Chapter 6: Full circle.
Jack got silent as she realized that the glass of Scotch was not poured by either one of us. I watched her expression change in front of my eyes, I saw her pupils dilate, her snout turn down into a frown, and her large ears roll back and go limp. The entire display was mesmerizing and made me realize just how far her facial features had changed; I was going to comment on it but this really wasn't the time. 'Somebody else had been in the house' drifts across my mind.
Finally, Jack spoke up “That's... impossible. The door was locked when we came in.”
I tore my eyes away from the equine features on my best friend's face and walked over to look at the Scotch glass on the table. Oh uh. “Um, Jack... there is still ice in the glass. You know what that means?”
Jack isn't even listening, she is distracted by her own thoughts as she mumbles out to me “None of the windows were broken and the doors were all locked. No one else has the key except...” Jack abruptly stops her sentence and just stares at the wall unblinking.
I walk over to Jack and grab her shoulders “Except who? AJ, talk to me! Who!?”
- - -36 hours prior- - -
The orange juice and ice swirled around in the plastic cup the stewardess poured for me. I should have asked for a coke instead, everyone around me had gotten juice because this was technically a morning flight, but I had been up for almost 6 hours now so this mid flight snack was more like my lunch.
The girl sitting next to me in the window seat waves to get my attention . “Excuse me... umm.. Adam?”
“Evan” I corrected her.
“Right, Evan, sorry I always forget names. Anyway, um, mind if I get to the aisle? I need to use the bathroom before we land.”
“Sure thing” I put my tray up and step out into the aisle so she can leave. She said her name was Jessica, some nurse from downtown Chicago. Cute girl, very pleasant to talk to. Not really my type though, she was far too girly and fragile, the type of woman that would never cut it on a farm. Still, she seemed interested in hearing about the Small Farms Convention that I was going to. I don't know why she was so interested in hearing about it. It was just a trade show put on by some farm equipment manufacturers. I mean, she was a nurse right? Doesn't she see see stuff like gunshot wounds and car crash victims? Surely that's more interesting than a farmer convention.
I watched her walk down the plane aisle and I sighed. Talking to her reminded me that these trips did get lonely. I needed to get a girl one of these days, or at the very least, just a friend that could accompany me on these trips. It’s a shame Jack never wanted to come to these conventions, that guy was too busy watching his cartoons and hanging out with Dave. Those two are always getting into trouble, especially when I left them alone for a few days. I’ll be lucky if the house is still standing when I get back.
I glance at my watch, it was 10am, only 30 minutes until we land, I should probably take a page from that girl’s book and go the bathroom myself. We would start the descent to Chicago soon, might as well piss now. I make my way to the bathrooms and get inside, yawning as I drop my pants and let my dam open.
As I piss I look down, that weird tattoo of the green apple slice was still there. I first noticed it last night in the shower after I got home from that birthday party. I had debated if I should cancel my trip so I could get this thing checked out by a doctor or something. I mean, it didn’t seem that serious, but it kind of creeped me out because I don’t know what it was or when it even happened. It wasn’t there yesterday morning and I didn’t drink much at the party, but when I got home I had it on both legs. When the hell did it pop up? I finished my piss, did two shakes, and then bent over to get one more look at these apple slices. It felt like I had seen this before somewhere. This exact image of a green apple slice. Where was it from? And why is it on my leg?
“Come on Evan think. What can this be? It’s either a tattoo or a rash right? Well we know it’s not a tattoo because we would remember getting it.... and we know its not a rash because it’s in color and it’s perfectly drawn....” I shook my head, I couldn’t make heads or tails of this. I really should have canceled this trip and gone to the doctor. Whatever this is, it isn't normal.
I flush the toilet and turn to the sink to throw water on my face. I’ll just have to worry about this when I get back. It’s just a tattoo, no big deal. I’ll keep it covered, then I can just ignore it for the next week until I get back home.
I look up at the mirror and pause. “Is my hair... this light?” My hair has always been jet black, but right now it seemed a touch lighter, and perhaps a touch longer as well? What the crap? I tilt my head to the side and stare at the mirror. The front of my hair is about normal, but it’s like 3 inches longer in the back. "How in the hell--"
“Attention passengers, this is your captain speaking, please return to your seats at this time as we begin our descent into O’Hare”
I look back up at the mirror and at my mysteriously dark brown hair. “Just gotta get through these five days, I’ll go to a doctor when I get home on Friday.”
One landing, a taxi ride, and hotel check in later and I find myself sitting on the bed in my hotel room. I didn’t feel like going anywhere just yet so I ordered some room service lunch and watched some TV for a bit. After a few shows I noticed my bangs were starting to obstruct my view. I was going to just reach over and move them but then I remembered I wasn’t supposed to have bangs...
I shut off the TV and went over to the mirror to check on my hair again. My hair had really changed. That’s impossible, I check the clock on the wall, it was 4pm. When I was in the plane just five hours ago I was upset my hair looked a little brown, but now it was even worse. It wasn’t just dark brown instead of black, and it wasn’t just a few inches longer. My hair was light sandy blonde and snaked down my neck all the way to my shoulders. Hair can’t grow almost a foot long in five hours, nor can an entire strand of hair change color. Something wasn't right. I realized I was nervous, I just felt alone and lost, I wish my brother was here.
I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and stared at it for a moment. Finally I turned it on and hit speed dial #1 then raised the phone to my ear. Maybe if I explain this all to Jack he will have some idea as to what’s going on. I just needed to talk to him and--
“Hey Evan” it was Dave’s voice coming through the phone.
I pull the phone away from my ear and double check the person I called. It was Jack’s phone number all right. This was strange, why did Dave answer Jack's phone? Did Jack go over to his apartment? I thought he told me he planned at staying at the farm today. I speak up “Oh hey dude, where’s Jack?”.
“In the other room, she should be here any second” Dave replies.
I blink, Dave said ‘She should be here any second’? She? They must be in the middle of roleplaying some game or something like that. Great, just great, they are having a good time and screwing around while I’m stuck here in Chicago with something weird going on. Sigh.
I rub my temples, “Nah, no worries. Just tell her that my plane landed and I’m safe at the hotel. I’ll be home in five days, as planned.”
“Sounds good, have fun out there!” Dave said as he hung up.
I toss the phone back on the bed, unsure if I made the right decision there. I did really want to talk to my brother, but I was kind of hoping to catch him in a good time. Pulling him out of a game and then trying to explain to him that I was worried about my hair just seemed strange. I rubbed my forehead again then turned to check the time. It was only 4pm, the convention was open today. I should go and start looking at stuff, it might take my mind off my hair issue.
The convention was packed! I swear, this thing got bigger every year. Well at least dinner was good, I just left the food court several pounds heavier than I was this morning. Time to get back to the show floor and talk to some vendors.
I approach a table staffed by a guy selling medicated hoof creams. The sign says it works wonders on hoof fungus. Hmm, we did have a problem with that on the farm. The sign here shows a the picture of a cow, I wonder if it's good for other hooved animals as well? ”Excuse me, vender, is this--”
“It will work wonders on your horses!” The vender smiles.
That was weird, dude read my mind. He probably gets questions about horses all the time and just assumed my question. I thank the guy for his help and take a brochure to read later.
I make it about 10 feet before I pass by another table and the vendor shouts out “Ah, the small time farmer who knows his horses! Come look at our new harnesses!”.
I stop and turn to look at the guy. “How did you know I work with horses?”
The vender just laughs and starts showing me pamphlets and pictures of some new harness, which I politely decline. I check my watch 7:55pm, the place closes at 9pm, so plenty of time left to--
“Hey nerd, this isn't ComicCon!” a passerby yells at me as and walks past, laughing with his friend loudly as they point at me. I turn to face them. Did he just call me a nerd? I'm 6'5'' and in good shape, I don't think anyone has ever called me a nerd before. Wait, was it the new hair? Did longer hair make me look nerdy or something? Crap, I really need to take care of this, maybe get a hat or something.
Eager to get my mind off it I approach another vendor table and start paging through some info packets they had.
“That brochure is for cattle, you're going to want this one for horses” I look up to see the vendor smiling pleasantly at me and holding out a brochure for me to grab. I take it from him without breaking eye contact. This horse assumption thing was getting creepy. “Thanks... but um, sir, may I ask how you knew I was a horse breeder?”
The man's smile doesn't waiver “Pretty smart idea you had, certainly helps us vendors out. We see so many people and have to always guess what kind of farmer they are, but you went ahead and dressed up for us! It's so much easier!”
What? I was wearing jeans and a blue t-shirt. “I'm sorry sir, I don't follow. Dressed up?”
The man just keeps smiling and points to my forehead “They are very well done I might add”.
I mumble a thank you and back away from the table as I reach up to feel my head. What the hell was on my head that was making people think--
My hand bumps into my ear and I freeze when I realize it is on the completely wrong part of my skull. My body’s senses confirm that, yes, this was my ear, but I also knew that this was way too high on my head and it felt really fuzzy and long for some reason. I immediately drop all the papers and brochures I was carrying and just make a sprint for the bathroom. I needed a mirror.
I enter the bathroom and to my dismay it was full of people. Oh well doesn't matter, I need a mirror, like, now. I locate the sinks and enter the mirror's field of view and HOLY SHIT. I stand there in shock looking at my reflection. I had legit horse ears on my head, I step closer and feel them with my hands again. They were as real as they get, they feels exactly like the ones I felt back on our farm. The other weird part was the fact that they were covered in red fur. Not only did that seem like a strange color for a horse, but it means they really stood out against my Caucasian skin.
“Wow, nice, very detailed work there” I hear from a random guy standing next to me washing his hands. “Best cosplay ears I have seen in a long time. Good idea wearing them here, tells the vendors what animal you're shopping for. Clever!”
“Uh yea, thanks” I mumble and look back at the mirror. What the hell was going on here? I didn't have these a few hours ago! 'It's just like the tattoo and the hair growth.' runs through my mind. Was this all related? What, it couldn't be, that doesn't make any sense! But it's too much of a coincidence for them to be separate right?
“Holy shit, you can move them too? That's so realistic! Wait, how the hell did you make those?” The guy next to me is now staring at my ears with a mix of excitement and confusion.
I turn back the mirror, holy crap he is right, they do move. I reach up and cover one with my hand, noticing that the sound from that side gets quiet. I confirm to myself in my thoughts “They aren't just some fake decorative ears, these are actual, fully functional ears. I don't know how, but my human ears have been completely replaced by these red, furry, horse shaped ones.”
I start to feel light headed so I step out of the bathroom, ignoring the questions from the guy behind me. I make my way to the exit and pull out my cellphone. This was all too much, there was something very, very wrong going on. It's not normal for a persons body to change like this. There is only one number to call now. I exit the building and dial the number.
“911 Emergency, how may I help you?”
“I need an ambulance.”
The 911 operator’s voice remains calm “You need an ambulance? Okay sir what is your name, and what is the nature of your emergency?”
I sat down on the curb and replied “My name is Evan Smith, and I, um, I just need to see a doctor about something”
“Are you hurt badly? Where are you?”
“I’m at the downtown convention center in the city.” I replied
After a moment the dispatcher’s voice came back through the phone “Okay, Evan, you are at the convention center. Did something happen there? Why do you need an ambulance? What is the nature of the medical emergency?”
I rubbed my neck. I really didn’t want to tell this operator I needed to see a doctor because I had horse ears and long hair, she would think this was a prank. “Well... I just want to talk to a doctor about something. It’s uh... there’s a 'lump' on a my head I want a doctor to look at for me”. I chewed my lip, that lie was close enough to the truth, it should work for now.
“Oh. Just a lump you wanna get checked? Not a life threatening emergency then? Hmm, well, I can send an ambulance if you want, but if you can walk there is small urgent care clinic three blocks north of you. If this isn’t a medical emergency that might be better, it would certainly be cheaper than sending an ambulance.”
I raised my eyebrows. An urgent care clinic might be better than a hospital. Less crowded. “Oh. Thank you for the idea. Just 3 blocks north you say? What is the address?”
She gave me the address, then concluded with “Okay sir, if you change your mind just call us back and we can send the ambulance.” I thanked her, hung up the phone, and started walking.
I arrived at the clinic a few minutes later. It looked like a pretty small place, some sort of private clinic run by one doc and a nurse or two. I approach reception “Yes, hello, I would like to see the doctor please.”
The nurse is staring at my ears, not that I blame her. “Okay, he should be available in a few minutes. Fill out these forms and have a seat right there.”
I fill out the forms then go to waiting room and sit in one of the chairs. “AH!” I yell and immediately stand back up, holy fuck that was painful.
“Is something wrong sir?” The receptionist peers over her desk at me.
“No, sorry, I just sat on something that’s all”. I look back at the chair expecting to see a toy or something that a kid left on the seat, but all I saw was an empty chair. I scratched my head. What the hell did I sit on?
I slowly sit back down easing myself into the chair using my arms, and there it is again! I'm sitting on something! I stand back up and rub my backside. What is going on back there? Whoa. That’s different, what the hell is this lump back here? I nervously look around, spotting a bathroom in the hallway. I turn to the receptionist and motion that I’ll be in the bathroom in case I get called.
I enter the bathroom and drop my pants and underwear, immediately feeling some relief as I feel that lump relax and unfold now that it’s not confined anymore. Wait, a second, unfold? What the hell?
I start to twist around to have a look at my back while my hand reaches back to grab this mysterious protrusion. The second my hand makes contact with it my brain studiously processes the information and informs me of its findings. “That is a tail”
“I’m sorry brain, come again?”
“Hand is reporting that, yes, confirmed, this feels like a tail. Horse tail to be exact.”
“Hang on, optic nerve will be reporting soon... Ah there it is. Sir, eyes have confirmed what hand reported, there is a tail back there. Sandy blonde in color; definite horse tail”
“Brain... what are you telling me?”
“...Error! Unable to make sense of situation! Abort! Error! System shutdown, system shutdown!”
WHUMP. I promptly faint in the bathroom. God dammit brain.
“Nurse, how long as he been in there?”
“About half an hour doctor, I’ll get the key”
I am awakened to see a man in a white coat standing over me, lightly slapping me on the cheek. “Sir? Sir, are you alright? What happened?”
I shake my head to clear my thoughts and try to remember where I was. Oh right, doctors office, went to bathroom, found tail. I immediately sit up and reach down to my lower back. Fuck, it’s still there. Why is it still there? I turn to the doctor and mumble “Tail, I have tail...”
The doctor stand up and turns to the nurse “Get this man a gown, and put him in Exam Room One. Where is the other nurse?”
“Oh Jessica? She went on break” Nurse #1 replies.
“Find her, tell her to come to the exam room and get this guy’s bloodwork.”
There is a small flurry of activity as I am handed a robe and taken to one of the exam rooms. I put the robe on and wait for the doctor as I look at myself in the mirror. The robe they gave me was one of those hospital gowns where the back was open, strangely enough this worked perfect for my current situation because it meant my tail had room to breathe. “My tail” what the hell was this, I turned away from it in disgust. I wanted that thing chopped off the second the doctor came back in here.
I heard voices outside the door “Has the nurse taken the bloodwork yet?”
“No doctor, she’ll be another 2 minutes or so”
The door opens and the doctor enters, still yelling over his shoulder “Well send her in when she’s ready”
I look up at the doctor and give him my best poker face. He stares back at me and starts playing this by the book “So... what brings you into clinic today?”
I take a deep breathe and run my hand through my hair. Jeez, this hair was way longer than what I was used to. “Well doc... not sure where to start, but I guess I’m here because of these ears.”
The doctor takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes “I see, I noticed those when you were unconscious in the bathroom. It amazes me what people will do to their bodies these days, but that’s their choice I suppose.” I started to protest a reply but he cut me off “So anyway, are the ears hurting you now? Is that why you are here? How long ago did you get this done?”
The doc pulls out one of his pen lights and starts examining them while I answer his questions “Well no, they are not hurting me or anything. But doc, I didn’t have these until today, I got them an hour ago.”
He steps back and looks at my face “Look, sir--”
He continues “Look, Evan, I don’t know where you had these done, and that’s not really my business, but you can’t lie to me here. I know you had these for a long time”
I raise my eyebrow “Oh really, and why is that?”
The doctor reaches over and snaps his fingers next to my right ear. I flinch and feel my ear flick away from the sound. The doctor continues “This would have been a major operation, you have nerves and muscles up here, any surgery this intensive would have left scars and would take weeks of recovery”
“Look doc, that’s why I’m here, I’m telling you I didn’t have these this morning! I was totally normal until after dinner, then I looked in a mirror and had these things”
The doctor smiles and nods “I see. Tell me Evan, do you have any psychiatric medications that you should be taking? Do you have a caretaker that knows where you are right now? Someone we should call?”
I facepalm “I don’t know why I expected you to believe me. Well fine, you don’t have to I guess. Well at the very least can you remove this thing for me?” I turn around and shift my hospital gown so my tail is perfectly visible.
“Sweet mother of Christ!” The doctor exclaims as he takes a step back, then regains his composure and moves up to me to get a better look “Who in god’s name would have performed such a surgery? How is this even...”
He grabs the tail and gives it a yank. “Whoa doc, that feels really weird” It didn’t really hurt but I didn’t like the new sensation it gave me.
“Yes, I imagine it would...” he pokes at the base of the tail with his pen light. “The bone in here appears to fused with your spine.”
“Well then... that’s just fucking fantastic isn’t it?” Sigh. “Can you cut it off?”
The doctor took a step back. “Cut if off? I have no idea how this operation was done, you should go to the surgeon that did this to you if you want it removed.”
I sagged my shoulders in rejection. No one is going to help me, they all think I’m some sort of freak who did this to myself.
A knock on the door interrupted my depressing thoughts. “Doctor, I’m here to get the patient’s blood work drawn”
The doc looks up “Fantastic, alright Jessie, come in.” My eyes grow wide in shock as I see Jessica, the girl I met on the plane earlier today. She enters the room and approaches the doctor to hand him something to sign. The doctor then leans forward and whispers into her ear. “Careful with this one, I think he’s off his medication”.
I would have been impressed with the potency of my new ears at picking up a whisper like that, but I was still in shock at the of dumb luck having Jessica and I cross paths again. The doctor leaves the room and I clear my throat “Uh, hey... Jessica”.
She looks up and her eyes sparkle “Oh my god! Evan!” Hey, she remembered my name, that was nice. She put down the clipboard and ran up to me “Wow, what happened to you? Holy cow are these real?”
I smiled as she ran her hands over my ears. I was never so happy to see someone. Just having someone, anyone here with me, it made all the difference in the world. “Yea Jessica, I don’t know what happened. You saw me earlier today, I was perfectly fine. But then my hair changes, and then these damn ears, and then I find myself with one of these!” I turn around and show her the tail that matches my hair.
Jessica lets out a loud shriek in surprise “Evan! What did you do! How did you do this?”
I throw my hands up in the air “I don’t know!” I would have explained more, but the door to the room bursts open.
“Jessie, are you alright? I heard a scream.” It was the other nurse, and she was staring at me menacingly.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Just surprised myself that’s all.” Jessica replied, calmly putting on gloves and getting back to her job of taking a blood sample.
I smile and try to look innocent for the other nurse, but this had the effect of pulling my ears to the sides and making them go floppy. Seeing my equine ears moving made the nurse shiver at the creepiness and she backed up and closed the door behind her. “Tough crowd” I remark.
Jessica approaches me and starts swabbing my arm with alcohol for the blood draw. “You know, my boss thinks you’re some lunatic off his meds.”
“And what do you think?” I say with a smile.
“Well you seemed normal enough this morning, and besides... I always had a thing for horses.” She sticks her tongue out at me and then stabs me with the needle.
“Ow! And ha ha, very funny. Urgh, I gotta get this fixed, these ears and tail. Someone has to know what this is, someone has to remove them”
Jessica finishes taking the blood “Do you have to though? Some of us find them kind of cute.”
I raise my eyebrow “Are you... flirting with me?”
The conversation is cut short as the door opens and the doc walks back in. “Well Evan, I don’t know what to tell you. I checked all my sources, no registered surgeons offer cosmetic surgeries like this.”
“So... do you believe me now when I say that this all just happened today due to some unknown cause?” I say with hope in my voice.
The doc chuckles to himself “Well I doubt that, but I will humor you while I consider all the other options. Did anything else ‘magically change’ for you today?”
I rolled my eyes, the tone in his voice was that of an adult talking down to a 3 year old, asking them if their action figures saved the world today. But still, might as well answer the questions if it has a chance to get me help “Yea, my hair was black and short this morning, but now it's this sandy color and it’s long like you see. Also, this tattoo thing wasn’t here 24 hours ago.” I turn to the side and shift the hospital gown so the green mark is seen.
The doctor and Jessica just stare for a few seconds. Finally the doc looks up at me “An... apple slice? Hehe, you telling me that this apple tattoo appeared randomly just like the ears?”
“Yep, both legs, no explanation for it”. I cross my arms, I don’t know why I was telling him all this, it was obvious he didn’t believe me
The doc wanted to roll his eyes, but remembered his oath and did his job, dilligently writing down everything the patient said, no matter how silly or unrealistic it all sounded. “Well, alright Evan, that's all we need from you at this time. If there are no other health complaints you can get dressed and be on your way.”
I sighed once more. “So there's nothing you can do?”
The doc started walking towards the door “Look, I'll do my duty and poke around and ask some other docs if they ever heard of patients coming in with unexplained tails and ears, but I'll be honest with you Evan, I think we both know how those questions are going to turn out.”.
I smiled. I couldn't ask for more than that could I? “Thanks doc, can you call me if you find anything? Anything at all. My cell number is on that form I gave to reception.”
The doctor leaves the room, still talking as he exits. “Of course. Now come on Jessica, drop those blood samples off at the lab and go to room five when you can. Mr Johnson is ready for his enema.”
“Yes doctor.” Jessica says but pauses for a moment, making sure her boss had left before turning to me “So... how you doing?”
“Um.. so-so I guess?” I was confused. What was Jessica getting at?
She walked around behind me and ran her hands through my tail, giving it a pull here and there “This is amazing Evan, it's so real! It's like an actual horse tail!”
“I don't know if amazing is the right word. 'Creepy' and 'scary' are the words that come to mind when I see it.”
I hear a strange breathing noise behind me. “Oh god, it smells like the real thing! How did you do that?”
I step away from her and move to cover myself “Calm down Jessica, why are you so--WAIT what do you mean it smells like the real thing? That's impossible I haven't been near horses for 48 hours and I took a shower this morning.”
Jessica bites her lip “Well it does. Here, I was holding your tail with this hand, give it a smell”
I precariously lean forward and smell her palm, immediately recognizing the odor “That's horse hair and sweat all right. Why the hell do I have that scent?”
“Good question, I don't think a simple plastic surgery would give you that. What are you going to do Evan?”
“I don't know.”
“Do you have a place to stay?”
I look over at Jessica. She was blushing slightly. “Thanks for the offer Jessica, but I have a hotel downtown”
“Oh but I insist! What if something happens to you? You said yourself you don't know what's going on, you shouldn't be alone right now.”
Hmm, she had a good point. I remember how great it was to see her face when she walked in here, being alone right now really sucked. Would be nice to have a friendly face nearby. “Alright Jessica, you convinced me. When do you get off?”
Her eyes sparkled and she grinned ear to ear “At 10pm, in half an hour! Wait for me in the lobby!”
I peered at her. She seemed far too happy, oh well, better happy than angry I suppose.
We got back to her place by 11pm. We had a small dinner and the wine started flowing. Jessica went on about her life and told me how she was born in raised in then city, but she always loved horses and that's was why she invited me over. With the wine flowing in my veins I assumed she was referring to my occupation, so I started telling her about our breeding stock and how the year has been.
I was in the middle of telling her that the current market for foals was doing well because of demand in Texas when she reached over and put a finger on my lips. “Shhh”. The finger was soon pulled back and replaced with her lips. She gave me a light kiss and then pulled back and giggled at me.
I held up my hands "Whoa, Jessie, moving a little quick here."
Jessica just smiled and ran her hands through my thick hair. "I love your mane Evan"
This was getting slightly awkward "Uh, it's just hair Jessica. Not a mane, just hair." Soon I feel her hands move to my ears and her fingers danced over their fur. Then she starts lightly scratching them from behind. I lean into her hands. "Oh, wow, that actually feels really nice. Mmm"
Jessica finally lets go of my ears and looks into my ears. "Say Evan, wanna snuggle on my bed on watch a movie?"
I raise my eyebrows "Is that a euphemism you guys use in Chicago for..."
Jessica laughs "No silly, I mean literally just watch a movie and cuddle. It will be fun."
I shrug, sure, why the hell not. "I'd love to Jessica, do you have a movie in mind? A romantic comedy or something?"
Jessica grabs my arm and pulls me into her bed room "Not exactly, but don't worry, you're going to love it!" She motions for me to lie on the bed, the grabs a DVD from her dresser and puts it in the DVD player and turns on her bedroom TV. As the video starts to play she goes to the bathroom to change, then returns wearing her pajamas and gets in the bed next to me.
I make note of her pajamas. They were cute, but not really 'sexy', just normal pajamas. Damn, looks like we really are just going to cuddle and that's it. I turn back to the TV, it was some animated movie I didn't recognize. The title flashes across the screen 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron'. I turn back to Jessica. "Um, the Disney movie about the horse? Isn't this a kid's movie?"
Jessica snuggles up close to me and tickles my ear "It's a good movie, you're going to love it!".
We snuggled there for quite some time, after a few minutes or watching the onscreen horse I feel Jessica's hand snake down my chest and make for my groin. I smile and think to myself 'Hmm, looks like I might get some action after all. Though I admit, getting that done while watching a kid's movie is a bit strange'. Eventually Jessica's hand does reach my waistline and I feel her fingers slip underneath my boxers. But wait, what the hell was she doing?
I turn to face Jessica ”Umm, Jessica, that's my tail. You have to go to the other side if you want--”
Jessica cuts me off with a finger on my lips "Silly stallion, you have a dirty mind! I just want to see your tail that's all.” As she says this she pulls my tail out of my boxers and lays it across her legs.
I raise an eyebrow “Jessica, you're kinda strange"
Jessica smiles "Hey, there are lots of guys in the city, but only one has something like this!" She reaches down with both hands and plays with my tail, feeling the strands with her hands and just enjoying the feel of it in her hands.
I sigh as I go back to watching the movie. This was a strange girl. Oh well, she's just having a bit of fun, no harm really. Once morning comes I'll have to part ways though.
I awoke to sunlight pouring into the windows. I must have fallen asleep during the movie.
I yawn and reach down to wipe the sleep from my face, only to suddenly notice my arms doesn't move. I turn my head and look at what seems to be the problem. A pit of horror forms in my stomach as I see both of my arms are handcuffed to the metal bed frame behind me. I try to move my legs and notice those are restrained as well. What the hell!?
I cry out “JESSICA!"
"Oh, you're awake! I'm so happy!" Jessica suddenly appears at the bedside, standing over me and smiling strangely.
I swallow hard "Jessica, untie me please”
She just laughs and bites her fingernails "Oh baby, why would I do that? You're my stallion! My horsey! We're going to have so much fun together Evan!”
I start to panic "What? Horsey, stallion? Jessica it's just ears and a tail, you gotta let me go!"
She laughs "Oh no no no, you are so much more than that now! Look!" She points down at my waist and I follow her gaze. I soon realized that not only was I totally naked, but even more of body seemed to have changed. My pelvis didn't normally look like this, there was red fur everywhere and my manhood looked very strange, all I can say was it no longer looked human. I guess I should be glad that it was still there, and that I was still a guy, but still this was really creepy! I want to scream in panic, but Jessica just claps her hands and laughs.
"And did you see your feet? They are so adorable! Look a the cute little hooves!"
I strain my neck and look down, she wasn't kidding, my feet had turned into fully formed horse hooves. What the hell was happening to me? I turn to Jessica "You HAVE to let me go! I'm getting worse, I need to go find help!"
Jessica frowned. “But I can't let you go! You're going to be my horsey, just like the one in the movie!"
I had to get out of here, Jessica was no longer acting rational. She must have had some thing for horses and now that she saw my hooves she had just gone off the deep end. "Please Jessica, let me go. I can come back tonight if you want, I can be your horsey then!" I was obviously lying through my teeth, but I had to get out of here. I had to get away from her.
Jessica smiles "Nice try Evan but... Actually, I’m not even going to call you Evan anymore. Nice try horse, but I know if I untie even you for a moment you're just going to try and run away. I have to keep you tied up for now. Don’t worry though, you already lost your feet, we just have to wait until your hands become hooves too. Then you won’t be able to use fingers and open any doors. Once you have 4 hooves I can just lock all the doors and you will be stuck in here with me forever.”
Jessica’s delivery was sent a shiver down my spine. I think she just said a threat, but she said the whole thing with a smile on her face, I’m pretty sure even the Joker would find it unsettling.
I was in serious trouble here, I really needed a way out of here fast. “Oh, hey Jessica, that plan sounds great, really, awesome plan! But I need to pee, can you let me go to the bathroom?” She would have to oblige that one right?
Jessica just kept smiling "Sorry horsey, I can't do that! But it's okay, you're a horse, remember? Horses don't even use toilets to go to the bathroom!"
I stare at her for a moment. She really was completely and utterly insane. Well, I tried playing nice, I really did. The time for that is over though, looks like I had to take off the kid gloves. I looked down at my lower body. Both my legs were starting to get red fur all over them, and my leg muscles looked incredibly huge; pretty sure humans didn't have leg muscles this large. Combined with the adrenaline from the situation, I think they might do the trick. I tense up my body and explode my legs downward, smashing my hooves onto the metal end of the bed.
Jessica screams and jumps back with a yelp at the deafening sound of her steel bed frame snapping in half. Screws got sheared and structural steel just caved and folded over from the sheer impact of the kick. Jessica was frantic “Ahhh, bad horsey, bad horsey! Calm down! Calm down!”
I ignore her for the time being and look down at the damage. Jesus, the entire frame snapped in two, why the hell didn’t I try this earlier? Hell hath no fury like getting kicked with hooves I guess. Well now my legs were free, how about these arms? Just a pair of handcuffs on each arm? Suddenly that doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. I grit my teeth and just pull down. Hard.
Jessica starts waving her hands “Stop it, stop it, you’re going to hurt yourself! You can’t just pull off-” her cries were cut short by the plink, plink sound of chains snapping. I still had a handcuff on each wrist, but the small steel chains connecting them to the bedposts had broken.
I can stand up now, so I do so only to have Jessica start protesting again “Nooo, stop, bad horsey, get back on the bed!”.
I look down at Jessica, my brain working full overtime to fight the primal urge to hit her for doing what she did to me. ‘Calm down Evan, calm down, don’t hit a girl, she didn’t mean it, she is just crazy that’s all, not her fault, calm down...’
I sigh. You win this time brain. I instead pick Jessica up and carry her out of the bedroom as her fists pound helplessly on my back. She was screaming something about bad horsey, bad horsey but I long since tuned her out. Hmm, where to put her? I enter her hallway and notice the clip clop noise of my hooves on the hardwood floor. It was strange to hear, but I surprisingly wasn’t disgusted by it. I mean, being able to kick with these hooves was the only reason I escaped that bed, I really can’t be mad at them. Anyway I’ll deal with those later, I have a psychotic bitch to deal with right now. I look around at the rooms we pass, finally stopping at the bathroom next to her living room. I toss her, gently, onto the floor of the bathroom and close the door on her. It was an outwards opening door, so grab the nearby sofa and drag it over and put it in across the front of the door. I’m rewarded by large bangings as she repeatedly tries to open the door but fails.
I run my hand through my hair. Right, now what the hell am I supposed to do? Well let’s see, I can’t stay in this apartment and I can’t really stay in Chicago can I? Pretty sure equine ears, a tail, hooves, and red fur across half my body was going to draw some attention. I need someplace safe to sit and think this all over. Home. I need to get back home. It was safe there, Jack would help me, he could keep me hidden and help me out until I got better. He was a good brother, he would help me.
I glanced around the living room, noticing the noise from Jessica banging on the bathroom door was getting louder. Time to get the hell out of dodge, I ran back to the bedroom and grabbed my clothes and my phone, where were my shoes? Oh right, at the front door to the apartment. I went over there and looked at my boots, then back at my hooves. I don’t really need shoes do I? Hooves are meant for the outdoors, fuck shoes. One last thing to grab, I look around the shelf near the door and find them: Keys to Jessica’s car.
I kind of wanted to leave the city immediately, but I knew that wasn’t smart. I had a paper trail here and I needed to get rid of it or else Jessica might try and follow me. I decided to first make a stop at the hotel so I could check out of my room. This kind of seemed silly to do considering my current emergency, but if I didn’t check out the hotel would report to the police that I was a missing person, and that would bring more unwanted attention. Besides, seeing the face on the hotel receptionist was pretty amusing. I acted like nothing was out of place and signed the bill for the room while the receptionist spent the whole time biting her tongue, fighting the urge to ask why I had red horse ears and was walking around on two hooves. Still, it wasn’t illegal and I was a paying customer, so she said nothing and I checked out of my room and went on my way.
Only one place left, the clinic. I really didn’t wanna go back there because it was possible Jessica would have escaped and ran there, but the fact was they had all my contact info in my file, and being a nurse Jessica would have full access to all of that info. I needed to make sure that never happened.
I park the car a block away and enter the clinic, a chime sounds as I open the door and the receptionist looks up. “Oh hello Evan, so nice to see you again!”. Well that was one nice perk about these ears, people didn’t forget my name anymore. She then peers down at my feet “Ooo..nice shoes Evan, very original design.”
I look down, those weren't shoes, those were my hooves. Why would anyone wear shoes that looked like hooves? Actually, nevermind, I’m sure Lady Gaga did it at one point in time or something. I push the thought to the side and try to act natural as I can as I approach the woman. “Thanks for the complement! And hello! As you remember I was here last night.” I pause to make sure the receptionist nods in acknowledgement “Yea, see in my panic from what was going on, I believe I wrote down the wrong phone number on your form! See I just changed phone carriers, and I still mix up my phone numbers here and there. Can I check to make sure I put the right number down? I would hate for you guys to have the wrong contact information!” I finish with a smile, and I am relieved to see the receptionist nod in agreement.
“Oh yes, that would be most dreadful wouldn’t it? We should fix that right now. Here let me get your file” she turns around and looks through the filing cabinet behind her.
Soon she returns with a manila folder that has ‘SMITH, EVAN’ written across the tab. I reach a hand so she can pass it to me, but she frowns and looks up at me “Umm, did you want the whole file or just the address page? Usually we don’t give patients the whole file, this is our only copy and we don’t wanna lose the records.”
I smile once more, I’m so close, I can do this “Can I have the whole file? Please? I wanna make sure I fix all the mistakes across the whole thing.”
The receptionist bites her lip for a moment. This was a nice man, he could be trusted right? She felt so bad for the poor guy, he fell unconscious in the bathroom the other day, that was so embarrassing for him. And he even has those adorable red ears, how can she say no to such a cuddly looking guy? But still, there were regulations here... “Well okay Evan, but since this is the only copy I’m going to have to ask you sit behind me in this small room. That way you won’t accidentally walk out with it”
She opens a door behind her and put the file on a table in a tiny room, I thank her kindly and sit at the table as I open the file and flip through the contents. I was just going to change the address, but since I got the whole file I might as well see all the info they wrote about me, right?
I skim over the lab results for the blood test, not knowing what most the columns meant but thankfully at the end of each test there was a box labeled “NORMAL” which was checked in every row. Huh, so the labs all came back normal. No known diseases or viruses. Okay, well, what did the doctor write about me? “Patient is clearly delusional, consistently lying about past medical operations and pretends to not know why or when he got exotic cosmetic surgery done. Patient wants me to phone him if I find anything that can help him, I plan to forward his case to psychiatry and have mental health specialists call him instead. Hopefully they can arrange an appointment to talk with him about his mental condition.”
I put the folder down and rub my eyes. Well, can’t say I don’t blame him, I probably would have done the same thing. Right then, time to get out of here with the file. Just changing the address wouldn’t do at this point, I wanted this entire file gone before it started getting sent around to mental health clinics. I stand up and tuck the folder under my shit, noticing there was even more red fur around my waist then there was an hour ago. Time to get home.
I open the door a crack, the receptionist is standing right outside and peers through the open crack. “Are you done in there Evan? I’m waiting...”
I close the door. Shit. “Just one second Miss, I’m just closing it now.” Think, think, think. I look around the room, no windows, not even a fucking vent. Just four walls and this one door. There’s got to be a way to...
Next to the light switch was a red metal square with a white handle on it. FIRE ALARM. I bite my lip, this was the only option wasn't it? Pretty sure this was highly illegal, but I guess I already stole a car and locked a girl in her bathroom. Besides, not many options open to me right now are there? I peer closer and read the text on the alarm. “Any persons caught pulling this for a prank or any other 'false alarm' will be fined $5,000”
I smile as I rest my hand on the lever. “Any persons you say? Well that’s convenient, according to Jessica this warning doesn’t apply to me. I’m not a person, I’m a horse.”
I don’t know what was louder, the alarm or the shriek the receptionist gave and she bolted away from her desk. “Oh my! FIRE FIRE!! Ah! Doctor, get all the patients out!!! Fire!”
I smiled to myself, that was too easy. I open the door and poke my head out, the coast looked clear. “Show time.” I open the door and slip out of the lobby, breaking out into a dead run as soon as I hit the exit. I quickly find the car and get inside, tossing the file on the seat next to me. I take a moment to find a way to sit comfortable on one leg so my tail isn’t pinched, and then I start the car and head for the highway. Long drive ahead of me, hopefully I can make it home by nightfall.
It's late afternoon when I stop for food at a McDonalds. I order two plain salads and sit there in Jessica's stolen car chowing them down. The radio was on and NPR was doing the daily news recap, they mentioned something about an explosion in Seattle but I wasn't paying attention to any of it, my mind was elsewhere. I had recently noticed my entire pelvis and legs were now covered in fur, and at some point my teeth had changed to those of a herbivore. It was clear that the changes were accelerating, I'd be lucky if I would be able to make it to tomorrow morning before this was all done.
“What am I going to tell Jack? 'Oh hey brother, funny story, I'm going to be a horse in 12 hours, hope you don't mind me taking up another stall in the barn outside. Be sure to change my water and straw everyday”. I shake my head with disgust and take another bite of salad, noticing that these new teeth were awkwardly good at chewing through leaves.
With a sigh I pull out my phone and check my email, I hadn't checked it in a while with all this other crap going on. What's this? An email from my credit card company?
I read it outloud “EVAN SMITH, this is a courtesy email to notify you that the credit card you share with JACK SMITH has reached its credit limit of $2,000. If you wish to increase your credit limit please go on our website...” I put the phone down. Jack spent $2000 on something? I was only gone for 24 hours, what the hell has he been up to? I go back to my phone and check to see Jack sent me any emails. Nope, all quiet on the western front. Hmm, I go to Jack's Facebook page to check if he made any posts. Nope, nothing. I scroll back to the top of the page and was about to check something else when I pause for a second. Jack's profile picture was some white unicorn with blue hair, it was one of the ponies from that stupid show he always watches. His profile picture had been a pony for many years now, but something about the picture caught my eye. The pony had a tattoo of a musical note on its butt. I blinked, how come I didn't make this connection until now? All the ponies in that show have pictures on their flanks, right? I put my salad down, realizing I also had a picture on my flank, that can't be a coincidence can it?
I quickly opened a new tab on my phone and searched for 'pony with red fur, green apple tattoo'. Holy shit, there it was. On my phone was a picture of a red cartoon stallion, and he had the exact same green apple picture on his leg. He also had the same hair and tail color, same shade of red fur too.
I put my phone down and started the car. Well, that's a relief I guess. I'm not becoming a random farm horse, I'm becoming some cartoon pony. I think that's better? Well at any rate it was good news because this means Jack should have some answers. This was his favorite show, he better know what was going on with me. I wasn't that far from home now, I should be there just before sundown.
About two miles from the farm I pulled off the road. I needed to ditch this car, it was stolen after all. Thankfully since this was a rural area there was no one around me to question what I was doing. Once off the road I drove away across a grass field, then found a path into the woods. Land around here was dotted with small forests that no one really explored that often, so if I hid the car well it shouldn't be found for a season or so. After going as deep into the woods as one can really go using a car, I got out and removed the license plates and scratched away the dashboard VIN so the car would be harder to identify. Finally I took all my stuff out of the car and then just walked away, leaving all the doors and windows open. Hopefully some animals would nest in there, tearing the inside up and leaving even less evidence for the police to use when the car was eventually found.
It was just under two miles to the farm so I started doing a light jog in that direction. The sun was almost down and it looked like it was going to rain soon so soon I picked up my pace. Running through soft fields with hooves was quite the experience. I could feel the earth with each step. It just felt so comforting, so right to be running in hooves. I couldn't even imagine wearing shoes at this point, this was fucking amazing. This felt more comfortable than running barefoot ever had, plus it had the added bonus where you don't feel the pain of stepping on rocks and sticks.
I was actually somewhat sad to see that I arrived at the farm, I kind of wanted to just keep running, though come to think of it, my upper leg joint did kind of hurt. It felt like that joint would be much more comfortable if I was on fours. Urgh, pushing that disturbing thought out of my mind I made my way towards the driveway. Well the car is gone, looks like Jack is out.
I walked towards the main door, pausing as I pass the stables. I debate if I should go in there and see how the horses are doing. Part of me really wants to go in there and just walk around, give them a nice pat, maybe compare hooves with them just for the hell of it. Just thinking about it made me smile, but another part of me was a little scared of where that might lead. It would be a little creepy going in there when I smelled like one of them. I elect to cautiously skip the stables and just go straight inside. I fish the key to the front door from my bag and open the house.
“Hello? Anybody home?” I make my way inside and drop my bags and medical file off in my room, noticing that the rain had started outside. I passed by a few mirrors as I walked around the house, but I purposefully didn't look in any of them. I knew things were getting bad, I didn't need a mirror to tell me that. I did however, need a stiff drink right now . I grab a glass from the kitchen and remember the bottle of 25 year old Scotch was in the pantry. I pour about 5 fingers worth, drop a few ice cubes in there, and then down half of the drink in one gulp. God damn did I need that right now.
I lean against the table and watch the lightning flash outside the window. What a day, I mean holy shit. I just went through more crap in the last 36 hours than I did in the previous 25 years. I took a deep breath and reached down for my glass again as a prolonged lightning flash lit up the window and stayed there. Wait, what? I squinted at the light coming in the window. “Fuck, those are headlights.”
I put my glass down next to the bottle on the table and snuck over to the window, it was Jack's car alright. I turned off the hallway light that was on and looked around. What to do, what to do. I didn't wanna be standing right here when Jack came in, there was a good chance Dave would be with him. I didn’t really want Dave involved with my issue here, it would be awkward enough just showing my face to Jack. Thankfully our kitchen opens up into our living room, so I went in there and laid down on one of the couches. As long as the living room lights are off and I don't sit up, I should be totally hidden from view. Also, from here I can observe the kitchen pretty easily.
I hear the front door open and someone drop off heavy bags in the hallway, then the footsteps go back to the door and it closes. This whole process repeats over and over, I must have been sitting there for five minutes and I was still hearing someone coming in and dropping off bags. Jesus what the hell did they buy? Who comes back with that many bags of stuff?
Finally I hear the door close one last time and muffled voices start approaching the kitchen. I frown to my thoughts “Two voices, Jack AND Dave, damn it”. Two figures come into view and my blood runs cold as I am forced to correct myself. “That's not either of them.”
The two people entered the kitchen, soaking wet and laughing. I wanted to say it was Jack and Dave, but it didn't sound like them at all. It almost sounded like two girls, one of whom turned to the other and said “Well, at least that’s done. We don’t have to leave the house for a long time now.”
That had to be Jack. Right? Oh wait, nevermind, the person just took off their hat and shirt. Long golden blond hair falling all the way down back, it’s gotta be a girl. Maybe the other one is Jack?
Wait, nevermind. The second one pulled off their sweatshirt, exposing a torrent of brilliant hair, so colorful that it could make a box of fluorescent highlighters look dull. The owner of the colored hair spoke up and they took off their shoes and pants. “Yea, it’s great to be done”
Soon the both of them were in nothing but their boxers, which I thought was a little odd, but before I could give it much thought the one with the rainbow hair reached back and started pulling someone through the back of their boxers. “Oh no...” I mutter to myself as I see what it was: A full length horse tail, matching the person's rainbow hair. My mind goes blank for a moment. ‘People don’t have tails...’ I squint to make sure I'm seeing this right. Yes that's definitely a tail all right, and holy crap, they both have equine ears as well. Blue on our rainbow friend, and tan ears on the blonde. “What the hell is going on around here?” I mutter.
Blue-rainbow reaches back and embraces their tail in a hug “Oh god, that’s so much better. I missed you so much little guy!”
I stare with a gaping mouth, as the second person does the same thing and starts flicking their blond tail back and forth ”You were right, it does kinda grow on you”
Blue-rainbow laughs “Aww yea, shake what Celestia gave you!” then runs over and gives the blonde on a hug.
What the hell was wrong with these people? Why were they so happy? Shouldn't they should be freaking out that they have tails? This shit isn't normal. Oh god... what if that's Jack and Dave? What if they suffered the same fate I did! No, that can't be--
The rainbow one spoke and their words stung like ice. “We did it Jack! We got everything we needed! Now we have all the time in the world to sit here and figure this out!”
No. No, that wasn't possible. I felt my eyes well up with tears. Jack was stronger than this, he would never do this to himself. And if this did happen to him, he wouldn't be this happy with himself. He would never be happy that he was some sort of half human, half equine beast. Could that really be them?
The blond one (Jack?) spoke up “Yea, I’m looking forward to a few days where we aren’t running around with our heads cut off. And Scotch the celebrate! Great idea Dash!”
Oh uh, my Scotch is still on the table. The rainbow looked at the glass “Jack, that Scotch wasn’t there when we left...”
I lowered my head in defeat, not only at having my Scotch found, but at realizing that the two people in the kitchen really were Jack and Dave. All clues pointed towards that fact, I just didn't like what it meant. They were probably going through the same stuff I was going through. The more I looked at the blond one, the more I had a feeling that he really was my brother. And wherever Jack was, Dave would be with him. Not to mention, didn't Dave get that a stuffed animal of a blue pony with rainbow hair for his birthday? He always had that as his computer wallpaper and stuff too, Jack always was telling me about how Dave had obsessed over that one. Now 'lo a behold, in my kitchen was a person who was well on his way towards being that very same blue pony with rainbow hair. That's too much of a coincidence.
I sighed again, looks like this problem of mine just got a lot larger. I look up to see my blond-haired-brother look at the Scotch glass and then turn to Rainbow-Dave “That's... impossible. The door was locked when we came in.”
Dave walks over to the Scotch glass, hooves clip clopping on the hard floor. “Um, Jack... there is still ice in the glass. You know what that means?”
Well, that's my cue to show myself I guess. I stand up and slowly move towards the kitchen, both Jack and Dave have their back to me, so I walk quietly into the kitchen, closing the the distance to both of them until I'm just a few feet away. Jack speaks up “None of the windows were broken and the doors were all locked. No one else has the key except...”
Dave shakes Jack's shoulders “Except who? AJ, talk to me! Who!?”
I clear my throat, “His brother.”