• Published 5th Apr 2020
  • 2,183 Views, 140 Comments

Ponid-21 - Cadenzel Washington



What starts out as a simple medical trial, becomes something much stranger as the patients notice some odd symptoms like horns and wings...

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The Fifth Day (The Horseshoe is on the Other Foot)

The Fifth Day

I opened my eyes. I could immediately tell today was going to be different from the previous days for two reasons. The first reason that immediately came to my mind was that I didn’t really have any sort of dream last night. I didn’t necessarily hate the dreams, but they still felt odd to me because they were focused on someone else which had never really happened to me before. It was just a bizarre experience.

The other reason today felt different was that Doctor Matt was looming over me with a hesitant smile. My gaze looked off to the side and I could also spot Nurse Akai with him as well. As soon as our eyes met, his eyes lit up and a sense of relief seemed to wash over him. It was a little surprising at first but I quickly adjusted to it.

“Hello Penn. I’m sorry to wake you up like this,” Doctor Matt began. “But I need to do another medical examination.”

I yawn and pull myself up so my back is upright, my lower half still underneath my covers. “Couldn’t this have waited until I was already up?” I inquire, wondering why he needed to get me up so early.

Doctor Matt nodded and looked away briefly before turning back to me. “This might take a bit of explaining. You’re in this trial with many other people, several of whom I’ve heard you’ve already met, and that's great! And seeing as it’s a trial, we want to be able to track all the effects that the vaccine produces, both intentionally or otherwise. We’ve been developing this to be used in several groups with different factors being used for all of them. A control group, plus different changes in each of the non-control groups. We, uh...” Doctor Matt trailed off.

He glanced over at Nurse Akai. She nodded and moved in, continuing where Doctor Matt had left off. “Penn, this vaccine was very special compared to most others. The heterochromia being an obvious indicator.”

I figured that the eyes changing color was a result of the vaccine, but it was nice to have that confirmed by a reliable source. I nodded at her in agreement. “That’s probably why the medical staff didn’t have a massive freak out when that happened to us.”

Nurse Akai nodded. “Yes. The reason we have these tests is to make sure these treatments work as intended when they ship out to market and this trial phase is where the kinks and bugs are ironed out.”

I tilted my head. I felt alarm bells ringing in my head. I did NOT like the direction this conversation was going. As if anticipating my panic, Nurse Akai reached out and firmly grabbed my hand. “I want you to know that we’re going to be with you every step of the way.” She pleaded. It didn’t set my mind completely at ease, but it did help alleviate my fears at least a little bit.

“Now Penn,” Doctor Matt spoke up again. “I’m going to be giving you a full medical examination now. Given what we’ve seen from some previous patients, we might encounter something...unusual. We’re here for you if you feel like you’re going to panic.”

I knew he was trying to set my mind at ease and at the very least he didn’t just tell me straight up not to panic. That’s the last thing you want to say to someone if you’re worried about them panicking. Unfortunately, I still felt uneasy about the whole thing.

“Alright, I’m going to need to pull back the covers to get a good look at you now, okay?” Doctor Matt looked at me wanting to get confirmation.

I slowly nodded, wincing in anticipation. He grabbed the covers and slowly began to turn them back. I released an useasy breath. I knew something was wrong below my waist. I had felt it since waking up, but I had pushed it out of my mind until now. There was no running away from this. I had to face whatever was under there. I gripped Akai’s hand harder as the covers continued to get pulled back.

The pull back couldn’t have taken more than two or three seconds, but my mind lengthened it into a cumbersome extended edition where they include all the deleted scenes even if they were completely pointless. My brain wanted to put this off for as long as humanly possible, but as the covers pulled back, there was only so long it could delay the inevitable.

The covers were finally off. I looked down and breathed in sharply. I instinctively curled my toes as the cold air rushes to meet my lower half. For a split second, I feel them pulling back to touch the flat part of my foot, a sensation that was so familiar, I never even gave it any thought before. But soon, the feeling faded, the sensation melting away and I was left feeling something truly...alien to me.

I stared down below my knees and took in what lay below. My breathing picked up, becoming quick and short. What I saw below shouldn't be possible, and yet I was seeing it with my own eyes. I was coming down with a growing sense of dread.

“Penn,” Nurse Akai said to me in a methodical and deliberate tone. “I know you’re scared and confused, but I need you to tell me what you see there. Just take a deep breath and tell me. This will help you focus and reduce panic.”

I swallow hard and give a steady breath in and then out.

“It’s...hooves. I have a pair of hooves for feet.” I uttered.

Even though I was the one saying those words...it sounded unbelievable. The phrase sent an electric buzz to my ears, as if the words themselves were having a physical effect on me.

I hear a barely audible murmur from Doctor Matt before he cleared his throat. “Well, we’ll examine your...appendages here and after that I’ll start looking at the remainder of your body.”

I silently nodded and saw him go to work. As I watched, I decided to take a good look at the hooves themselves. I hadn’t been near a horse for over a decade, but I felt that the hooves that adorned my body were...different in some way. Maybe it was the thickness of the appendage, maybe it was how it was shaped or maybe it was because it was goddamn LAVENDER. It’ll forever be a mystery.

I shook my head. My Snarking was only making me feel marginally better for a brief moment. With all this new information being thrown at me, I nearly forgot that I was still holding Nurse Akai’s hand. I slowly released my grip. Doctor Matt seemed to be doing most of the examinations, so Akai seemed to be here to keep me calm.

“Penn, I won’t pretend to know how you’re feeling right now,” She began. “You’re experiencing something we’ve not really seen before. I wish I could do more to encourage you, but rest assured Doctor Matt and I will be here for you, as will the rest of the staff.”

I sighed. Her words provided me with a bit of relief from this whole situation, but I had the sneaking suspicion that more changes would be happening and I would become more and more horse like as the days went by.

Doctor Matt stood up, having taken a small patch of...fur from my hoof, presumably as a sample for examination later. He moves over to me. “Alright Penn, I’m gonna need you to stand up so I can get a better look at the rest of your body.”

I shifted my body around and pulled myself off the bed. I stood on my hooves and surprisingly, I did so without falling over. I surmised I must have gotten used to walking on my toes yesterday so this wasn’t so odd to me now. It felt like I was just walking with shoes on in a way. What I wasn’t prepared for was how I looked compared to the Doctor and Akai.

I was never a tall guy, I’ll fully admit this. I was always shorter compared to my peers. However looking up at Doctor Matt, I could tell I lost a few inches. The Doctor hadn’t mentioned it, either because he didn’t notice or because he didn’t want to freak me out even more.

“Now, let’s take a look at the rest of you.” Doctor Matt proclaimed.

I held my finger up, wanting to ask a question. “Before you go over things, is there anything right off the bat that you can tell has changed that you haven’t already told me?” I figured I’d just get that out of the way right now so I wasn’t kept waiting in suspense.

Doctor Matt uttered a small “Hmm” and looked me over, looking for little details. “Well, your hair seems to be changing color, nothing too drastic. You are also getting hair on your ah...on your ears.”

My eyes widened and my hand immediately jumped to my ears. I was met with something...very soft? The shape still felt mostly the same but it was like I was wearing over ear headphones on them that were soft on the outside. They also seemed proportionally bigger. That fuzz on the outside felt great to touch because of how immensely soft it was. I managed to restrain myself as I started to catch Doctor Matt’s stare. “Anything else?”

“Well, we’ll soon find out. Let’s take a look.” Doctor Matt then continued his exam, my mind wandering all the while. Was there going to be anything else? This whole experience has made me view medical examinations in a whole new light. Before, they were just a routine. When you were healthy, you patted yourself on the back for taking such good care of yourself. When you were sick, it was an obstacle to be overcome.

This was different. This was so much more.

Doctor Matt went around me, looking at my extremities for any other changes, taking my heart rate, and looking at my blood pressure. It was all normal stuff. It wasn’t until he started examining my lower back that he seemed to find something odd.

“I think we’ve found something else.” Doctor Matt stated.

“Ah...what did you find?” I hesitantly ask.

“There appears to be a small bump where your Coccyx would be.”

I gulp. “That’s the...tailbone, right?”

The Doctor nods. “Yes. Given the trend the rest of your body is taking, I surmise that you’re growing a tail.”

I wince. It was yet another part of me that was becoming less human. I glanced over at the reflective surface of the two-way mirror and glanced down at my lower back. It was barely noticeable, but it was certainly there. I reach down and touch it.

“Oh god,” I say aloud to no one in particular. “It’s...it’s really gonna be a tail.”

“Penn, this is obviously a lot to take in,” Doctor Matt began. “But we will be examining your condition as things develop. I’ve gotten everything that I need from this examination, but we’ll be doing daily check-ins from now on, given how the situation has changed. Do you understand?”

“Yes, I do. Thanks for all the stuff that you’re doing.” I sigh. Now if only I could understand what’s happening to myself. Doctor Matt nods at me and walks out the door.

Nurse Akai goes to follow but stops and turns to me. “Penn, I understand how you’re feeling.”

I shake my head. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you really don’t. You don’t know what I’m going through right now. Honestly, no one does. I really wish someone did understand though.”

Nurse Akai opens her mouth to try and respond, but she stops and closes her mouth again. We both stand there in silence for a few seconds before she speaks up again. “Well, I’ll try and find a way to empathize with you and the others. Anyway, I’ll see you again soon, Penn.” She nods and walks away, leaving me by myself.

I leaned back onto the bed and just sat there for a bit, taking in all this new information and really processing what’s happened to me. Before, I could just dismiss this as just my body reacting in bizarre ways to a medicine that was being tested. But there’s currently no explanation for hooves! How am I going to show myself in public after this? I look like a freak! I just hope the others are handling this better than I am.

There’s one place I knew that I might find my friends. I got up off my bed and made my way out the door.

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

I walked up to Side Room B and looked at the piece of paper taped on top of the sign for the room. “MAGIC MEETING ROOM!” it said in many different colors. Unsurprisingly, this was a sign made by Meghan. Normally, I found her antics to be amusing. But given where I’m at right now, I don’t know if anything could cheer me up right now. I sigh and open the door. As the door swings away from me, I hear a small yelp and I see someone dart under the table. I look into the room, confused for a second before sighing.

“You can come out, Juan. It’s just me, Penn.” I reassure the person hiding. It was only a guess but given his personality, it was definitely a strong possibility. A few seconds go by before I see a mess of pink and brown hair pop up before I see Juan fully stand. His eyes looked puffy and red.

“Juan...I’m guessing you had an examination and things...didn’t go well.” I said carefully. Juan said nothing and simply plopped down into the nearest chair, sobbing a bit.

I move over to sit next to him and I offer to hold his hand. He looks over at it for a second and then grabs it, his sobs quieting down. We just sat there in silence for what seemed like hours, though the clock let me know it was only a few minutes. The sobs eventually subside and Juan speaks up.

“I’m scared.” Juan whispered.

I nod and grip his hand. “I am too, Juan. I am too. But we have each other, and the others too. You can talk to me about this.”

Juan turned to me and gave a slight smile. “...because that’s what friends do?”

“Exactly.” I grin in return. Honestly, spending time with Juan right now wasn’t just to make him feel better but to help myself feel better as well. We were both experiencing crazy and unusual effects on our bodies, but at least we were not alone.

I heard the sound of the door opening and I saw Will and Darnel come inside the room. The looks on their faces told me all I needed to know; they had some horse parts and they were just as confused as we are.

“Are we...interrupting something important?” Will asked.

I suddenly realized that I was still holding Juan’s hand and out of context, that might look awkward. I slowly removed my hand to scratch the back of my head. “Ah, Juan needed some emotional support. I don’t blame him though, this is a lot to take in.”

Will sat down and let out a sigh. “I was getting all excited about being faster in the gym, but now I’m having doubts about all this if one of the side effects is becoming a horse. That might be a bit much.”

“I will say though,” Darnel began. “I think we’ve all got our own quirks. I say this as someone who was practicing kicking with his new hooves and well...let’s just say they’ll be installing a new door in my room because the other one crumpled under extreme force.”

My eyes widened. “Aren’t those made of metal?

“Eeyup.” Darnel stated plainly.

“And you busted it.” I said dumbfounded.

“With a kick, yes.” Darnel added.

“With your hoof.”

“I mean I’m just as surprised as you are.”

I just stared at him, a perplexed look etched onto my face. “Are you secretly a horse Terminator or something?”

Darnel raised an eyebrow. “Last I checked, no.”

Will upon hearing my quip, decided to start humming the theme to Terminator 2.

Darnel simply glared at him. “Look, I don’t know how I did it! I did a lot of manual labor in my job, but nothing that would make me have superhuman strength. I just hope I don’t have to pay for the door. I mean, I’m willing to work it off, but it’ll probably come out of the trial check.”

Will stopped humming and looked over at Darnel. “Well, while you’re dealing with massive gains, I’m dealing with being stupidly fast.”

“Hmm?” Darnel glanced back at Will.

“Yeah. Remember when I came to get you?” Will explains. “My room is on the other side of the wing and I went to grab you. I was able to run over there in about twelve seconds. If I get enough practice, I might be able to do it in ten seconds.”

“Wuh, what!?” Darnel pulled back in surprise. “That’s like...Olympic runner’s speeds!”

“I guess I’ve just taken to having hooves quicker than others.” Will adjusted himself in the chair and put his hands together. “But that brings us back to what Darnel was saying earlier; While we all have changes in common, each one of us has different abilities that set us all apart. I can’t speak for you two,” Will pointed across the table in my general direction. “but if you haven’t shown any special abilities, I’m sure you will soon.”

I silently pondered what that ability might be. I didn’t feel physically stronger...in fact I felt awkward in some places. Maybe my ability was more abstract or more based on my intelligence. Maybe I’ll be able to shoot out rainbow lasers like Will said before? Honestly, it didn't seem so far-fetched now.

“Well, I’m sure we’ll probably have more things come up and we’ll just have to deal with things as they come. In fact...” I trail off as I look towards the desk in the room. I walk over towards it and pull out a blank journal and some colored pencils.

“I have an idea, how about we document our changes in this book? I’m sure the doctors are documenting things, but I don’t think they’re telling us everything. I figure, hey, maybe we can find out something if we put our heads together.”

I got some general nods from the group as I took the purple pencil and started to write down the things I noticed, mentioning the loss in height, the hooves obviously, and the aches I had felt the previous days before. I put the book down and one by one everyone else put their thoughts into the book.

“Uhm…” Juan piped up. “We still need to get Nathan, Alex and Meghan to write in the book, and they haven’t shown up.”

“That’s true. Hmm, could be that they’ve been held up. Maybe I can-” I started to explain, but the PA system fires up and interrupts me.

“Would Penn please report to Room 515? That’s Penn to Room 515.” The announcer proclaimed.

My thoughts were lost as the announcement stopped my plans right in their tracks. Will stood up and took the notebook. “Hey, you go take care of whatever that is. We can get this to the others.”

I smiled. “Alright, thanks guys. Okay, I’ll see you guys later!” I wave goodbye to them as I head off.

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

I make my way over to Room 515. I was wondering what I was being called away for. This was different from the normal checkups; this wasn’t my room and they hadn’t told me what this was for in the announcement. It seemed like every day I was getting more and more questions and answers were hard to come by. After five days of this, I was starting to get tired of being yanked around. I wanted answers.

I soon found myself in front of the room I needed to be at. I opened the door without hesitation to find a very dark room that was only illuminated by two overhead lamps on two sides of a table. There were only two chairs at the table with the one closest to me being empty. The one across from me had a somewhat large and imposing man seated in the other chair.

“Hello Penn,” The man replied in a deep voice. “Please, sit down.” He motioned to the chair. I sat down as instructed and looked over at the man. This guy was clearly not a doctor, given how he was dressed in a nice suit instead of scrubs or a doctor’s jacket. “My name is Franklin, I’m one of the supervisors for this project. I’m just here to ask a few questions.”

I shift uncomfortably in my seat. “Is this some kind of interrogation?”

Franklin frowned. “No, what makes you say that?”

I motioned to the room itself. “I mean, this darkness just screams dark and moody interrogation.”

The room is silent for a brief moment and then he shakes his head. “Shit, you’re right.” He mutters. “Alright, I’ll fix that. Just a second.” He moves over to the wall and flips on the light switch causing the room to get much brighter, causing me to wince a bit at the sudden change in lighting.

“I don’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable. Really, I don't! I just want to have a chat with you.” He explained.

“Uh huh.” I bluntly replied.

“Look, I’ve read the reports that the doctor’s gave me and if what they’re telling me is true, you have every right to be skeptical of everyone. You’ve been kept in the dark about a lot of things...er...sometimes literally.” Franklin awkwardly chuckled. “However, if you answer my questions, I can try and answer questions you might have if I am able to.”

“If you’re allowed to, you mean?” I rebuffed him. I was starting to get a bit annoyed at all this cloak and dagger and decided I wanted to be difficult in order to force them to get what I want. I didn’t like being mean and aggressive like this, but I didn’t have much else at my disposal.

“Alright, alright.” Franklin threw up his hands. “It’s clear to me that you’re tired of being led around and not told much. So, as a show of good faith, I’ll tell you some information right now. This vaccine is not just being funded by a government effort.” I perk my ears up as he continues. “This is also partially funded by a private enterprise, mainly because the government was wanting people who could come up with some ‘out of the box’ thinking. The origin of where we got our cure from is linked with the...difficulties you’re facing now.”

I leaned in, absolutely fascinated now. “And where did the vaccine come from?”

Franklin folded his arms. “I might be able to disclose it in the near future...if you answer my questions.”

Damnit. Figures it couldn’t have been that easy. Still, Franklin had been true to his word and so I decided to give him what he wanted. “Alright, I’ll answer your questions.”

“Excellent. From what I read in your report, you said that you had a headache in a very specific portion of your head. Would you mind pointing to me where that point on your head is exactly?”

I placed my index finger right on the spot where I had felt it before.

“Alright, good good.” Franklin nods. “Okay, now another question; Have you felt pain in your shoulder blades at all during these past five days?”

“Only very recently. I know a few of the other patients were having aches there, but my pain seemed to show up later.” I responded.

“How Interesting.” Franklin mused. “Many patients have come to me with either the headache or the pain in the shoulder blades, but having both seems to almost never happen." Franklin tapped a finger on the table a couple times before continuing. "Okay, given those answers you gave me, I need to know one more thing. Have you felt yourself doing something unusual, be it a physical feat you weren’t capable of or an ability you didn’t know you had?”

I raised my eyebrow. “If I answer your question, will you answer mine?”

“I’ll do what I can.”

I nodded. “Alright. I haven’t had anything physically different happen, aside from the hooves. However, I do notice that I’m more analytical and my mind sometimes goes on mental tangents...though it hasn’t happened much today given that my mind has been...busy with other matters.”

“I see.” Franklin nods to himself.

“Alright, time for your end of the bargain.” I firmly say. “These questions have been very telling, especially that last one. It’s all leading me to a very important question.”

“And what question would that be?” Franklin asks.

For a moment, I say nothing. I have one question that I know I need to ask, but I’m not sure I’ll like the answer to it, either because it’ll be a non-answer or because it’ll reveal so much more than I’m willing to take right now. Regardless, I push on.

“Did you know from the beginning that this vaccine would change us?” I ask.

Silence fills the room. I wait with bated breath, wondering what the answer will be. Franklin takes a deep breath and lets out a sigh.

“The short answer is technically no.” Franklin finally admitted.

“Technically?”

“What I mean by that is we did not expect drastic changes like hooves and natural hair dye. However, the heterochromia was actually very much expected. In our animal trials, we actually saw that happen in several instances. So, eyes changing color was unusual, but not unexpected. But of course, I realize you’re more concerned about the hooves, and I can assure you, that was NOT the intended effect.”

I stroked my chin in thought. “And the long answer?”

Franklin leaned back and shook his head. “It goes back to the origin of the vaccine and whether or not you’ll be given access to what we’ve been looking at. Given your unique case, it might be worth giving you a look.”

I sit there lost in thought. What the hell could they have obtained that could cause something like this to occur? I knew I wouldn’t get the answer now, but I was glad I was told a little bit more about what was happening.

“I’m guessing there’s not much else you can tell me, huh?” I ask.

“Not at the moment, no.” Franklin frowns. “Still, this has been very informative and I hope some of the questions you had were answered.”

“Yeah, they were, but I still have a lot of other questions that I want answered.”

Franklin nodded. “Well, given the developments, we’ll be giving all the patients information as needed. As I said before, we didn’t expect such drastic changes, so we’re having to learn new things as well so please be patient.”

I sigh. I guess that was all I was going to get for today. “Alright, thanks for talking with me.”

Franklin gave a small smile. “And thank you as well. I’m sure we’ll be talking again soon.”

I get up from the table and walk out of the room. It was clear now that there was way more going on than I had realized. And one way or another, I was going to get to the bottom of this.

Author's Note:

Alright, this took me too long and I wish I could have gotten this out sooner but it's here and that's what counts. Things are starting to pick up now. Hope are of you are enjoying what's happening. There will be more stuff on the way very soon. :pinkiesmile:

Special Thanks to Eqlipse for again discussing more points with me and helping keep this story straight. I dunno where I'd be without you!