|The Transformation Story Archive||With Fur and Claws...|
The Mystery Boy
As I drove down I-95, I wondered why I was out on the road during the worst snowstorm I'd ever seen. Was I insane? No, just stupid. My boss had said that if I turned down this modeling job, I'd be fired, and I'd been too chicken to fight him. Oh, damn this shyness! I shouldn't be out here on the road, just asking to get killed!
I was so busy mentally insulting myself that I almost missed seeing the small figure huddling by the side of the road. I saw it just in time, however, and pulled over to see what it was, my curiosity overcoming me once again. To my surprise it was a teenager, who seemed to have been hitchhiking, and had passed out from the cold. I couldn't just leave him there, so I loaded him into my car, thinking that if he turned out to be a serial killer, it would just be the perfect end to a perfect day. Realizing that my house was much closer than the hospital, and the storm seemed to be getting worse, I just went home. I dragged him through the doorway, and laid him on the couch. After about an hour of worry that he wouldn't make it, he woke up.
"Where am I?," he asked.
"At my home," I replied. "Don't ask questions yet, you're still too weak. Here, have some soup." I handed him a bowl, and he ate as if he had not seen food in a week. After he finished, I decided I had to learn more about him. "So, who are you?", I asked.
"My name's Josh," he said through chattering teeth. "Sorry to impose like this. I was trying to get back to my home when a horrible storm blew up. I guess I was caught off guard. So, who are you?"
I explained to him who I was and what I was doing out on the road. We talked for awhile, until the storm died down enough to make the roads safe. I offered him a ride home, since I really didn't know much about him, and was a little worried about who he might be, now that he was okay. He accepted, and I drove him to the address he told me. When we got there, I looked around, and was rather surprised.
"But Josh," I said, "this is a zoo!"
He looked at me carefully for a moment, then replied, "Yeah. This is where I spend my nights." I started to protest, but he cut me off. "Don't worry about it. You've done too much for me already. Speaking of that, I promise I will repay your kindness, someday."
I didn't take that too seriously at the time. I just said goodbye to him, and wished him luck. I turned to check my rearview mirror, and when I looked back at him, he was gone. Strange, I thought, but I just drove home.
A few weeks later, I was walking home from another job. I was in a great mood, the day having gone well. I didn't ever mind that my car was in the shop, and I had to walk. I was deep in thought, and didn't even notice the gang come up around me until it was too late. It was a group of about twenty nasty looking guys, and I realized I was in trouble. The man that was apparently their leader came closer and closer to me, until his face was practically touching mine. He said in a low growl, "What are you doing in my gang's territory? You don't belong here!"
I was about to stutter out an answer when he cut me off. "Get her!!" Three other guys rushed up, two holding my arms while the third took my purse, then my watch, then my necklace. I struggled, but to no avail. The lead man spoke again. "A fighter, eh? Hmm... maybe you could prove worth my time after all." He took out a knife, then...
Suddenly, out of the darkness, a Bengal tiger lunged at the brute. It threw him to the ground, and tore at him until he lay unconscious. The other guys, apparently not terribly loyal folk, ran away as fast as their over-muscled legs could carry them. I backed away, scared that I was about to meet the same fate as the man not lying bleeding on the ground. It stepped toward me, and my back suddenly touched a brick wall. Great, a dead end, I thought sarcastically. Just great.
The tiger stopped suddenly, and seemed to twist out of shape. I thought I was losing it when it stood on two legs. Its fur seemed to recede into its body, its tail quickly following suit. Huge ears shrank and moved downward, and claws reformed into fingers. Within a few minutes, I was looking into the totally human eyes of Josh.
"Oh, my God," I whispered, not daring to believe my eyes.
"I promised I'd repay you, didn't I?," he said with a wry grin. "Don't freak out on me now, just calm down and listen for a minute." Still shocked senseless, I just nodded.
"I guess I'll just tell you straight out. I'm a shape shifter. No, I'm not in with Satan, and I'm not a witch. It's just a power I was born with. When my parents found out, they dropped me like trash. I started living at the zoo, spending my nights in cages with various animals. It's not a great life, but it is exciting, and sometimes even fun. You're the only real friend I've ever had, though."
Friend? I thought. Well, I guess so, now.
"Anyway, now that you know about me, would you like to have some fun?"
"What do you mean, fun?," I asked, no longed frightened, but still suspicious.
"Well," he replied, "my power doesn't just affect me. What's your favorite animal?"
"Well, the cheetah," I replied, too daft to fully realize what this might mean.
"Okay," he said, "watch this!"
I felt a strange sensation in my hands, and looked down to see that they were almost completely gone. In their place were two paws, quickly covering with yellow and black fur. The fur spread over my arms, and soon I was furry right up to my shoulders. I could feel the same thing happening to my legs. My face itched, and I tried to scratch it, but discovered that my arms didn't bend that way anymore. Something in my back snapped, and I fell to all fours. I tried to stand up again, but discovered I couldn't. I could see my nose and mouth, now a snout of sorts, push outward, splitting my vision as my eyes moved to the sides of my face. My ears felt like they were moving upward, allowing me to hear things I had never heard before. Then, as suddenly as they had begun, the sensations stopped. I looked at Josh, who now loomed from far above, and he laughed.
"Well, aren't you the surprised looking one! Don't worry, I can turn you back whenever you want. Until then, want to go out in the woods and roam awhile?" I nodded as best I could, and soon another cat, possibly an ocelot, stood beside me.
We spent hours out in the forest, exploring, racing, just having a great time. When the sun began spreading light over the trees, Josh changed back, and I soon found myself human again.
"Have I completely lost it?," I asked him.
"No," he replied. "Would you like to do this again sometime?"
I agreed quickly. Even if I was nuts, there was no denying that I had enjoyed myself more than I had in years, and I was eager to do it again.
Over the next few weeks we went out every night, trying different animals each time. Personally, I liked the wolf form best, but he insisted on never repeating the same creature twice. He wouldn't tell me why, but I was sure he had a reason.
One night I went to meet him at the zoo, which had been our meeting place for quite some time, but he wasn't there. Being so many animals for so many nights straight had given me rather heightened senses, and I could feel fear and anger in the air. I knew that something had happened to Josh, and realized that I was probably the only person on Earth who could save him.
The Mystery Boy copyright 1997 by Sarah.
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