|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
The alarm hadn't gone off yet, and even with eyes closed Alex could tell that it was dark outside. Still only half-awake, he didn't want to see what time it was. That would just make it harder to get back to sleep. He sighed in annoyance at whatever had interrupted his slumber, and tried to drift back off.
Damn it. Now he couldn't get comfortable. The mattress was uneven and lumpy, and seemed to be tilted. Shifting around only increased unfamiliar sensations. He was on his side, arms and legs splayed stiffly over the edge of the bed, and his hands and feet felt numb. To make matters worse, something stank to high heaven, a heavy odor of sweat, dust, and things he couldn't even name.
Dragging his eyes open didn't help matters. Everything was blurred and distorted, and he seemed to looking at the ceiling while his face was pointed towards the wall. He tried to turn his head to look at the alarm clock, only to bang his face against the headboard. Surprise and the mild pain helped break through the heavy fatigue, and he struggled to get up.
Shit. Must've slept wrong. Knees wouldn't bend, and his elbows felt twisted. Alex tried again, trying to coordinate unresponsive limbs. This time he threw his weight into the effort, and ended up rolling off the bed onto all fours. The floor was a lot closer than he expected it to be, and he banging heavily into the dresser. Though he barely felt the impact, there was a splintering sound followed by a small avalanche of papers and junk mail.
It was hard to concentrate, and he felt swollen and stiff all over. A hangover?. That didn't make sense. He'd had maybe two beers last night, not enough for even a slight buzz. Balance was off, and he could barely think.
What the hell was wrong with his eyes? The images were not just blurred and distorted, they seemed to be of opposite sides of the room. He tried to focus forward, but vision was split by a wide shape which protruded from his face. It took a moment to realize that he was almost eye-level with the top of the door. Swinging his head around brought his body into view, the dark mass dwarfing the furniture and the rest of the room.
Legs were bent oddly, but he wasn't kneeling. It was hard to look at his arms. His neck was too long, and seemd to come out of his back instead of his shoulders. The view he got was of two rounded limbs which ended in dark lumps. What had happened to his hands? Mental efforts to wiggle his fingers had no effect.
Alex leaned forward in automatic response to churnings within his stomach. Strange muscles twitched at the base of his spine, and he turned to see a bushy knob lift up and to the side behind him. A tail? The jumble of blurred images finally converged into a familiar shape. He was a horse!
The shock almost cleared his mind, and he also realized with horror that he was in the midst of taking a very horse-like dump. Drawing every scrap of willpower, he tried to stop the process, but found that he had no more control than an infant. There was a plop from behind him as his bowels emptied, followed by a stiffening between his legs that erupted in a hard stream of urine.
Control returned only after he had drained what had to be gallons of liquid from his bladder, and he twisted around again to see the huge organ shrinking slowly back into a dark cocoon between his legs. Hind legs. The two pillars of flesh and bone which held up his front end certainly didn't function as arms anymore.
It was hard to distinguish much with this lousy eyesight, but the distinctive long hair which covered his lower legs and hooves brought up images from countless beer commercials. A Clydesdale? Well, the size seemed about right. His mane brushed the ceiling, and there was barely room for him between the furniture. Must be a good-sized stallion, even for his breed.
Alex shook his massive head, bewildered by the calm assessment of his new body. He was a horse, dammit! Even as he thought that, he realized how impossible that was. People didn't turn into horses. This had to be some really intense dream. That made sense, didn't it? He'd had stranger dreams than this. The blurred vision fit, but why did this imagined body feel so real? He was aware of every inch of his equine form. Only a few of the sensations were similar to those of his human body, even those distorted by size and mass.
He shook himself again, this time in self-reproach. Idiot! No matter what he thought he felt, this was all some weird nightmare. With that decided, he found it easy to relax again. Actually, it was sort of interesting. Being a horse felt, well, normal, once he stopped fighting it. The detail and realism was surprising, especially since he didn't know anything about animals. The hooves, for instance. It was sorta like having your foot fall asleep, without the stinging. Not completely numb, though. He could feel the pressure of his own weight, and even had a vague impression of the surface under him.
The smells were incredible. The strongest came from the still-visible pool of urine under him, but there were dozens of others which he couldn't even identify. One was familiar, though. Hay or straw, though the scent aroused hunger instead of sneezing. It was stronger behind him, and he twisted around and tried to concentrate on the view from his left eye.
The fuzzy image of the window faded into rolling mist. The back wall faced a shopping center, not a pasture, yet he could hear horses on the other side. It was more than noise. Their scents mixed now with that of the hay.
Alex snorted, and worked his jaws absently as he pondered the opening. There wasn't much he could do standing around in his bedroom. He could try to wake up. This was getting to be enjoyable, though. He didn't usually dream in this much detail, and the sensations were incredible. Even the heavy odor of manure and urine no longer bothered him - it was almost pleasant.
He twisted around, carefully lifting the huge legs as he turned to face the mist. As he stepped on the remains of the bed, metal and fabric crumbled into long strands of hay, and the carpet flattened into hard-packed dirt. The rich scent of earth mixed with that of old wood as off-white plaster became coarse, unpainted boards. Everything in the room was changing around him.
No, not everything. The horse blinders which had been hanging over his dresser were still there, now hanging from a metal spike instead of a big picture hook. He'd bought the antique harness from a junk shop as a gag gift for a friend's wedding. The leather was almost black with dirt and oil from the animals it had been used on, and still smelled of sweat. He'd had second thoughts later, and ended up hanging it up on the wall to cover a blank spot.
He tried to focus on the straps, and realized that the once-cracked and dried-out leather was shiny and smooth. Even the bit shone like silver, no sign of the teeth marks and spots of rust. All this was observed with remarkable calmness, considering the fact that he was now just the sort of animal that would wear such a thing. Even as he thought that, a small form walked through the mist into the room, and headed for the harness.
The newcomer was a boy, maybe 14 or 15, dressed in ragged shorts. Dirty and homely, he showed no sign of surprise or even interest in Alex. Actually, he looked bored. The kid pulled the harness off the wall and came towards him with obvious intent. Alex started to back away instinctively, but then forced himself to relax. Whatever was going on, the harness was part of it. He might as well go along with things for now.
The harness smelled of new leather, a sharp contrast of the boy's odor of sweat and dirt. It slipped over his muzzle easily, and the bit fell into a gap between his teeth. It had a weird taste, cold and somehow salty. Not really uncomfortable, though he was aware the metal was there. The boy cinched him up expertly, and then moved back into the mist. He returned with another, larger set of straps, which he placed around Alex's neck and chest.
That tightened, he grabbed the strap under the left blinder, and pulled towards the opening. Alex followed automatically, stepping through the misty opening into a large, ramshackle barn. Twisting around, Alex saw that the opening they passed through was now simply the gate of a large stall. No mist obscured the view.
The boy pulled again, leading him outside A plow stood next to the door, and Alex had no doubt as to who was going to pull it. The hitching routine was oddly familiar, and he moved automatically as the boy worked. Once hooked up, he stepped forward, enjoying the feel of powerful muscles. The plow bit, and dragged a little. He leaned forward a bit, and found that the ground offered little resistance to his bulk.
Falling into a steady, slow walk, he began to drag the plow up and down the large field. The boy rode the heavy blade, occasionally jumping off to guide it. The work was automatic, oddly satisfying. The sun was warm, but he felt no strain or exertion. Instead, a glow of pleasure built as he plodded along, and conscious thought faded into pleasant stupor.
They stopped occasionally, once for the boy to eat something from a cloth sack hung from his waist, and several times for Alex to drink water and eat oats from his own feed bag. He expected everything to be bland, but tastes had changed with the body. The water and oats both provided rich flavors, some familiar and some unidentifiable. If such plain stuff was this flavorful, a pizza would probably burn out his mouth.
The sun was going down when they finally turned back towards the barn. Alex was tired, yet oddly content. After the boy unhooked the plow, he led Alex back to the barn. The stall had been cleaned during the day, and the feed bin held fresh oats and grain. As he ate, the boy gave him a complete grooming which felt wonderful. Muscles rippled under the brush, and he felt stimulated inside and out.
When the last snarl was pulled from his mane and tail, the boy led him back outside, this time to a large corral where other horses were wandering free. Alex noted with some satisfaction that he was obviously the biggest. There were only a couple of other males here, and both kept thier distance. His real attention was immediately drawn to one of the big mares.
Her scent brought new energy to his muscles, as well as a second and more intense stiffening. Approaching her carefully, he lowered his head and breathed in the heady aroma of her invitation. Animal instincts and thoughts took control as he began a courtship ritual of prancing, shaking his head, and was guided by instinct, animal passions and thoughts fully in control. short, and he mounted her with a mix of desire and curiosity.
Pleasure was all-consuming, the intensity of feelings and sensations almost overwhelming. Instinct was in full control, leaving him only partially conscious of the mating act. Although the physical aspect was incredibly powerful, he discovered that there was a mental satisfaction of desires. Certainly not love in the human sense - more a primal instinct. Very different, yet somehow providing similar fulfillment.
Normal consciousness did not return until after he was already disengaged and standing next to the mare. Her scent was locked in his memory, and he already felt a bonding with her. Again, not love. She was his mare, and was his responsibility. Was it the human in him that felt the tie? No. Somehow he knew that he was acting and thinking as a beast, yet fully aware of his human past.
The boy returned, and grinned as he tied a loose halter around Alex's neck. Another boy came for the mare, and they were led back to the stable. The boy stopped him just inside and guided him into a large open area. Pulling out brushes, a bucket, and other stuff, he gave Alex a complete grooming which felt wonderful. Muscles rippled and pulled under the brush, and he felt stimulated inside and out. Fatigue vanished, and he seemed somehow lighter and more energetic.
The boy patted his rump affectionately when he was done, and then came forward to stroke his snout. "You did real good today. Want to stay?" Alex was confused by the words. Was the kid actually talking to him? He turned his head to focus on the human, and saw that the boy was looking directly at him. "Yeah. I know you're human. Or used to be. The stall there is special. Brings people here as horses."
Alex stared at the rolling mist, and thought he could even see the faint image of his bedroom forming. Go back? He wasn't sure he wanted to, but.. It was wrong to stay here as an animal, wasn't it? This body was so alive. He still tingled from the grooming, and even the dull fatigue of plowing was somehow pleasant.
It occurred to him that there was not much to go back to. A desk job, secure and boring. No real relationships - his family was scattered, even his parents didn't keep in touch. It was sad to think that he was more alive as a beast than he had ever been as a human.
The boy watched the movement and sighed. "You can go back just by going in there at night. You'll wake up back in your bed, though all the stuff will still be messy and broken. You'll be a lot younger, though. I guess you were about 30 or so, right?" Alex nodded. "Age don't really translate directly, but you were about 12 years old as a horse. That's about halfway to old age. I took ya' back to to a 2 year-old. Probably be about my age as a human." Alex stared at the boy, having trouble accepting the news. The boy pointed towards the mist. "Once you go back, you can't come back again. If you want to stay, I'll give you a real nice stall of your own."
A touch on his nostrils brought him out of his gloom. "You aren't the only one to stay." The boy grinned again, and waved a hand towards the other stalls. "All of the horses here used to be people from your world. Yeah, even the mare." Alex snorted in surprise, but found the information comforting. The boy walked past the misty stall and pointed towards a large empty stall near it. "You can have this one, if you like."
Alex plodded over to look. Fresh hay covered the floor, and the heady scent of fresh oats reached him from a full feed bag hung on the wall. The image of his room was sharp now in the other stall, yet it held no draw for him. Without a second thought, he stepped into the fresh stall and allowed the boy to place the feedback over his head.
The boy stepped out and watched the young stallion eat. The colt would be a fine breeder. Sometimes they didn't keep their smarts, but this one had gone all the way voluntarily. The image of the bedroom had already started to fade, and he stood before it a moment. It might be interesting trying a different life. Then he shook his head. With a wave of his hand, the image suddenly sharpened. The crushed mattress and soiled bedding shifted and changed back to a rumpled but clean and intact bed. All traces of the stallion's existence faded. Just another disappearance in that world. Then he snapped his fingers, and the image vanished with the mist.
- end -
Please address all comments or questions to Bob Stein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Night Mares copyright 1996 by Bob Stein.
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