In response to this prompt.
She had finally figured out how to walk on two legs. It had taken at least an hour of trying to walk on all fours, stumbling with arms that were too short and legs that were too long, before she gave up on that– so she crouched, a colorfully-clothed gargoyle, on a short stone border between grass and grasslessness, and she watched the people pass her by.
Most of them ignored her. Some gave her an unreadable look, one eye wide and one narrowed, the lines of fur above each stretched to awkward heights.
The fabric covering her newly-descaled body was heavy and scratchy against sensitive skin, but it kept her warm against the bitter wind that numbed what counted for a nose now, a nubbin of rounded flesh and tiny nostrils. She snorted, watching the steam rise and dissipate almost instantly, and felt her flat teeth with her fat tongue. She tried to ignore the jolting, choking dysphoria.
Once she figured out walking, it was easier. Even staggering and barely balanced, fewer people looked at her. The bag strapped to her back was heavy, but in it she was keeping her proper skin, and she could not leave it behind. Eyes dark and staring, she made her way through the thin crowds that streamed between grass and the center of the grasslessness where large metal beasts roamed on soft wheels.
She touched one, once, when it came to a stop. It was cold against her fingertips and its body had no elasticity. It growled as it moved away, and she stayed on the liminal pathway after that, hands pressed to each other near her steaming mouth.
A person had watched her, made a noise like chuffing or barking, and handed her a small object. White lettering on dark, it said something in the local tongue, and she looked aimlessly at the person as it walked away, still chortling. The back of the object was sticky, and she absently adhered it to her naked forehead before moving on.
Walking became easier as she made her way from the place of tall grey walls to the place of smaller brown walls. There were more trees and more grass, and she ventured onto the short-cropped fields, stumbling only once. If she could feel the ground with her feet, she would move more gracefully, but when she had removed the foot-coverings, the earth had been too cold for such weak skin and potent nerve endings. She had hidden her feet again and relished the return of warmth.
Nervous again, she watched the sky, seeking the flash that would guide her– but the heavens were clear and bright and featureless, empty but for the chill wind. She kept moving, restless, a crackle of electricity building in her stomach. She had a vague idea of direction, and she knew she was on a good path, but the alien world around her was disconcerting still. There were less people and more metal creatures here, but they moved slower and more quietly, as though this were an area of quietude and peace.
She watched with interest as one of the metal beasts stopped near a white patch in a brown wall; it flared its gills wide and regurgitated a person. She was more surprised at the lack of mess and fluids than at the action; she had seen people trapped inside the creatures as they growled past, wheels spinning on the hard grasslessness that cut apart the areas where she could safely travel.
Then, as she resumed moving, there– the barest glimmer of brightness in the sky, forward and left of her path. She hastily cut across more grassy areas, pushing herself over a short white barrier, until the spark faded. She reached her destination just as a person finished stuffing something stiff and blood-red into a bag.
They exchanged looks uncertainly, and the person put its bag on its back, like she had carried hers.
“Ready?” she asked, the word sibilant and older than the teeth from which it escaped.
A familiar expression broke across the other person’s face, relief and recognition in one. Its eyes were as pale as hers were dark. “Yes,” it answered in a deeper voice, in the same tongue.
She held out a hand, still unnerving for its missing claws, and the other person took it.