by Xepher

  September Tenth, Two Thousand and One, 11:42pm CST Begin Log
  It's been a very long time since I sat down and wrote. I've been very depressed for quite a while and I'm just starting to get over it. Why, you may ask? Well, quite honestly, and I know this sounds silly, but you remember all that commotion back at the beginning of the year, all the stuff about those people transforming into all sorts of weird beasts and such? Yeah, well, and here's the silly part, I wanted to be one of them. I really did!
  When I heard on the news that some people had transformed into weird animal/human hybrids, I was amazed, at first. Then, as time went on and I got more details, I got depressed. Once I learned that no one had any idea how or why it happened, I was hit hard. At first I had been really excited because I thought maybe some scientist had discovered a way of doing things like that, or maybe some new nanotech breakthrough had been made. No luck for me though, no way to reproduce any of it and that's what really hurt.
  As far back as I can remember I've always wanted to be something else, something not human. When I was little I prayed to God that he'd give me the power to transform into "any marine mammal that I wanted", and, yes, those were my exact words. I remember them to this day. While other kids would pretend to be sports heroes or soldiers, I was pretending I was a dolphin. When my brother and I would make-believe, one of us would be an intelligent animal, and the other a trainer or something. I talked up fantasies with friends, even going so far as to design habitats for the transformed me to live in.
  It wasn't just my conscious mind either; my dreams got in on the act, quite often in fact. In all my memorable and enjoyable dreams I was never human. Don't get me wrong, I had dreams where I was just 'me', but they were either just boring, or, as was often the case, nightmares. When I was human I'd be dragged into bottomless pits, fall off buildings, and even be attacked by Oscar the Grouch and his voodoo corncob. All the dreams I enjoyed involved me as something at least partially animal. I was an artic seal, a sea lion, an eagle, a wolf, and many others. When I was pretending, I still knew it wasn't real, but in my dreams, it was as real as can be. It always hurt so much to wake up from those dreams. As if something wonderful had been dangled in front of my nose, then cruelly snatched away.
  As I grew up, I began to pretend less, but I got into reading more and more. Sometime in elementary school, I decided that I never wanted to lose these dreams and hopes I had, so I wrote a note to my future self. I wrapped it around a penny, and taped it up so it would last for years. I then hid it in a crack between the boards in my grandmother's closet. Since my family moved all the time and my grandmother didn't, I figured it was safer that way. On the outside of the note I wrote my name along with "if found, please return to" and hid it.
  Years later my grandmother was cleaning her closet and found my message. I talked to her on the phone and she asked if she should send it too me. I told her not to bother because I remembered exactly what I had written all those years ago. I can still see the paper in my mind, with the horrible printing of an elementary student on it. The message was a simple command: "Never forget your dream!" And I never did.
  I never forgot my dream, but I didn't pay it much attention. I focused on other things, school, friends, etc. During my freshman year of college, I started reading a lot of comic strips online. I found many that were much more enjoyable than any in the papers. One night I was thinking about all the things, books, TV shows, movies and such, that I really liked. I don't mean just the ones that I enjoyed, but the ones that really made me want to see every episode, the ones that struck a chord in my soul. I kept trying to figure out what they all had in common. I finally did figure it out. They all featured what I termed 'animal/human hybrids'. This was a great epiphany for me! I'd finally connected the dots that ran through my life, and a lot of stuff fit much better when I looked at it from this new point of view.
  A few weeks later I was looking around at one of these websites and came across the word 'anthropomorphic' and a link to a definition. My 'animal/human hybrid' concept had already been defined by someone and there was apparently a decent sized fan community related to it. The site said the slang term for it was 'furry', which somehow just seemed appropriate. Anyhow, long story short, I started looking for as many of these sites as I could. I started finding short stories archived on a lot of these sites. I liked these even better than comics because they move through a plot so much faster. That and I've got a good imagination so I don't need pictures. Anyway, I was hooked.
  One particular site caught my attention, it wasn't exclusively a 'furry' site, but was instead dedicated to transformations, but it seemed to have quite a large amount of furry transformations, so I dug in. I read a lot of stories, many of which were very good, and some that I'd argue as being better than a lot of published fiction. I found out that there was an email list server for this site, where a lot of the authors helped each other with stories and stuff. I figured I'd join. This was probably a week or so into January by the way. I decided I'd wait to join until I got my new server and email set up though, being as my then current ISP really wasn't reliable.
  By now I'm sure you can guess what happened next. Yup, this was that list; the one all the transformees were subscribed to when they got transformed. Yes, I was reading the list archives at the time, yes I was reading the stories, but I'd put off joining due to a stupid ISP and my own misguided sense of doing things right the first time. Anyhow, a couple weeks after I found this site, the news started pouring in. A bunch of people had transformed. I, having heard this, got really excited for a few days and forgot about the 'boring' fiction I'd found online. When real life was that exciting, who needed fiction? After the news people started commenting on this mailing list all the TF 'victims' had been on, my brain slowly connected the dots. I went to the archives immediately, and confirmed my suspicions. I had been that close and not even known it.
  The realization that my procrastination had cost me what I considered the opportunity of a lifetime sent me into some decent bouts of depression. It just wasn't fair! I had been there, I had been reading, I had done everything but fill out my email address! The universe has always done things to spite me, and this seemed to be the worst I could imagine. It wasn't the least bit fair. Who or whatever had been behind this seemed to be nearly omnipotent, yet somehow they missed me. I just kept asking why.
  For the next few months I was quite depressed, not clinical mind you, but just down. I'm normally a very optimistic person, but this was enough to make me sit back and reconsider. I went on with life, but there just didn't seem to be any fun in anything. I'd been so close, dang it! Even so, I went to classes, I studied, I made decent grades and I did things with friends. I'd laugh at jokes, but it was mostly a farce. The universe really blindsided me on this one. It just wasn't fair.
  Then, about a month ago, I started getting better. The shock factor wore off, and I started to forget all about the fantastic events of January. It still hurt whenever I heard the word 'furry' or anything that reminded me of it though. Sometimes I found myself wondering what I would've become if I'd only filled out that little box on that website. It still hurt to think about those things though, and I tried to switch to a different train of thought as soon as I started.
  I have gotten better though. Recently I've begun to see things in a different light. I've always believed in God, and in the fact that there's a reason for everything. I realized I hadn't really lost anything. Some people had been given a gift, heck, some even considered it a curse, but I have just what I'd had before. I have my health, my family, my friends, and my entire life in front of me. I realize that I should be thankful for what happened in January. I should be happy for those that did get what they'd always wanted. I've learned to be happy with the knowledge that amazing things do happen!
  That's the key point I think. This event, this... miracle, or whatever you want to call it: It did happen! Sure, the scientists can't tell us how. No one knows why, but it did occur, and that means it can occur again. Things are always changing, but the universe is a wonderful place where anything can happen. This just helps us know and understand that fact.
  Maybe I'll never be that wolf from my dreams; maybe I won't get to soar with the eagles. Who knows? What I do know is that it doesn't matter. Humans aren't that bad after all. Humanity is kindness, love, and most of all, it's hope. So it's with a great sense of hope and awe that I approach tomorrow. I know there's a reason for everything, and I know that something epic will happen again someday. Who knows, tomorrow could bring everything we've ever hoped for. And with that thought, I lift my head to the sky, and, as I stare into the vastness of the universe, I know that somehow, everything will be all right!
  September Eleventh, Two Thousand and One, 12:42 AM CST End Log