|The Transformation Story Archive||Strange Things and other Changes|
Sometime near the begining
"But Father", I asked, "can we be sure it's paganism? Perhaps it's just another fad. I would feel quite silly recomending excommunication for a fashion statement. The church hasn't recomended such punishment in centuries. It seems a terrible thing to return to."
Father Ignacio looked worried. He had every right to. While technically this decision, as was every decision of importance within the church, would be made by the pope with the advice of the colledge of cardinals in reality that advice would come from working groups and committees. Those committees would fight and bicker and finally come to the conclusion that since there was nothing to be gained politicaly one way or the other that it would be good for credibility to fall back on the advice of the researchers. The priests out in the field far from Rome and her politics. Yes, it woud be best if the real decision was made by some lowley priest out studying the problem. Us.
"But what if were right?" His eyes seemed to shiver in despair at the very idea. He bowed his head and then looked straight at me. "You'll have to go in there. You will have to be one of them. It's the only way we can KNOW." I knew there was no use arguing. He was right. I just hoped to God that we were both wrong about what I would find. I didn't relish loosing my soul.
The Doctor's office was a clean steril room. A testament to humanities efforts to purge God and soul from healing. To create Homo Mechanus, man the machine.
"You haven't had an upgrade in quite a long time according to this chart Father Scirroco." The Doctor busied himself with all the normal routine. Taking my pulse, looking at my eyes and ears, removing the top of my skull. "Yes, looks like you're still running without an emotional detection group."
"There's really very little need for a priests vestaments to shift with his moods Doctor. Is my wardrobe up to the task is all I need to know." I sometimes think that Doctors are salesmen for the modimechanics consortiam. I took good care of my body. I got my regular blood changes on time and even remembered to have my neuro-transmitter levels checked once a month. I drew the line though at the idea of getting every clothing upgrade and latest body fad. My wardrobe could generate all of the vestaments and I needed as well as a conservative selection of secular clothing and environmental ware. I have never been cold or hot since I had it installed. I see very little need for a shirt that displays my dreams.
"Well Father it'll definately work. I would recomend a full recharge and an extra pint of lymph. We are having a special this month." He looked at me expectantly gauging my willingness to pay.
"Just the software and a shot of anti-ketones. Gotta keep the muscles moving." I smiled and laughed at the joke hoping to cover my own nervousness. The Doctor smiled back and glued my skull into place.
"It's all done. You can get dressed now." Gratefully I formed the image of my basic walking around clothes in my head. My wardrobe woke up and imaged the clothing. Nearly instantly I could feel my clothes around me. I knew it was just a trick of the light. Probability clouds of photons being made to condense into a semblance of the valence rings of real matter. It really didn't matter though. I felt cotton trousers on my legs and the doctor saw my black shirt with a priestly collar.
The doctor docked my chit and handed it back to me. "You mind telling me one thing Father, your the fifth one this month. Why would a priest want to be a druid?"
I left the doctors office quickly and boarded a cross town bus. Before getting on I shifted my shirt to a more casual cut and eliminated the collar. Now I was just a normal citizen heading to the park. I sweated and worried the whole way there. Surely I would retain my humanity. When I was a teenager the fad was for boys to project a completely female outward appearance. To an outside observer there were no boys at all in my school. True my wardrobe made me appear female but I still remained male. Surely this would be the same.
The park was in the center of the city. The trees seemed to rise up taller and taller around the edges of the park until they seemed to blend in with the skyscrapers rising taller still. I went to a quite grove near a small brook. Stretching out my arms to heaven, Lord have mercy, I told my wardrobe to do it.
At first it just seemed that the world had become very quiet. The darkness wasn't anywhere near as noticable as the quiet. I was encased in wood. My own wood. I knew that to an outside observer I was just another oak tree. You could sit beneath my shade, watch the wind rustle through my branches, even climb up into my boughs without breaking the illusion. But the point of the druids wasn't that others saw you as a tree it was beeing a tree yourself.
The confusion caused by a high school that appeared to be all female but was really quite coed could be quite remarkable. A modern wardrobe is a perfect disguise. The computer can simulate any physical object known to man. Were a very superficial species. Matter feels solid because the outer electron shell of the atoms of our bodies interacts with the outer shell of the atoms of the object. We don't know the inner nature of the object. We only know it by what our senses tell us. The outer skin. The wardrobe could easily simulate that. we can all be beautiful, but of course only skin deep.
I feel like I have been standing here an eternity. I wish I could check my watch. One of the features of this tree program is that none of my brains enhanced functions would work while the tree projection was enabled. Left to the biological matter given to me by God I felt quite inadequate. I had no idea how much real time had passed since I turned on the field. No idea what information was streaming through the net. I couldn't even hear the Gregorian mass I was listening to before I became a tree.
I had only ever realy tried to deceive someone with my clothing once. My best friend and I got into one of those I'll show you mine if you show me yours games. He admited to being a boy and was trying to get me to admit it to. I was playing up the personna of being a tomboy. I told him I'd turn of my clothes if he'd turn off his. He said fine and switched off his suit. He was a plain seventeen year old kid, a few pimples, skinny legs and a modest penis. I decided to try something and formed an image of my sister, the one time I'd seen her naked, in my head.
"See, I told you I'm a girl." It was hard for me to believe that the erection he was sporting was really caused by the scrawney girl he was seeing. I should have expected what was coming next. I should have realized that there'd be only one way to prove it to him. So we spent the afternoon rolling around on his bed. First him ontop then me. Always the suit holding my flesh back and allowing him to penetrate a thin illusion of a girls sex. The illusion held.
"I am still me", I cried out. "I am still a man." Except that I wasn't I was a tree and had no voice. It must have been hours since I started. I could see the sun descending. But how could I see it. My eyes were covered in simulated wood. I couldn't feel my arms or hands. I couldn't breathe. The panic washed over me in floods. I wanted to run, to hide. For an unknowable eternity the hallucinations and panic intermingled. THe sun set and the stars came out. I could hear cricketts but of course had no ears.
The morning dawn woke me from a dreamless sleep. I could feel the sun's soft light on my leafs. The dawn slowly melting the dew from me. I couldn't remember falling asleep only waking up. I felt the slugish motion of my blood rising from my roots in the dark earth pulling the nutrients all the way up into my branches. I could feel the sunlight on my leafs. An electric tingle moving down each leaf as the light became enough for photosynthesis. I wondered at the reality of the feelings. I could actually FEEL each and every leaf. I realized that I was having some kind of sensory breakdown. A form of madness my mind taking comfort in the idea that I had really BECOME a tree. The tingle was growing into a massive sensual thrill. A pulsing thrumm I can only compare to orgasm except it went on and on. The thrum starting at the tips of my leaces then gaining momentum until it rushed down my truck and into the earth which echoed the feeling with a deep bass pull. Each wave comming faster. Each wave washing over my humanity in a bright actinic wave. Until finally I was nothing but a single nova white pulse of cascading energy. Earth, God and the sun linked in a single perfect note. until finally it began to drift away. I realized the sun was setting. The whole day had boiled down to that one perfect moment of being.
This was too much to handle. I realized as my mind returned to me. There was so much I had to do. So much I had to tell Ignacio. I was about to shutoff the program when I heard something. At first it was incredibly faint more the posibility of sound than the sound itself. Then I realized I could hear it clearly and had been hearing it clearly all day. It was the park. I could hear a million blades of grass thanking the world for this day. I could hear the groves of trees rustling in the wind. I could hear them singing to God. I could hear the brook wandering where to go amd serene in the knowledge that wherever it was going it would get there. I could hear everything. I listened to the park that whole night. I only realized it as the sun came over the mountains and the day dawned again.
I'm not sure when I lost track of the days. I do know that along with the days went the months and the years. I have become a member of the forest now. I sing with the trees at night. I know the water and the grass and the millions of insects that live within me. In the morning I touch the face of God and in the evening I weep with the moon. I see the waxing and waning of the seasons and spread my acorns far. I've lost rack of myself within the vastness of the world. It surprised my though when I realized that Father Ignacious and my doctor were standing at my trunk.
I watched as the doctor pointed something at my trunk and the tall oak shifted into a naked middle aged man. The man collapsed on the ground and both men hurried to try to help him. I listened closely, as only a forest can, to thier attempts to rouse him. It all seemed far away though and of little concern. Then realized what the question was that Ignacious was asking over and over. Suddenly it became vitally important to me to be that man again. To somehow make the long disused lips move. I had to answer him. I coughed horribly.
"Yes", I croaked pitifully, "yes, we do have souls." I closed my eyes and surrendered myself back into the dream of the forrest.
Sometime near the begining copyright 1996 by #6.
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