chapter 1: it begins
Tuesday 23 January - Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
"So, Liz, did you read my new story?" I asked my friend, whom I just picked up from the train. "Yes, I read it, though I didn't quite understand it. All that nonsense about werewolves and those walking, speaking animals, I just don't get it."
It was very difficult to explain to Elizabeth what 'furry' and 'transformation' exactly meant, she didn't read a lot of books, and certainly nothing fantasy or science fiction. The story I mailed her was probably her first encounter with any kind of transformation story.
I sighed, and decided that I would try to explain it all at a later time. "Liz, is it ok if I tell you more about my story when we get home? It's a bit silly because I started talking about it myself, but at this moment I don't want to explain it. Can we talk about it sometime later?"
"Sure," she responded.
We walked toward my house, which was only a few minutes away from the train station, and talked about school. She was having some problems with the biology study she was doing. It wasn't quite what she expected, and she was considering quitting with it. I told her that the best thing she could do was to follow her heart, and do something that she really liked, because it wouldn't be smart to learn something that you don't want to use the rest of your life. She had decided that for herself too, but she couldn't think what she would like other than biology. "Well," I said, "at least you made that decision, to decide what you really want is the next big thing."
We walked into my street; she was a bit surprised to see the new park that was in front of my house. "Did they dismantle the old factory that was there?" she asked
"Yes, and I must say that the new park is definitely a better view than that old factory. In the summer it's a great place to talk, play guitar or just hang out a bit." I opened the door and we entered my house. "Do you want some coffee Liz?"
"Sure, Husky, I would love that." I entered my way into the kitchen and started to boil some water.
It was about half past seven, when we decided to get something to eat. I called 'Delfino Pizzas' and ordered two Margheritas . I returned to the couch, where we were watching Star Trek. "Did it go well?" Liz asked.
"Yes, I ordered two Margheritas." We waited, and then about 5 before eight the doorbell rang. I walked down, and opened the door.
The pizza guy handed me two flat boxes, and billed me for 10 dollars. I searched in my pocket for my wallet, but somehow my hand became stuck, I tried to get it out but then I felt this horrible pain, almost as if somebody stuck some needles in my pants. I pulled and pulled and finally my hand and my wallet came out of my pocket. I just wanted to open it when I saw the pizza guy looking shocked at my hand, I was wondering if he'd never seen a hand before, and I was right. He never did see a hand like this before, and neither did I, because I was looking at a wolf's paw.
The pizza guy ran away, shouting out something like "What the hell are you!?" I started to scream, and Liz ran down the stairs to see what was happening. I was lying on the ground, shaking, while fur was growing on my arms and legs. I got out of my clothes and saw it was happening everywhere on my body.
"My god! What is happening?!?" Liz screamed. I was so completely flabbergasted that I couldn't respond. My body was now completely covered in fur and my hands and feet were something of a cross between wolf and human. Then I suddenly had this weird feeling as if somebody tried to cram a stick in my ass, I looked behind me and saw a tail growing. I could guess what was going to happen next.
I felt my face twisting and warping, my skull bones making noises as if somebody hit me on the head with a sledgehammer. My nose and mouth were moving forward together to form a muzzle, my ears were moving to the top of my head and fur was growing on my face.
I stopped shaking and gasped for fresh air, I felt as if I'd had being running for 10 hours straight. I turned around, facing Liz, who looked at me as if I was something that walked right out of a nightmare.
"You're, a... a... wolf!" she said with a voice that was filled with incomprehensibility. I tried to sit up but I was so completely disoriented that I fell back again.
"I... am... a wolf," I whispered, surprising myself that I could still speak. My mind was flooding with emotions and feelings. I had never felt so much joy.
But there was also this sort of departing feeling of not being human anymore. I felt all sorts of new experiences. For the first time I really could smell my surroundings, I could hear everything so much clearer. And while I was lying naked on the floor, I didn't feel cold for one single moment. I also felt a sort of sharpness; I had the idea that I never felt so much awake before.
I was no longer human. I was Canis Lupis. I was an anthropomorphic grey wolf.
Time seemed to have no meaning anymore, as I was lying there. Liz was probably as paralysed as I was, but suddenly she started thinking clear. She stood up and the first thing she did was closing the still half-open door and the curtains before it. "Nobody should know about this now," she said.
I tried once more to sit up, and this time it did go better. I still felt a bit dizzy, but I felt a lot better than a few minutes ago. Liz sat down next to me, cautiously moving her hand to my muzzle. "Watch out, or I'll bite off your index finger," I growled ironically.
"I wasn't thinking that you would do that," she responded, "but this is so unreal, what the hell happened?"
"That's as big a mystery to you as it is to me. All I know is that I have changed into an anthropomorphic grey wolf."
Liz started touching me, as if my new appearance was a highly advanced costume: "But... this is so impossible! 10 minutes ago we were sitting on the couch, and the next thing I know you changed into some kind of freak, a monst --"
Suddenly I felt anger rise inside of me and I interrupted her: "I'm not a freak! And I'm certainly not a monster! I'm still me, maybe I've even have become more than me."
Liz looked puzzled to me: "What's that supposed to mean?" I sighed and started explaining: "I always had special feelings for wolves. I don't know why, but I just have those feelings. I fantasised about being a wolf, either in its normal shape, or more 'human' looking. I guess who or what changed me knew that, and let me become this."
Liz responded astonished: "I would never have guessed that."
We moved to the living room upstairs. The first thing I noticed was that I didn't have any trouble moving around. It felt as if I had been a wolf for years. I walked into the bedroom and started to look at the image in the mirror.
"God, it's just what I imagined," I softly spoke.
"It is?" Liz said.
"Yeah, this is just exactly how I imagined I would look like as an anthropomorphic wolf. The colours, the shapes, everything. I can't find a single thing that I don't like about my new form. I even have the black spot at the end of my tail that I imagined."
Liz raised an eyebrow: "You seem to be extremely happy about your new form."
"Yes, I am. I really am," I said with a big smile on my muzzle (or whatever could go for a smile, it looked more like I was trying to get ready for dinner).
After a few minutes standing before the mirror we moved towards the living room again. As I went to sit down on the couch I encountered my first problem being a wolf. Sitting on the couch seemed to be very uncomfortable with a tail, so I moved to a chair that had enough space so I could stick my tail out. Liz handed me a glass of water, I was trying to drink it, but unfortunately drinking out of a glass is kind of a tough job with a muzzle, so the water all fell on my legs. Liz was having a clear thought again and brought me a straw.
"So, how are you feeling? In what way do you experience the world now?"
I scratched my ears: "Well, I feel great. I feel so much more... alive, I guess. My senses are much better. My eyesight is more sharper than ever before, I have a much greater sense of things that are moving, though I don't see as much colours as I used to see. I hear things much better, and obviously my sense of smell is much, much better. Overall it's a great improvement."
Liz couldn't help to make a sarcastic remark: "Hmm... I guess that makes me inferior to you..." I laughed out loud, which sounded very, very weird.
Liz was laughing too, but then suddenly she stopped and started looking sad. "What's wrong?" I asked.
Liz was shaking her head: "I don't know. There are still so many questions. Is it only your outer appearance that has changed? Or have your inner organs changed as well? All those things have to be answered. I wonder how long you can keep this is a secret."
I sighed again: "Liz, can't you see that I'm happy? I mean... I'm now what I always wanted to be? What's wrong with that?"
Liz surprisingly lost her temper (something I had never seen before with her). She stood up and started shouting: "What's wrong with it? You have changed into a fucking wolf! As soon as the world starts to know this people will have questions. People will see you as some kind of a monster, a demon, or God-knows-what. They will hunt you, kill you, and I... I... care too much for you to see that happen. I..." She fell down on the ground, head in her hands and started crying.
I moved over to sit down next to her, putting a paw on her shoulder. "Come on Liz, we don't know what's going to happen. It will be all right, trust me." She buried her head in my chest, and after a few minutes she was cooled down a bit and started stroking my fur.
"God, it really feels as if I'm cuddling a plush wolf," she said with a sad smile on her face.
* * *
I woke up the next morning. I looked at the VCR clock: it was
only 6 am. It was very early, but I felt very awake so I decided
to get up, besides I was hungry. Liz was still sleeping on my
chest so I carefully moved her so I could stand up.
Entering the kitchen I was a bit puzzled. I was a wolf, but if I still had a bit of human inside of me, so what could I eat? I bought two raw steaks yesterday for dinner, and they looked very, very appealing, but could I eat raw meat without turning my stomach into disorder? After a few minutes of doubt, belly got over brains and I started to eat, or rather cram the steaks in my mouth, tearing the meat up to pieces with my new sharp teeth.
I was so busy eating that I didn't hear Liz coming until she started to scream: "Husky, that is disgusting!" the next thing I heard was her running to the toilet and vomiting. After a few minutes she came down again and found me in the bathroom, washing off the blood on my muzzle. After I removed the last remaining pieces of meat on my muzzle with a towel I apologised: "Sorry about that, Liz. I couldn't stop eating, I guess my new predator instincts were taking over for a moment."
Liz, still looking a bit pale, turned towards me: "Next time you are going to eat, warn me, ok?"
"Sure," I said, softly chuckling.
We re-entered the living room. "I wonder Liz, maybe I'm not the only one changed. It would be weird if I was the only one." I moved my paw to the remote and turned on CNN. I was right: I wasn't the only one. CNN was just having a special report about 'Miraculous Transformations'. All over the world people had changed. The majority in the United States, but also in various other parts of the world. As far as I could see, I was the only one in Holland. There were reports about a centaur in Toronto, a Cat-morph in Chicago and even another Wolf morph in Sydney. I definitely wasn't the only one.
Suddenly I remembered something: the TSA-list. I had been a member for only a month or so, mainly just lurking, but I had an idea that my transformation maybe could be related to that list. I walked upstairs and turned on my PC. I discovered that moving a mouse with a paw is much harder than with the graceful, slim hands human I used to have. I managed to start Outlook, and my mailbox started to fill with hundreds of messages. After the waterfall of messages finally stopped Outlook reported that over 700 messages had been received. I waded through all the messages from the TSA-list, reading snippets of messages. Every message that I read discussed the transformations that had been taken place, it appeared that about everyone on the list had been transformed.
Suddenly Liz shouted from beneath: "Husky, come on down! You have to see this."
I ran down the stairs, the Dutch news was on, and they were interviewing someone who seemed familiar to me, then suddenly I knew who he was, "Fuck, it's that pizza guy from yesterday!" I yelled. I turned up the volume; the interviewer was asking the pizza guy a question.
"So, you were delivering two pizzas to this man, and than he suddenly started to turn into some kind of werewolf?"
The pizza guy was stuttering and stammering when he responded: "Yes, yes. He... it... whatever was getting out his wallet when I saw his arms change. There was some kind of fur growing, and his face was changing too! It was just so weird... I ran away."
The interviewer turned to the camera. "This is the first report of a transformation in our country, there have been reports all over the world of people changing. Besides animal transformations there have also been reports on humans changing sex and turning into mythical animals like dragons and centaurs. We are currently searching for the wolf-morph, if you have seen him call the number that is now on the screen, stay tuned for more --" I switched off the television.
"Liz, they are searching for me! Before you know it they will be here at the door asking for the 'werewolf', what am I gonna do?"
Liz raised an eyebrow: "I don't know Husky, you probably have two choices: run away and hide, or make yourself known to the world."
All sorts of thoughts ran though to my mind, I couldn't think clear. Until now I had been quite happy now with my transformation, but now I felt so uncertain. I had no idea what I would do with my life, which had so sudden turned completely different. All the things I used to take for granted were fading away. In my mind I already saw police helicopters with spotlights searching for me.
I sat down, buried my muzzle in my hands and started to howl.
Liz sat down next to me, putting her hand on my shoulder: "Husky, just remember that I'm here with you. I will help you, always."
I was thinking, thinking and I could only come to one conclusion. I stood up and talked to my friend: "Liz, I'm gonna make myself known to the world, it's the only logical thing that I can do." I grabbed the phone and dialled the number I saw on the television.
chapter 2: on air
"Hello, Susan Parker speaking", a raspy woman's voice came trough
the phone. I held the receiver half a meter away from my ear,
either she was talking very loud, or my ears were a bit too sensitive for the noises that
phones use to make.
"Ehhmm... you are speaking with... ehh... someone, I think I have some information about the wolf-morph that was on the news half an hour ago." The woman sighed out loudly, and answered with a sulky voice: "Sure. I believe you're only the 100th person or so who called in the last half-hour. I know you're just some youngster who is calling with some friends, are you gonna 'scare' me by growling or doing something that vaguely resembles howling? Don't bother!"
I interrupted the woman: "No... no... wait... I really know the wolf-morph, he's... umm... very close to me..." I couldn't possibly tell her who I really was.
The woman responded, just a little less sulky than a few moments ago, but still irritated: "All right, you have to come with some good proof before I even could think of the option that you're talking the truth."
I started to think what I could possibly say to proof that I was right. "I... uhm... yes... I think I... umm..."
Liz couldn't stand it anymore and grabbed the phone out of my paws: "Hi! This is Elizabeth speaking, the wolf-morph you are searching for is standing right next to me. His name is Husky Raznaspoeknik, he lives at the Martin Luther Kingstreet number 15, his phone number is 3632642, he ordered two margherita pizzas and he wore a blue sweater, black jeans and brown shoes yesterday."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing: "Liz! Fuck... what the hell do you think you're doing?"
She responded to me with a totally innocent look on her face: "You decided to make yourself known to the world, didn't you?" I was totally speechless.
There came a soft voice from the phone: "Hi, still there?"
Liz handed the thing over to me again: "Yeah... uh... I'm still here."
"The information that woman just gave me was correct with what we learned from the pizza guy. My colleagues are still a bit uncertain, but I believe you! We'll come over to interview you in fifteen minutes. You'd better get ready!" Before I could say anything the other end was dead.
I turned my head towards Liz: "Thank you very much Liz..."
Liz was looking scared at me: "God, I don't think I ever saw a wolf looking so angry..."
I felt anger rise inside me , and combined with my predator instincts I walked towards Liz, almost attacking her. But I managed to control my emotions and ventilated my fury on a nearby vase, which fell into a hundred pieces of shattered glass.
Liz let out a sigh of relief.
"Sorry Liz, I didn't really mean to... I just... I guess my instincts took over for a moment."
Liz looked me straight in the eyes again: "Sorry, it is all my fault. I shouldn't be so direct. I'm sorry, I'm..."
I put a paw on her shoulder: "It's good you did it Liz, without you I would never admit the truth. Trust me, it was the best thing you could do. Thank you."
Liz seemed surprised: "Ehh, don't mention it."
* * *
The doorbell rang. I was still in the kitchen, the door closed
so no one could see me. I heard Liz walking towards the door and
opening it. I could hear all the things that happened at the door
very clear, I heard some greetings and handshaking taking place
before that one question that I expected came: "Where is he?"
I heard Liz guiding the woman and another person to the kitchen.
The doorknob slowly turned and a woman in her late forties and
a younger, bald man with a camera entered the room. The woman
let out a short shriek before commanding her cameraman: "Jason,
get that thing rolling."
She walked towards me, with that same look Liz had when she first saw me transformed. "You're... real... It's true what that kid told us. God, this is the biggest story of the century."
I grabbed a chair and asked her to sit down. "Well", I said with a grin on my muzzle, "shall we start the interview?"
"Ehh... Sure," she mumbled.
The interviewer sat down on the chair, uncomfortably fiddling with a ring on her finger. She did probably not know how well developed my hearing was, because I could hear her mumbling to herself: "I'm a professional. Don't leave the impression you can't handle this. You can handle anything Susan!" I chuckled, while Liz was wondering what I was laughing about.
"Alright Jason, is the camera rolling?"
"Yes ma'am," the man responded.
Susan looked into the camera, picked up her microphone and started to talk: "This is Susan Parker for NOS News. Right here beside me is the mysterious werewolf that everybody is talking about. We have an exclusive interview with him. So, it's nice to meet you Mr..."
HR: "Husky. Husky Raznaspoeknik. Don't try to write down my surname, I can't remember anyone ever doing it correctly."
A light smile appeared on the face of the interviewer.
SP: "To the viewers home: this isn't fake. The person you see here is real, he is not some kind of special effect, a guy in a costume or whatever"
I smiled to myself now, with the thought that I was indeed not a guy in a costume. Far from that.
SP: "So, Mr. Raznaspoeknik. How did you..."
HR: "Please, don't call me Mr. Raznaspoeknik. 'Husky' will be fine."
SP: "Alright, Husky. Have you always been like this and do you transform every night or so, or did you just recently encounter this problem?"
HR: "I'm not a werewolf, in the sense that I don't change at certain times. I'm, as far as I know, 'stuck' in this form."
SP: "How did you change yourself?"
HR: "I did not change myself. I just changed. Who or what caused my transformation is still a big mystery to me."
SP: "We have heard reports all over the world of people who have been transformed, mainly in the United States. There has to be a connection..."
HR: "I think there is a connection. I am on the Internet, and I'm subscribed to a mailing list called the 'Transformation Story Archive List', which is a sort of forum where people discuss about transformations and exchange stories. When I checked my e-mail after my transformation it was flooded with messages from people on the list, describing that they had been transformed."
SP: "There seem to be many different kinds of transformations. Wolves, lions, foxes and even mythical creatures like centaurs and dragons. Why are there so many different...'species'?"
HR: "I guess that it has to do with the feelings that we have. I have always felt a sort of 'bond' with wolves. I think that we have transformed in what we wanted."
Susan shortly closed her eyes.
SP: "You say you actually wanted to be a wolf?"
HR: "Sort of, yeah. I can't really describe why, I just feel that way."
SP: "So you now have what you wished for?"
SP: "I can imagine that you feel very happy now."
HR: "I feel extremely happy. It is kinda weird though. I lived my whole life as a human, and now I'm this totally different... being."
I suddenly felt a lump in my throat. Realising what I said was the truth. I would never be able to return to my old human form again. I had realised that before, but for some reason, this time it felt more like reality than ever before. I felt tears coming to my eyes but I didn't want to start crying on national television, so I pulled myself together to sit out the rest of the interview. Susan didn't seem to notice it, but Liz looked anxious. I guess she was better at reading emotions from a wolf face.
SP: "Did you encounter any problems with your new form?"
HR: "Some things, my tail being the major one. It's easy to forget about that thing, it tends to become stuck in the most unusual places. My muzzle can also be a problem sometimes, particularly with drinking liquids. My greatest problems, however, aren't physical, more mentally."
HR: "As I said, changing into something completely different is an experience that is quite... intensive. Another thing is that I have the feeling that I did not only change physically into a wolf."
SP: "You have a wolf mind?"
HR: "Sometimes I feel like I have a wolf's mind, yes. My instincts have changed a lot, I really feel that I'm a carnivore now."
SP: "So, you are gonna eat me now?" she said, rather scared.
I laughed out loud, which sounded very weird again. I didn't know if it really came over as a laugh on Susan and the cameraman. Liz though, got a slight smile on her face.
HR: "No, no. I still have control over what I do. Besides, humans are not natural enemies for wolves." I was almost thinking that I felt a lot better until another question struck me completely:
SP: "So, what are your plans for the future?"
I felt the lump in my throat again, it was very hard this time to control my feelings. With all the mental power I still had left I managed to give an answer.
HR: "I don't know. I believe that your time is up."
Susan Parker looked rather surprised at her watch: "Oh? Well, all right."
The cameraman shut off his camera and started to gather all the equipment. Susan shook my paw, having a strange, comforting look on her face. "Thank you for the interview, Husky. We'll be airing this night at 6 o'clock."
Liz showed them the way out, and returned to the kitchen.
"Liz, I need some time for myself. I still have to call some friends and family, I think it would be better that I call them before they see me on television. If you need me, I'll be upstairs."
"Sure, Husky," she responded.
I walked upstairs and got to my bedroom. I picked up the phone and dialed my mom. God, this was going to be a difficult call.
chapter 3: message to home
24 January 2001 - 13:00
"Hi, Ms. Raznaspoeknik speaking."
I heard the familiar voice of my mother on the phone, and I was almost thinking of hanging up, because I knew I would never hear that voice in the same way again. I decided however that the thing I really didn't want was that she was going to be totally unprepared to see me on national TV, so I got over my fears and started talking:
"Hi Mom, Husky here."
"Hi Son! What's wrong with you, you seem to have a bad cold, your voice is so low."
I sighed and breathed in deeply before talking to my mother again: "Mom, there's something I'll have to tell you. Before you get a heart attack, no, I'm not getting married, I'm not gonna be a father and I'm not having a terrible disease. It's something else."
I heard my mother with a very concerned voice on the other end of the line: "Husky, please tell me. What's wrong?"
I breathed in deeply once again: "Did you see the news, about those transformations taking place all over the world?"
My mother responded with an uncertain tone in her voice: "Yess... I heard about that wolf-morph... Oh, Husky! Have you been attacked by that horrible monster?"
This was going to be very, very difficult for her to understand I assured myself: "No Mom. I've not been attacked by that creature, that wouldn't be possible, because..."
"I am the wolf."
I heard a loud yell from the other end of the phone, then somebody taking over the phone from my mother, I heard a voice that appeared to be my father: "Husky! Why did you scare your mother?! You know she doesn't like those practical jokes you make to her. Remember when you almost gave her a heart attack when you hid that fake ripped-off hand in her drawer. Young man, I think --"
I interrupted my father: "Dad, this is not a joke. I have really turned into a wolf."
I heard a short pause, then my father again: "But... that can't be true! I mean, why would you change into a wolf." A short pause again, and then I think it finally got through to my father: "Oh god. My oldest son has turned into a werewolf! What are we going to do?"
A shiver went through my spine when I heard my mother crying and my father shouting. Then I heard another familiar voice on the line.
It was my little brother.
"Hi... This is Eric. Who's there?" I think he probably picked up another phone in the house, because I still could clearly hear my parents shouting.
God, as if my mother and father weren't enough to handle already. How could I explain my little brother that I turned into a wolf? Well, I might as well get over it now.
"Hi Eric, this is Husky."
"Hi Bro! Mom and Dad are having a quarrel or something. They are shouting downstairs."
I sighed again, for only the hundred time today: "Well, I guess I know why they're shouting. It's about me."
"Yeah? Why? Did you crash dad's car into a tree or something?"
I chuckled slightly at that thought: "No Eric. You see... I have changed into an anthropomorphic wolf."
I heard my brother yell enthusiastic into the phone: "Did you turn into a wolf? Cool! Like on the news?" This was something I hadn't even considered. My brother was too young to fully understand the impact of changing into a wolf, but it was nice to hear someone actually being enthusiastic about my transformation.
"Yeah Eric, like on the news. I suppose that could be considered cool."
"And do you have a tail, and paws and fur and stuff? Wow! I can't wait to tell my friends about this! Can you howl on the phone for me now, or can you --"
I interrupted him: "Eric, hold a moment please. Don't tell your friends! I mean, I suspect you don't fully understand the impact of this all now. But you must promise me for now that you won't tell anyone, ok?"
I heard Eric sighing on the other end of the line: "Aw..."
"No, Eric!" I shouted.
"Well, alright Husky. Oh! I believe Mom's on the phone again, see you soon furry wolf brother, bye bye!"
I cracked a smile, it was really nice to hear someone comment about my current state without using words like 'monster', 'demon' or 'freak'. But for now I had to concern myself about others, like a hysterical mom on the phone...
"Husky, this is mom again. Your father and I are still very confused, but we want to make one thing clear: you're still our son, and we love you. We want to see you, could you come over to us?"
I was thinking, and decided that it was still not the right time to go out in public: "No Mom, I don't want to go on the street. Why don't you come over to my house tomorrow, and bring Eric with you?" I really wanted to see my little brother again, if it was only to make me smile again.
"Well, I guess so. Tomorrow will be..."
Suddenly I heard Liz yelling from downstairs: "Husky! Come on down, the news is on in a minute!"
I quickly ended my phone call: "Mom, you have to watch the news on Channel 2 now, there is an interview with me. I'll call you back as soon as I can." I heard my mom resist, but the interview was going to start any moment. I shouted a quick "Bye," and hung up the phone. I ran downstairs.
The news had already started and Liz had turned on the VCR. I heard the familiar voice of the newsreader on TV: "Good Afternoon, this is Philip Freriks and you're watching the NOS news of 24 January 2001." I sat down on my 'tail-friendly' chair and started watching.
"In the whole world transformations have taken place. People have changed into animals, either normal animals or anthropomorphic animals. Estimates are now about 100. The majority of these transformations have taken place in the United States, but there are reports of transformations in our country.
"Our special reporter Susan Parker had an interview with a man who has changed into an anthropomorphic grey wolf."
The interview was broadcast. It was the same as I remembered, they left out some less important questions, but fortunately they did keep it fairly unchopped, and it was made clear that I was still a living, breathing being who didn't have any bad intentions. It was weird to hear myself talking, and I noticed for the first time that I did actually have a lower pitch in my voice.
The last question was asked, and I could see myself being very uncomfortable with the question, I was wondering if anyone else would see it too.
The newsreader was now on the screen again: "The news hasn't gone by unnoticed by the government. Several politicians had their shares on the current events. Prime Minister Kok talked to our political reporter Job Frieso in The Hague."
Prime Minister Kok appeared on the screen. The reporter was asking him questions: "Mr. Kok. What do you think of the recent news about the transformations?"
Minister Kok looked as if he was really shocked by the news. I couldn't remember ever seeing him looking shocked about anything: "I haven't had a change to read all the reports about these transformations yet. But it looks like we'll have to debate this extensively."
"Have you already talked with any of the victims?"
Minister Kok raised an eyebrow: "No, not yet. But I intend to talk to anyone who wishes to speak with me."
Then the reporter asked a question that was very important to me, but for some reason I hadn't thought of it before: "Mr. Kok, will all the rights of the constitution still apply to these 'creatures', considering they aren't really human anymore?" I was twitching my thumbs, this was really very important for me.
"It's too soon to say anything about these... uhm... events. As soon as anything is decided you'll hear it."
Damn, exactly an answer that could be expected from him.
The newsreader appeared once more on the screen: "For now, this is the news about the transformations. There will be an extra journal at 7 o'clock on Channel 1. Now over to other news of tod --" Liz turned off the TV again. She had been awfully quiet during the news, and she had a look on her face I never had seen before.
"Liz, what's wrong?" I asked her, ears pulled back.
Nothing could have prepared me for the answer she gave me: "Husky... I'm afraid I can't stay any longer with you... God, I feel so fucked up about this, but it's the only thing I can do to stay sane. All these things that happened the past few days, I just... can't cope Husky. I can't. Please don't feel like I hate you or so, but I just... I mean, I know how you feel, and I'm sorry for it."
Fuck it all, was the only thing I could think of. And she couldn't possibly know what I was feeling inside. The only thing that kept me sane for the past few days was Liz's presence. If it weren't for her I would have probably killed myself already. I didn't have the power to do anything else than to say to her: "Go Liz. Go. Just... go."
She took her bag and started walking to the door, looking at me once again: "Sorry, Husky. Honestly. Sorry." She opened the door, letting a cool wind breeze trough the house. And then there was silence. Absolute silence. And before I knew it I was venting out my rage on everything I could find in the house, glasses, furniture, devices, anything my paws could grab. It just didn't matter anymore.
After my rage had finally declined I sank down in a corner of the room. I couldn't think of anything. I just sat down there for god knows how long. Just staring at my paws. Just... doing nothing.
I probably would have stayed down there for another week if it weren't for the doorbell to ring. From the voices I heard I could make up they were my parents. I couldn't think of a worse time for them to visit me. But I had to open the door. I just had to.
chapter 4: hiding
"Husky, are you there? Sorry we are so early... Open the door
son! We want to see you."
They want to see me? Ah... I think that they're not quite prepared for this.
I walked to the door and opened the letter-box: "Mom, Dad, could you come in the house via the back door, with the front door open everyone can see me."
I heard a short conversation between my mother and my father before she answered me: "Sure, son. We will get in via the back door."
I waited and looked trough the closed curtains of my living room until I saw the familiar shapes of my parents and my little brother. They did decide to take him with them, which managed to shape a small smile on my muzzle. I saw them approaching the house and heard a short knock on the door: "Husky, we are here son. Open the door so we can see you."
"Mom, are you really sure of this?"
"Yes son, we saw you on television so we already are prepared."
I breathed in deeply through my nostrils, turned the key and opened the door.
"Come in, folks."
"God, Husky. You look quite... how should I put this. Handsome, more handsome than on the telly anyway."
"So you aren't afraid of me?"
"No, of course we aren't, son. You're still our son, nothing will change that."
I was relieved, my parents still accepted me as their son. Somewhere back in my mind I always knew that, even with the depression I had... I moved forward and hugged my mom.
My little brother was next, I could see he enjoyed me hugging him, something he never enjoyed before. I was trying to see my father, but he somehow managed to stay behind a little, I wonder what he was thinking, it wasn't very normal of him to stay this quiet.
"Mom! I guess we don't need a dog now anymore eh? Husky's fur is soft enough for me."
I hit my brother slightly at the ears: "Don't think you can put a lead on me you little brat. Or I'll use these..." I showed my pointy teeth, which scared the hell out of my brother. He had a look on his face that I had only seen before when had been attacked by a young goat a few years ago. He started crying and ran to his mother.
"Uhm... Eric... Sorry about that. I didn't mean to scare you off."
Then, suddenly, my father awakened from his silence: "How do you dare to scare your little brother so much... you... you freak!"
My mother looked at my father with a furious look in her face: "Herman! It's your own son for god's sake!" But the damage had already been done.
"Well, look at him! To call your son a freak is... is... the truth," he stammered.
"No, it's not!" my mother shouted. "Look at Husky yourself! He's not a fucking freak!" I couldn't remember the last time my mother cursed, so I knew she meant it.
My father started to stammer : "Husky... I'm so sorry. I was never supposed to..."
I looked at my father with a look of forgiveness: "It's all right dad." We walked to each other and gave each other a warm hug, tears coming from our eyes.
* * *
It was a few hours later, I had updated my parents and my brother
on what had happened the past two days, finishing with the sudden
leave of Elizabeth.
I was just ready to make some more coffee when the phone rang, I had turned on the answering machine because I didn't really want to answer the phone. My little brother decided he needed to be against the grain and he picked up the phone.
"Hi, Eric speaking!" He had a natural look on his face, so this probably meant it was someone he didn't know. "Husky! It's for you! Someone from TV."
I grabbed the phone: "Hi, this is Husky." A familiar raspy voice came trough the phone:
"Susan Parker here. Hi Husky."
Goddamnit, I had told her that she would not call me, one interview was enough for now: "Hi Susan. Why did you call me? I told you not to call me for the next week or so."
I sounded a little bit angry, so she sounded a bit scared: "Sorry Husky. I know I wasn't supposed to call you, but I just had to. It's amazing. After we aired the interview we got over 500 calls from all over the country, and even from other countries. I just had to let you know that you are certainly not a stranger anymore."
Fuck me! I had always been someone who managed to make these kind of dumb decisions. What came into me that I would be interviewed while I was only transformed for one day? Well, it had already happened, the damage had already been done, I can moan about it now, but it won't help me.
I sighed before re-entering the conversation again: "So... what did all those 500 people say?"
"Well, they had a lot of different reactions. The majority was positive, but there were some, how shall I put this, 'opposing' reactions."
I scratched my ears slightly: "What do you exactly mean by 'opposing' Susan?"
I heard Susan sighing on the other end: "Well. It seems that we are not as tolerant as we all think we are. There were some threats, and some people even talked about..hmm...'physical actions'."
"Physical actions?!" I yelled trough the phone. "You mean they are gonna..."
"Well, I don't think so" Susan responded. "There were lots of positive reactions too. There were some people who were very interested in you. We even got some offers for commercials."
"For what? Dog food? Well, and what should I do now? Did you gave any of them my address?" I asked nervously.
"No, of course not Husky," she assured me: "I would never give out your address. Of course not."
"Well, thanks for the information, Susan. I have a feeling we will talk again very soon."
"See you soon, Husky."
I hung up and turned on the answering machine again.
I directed my attention to my brother: "Eric... Could you please just let the phone ring the next time? I don't want to be disturbed by that thing again."
"But why Husky? Don't you want to be called by anyone?"
I sighed a little: "Well, I don't."
Suddenly my father joined in the conservation, interrupting me: "Husky, listen son. You have to get over this. Lots of your friends probably called you and are worried about you. You should at least let them know that you're all right.
I knew my father was right, and that I should let all my friends know. But how? I wasn't looking forward to phoning all my friends and having the same 'Oh my god, you turned into a monster!' conversation every time.
I was thinking how I should solve this problem when my mother came up with a good suggestion, something that she was very good in: "Husky, why don't you just send all your friends a letter, let them know you're still alive? Maybe you could attach a picture of yourself so they won't be so shocked when they see you alive for the first time."
"Great idea, Mom. I'll do that."
I was ready to get a camera to get a picture of myself taken when my mother called me: "Husky... I think there's something else we have to talk about."
I turned around, my ears lying flat against my skull. I knew there was something that was bothering her.
"Husky, maybe we should talk about you going into hiding. The prospect of you being beaten up by someone looks very real to me..."
I knew she was going to say something like this, and I knew she was right. But somewhere else in my mind, I couldn't even think of the possibility that I could be beaten up by someone for the simple reason that I looked different. I was brought up by my parents to be tolerant to every human, no matter how they looked or what their beliefs are.
"Mom, you can't be serious. I mean... we live in a tolerant country, don't we? I mean... the Netherlands are the most tolerant country in the world, or at least, that's what I used to think..."
My father joined again in the conversation: "You don't know how they will react son. This... 'state' you have is something quite... unique. And don't forget that getting killed for nothing is something that still happens in this country. Don't make the illusion that just because we live in a tolerant country things like that don't happen anymore. Please, do us a favour Husky. Come home, live for a while with us. Only for a few weeks so that everything is calm again. And that people have started thinking about the transformations. Then, you can show yourself to the world again..."
I thought about this, and it made sense. It would be better for me if I just withdraw from public for a while. It would be a lot safer, and I didn't have to worry that my parents would ring me up every day to see how I was doing.
"Alright dad, I'll guess that's the best for everyone."
We started making preparations for the trip back to my parents' house. I put on a long raincoat, which would hide my tail and most of my furry body. I put on a baseball cap, hoping the shadow would hide my muzzle a bit.
We waited until it was dark outside and walked slowly to the car.
chapter 5: security
"Aah... It's good to be back home again," I grabbed a tail-friendly
chair from the kitchen and slipped into it. "How long has it been?"
I asked my mother.
"You were here last Friday, Husky, you tend to have a faint memory."
I chuckled, trying to hide my teeth this time, so my brother wouldn't get another heart attack.
I looked at my watch; it was a quarter before eleven. "Barend & Van Dorp" were on, my favourite talkshow. I grabbed the remote, and pushed the on-button with one of my claws. I saw the familiar faces of the two men, they were having a vivid discussion with a woman who was outside the camera's view. Her voice seemed very familiar to me, when the camera switched views to this woman I let out a short shriek.
What the hell? What was she doing in a talkshow? My mother heard my short shriek and she ran over the telly. "Husky! That's Liz! What is she --" I put a paw over her mouth, I didn't want to miss a second of this show..
Barend was talking , asking Liz a question: "So. You are a friend of this wolfman?"
I saw Liz having a bit of an offensive face: "His name is not Wolfman. It's Husky." The camera turned to Barend again.
Barend: "You were with him during the transformation?"
Liz: "Yes. I heard him screaming down the stairs, I was shocked when I saw he was growing fur everywhere and his face... It was so weird. Every single part of his body was twisting and shaking."
Barend: "What were your first thoughts when you see this all happen?"
Liz: "I don't know. I had such an unreal feeling inside of me. I was thinking I was in a dream or something. I couldn't believe it was all actually happening."
Barend: "Were you frightened of him?"
Liz: "That was my first reaction to him. I was thinking something along the lines of: 'Oh my god. He's going to eat me now'. But that was only for a few seconds. When he could speak again I realised he was still the same person inside and that he wasn't some kind of monster."
Barend: "How did he react to the transformation himself?"
Liz: "At first, it was like a dream come true for him. He told me later that he had some sort of a special bond with wolves. That he fantasised about being a wolf and such. But later on, he got depressed and paranoid, he was afraid that the rest of the world was coming to chase him or something. And then the next moment he was very happy again, I couldn't keep up with it. It was very confusing to me."
Barend: "So, what did you do?"
Liz: "I went away. I told him that I couldn't keep up with his mood swings, that it was all going too fast for me. I don't know how he's doing now. I feel very guilty about leaving him, but I'm afraid that he is so angry of me that he doesn't want to see me anymore..."
That was enough for me. The way she described her emotions on TV was very honest. I could understand now why she walked away. I wanted to forgive her. I grabbed the phone and dialled the studio. After some conversation and convicting the operator I finally got through to the studio. I saw that someone on the television whispered something in Van Dorp's ear.
Van Dorp: "It seems that we have this Husky on the phone right now. He says he wants to speak to Liz."
I talked in the phone but all I heard on the screen was some high freaking noise. I heard someone talking trhough the phone that I should switch off the sound on my television. So I did.
"Liz, can you hear me? It's Husky!"
I saw Liz turning her head around on the screen, almost if she was wondering if I was somewhere behind the screens.
"Hi Husky! I'm so sorry. I should have called you earlier but I..."
"I heard it all, Liz. I forgive you."
At that moment I heard Van Dorp's voice in the phone and I saw him talking on the screen:
"Husky, what would you think about coming over to the studio and talking a little bit more about yourself?"
I was very eager to appear on my favourite talkshow, but something in the back of my mind warned me. I didn't want to become some sort of public figure right now. I knew that was going to happen anyway, but I wasn't ready for it. Not yet.
"Sorry, maybe at a later time. Liz, it has been good to talk to you again. Goodbye."
And with that I hang up the phone. I felt so tired and decided to move to bed.
I kissed my mom goodbye and tapped my father on his shoulder, and I walked upstairs to my old bedroom.
* * *
25 January 2001, 7:00
I woke up early the next morning, I couldn't catch sleep again so I decided to move downstairs and make myself some breakfast.
I was surprised to see that my mother had been quite thoughtful, because she had bought some raw meat for me.
Eating the tasty chicken I was thinking of yesterday's events. I had been very relieved that Liz regretted all the things that happened. It was very nice to talk to her again, telling her that I wasn't mad at her. I let my thoughts wander, but then I realised something was missing from my daily morning ritual...
Oh yes, of course, the newspaper. I grabbed 'de Volkskrant' from the mailbox. It had been a few days since I had read a newspaper. Usually I just skimmed the headlines and only read the things that really interested me, this time however I was interested by the complete front-page of the paper, because of the huge close-up of my canine head it featured.
I looked closely at the picture. It was weird seeing myself 'from the outside'. Of course, I had been looking at myself in the mirror, but for some reason this was different. I wondered when the photograph had been taken. It wasn't a video-capture from the interview I had with Susan Parker, so when could that picture been made?
It became clear to me when I looked at the photographer: Henk van der Meyden, the national tabloid king. Sigh, I almost forgot about that guy. Why can't some people retire just a little earlier than the rest of society?
I browsed trough the rest of the paper; there wasn't much else about myself. Some small articles on the 'Foreign Country' page about some other morphs in the rest of the world, a few interviews with scientist blathering on the exciting new possibilities the transformations could have and some letters. I was lucky that my parents had a subscription to 'de Volkskrant' which was a fairly civilised paper, because it didn't publish any blatantly stupid letters that only were critisizing people without any valid arguments.
While I was reading a letter about someone who was pointing out the implications the transformations could have on social life I felt a hand on my shoulder. I quickly turned around, growling and showing my bare teeth.
It was just my mother.
"Ah. Sorry Mom, my predator instincts you know."
My mother first looked a bit confused but then she returned to reality: "Husky, there is something on the radio, you should hear it"
I turned on the radio and heard the voice of the news-reader:
"In the Hague, the Second Chamber has debated until 5 in the morning about the legal status of the so called 'morphs'. Minister Kok organised a press conference this morning."
I heard the voice of the Prime Minister through the radio: "After a long debate yesterday we have decided to give the transformed beings in this country the temporary legal status of citizen until there are international or European laws."
I let out a loud sigh of relief; at least I wasn't to be thrown into prison for being a morph.
"We do encourage any morphs to make themselves known to the government. That would make things a lot easier for the registration service."
"Over to other news of the day. In the UK, Minister Peter Mandelson has --" I turned off the radio.
"Did you hear that mom? I'm a citizen again!" My mother had a happy look on her face, knowing that her son was now legal again.
"It's great, Husky. There is another problem now however. You have to make yourself known at the registration service in the town hall. That means that you have to get on the street again."
"Ahh... yes. I hadn't thought of that before. It looks like I'm not going to hide myself after all."
"This would have happened anyway, Husky, if it wasn't today it would be tomorrow."
I placed my paw on my mother's hand.
"You're right, Mom. I'd better get ready."
I moved upstairs to the shower, already thinking what the look on the face of the registrar would be when he saw a bipedal wolf at his counter.
[more to come]