by Jacob Blue Fox
© Jacob Blue Fox -- all rights reserved
The bridge was the only obstacle keeping me from the river. I wanted to find myself in the waters, to become one with the water. Everything was a dark blue, the night sky, the river, and even me. I placed my hands on the railing and straddled it. A stiff breeze hit my face and I was thrilled. Adrenaline pumped through my veins and I wanted to fly. I didn't feel any emotion but some how even that felt right. The water was like a mistress begging me to come into her embrace. At that moment I thought about the words I wanted the world to remember me by. J.F.K. had his "Don't ask what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country." Martin Luther King had "I have a dream." Clinton had his "I did not have improper relations with Mrs. Lewinsky." I guess my words wouldn't be so memorable. A quick quip at Jack and a bit of pseudo-philosophy, what did you expect from a twenty year old. Quietly I whispered to myself, top of the world ma.
Like usual I walked into the bar like I owned it. The bar itself looked dulled than usual. More gothic than usual, Donnie must have been busy. I charged up to the bar and asked Donnie for a drink. Unlike every other day he gave me a dirty look from behind his bullish face. Looking around the room I noticed that everyone was giving the same glare. Scot and Doug sat on their haunches, their eyes told me I wasn't welcomed. Donnie grabbed a handful of hair and pushed my face into his. Crazy eyes, that was the only way I could describe Donnie's stare. They weren't human they were animal.
''Get out Norm!'' Donnie belted.
The fact that Donnie spoke was being overshadowed by the fact that he was saying something negative about me. I plopped off the barstool and started to back away to the door. They all came after me, speaking in unison the same words, Get out Norm.
''What's happened to you?'' I asked.
Their blended chanting changed into a cacophony of chirps, howls, hisses, and growls. More and more, the crowd's form became more animal. Those who walked on two legs dropped down to the floor and their arms shifted into legs. It was than I noticed the gendermorphs were changing into more vicious forms of themselves. They were still human, but now they were evil in intentions and looks. Edwina looked like an old hag from a fairy tale. I turned my back to the group but they pounced. Claws scratched at my skin, fangs bit at the back of my neck, talons pulled at my hair. The only human voices I could here were the gendermorphs screaming for my death. As the last bits of pain hit me . . .
I woke up. Dreams suck when they come after you. Looking down at my sheets I saw that I was in the middle of a pool. I reached up and wiped the sweat that had collected on my large forehead. It was then I noticed I was warm. My dream was my main problem, not a stupid little cold bug. Summer was beginning to fade into the fall semester. In two weeks, my sophomore year of college would be under way. Yay, more two hundred-dollar books to buy.
''What the fuck?'' I asked myself.
My quads started to spasm, I slapped them a couple of times and the twitching went away. When I got up to stretch I noticed my joins were sore. I just thought it was the pick-up basketball game I played. As I walked down to the kitchen my ribs felt like I was in a brawl with a bouncer. Once again I thought it was the elbows from the game. Sniffing my way across the linoleum, I blew my nose and saw that a slight trace of blood was mixed with the clear goo. Why I bothered to look I didn't know. The phone rang and I threw away my tissue.
''The shits hitting the fan!'' Jerome yelled.
''What are you talking about?'' I asked.
''People from Hillsboro are going nuts. It's like everyone is changing. Of the 69 people who graduated from the school. About twenty E-Mail me and said they have become a SCAB.''
''Holy shit!'' I yelled, the palms of my hands were becoming sweaty.
''You sound sick?''
''It's just a . . .''
In the middle of the conversation I saw the tiles of my kitchen move. The black and white squares lifted and molded themselves into bubbles. Six foot wide spheres floated of the ground and rolled in the air. They bounced of the ceiling, they exploded into a million smaller bubbles as they hit the walls. I held the phone in my hand as one of the globules floated by my head. From the stairs clowns cartwheeled down to the ground level and ran out the door. Calliope music filled the air, it sounded more like a punk band got a hold of the pipe organ.
'' . . .flu bug.''
Once again the door opened and I walked in. Unknowing of my last dream I tried to sit down on a stool. Raven stepped in front of me and an evil snarl came over her face.
''No Norm, not until you change.'' She growled.
I tried to turn around but Wanderer and Jack grabbed a hold of my arms and turned me back around to Raven. A prank I thought. This time everyone was standing behind her and they gestured towards me.
''What are you doing?'' I asked innocently.
Her response was to rip off my shirt, I was a bit embarrassed at the thin piles of chest hairs became exposed to the air. My large gut hung out from the hole Raven created. I began to pant like a dog, I was panicking. Raven cocked her head back and with a quick lunge she bit into my chest. The sight of a piece of skin hanging out of her mouth caused me to scream. There was no pain, but I felt like I was suffocating under my skin. Instinct ripped away at my flesh. I saw claws poke out of the tips of my fingers, With my left clawed hand I tore my human forearm off my new furry right hand. Something evil within me grew. As I ripped more and more skin off I felt the evil presence grow and I was becoming weaker. The evil was removing the skin. Inside the bastard described to me how he was going to rape and kill others with our body. He told me I was just going to be a witness to his crimes. With one last motion he reached under the tear where my shoulder was. Like a mask being taken off during Halloween, he removed my old face and a new animal face took over. I was gone.
''Wake up child!''
I opened my eyes and staring into my face was a fifty year old woman. Her ebony skin was slightly wrinkled but she looked like a perfect motherly figure.
''You had a bad dream, how are you feeling?''
''What happened?'' I asked before I looked down to my body.
She pulled a mirror out from the nightstand next to the bed. Slowly she pulled it up to my line of vision. Nightmares really suck when they show up in real life. To put it kindly I was a SCAB. The reflection was that of a fox, but with a twist. Where the white fur should have been was a hide of navy hair. I pulled the mirror out of the woman's hand and just stared into it. My clawed hand cautiously reached up to a pair of pointed ears. The sensation of my fingernail touching my ear nearly made me cry.
''You're a polymorph.'' Said the nurse softly.
The words rang in my head as I ran my tongue along my teeth, unusually sharp and long canines pierced into my long tongue. I sniffed a couple of times, a mix of the after effects of the flu and tears. My nurse pulled out a handkerchief out of her purse and put it to my red and blue nose.
I did but I sniffed a couple more times after her kind act. Her nametag said Mable Jackson. Her blue scrubs were hanging off her wiry frame. With every bit of strength I had, I tried to fight off the tears. Finally a couple fell down my face, I guess I'm not as strong as I thought. Of all the people in the world who could have changed in the world, I should have been the one who could have handled it the best. My friends are all mostly SCABS, I hang out in a SCAB bar most of my nights, Hell I even was changed into a fox-morph by a polymorph. All my life I wanted to change but now that I have changed I realized that I wasn't ready for it.
''Why does this shit always happen to me?'' I asked the air.
''Don't say that.'' Mable said with a frown, ''Just go to sleep you'll feel better in the morning.''
''I don't want to go to sleep.'' I sobbed remembering most of my other dreams before, "I'm . . .m too scared."
''Come here.'' Said the nurse as she held out her arms.
I pulled myself forward into her arms and I placed my chin on her shoulders and back. I could smell the chemicals from her perm. Her arms were warm on my back. Her gray curls brushed against my ears. She began to sing. A southern blues song flowed into my mind. It was a song Fitzgerald would have sang in her prime. As Mable sang her lullaby I could feel my soul start to drift. Trying not to sleep was impossible, I could help but close my eyes.
I stood in front of the door again to the Blind Pig. This was a dream but I knew about my other dreams before. Not risking my health I saw down on the stoop to the bar. For some reason the stoop of the Pig was becoming one of my favorite seats. Looking up to the sky I saw a light blue sky. My human nose took a sniff of clean air. Unlike the last two times I was in dreamland, the world seemed more colorful. It felt good.
''You going in or what?'' Asked a familiar voice.
The sky waited as I looked down to the white rabbit. Then it occurred to me, Phil was never in any of my other dreams.
''Hi Phil, No I'm not going in this time.''
''Well let's see. The first time I went in they decided to have Fox filet for dinner, the second time Raven rips out a piece of my flesh and I become a blood thirsty monster. Gee let's go in a third time and have my ass handed to me on a silver platter again!''
''I heard about those other times.''
''What the Hell am I doing? You're not even Phil, you're just a figment of my imagination.''
''That's true, I'm not Phil. I'm just your sub-conscious. I'm here to tell you, you won't be having anymore nightmares anymore.''
''If you're my sub-conscious, could you do me a favor and translate those dream symbols for me?''
''I guess." He continued on, his mannerisms were like the ones Phil used except he wasn't as jumpy, "Your first dream was for my sake. Consciously you were all set with your fears about SCABS, fitting in the world, and your own inner demons. I on the other hand was still just getting over it. That dream was my little message saying I finally got over our fears . . .''
''Couldn't you have just E-Mailed me?''
'' . . . Your second dream was our 'Oh shit' reaction. I found out before you did, we're becoming a SCAB. At first I thought the virus was going to attack me but it subsided as you woke up. I guess you wanted me to fax you that one too.''
''Also Raven was the main bully of your dreams because you are becoming close to her. You afraid you might have to say the F word to her, not the one that rhymes with duck.''
I cocked my head, ''That could be a problem, could you do me a favor and bust down that little mental block for me?''
Phil shook his head, ''You're the only one who can break that block, not me.''
'Phil' hopped up a couple of steps and started to push open the door. He turned to me and smiled in the only way her knew how, a little cock of his ears.
''Come inside, we won't bite.''
I push myself up from the steps and grabbed hold of Phil's paw. No way my mind could surprise me this time, right? Wrong! Inside I came into the shock of my life. Standing where Donnie should have been was a norm wiping away at a glass. I didn't figure it out until I saw Dr. Coe sitting at his usual spot, without a tail. In fact the whole room was filled with people I could only recognize by their clothes. Even with their duds as a guide I didn't know who was who. Especially those who were quadrupeds, they never wore clothes. I turned to see holding my hand was a person I never would have thought was Phil. He had a husky build, black hair and a mustache riding on a open smile.
''You never know what you're going to see at the Pig, huh?'' said Phil smiling.
''I, I, I, Ah Hell, what is this supposed to mean?'' I asked my sub-conscious.
''We weren't born SCABS kid, we were once normal like you.'' Said Donnie as he wiped away at his glass. His voice was deep and commanding. But somehow it felt right he was like this.
''We had lives before you even came to the planet.'' Said someone who I thought was Copernicus, the norm copied his pool shooting style.
''We all have stories before we came to this place.'' Said Jack at the piano.
I couldn't process all of this information, I sat down at a stool and showed the world my best dumbfounded look. 'Phil' walked towards me and sat down next to me. Looking at him at eye level was another thing I had to get used to.
''It's time.'' He said non-chalantly.
''Time for what?''
I looked around the room and they began to shift. Horns burst from Donnie's head. Phil began to shrink and his ears lengthened. Dr. Coe' s familiar ears turned dark. All around I saw the change of humanity and I was next. With one last croak Donnie finished his transformation.
I closed my dream eyes and let my body decide what was best. As I opened my eyes I saw Donnie's familiar snout. Even without his lack of vocal cords I could see his emotions in his eyes.
''How do you feel?'' Asked Phil.
I looked at my body and I was shocked. My fur was a deep blue, navy I guessed. Small pads pushed from under my knuckles and claws were fully formed. My chest had barreled out a little and I was panting a little. The mirror behind the bar didn't lie, I didn't know what I was.
''Yes you do.'' Phil said as he readjusted himself to his old form, ''You saw this creature in Alaska Magazine.''
That triggered it. I was a blue fox, an off-shoot of the silver fox. Behind me a blue tail slipped in a hole in the back of the chair. Slowly I began to realize what and who I was. My eyes were the one thing I tried to see but Donnie moved in front of me. Like I was in a trance I pushed myself to the mirror. Blue eyes stared into me, it was like the bar disappeared.
I turned around to see my old self, standing in the middle of darkness. My new vupine head cocked at the image and I realized it was not the Jacob Fox I left behind. This was the part of me that died back in New Hampshire.
''It's been a long time.''
''Yeah, I thought you were . . .''
''Dead? No, your memories kept me alive. Thank you for giving the best years of my life, I will always remember you.''
''My time is about to pass. Ray is dying, Jacob Fox is about to be born.''
''Wait I thought . . .''
''You thought I died when you pulled the trigger. Well you see there has been three versions of us, me, the sad and depressed, the transition man, confused about who he was, and now you, Jacob Fox.''
I stared at him as he began to fade into the darkness. He wasn't sad about it, he had a giant smile on his face. Ray had to die but I didn't want him to go.
''You will remember me but you are no longer carrying my mental baggage. Good Bye.''
My paw-hand cross lifted up to the air and waved good bye. Gone forever? No, I placed him in a special place in my heart, I wouldn't be here without Ray and I will always be grateful. The dark room was now empty and I felt alone.
''It had to be done.''
The white rabbit stood out in the black floor. He was back to the ground level and I went down to one knee. My tail brushed up against my right leg.
''I know, but . . .''
''Jacob wake up.''
Raven's gray snout nearly brushed up against my blue muzzle. Behind her was Dr. Derksen, behind him was most of the crew. Sluggishly I lifted myself up from my sleeping position.
''How are you feeling?'' Asked the cockroach.
I looked down to my hand and saw it was blue and not black. My dream time transformation translated to the physical world. Raven sat down on the chair by the bed.
''I guess I'm fine.'' I noted a bit of change in my voice, more growl than usual.
''We found on the floor of your house. I guessed you passed out as you were talking on the phone. Your immune system was weakened by a reaction to the cold medication you were taking and the NSAID'S you took on the side. Do you know you have been out for a good week?''
''Oh well no big deal.'' I smirked.
Bryan raised one of his arms and covered his compound eyes in disbelief. A slight bit of hissing laughter came from his mandibles. He walked out and Raven dropped to her knees by my bedside. I placed a hand on her head and tried to hug her. Gray mixed with the blue.
''Well I guess Underwood go her nickname back.'' Wanderer said as he walked into the room.
"Hi guy. What have I missed?'' I said weakly.
''Not much. Same old same old. By the way I like the color.''
''Oh the fur, I could get used to it.''
The next in the small recovery room was Dr. Coe, and Donnie. In Donnie's harden hands were a couple of helium balloons. Without even knowing it I looked up to the clock, it was 5:00 in the afternoon. Dr. Coe didn't know what to say but he said the proper thing.
''How are your eyes?''
''Fine,'' I placed my hand on my eyes and I realized that I wasn't wearing my glasses, ''I hate to be rude but I would like to be alone.''
Donnie nodded and placed an arm around the doctor. Wanderer was the next to follow. Raven started to get up but I placed my hand on her shoulder.
''I need to talk to you.''
''What is it?''
''There's been something I wanted to tell you ever since you pulled this old dog in from the rain.''
She pulled closer and I whispered it.
''Thank you my fr . . .''
Damn it say it!
'' . . .fri . . .''
Say It, SAY IT!
'' . . .friend.''
I had said it, by God I said it. For years I wanted to get say it, friend. People throw it around like it was nothing, whereas I was robbed and my mind wouldn't allow me the pleasure. It felt so good to say. Raven blink a couple of times, she didn't understand how important that was to me. I broke down and cried into her heart. She comforted me like Mable had before.
''It's going to be OK, it's going to be OK.''
My paws griped as much of the concrete asphalt mixture as they could. The wind gusted and ripped through my blue fur. Heart beating like a drum, I took a deep inhale of air. Pollution caused me to cough a couple of times. The time was right to meet my watery lover. I fell, gravity pulled me towards the river. Quickly I dive bombed to the Earth. My newly formed head carved into the surface. Ice cold polluted water burned my senses and I liked it. My lover's embrace surrounded my head, I could feel the current rushing through my hair. No, this wasn't good it wasn't right I didn't like the feeling. A shiver went up my spine and I realized my lover was too frigid, I wanted to go back. It was then the bungee cord kicked in. I was jerked and I looked back at my reflection. I quietly said good bye to it. After several bounces I pulled myself up and wiped my hand on my sloped forehead. Two blonde headed men helped pull me up.
''Thanks I've been dying to do that for years.'' I yelled to the two Californians.
Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org