Lana looked at herself in the mirror, her usually well-coiffed hair a mess, her make-up running from crying. Her black clothes were on the floor so she was left standing in her underwear. Damn it, she thought as she sat down on her bed. I've done everything I could think of to change myself, she thought. I left Nell and Whitney, I quit cheerleading, created the Talon, sold the Talon, tried to forge a relationship with my biological father, and went to Paris and spent an entire summer there. But here I am, living in Smallville, going to the local college. Clark's gone. So are Lex and Chloe.
All my life, I wanted to be someone different, someone who isn't afraid to stay outside of Smallville without someone's hand to hold. I know I'm so much more. Lana stopped sniffling for a second as she remembered a way that might work where all others had failed. She went into her closet and opened up a lockbox she had in there. Inside was an antique spell book she bought to replace the one she had lost.
Flipping through the book, she found a character on "Transformations." She turned to the spell called "Caterpillar." The "Caterpillar" spell as described in the book required high-level magic and several expensive and noxious ingredients. The listed side-effects of the spell were somewhat vague. It warned that during the process the person on whom the spell was cast would eat almost anything and everything to fuel the change and that it was not something to do lightly since it would completely and utterly change the person upon whom the spell was cast by bringing forth the "real" person. Lana smiled to herself. This is the perfect spell. Then she sniffled again. After all, I have nothing to lose and it's not like anybody will miss me.
During the night of the full moon, she made the potion and cast her pink magic into the potion, reading the incantations as she did so. She picked up the bowl that was warm from the hot liquid inside it and looked at what she was about to drink. It was the color of old moss and the smell was herbal and medicinal. She swallowed and trembled for a second about whether or not it was actually wise to drink it.
When she was about to pour the stuff down the sink, she thought about a letter she had received from Chloe the other day about how things were for everybody in Metropolis. It turned out that Pete had recently transferred to Metropolis University and they had started hanging out again like they had in freshman year of high school. Pete was working part-time for Luthercorp to fund his education while she and Clark were using work-study to get through school. Stories about study sessions, going to the occasional club and late-night snooping made her feel left behind and slighted as if she was a little girl at a fancy dinner who was told she couldn't sit at the adults' table. She drank the bitter, viscous brew.
After a day or two had passed, Lana was disappointed to find nothing different about herself. She would've written off the spell as a particularly expensive failure if it weren't for the fact that on the third morning, she suffered from a raging hunger. She ate the contents of an entire cereal box and several cups of milk but that only temporarily satiated her. She surprised a few acquaintances at school when she wolfed down two super burritos and a large smoothie for lunch. For dinner, she had bought take-out from a nearby delicatessen. The manager had asked if she was buying dinner for her study group. She merely smiled and nodded at him, unwilling to explain the situation.
Even after she ate the food, she only felt full for what seemed like minutes and the hunger pangs would seem to knock on her belly within a few hours. Sleep was no refuge for this. Midnight snacking on pints of ice cream and candy bars became a necessity for her to get any sleep at all. And the frightening thing was that she wasn't gaining a single ounce.
And it wasn't the only effect of the spell. Her skin felt unusually dry and a few people asked if she was all right since she looked flushed. Her sleep that night was troubled by murky dreams where her bones had lost their stiffness and were being twisted into pretzel-like configurations while monarch butterfly wings burst through her back.
What, she thought as she awoke, terrified. What is this turning me into? She thought of calling for help, of asking her old friends to help her reverse this spell. But they weren't magicians. She knew that even Clark was helpless before magic. Frightened, she picked up the spell book and looked for a spell to counter the one she had cast. Unfortunately, the spell didn't have a known counter charm.
By the next night, her skin had turned into the color of old, faded newspaper. She felt both strangely brittle and squishy inside. She was constantly thirsty and even after a drink of water, her throat felt dry and scratchy. Her entire body had puffed up as someone had pumped it full of air. She crawled into bed and stared up at the ceiling, hoping that this was a sign that the spell was running its course.
All day and night, she slipped in and out of consciousness. She felt a weird tapping inside of her body. It was such a strange sensation; feeling physically weighed down yet light-headed. I look so hideous, she thought. Her mind had started to flash through the past going back and forth through the important points of her life. When she did open her eyes, she'd look at her pillow and realize that her hair was falling out. Her skin and dried and become flaky to the point that it was leaving a powdery residue on the sheets.
The fever and sluggishness had dulled her feelings to the point that she couldn't bring herself to feel any real fear. She could only wish and wish for it all to be over. She felt like she was drowning in her own body, like somehow she was being diluted like little particles of herself were floating away from each other and becoming part of something else where her presence would be indiscernible. She raised her arms and tried to cry out but found it impossible to raise her voice above a small gasp.
And then there was darkness.
A hand broke the fragile skin cocoon that was Lana's bloated body. The rest followed and what was once inside Lana Lang took a towel and wiped off what was basically fragments of the egg shell that had once held the chick inside. As the sun rose, the mirror in the room reflected a woman with red hair and blue eyes and a much shapely body than her host's. She looked at her reflection and laughed in a much deeper and stronger voice than the girl whose body she had consumed in order to come into being. And she had one thing to say:
"I am the real Lana Lang."
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