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 23 May 2019