|Secrets, Lies, Sex, and Death
© BlueNight -- all rights reserved
It was a clear, starlit night. The crisp October air moved through the trees at a pace guaranteed to chill any coatless pedestrian. Inside the Blind Pig, however, the air was warm, friendly, and scentless enough to welcome those patrons with enhanced sniffers, thanks to a new brand of antiseptic spray.
Behind the bar, Donny was waiting to refill any empty glasses. It was a slow night, and the eight patrons had formed several groups. Jack was, for once, away from the bar, doing who knows what.
BlueNight looked up as the door opened, and a chill wind whistled through the room. A figure came into the light, and conversation gradually ceased as the patrons caught the situation. Donny crossed his arms and looked at the person.
She was a lizardmorph, short and slender, childlike and nearly elfin. She was wearing a red sweater, brown B-mart Tailslacks, and claw-proof generic sneakers worn over socks that had long since lost their elasticity. Her head was green, with brown markings emphasizing her hairless head and the curve of her neck. Her hands, too, were green, and the underside of each was yellowish. Her tail was green on top, yellow underneath. All along the tail's length, bright red spots covered the topside, and BlueNight realized they might go all the way up her back. He also noticed that she was a notch under five feet tall, as measured by the yellow strip next to the door that was designed for just such a purpose.
Her appearance wasn't what stopped conversation. It was the piece of cold steel she held against her head, aimed at her brain.
She walked to the bar, and sat down three stools to the left of that night's lone Lupine Boy, who had been talking with Raven. Two stools to the right sat Pascal, who was looking quizzically at the tragic figure with those dark plastic eyes.
"Something strong and bitter," she said, in a voice choked with emotion. Donnie shrugged and moved down the bar to prepare the drink. She turned to scan the room, her finger actually touching the trigger.
BlueNight realized that he was the only other lizard there that night, and decided that things should, as usual, be handled by someone in a similar situation.
He got up slowly, and walked to the bar. He sat down two stools away from the Lupine Boy, next to the troubled lizardmorph. She kept the gun against her head, always on the side away from him, and BlueNight sighed, keeping his eyes straight ahead, never making eye contact.
Donnie turned around to deliver the other drink, and BlueNight said, "The usual." Donnie went to the soda machine and pushed several buttons. He delivered the Coke-and-root-beer without ice, and BlueNight took a deep drink.
He kept staring into the mirror, staring into his own reflection. Finally the other lizard, in a frantic voice, said, "Why don't you ask me what I'm doing?!?"
BlueNight said, "I'm waiting for you to tell us whatever you came in here to say. I figured that you wouldn't have gone to all the trouble of coming here if you were going to simply find a place to die."
The lizardmorph breathed rapidly. She said, "I'm George Brown, twenty-one-year-old student, and now, a woman."
BlueNight muttered, "Ouch."
George nodded. Her breathing slowed. She said, "Tell me about it. I pretended for nearly a month. I did a report on lizards in sixth grade, and I found out that some male lizards don't have dicks. The lack of breasts helped the illusion."
George continued. "An hour ago I laid an egg. I took my roommate's gun and drove around. I guess I came here because I-"
Without warning, the gun was flipped from her hand, and fell to the floor. Predictably, she dove for it, but BlueNight tackled her. Donnie picked it up, and flipped the safety switch. He placed it in a drawer behind the bar.
George sat up, dazed, then started crying. BlueNight helped her stand up, and Raven came over to hold her.
Two days later, after time with Splendor and Phil, Georgia Brown went shopping for new clothes with Raven.
That evening, BlueNight reclined in the La-Z-Boy 3000 in his computer room. His legs and tail were splayed out as he laid on his back. The cartoon centauress was to his left, on the central pillar.
"Journal file open," said Eliza.
"Dear Journal," BlueNight began.
He thought for a moment.
"Things have been interesting the past few days. I met a young lady who used to be a young man. George Brown is now almost as sexy as ChesnoAzul's dragon form. He came into the bar with a gun to his head, so I sat down next to him. While Donnie was getting my drink, I used my chameleonic abilities to display words on my tail, telling Frank the snake back at my table to slither over and knock the gun from his hand the moment his finger was away from the trigger. Frank did a wonderful job."
Eliza silently applauded, and BlueNight grinned, then sighed.
"The following day," he continued, "we met with Phil and Splendor, to discuss the situation. Raven was there, too. We talked about the implications of an unexpected gender-change, and about the heterosexuality of George. The next day, this morning, he decided it would be best to dress like a woman, and not try to act different. He has always been submissive, he says, so it won't really be a problem for him, though he's as straight as y=2x-1. With a male mind and female body, abstinence is the only option open with a literal interpretation of the Bible's ban on homosexuality."
He paused, then spoke. "He's hoping to find a woman with bisexual tendencies, who'll accept him for who he was and is now. I guess that's the best choice for him. I was lucky to remain male. Which brings up another point."
He looked at Eliza. "I keep imagining him naked. I don't know why. Maybe it's a latent desire to be in his situation, to get lucky with lesbians, or maybe I'm a latent bi. I do know I love women, but his mind is purely male and masculine, thought submissive."
He took a deep, shuddering breath. "I'll have to keep a close watch on my thoughts around him from now on. I don't want to play the role of Dirty Nasty Old Man, but if my author deems it to be the best thing for the story, I will have no choice.
"I remember when we had the dogs, and I learned that they wanted to be pleasured by me. I was the household's Beta Male, and I felt sick when I realized what those bitches wanted, lying there with their legs spread and tails wagging. I never gave in, never touched them that way. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I feel the same way when I think of my thoughts of Georgia, and how I could be affected."
He sighed, and looked back at the ceiling. "And all of it comes back down to the author. I decided long ago that if my universe is only one step down from the real one, my author will be giving me my eternal reward when the time comes. If his universe is also a story, written in a story, written in a story, recursively to infinity, then each has its own rules, and it doesn't matter. And if this is the real universe, I must believe in God's reality and only keep authorship a possibility."
He sighed, and was trying to think of something else to say, to end the journal entry, when ChesnoAzul opened the door and yelled, "Come quick!" with pain in her voice.
BlueNight's heart started pounding rapidly, and everything seemed in slow motion, as he reached for the reclining lever. His mind was racing. Something was very wrong.
Still in slow motion, he heard ChesnoAzul say, "It's NotGadget."
Tears leapt to his eyes as he raced toward the door to follow Chesno, still in slow motion.
As he approached the bedroom, he could see a trail of blood from the kitchen. He entered, and was horrified.
On the bed lay his sweet pixiemouse, NotGadget. Her tail was now a short and very bloody stump, the bone and muscle protruding from the wound. Her ears were little more than sliced-up fringes, turning her blond hair an ugly copper-orange. The worst wound, however, was her face.
The blood flowed freely from where her snout used to be. Whoever had cut off her tail and ears had done a poor job of cutting the snout off, actually slicing down at an angle, producing an effect that was rather skull-like. Because the protrusion of her jaws was greater than that of a human, and because her snout was mostly cartilage, her face was now flat at an angle. The blood was dripping into her mouth and nasal passages, and she coughed.
"BlueNight," she called weakly.
He went to her side and held her hand. "Who did this to you?"
"You..." she said, then coughed. "You never wanted me human. You loved my snout. Well, here," she said, thrusting a hideous bloody object into his hand, and letting her own arms fall back to the bed, next to her head. She let one hand explore an ear, and grinned.
"You know you loved my tail more than my breasts. My beautiful," she coughed, "my beautiful, perfect breasts. My elephantine ears. They're in the kitchen, with your beloved Cutco."
BlueNight was sobbing, tears pouring down his face. "I never wanted this. I would have paid for plastic surgery."
She grinned, then coughed. BlueNight noticed that Chesno wasn't in the room, and wondered why Eliza hadn't seen this horrible thing, hadn't called for an ambulance. Another cough from the mouse drew his attention. "You wouldn't have loved me as much. You were never interested in humans." She let loose with a horrible cough that rocked her entire body, and sprayed blood on his face.
He hardly noticed, he was crying so much. "Why did you do this to me?"
"I might..." she whispered, her beautiful brown eyes nearly closing, "Ask you the same question." She coughed twice more, then stared at something just over his shoulder. "Oh... golly."
She went limp, and BlueNight stared for a moment, felt for a pulse, then started CPR. He pressed on her chest in the right way, but she didn't revive.
He sobbed, and held her tightly, crying in anguish.
He held her until the ambulance arrived, held her hand while the medical examiner declared her dead of loss of blood. He sat, then, on the bloody bed where she had died.
The wall flickered. "BlueNight!" Eliza exclaimed, "What happened?"
BlueNight just sat there while ChesnoAzul explained.
Eliza put a hand to her mouth, and for the first time ever, computer-animated tears fell from her eyes. "Oh my. Oh! Oh, I'm sorry. Oh!"
BlueNight looked up at her, with pain and tears in his eyes. "And that means you're the only bit of her I have left."
Eliza wept. "I'm so sorry. She put my sensors for the kitchen, the hallway, and the bedroom in a loop. I thought she wasn't even home!"
ChesnoAzul, tears staining her fur, sat on the bed and held BlueNight. "I stopped to get something else on my way home. If I hadn't, we might have caught her in time."
BlueNight thrust her hand from his shoulders and stood up. "No! Damnit, it's my fault! I tried to acclimate her to the idea of being a mouse, but I knew in my heart she wanted to be human! With the surgical techniques we have today, she could've been a normal human again! She could have had a real nose, instead of..." He realized he was still holding the snout she had pressed into his hand, and threw it onto the bed in disgust.
He sat on the floor, with his back against the bed. "I knew what she wanted, but I was so preoccupied with my own desires, I didn't realize how much I was hurting her. And now this." The tears continued to flow.
Chesno sat next to him, and, afraid to touch him, clasped her hands together. "It's nobody's fault. She was suicidal when we found her, and I guess the darkness-"
"Darkness? Darkness? Look at my heart!" cried BlueNight, and altered the color of the scales on his chest to show a shrivelled black heart. "I've been here, living in sin, in horrible unmarried sin for the last five years, and I am the only one I can blame." And then, he stood up and looked at the ceiling, in horror.
"You. You!" he screamed at the ceiling, "Damn you to Hell, Luke Allen! Damn you to hell for killing my beautiful NotGadget! Damn you for your murder! Your MURDER! You picked up the knife with her hand and sliced her life away, piece by piece, as much as if you had done it in person! You ruined my life by killing the one I love, and you can't be prosecuted, because you aren't even IN our reality! It's all FICTION! Well, DAMN your fiction, damn your storyline, damn your plot device, and DAMN YOU, AUTHOR LUKE ALLEN!!!"
Then, he screamed with all his heart until his breath was gone, then crumpled to the floor and sobbed. Chesno again comforted him, and this time, he hugged her and cried. Later, Lola came home, Eliza told her what happened and directed them to the room, and together, they all cried. Around two in the morning, they went to sleep, on the floor, next to the bed where the one they had all loved had been slain.
The morning after NotGadget's death was depressing. BlueNight felt like staying on the floor, where he had fallen asleep the night before, but Lola and Chesno got him into the four-person shower, to clean the dried blood from his body.
Muttering, "...ever make it into his reality, gonna beat him bloody," BlueNight scrubbed with Scale-B-Health-E scale shampoo. Later, when drying off, he called Lola in.
"Mmm, shugah?" asked the orange rabbit with three metal limbs, fur spiky and slightly damp from her own shower.
"We're going to need to fill out reports downtown," said BlueNight, "So try to remember only what you yourself saw, not what we told you. And get dressed."
"'Kay," she said, and ducked out.
Eliza showed up on the wall next to the mirror. "I checked my programming again. As far as I can tell, that was the only surprise left." She adopted an anime visage, and said in a low voice, "So, now the one who programmed me, the one whose personality was given to me... My mother is gone."
BlueNight held a hand against the wall, against Eliza's horse-half flank. "It'll be okay, eventually. We all have some healing to do."
Eliza looked at him. "If I had been paying attention, I might have seen that my sensors were blocked and looping an empty room."
Hanging the towel up, BlueNight shrugged. "She probably kept you from noticing that too. Examine the code, figure out how she did that, and devise a countermeasure." The centauress nodded, and faded, leaving the wall blank.
When BlueNight left the bathroom, he saw Chesno sitting on the edge of the bed, where there was almost no blood. He sat down and put an arm around her. After a few moments, she spoke. "Blue, what..."
She paused, trying to find the words. He hugged her, sharing warmth. Finally, she said, "She never took the option of plastic surgery, and I don't know why. She was the closest to human, and she finally had what she wanted in terms of gender. It was that mouse thing that did it."
BlueNight said, "I think it has something to do with submissive personalities and such. She had counseling for six months to teach her to like her new body. On reflection, she never really said much about what she wanted, only tried to make everyone else happy. I think... Oh, no."
He stood up with a frown. "Oh, no, no, no. We've made a terrible mistake. Come on."
After making a phone call to Phil, the three of them bustled into the van, which Eliza had started warming up.
Soon, they pulled up to the three-story dorm at the college. They got out, and climbed the stairs to the third floor. At the top of the stairs, BlueNight was leading the bunch, and was first to see the figure standing next to the railing.
"George," called BlueNight, afraid that he was speaking too loudly or too softly.
The lizardmorph's head turned. "Haven't you heard?" she said with a wry grin, "It's Georgia, now."
BlueNight climbed the remaining stairs, and walked over. Looking over the rail, he said, "Good choice. Pavement below, three stories up. Last time I thought about this, I realized there was nothing stopping me."
"Huh?" asked the other lizard, looking straight at him.
BlueNight grabbed George's shoulders, and turned her to look him straight in the eyes. "Listen to me. Last night, my wife committed suicide because she thought she wasn't being true to herself. Life isn't a game, it's a gift. Things may look bleak, but things can always get better."
George searched BlueNight's eyes, then looked away. "I'm a lizard woman now. Things can't get better."
BlueNight said, "You're still a man. Your biology may have changed, but you are a man. I don't want to lose another friend. Be yourself."
"That's right," said a voice from behind, and all four turned to look. A pair of white ears popped up the stairs, followed by a head and body. Phil had arrived. "When I first turned into a rabbit, I thought it was the end of the world. Now, I realize that to survive, I must help others, do what I can to slow chaos. That's not being trite, it's just who I am."
BlueNight nodded, and gently pulled George away from the railing. "Things always look different the morning after. We've both got healing to do, and we've got all the time in the world. Chesno here," and here he motioned her forward, "Can teach you more about your biology. Hormones can do odd things, but you must remember that what keeps us from being animals is our minds. Are our minds. Don't you love grammer?"
George grinned. "There," said BlueNight, "You can still smile. We've got to go, but you just keep plugging away at those books. Who knows, maybe you could find the cure we all want someday."
They shook hands, and BlueNight said, "Just remember, your identity is important. Don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable, just because your peers expect it. You are who you say you are. See you around."
George waved as they left him, going down the stairs. Phil followed to the second floor landing, and said, "Sounds like you've got problems of your own."
BlueNight said, "You heard that? Oh, the ears." Phil nodded.
BlueNight sighed. "Okay, Phil, I'll tell you all about my secret double life after I fill out the report, and after you help George. I figure you should be the first to know, besides Oren."
Phil grinned and padded back up the stairs to counsel the youngster.
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