Chapter 4: Five time cosplay champion!
I’m not sure if Jack hears my question over his panicked screaming. It is pretty hilarious to see him running around though. It sort of reminds me of a dog chasing his tail; only this time the tail is chasing the owner.
Speaking of which, tucking my tail into my pants is really uncomfortable. And hell, the cat is out of the bag now, no sense in keeping mine hidden anymore. I head over to the kitchen, grab a knife, and carefully cut a slit in the back of my pants so my tail can come through. “There you go little buddy!” I smile as it bursts forth and gently whips back and forth, involuntarily. Sure, it announces to the world that I’m not fully human, but for some reason I don't mind. Seeing it just makes me feel, I don't know, whole again? I stand there for a moment affectionately running my hands through the strands. I feel like it's part of my identity now, and I don’t understand how I lived so long without it.
Right, playtime is over, and there is a lot of shit to do around here. I drop my tail and follow the sound of his screams until I find Jack standing by a bookshelf, swatting at his tail with a ruler he found. “Dude, put your pants back on,” I say as I heave the clothing over to him. He instinctively catches them, but then he doesn’t seem to really know what to do with them.
He looks over at me and his eyes widen at the sight of the colorful hair happily swishing between my legs. He shakes his ruler at it. “That’s, that’s impossible.” He points back at his own tail. “This is impossible!”
I rub my temples slowly. I admit, I had my fair share of fun with him, but we really don’t have time for this. ”Look, Jack, I don’t know what, why, or how this is all happening, but I’m really gonna need you to pull yourself together.”
Jack slowly slides down the wall he is leaning on, ending up in a half sitting position. He stares as his blonde tail. “I, I don’t know what you expect from me. I mean, I don’t even know what I expect of myself here.” He throws his hands in the air “Hell, I don’t fucking know what to think about anything right now.”
I walk over to him. “Well, all I know is that we’re getting through this together. We’ve been best friends for over a decade, and we always help each other through the rough spots. We’ll get through this, together.” I hold out my hand.
Jack stops staring at his tail and looks up at me. He chuckles slightly as he reaches up to accept my hand. “Alright, let’s do this, but if you break out into song singing ‘True True Friend’, so help me god.”
I laugh, “Nah, I would never do that, not really my style. 'Find a Pet' on the other hand...”
“Don’t you fucking dare.” Jack shakes his ruler at me.
“Relax, it will take more than a tail to get this guy to sing. Besides, we got shit to do.”
Jack shakes his head and smirks. “Alright, Rainbow Dash, what’s the plan? ”
I look over at Jack. His appearance may be a bit bizarre, and his eyes may have changed color, but behind those eyes burns the fire and courage that I always see in Jack. He is done playing games, he is done avoiding the situation, it’s all business now. It’s time to get stuff done.
I put my hand on his shoulder. “Well, AJ, I have been thinking about this, it’s going to be a busy 24 hours. You see, tonight we prepare. We make lists and plot out a plan. For at dawn's first light we shall embark on an epic journey!”
Jack rubs his hands together. “Fuck yeah, I like the sound of this. Plans, missions, doing something productive about this! Alright, where are we going?”
I stand tall and raise a fist in the air. “Tomorrow, we go... to Wal-Mart!”
Jack blinks. “Um, what? You looking for a sale on khakis or something?”
I roll my eyes and explain, “Look, whatever the hell was going on, it’s accelerating. Cutie marks one day, then a hair change over the day, and then we suddenly sprout tails and ears in a matter of hours.” Urgh, just hearing myself say these things makes me think I’m insane. It’s pretty hard to deny the facts though, I mean, Jack is standing right in front of me all the changes visible right there. Right from her toes and all the way up to those cute freckles she has...
I shake my head and get back to my explanation. “Jack, we have to assume the next changes will happen even faster than these—.”
Jack cuts me off and holds up two hands. “Whoa, whoa, hold a second there skippy. The next changes? You mean even more parts of us are going to change?”
I bit my lip, then nod. “I would guess so, this shows no sign of stopping. I mean, I don’t know what’s causing this, but it’s powerful enough to make us grow horse tails and ears. If it can do that, god knows what else it can do to us. Chances are, we're going to pick up more and more equine traits over the next day or so. And, as you may have noticed, we are quickly reaching the point where we can’t show ourselves in public.” I pause and pointed to my ears and my tail. “So, regardless of what caused this, we have to start preparing for the apparent final outcome. And we’re running out of time.”
Jack looks a bit worried, but at least he isn’t denying the seriousness of our problem anymore. “So, why Wal-Mart, what can we possible buy there to help us with this?”
“Well, what don’t we need to buy is the better question. I mean, let’s talk worst case scenario here, okay? We don’t know the future, so let’s assume the very worst and pretend this will be our last chance to shop in public. What would we need to buy in our last shopping trip, ever? Hmm... wait, actually, do you still have that Zombie Apocalypse Survival Plan? You know, that thing we wrote in college?”
Jack laughs “That old thing? The outline we wrote in English class instead of taking notes? Yeah, I think I still have it in a notebook back home. But, uh, how does a homemade zombie survival plan stop us from turning into small colorful ponies?”
“Well, 90% of the zombie plan is going to be useless. But, if you remember, part of the plan included a huge list we made of all the supplies we would need to survive. You know, generators, gasoline, tons of rations, water purifiers, radios, seeds, etc.”
Jack finally catches on “Everything we would ever need to live once civilization fell.”
I nod, “Or, in our present case, everything we would ever need to live secluded, far away from society. It’s a sobering thought, but hell, one worth preparing for, right?”
Jack agrees, “Yeah, that is really depressing, but it does sound like a really smart plan given our current situation.”
I clasp my hands together. “So, it’s settled. Tomorrow we go out and amass supplies, then bring everything we possibly can carry back to your farm.” The mention of the farm makes Jack’s fuzzy ears perk up, so I explain my reasoning. “Look, I have neighbors by me, hanging out around here looking like this is a bad idea. Your farm is out in the sticks though, no one will bother us out there. We can make your farm our new base of operations until we figure all this out.”
“Makes sense.” Jack taps his chin in thought. “Do you think we can get everything at Wal-Mart?”
I take a deep breath. “Well, not everything. That’s going to be good for general supplies and bulk food, but we should swing by the Farm & Fleet to get the rest of the supplies”.
I reflect for a moment, glad that we lived in Iowa and had such stores around us. Places like the Farm & Fleet are retailers built for farmers. Massive stores that sell tractor parts, chains, guns, ammunition, heavy tools, hell even cattle feed and health care supplies for farm animals. It’s the perfect spot to top off our survival list. I snap my fingers and look up at Jack. “Oh, and we also need to go to library! I wanna check out some books and get any info on—.”
Jack’s laughter cut me off, “A library? You think books can help us here? Haha, I didn’t know Kafka’s Metamorphosis is a self-help book. Oh, while we’re there we can check out the award winning Tuning into a Pony: For Dummies!”
“—I was going to say we could get veterinary texts. Guide to equine anatomy, info on horse diets, books on animal health, diseases of horses, etc.” I smirk at how quickly the names of those books suppress Jack’s laughter.
Jack stares straight ahead, still trying to process the fact that veterinary texts may soon apply to him. He swallows hard “You, you really think this is going to go that far? Are we, for lack of a better term, ‘going all the way’?”
I rub my forehead “I don’t know. I mean, we grew tails and manes like it was nothing. I really don’t know what’s possible or impossible anymore. But, like I said, we gotta plan for the long term. Since we have absolutely no idea what is causing this or how to stop it, all we can do is damage control. You know, ‘hope for the best, but plan for the worst’. At least we are lucky that you live on a farm. It’s the perfect location, hell, if the unthinkable happens and we actually turn into bonafide ponies...” I trail off.
Jack grimaces. “Well, then being on a farm is better than being stuck in the city. Jesus that’s a scary thought.”
I try to lighten the mood and start to joke around, “And hey, your farm is equipped for horses! Perfect! In five days Evan will get home to find us fully transformed. Not knowing who we are anymore, he’ll treat us like regular 'ol horses. Then we can each get a stable and spend the rest of our lives living as feral beasts of burden while—.”
I get cut off as Jack's fist flies and punches me in the shoulder, hard. “Don’t you even fucking joke about something like that happening to us! God damn it!” Jack’s breathing quickens and I see his arms shaking.
I hold up up my hands. “Whoa, sorry, sorry, I was just kidding. Probably not the best joke to make right now, sorry.” I rest my arm on his shoulder.
Jack takes a few deep breaths. “Don’t joke about that dude, the nightmare has been hanging over this whole thing for me. Evan and I work with wild horses everyday. Knowing that I might be turning into one is nothing short of fucking terrifying.”
I grab my tail and hold it up for him to see. “Jack, horses don’t have tails like this.” I try to give a reassuring smile. “We’re not going to be feral horses. If we’re changing into anything, it’s going to be colorful cartoon ponies.”
He laughs slightly at the insanity of our dialog, “Right, well, that’s much better I suppose.”
I grin. “It’s so much better! Just imagine Evan’s face when he comes home and finds two ponies in his living room, watching MLP and debating which season has the best songs!”
Jack’s eyebrows raise. “Evan is actually a valid concern. Pretty sure he would notice two ponies building a survival bunker in the middle of our corn crop.”
“Well, Jack, I wasn’t planning on building a bunker. I was hoping to just live in your house. You know, with Evan’s blessing.”
Jack buries his face in his hands. “Evan fucking hates ponies, why would he help us?”
I gave Jack a playful shove on the shoulder to cheer him up. “Well, I would hope he changes his mind about ponies when one of them is his brother.”
“Heh, you underestimate Evan’s hatred for ponies,” Jack says through a smile. “In any case, he’s out of town for the next five days anyway. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
We start walking back towards the kitchen. Jack trails me, and I can’t help but notice him staring at my tail the entire time. I abruptly stop walking, and Jack is so distracted he walks right into my back. “You know Jack, it’s not polite to stare,” I snicker. “And actually, where is your tail? Why are you hiding it in your pants? You gotta let that thing breathe man.”
“Yeah, well, maybe some of us aren’t as comfortable seeing horse anatomy coming off of our body. Why are you so intent on having your's out in the open?”
I stick out my tongue. “Because then I can do this.” I flick my tail to the side and send it flying up, smacking Jack right in the face. “Haha, oh god, that went so much better than expected!”
Jack jumps back an inch and immediately starts wiping his face with his hands. “Ah, dude, gross. I had my mouth open! Urgh, it smells like horse.”
I’m still laughing. “Are you sure? I figure it would smell like gumdrops and rainbows. Emphasis on the rainbows.”
Jack is not amused, and pulls a thin stand of blue hair out of his mouth “Nope, definitely horse. Trust me, I get enough of that smell when I’m at the farm.”
He rubs his forehead. “Urgh, speaking of the farm, what time is it? I forgot how long I was napping for.” Jack groans, “Urgh, I gotta get home, like, right now.”
“Nah, it’s just that with Evan out of town I’m supposed to be watching over the animals. Gotta give them feed and so on; I was supposed to do it an hour ago.” Jack heads for the door and starts putting on his shoes.
This is unfortunate, we have serious planning we need to do. It will be hard to deal with our current situation when we are 20 miles apart. Only one solution really. “Jack, hold up, I’m coming with you.”
The farm is actually pretty impressive. Regrettably, it’s been a good two years since I've been here. I guess Jack simply prefers to come over to my place because it’s closer to town.
In any case, Jack is in the middle of giving me grand tour of his place. It is a bit unnerving to be in the horse stables though. Being in presence of actual horses, while having bits of their anatomy, just feels really weird. Sure, cartoon ponies and wild horses are not the same, but it’s close enough to freak me out a bit.
“...and in this half of the barn we keep the mares and foals. We like to keep the newborns with their mothers for the first season. Naturally, we keep the stallions on the other side of the barn, only bringing them together during the breeding sessions.”
I poke him in the ribs as we walk. “And then what, you pull up a chair and watch the show? Most places would charge to watch that kind of action”.
Jack is not amused “Dude, that’s just disgusting. This isn’t like the cutesy clop you see online, the real thing is not something you wanna observe.”
I roll my eyes, man, this guy could not take a joke today. Jack eyes me suspiciously. “Remind me not to leave you alone with any of my mares. Especially as the days pass on and you start thinking of them as the same species. Urgh.”
I actually take offense to that, “Oh, haha, very funny. And besides, what do you mean don’t let me near the mares if I change more? What? You do realize Dash and AJ are female, right?” I raise my eyebrows as a sort of ‘hint, hint’ at what I’m referring to. I didn’t want to say the words out loud, but I’m pretty sure that if this transformation went all the way, it would eventually involve gender.
Jack dismisses my suggestion faster than a fat man turning down a salad. “Yes, I know their genders, but I also know our genders. I’m not switching, thank you very much. Besides, Applejack and Dash are just some cartoon characters with arbitrarily chosen genders. I mean, whatever is causing these changes doesn’t have to follow the textbook description of them. That wouldn’t make any sense.”
I laugh, “Oh and giving us tails and horse ears makes a lot of sense? And bright rainbow colored hair? How can you dismiss the gender issue here? Hell, I would say it’s easier to change a guy’s gender than, oh I don’t know, making him grow a horse tail?”
Jack rolls his eyes and we approach the stables for the stallions. Jack pets one of them on the head. “Dude, you can be a mare if you want, all I know is that I’m keeping my junk where it is.”
“That’s funny, didn’t know we had a say in the matter”. I reply, surprised at Jack’s resistance to the very suggestion of what we could be dealing with.
“Well, I guess we don’t, but I’m telling you man, I’m not giving up my manhood without a fight. I’m male and I plan to keep it that way.” Jack walks down to another stallion and I start to follow him.
“Well good to know you’re willing to fight— Gah!” I abruptly stop walking as I’m pulled backwards a few inches by some unyielding force. Realizing I’m caught on something, I turn to see what it is. “Hey, Jack, hold up! I got caught on… oh.”
The stallion we were walking past has my tail in his mouth. He tugs on it gently while staring at me; he really doesn’t didn’t seem keen on letting it go. “Bad horsey! Bad horsey!” I walk backwards and boop him on the nose. Finally, he lets go on my tail. “Urgh, I’m gonna to have to wash this thing now.“
“What did you do?” Jack arrives and is curious why I’m held up.
“Your stallion decided to bite my tail. Ew, it's all slimy now.” I frown, holding my wet tail to the side for Jack to see.
Jack stares for a second. “He, what? That stallion? Chaucer never bites tails unless....”
I blink “Unless? Unless what?”
Jack swallows hard. “Chaucer never bites stallions.” The calm starts to leave Jack’s face and he turns away from the horses “Nothing, it’s nothing man. Let’s just, uh, go to the house, ok?” I raise my eyebrows but don’t protest; we do have a lot of planning to get done tonight.
Four hours (and a shower) later and I'm laying down on the guest bed. This has been, by far, the strangest day I have had in awhile. Hair changing, the tail, the ears, then sitting down and going over a supply list for the apocalypse. I mean really, what ever happened to sitting at home calmly and just watching a movie?
I can’t sleep though. We are going to have an even busier day tomorrow, and that’s a best case scenario. Some pretty big changes have happened to us in the past 12 hours, how much worse is this going to get? What if we wake up covered in fur or something? We would have to cancel our supply trip and we would be stuck here on the farm with no supplies. Or, what if we do manage to get our supplies, but then Evan shows on Friday and kicks us off his land? And what if we can’t stop this transformation? What if we can’t reverse it? How far will it go?
I shiver and pull my tail across my chest, holding it tight like a security blanket. It gives my troubled mind some comfort. Sure I don’t know what going on or what’s happening to us, but at least I have my tail. Sure Jack says it smells like horse hair, but I don’t care, it’s part of me now. I run my fingers through it until I finally succumb to the sweet embrace of sleep.
Fuck, I need to pee. I opened my eyes, it was pitch black outside. My hand fumbled over the nightstand to grab my phone to check the time. 4:15am. I rubbed my neck and sat up in bed, trying to remember where the bathroom was in this house. I groggily stand up and made my way into the hallway. “I wonder if our bodies changed any more” drifts across my mind as I enter the bathroom. It was a strange thought, knowing that part of your body might have changed but you weren’t aware of it yet.
There was a dim night light in the bathroom so I avoided turning on the florescent lights in order to save my eyes the pain. Besides, I could still see pretty well in this light. I lean over the sink and squint at my reflection, actually surprised to see that nothing has changed as far as I could see. Same blue ears, same hair, same magenta eyes. Well that’s good news, no new changes, hopefully that lasts through morning. I’m stare at my reflection for a few seconds more, but then my bladder reminds me of why I woke up.
I turn to the toilet, lift the lid, drop my pants, then wait a few seconds for the stream to flow... and promptly piss all over the floor. Whoa whoa, what the hell. I force myself to stop pissing and reach back and fumble for the light switch. What’s going on here, why did I piss all... oh. Oh.
I stare between my legs and notice something is missing. Something is most DEFINITELY missing. I felt panic start to rise in my brain and I spread my legs wider to make sure it wasn't just hiding somewhere. I finally gave up the search, I knew it really was gone... I was female! I close my eyes and started banging my head softly on the wall. “Fuck me...” Wait, wait, oh god, poor choice of words! Let me try that again:
I don’t know how long I stood there with my eyes closed. I didn’t want to look back down. The tail, the ears, I could deal with those. But this? How the fuck do you deal with waking up as the wrong gender? Everything from the clothing I was supposed to wear, to the pronoun people would use to refer to me, it all has to change now. Just like that.
After some time, I realized I still had to finish urinating so I reluctantly opened my eyes and looked back down. The female apparatus was still there. How was I going to do urination thing? Guess I need to sit down now, so I did so while holding my tail to the side. “Now I just release huh?” I did so and sure enough, the stream resumed and I heard it stay in the bowl this time. I sigh as I realize this was how I was going to have to pee now, better get used to it.
I finally finish my urination, clean up, and then pull up my pajamas and leave the bathroom. I make my way back to my bedroom and go back under the covers, trying really hard to not think about the recent discovery I made between my legs. I'm powerless to ignore it for long though, the second I close my eyes and try to sleep my mind replays back the images of myself that I saw in the bathroom. The images are accompanied by unwelcome thoughts, such as "well hey, at least it matches my tail and ears" and "I wonder if I'm going to be attracted to guys now?" and “it reminds me of that picture I clopped to last month...”. Urgh, I reach up and rub my forehead, I don't know which thought process scared me more.
I couldn't fall asleep. Well over an hour passed and I remained fully away. Everytime I moved my legs or shifted my body I could feel things were different down below. “God damn this feels creepy” I mutter to the wall. What kind of sick joke was this, first this happens to me, and now my mind wouldn't let me ignore the fact that it happened.
Another half an hour passes and I realize it was almost 6am, no sense going back to sleep now. I pick up my phone and start to check the news, desperately trying to get my mind off the issue at hand. I open my news feed and look at the first headline of the day "UN promises to improve woman's health in Africa!". I blink. Woman's Health. ARRGH! I throw the phone across the room. This was getting ridiculous.
A few moments later and the sun started to rise over the horizon, I decide to just get dressed and get on with my day. I get out of bed and fling off my pajamas, then walk over to my bag and take out the day's clothes. I stand there for a moment and look down at my pelvis. I sigh, I was going to have to get used to seeing this thing wasn't I? I stare at it for a few moments. It wasn't that bad I guess. I mean, it's strange, but I could deal with it. A new thought crosses my mind "I wonder if--"
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!
I look up with a jolt, who set off an alarm? Oh. Duh, it’s just the alarm clock in the other room. Doesn’t really affect me, that alarm just means Jack woke up.
Now, what I was thinking about? I look back down at my the area between my legs. "Oh yea, wonder--" Hey, wait a second! Jack woke up! Realization dawns on me "If Jack is awake, soon he’s going to find out he has...” I look back at my nethers and bite my tongue for a moment. I continue to stare at myself as I scratch the back of my neck, “You know, all things considered, I feel like I am taking this all pretty well...” I realized this change was sort of like my new tail and ears, very jarring at first, but then you get used to them. I mused over my thoughts "Life as a mare instead of a stallion? Meh, I could probably live with that if I had to. Would be strange, but I could do it."
Jack on the other hand doesn't seem as comfortable with any of his equine anatomy, he has been fighting this whole thing tooth and nail. Well, either way he’s going to find out he’s a mare in a few minutes. This should make for an interesting morning.