If you ask her now, she wouldn’t remember the first thing she ever said to a snake was. What she does remember is that, without hesitation, the small snake began to slither toward her.
Anyone else would have run, but not Dae. Her heart filled with excitement and her skin tingled with possibility as another snake came out of hiding. They made their way towards her. At her feet, they worked their way up her legs and torso, then wrapped around each of her arms. The pressure they exerted wasn’t menacing, but comforting. The snakes felt like an extension of Dae’s body. In that moment, she finally felt it: free.
The more she began to communicate with the snakes, the more she began to feel like them. Literally. In no time at all, Dae realized her full potential: able to transform into the animal she loved whenever she pleased. It was in this form that she felt most like herself and spent the majority of her time. The other snakes followed her willingly and obeyed without hesitation; respecting her ability to toe the line of two worlds.
On one of her wildwood trips, Dae and a couple of her favorites came across a woman all alone, surrounded by greenery. She wasn’t surrounded the way Dae was. It was as if the plants were gravitating toward her as she whispered to them softly. When the woman saw the three snakes approach, she didn’t jump or stop what she was doing (neither did the plants). Instead, she offered a slow, knowing smile when her eyes fell upon the largest snake: Dae.
“I’ve heard about you,” the woman said, as if she knew the snake could understand her. “I’m family. You just don’t know it yet.”