by B. L. Smith
part 1
1 2

  The door opened and Jenny's smiling face appeared, "Hey sweetie, you're up. How was your sleep? Good?"
  That was my night nurse, Jenny. The bright and effervescent evil twin I never had and really didn't want. Okay, so I did want her, she was such a hottie. With shoulder length strawberry-blonde hair, hazel eyes, and legs that never seemed to end, who wouldn't want her? I just wasn't into the incest twin thing: at least not as one of the twins. Besides, being that bright and cheery all the time was definitely a crime, a capital offense for sure. It was hard to be depressed around Jenny, very hard. Somehow, I was managing.
  Lying on my tummy, my face half buried in the pillow, the ultra-feminine soulful voice that reached my ears sounded strange -- mine, not hers. "Mmm, what time is it?"
  I was having a tough time adjusting to the changes in my body. Oddly, some of the most difficult to adapt to were the small and innocuous things that I didn't often think about. Things I took for granted. My voice was one of those little things. Every time I opened my mouth it was as if someone else, some seductress here in the room with me, was putting her voice to my thoughts. It wasn't my voice. My voice was several octaves lower and didn't have a cute nasal scratch. I didn't sound like a pixie in heat.
  Not only did I sound like a girl; somehow, I gained an accent. An exotic one to be sure, but an accent nonetheless. Should I have been surprised that it was exotic? Probably not. Why wouldn't it be exotic? Everything about me now was exotic. I was a regular little wet dream.
  "A little past noon, sleepyhead." The smile she flashed belied her evil intentions. There was no way she was going let me laze around in bed all day. Especially not after the hell I put her through last night.
  I hadn't felt like passing another interminably long night alone in my room. My fidget factor was running on overdrive. I was climbing the walls. Two days strapped to a bed in an isolation ward was almost more than I could handle. Last night, as soon as the quarantine came down, I got out and prowled the halls. It felt good to get out of my room -- even if I was still alone.
  That's not entirely true. I wasn't completely alone; the floor wasn't entirely deserted. Every three minutes, once each lap of the darkened and deserted halls, I passed Jenny sitting at the nurse's station. A few hours before dawn, and after growing bored with wandering aimlessly through the corridors, I sat at the nurse's station with Jenny. I drove her crazy with questions:
  "Can I read my chart?"
  "How can you read Doctor William's writing?"
  "Is that even a word?
  "What does urobilinogen mean?"
  A spiked mallet to the forehead or a pointy stick through one of my three hearts might have been more effective than the sleeping pill Jenny gave me. I really did have three hearts. There were even pictures to prove it. Okay, so two of them, if I believed the cardiologists knew what they were talking about, were some sort of auxiliary pumping stations that circulated blood through my wings. So far, they seemed to spend most of the time beating slowly. They sure as hell sounded neat though. It was like there was an entire band playing in my chest -- Thump-thump, wop bop, wop bop a lula a wham bam boom.
  I don't know why she bothered with the sleeping pills. Policy I guess. Most of the drugs they pumped into my system didn't work or the effects were minimal at best. However, I did get a good buzz off that radioactive sludge they made me drink before the last set of x-rays. Please sir, may I have another barium milk shake?
  Undeterred, I continued with the inquisition.
  "I don't see a ring, are you single?"
  "What's his name?"
  "How long have the two of you been together?"
  "What a jerk! You're not serious about him are you?"
  "So, do I still have a chance?"
  "What does the jerk, I mean Jeff, do?"
  "Can I have a sponge bath?"
  "Ah, what do you mean by no?"
  "You sure?"
  "I'm sure I saw sponge bath as one of the instructions for the night nurse. Can I see my chart again?"
  "Okay, okay! I'll drop it. Umm, what say I give you a sponge bath?"
  I didn't crawl into bed until Jenny laughingly threatened to use the restraints they kept for the more 'difficult' patients. I wasn't tired of being a pest, but Jenny did have a small mountain of paperwork to complete. Back to my room I went. I wasn't tired and I didn't really think she would follow through on the restraints, damn her -- I was only being polite.
  Alone in my room, I stood at the window for hours and gazed out at the rain and darkened city below. It was well past dawn when I finally crawled into bed, my tail dangling between my legs. And yes, my barbed tail really was dangling between my legs.
  I wasn't tired though. Demons don't sleep. At least this one didn't. In my case, there really seemed to be no rest for the wicked. I hadn't slept a wink last night or the night before. In fact, I hadn't slept a wink since the transformation three days ago. Not sleeping made for some long days and lonely nights.
  During the day I was a little lethargic, a bit brain dead too. When the sun went down it was like a whole new me. I perked up. I was ready for action. I felt like I should be doing something. Only I wasn't sure what. Well, maybe I was. I remembered the words I wrote all too well: 'She preys upon the unwary, hunting the night like a beautiful and terrifying dream, she seduces her victims with soothing words and sensual pleasures'. I didn't want to think about what I meant by it -- or act upon it. Denial wasn't only a river in Africa.
  Lying in bed feigning sleep all day was another way for me to pass the time between one poking and prodding and another. Unfortunately, it also gave me a lot of time to think, and that wasn't healthy. I had far too much time to dwell upon the trials and tribulations of my life, not to mention my current plight. A little more poking and prodding might have been a good thing.
  Maybe the aliens that did this to me would come back and beam me up into their spacecraft. Maybe, if I were lucky, really really lucky, they would end my misery by sucking my brains out with a large and terribly fatal anal probe.
  At least feigning sleep kept the nurses and doctors off my case. The door to my room would open. A head would poke in, and then seeing me apparently asleep in bed, would withdraw. I'd tried watching the news. Reading the newspaper and magazines they gave me was no better. They depressed me and that freaked the doctors out.
  "What do you mean she didn't sleep again last night?"
  "Are you okay? You seem depressed. Is there something you want to talk about?"
  That last one I translated to: Is there something incriminating you wanted to tell me so that I can write it down in your file? We need something incriminating so that we can justify locking you up. We have all sorts of non-standard invasive tests we want to run.
  Besides, I wasn't interested in Cosmo or any of the other trashy magazines they gave me. I didn't really give a shit about the news either. Same old shit, different day. I was only watching CNN because I kept expecting a special bulletin from Japan. If this was a dream; a product of a bad burrito, a high fever, and an overactive imagination; or even a sick and twisted episode of the Twilight Zone starring yours truly; then Godzilla would make his appearance.
  I knew, with absolute certainty, that if Godzilla was spotted wading through Tokyo Bay none of this could be real. I knew it. I just knew it. I would wake up in a fevered sweat and all of this would be over. It would only have been a very fucked-up bad dream.
  Even if I was wrong, and I had somehow turned into Alice and followed her through the looking glass, that was live breaking news footage I didn't want to miss! I wondered if anyone had warned the Japanese of the possible threat.
  The rest of the news, all the stuff about the changelings, wasn't really news at all; just more idle speculation from various self-impressed armchair 'experts'. Doctors and Academics -- even a few of the list members were spouting off! I'd had enough of doctors and academics here at the hospital; I didn't need to listen to them on TV! Besides, they were all morons. Nobody had a fucking clue -- myself included.
  I'd heard all sorts of outlandish claims about the event. They ran the gamut from the typical conspiracy nuts blaming it on anything and everything: the government, terrorists, aliens, genetically modified foods, an industrial accident, and even cosmic radiation. Then there were the religious nuts, from both sides, claiming that this was either the wrath of god or the work of the devil.
  My favorite, the one that made me laugh the hardest, was the loony that stood up on some talk show and claimed that this was all an elaborate sinister plot perpetrated by none other than the anti-Christ himself. Poor Mr. Gates, I wondered if he was getting more hate mail than usual.
  I couldn't help feeling sorry for the other poor bastards caught up in this mess, but mostly I felt sorry for myself. So many lives ruined; horribly twisted and mutilated, like the bodies we now wore.
  It was odd. Some of the changelings seemed desperate to grab their 15 minutes of fame. I couldn't figure that out. Me? I wanted to hide. I wanted to crawl under a rock. So far, despite Jenny's best efforts, I was managing to do just that. In the three days I'd been here, I hadn't had a single visitor. Sure, people (friends mostly) tried to get in and see the freak, but I sent them all packing. My brother, later today, would be the first. Every time I thought about his pending visit, I started to panic.
  At least my self-imposed isolation coupled with the security they placed around the floor kept the details of my change off the airwaves. The staff was under strict orders not to speak to the media, something about doctor patient confidentiality. Even the paramedics and the Hazmat team that arrived on my doorstep hadn't said much -- yet. I'm sure they were tempted. I was even betting that a couple of them were hard at work on a book or a movie script. Even if they were, they hadn't violated my privacy. There were the usual sorts of rumors and speculation by the local media, but they had no facts, no pictures. That didn't stop them from digging.
  It didn't take the media long to find out who was being kept in quarantine on the sixth floor. That was bad enough. Knowing my name, they began to piece together the details of my life. They put my family and friends through hell. I laughed when I saw the footage of my brother on one of the local TV stations. The audio was little more than a series of bleeps and tones, but the pictures were amusing. They showed my brother hopping into his huge ugly-ass green 4x4, flipping the news crew the bird, shifting into four-wheel drive, and then backing into their van. They got a nice long shot of his mangled rear bumper as he drove off into the sunset.
  They really shouldn't have blocked him in. They should have moved the van when he asked. That was my brother all right. I thought it was the best interview of the bunch. Some of the others they interviewed weren't so kind or diplomatic. Every ugly little detail of my past, everything from my failed marriage to my last speeding ticket was fair game for the media. Everyone I knew seemed to have an opinion or embarrassing story about me.
  They were even interviewing people from high school for Christ's sake! These were people I hadn't seen in almost 20 years. Those interviews were very revealing. Shocking in a way too. I guess I really wasn't as popular or well liked as I thought. After watching a few of those there didn't seem to be much point in going to the reunion next year. Maybe there was a reason -- revenge!
  I had to face facts. I would never be an anonymous private citizen again. I might have had a chance at anonymity if I 'd used a Hotmail account instead of the one from my ISP. It was a stupid mistake. Maybe if I hadn't sent my first message to the list less than a week before 'that' day I might have escaped the media circus. I doubted it, but it was another thing to flog myself over.
  The best I could hope for now was to divorce who I used to be from what I had suddenly become. Forget my past and start over -- if they would let me. I might be able to spare my family and what few friends remained the inquisition that was sure to erupt. I knew when my beatific mug was presented to the public, the religious right was going to go berserk. Those that didn't want to save me probably would want to kill me. I wondered how many kooks out there owned a rifle and more than a single copy of the Catcher In the Rye.
  Why did they insist on a news conference? I was dreading tomorrow. Why couldn't I slink out the back door and disappear into the night?
  "You're not dozing off on me again are you?"
  "Hunh?" I was surprised. Maybe I finally dozed off, or time could have been expanding and contracting again -- like reality.
  "I said it's almost noon." An edge of steel crept into Jenny's voice. "I'm about to go off shift and you have that appointment with Doctor Douglas after lunch."
  I missed it; cobwebs and woolgathering filled my head. I stretched languidly and began to brush the hair from my face. Suddenly I was fully awake; my eyes popped open and my toes curled. I'd stabbed myself with my claws again. The reality of the new form I wore flooded back into my addled and suddenly overstimulated brain.
  Claws. Nails really. They were long and straight, almost three centimeters from tip to cuticle. They were thick, tough, and as black as midnight. Sharp too. It was possible they would gouge steel, but I doubted it. However, they did leave some surprisingly deep furrows in the oak frame of the mirror in my bedroom, not that anyone knew about that. Nobody was going to figure it out either. Especially considering the mirror was now in a million tiny pieces. Nope, my claws wouldn't cut steel; they were perfect for ripping through flesh and bone. Perfect for ripping the still beating heart from some innocent's chest.
  I lifted myself up onto my elbows then shifted onto my side; long black hair fell into my face. Would I ever master the trick of hooking it behind my ear and over the shoulder? If I thought my hair was thick and a veritable mop before, I was wrong. This stuff was thicker and longer. Much longer. It also seemed to have lost its natural wave. Was it a bob or a pageboy? I didn't know the difference. Was it something else entirely? All I knew was that there was a lot of hair and at the back it fell down past my shoulder blades. In the front, it was a lot shorter. I had what? Bangs? God, I had a lot to learn, a bit less if I could talk someone into giving me a haircut.
  I stopped moving and clawed at the stray strands ineffectually. Even as I chased after the uncooperative locks another one broke free and fell into my face. The jiggle of the large twin mounds on my chest as I batted at them served as a reminder of the changes to rest of my body.
  I was about to give up on my hair, roll onto my back, and throw a genuine hissy fit when the unaccustomed weight and sudden twitching of strong and powerful muscles stopped me.
  Oh yeah, my wings. How could I forget almost four or five meters of black leathery wings? Reminiscent of a bat's, they were tough and pliable. Probably not as tough as my nails or as sensitive as my breast, but still, I wasn't taking any chances. Lying on my breasts was bad enough. The wings seemed infinitely more intricate and delicate than a pair of breasts. Nor were they nearly as well padded. A lot lumpier too! Besides, if I had to have wings, I didn't want to risk damaging them before I had a chance to take them for a test flight.
  Gingerly I sat up. My tiny delicate girl feet hung over one side of the bed, the trailing edge of my wings the other. Even my feet were clawed. Unlike my nails, these were nasty. They were almost honest-to-God talons. Despite my timidity, a disconcerting sensation emanated from just above the base of my spine. "Ah! Oh, Oh! Fuck Me!" I screeched.
  The sensations that reached my brain caused my large luminescent eyes to shoot open. My heart shaped girly ass shot up and off the bed. With one hand I fumbled after my errant tail. If I thought I was awake before I was wrong. It felt like I'd bent a fully erect (and former) Mr. Johnson into a 90-degree angle. No, that wasn't quite right. That would have hurt. This didn't.
  "What's wrong?"
  Untangling my tail from around my leg, I pulled it out from under my girly butt. I looked across the room at Jenny. My kissable ruby red lips formed themselves into a petulant and all-too-sexy pout. With a pleading look in my eye; as if she could do anything to fix it, I whined, " I'm still a damn girl AND I sat on my tail again!"
  The afterglow of the sudden stimulus began to fade and my backside made contact with the bed again. I tried to ignore the body's (I still couldn't bring myself to think of it as my body's) more intimate reactions. Pleasure, pain, it seemed all the same to me now. There seemed to be only one channel, and it wasn't pain. It was almost impossible to ignore the quickened breath, the hammering of my hearts, the sudden hardening of nipples, or the unfamiliar warmth between my legs.
  I managed to ignore it, barely. My will was like iron. You know? The same sort of iron possessed by the pecker of a 90-year-old man. No, not the guy with the Viagra prescription and the new 27 year old bride, the other one. The one sitting in the wheelchair in the nursing home. Yeah, that one. Like Iron.
  I guess sitting on the edge of the bed with my hair mussed, the bed sheet tangled about me, and my milky white legs dangling over the side was a real Kodak moment. I must have looked absolutely adorable; at least that's what the expression on Jenny's face told me. She crossed the distance with a few efficient strides of her long legs, then wrapped her arms around me. This was not proper professional detachment.
  Despite being a difficult and uncooperative patient, Jenny seemed to be warming up to me. The hug was genuine and felt good. I really needed it. The hug was also the first real human contact since my transformation. I couldn't help myself. I threw my slender arms around her neck and hugged back. The closeness and the smell of her hair only added to my frustration, not to mention the growing heat between my legs.
  I fought the urge to press more intimate areas of myself against her -- proper decorum and all. I don't think she noticed the rustling of my wings as they unfolded. If she did she didn't say anything. Like an extra pair of arms, they wrapped themselves around her. It was cool in a B horror movie sort of way. I felt kind of like Bela Lugosi with breasts.
  As we hugged -- or rather she hugged and I, mindful of my strength, fought desperately against crushing her to me -- I wondered if I was having some sort of effect upon her. I know she was having one on me. The only problem was, from our conversation last night I was pretty certain she wasn't interested in girls -- or a female demon -- at least not in that way. I folded my wings back behind me, and gently pushed the thought and Jenny away.
  Not willing to completely sever the embrace, Jenny stood with one hand on each of my small, seemingly delicate shoulders. She peered into the depths of my eyes and searched for signs that I would be ok. Unblinking, I met her gaze.
  Her hazel eyes were half open; my orange reptilian ones were wide as saucers. I watched as laugh lines began to spread from their corners. Her lips parted: "Yes honey, you are still a girl. The earth is still orbiting the sun. Hell hasn't frozen over. I am still going off shift. Worst of all, you are still getting up. You're not going to sleep away the day again. Besides, you have that appointment."
  Despite the hug, I think I liked it better when I was in the isolation ward with the space-suited nurses and doctors. At least there, they left me alone. I had quality mope time! When they did intrude, they were all so terribly serious and somber -- not to mention terrified. I liked it there.
  "Come on, get up lazybones!" she commanded.
  Jenny grabbed the sheets and began to untangle them. I thought about starting an impromptu tug-of-war, then decided against it. I figured I would either end up shredding the sheets with my nails, or getting carried away and letting on how strong I had become. My tiny frame was misleading. Despite being a little over five-foot nothing, I was strong. Stronger than when I was a mere mortal.
  I knew I was one of the strongest women on the planet, possibly the strongest person on the planet. Oh, not in absolute terms. I was sure some of the other freaks, I mean changelings, were stronger and could lift more, but pound for pound, I was certain I had them all beat. My strength to weight ratio was off the scale. If only I had a few more kilo's. Like say -- forty!
  If it came to it, I was sure the restraints Jenny showed me last night wouldn't hold me for long. I wasn't ready for the doctors to figure out that little fact, not yet anyway. I wasn't about to fill them in either. I didn't trust them. I was playing things pretty close to my chest -- and what a chest it was! Besides, I figured I was entitled. A girl has to have a few secrets.
  Pulling the sheets away exposed my skinny hairless legs. I felt a draft. I knew she was evil. Maybe it was latent girl reflexes; maybe it was residual boy memories. Maybe it wasn't. My hands shot down and pulled the hospital gown back over my exposed sex.
  "Okay, okay! I'm up!" I said blushing furiously. It was bad enough that my ass and wings had to hang out of the back of the damn gown 24/7. I didn't even want to think about how my nipples poked out the front like the headlights on a '57 Bel Air. I didn't need to show off all of my new equipment.
  A ghost of a smile twitched across the corners of Jenny's mouth, "I hope you have to pee. Go fill this up while I make the bed."
  She was having far too much fun! This was a hospital. People weren't supposed to be having fun. People were supposed to be sick and dying. Professional detachment, my ass!
  She pulled a plastic container with the all-too-familiar orange screw-top lid out of her lab coat pocket and handed it to me. I moaned, rolled my eyes, and if I had been standing, I would have stamped my little girly feet. Instead, I bit my lower lip. Reaching out, I deftly snatched the container from her hand. Ha! Beat that Grasshopper!
  Now that she mentioned it, of course I needed to pee. My bladder seemed to fill with amazing regularity. Given my tiny dimensions, my bladder had to be tiny too. I seemed to always be going to or coming from the bathroom. I was up once in the middle of the night, and then twice again in the wee hours of the morning.
  I didn't know where it all came from. There seemed to be more coming out than going in. In fact, there was so much coming out I figured if they hooked up an impeller and a dynamo down there, I could solve the entire Californian energy crisis by myself. It was horrible!
  Looking from the container in my hand to my all-too-flat crotch, I made a face. "Are you sure they wouldn't rather have more of my blood?"
  I couldn't keep the despair from my voice. A little physical pain, especially the way I was now wired, was infinitely preferable to the emotional turmoil I faced every time I went to the bathroom. Each time I hiked up my gown to pee, reality (two-headed ugly bitch that she was) wouldn't stop slapping me in the face. Take that, and that!
  Pistol Pete with the amazing aim was no more. Pistol? Hell, it was the size of... It used to be... When I had one... Oh fuck it! It was gone. I'd probably have to buy a cool sports car to compensate. I'd probably need the mother of all penis extenders. I'd need a freakin' Vette!
  The sudden and dramatic changes in my plumbing intrigued me. Part of me wanted to go spelunking and inspect, touch, and yes, even play with my new toys, but that was only a small and very sick part of me. Mostly I was horrified. I felt emasculated and embarrassed -- a veritable freak. In the last two days my self-esteem had dropped faster than a pair of hooker's panties. Which, I lamented, were now all-too-appropriate for my new gender.
  I think Jenny was a mind reader, because her tone was soft and reassuring. The hand she laid lightly on my shoulder as she helped me hop down from the bed and then used to propel me towards the bathroom was comforting too.
  "I'm sure the vampires in the lab want more blood, hon, but the doctors think you might be running short."
  What she said in jest was true. They'd tapped me for gallons of that thick black gold. I think they were trying to stock up my own private reserve. At least that's what I hoped they were doing with the stuff.
  "Who are you calling short?"
  I didn't have a snappy comeback. It was the truth and it hurt. Standing a few smidges over one and a half meters, I was short. Somewhere in all this, I'd lost over thirty-five centimeters. I didn't think I was going to find it again either. I suppose once my Napoleon complex took root I could always cheat and measure to the tip of my folded wings. If I did, I could honestly claim to be a half-meter taller.
  I turned and looked her in the eye; I needed to look up to do it too. She was smiling one of those warm girly happy giddy smiles. It lit up her face. The butterflies in my tummy did flip-flops. I hrmphed, muttered something disparaging about women, and headed for the bathroom.
  I'd found myself being able to read people, especially Jenny, and sense things about them better than when I was a man. I desperately hoped that this was a girl thing. The alternative was unthinkable. Somehow, without even looking I knew that smile was still on her face and she was watching me walk. I'm not sure why or how I knew, but I did. I didn't mind her staring at my cute little girly ass. I would have stared at my ass too. Besides, I really liked Jenny, even if she was an imp.
  Maybe it was a subconscious desire to do something nice in return for the hug. Maybe it was the hardwired reflexes of my new body reacting to the heat still burning in my loins. As I walked, I started to exaggerate my all-too-natural wiggle. If I were male, the gyrations I put my hips through would have me in traction for weeks. As a woman, as a succubus, it came all-too-easily and naturally. That frightened me.
  As I touched the door handle, I didn't quite feel like a condemned man heading for a hot and heavy date with Madame Guillotine; there was to much wiggling, jiggling, and bouncing going on for me to feel like a man.
  "Midstream," I could almost hear the lust in her voice.
  Safely inside I leaned against the door. I crinkled my cute little nose and made a funny face. Although I was alone with my nemesis, I only mouthed the word, "Midstream."
  I looked down. I couldn't see her, my nemesis that is. My breasts were in the way. Instead I fixed my eyes upon the porcelain guillotine. I could hear the self-mockery in my head. I didn't walk; I wiggled, I strutted across the damn room like a brazen whore. There went the hooker's panties again. I made a point of stamping like a truck driver the final few yards. The movement felt odd and unfamiliar. It also made the jiggle and bounce worse. I wanted to scream in frustration.
  Sitting on anything other than a stool seemed to be a major operation. I tried to stand once. Boy that was a mistake, no more writing my name in the snow. I had no choice; I needed to sit. Worst of all, I had to touch it; I had to wipe it. I'd already caught myself actually watching a couple of those commercials! I was learning all about feminine hygiene. Fuck!
  Turning, I hiked up my gown. My tail snaked up my thigh and over my hip. It proceeded to wrap itself twice around my waist. It made a more than adequate belt. I was learning.
  Maneuvering in the cramped quarters of a bathroom was tricky. Even with the extra room provided by a wheelchair accessible stall, sitting on a toilet was troublesome. Unfurling my wings, even partially, was a strange sensation. I wasn't quite used to having what amounted to an extra set of arms. To sit, I needed to unfurl them just so. They had to remain furled and close to my body, but I had to angle them enough, like a giant letter 'A', so that the trailing edge and wing tips would fall to either side of the toilet -- not into the bowl like last time. I'd learned that lesson already. I didn't want to get them wet again. I was learning all right!
  The seat was cold against my warm skin. I closed my eyes. I was an emotional basket case. I wasn't going to crack. I wasn't going to cry. My mental mantra returned. Big boys don't cry, big boys don't cry. It didn't seem to work. My eyes watered. I wasn't big anymore. I wasn't even a boy. I probably threw like a girl now too.
  Jenny's tap-tap tapping on the door and concerned voice brought me back to the mortal realm. "Everything alright in there?"
  "Umm, yeah I'm fine." I lied. I dabbed my eyes and swallowed the lump in my throat. I tried to relax.
  With a heavy sigh I removed the lid from the container, parted my slender thighs, and looked down. I shook my head in disgust. Not only was I a girl, my body, even there, was completely hairless, not a follicle in sight. Somehow I managed to relax and I felt a sphincter release. A gush of liquid began to spray out. I slid the container into the stream.
  The words were unladylike and heartfelt, "Fuck! Fuck! FUCK!"
  The door flew open with a bang. I jumped; actually it was more of an aborted attempt at takeoff than a jump. I spilled half the contents of the container, not to mention almost dropping it into the bowl. A concerned Jenny raced in and my humiliation was complete.
  "What's wrong!"
  Even as she spoke, her eyes continued to anxiously quest about for a sucking chest wound, spurting blood, or some other rational explanation for my hysterics. I don't know if it was the look on her face, the absurdity of my situation or both, but I couldn't help myself. I lost it. I totally lost it. I started to giggle.
  "Sweetie, what's wrong?" She used that voice that all women seem to revert to when speaking to a child, a particularly stupid child with a scraped knee or other life threatening booboo. I was certain it was the same tone she used with the mentally deficient. I could see the concern on her face.
  Professional detachment, my wiggly jiggly ass! That only made me giggle all the more. My ass really did wiggle.
  I couldn't seem to stop. Soon tears began streaming openly down my face. I couldn't catch my breath. The entire situation was so completely fucking absurd I laughed. Soon, interspersed with my giggles were cute-as-a-button little squeaks. Even to my ears I sounded like a child's squeaky toy. That started me giggling all over again.
  Jenny knelt down in front of me, took hold of my arm, and managed to gently pry the now quarter-full container from my grasp. She set the container aside and all the while never took her eyes off me. Despite the reassuring and comforting sounds she was making, I couldn't stop doing my impression of a squeaky toy.
  Through teary eyes, I watched as she reached over and pressed the emergency call button. I wondered how the hell they were going to fit me for a straitjacket. I didn't think they made any that would accommodate a tail let alone a pair of bat wings. I thought that was particularly funny so I added a few snorts between the giggles and squeaks.
  The bathroom quickly grew crowded. Two more nurses, one of them a large burly male, and then a doctor I had never seen before arrived on the scene. The syringe he was carrying looked big. I sobered up fast.
  Between gasps for air, I finally managed to squeak out an answer to Jenny's question. Holding up my hand I blubbered, "S-s-sorry, I -- I peed on my fingers again!"
  That declaration brought real tears and soul-wrenching sobs replaced the giggling. I fell forward into Jenny's waiting embrace and buried my head in the crook of her neck. My tears, real tears, flowed freely. They streamed down my face and onto the exposed skin of her neck. I think Jenny cried a bit too.
  I'm not sure how, but I managed to beg, snivel, and plead my way out of being jabbed with that needle. I'm not sure if that was a good thing or not. Instead of a sedative, they gave me Jenny.
  She took charge and after a few quick wipes of a damp cloth, I was mostly clean. We adjourned to my bed; she held and slowly rocked me back and forth while I cried. I cried for an hour, then two. I didn't stop until Jenny's shoulders were completely soaked and the doctors were rehashing the debate about my strange metabolism, my odd blood chemistry, and the correct dosage of the latest most efficacious tranquilizer for a distressed 45-kilogram demon woman. Actually, I weighed closer to 55. The ten-kilo deduction was an allowance for the dead weight of my wings.
  I never used to weigh 55 kilos. I never used to cry either. Okay, so maybe I did weigh 55 kilos when I was 12 or 13, and I did cry like this when my dad died. But he was my dad!
  If the transformation had been a gender change, or to something completely unrecognizably human, I figured I could have been able to cope -- at least better than I was. As a chick I would have been able to fit in, maybe not right away, but eventually. I could lose myself in the sea of humanity and still lead an insignificant and meaningless little life. I still wouldn't have been happy, but I would have been human.
  As an inhuman monster, there would have been no question about remaining a part of the human world; it would have been impossible. There would also have been no template to compare me to. I wouldn't have been a he or a she. I would have been an 'it'. A monster. A monster would have been banished from society, locked in a cage, or better yet, shot. I could deal with that.
  As a bat-winged, raven-haired beauty, I was caught in between. I think it was the sense of isolation I was feeling -- of unreality, of being completely and irrevocably severed from humanity but not my reliance on society, which made me lose it so dramatically. I was inhuman enough to never be accepted as normal, yet not so scary that little kids would run away screaming in terror. I would always be at best a freak. Well, maybe not always -- there was Halloween.
  Either way, I was doomed to a life of freakdom and continual scrutiny, and because of my gender change, I was betting on public ridicule. I would be stared at, laughed at, or worse. Nobody would ever want me. I would always be alone. Isolated.
  Is this what that dumpy fat chick felt like at my prom? Maybe I shouldn't have been such a prick. It was only one dance. What was one dance in the scheme of things? Was this to be my punishment for that one indiscretion?
  I knew there were worse freaks out there than me. I wasn't even thinking about the other poor bastards on the list. Being devilishly attractive and presenting at least the appearance of a desirable female, a veritable little Lolita in fact, I was going to attract a certain fringe element of society. I guess I would have to wait and see which was going to be worse -- the perverts, the religious right, or being completely and utterly alone.
  I was going to have a long time to get used to being alone. That stopped me like a spiked club to the old brain box. I didn't want to get used to this. I wanted to be me! I didn't want to be a monster! I didn't want to be alone.
  That phrase haunted me. Always be alone. 'Always' was going to be a very, very long time. How far off was the heat death of the universe anyway? Demons were immortal. If I really was the demon I imagined, then I was immortal, too. Wasn't I?
  No, not 'immortal'. That wasn't quite right. I was un-aging. I would be forever young. I could die, I was sure of that. Massive catastrophic damage would do the trick, but if I were the creature, the one I was thinking of, then I wouldn't really die. Would I? Would I instead be banished from the mortal realm? Go directly to hell. Do not pass the pearly gates. Do not collect a chance at redemption. Now that was a frightening thought and I wasn't even terribly religious!
  Fuck! I didn't want to be immortal. Young and healthy sure, but immortal? I had enough trouble trying to figure out what the hell to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon! What the hell was I going to do to fill the next three or four billion Sundays? Is it any wonder I couldn't stop crying?
  "I'm fine now, really."
  Jenny didn't look convinced. Hell, I wasn't convinced. I only stopped because Jenny's shoulders were getting soggy and gross. I'd finally run out of dry spots. Besides, I figured I would have plenty of time to cry later, all the time in the world in fact.
  I pulled away and wiped at my eyes. Jenny looked at her sodden shoulder, "Eww, gross. Demon snot!" The laughter that filled the room wasn't tinged with hysteria. I still squeaked and snorted though.
  Neither of us had seen quite that colour of sickly fluorescent greeny-yellow before. We were both intrigued. So was the doctor that came to see what was so funny. Out came a jar and off went a sample to the lab. The hospital was accumulating quite a considerable collection of my bodily fluids.
  At least my little melodrama pushed back my appointment with the dreaded Doctor Douglas. It didn't get me out of lunch though.
  After the sample was secured and on its way to the lab, Jenny's replacement arrived. Dressed in a crisp white nurse's uniform, Mary (my day nurse) came in carrying a tray. Mary had at least a couple of decades on Jenny and was her exact opposite. She was short and plump where Jenny was tall and athletic. Jenny was bright and bubbly, Mary brusque and curt. Jenny was cute and cuddly, and Mary, well, she wasn't.
  I couldn't fault Mary for her attitude. I bet she had seen a thing or two in her thirty-odd years of nursing. But that didn't stop me calling her Nurse Megabeast. Not to her face of course, I was far too polite, proper, and respectable for that. I called her that in my head. I wondered what she made of me though. I'm sure she pegged me as some sort of deranged pervert.
  "Lunch." Mary announced. Setting my tray on the table, she wheeled it over to the bed. She aimed it right between the two of us and used it like a wedge to drive us apart. We scooted back more than a few inches. Hug time was over.
  I didn't miss the look she flashed Jenny either. It was cold and disapproving. Mary could be a real bitch. I was sure that any compassion she once had was beaten out of her long ago. I wondered if the megabeast was on the mailing list. She was a real monster. She frightened me more than some of the freaks I'd seen on the news.
  "Gee thanks, but I'm not hungry. Maybe Jenny wants to eat it?" I flashed the megabeast my pearly whites, long needle sharp canines and all.
  At least I thought it was a winning smile. She scowled.
  "Hospital food. Mmmm!" To emphasize her point Jenny rubbed her tummy, then winked conspiratorially at me.
  Ignoring the scowling megabeast, I grumped, "You can't call what they serve here food, let alone lunch!" I picked up the plastic fork and stabbed at the food on the tray. It quivered a bit. Fortunately, that was the only sign of life. It didn't attack. I think it was waiting until I let my guard down and took my eyes off it.
  Mary wrinkled her nose and frowned, "It smells in here."
  "Must be lunch" Jenny poked me in the ribs.
  "No, it's not lunch. There's a funny smell in here. Did you change the sheets this morning?" Her tone was almost accusing. It was as if I had had an accident in the night and Jenny willfully neglected her job. Megabeast Mary wasn't about to do someone else's work.
  "Of course I did!" I could see Jenny tense up.
  "I don't smell anything either." It wasn't a lie. I couldn't smell anything.
  "I can't put my finger on it but..."
  I cut her off. I wanted her out of my room. I wanted her to leave Jenny alone. I wanted her to leave me alone. I wanted her to take the damn lunch away and just fucking leave! "Okay, You've got me. I have gas. Are you happy now?" I stuck my tongue out. It was a little long; at least it wasn't forked!
  It was an old happy thought from childhood. Since Jenny and I were being silly, it seemed appropriate. I knew as long as I was in bed, I was safe from evil monsters. All I needed to do was hide. My father told me that after a particularly rough and sleepless night of being terrorized by the closet monster. Lunch qualified as evil and Nurse Megabeast was definitely a monster. Putting the two together I pulled the sheet up and over my head and made a farting noise.
  The effect was completely ruined. The sheet tangled with my wings. Jenny laughed anyway. Mary looked at us like we were a pair of loons, I guess maybe we were. The food wasn't really that bad. The Megabeast was.
  I'd like to say that the Megabeast dragged Jenny from the room kicking and screaming, but the poor girl went willingly. Before she left, I got another hug and a not so chaste kiss on the cheek. It seemed odd and out of character. I didn't complain. I put it down as another girl thing I was going to have to figure out.
  It was also typical of my luck. As soon as I got a cute young nurse to kiss me, not to mention alone on my bed, there was nothing I could do to take advantage of her. Why did life have to be so unfair?
  Looking from Jenny's departing backside to my lunch only served to reaffirm life's cruelty. When the door finally closed, I was alone with my thoughts and my nutritious, but bland meal. Hospital food, yuck!

part 1
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