I woke up groggily to the sound of conversation. My head was hurting and I couldn't make out the voices. It sounded like some news commentators or something. Barely able to open my eyes in my semi-somnic state and not wanting to move my head, I could catch the bright dancing lights of an LCD screen in the corner of my left eye.
I didn't have a TV by my bed. I didn't even have cable. And this wasn't a bed. I could feel the rough texture of the cushions under my chin. ‘A couch I guess. Did I pass out on the couch after the party? That would explain the pain in my head. No. wait, no. No throbbing, just sore. Bruised or something. I must have it hard.
Shit! I hit my head and passed out! That can't be good! Whoever dumped me on the couch after I passed out should have call-‘ I pushed myself up. My joints and muscles were sore and aching all over but that wasn’t what gave my mind pause. Something was wrong. I felt wrong. I felt very, very wrong. I stared down at my hands. What was left of my hands. My arms were... blue. Like, actual blue colored.
My eyes were still having trouble focusing but that was definitely some sort of dirty-blue hair covering my arms. ‘Furry blue arms with weird joints that didn't make sense and no hands.’ I could make out something at the very ends of those arms obscured by both the longer hairs hanging over them and the cushion they were pressing into. Slightly darker colored, hard. I felt like I was pushing myself up on my fingertips. Somehow.
I felt a shiver run down my spine and felt something twitch at the very end. I felt another something twitch on my back. My heart was racing now. I closed my eyes and tried to stay calm. I tried to think. I didn't know if it was the panic or the blow to the head but my mind did not want to focus on anything.
In some way I wanted to just shut it off and not think about anything. I felt like I wanted to just shut everything off and run. Run away from whatever had happened. I felt something on the edge of my mind, like a memory or a dream or something. I think it was one of those flying dreams; I’d never had one of those before, except I was running too I think. One of those weird dream things I guess where one thing becomes something else. I guess.
My mind started focusing on some very alien signals coming from my back and I felt the tensing of sore muscles. I quickly focused on the pain in my head instead. My right ear itched and then shocked me by involuntarily twitching. ‘ears don’t move like that’.
Breathing faster I became aware of the extra space inside my mouth. My tongue ran along my teeth. They were different. Everything was different. Even my tongue seemed slightly longer than it should have been. I felt anther alien twitch at the end of my spine as my heart skipped a beat.
I felt something tickle my leg. My legs were different. I could feel my knees pressed against my sides in a way that shouldn't have been possible, they weren't even long enough to reach past my stomach. I couldn't feel my toes.
Dizzyness washed over me and my arms ceased to hold me up. My head hit the cushion and something obscured my vision a little. Was that my hair? I grew my hair out once in high school but cut it and kept it short since realizing how gay it made me look. I never even let my bangs grow passed my eyebrows and combed it all back anyway.
I bent my head back, realizing how long and flexible my neck suddenly was. My hair fell away from my face a bit and I got a good idea of its color. Sort of a golden yellow but I swear I saw something else too. Adding to that my hairy blue arms my only conclusion was that I had turned into a little fuzzy... something. My mouth twitched to a slight smile at the though. I must have been really out of it to do anything but cringe at such at that joke.
I pushed up with my arms again, feeling the odd 'on the tips of my fingers' vibe as I did. I also felt a blanket I hadn't paid any mind before slowly slide halfway down my back. I suddenly noticed a lack of clothes under the blanket and felt the cold air entering under it. Somehow it didn't feel as cold as it should have.
I lifted my left arm up to examine. ‘Oh yeah, that must be why. The hair. Fur. All over. Dirty-blue fur. And. Apparently… hooves? Ok. Neat.’ My thoughts on this failed to sink in. It was like my emotions had given up and I felt nothing but calm at the new information coming in.
I had hooves. Weird ones. I'd never seen any hooved animal with front limbs like these or hooves so weirdly shaped. ‘Front limbs. Animal. Fur. Hooves. Back legs. Ears. Tail.’ It twitched. I jumped. My legs failed to catch me and slipping on the cushions I rolled off the couch and landed on all fours.
The adrenaline from that slip-up was all that kept me standing. And I was standing. I closed my eyes and focused on the feeling. I felt like I was balanced on my toes and fingertips. My knees were bent only slightly and pressed to my sides a little. I shifted a little, testing the weight on each leg and trying to understand the new way all the joints in them bent.
‘Short arms, elbows almost touching my sides, long hands with long finger(s?), long feet, short legs, knees still touching sides (stretch those out, stand straighter, there we go), and hooves.’ What the sweet fuck was with those hooves.
Ear twitch, tail flick. Long hairs brushing my legs. I already knew what I was, sorta, but I didn't want to put a name to it. I only felt the presence of the word "animal" lurking in the back of my mind with a feeling of dread reaching from it if I gave tried to give name to my form.’ No! Still thinking, still rational. Legs times four does not equal... that.
I took a deep breath and shook my head slowly, knocking my hair back further and feeling it running along my long neck. Holding that breath I twisted my head back to look behind me. It was strange that I marveled at the feeling rather than panicking like before, for the first time the alien sensations of my strange new form brought intrigue rather than shock.
I found my head uncomfortably close to my back. ‘Jesus this neck is freaky.’ Looking futher it I could see my tail. Golden yellow, like my hair, like a horse's (ah, there's the word I was avoiding). And was that... red? There are red streaks in my tail. Like... highlights or something. I flicked it again, slowly and on purpose for the first time.
Again I marveled at an alien movement. ‘So strange. So fucking cool! Tails are awesome! Even with gay red stripes dyed in them. Wow. And that's my ass. Maybe that's all I turned into, an ass. No they have different tails don't they? That was definitely a very horse-like tail. And butt. Damn was it just me or is my butt fucking huge! Definitely wider than I before, or was my head just smaller? Wait, no, that doesn't make sense.’
‘Moving on now. Ok, very horse-like torso there (flaring out a bit too much around the hips. Damn).’ I noticed an odd bulge on either side. Lifting my head more I could see that it was indeed on both sides. They were the same color as my fur but a different texture entirely. Were those feathers? I lifted an arm, trying not to think of it as a foreleg, and reached back to touch the foreign object (feeling a small amount of surprise that my arms were still able to bend in that way, ‘very not animal!’). When my hooves (definitely not regular horse hooves) made contact I felt a repeat of the twitch from earlier, when I had first noticed my tail. This time though I saw the shapes on my sides move to match the feeling. I tried to move the new muscles I was feeling on my own, despite their achyness . I went too far. Both shapes shot straight out, knocking my raised hoof away and nearly making me trip on the other three.
‘Wings.' ‘Those are wings there.’ I tried to get a sense for them. They were two alien limbs coming out of my back; a second pair of arms jutting out from my spine. They had weight to them, and length. They didn't look nearly so big folded at me sides. They felt powerful even through the soreness, though that may have just been because of the air they were circulating as I moved them up and down. Such small and slow movements caused quite a bit of fanning. I could feel the wind and was aware again of my lack of clothing again, but I didn't feel "bare" and the cold air didn't chill me like it would have sans fur.
‘I’m still diving for that blanket if anyone walks in.’ I tried to fold my wings back at my sides but wouldn't figure out which muscles really did what and they just bent into funny shapes and hurt more. It was like trying to fold a broken lawn chair or something, ‘JUST CLOSE DAMN YOU! Ok just forget it, they can just hang there for now! Fuck. Some brand new wings. Sure don’t feel new. Ow.’
A streak of color caught my eye. It seemed the stripes in my tail repeated a little in my hair. ‘Or is it a mane? If we’re making the horse comparison with the tail then it makes sense to do that same with weird long hair that grows all along my neck, all weird like.’ I turned my head away. My neck was a little stiff from keeping it bent back that long, not terribly though, my wings and legs felt worse, and necks shouldn't even be able to bend like that anyway so I couldn’t complain.
‘Okay now, stay calm. Fuck.’ I didn't realize I should be panicking until I decided to stay calm. ‘Well Now I'm panicking a little! Calm. Deep breaths. Slow inhale, slow exhale. What have I figured out so far? Hooves, quadrupedal, fur (raincloud colors are kinda cool, always loved stormy weather). Tail (also cool, also blue, but I repeat myself, hehe). Horse thing. but smaller. Pony thing? No, too girly sounding. Tiny horse sounds better, but still silly.
Wings. Holy shit! I'm fucking Pegasus!’ And no, not "a Pegasus", my high school Latin/mythology teacher would roll over in his grave if I even thought that. He scared me shitless, I wouldn't be surprised if he comes back as a zombie to kill me for something like that.
‘Tiny winged horse. Yes. Makes sense. A horse would have to be smaller and very differently shaped to fly right? Yeah, no. Even for a weird little winged-horse like me there is no way I could fly without fairy dust or a jetpack. Did Pegasus have a jetpack? Maybe. I didn't do too well in that part of the class but I’d assume no. I liked the Norse myth section much more.’
I suddenly felt a little letdown at that earlier thought. I hadn't made the connection between 'I have wings' and 'holy shit maybe I can fly!' completely but part of me seemed to put two and two together, but addition is much more fun than subtraction. ‘Shit.’
I stared blankly ahead of me and I shifted my weight a little, re-positioning all four hooves and lowering the front one I didn't realize I was still holding up. I noticed the shape of the shadows my wings made on the furniture around me. A new thought came to the forefront of my mind as my eyes drifted around the room. ‘This is definitely not my apartment. I've never seen this room before. Where am I?' I relaxed my wings a little and felt them curl up naturally at my sides. 'Dammit! Ouch. Well at least that's one set of limbs sorted.' I decided to try walking.
I lifted my left foreleg, 'yes, a foreleg, I'm using it for walking right now so it's a leg. Logic.', and I slid it forward. I felt my back left leg lift a little as my weight shifted, my tired muscles ached like they knew what was coming. It stopped thinking to ignore the pain and just took a few steps. ‘That was easy. Ow.’ I took a few more. 'Neat'. It reminded me of a time when I was a kid, like seven years old or something, and pretended I was a cat.
With the way my legs were shaped, like a normal kid legs, not-winged-horse-person legs, I probably looked more like a frog then than anything, with my knees bumping my elbows if I tried to move too quickly, and my favorite green shirt certainly helped.
One might think moving on all fours like this would be hard to adjust to. I half-expected it would be. It definitely didn't feel natural walking like that but the ordered movement of the legs did. When I thought about it more I could recall other times when I'd had to crawl on my hands and knees to reach under or behind something, ‘I never considered when reaching one hand forward which knee would then need to move moved after, so why would I need to now?’
’ I felt silly assuming I’d fall all over myself trying to organize my legs. Honestly I should have expected it to be easier than walking on two. I was up against the far wall could not move forward any more. I hadn't moved more than six feet from where I started. I tried turning around and nearly tripped. 'Ok, not perfect. But not terribly difficult.' It wasn't the ordered movement of the legs but the alien feeling each limb presented and the re-distribution of joints that caused me to stumble.
I walked back to the sofa and considered my surroundings. 'There's the blanket I was under, there's the TV on the right. Oh, right. TV. News.' The light and noise coming from the TV on came into focus for the first time. My eye adjusted from the gloom of living room to the bright screen. Shaky camera angles came into focus as I heard, "-spitals and health centers are still filling up as panicked victims and their families seek help. Most are being rejected outright and some hospitals have asked for police assistance in barring entry to those without obvious need of medical help. Many doctors have insisted that with the sheer number of those affected by the transformations it is impossible for them to attend all those asking for help, especially as, despite the difference of appearance, the victims are not in any apparent physical danger from their transformations. They've echoed the words of government officials, the president in his public address on the situation last night, and many news outlets such as ours, for people to stay calm and not panic. We've also received word that the white house has asked for those affected as well as all unaffected individuals worried about these events to stay at home for the time being, for their own safety as well as the safety of others. Stating that the last thing we could do not is to encourage further panic."
Images were flashing before me, videos and still pictures popping up, changing, and floating side-by-side. Hospitals, doctors, government officials, police standing guard in riot gear, crying and terrified families. The most shocking part of all this were some of the people. They weren't all people. They looked like me! Or I think they did. I still hadn’t seen my face but I now ahd a good idea for its shape. Many of the pictures were of shocked looking horses, ‘people, people horses, whatever,’ of every color of the rainbow, some with wings and some without, a couple were actually colored like rainbows.
Some seemed to even have horns. 'Unicorns. Wow.' Some of the videos were even of people turning into these creatures. There was one from someone's cell phone of a woman collapsing on the ground while waiting in line in a coffee shop. She started spasm-ing as her fingers melted together and her bones started changing shape and making her clothes fit strangely. The camera showed enough for pink fur to sprout out of her skin before turning quickly to a man going through a similar change on the other side of the room. The camera jumped between several people sprawled in chairs and on the floor flailing their quickly changing limbs, terrified faces all around them, some screaming. It turned back to the pink horse lying the floor in ill-fitting pants and a blouse. She had a horn sticking out under a long, light-blue mane. I reached up with a hoof to tap my forehead and felt nothing. ‘No horn. One less problem for me then I guess.’ I kept my arm raised and examined the very strange shape of my head (‘and snout apparently’) as I watched on.
The camera eventually cut to the anchorman as he wrapped up. "Ladies and Gentlemen let me be honest here. We're all afraid and confused, but we’ve all been affected. You may notice my usual co-anchor is absent. I don’t think I need to explain why she felt unable to come in today. We all know someone who has been changed, and I know many of you out here listening have yourselves been changed. no one knows what caused it and what exactly it is that is happening, but let me tell you for the first time since this nightmare happened, for the first time in 32 hours, what it is that we do know. These are people who have transformed, and we've been given no reason to think they're anything but people now. These people are still people, living, breathing, rational, talking people. Even if we may find they've changed into something very inhuman outside, we know now that inside they are still very human. They are still people. People we know, loved ones, family, and friends. And they need us now more than ever to remember that, because all of us unaffected by the change can't imagine what it would be like to fear you’ve lost your humanity, and to treat each other as anything but human would be to lose what humanity we all still have. Thank you. We'll be back after this short break." To my surprise it changed to the network logo with a scrolling bar at the bottom rather than cutting to commercials.
I turned away from the screen and stared unfocused ahead of me. I felt relieved. I wasn't alone. I wasn't an animal. He said what I knew, I was a living thinking, talking... ‘talking.’
"Animals don't talk." I said aloud. My joy at still being able to talk despite a weirdly shaped mouth left as soon as it came. ‘Is this a joke? Is this some kind of cartoon thing? Like when someone gets hit with a shrink ray or magically turned into a small rodent their voice is suddenly much higher?’ "Hello." I said, again testing the vocal water. "Hello. HELLO. HeloOOO. This is weeeeeeeeiirrrrrd..." I tried various pitches but they all had similar results. My normal bass was now an alto. I could never really reach a tenor before but now I had trouble dropping below it when just speaking normally.
I sounded like a girl.
My attention turned to the one part of my body I hadn't yet considered for examination. I pressed my back legs together at the thought and then felt them collapse beneath me at the now compounding weirdness. I craned my weirdly shaped head down. I almost didn't know what I was looking for. ‘What are horse bits supposed to look like anyway?’ It was impossible to tell without arching my back so I instead reached one of my now shaking hooves down. I stared forward as I felt as best as possible without fingers for… something, anything that could answer my question. When I found what I was looking for I suddenly found myself standing with my adventurous foreleg pressing into the floor to get away. I felt the blood begin to drain from my head.
Left ear flick, tail twitch, right wing quickly extending and then darting back after bruising against the tv stand. 'Ouch.'
‘Well. That's it I guess. Small, four legged, big butt, raincloud colored, winged-horse girl. With blue highlights in her hair.’ ‘ Her.’ ‘ Girl.’ The lights seemed to dim from the room. I had just enough energy for one more test of my girly voice before the becoming fast friends with the carpet dust. A single breath escaped my little horsy snout, “Ffffffffuuuuuuck…”
I barely even felt it when my head hit the floor.