Xannajhandra-tha drifted nearer the surface.
The vent-heated lake warmed his naked body and gave his mind comfort. Inside the water he felt purposeful and distinct. He allowed his tail to uncoil and sink into the hotter layers nearer this last vent on the downstream end of the lake. As it dropped his awareness of place increased. The heat differential between his head and tail fed a sense he couldn’t feel outside–on the ground. For Xannajhandra-tha the contrast made decisions easier. He wanted to have one last memory from one final facile decision.
He lulled to one side and pushed the opposite eye outside into the cold air. The surface tension tickled at the base of his eye as he lightly bobbed in the still water.
Outside, the lake steamed. Very few fliers and no walkers would be able to see him depart the safety of the water. He slipped out making no more noise than necessary and none that wouldn’t be mistaken for the sound of the lake water overflowing into the stream nearby.
Next, he changed shape.
Word count: 185