|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
One of the most precious commodities for a heroin user is the clean needle. John and Tracy were homeless, petty thieves and hopelessly addicted, but even when their worst cravings were upon them, neither had ever compromised. Brother and sister, they shared needles with each other, but would not do so with anybody else. AIDS is not a pleasant way to die.
Word got around about how careful they were. Some people resented them for not wanting to share with them, others respected them. As far as Bully Benson - nobody knew his real first name - was concerned, this made them a prime target.
He had burst into their squat whilst Tracy was out, earning their stuff, threatening to gut John if he didn't surrender all of their stock. Bully as in a wild, paranoid state, withdrawal symptoms beginning to kick in. John had no doubts that he would carry out his threat.
So it was that when she returned that night, Tracy found that they had a hit each of good heroin, but no way to take it. Depressed, they hid the stuff away and decided to try for a MacDonald's instead.
Their squat was in the end block of an old row of terraced housing. Originally, it had housed workers for a cloth factory. The factory, separated from the houses by an alleyway, had been converted into a warehouse a couple of decades ago, but that too had fallen into disuse.
Tonight, though, there were lights in there. At first, John thought it was just a couple of squatters moving in, but the lights were too strong and too steady to be torches. Curious, he beckoned Tracy over to peer through the window.
Inside were three men. These were no squatters; all three were smartly dressed, and one was wearing a lab coat. They busied themselves setting up some equipment, apparently running it with some kind of generator.
John's stomach growled, and he was starting to loose interest when the men removed a covering from a squareish object, revealing a cage containing an animal. Straining, he made out that it was some sort of dog - no, a wolf. It seemed to be sleeping. The men lifted it out of the cage, and took it to a clean table. They spent a long time - an hour or two - poking, prodding, using unfamiliar devices, taking photographs and examining it whilst John and Tracy watched, entranced.
John's eye was caught, in particular, when the man in the coat took a needle and syringe from a sterile pack and used it to take a sample of blood from the wolf before transferring it to a container. Casually, he tossed the empty syringe into a corner of the room. One of the other men caught his arm and spoke. The first man spoke again. Apparently, his reply satisfied the other, for they returned to their work without recovering the needle.
Eventually, they finished, returned the animal to its cage, and then began packing up the equipment. Within a few minutes, they had removed it all, presumably to a waiting van. After a few moments, John stepped cautiously towards the front of the building, Tracy following close behind. They rounded the corner just in time to see a large blue van driving away.
"What was that, man?" Tracy was the first to speak.
John just shook his head in reply and walked over to the warehouse door. It was unlocked, and opened easily. Apart from the disturbance in the dust on the floor, there was no sign that the men had been here. Except one.
Tracy watched, puzzled, as John headed straight into the corner of the room, picked up a small object and walked back to her with it. Her eyes widened when she saw that it was the syringe.
"Yuck, man, that's grim."
"C'mon, it's not like it's gonna have the plague or anything. You saw how careful they were with it, right? Anyway, wolves are, like, protected species. You can't hurt them. I reckon, right, that they wanted to examine it, but the zoo wouldn't let them or something so they snatched it and they've gone off to put it back." John had a strong craving for a hit now. He knew that he probably wasn't thinking quite straight, but he didn't much care. Forestalling argument, he headed off back to their room.
Tracy was reluctant, but she had relented. After all, she wanted a hit too. They had made up the heroin and filled the syringe. John lay down on his mattress and bared his arm. Slowly, carefully, she forced half of the drug into him, then lay back and did the same to herself, waiting for the rush to come.
It didn't arrive. She felt a bit of a high, but it was nothing compared to what it should have been. Next to her, John stirred too.
"That wasn't fucking proper stuff. Shit. Where'd you get it?"
"The usual, man, the usual. I'll see him tomorrow about it."
John grunted an acknowledgement. Tracy had a good supplier; he'd never let them down before. But he was frustrated. Twice in one day, the means to a decent hit had been snatched from him. He started to get up, but found he was shaking.
"I don't feel too good, Sis."
John propped himself up on one elbow. He was weak, he was shivering and his teeth were chattering. It felt like he had the flu. His head throbbed. Looking up, he saw that Tracy didn't look much better.
He felt goosebumps all over his skin, prickling uncomfortably. Groggily, he rubbed a hand across his face. The sensation was unfamiliar, disturbing. Something was wrong. He drew back his hand and stared at it. Thick, dark stubble was growing from its back.
He gave a low moan and turned his hand over. His palm was swelling up and darkening. He could feel his fingernails reforming into claws, aching dully. All over, his clothes began to feel tight. His face was being pulled forwards, teeth growing and sharpening, his ears pulling upwards into points, his spine wriggling and expanding - a thousand alien sensations fought for attention.
Crying hoarsely, he staggered to his feet as they burst out of their socks. He was momentarily overwhelmed as his nose suddenly filled the room with scents. His mind began to fade out as he crawled over to his sister, undergoing similar changes. He was conscious of licking her furred face, and then - nothing.
Slowly, slowly, he came round. He felt cold - the wind was biting at him. Something was tickling his nose. He opened his eyes a crack, and the light stabbed at him. Ignoring the thumping headache, he sat up gingerly and forced his eyelids open.
He was nestled in a corner of the park, sheltering in the long grass where two hedges met. Cuddled up to him was Tracy. They were dirty and semi-naked, their remaining clothes ripped. She stirred, and John gently moved away from her. She groaned and raised her head.
"John, that was the worst fuckin' trip I ever had."
"Me too, Sis. I ain't never touchin' that shit again."
But they both knew he would.
Bad Trip copyright 1997 by Mat Charles.
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