“Take my advice, if you meet anything that’s going to be human and isn’t yet, or used to be human once and isn't now, or ought to be human and isn’t, keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet.”
That chilling line from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the main reason I consider C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy book the definitive survival guide for Enchantra. Seriously, you shouldn’t go anywhere on that bewitched planet without a hatchet.
Fans of Enchantra, and they are legion, think me either bigoted or paranoid. They argue that the indigenous, shape-shifting sentients of the planet have every right to mimic human form in any way they please. They variously refer to Enchantrans as sprites and sylphs, imps and nymphs, fay and faeries, pucks and pixies, deeming them playful and harmless.
I call them parasites. Insidious leeches who latch onto your identity and suck your soul dry. Tricky little ticks who burrow into your being, siphon off your authenticity to make a mockery of humanness.
Supporters claim that it’s simply like looking in a mirror, or casting a hologram. That it’s nothing more than interspecies cosplay for Enchantrans. That they can only simulate the form of another creature for a very short time. That they can’t actually inhabit our bodies or minds, or think or speak for us. That they are only able to form a fleeting reflection of our physical selves, much like creating an avatar.
Fans say the Enchantrans’ antics are all in good fun. I say their ability to bedazzle is disturbing. And ultimately demonic.
A type of possession.
How do I know? It happened to me in my first encounter with an Enchantran which, I readily admit, is a most delicate, diaphanous and alluring being. A gossamer glow, a silky aura, surrounds the lemur-like creature and this bio-radiance is thought to be the source of their entrancing mimicry.
To meet and Enchantran is to be put in a kind of trance, an almost out-of-body reverie where you come face-to-face with yourself. The xeno-biologists whose field study I had joined were thrilled by the experience, reporting that interacting with their Enchantran doppelgangers had tickled them pink.
I saw nothing but red. Mocked by the wicked shape-shifting of the heathen Enchantran before me.
You see, I’m not a xeno-biologist. I’m an eco-cleric. A person of peace, of faith, of duty. The duty to bring divine Word to all indigenous sentients in a culturally sensitive way. It is a magnificent responsibility. A sacred charge.
For which I was humiliated. The form the Enchantran reflected back to me was not the portrait of a mild man of peace and harmony, acceptance and tolerance, piousness and sanctity as I saw myself. Rather it was a picture from which Dorian Gray would cower. Such bursting megalomania, such delirious savageness, such flamboyant devilry!
The message was very clear. Our humanity was being stolen and abused. Our eternal souls ridiculed and put at risk. Evil was afoot. The Enchantrans, like any heathen sentients, were not to be trusted.
So, where once I would have reached for the divine Word as an offering of mutual hope and salvation, now I heed the words of C. S. Lewis and feel for my hatchet.