That reminded her, she had a scale in the bathroom in both her previous lives. She turned and saw it next to the shower stall. It was a large platform made of acrylic with a digital screen for displaying the weight. That was almost exactly how it looked before, only something was different about it. It looked way bigger than it did before. As a human and a skunk it was about the size of a baseball plate. Now it was more like a pizza box, and much sturdier too. That made sense given Jasmine’s size. If a regular person like her was this heavy, there would have to be bigger scales to accommodate that.
In fact, now that she looked around the room, she noticed that just about everything else was bigger than in the human and skunk worlds. The toilet bowl was much broader and the shower stall was more spacious. Even the toothbrush that she kept in its holder looked more like a golf ball brush than something she’d put in her mouth. That reminds me. She peeled her lip down with her claw and took a look at her teeth. They were sharp like before, but with a much more menacing length and girth. Jasmine made no mistake. These were for gripping and tearing flesh. Her fingertips drifted onto the jowls where there lay a bedrock of solid jaw muscle. Just flexing it let Jasmine know that she could crack a bone with just her teeth.
The last thing she inspected was her backside. Turning around made her stubby wolverine tail sweep across her legs. It looked small when compared to the glorious tower of black and white floof that it had been just a few minutes ago. Jasmine was a tad disappointed, but at least she still had a tail to wag around, something she enjoyed doing in the mirror like a goofball.
After what may have been half an hour going over her new form, Jasmine left the bathroom to see what had become of the rest of the world. Stepping through her conspicuously wider doorway brought her back into the living room where the theme of enlarged objects continued. The seats on her couch were fattened so that they could contain the enormous frame of a wolverine. The chairs at her dining table were similarly huge, as was the table itself. Humorously, while everything was significantly wider and thicker, nothing was at all taller. It was as though someone had stretched reality by two dimensions but neglected to attend the third.
The coffee table was at the center of her apartment. Her collection of national geographics was stacked on top of it alongside a remote control fatter than a machete. When Jasmine got close she noticed that there were only a few buttons on it and that they were the size of quarters. A quick look at her burly paws and fingers told her why. As she took time to look at her paw some more she wondered just how her claws worked. When she clenched her fist there came no trio of long, shiny spears from the gaps in her knuckles. A shame, but while she couldn’t do that she was able to retract her massive claws back into her fingers halfway with the flex of a muscle she didn’t have before. It felt strange and natural at the same time, like someone with amnesia performing their signature by muscle memory alone.
Jasmine sat down on the couch and picked up a NatGeo. A good chortle came out of her when she saw the wolverine version of scientists and celebrities peering over historical artifacts and taking pictures of wild animals which were the same as they had been in the human world. Jasmine tried turning the page but found that two of them were stuck together. She tried plucking at it with her thumb claw but couldn’t get the damn things apart. After the fifth pluck a frown furrowed her brow.
“Come on now,” she said, irritated. “Open the fuck up.” Trying with both thumbs didn’t work any better. Her frustration boiled over, twitching her lips into a snarl. “Fucking thing!” Finally she just threw the magazine back onto the table where it smacked off the stack and went fluttering to the floor. Jasmine slumped back into the couch with a harrumph and crossed her beefy arms in front of her chest. “Stupid magazine.”
Her anger did not clear until moments later when she blinked and realized what she had done. The stack of magazines was now cut in two, its upper half slid across the coffee table like a lost game of jenga. Did I really just do that? That kind of aggravation wasn’t normal for her, or anyone for that matter. Was that her wolverine DNA turning her into an impatient curmudgeon?
She got up from the couch so that she could fix the stack and resume reading the magazine. Take it easy this time. It’s just a page. She opened the magazine to a random spot and looked at the pictures. To her chagrin, when she tried to turn the page she saw that this one was stuck too. Great, here we go. But before she frustrated herself on trying to peel them apart she realized that the next page she could get to carried over from the one she was on perfectly. The pages were never stuck together. They were made twice as thick so that her enormous claws would have a better time turning them.
“Oh…” she said, feeling thoroughly stupid. “Oops.”
After perusing her collection of NatGeo’s and getting some amusement out of seeing wolverine Jesus (that would never get old) she decided to turn on the TV. As expected, everyone who appeared was a wolverine version of themselves. Having gone through the same motions before as a skunk made the new transition no less jarring. She had just gotten used to seeing people as skunks. Now she had to readjust to people as wolverines.
Which reminded her, how was her family? She patted her thigh looking for her phone but found nothing but bare fur. It dawned on her that she had been naked this entire time. Her hide was so heavy that it felt like an outfit on its own. She didn’t doubt that there was any need for winter clothes. How wolverines survived in tropical weather, if they were even down there, was beyond her.
She remembered leaving her phone in her pants pocket and went to the bathroom to go get it. It was weird picking up a pair of jeans that looked big enough to fit around a tree and knowing that it was hers. Even weirder was that the tag on the back read “skinny fit”. Putting them back on was a delicate procedure given her massive sharp feet claws. The denim was padded with leather on the inside for that exact reason. I guess everything’s gotta be made extra tough in this world. I feel like the Hulk trying to fix an iPhone.
Once her clothes were on (she was happy to find a hole for her tail in the waist of her pants) she drew her phone out of her pocket. The thing weighed like a brick and had a screen the size of a rearview mirror. Jasmine sat down on the couch and braced herself for the journey into her gallery. Seeing her family was going to be the most jarring of all changes thus far, she knew it. Her thumb tapped the gallery app, clacking the thumb claw on what was probably a bulletproof screen. First there were the pictures Jasmine had taken most recently when she was a skunk. There were a few selfies and pictures she had taken with her friends. Prior to putting on the skunk suit, her friend group consisted mostly of the guys she worked with. After turning into a woman there was a major shift in gender with her friends.
That made her wonder. If the wolverine version existed before the skunk version, and the skunk version existed before the human version, where are they now? Do they even still exist? All of her memories of being Jared and her brief time as a skunk were intact, but buried beneath all of that was an entire lifetime as those three species. She was a human, a skunk, and a wolverine all sandwiched together within a bread of consciousness baked by the original Jared.
But who was the original Jared? Could any version of her even be called original? Skunk Jasmine had probably been turned into a human, and then into a wolverine. In that case, wolverine Jasmine became a skunk first and was now a human. Wait, no. That doesn’t work because I was a skunk at that time. Wolverine Jasmine probably turned into a human and then became a skunk, or some fourth animal Leland hasn’t sent me yet. If that’s the case, what does that make skunk Jasmine?
Her head was starting to hurt. She forgot about the phone in her paws for a moment. That existential dread concerning herself, her family, and the life she had left behind weighed on her like a ton of bricks. What was real and what wasn’t was indecipherable. Existence itself was a fragile concept, even more so than it ever had been. The fact that there was a being out there, Leland, who could transfer people from reality to reality with just a magic suit was deeply unsettling.
Then she remembered the phone in her paw. It was still open to her gallery where she was greeted with the faces of her friends and family. She scrolled down to see more photos, those with more smiles and cute animals. With each upwards swipe of her thumb there would zoom a dozen or so pictures she had taken onto the screen. Every one of them brought up a memory of either when she was a skunk or when she was Jared. Here they had all been given a certain wolverine flair, but were the same pictures regardless. Whether or not the other realities existed did not matter so long as she had her family and friends here in this one.
Existential dread having been quelled for the moment, Jasmine smiled and tucked the phone back into her pocket. She stood up from the couch and did a big, full body stretch, reaching her artillery-arms out at her sides and bearing the muscle against the fur. She came to a rest with a sigh and looked out the window. It was a beautiful day outside. The sun was beaming into her living room and radiating off the tree leaves. A perfect day for a walk if there ever was one.
Written by TheGreatJaceyGee on 08 July 2023