The White Rabbit
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