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Strange Happenings star star star star star


Midnight. They always came at midnight. The chimes from the old grandfather clock in the den jolted Daniel out of his restless dreams. It wasn't the chimes that woke him so much as the knowledge that They were coming. It was the same horrifying ritual, every single night.

 

The room was illuminated by an eerie pale green glow. Three figures in haz-mat suits stood around his bed. One of them held a large briefcase, another held a gun, and the third--the apparent leader, from the way he acted--was making entries into a large handheld computer. Daniel tried to escape, to run, to even move, but some unseen force held him in place, as immobile as the bed itself. The leader looked up from his computer and signaled to the one holding the briefcase, who set the case down and began to open it. Daniel strained to see its contents, but couldn't from his position. If only he could move...

 

The leader reached forward, grabbed the bedcovers and--

 

The shrill blast of Daniel's alarm clock filled the room. He'd had that dream again, the same one he'd been having every night for nearly a month. Except that it didn't feel like a normal dream. It felt more like a memory, but one that had been partially forgotten. Anyway, Dan had more important things to worry about, so he pushed whatever it was aside for the moment. Today was the last day of school, finally. All he had to do was survive his last few final exams, and he'd be home free. He wasn't about to let a creepy dream get him down.

 

***

 

Dr. DiCaoz glanced over his biology classroom. "Is anybody still working on the final?" he asked tiredly. He paused for a moment, then said, "If everybody is finished, you may talk quietly amongst yourselves for the remainder of the period." As the class erupted in chatter, he went back to nursing his hangover.

 

Daniel loved his biology class. It wasn't just that he was good at it, or that it was the last class of the day. By some bit of luck or fate, he happened to be in the same class as his four closest friends, Gassan, David, Pammy, and Jake. Gassan, David, and Pammy had become absurdly popular since coming to high school. Gassan was Lebanese and therefore "exotic," David was a star swimmer, and Pammy was a cheerleader. In retrospect, popularity was an inevitability. To the other popular kids, Jake an avid follower of the Furry subculture (he called it a craze, but nobody else did) and Daniel, the introspective writer, were social liabilities. Still, Gassan, David, and Pam never let their newfound "friends" keep them away from Jake and Dan. Privately, Daniel was grateful that he had managed to befriend the four people who appeared to be immune to high school drama.

 

"So, what'd you guys think?" Pammy whispered.

 

"I'm pretty sure Dr. Di is a nutcase," Gassan answered quickly. He was met with a chorus of approval from his companions.

 

"Anyway," Pam continued, "are we having our annual Thank-God-The-Schoolyear's-Over party tonight?"

 

"I can't go," Jake said, "I've got a convention."

 

"I can't go either," said David, "My dad's taking me camping. He's on a back-to-nature kick."

 

"I'm visiting my grandma," Gassan said. Pammy rolled her eyes.

 

"Alright," she sighed, "when do you guys get back?"

 

"Sunday"

 

"Sunday evening"

 

"Sunday, but it'll be late."

 

"So," Pammy continued, "is Monday night alright with everyone?"

 

***

 

The days passed quickly. By the time Monday arrived, he had gone an entire weekend without his mysterious dreams. He was mostly relieved, but part of him wished the visitors would come back so he could find out what they were up to.

 

The streets were charged with an eerie calm. A summer storm was coming. As Daniel reached Pam's door, he couldn't help but feel a strange foreboding. Something was decidedly wrong. He rang the bell.

 

"Come in," called Pammy. Dan opened the door and found friend sitting on the floor in a tidy circle. They were all staring at him, an unsettling hunger in their eyes. "We are playing Truth or Dare," Pammy intoned mechanically. "Please, join us. Truth or Dare?"

 

"Please choose Dare," Gassan said, in the same unearthly voice.

 

"The Truth is never any fun," agreed David, still in the same tone. Throughout the exchange, none of the four took their eyes off of Daniel.

 

"Is everything alright?" he asked. "You all seem...different."

 

Pammy answered in the same monotone as before: "We are collectively unnerved at a series of recurring dreams we have been having. Perhaps you too are experiencing these visions?"

 

"Yeah," Dan said, "but I'm not acting that weird about it."

 

"Perhaps," Pammy said, "All will be made more clear if you answer this simple question: Truth...or Dare?"

Written by Zodiac on 31 May 2008

Before school ends emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


“It´s been just a dream, just a dream…” Daniel muttered to himself, pacing around his small bedroom. His short hair was damp with sweat, his breathing coming out in small gasps.

 

“Just a dream…”

 

The problem was that Daniel didn´t even remember his dream. Only the unsettling presence of them, and that they wanted something from him. During the last few weeks, he had this dream again and again and he never remembered who they were or what they wanted from him.

 

Only that they wanted it badly.

 

Running his fingers through his hair, Daniel tried to calm down. It was just a dream, whatever it was about. It probably meant something in dreams theory too, something silly like internalized guilt for not studying hard enough for his tests. It was no big deal.

 

But he would be really glad if the dreams stopped finally.

 

Eventually, Daniel went back to bed. No point in loosing whole night worth of sleep over some stupid dream, he thought. He had chemistry test tomorrow, he should sleep a bit before it.

Written by lulu-illussions on 01 January 2018

Surprise Delivery emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Daniel had overslept a few minutes, no thanks to the dreams wearing him out, and had to cram down his egg-and-toast to make sure he'd make it to school on time. He was just finishing his breakfast when he heard the harsh signal of the doorbell.

 

Daniel bounced to his feet and rushed to the front door, brushing his chin to make sure he didn't have any toast crumbs stuck. On the front drive was a delivery-girl, a corrugated board box by her feet. She was short, hardly bigger than a child, and her uniform didn't have the logo of any delivery company he recognised. (But all those were things he would only think about later, after he'd opened the box.)

 

She asked for his name. “If you'd like to sign here, thank you very much.”

 

Daniel put a squiggle on her electronic clipboard, his glance resting on the package while he did. It wasn't particularly big, with no markings to hint at what was inside, only an address label with his name.

 

The woman flashed him a smile and turned back to the road. Daniel hefted the package. Whatever was inside didn't weigh much.

 

As he carried it up the stairs, he nearly bumped into Mom.

 

“What's that you got there, Dan?”

 

“The package.” He couldn't remember having ordered anything. A surprise from one of his friends? That seemed like the most plausible explanation. “It was for me.”

 

“Which package?” Mom said.

 

“You know, at the door right now.” He juggled the package to one hand so he could gesture toward the door.

 

Mom shook her head. “Huh? I didn't hear the bell.”

 

She shrugged and stood back to let him pass. Daniel stopped for a few moments in the sunlight falling into the upstairs hallway, out of steam, almost forgetting where he was going. Weird recurring dreams were one thing, but it wasn't possible that one person could miss a signal that he'd heard loud and clear.

 

He dumped the box on his bed. It was real, for sure, tangible enough to leave an impression in the quilt. He gave it a poke, just in case there was a bomb inside – as if that would make a difference after he'd moved it about and carried it. When he looked at his alarm clock, he had a couple minutes to spare, at least enough time to see what was inside.

 

He cut open the cardboard flaps and folded them back.

Written by on 02 April 2019

White Suit emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Inside was a swathe of white cloth and a subtle smell, like an exclusive fashion store.

 

Daniel pulled out the cloth. It was an outfit: a slim-lined white shirt and a pair of white slacks. When he held the pants dangling to the ground, they looked about his size. Who knew him well enough to know his measurements? He tried to chuckle at the thought, but the dreams came back, just as a flicker of shadow. He let them slink away to some corner of his mind.

 

He tried the pants. They fitted tighter than most stuff he wore, but not uncomfortably. The shirt fitted him well, the fabric felt clean and luxurious between his fingers. He half-turned to look at himself in the wardrobe mirror. Something slapped against his thigh, and he assumed it was a price tag, but it was a ball of white fluff sewn onto the back of his pants, like a rabbit tail on a Halloween outfit.

 

He looked in the box and found a headband with two white bunny ears lying in the bottom, on top of two white satiny running-shoes. He picked up the headband. It was higher quality than something you'd buy in a dollar-store, but still a set of fake rabbit ears. The shoes closed smoothly around his feet, too, like they'd been sewn for him.

 

At that moment:

 

“Daniel? Why are you still up there?”

 

He had to rush downstairs, and by luck, no-one was around to see him as he grabbed his coat and backpack. There was no time to change shoes, just a good thing these fitted so well. He could keep his coat on during breaks, at least that way no-one would see the tail. The chair would hide it when he was sitting down.

 

The street was deserted under a faint cover of clouds. Daniel had a go at trying to pull the rabbit-tail off, but it was sewn on hard; he had to stop or risk tearing his pants.

 

The time. He glanced at his watch and started jogging, then running. There was no chance of getting there on time now, but he could at least be as little late as possible.

 

He was running at about his top speed, arms pumping, soles slapping against the road, but his lungs were breathing in and out with no pain and his heart-rate had barely gone up. The shock almost made him stop. Daniel wasn't in noticeably bad shape, but he was no athlete, either. He was a few streets away from home. Any other day, sprinting this far would have wrecked him.

 

He could try picking up his speed a bit. It felt like his consciousness was looking out of his eyes, unsure what would happen, as if his body was a vehicle that might be pushed to breaking-point – but his body stretched out in longer steps, the brick houses and gardens almost blurring on either side, and he still couldn't feel any negative effects. It was as effortless as watching an Olympic runner on TV.

 

He wouldn't have been able to do this yesterday – he looked down at the clothes.

 

No point in questioning your blessings. He was already racing along the fence outside the football fields. Moments later, he clattered up the staircase and slowed down in the hallway when he saw the door to the English classroom. He unhitched his backpack and went inside. The teacher had arrived, but she was still sorting out her notes. Most of the other students were still getting in their seats or chatting. Daniel was able to slip into his seat in front of Jake unnoticed. His pulse hadn't gone up.

Written by on 06 April 2019

School Day emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Daniel sat through the English class. He wouldn't be able to test this new body until the class was over – the school-day, rather; there would be too many people around during the break. He wasn't afraid of anyone finding out. It was a more irrational fear, as if the suit would stop working the moment he had witnesses.

 

While the teacher's voice droned, he gazed out the window where he could only see a snippet of cloudy sky, and tried to focus on the sensations from his body. It didn't look different at all, under the unusual clothes, but even at rest it felt more agile, more alert. Perhaps this was his body if he'd spent an hour jogging every day from age twelve. Even his senses felt sharper: the crispness of the cloth against his skin, the slick chill of the varnished desk surface, the mingled smells of sweat and perfume and fresh pencil-wood and a thread of summer air seeping in.

 

The clock ground its way to 10. The class bustled out of their seats and milled toward the door. Daniel made his way through the tightest of the press, hoping that his coat was hiding the tail.

 

Jake touched his shoulder and grinned. Daniel was certain he would make some sort of furry reference – it wasn't actually that bad, at least Jake would be sympathetic, unlike some brats who would just make fun of him. But all Jake said was:

 

“Pretty slick shirt. New?”

 

“Mm-hm.” Could it be Jake who had mailed the suit to him, and this was his way of testing the waters? It didn't seem like his style, but it was random enough not to feel like anyone's style. “I got it for a present. I like it.”

 

If Jake knew more about the suit, nothing showed on his face. He grinned again and started talking about other things.

 

The day went by, and Daniel had started to get the sensation that nobody was going to notice the tail.

 

The test at least took his mind off the suit, or as much as it could when he was still wearing it. He came away not remembering many questions and not knowing how well he'd done. Perhaps he could have done better if he'd been more focused – but did that matter now, in a world that contained things like this?

 

P.E. was next. That meant he didn't have to worry about the tail for fifty minutes, but the moment he changed into his gym tee and shorts in the locker room, it felt like his body had slumped into a thicker, heavier state. Of course, there was no visible difference.

 

Today's class was basketball. Daniel stayed at the back, didn't flub it the few times he got the ball, and then it was over. His classmates split up toward the locker room doors, and the teacher, Mr. Peterson, headed off, leaving the hall unlocked for the next class.

 

Daniel gazed down the long, varnish-shiny floor. If he'd been able to wear the suit in here, everyone would have been able to tell that something was not ordinary, but he could have outplayed everyone else.

 

As soon as he'd thought that, there was a disorientation that blinded him for a second. Daniel tottered, one arm stretched out for support. The air had gone out of his lungs. He blinked and the hall returned, but his body still felt odd. He looked down and saw that he was wearing the white suit, even the shoes. His gym clothes and sneakers had vanished.

 

Daniel ran down the end of the hall, feeling the air filling his lungs, building up more speed than he ever had before. The basketball hoop was ahead. He pushed off with one foot and felt himself fly through the air. His eyes flinched shut, but then he was sitting crouched on the hoop, clutching the backplate. The hoop held his weight. He must have leapt several times higher than his old constitution would have managed, even higher than the world record.

 

As he adjusted his feet, a voice came from below:

 

“HEY!”

Written by on 08 April 2019

False Alarm emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


It was just Mr. Peterson, leaning out of his door.

 

“Stop monkeying around up there! The next class'll be here in a second.”

 

He shut the door. He hadn't said anything about the suit. The fellow did seem a bit nearsighted, maybe that had saved Daniel.

 

Daniel shifted again and looked down through the hoop at the floor, a good few feet away. What was he worried about? He jumped and landed softly. As he did, something tickled his cheek.

 

He was wearing the rabbit ears, he could feel the headband itching. Daniel yanked it off as if it might have grown onto his scalp, and stared at it. Now this was impossible, he'd left it in the box on his bed, half a mile away. As if the rest of his suit teleporting onto him was any more realistic.

 

He looked around, but he was alone. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to focus on his gym clothes: the T-shirt with its faded UCLA print, the shorts, the darkened sneakers. For a panicky moment he was certain it wasn't going to work, then the disorientation came, with an impact that knocked the wind of him. When he could see clearly, the gym clothes were back on him.

 

“Nice trick if you can do it,” he said out loud. All he could think of was anime magical girls whose outfits teleported onto them when they transformed. Was that what he was, now? Not a superhero, a magical boy?

 

He remembered the time and rushed to the locker room to grab a shower. His friends had already left, but the white suit lay on the bench, as neatly as he'd folded it before class. The headband lay on it.

 

*

 

He waved his friends off when they parted: Pammy and Jake to David's place, Gassan was being dragged off to watch his brother in some sporting event. Now, with no-one nearby, would have been a good time to tell them, maybe even show them – he could feel the clean fabric close around his chest, almost actively pushing his body into something lighter and straighter. Again he didn't, out of that fleeting feeling that the power might only persist as long as he didn't acknowledge it. The moment had passed.

 

Whenever he was sure he was out of sight, he ran. He reached home and got to his room where the box was still lying on his bed, opened his bag and sat down to study for the English exam. His heart wasn't in it now. There were plenty of people who were smarter than him, better at cracking the symbolism in Milton's dramatical works or whatever. Someone had given him the suit. They must have wanted him to use it for something.

 

He could hear Mom and Dad downstairs, Dad saying something over the sound of the TV. There was no point in worrying them. He locked the door, then wedged the window open on the early evening air. He took the headband too, as if it were a good-luck charm.

 

He scrambled out the window, clung to the eave for a moment, then pulled himself onto the roof. His body still obeyed.

Written by on 11 April 2019

Magical Boy Daniel emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Daniel was scurrying across the roof of an apartment building when he heard voices, rising clear in the dusk. He approached the edge. Even now, a fall from this high would probably kill him, but his body was too alert, too much under his control, for him to distrust it.

 

Someone arguing. He hated fights; unless you'd watched the start it was impossible to know who was guilty, if anyone. This time, perhaps it wasn't. One was smaller and more slender: a girl, barely in her teens, while the other was a man older than Daniel. She was black, he wasn't, so they weren't related. And she wasn't yelling back, she was turning her head away and replying with the quick glances of a hunted creature.

 

The man grabbed a big handful of her coat and half-shoved her into an alley, and then there was no doubt. Daniel ran across the roof to where he could get a better vantage-point.

 

The alley was a tunnel of gloom, but his eyesight had got sharper as well. There was nothing horrible to see, they were still only talking, but the man was blocking her way out and the rest of the alley was cut off by a tall fence. The girl was clutching an object through her coat pocket.

 

“So your kind can play proper instruments?” the man said. “Give it here.”

 

When the girl hesitated, he went for her pocket. The girl backed away, and he laughed at her reaction, but now she so close up against the wall, Daniel could barely see her.

 

Then she straightened up, in some final desperation where she was too tired to feel fear.

 

“Get it yourself, asshole,” she said and tossed an oblong case over the fence.

 

When the man turned, she tried to bolt, but he got hold of her coat. The girl just clammed up, pressing her chin to her chest as if to leave as little as possible to hurt.

 

Daniel'd barely have time to get to them. He exhaled in a long breath. There was a fire-ladder gleaming just below. He jumped off and landed on the top ledge, feeling it judder under him. There wasn't time to climb down. He dropped over the side and clung to the bottom landing for a moment, feeling the impact yanking at his shoulder. He swung, calculated his target and let go.

 

There was a moment of whirling darkness, then he struck the assailant with both his feet. He felt the air go out of the man's lungs as he crumpled on the asphalt. The girl had got knocked over as well from the force of his impact, but with luck she wasn't harmed. She was already starting to get up off the ground.

 

Panic. Daniel didn't have much idea of how to check if someone was alive, but he tried touching the assailant's wrists and felt a faint pulse. And if he hadn't?

 

The girl was back up, but didn't run. She was staring at him – well, in her situation he'd be staring too.

 

“Did he harm you at all?” he asked and was comforted by how adult his voice sounded.

 

She checked herself for a moment, then shook her head.

 

“Good,” he said. “Do you have a home to go to?”

 

“Of course I do.”

 

Her voice sounded annoyed. That was good, it meant she was getting over the shock.

 

“You should probably go home,” Daniel said. “I'll make sure you get home safely. I'm gonna call the cops on that guy, and... if that doesn't work, I doubt he'll dare to try anything again.”

 

The girl still lingered. Daniel saw the fence in the corner of his eye.

 

“Please wait a moment,” he said.

 

He jumped from standing and sailed over the fence, so easily it felt like slow motion. Now he was leaving her with the attacker, but surely you wouldn't wake that quickly from being knocked out? He'd be able to be back the moment he heard anything.

 

Darkness had fallen completely, without his better eyesight he would have been screwed. She couldn't have tossed the case far from that angle, so he searched near the fence, but it still took long enough before he found it, almost hidden between two garbage bags. It was battered, but whole. When he opened it, the silvery flute looked undamaged.

 

He zipped back across the fence. The man was still out cold. Daniel reached out the case to the girl.

 

“Stay safe,” he said.

 

She took it. He shot into the air and his fingers found the fire-ladder rung.

 

*

 

Fifteen minutes later, Daniel watched the girl vanish into an apartment block.

 

This was the first actual crime he'd stopped. The adrenaline was still making him unsteady. Previously, he'd stopped some bullying attempts – it felt disproportionate to use his superpowers for that, but he guessed the victims were happy he had. There'd been times when he'd come across things that might have been crimes, but how could he know? The person loading a TV screen into a car might be moving house, or they might be a burglar. How would he know if he was justified in punching someone out over a plasma TV?

 

He'd taken to looking in the newspaper for crimes, without finding much. He wasn't going to be able to search in other towns, not while he was living at home.

 

He went another round, but didn't find anything. His body still relished the suit, but the adrenaline had faded.

Written by on 12 April 2019

An Enigmatic Message emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Outside his house, he looked around twice and changed back, then opened the door on the homely yellow light in the hallway.

 

“Good to see you back, I was starting to get worried,” Mom said. “So how is Gassan's family doing?”

 

*

 

Up in his room, Daniel flopped onto the bed, staring at the neutral space of the ceiling.

 

On TV, magical girls always had their designated nemeses. So did superheroes, for that matter. If he'd had any way of getting in touch with the delivery girl, he could have asked her what she – they? Were there more than one? – wanted him to use the suit for. Or would they have told him if it was important to them?

 

He switched back into the suit and felt his body settle into its new, sleeker mode that felt more like him than its old one. He scooted up in the bed so he could look down at himself, trying to gauge what was the purpose of the metamorphosis. He was faster and able to jump much further than average humans, of course. Not stronger: he had been able to lay out that mugger because he had not been able to anticipate Daniel's attack. Not smarter, either, unless his heightened senses increased his intelligence. He had assumed that all those traits were meant for fighting evil, but how would he know if the purpose of the suit was something else entirely?

 

He got up to his desk and got his school notebook and a pen. Thinking came easier when you wrote down your thoughts, Pammy had said once, but it wasn't something he'd tried. He wrote “crime fighting”. A little more thought. “Courier activity?” There the pen stopped. He stared into the wall, as if the wallpaper pattern held some encrypted message.

 

He heard the soft sound of a ballpoint pen. He looked down and saw his hand writing as if the pen was dragging it. That wasn't true, the muscles were moving, but without input from his brain. As he watched, his hand finished a letter and stopped, back in his control. The pen fell down.

 

FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT.

Written by on 24 April 2019

Daniel Falling emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Daniel stretched and clenched his fingers and stared at the writing. It didn't change. The handwriting looked like his. The suit had done things to his body; was it able to communicate with him like this?

 

He looked out the window. Night had fallen completely now, the lampposts were the only lights. Nothing moved in the street. He opened the window and crawled through, the rabbit ears brushing against the frame. As usual, there was a quick sting of adrenaline before the jump, even though he would land in the street below and barely feel the impact –

 

This time he didn't land. The fall just continued, a long helpless swoop. He had an impression of the street surface flapping past him as if it was just a theatre decoration of painted cloth.

 

Now he was hurtling down a tunnel like a smooth bore-hole. It wasn't completely dark – he would have lost his mind if it had been. The air was a translucent grey, and he saw light coming up from below, but no bottom. He fell for long enough to flail and scream, long enough to think. When you fell, you accelerated all the time. If he hit the bottom now, the suit wouldn't save him. The walls had receded now, as if he was gradually falling into a cavernous hollow. He saw ledges and even crags that could have given him purchase, but at this speed they would rip his arms off if he tried to grab one.

 

He fell for so long that the terror turned into a droning irritation, and then he could have sworn he fell asleep, because there was a jolt, like the kind that throw you out of a dream, and he was lying on a smooth grey floor. There was no pain. Daniel got up to his knees, then his feet. He felt shaky, but that was from the fall, not the landing. His body was as healthy as ever.

 

He was standing in a cavernous room that narrowed to a well of solid darkness maybe ten yards above him. The one tunnel leading out was wide enough not to be claustrophobic, and looked man-made. The same grey ambient light flowed through it, without a source.

 

Before he started walking, he checked that the rabbit ears were still there. They were, and so was the silly tail. Thinking about how embarrassed he'd used to be of them made him smile.

 

As he set out, glancing around himself, he thought: “Alice in Wonderland”. It felt like he should have thought about it long before, but you didn't when it was your life, did you?

 

The tunnel wasn't long. It opened into a room with a canopy bed and some other furniture: a bedstand, a little table, chairs. There was a rug on the floor, and all the furniture looked frilly and carved. It was probably luxurious, except that the lighting didn't show any colours other than grey. There were no windows, of course. Apart from the tunnel there was a wide door in the wall.

Written by on 01 May 2019

Daniel in Wonderland emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Daniel hurried back to the well – not running, yet – and braced for a jump. There had been ledges and things; if he could get hold of one, he might be able to climb up. The first time he didn't jump with full power, just to save some hope. He didn't even reach the well's opening.

 

Panic was starting. He leapt again, and still barely reached the opening. There was nothing to grab.

 

He sank back on the floor, panting, gazing up. If he could reach a foothold he wouldn't even need to climb, he'd be able to jump between them like some goddamn video-game character – like a pinball. How far had he fallen? If he'd really fallen for as long as it'd seemed, he would have passed through the Earth's core.

 

But this was Wonderland, wasn't it? No rules were going to apply here.

 

He rushed out into the bedroom and headed for the door, but froze and felt his heart twitch in his chest when he saw a glimpse of movement. The terror was gone, and all he could think was that there was another person here, someone who might know a way out – but it was just a full-length mirror, obscured behind the heavy drapes of the bed. He saw himself, frozen in an almost graceful step, flushed with fear. His body looked slimmer than it had done before he started wearing the suit, as if that was another effect the suit had had on him.

 

He yanked at the door handle and it slid open, no problem. A vast shadowy hall faced him on the other side. He stopped to catch his breath – but he still had the suit, he was better equipped for anything than any normal human. The thought gave him the courage to step inside.

 

The hall was darker, but not completely black. It was wide, with an aisle between two rows of beds, each with its bedstand, as if this was a dorm. All the beds were empty, and as tidy as if no-one had slept in them. A strip of grey light lit the aisle and didn't quite reach the walls. The lines of beds stretched until they dwindled to nothing.

 

Daniel set out. There was no sign of him approaching the other end, so he started running. He was as fast and light as ever, but there was no end, no change. The only sign that he moved were the pairs of identical beds blinking past.

 

Even he ran out of breath eventually. He slumped next to a bed, lungs bursting. When he had recovered, he got up and headed back. After barely a minute, he reached the door he had come from.

 

On the table was a glass flask and a plate with a thick slice of a plain, raisin-studded cake. Perhaps they'd been there earlier and he hadn't noticed. He hesitated, but he needed all the strength he could get if he was going to get out of here. If whoever was in charge of this place wanted to poison him, there was nothing he could do about it. The drink tasted like strawberries or redcurrants, non-alcoholic; the cake was the tastiest thing he could remember eating.

 

He explored the room again. There was a slim door in a corner, but it only led to a bathroom. A white toothbrush stood on the sink, as if someone had left it for him.

 

At that point, his eyelids and limbs were getting heavy with sleep. He remembered the food, but drugged or not, his only choice was whether to collapse in the bed or on the floor.

 

He was about to get in the cloudy-soft bed, but hesitated. He ought to go to bed in the rabbit suit, in case anything happened – but he'd never slept in the suit before. Even now, he was more afraid of it changing him irreparably in some way than of this shaded underground realm.

 

He concentrated, not sure whether it would still work, but his T-shirt and jeans flew onto him, still smelling of home. It only he could travel there as easily... but even emotions were too much work. Daniel took off his jeans, then crawled into the bed. He was out as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Written by on 07 May 2019

The White Rabbit emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Daniel couldn't remember his dreams, but they worried him. He woke up flushed and sticky with sweat, and for a long dark space he didn't know where he was.

 

Remembering the fall and the deserted underground didn't improve things, but at least it gave him a firm point: something to apply his strength against. He focused and changed into the rabbit suit even before getting out of bed.

 

The suit came, and he felt the usual jolt of energy, but it didn't feel quite right. The cloth squeezed him in odd places, and others felt bare, cold. It was almost completely dark around him: he'd pulled the drapes before falling asleep, as if they could protect him. (Now all he could think about was masked shapes peering in.) He pulled the drapes aside, almost hard enough to rip them off. The room was still deserted.

 

He got out and looked in the mirror. He was still wearing a suit in the white fabric, but it had changed, as if a handful people had been at it with scissors overnight. It had been cut down to a pair of skimpy briefs and a narrow top, like a woman's bikini top. His legs were coated in sheer white stockings that reached almost to his buttocks and were attached to the pants with white silk suspenders. The reason he was feeling so fragile and gangly was because his feet were pushed into white stiletto heels that made him walk on tip-toes. It all still fitted as if it had been sewn on him, even the high-heeled shoes felt comfortable. The ear headband was still on him, and the tail was sewn on his briefs when he twisted around to look at it. Looking at his small backside in the mirror gave him a little twinge. It was indistinguishable from a girl's in these clothes.

 

He was about to change back, but it was still the suit, wasn't it? It was going to be more use to him than his plain clothes in case anything showed up that he needed to fight or flee from. If worst came to worst he could kick the shoes off.

 

There was a new drink on the table, and a piece of cake. Nearly hidden under the bottle was a note, but it only said:

 

Our brave girl, The change is proceeding as expected.

 

He kept hold of the note and stared at it for a while. Was this anything to do with the change to the suit? His mind shied away from “girl.”

 

He drank a few mouthfuls of the sweet drink, but he wasn't hungry. He took the cake and bottle with him and set out into the dormitory hall.

 

He could walk in the heels almost as fast as in his regular shoes, as if he'd woken knowing how to move in them. They forced him to walk differently, with a swivel of the hips. The thought of what he'd look like if there were anyone to see him... He forced it away. Changing back would remove all the benefits of the suit, but he still wanted to, just to be covered. He pulled a blanket off a bed and tried wrapping it around himself like a robe, but it was impossible to hold in place while carrying the food. He left it behind.

 

He walked until he was dizzy with hunger and had to stop to eat. It was no use. After a while he saw the bed with the pulled-up blanket again, ahead. After another while he saw the empty flask he had left.

 

He thought about a puzzle from a forgotten game and tried walking with his eyes closed. The thought of beings waiting in the darkness made him open them after only moments, and nothing had changed. He turned around and only had to walk past six beds before he was back in his room.

 

The rest of the day he spent in the pit: it was his remaining way out. He thought about tearing up the drapes and making a rope, or dismantling the bed to build a ladder, but he was getting exhausted. There was no way of telling the time down here, other than by sleep.

 

There was another bottle and some sweets waiting for him. He ate them and drank some of the drink, then stumbled into bed.

Written by on 14 May 2019

The Second Change emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


That – night? – he remembered his dreams more clearly. He thought he saw a figure, invisible inside its protective suit, standing by the bed, writing on a clipboard. It must have opened the drapes. As soon as he'd registered that thought, some sort of needle stung him, just briefly. He was certain it had come from the bed itself.

 

He was awake. The drapes were open – but he couldn't remember if he'd closed them – and, to the surprise of no-one, there was a new cake on the table and the flask was filled. He staggered out of bed, in case they had left another message, but there was nothing. Someone was able to get in and out of here. If he could stay awake and catch them –

 

The thought faded. He'd just realised why his body felt so wobbly, off-balance. The silly white bikini top was filled. One rabbit ear tickled on his cheek as he bent his head forward. He tugged at the top, still hoping he might find just cotton stuffing. Inside was silky flesh.

 

He spun to the mirror. The reflection still looked like him – like a sister. His dark hair formed a tomboyish style around a pretty, pink-lipped face, so pretty it was hard to recognise his own features. The reflection's breasts weren't huge, but round and perky, pushed up by the top. Her build was still slender, but her muscles were less toned. The bulge in the pants was gone. She couldn't bring herself to pull out her pants and look. Even her shoulders and legs, things you wouldn't expect to have changed, looked different. She could still have believed this was some trick of the mirror, but when she looked down, she saw the same body.

 

Daniel cried out, no more able to help it than if something had sliced her hand off, and heard a different voice come out of her mouth. She choked it back. If any observer had heard, they didn't show themselves.

 

She noticed something else, unrelated to the changes in her body. The ear that had flopped against her cheek was standing almost straight up, half-turned as if listening for something, not like cloth. The headband was gone, the ears were coming straight out of her hair.

 

She parted her hair – her fingers were more slender – and saw where the ears grew out of her scalp. Where her human ears had been were just empty stretches of skin. She reached up to grab one of the rabbit ears, but pinched too hard and it hurt. When she reached back and tweaked her tail, it felt the touch as well. Nerves had grown out through something no other human had.

 

*

 

Daniel spent the rest of the day crouched up in a corner where she could watch over the room. She didn't want to look at herself, but even a slight movement made her feel the changes inside her.

 

She kept as much of the room as possible within her field of sight, but the hours went by, tiredness became a heaviness in her entire body and then a pain. Nobody came to replace the food, but her sight flickered enough in the end that she might not have seen them if they'd come. Him, her. Did those words even have meaning any more, when anyone she might see might be a completely different gender from the one they'd been born as?

 

In the end, nothing she could frighten or reward herself with could make her stay awake.

Written by on 21 May 2019

Magical Bimbo emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Daniel had at least refused to sleep in the bed, as if that was going to make any difference, but when she closed her eyes she was there again. It was a dream, one of those dreams where fear is suspended. The drapes had been pulled aside and the hazmat-suited figures stood around her. One of them was holding a written page over her head and making her read it out loud. In the dream, her lighter voice didn't bother her. The words echoed in the room, because there were no other sounds.

 

The recruitment will only begin once the Guide is fully formed and trained.

 

The training is, if anything, more important than the comparatively easy physical transformation: the Guide must be capable of carrying out her orders, but not of turning on us, fleeing, or calling for help.

 

Similarly, the Guide must have the physical ability needed for her duty, without being strong or durable enough to pose a threat. This will be accomplished by reducing the Guide's intellect to its basic functions.

 

Anxiety started taking her, and she broke off.

 

“Keep going,” a voice urged, caressingly. “What a good girl you are.”

 

She wanted to keep reading, because she didn't want to disappoint the voice, but she had to blink away the tears, and when she looked again, the next word was either “for” or “ror.” Her eyes just needed to move a little and the F changed to an R, and she couldn't tell which was the real one. It was like taking a sight test. It had to be F, because “ror” wasn't a word, but up ahead were more long words where the letters shimmered the same way, more letters joining them all the time.

 

the p pua ion wil nee i s s reng h, but the Gu de only ne s to a ac e n...

 

She couldn't go on, she hardly knew any of the words. When she looked again, the letters were just little black squares with barely any differences.

 

“Continue, Guide.” A hint of sharpness.

 

Daniel tried, until she could feel the muscles in her head and neck tensing up with the effort, but she couldn't see a way to turn the letters into sounds. Would she ever be able to read again?

 

The dream was over and she hadn't been aware. She sat up in bed, stretching out her

 

long legs. There was a cake and drink on the table as usual. Daniel got up and stuffed her face. It felt like dreaming was hard work, it'd made her hungry.

 

There was a piece of paper with writing on it under the bottle. Daniel picked it up and turned it over. The writing didn't mean anything, it simply didn't go through to the part of her brain that it should. For a while it worried her, but then she got a glimpse of a person moving on the other side of the table. She squealed, but it was the mirror. Daniel got up and stood in front of it, stretching a little. It make her laugh how the image followed her moves so quickly, like they were two identical dancers in a troupe, and that she couldn't tell which one moved first. What if the reflection was actually the one making all decisions and she followed? Or how did she know she wasn't the reflection?

 

She stayed there a while, because the mirror was actually very nice to look at. She had very long legs, a body that was slender yet top-heavy, nice hair, and then there were the cute ears and fluff-tail, something no-one else had. No-one who wasn't an actual rabbit, at least. Watching herself slowly raise one leg like a ballerina made unusual feelings move around inside her. She couldn't be feeling those things about herself, could she? Maybe she was feeling what a man would feel if he saw her now. She was sure at least some of the people running this place must be male. But she couldn't see the admiration in their eyes as long as they didn't show themselves!

 

She went walking in the dorm again, but she walked until she was tired and still nowhere near the other wall. In the end, she flung herself on her back on one of the boxy beds. If they were behind the ceiling, they must be looking right down at her.

 

She seemed to be getting tired more easily now. It wasn't an unpleasant feeling. She was sure she would wake if something interesting happened.

Written by on 30 May 2019

The Figures emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Perhaps it was because the bed was harder and less comfy, but sleep was just a thin broken film over reality. Someone was standing in front of her, maybe more than one. She only had a sensation of shadow and weight.

 

“We should move her to the bed anyway.” A male voice? “It would make it easier to work on her.”

 

A lighter-pitched voice: “I'll prepare a shot.”

 

The first voice again: “There should be no need. Look, I'll carry her back.”

 

Something brushed Daniel's shoulder and she was awake. She sprang into the air almost straight up. She felt her ears squish against the ceiling, not hard enough to hurt. Almost in mid-jump, when it felt like she and everything was starting to slow down, she thought about how good it was that at least they hadn't done anything to the suit's powers.

 

Below her – like in the dream – three figures were standing around the bed. One looked much bigger than the others, so big it might not be human. With a whoop of excitement, Daniel shot over them, her ankle barely touching a shoulder, and through the doorway.

 

She was in the bedroom before they'd had a chance to turn. For a moment she thought about hiding behind the bed-drapes, but she already heard footsteps clattering. She ran again. If only she'd gone the other way, then she could have kept running. This way was nothing except the short tunnel and the bottom of the pit. She ran anyway, as if the world might have changed for her now that she needed it to. Nothing had changed.

 

She tried running up the wall. Maybe her new heels would be able to dig into the rock. She was actually fast enough to get a few steps up. For a glorious second she thought she was safe and going to make it, then gravity got her and wrenched her back onto the floor.

 

The three figures were standing in the tunnel, blocking her way. They didn't make a grab for her yet.

 

“There's no need to be afraid,” the first of the figures said. “Come with us, Guide, and we won't harm you.”

 

Daniel could have obeyed, but their covered faces were something from a nightmare, she couldn't stand the thought of walking with them and looking at them. She backed. Two of the figures approached and cornered her.

 

She was just going to dart past them and back into the dorm, but she remembered how she'd run on their shoulders when she got out of the bed. She half-jumped, half clambered onto the largest of the captors and pushed off from his shoulder, too quickly for him to have time to make a sound. The angle of the jump was bad, she might not have reached as high as she could have off the flat ground. She shot up into the dusk, and before she started falling, her fingertips found a ledge.

Written by on 31 May 2019

Lab emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


The ledge was raw rock, it had an irregular edge that cut into Daniel's fingers and made it barely possible to keep gripping, and it wasn't big enough to do anything with except holding on. Daniel swung her legs looking for purchase, and felt something. She shifted her weight onto her feet. The lower shelf was big enough to stand on, nothing else, but that was enough. She breathed out and felt the pain draining from her numb fingers.

 

Voices rose from below. They sounded angry, but they weren't speaking to her, so she didn't have to listen. She gazed up into the heavier dusk, squinting to see. There was one other foothold, two. They were way higher than a normal person could jump, and maybe too high for her as well. She could have jumped back down, just so she wouldn't have to go through all this, but what was down there was worse.

 

One of them, the woman maybe, snapped an order, and Daniel jumped as if that was her cue. She made it to the ledge and looked upward for the next. The adrenaline had filled her until she felt like she'd be able to make it all the way up without resting.

 

“This is your final warning,” she heard the female voice. It sounded sure of itself, as if they'd already caught her. “Come down willingly, and you will not be punished.”

 

“And you think I'll fall for that?” she called. Her new voice still freaked her out.

 

She didn't wait, but crouched and readied herself. The next foothold was almost straight up, but she could still pull it off.

 

She jumped, but in mid-jump it felt like her course was slow and off-balance. She looked down and saw a light plastic dart sticking to her thigh, through her pale stocking. For a moment all she could think was how neat it looked, how you couldn't tell that the silk was broken around the needle. Blurriness was rising into her head.

 

She fell and was unconscious before she landed.

 

*

 

“Open your eyes, Guide.”

 

Daniel obeyed. She was lying on her back on something that wasn't as sinkingly soft as the canopy bed, but still soft enough to be comfy. There was a white roof and white walls around her, lit so bright they burnt shadows into her eyes after a while. It was only when she moved that she felt something holding her limbs down.

 

“We needed to do something with you to ensure that you don't try to defy us again,” the voice went on. “This is much better, isn't it?”

 

The straps made a little slithering sound as they let go of her arms and ankles.

 

First thing, Daniel bounced from the bed and hurtled for the door. Her movements weren't as fast as they used to be, but she didn't think about that until afterwards. She was running at the speed of a normal person, slower, her heels wobbling under her. She threw herself at the door-handle. It was locked, but worse, she was wrecked with a nausea so bad she couldn't stand upright.

 

The figures rose behind her. Daniel turned, but she couldn't even think about trying to run. They didn't have to grab her. One of the smaller figures took her arm, not aggressively.

 

“You see now?” it said. Its voice was barely human filtered through the mask. “Come here.”

 

She turned Daniel around so that she could see a running-machine, not really different from the sort you'd find in a gym, out of place between the sterile walls. Daniel stumbled toward it, looking around for any possible way to escape. The nausea was starting to drain from her again. Had it really just been tiredness?

 

“Get on it,” the woman said.

 

Daniel stood on the belt.

 

“Run as fast as you can.”

 

Daniel took a step forward, and instantly the dizzy tiredness was gone. Her body was as fast as it'd ever been; she didn't even feel that she was wearing the heels. The belt clattered under her and the woman had to order her to stop.

 

“Better, isn't it?” the figure said. “Now do what you want.” She spread her arms, leaving herself unprotected.

 

Daniel rushed to tackle her with all the force the speed gave her. She was slow and heavy and set one foot down wrong, feeling a chill of pain up through her ankle. She collapsed before the wrapped-up figure.

 

“You can only use the suit's powers on our command,” the voice said. “When trying to act by your own will, you will be even weaker and slower than an unmodified human. We really didn't want to do this, you understand, but you forced our hand. Get up, Guide.”

 

Daniel bounced back up, as if her body had just forgotten the pain in her ankle. The figures stood before her, faceless in their masks. She couldn't tell if they were looking at her.

 

“There is one more thing,” the woman said. “You will need to remember not to go against our wishes in the future.” There was a pause, as if she smiled. “And once that is done, I don't believe we will need to work on you again.”

 

A door swished open. The figures left. Daniel tried to rush after them, but her reactions were too slow. The door closed in her face.

 

As she was about to turn, she noticed a bright red spot on her bare shoulder, a needle-mark. First she thought about the needle that had knocked her out in the pit, but that one had been in her leg, hadn't it? This was something else.

 

It felt like the lights had dimmed, but maybe they were flickering to a higher brightness and her eyes couldn't take it. There was a toxic taste in her mouth.

Written by on 01 June 2019

Corruption emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


Daniel turned back to the lab. There was another door, narrow and plain like something you'd find in a school stationery room, half hidden behind a workbench. She realised she was trying to judge whether she could make it across the room without exhausting herself.

 

She walked instead, and as she walked she felt the mark on her shoulder throbbing. She pulled the handle. The door was locked, but she kept yanking until her arms were out of strength. When she was positive she wasn't getting it open, she turned back to the hospital stretcher and sat down. There wasn't much else she could do.

 

They'd pumped something into her blood, hadn't they? Maybe it wasn't dangerous. The mark wasn't hurting, but she did feel tickling tendrils of something unseen, reaching deep down her arm and across her shoulder into her chest. Maybe they wouldn't go much further.

 

A quick pang struck her, then another. It wasn't real pain, more like numbness, but it was going down into her heart and throwing its beats off. Daniel moved her head from side to side, dizzy, hoping she would pass out.

 

Her nose twitched. It actually made her laugh out loud at first, because rabbit-noses twitched a lot, didn't they, and she was already partly like a rabbit. The twitching didn't stop. She could feel the tiny passages in her nose crinkling and extending. A permanent cold moisture broke out on the skin between her nostrils.

 

An itch raced across her punctured shoulder, but it was on her other arm and legs as well. She looked down and could see it. First it was just a flush, then something white seeped out of her skin. She touched it and it was fur, just dry, dense fur. It almost soothed her for a moment, how clean it was. She lifted her top – it was growing even under there. She held her hand to a patch of skin as if she would be able to press the hairs back in, but the white fur was racing across her hands, too.

 

She tried holding her breath, maybe that would slow down her blood, but the blotches of fur kept spreading and meeting. The infection was already inside her, changing even the most deep-seated parts of her nature. She tried pulling the fur out, but if she did manage to rip out a pinch of white hairs, new ones shot up in the same place, and she was forced to look at what her hands were being turned into: slender, clawed forepaws. A force almost like pain lodged in her legs, twisting her bones and kneecaps about.

 

All the outlines of the lab started to swim. Daniel felt herself falling into soft unconsciousness and didn't resist.

Written by on 02 June 2019

Happiness emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


She woke up in the canopy bed, soft as a dream. For a while she couldn't remember what had been so bad, then she moved her legs and felt velvety fur brushing together.

 

She got up to sitting on the edge of the bed. The fear was slow and less important than the spinning in her head. She – for a moment she had trouble remembering her name. Her thoughts flowed so thickly now. The strange people in the lab had called her Guide, did that mean that was her name? No, a guide was something you were, not something people called you. The panic was over, she'd remembered, it was Daniel. But Daniel was a boy's name. Danielle, then? It was almost the same.

 

By the time Danielle got to the mirror, she was already tired. She held her mouth to make sure she wouldn't scream before looking up at the reflection.

 

It wasn't as bad as she'd been afraid of. Her shape was still human, even though everything was covered in fur. At least now the ears and tail looked like they were in the right place. Her nose had morphed into a rabbit-snout. It was kind of cute, if she looked at it as something outside her. Her hands had become long, dainty paws with dark claws. She could still grip with them. Her legs felt different, but it was hard to see through the silk stockings. Her toe-tips still fit in the high-heeled shoes.

 

Realisation came through slowly. Danielle scrunched up her face and saw the nose twitching. The rabbit ears bobbed on her head. She reached up and touched her nose, and felt the touch, and saw the white paw moving in the mirror. She still didn't scream, but everything blurred with tears and she couldn't stop herself whimpering. She physically forced it back. Who knew what they would do to her if they heard her complain?

 

Danielle turned to the table – maybe food would make her feel better. There wasn't anything on the tray except a small round-bellied bottle and a note. She picked up the note out of habit, but she'd forgotten that she couldn't read. The signs were grey marks that looked the same as each other, and her thoughts were like moving through treacle.

 

The note fell out of her hand.

 

“What do you want from me?” she called out loud.

 

There was a response. A voice, lightly mocking, poured out of the ceiling and walls:

 

“You thought you were the hero, didn't you? That you would be sent a sign to guide you on your quest?”

 

“I'm sorry,” Daniel replied, staring down. She didn't know if she'd done something wrong. “I don't think that any more.”

 

There was silence, long enough that she'd given up waiting, then she heard the voice again.

 

“You are the guide. You are the white rabbit.” It paused. “The flask is the final step. Drink, and you will be happy with what we have done to you. Don't drink, and you will serve us anyway.”

 

The voice didn't come back.

 

Danielle circled the bottle as if it might have been able to leap at her on its own. There wasn't any choice, was there? They'd changed every part of her body. She couldn't move or stand without seeing a glimpse of white fur, or feeling how her legs had changed. Even her mind...

 

Her gaze slipped to the dorm doors. There was no escape through that way, and she'd found out what happened when she tried to escape. Her only choice now was whether or not to hate the rest of her life.

 

A dark syrup-coloured liquid swirled in the bottle when she picked it up. They'd written something on the label, even though she couldn't read.

 

She hesitated only a moment, then put the opening of the bottle to her mouth.

Written by on 03 June 2019

Walking Home emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


It was later than Pammy had intended when she stepped out of David's family's house. The sky was fully dark and all the summer warmth had left the air: not cold, just a chill after the sweltering heat of the day.

 

“I'll call you ASAP if I find out anything,” she said into the golden light of the hallway.

 

“Seeya, Pamms,” David called.

 

Jake's voice was a bit more indistinct. “Remember to tell Gassan what we came up with.”

 

What they'd come up with wasn't much. One of them was going to talk to Daniel's family and ask if they'd noticed anything unusual about his behaviour – that was going to be her job, since Daniel's mom already felt comfortable talking to her – and, as a secondary priority, keep an eye open if they saw any white suits like the one Dan'd been wearing, on people or in a shop. It was Jake who had pointed out the white suit, and even he wouldn't have remembered it if he hadn't asked Dan about it. It felt like a bit of a far-fetched lead.

 

What could it mean, that it was the uniform of some freakish cult? She guessed it wasn't impossible.

 

Pammy pulled her pink bolero jacket tighter over her shoulders. Her mom tended to go ape about her walking home alone, but she'd never had any reason to be anxious. She was probably as fit as any pervs she might come across – at the very least, she'd be able to outrun them.

 

Something moved under a lamppost in front of her. Pammy blinked. For a moment it felt like her thoughts were fooling her, but the person was still there. They were heading away from her, and she wouldn't have given them a second look, except that they were dressed in blinding white.

 

Her heart skipped, painfully. The suit looked like she remembered Daniel's. The figure's height was right, and the quick glint of black hair as he passed under the light –

 

She wasn't certain enough to call for him yet, but she started running, sneakers slapping against the sidewalk, trying to catch up with him before he was out from under the lamppost.

 

The guy glanced over his shoulder and started running from her.

 

Pammy was a faster runner than most, but the white-clad person didn't so much run as zip across the ground, like a video game character glitching ahead by screens at a time.

 

“DANIEL?”

 

She was yelling now, it didn't matter who heard. Daniel, if it was Daniel, didn't react.

 

At one point she thought she'd lost him. She slowed down, hunched over, hands pressed against the pain in her side – but when she looked up, she saw a speck of glowing white in the road ahead of her. Had he stopped? Certainly slowed down, or she would have lost sight of him.

 

Something felt off about this, but she couldn't give up, she might never see him again.

 

The pale figure led the way to the pit of the town dump, vast and post-apocalyptic in the dark. For a moment, Pammy thought he had vanished into the pit, but then she saw him down below, leaping between peaks of filthy mattresses and broken monitors, light-footed as a mountain goat. She couldn't follow him like that, not if she wanted to live. Pammy started climbing down the side of the pit. It meant having to turn her back on the guy, but perhaps he would wait up for her again.

 

There was a rumble below her, and the tower of garbage under her feet waved and vanished like a hollow sideshow. Pammy fell screaming, and kept falling after she should have hit the bottom.

Written by on 04 June 2019

Gassan emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


It was dark outside, and Gassan was still at his desk studying. It was no way to spend the summer break, but his grades at the end of the year had been just good enough to get him into medical college without needing to take a remedial course. He didn't want to just barely scrape by.

 

There was another thing. Jake had called and asked if he wanted to come over to David's place, and Gassan had turned it down. They were going to be talking about Daniel's disappearance, maybe spreading out in the area and searching. Daniel's parents had got him on the missing persons list, of course, but that was the only news they'd heard. Maybe it was cowardice, but Gassan wanted to avoid thinking about it as much as possible, as if some sort of contagion had stuck to their group. Daniel would never have vanished willingly, not without leaving a message.

 

A message. He got his cellphone out of his pocket again and stared at the text he hadn't deleted.

 

Follow the white rabbit.

 

The number was nothing he'd seen before, definitely not Daniel's. When he'd tried getting back to them, no-one had answered.

 

Gassan put the cellphone back, carefully as if the message made it fragile, and returned to the biology book, but he was barely focused enough to read the words. He'd barely read a column when there was a clear knock on the window.

 

His window faced out on the garden, just shapeless blackness now. Gassan hesitated only a moment before turning around, but that moment was long enough for him to realise that he was afraid.

 

At first he couldn't see anything, just the tiny bead of a distant lamppost. Then he heard the rustle of movement. A pale human form stood upright on the other side of the glass. It was a girl, about his age, slender, but not human. What he had thought was white body-paint was short, neat white fur covering everything he saw, and that was most of her: she wore only panties, a bra, and silk stockings that were almost as long as pants. All her clothing was white, and difficult to distinguish against the pallor of her fur. Long white rabbit ears stuck up from her glossy black hair, and her face was pretty, human-shaped around a little pink animal snout. Her crystalline eyes were wide, but he didn't know if it was with fear or if that was something common to whatever creature she was. She was still there, a slender clawed hand raised to the window-glass.

 

Gassan unlatched the window and opened it, slowly so as not to startle her. Even then, the girl-creature tensed and looked like she was about to bolt. It felt as if he'd seen her before.

 

Her lower lip trembled when she looked at him. Her white silk top was so tight, it pressed her breasts up. Gassan forced his gaze up to her eyes. They trembled too, but he didn't know whether it was tears that made them so large and liquid.

 

“Please...” she whispered in English.

 

Her voice – breathy and choked – sounded almost familiar too, but maybe not as if he'd heard it for real, maybe like something from TV or a game.

 

“I'm not gonna harm you!” Gassan whispered and held out his palms in an “I come in peace” gesture.

 

“Please...” the girl said again. “Follow me...”

 

She turned from the window and ran. Gassan lost his balance and stumbled off the window-sill in his rush to keep up. She was almost lost at the end of the garden, it was only thanks to her blinding whiteness that he could still see her. Head throbbing, barely feeling the ground under his feet, he ran.

Written by on 05 June 2019

Jake emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


For once Jake wasn't spending the evening in chat with his buddies at FurStar, because there was a King Kong marathon running on TV, and dad, his brothers, and Uncle Mel had bribed him into joining them with chips and beer. The films weren't really his jam, but he did feel like he needed to spend more time with his family. The idea of going off to college after summer had started to loom large. He could entertain himself by trying to see how well-made the King Kong suits were, and the lights and warmth of the living-room helped distract him from what had happened to Daniel for a little while.

 

There was a tap on the window out to the dark garden, loud enough to be heard over the TV. Jake's head jerked up. He couldn't see anything out there. Had it just been – he didn't know, a bird, a random twig hitting the glass? Almost right away, he heard the doorbell. It sounded like someone had pressed it who didn't want to be heard.

 

“I'll get it,” Mel said, folding one leg back off the coffee table. He was sitting closest to the hallway.

 

“No, don't worry about it!”

 

Jake flung himself out of the couch and rushed down the hallway. Now they would be speculating about his embarrassing speed. Maybe they would just assume it was some girl, that might be just as well. He didn't want to have to explain about Dan.

 

There was no-one outside. Jake stood still, shoulders set, breathing in the dew-perfumed night air. It felt like he should have expected this.

 

He heard a scraping, the movement of a foot. A slim figure was hiding away behind the corner of the house, but not enough for him not to see her. It was very clearly female, its skimpy figure left little doubt about that. What was more, every part of her was covered in short, dense white fur: her face, the swelling bust under her silken top, her long nervous rabbit ears.

 

She made a little noise and backed away from him. Had he looked that perverted? Jake put his hands out in an apologetic gesture. He had never seen anything like her, there was no way a suit could fit so realistically on a person. She was like a CGI effect copied onto the world.

 

The rabbit-girl squealed again and started running down the street. A word came into Jake's head: “bait.” But he'd already decided, hadn't he? If he didn't take this bait, an entire world would remain closed to him.

 

Jake ran after her.

Written by on 06 June 2019

David emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar


David shook his head and tried Jake's phone number. No response, any more than from Pammy or Gassan. Three of his buddies wouldn't get back to him, that was hardly a coincidence any more – no. He shook his head as if he could get the thoughts out of there by force. Better to assume they were goofing off somewhere, maybe at a party, and that he was the only one at least trying to come up with a plan for finding Daniel.

 

There was a quick ring on the doorbell. He ignored it for a second, but he was alone in the house, wasn't he? He rushed down the stairs.

 

Pammy stood outside. That was his first thought: she had Pammy's general shape, her golden-blond frizz of hair, but some sort of nightmare was superimposed on that familiar figure. Her skin was so white it glowed. It wasn't skin at all, it was short fur. He hardly noticed her clothes at first, because they were the same colour, but they were even skimpier than what Pammy would normally wear.

 

He'd taken a step towards her, to push her away, or just to touch her and see if she were real. He thought he saw Pammy mouth the word:

 

“Please...”

 

Then she spun and ran.

 

“No, Pammy, wait!”

 

David ran after her, and after a while he could no longer hear his own footsteps and he was spinning down through a void.

Written by on 07 June 2019


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