The last thing Snake-Boy remembered was weird. He had watched his own soul step calmly out of his body and float there in front of him, between him and Sky Lord, sparkly and greenish and sissified and traitorous. It turned, to the left, to the right, priss, priss, priss, showing off all of its good sides, eager to please. Snake-Boy realized then that he — the “he” that was still in his body, anyway — was screaming, from all five of his mouths (the one in his face, and the four in the faces of the snakes that grew out of his shoulders). Then Sky Lord shut his third eye, and Snake-Boy’s brain went black. First his shoulder snakes’ brains went black. Then his own brain went black.
When he woke, he thought that he was still screaming, but then he realized that he was not. He was singing instead. He wasn’t sure how long he had been doing so, if maybe the screaming he had done before passing out had been singing, too. He was singing the song of the SerpenTerrorist, his maker, the same song that all of his brothers had been born singing. He had thought, up until this moment, that he did not know that song. He had thought that he had been born different. He had thought that his programming hadn’t taken in the egg. In a way, he felt relief. At least he wasn’t a freak.
Then a brass-knuckled fist — belonging to the Great Hunter, though Snake-Boy did not yet know that name — pounded into his face, repeatedly.
“Snap out of it,” screamed the Great Hunter.
Snake-Boy did not pay attention to the Great Hunter, or his brass knuckles. He was too busy looking at his soul, which had not yet reconnected itself to him. It floated in the air above and behind the Great Hunter (who continued his two-fisted assault on Snake-Boy’s face, and on the faces of Snake-Boy’s shoulder-snakes, more than a match for all of those faces). Snake-Boy’s soul winced with every blow that Snake-Boy’s body’s face received.
“Wait,” said Snake-Boy, from the mouth of his face in his body. “Wait,” he said, from the mouths of his shoulder-snakes.
The Great Hunter stopped hitting him.
“You’re done singing, then?” said the Great Hunter.
“Wait,” said Snake-Boy. “Just. Wait. One second. Please.” It was all he could do to keep from singing. The song came out of the edges of his mouth a little bit. The Great Hunter made as if to hit him. But Snake-Boy held up a hand: wait. He then used that same hand to gesture to his soul. It re-entered his body. The urge to sing stopped.
“There,” said Snake-Boy. “Now. Okay.”
The Great Hunter started hitting him again. He pummeled the Snake-Boy back into unconsciousness.
Next: Snake-Boy Comes Out, Part One