|The Transformation Story Archive||With Fur and Claws...|
Shifting in this world happens naturally to, on average, 2% of the population. It usually happens at the age of 15, any later is rare, though some have been said to change as late as 21. The exact causes are shrouded in mystery, how they are so ordered defies the laws of physics, biochemistry and just about any scientific field you can name. The fact that the majority of shifts are predators, and all are mammals, and that all stay in humanoid form with little variation, and that genetic variation has little bearing on how and when you shift baffles everybody. All that is known is that they all occur during times of great stress or emotional outbursts, and such an event occurred at a time where I needed a little distraction.
It was the last GCSE exam of the term, and after this I was Scot-free for the next 3 months. 3 months man, thatís an eternity for someone like me who hates school so bad. The fact that Iím a "straight-A" student has nothing to do with my attitude. For all I care, the education system could collapse and I wouldnít know the difference. In fact, Iíd probably learn more from sitting on my arse with the TV blaring at me all day while I munched crisps and cake even as my heart screamed at me to do some exercise.
Anyway, it was an I.T. exam, and it was one of the few ones I had done much revision for, but it still took me most of the exam time to get through most of the paper. I year ago, I would have panicked while doing it, but I am proud to say that I was ice cool for most of the exam. Operative word being most. You know when you get to the last exam-type question and you just canít be bothered? You just take a little break and look around the hall, seeing if anyone else you know is in a similar predicament, looking around in the last 10 minutes and knowing that pretty soon theyíll be walking into town, or being driven home, and they can drop into McDonald's and have a burger and chips, with nothing to stop them.
So Iím looking around, and thereís Archie up in front of me, a couple of desks forward on my right. Heís looking around like I am too, we make eye contact, and he smiles that kind of tired reassuring smile that is right for this kind of exam. I then point at the paper and do the slitting-the-throat movement with my hand, he smirks silently, and shows that heís on the last question as well, before miming wiping his forehead and mouthing "phew!"
Innocent enough, right? After that, I was going to get my head down and finish that question so that my conscience wouldnít hurt me. One thing I noticed was how everyone around me was working so hard, or appeared to be, when they usually went to look around if they heard others fidgeting. One guy next to me was from another class, and I didnít know him, but he glanced briefly at a spot about 3 feet above me to my left and behind me... I turned round slowly to stare into the face of the Head Examiner who had come into school for the final exam. Now, normally, he couldnít have snuck up like that, usually, in the silent hall, with the wooden floors, each footstep would have been a warning siren to people like me. But here, they had put down this white sheeting to stop the chairs and tables scraping the floor, and this had cushioned his footsteps.
He was a real tight arse; he must have been retiring age. He had waltzed into the exam at the beginning with an aura of self-importance that made everyone think to themselves what a smug bastard he was. He wore one of those suits that cost lots but has no quality, a tasteless bow tie and that condescending smile that, no matter how intelligent you are, makes you feel like a school kid being talked down to. The scraggly white hair, the old-fashioned glasses, the way he walked and talked made you feel that this man had died long ago, and due to some perverted resurrection, had come to life again in the 21st century.
"Do we have a problem?" He asked rhetorically, he had the answer he wanted. That icy condescending smile was back.
"No sir." I mumbled. I was playing it safe, I didnít want my chances blown because some miserable old git thought that I was cheating.
"Oh, I think that you do" he stated. He was relishing every moment of this, you could tell.
"Oh dear," he said in a mocking tone, "you seem to be stuck on the last question, I wonder if your friend is as well?" He raised his voice a little for that.
Archie had had one eye on us until then, but as he saw that he was going to be talked to, he tried extra hard to look involved in his work. The examiner casually marched up to him and flicked through his paper, his eyebrows arching in triumph, and he came back to me with nothing nice to say.
"Your little friend seems to be stuck on the same question, seems to have done the same amount of questions as you and seems to have written similar things, care to explain?"
I think that it started there. Until then, I had felt only fear; the idea of being kicked off one examination board and maybe more was enough to make me more than a little nervous. But this idiot, this utter twat, thought that he could ruin my life, and that set me off into rage. He loved to watch people squirm. He loved to watch "kids" like me feeling smaller than him. Sad though it was, he was the kind of person that relishes the tiny scraps of power that are thrown his way, and likes the chance to bully anyone for anything.
But not then, not when I was so close to escaping my GSCE course and getting my holiday. I wasnít going to bend and scrape to this scrawny old man, this insignificant wretch that wanted to make life miserable for everyone else.
Then I felt it properly. First, it was the same as that feeling when youíre scared or excited about something and it tingles all over, then my internal organs suddenly decided that where they were was not good enough and that perhaps they should move house. Then they decided that maybe changing completely would be nice. Meanwhile, my lungs and ribs restructured themselves, under the impression that maybe they had a better plan for something to do with my body.
Gasping for breath against this sudden internal onslaught, I retched, but nothing came out, except a nice gobbet of blood that punctuated a gap on my paper. Until then, the examiner had been lecturing me, and had snapped,
"Oh donít try the sick routine, it really is pathetic."
But now he wasnít so sure of himself.
We had drawn the attention of several people nearby, but the blood and retching got half the hall staring. The examiner gaped in fear as blood filled my mouth and ran down my chin onto my shirt in small rivulets. This time it was my teeth. It finally dawned on me. I was Changing.
I hyperventilated as new incisors viciously pushed my old teeth out of the way. Despite the blood, it wasnít as painful as it looked, it was just VERY uncomfortable. I put my hands to my face, and felt them changing too. My mouth was, slowly but surely getting longer, lips curling back into a pained and frightened snarl as my old teeth were kicked out. I spat them, 3 hitting the examinersí new suit, I noted with some satisfaction, amid a spurt of crimson. The rest fell out in a sickeningly slow spiral of blood rich saliva onto the desk. The examiner was almost whimpering with terror. Already, my English teacher, Mr. Sharp, had realised what had happened and had sent someone for an ambulance and a call for my parents. He was more reliable than the other teachers. Apparently, he had already dealt with 2 morphs in his lessons before.
I realised that the whole hall was now staring at me in a mixture of fear and, maybe awe. Few people see the whole of a morph in action, and they werenít going to miss this one.
Pushing my seat back form my chair with my arms, I noted how all my old body hair had fallen out, being replaced with a rapidly thickening grey/silver coat with a kind of warm prickling that defied belief. All my teeth lay on the floor in the middle of swirling dark red pools, as the new set made itsí bloody appearance in my new, growing, muzzle. My nose felt like it had become part of my mouth, and I could smell everything. I know that it sounds weird, but it felt like I could smell the examiner's fear, and everyone elseís curiosity. I could smell my own scent changing, from human to something else. Suddenly, all my memories were book marked by smell, not by sound or vision, and I remembered where I had sensed that smell before. At a zoo. Wolves. I was becoming a wolf morph.
My fur was taking on a brownish hue now, a summer coat that I couldnít take off. I scratched madly at the new growths and looked at Archie with my new eyes. I was crushed to see fear in his eyes as well. And then I realised how I must look, blood covering half my body, fur the rest, my eyes amber and black, my muzzle curved into a snarling mask of bewilderment. And my ears, I had forgotten them. I hesitantly touched them, and as I did, it was almost like me reminding my body that it had missed a bit. In a furry flourish, they jumped to the top of my head, uncurling into their alert, pointed form, twisting on their own accord before my emotions reigned them down, telling them to flatten, an extension of my body language that my face could no longer provide. The examiner had already run off amid a cry of despair, while everyone sitting next me was visibly edging away now. Fur smothered my form, muscles around my legs twisting, growing larger by the second. I looked at my feet, wondering if theyíd go backward or not, digitigrade or whatever. I didnít know the exact scientific term, but I didnít know if I wanted the hassle of having real wolf feet. Paws, I corrected myself, as I looked at the clawed remains of inhuman hands.
My feet shifted, and I gritted my new teeth in agony as they exploded out of my shoes. It was almost over. I forgot about the tail part. Quite simply, it burst out of my trousers, bristling with brown and silver fur. Then my brain woke up, found that while it had gone, someone had redecorated, and passed out, sending me into merciful darkness.
Three paramedics rushed into the hall, and Mr. Sharp jogged up to them. "Heís a wolf morph, started changing a couple of minutes ago," he started "Iím glad you got here so quickly, it was so sudden..."
"Donít worry sir, heís in safe hands" one paramedic talked to him as the other two put me on a stretcher "You called his parents?"
"Hmm? Oh yes, yes. I was wondering, do you think heíll be alright, you think he can handle it?"
"Sir, you should see some of the morphs Iíve seen, they can happen anywhere at anytime, heís lucky it happened then."
"Yes..." muttered Mr. Sharp, thinking of the examiner, sitting in the medical room, shaking like a leaf. "Perfect timing..."
Perfect Timing copyright 2001 by Ben Sibbald.
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