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by Michael Bard
Michael Bard -- all rights reserved
 

My life sucks.

Really.

I'm over 40. No real savings, no real job.

Sure, I piddle around, write some, paint some, do odd jobs to make ends meet. But, eventually I'll have an accident, or I'll get sick, and that'll be it.

People tell me I need to get a real job, or take training. I nod, and say yes, but never really do anything. Always I tell myself that I need to get the resume improved, or that I need to do more research, or I tell myself some other excuse that makes perfect logical sense. It only means that I push it off till tomorrow which never comes.

So, why am I telling you this? Why am I wasting the time of a forum dedicated to discussion of transformations?

Obviously, since I'm here, it's because I'm fascinated by transformations. Always have been. Of course, unlike the majority who are fascinated by the process of transformation, including some who are fascinated in ways that I, frankly, find a bit frightening, I'm fascinated by the results of a transformation.

What is it like to be something else?

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't hate my human body. I don't think that I'm really a woman in a poorly fitting mansuit, or a fox in an even more poorly fitting humansuit. It's just that I wonder what it'd be like. What would it be like to feel wind blowing through your fur, the motion tugging on your skin all over the place like a full body vibrator? Or what would soundsfeel like if I could move large ears to cup them and focus them, to transform the sound from a non-changing monotone to a rich cacophony of vibrations.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't just slave away at grudge jobs and then come home to a lonely and empty house and sleep. Nope. Actually, I spend most of my time on a wondrous tool called IRC, or, more particularly the Menagerie TF chat server (irc.menagerie.tf:6667). There I can live out my dreams, pretend to be all kinds of things, and chat and interact with those I'm privileged to call friends.

Of course, like the real world, it's not entirely happiness and joy. People are depressed, people are suicidal, and I've done my fucking damndest to make life better for them. That includes anything from being a sounding board for their problems, to encouraging them with ideas and dreams that I'm too afraid, or lazy, to implement for myself, to calling them at two am in the morning (local time) to tell them that their lives mean something, and that suicide is only the coward's way out.

And yes, I admit I've considered it a time or two when I look around my ramshackle room, but I've never done it and will likely never do it. It's a coward's way out, a betrayal of friends and family.

Anyway, life went on like that for years, not really changing. Friends came and went, but there were always some who stayed, and some who'd always been there. But, as much as we might prefer otherwise, life is not a constant. It is a glorious thing of changes and wiggles and curves, and sometimes the oddest things happen.

Probably not odder than what happened to me.

I didn't notice it at first, or at least I presume I didn't. I was typing away, deeply involved in some silliness. But soon, the glare of sunlight became too bright to be ignored.

Sunlight? How can there be bright sunlight at just past midnight? It'd be time for bed soon, time to get up and drudge away for another day.

So I looked. What else was I to do?

And, believe it or not, there was-- well-- a hole. I guess that's the best way I can describe it. A hole that was about two metres in diameter, and visibly growing as I watched. Around it reality was, I guess, crinkled. Squinting, I could see that what I knew was behind the hole, bookshelves, knickknacks-- It could all still be seen, but crinkled up like a crushed and balled piece of paper.

And inside the hole--

Inside the hole was the archetypal perfect pristine wilderness. The green of the leaves and brush and long grass and moss was the most vibrant perfect green I'd ever seen, even though each leaf and stalk was its own unique shade. And the same with the browns and beiges of the bark, the black and grays of the worm-rich soil, the golden yellows and whites of the glittering shaft of sunlight. And, it was actually glittering, like it'd been scattered with drifting dusts and specks of christmas sparkle.

Centred in the hole, framed like a renaissance painting, was an achingly thin woman, so thin that she made those malnourished runway models look fat. She had huge almond eyes of a deep compelling blue, a blue so deep that I could feel my soul sinking into them. Her ears were long, arching far above her head and ending in delicate points. Then there was her clothes, her presence--

Words fail.

The hole wavered around the edge as she spoke. "Hail George."

My mouth just hung open.

"Like the wizard in those silly little SRU stories, I'll just state things to keep your little brain from overloading. I hate it when they pop."

Blinking, I just looked.

"I am one of the Tuatha de Danan. Well, that's the closest you know. The tales aren't entire true." She wagged her long tiger-like tail for emphasis. "I've come for you George William."

"For-- for-- me--?"

"You've helped so many, and we get so lonely here. I'd like you to come and join me."

"Come--"

She laughed, a mocking sound like the tinkling of water in the purest and most isolated of brooks. "Oh, don't think all that! I told you that the tales aren't entirely true. You won't be our slave or plaything. You'll live forever. 'Tis certain that you won't ever be able to return to your drab reality, but nothing is free. That's the truth, right up there with entropy. But, we'll give you the gift you've dreamed of."

"Gift--"

"My, but you are tongue tied!" She laughed, a gentle mocking laugh. "Right now you're thinking of us lying, of us luring you here to torture and torment. Nothing of the kind! Why would we want to do that? Sure, we did it once, but it gets so boring after a while." Cocking her head, she looked at me. "George, you have a gift. A gift that we lost far far too long ago.

You have dreams."

"Dreams--?"

"You have an imagination that we've lost. An imagination that we want to share. To watch and enjoy and get pleasure from."

Sure, I'd written some stories, and there'd been some praise, and a bit of condemnation, but there were so many others so much better--

"Oh, I know there're others, dear George, but yours is the imagination that calls to us. Now come, join us here for all time. Join us and we'll gift you with the ability to change, to become whatever you can imagine--"

"To transform--"

Words failed me, if they had ever served me at all in this encounter. My mind blossomed in imagined visions of what could be. Of finding out what it was like to feel the wind blowing in my fur, to hear the sounds focused and magnified, to feel the ground under soft paws or hard hooves, to swim through the oceans without worrying about holding my breath or the loud gushing of exhaled bubbles, to smell the messages I'd only imagined, but could see dogs driven into orgasmic pleasure by.

"Come George. Come and be with us for as long as you wish. When you're ready, and only then, you can pass from your mortal form and go wherever your soul goes. We're not cruel, George, not like in the tales. We'll take our pleasure from your pleasure."

I forced my mind free of the cascade of images and dreams that we calling me to be made real. "You-- you need me?"

Again she laughed, the gentle mocking of falling water. "We don't need you George. What would we want with a mortal? But you would give us some small pleasure, and that is worth such small expenditure as this portal, and our gift, costs us." She looked at me, eyes large and unblinking. "But come, I grow weary, and the expenditure of effort will soon outweigh what small benefit you'd give us."

Helpless, I stood up, the chair creaking on the floor, and then falling over with a loud bang. That cut through the spell, and I glanced over at the monitor, at the IRC window.

GEORGE, somebody had typed in a private message, ARE YOU ALL RIGHT? DO YOU MIND IF I TALK T YOU? I'VE HAD A REALLY CRAPPY DAY AND NEED A HUG.

Staring at that, I remembered all the pain I'd helped heal, all the lost souls I'd advised as best I could, helped as best I could. There'd been the odd failure, but much more success. I remembered the friends who counted on me, the promises I'd made to finish stories, to help edit their works. I remembered those who came to me regularly for advice on all kinds of things. And I remembered my friends who lived nearby, whom I spent enjoyable time with. And I remembered family and nephews and cousins-- A favourite niece I would write a story for each Christmas, a serial about her that grew and changed from year to year--

My head dragged itself away from the monitor, and I looked at her. Looked at the vibrant green and living world. Looked at where all my dreams could become real for as long as I wished.

"Come on George. We're waiting. Come and live your dreams."

Swallowing, I blinked back tears, my mind full of images of what could be, of what I could finally. Other images fought against them, pushing for attention. Images of friends and family.

The sobbing face of my favourite niece when she heard that I'd vanished, when she finally realized that she'd never see me again--

I couldn't speak, couldn't say yes, couldn't say no. So, I did what I'd always done, I fled.

Turning, I ran, past the equine fursuit I was going to finish some day, yanking open the door and banging it shut behind me. Running through the cold drizzle, worn sneakers thudding on the ground. Sneakers thudding, not hooves clomping or paw-claws clicking--


I don't know how long I ran, and then walked. All I know is that I was soaked by the time I came back. I hadn't locked the door behind me, and it creaked open into the cold and empty house. My roommates, whom I almost never saw, were long asleep.

It must have been a dream. It must have.

I made my way into the cold puddle of light around the monitor, and looked at the chair lying on the floor.

And, beside it, green and glistening, though already dying around the edges, a leaf of the most natural, most vibrant, most living green imaginable. Crouching down, I picked it up, feeling it's life between my fingers.

Feeling what could have been as the dreams in my mind shattered against hard reality, stabbing my soul with blinding pain from the sharpness of their shards.

Still holding the leaf, crumpling its life between my fingers, I felt around through a world blurred by tears, picked up the chair and set it upright. And sat down.

Sat down and rejoined the cold real world, a world of pain and fear and sadness.

The real world. A world that was also brightened by love and happiness. A world I was able to make a little less dark by being a caring ear.

A world that I could bring hope to by making a child happy.

I sobbed.

 

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Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard.  Please send any comments or questions to him at mwbard@transform.com