A young woman receives a gift that was promised to change her. She learns, however, that one cannot choose their fate.
As part of the ‘Sketch’ series, this is roughly done and experimental. This is my first insect TF and, again, a sketch. Grammar, spelling and editing all suffer for it. As does the actual transformation itself.
The old truck hit a hidden rock on the dirt road and Suzanne’s eyes automatically strayed to her satchel. Her bag barely moved and she flicked her eyes back to the road. Above and around her the sky drained of color until the edges of the world seemed to be on fire. She amused herself with the thought of the planet sitting in a massive brazier, flames licking at the edges. The image was particularly fitting, she thought.
“A dragon,” she said to nobody in particular. It wasn’t the first time she’d said the word today. Or thought of it. Not even the hundredth time.
She’d picked her destination for its remoteness. And the mountains. Of course there had to be mountains. Nobody around for miles and miles. Dark shapes in the setting sun. Sharp teeth in the maw of the world. She smiled and her thoughts were wicked things.
As she approached the foothills, her mind wandered again to a conversation she’d had a week ago. An old high school friend had approached her; someone she hadn’t heard from in almost ten years. They’d played at games when they were children and shared a kiss but grew apart as they learned what it meant to be pretty and popular and, in Martin’s unfortunate case, not.
“Do you,” the man had stopped speaking, looked around and licked his lips nervously. “Do you remember when we were kids? Playing knights and dragons and princesses?”
She’d arched her fine eyebrows, meticulously maintained. She did remember but this wasn’t the conversation she quite expected. Although, she supposed, it still could turn into the “You’re single and we went to school together. How about we go out?” conversation.
“Remember,” he laughed a barking little nervous laugh and then silently snarled as a large, confident man strode past. “Remember how you always wanted to be the dragon and not the princess? Because…”
“Because the princess was weak and the dragon was ferocious and free and could do whatever it wanted,” she answered.
The man nodded, licking his lips. He glanced behind Suzanne and then pulled into himself and averted his eyes as a woman passed with a prancing little poodle. He continued when the woman passed. “What if,” he paused again. “What if I told you there was a way?”
“I’m sorry, a way for what, exactly?” She asked.
“To be the dragon,” he whispered. “To be what you were meant to be.”
She watched him, waiting for him to laugh or show some sign of the joke. When he didn’t, she began to wonder if he was crazy. And then she saw his hands. Sharp black claws tipped his fingers in place of fingernails. Thick brown and black fur covered the back of his knuckles and hand. When he saw her looking, Martin snatched his hand back.
“You see, don’t you?” He asked her. “I found someone. He gave me what I wanted. To be fierce and strong. I took it and it changed me. You don’t know what it’s like, Suzanne. Oh god. Unfettered by humanity. I changed. The werewolf. I watched myself change. I ran. I hunted. I…” Again, the man laughed his curious little laugh. She’d thought it sounded insane, a barking, coughing, high pitched chuckle. He leaned forward. “I mated. I took another wolf and she gave herself to me and I mounted her.”
The young man rolled his shoulders and again licked his lips. His eyes never stopped moving. Watching, always watching everyone that walked by. Several times his nostrils flared to take in someone’s scent.
“I have to go. Too many people. Too many smells. You don’t have to believe me,” he told her. “I don’t care. I don’t care. I saw your name on the news and I remembered. I thought I’d share but you don’t have to believe me.” He stood and she wondered if she should say something. But, before she could, the man dropped his shoulders and hurried away.
A small card lay on the table in front of Martin’s seat. A simple card with an address within the city. She frowned at it and wondered. Finally, she took the card and called a cab.
The shop was disappointing. She’d half-expected some grandiose version of the curio shop from the beginning of the Gremlins movie but, instead, she found herself facing a cheap, faded faux Chinese import store. Cheap paper lanterns and shiny plastic swords were cluttered around with various other trash. The kind she’d expect on every corner in the city’s International district. The owner sat behind his desk with the day’s newspaper spread in front of him.
“Help you?” The old man asked. He wasn’t Chinese, she decided. Just old. Old and white.
“I’m starting to doubt it,” she muttered. “Someone I know- knew gave me your card. Said you’d given him something to change him.”
“Is that what you came for?” He looked bored or dull or both, she thought.
“I came because I’m a fool, apparently. I’d played at being a dragon when I was a child and he’d said that could happen. That I could be a dragon.”
The old man watched her. Without a word, he walked to the back and returned with a small vial filled with a thick, golden liquid.
“What is that?” Suzanne asked.
“What you want,” he told her.
“It brings out your desire. A dragon is a powerful creature, miss. You’d have to be strong to call it forth.”
“I am strong,” she said, anger in her voice. “I pulled myself up from nothing and now-” She stopped. She was an anchor for the local NBC news station but she didn’t want to give the old man the idea of tracking her down and embarrassing her or spreading rumors about her. “I am strong,” she finished.
“Five hundred dollars.” He said. “Be strong of thought and purpose. Iron willed. Take it and focus and you’ll have it. Checks or cash only.”
Suzanne’s lips twitched. The money was nothing to her. She barely even noticed her bank account most days. She almost left but, then, she remembered Martin’s hands. She took a gamble and reached for her checkbook.
Back in her truck, she clicked on her headlights. It was getting colder as she wound up and around the narrow road. She watched carefully for deer or other animals as she drove. She’d passed no cars and expected nobody. She’d come to the area a few times when she was younger. A few of her boyfriends liked to hunt. Or, at least they said they did. She never actually saw them hunt since all they ended up doing was having sex in their truck when they came out. She hadn’t complained.
Finally, she reached a small area that signs had previously designated as a “tourist attraction.” The few locals that visited (mostly teenagers) used it as a make out area. Old beer cans and the pale white skeletons of cigarette butts littered the ground. Above her, the moon was huge and silver and bathed the area in pale light. The sky was incredibly clear this far away from the city and, far in the distance she could see the lights of the city itself.
Suzanne turned off her truck, grabbed her satchel and climbed out. She shivered twice when the heat from the cab of her truck fell away from her. Pulled away by the cold night. The old truck squeaked in protest as she climbed into the truck bed.
Sitting against a weather-worn spare tire near the cab, she reached into her satchel to pull out the vial. She held it between her fingers, tipping it back and forth. The liquid oozed slowly within. The young woman pulled the stopper to sniff at it. Cloves and cinnamon and the faint smell of honey wafted up. That’s probably all it is,she thought.
She cleared her mind and a large, beautiful black dragon filled the space. Strong arms raised in glory while massive wings spread wide.
“Dragon,” she whispered, tipping back the vial. It tasted sweet with a hint of something that burned in a thin line down her throat. She closed her eyes and rested her palms on her thighs. The black dragon flew in her mind, shrieking into the dark night.
Suzanne reached back to scratch her upper back and then stopped. She could feel a small bump between her spine and right shoulder blade. And then, as she noticed it, she felt it move against her hand.
Goosebumps broke out along her arms and raised small hairs at the back of her neck. She could feel another twitch on the left side of her upper back.
Shit,she thought, her mind racing. Shit shit shit. She hadn’t really believed it would do anything. She’d wanted to believe but she was rational and expected to just spend a quiet evening in the cold night. Yet another childhood fantasy destroyed. Now… now she panicked slightly. What would it mean? Would she remember who she was? How big would she get? Would people notice and come after her? Would-
She screamed as skin separated wetly along her back. Suzanne grabbed at the bottom of her dark green sweater, pulling it quickly over her head. She reached back, fingers reaching for her bra strap but, instead, she touched raw, bloody skin. Holding back tears of pain, she traced her fingers along her back. The skin near her spine had pushed away, creating two small openings in her back. Hot blood ran down her spine, soaking into her bra and pants.
As she explored, her fingernails clicked against something hard. A small nub of bone or other material jutted from the hole in her back. At the end of the rounded protrusion, some thick, nearly gelatinous membrane lay wetly against her back. Muscles in her back shifted and the little bony knobs moved, rotating in a circle.
Suzanne broke into a cold sweat from the exertion and pain and shock of it all. Still, her mouth trembled into a smile. Wings! I have wings! It’s real!
The young woman frowned as she felt a dull ache bloom below the two holes in her back. Pain pulsed in time with her heartbeat but, with each beat, less blood spilled along her back. Sliding her hands lower, she felt two more bumps five inches below her wings. At her touch, her skin split and she moaned low from the sharp pain. Suzanne lay her head against the cold truck bed. The sharp scent of her blood greeted her and she felt its stickiness against her forehead.
With a sickly wet noise, sharp protrusions slid from the new openings. Suzanne could feel the growths pushing against the muscles and bones of her back. She gasped, hyperventilating as bones popped along her upper body, expanding to allow for the new changes.
The tips of the bony material growing from her back flowed like a thick, semi-solid liquid. She snatched her hands away as she felt separate pieces connect and harden. Something cold and wet slithered against her sides and Suzanne yelped. Gut clenching crunching noises sounded deep in her body. Four wads of white fleshy tissue unrolled from her back, flopping to the ground around her.
Suzanne reached for one of the odd pieces of flesh and then stopped. Blood seeped around the fingernails of her right hand. Fearing the impending pain, she touched one of the fingernails lightly and gasped as it easily slid off her finger. The pink skin beneath the fingernail sparkled in the silvery light of the moon. She turned her finger left and right, staring as the sparkling spread. Again, she touched the flesh lightly.
It wasn’t flesh. The area was smooth and hard and cool to the touch. Her finger nearly slid across it. Two other fingernails fell to the truck bed, exposing the same sparkling texture. With a flick of her wrist, the last two fingernails flew away. Suzanne watched curiously, her mind slowly dulling with shock.
The pupils of her eyes shook and she blinked the sudden double vision away. Again they shook, vibrating at high speed until they simply separated. Two pupils suddenly became four and Suzanne’s stomach dropped out from under her. A wave of nausea brought her cold sweat back. The young woman’s skull groaned as bones grew, expanding her face and forehead. Her eye sockets widened as four pupils became eight. Oddly, she felt no pain as her vision expanded to take in more of her surroundings.
She stared around herself. Her eyeballs pushed forward out of their sockets, bulging to contain the rapid growth of her new eyes. The soft, white flesh shimmered in the light, hardening as it expanded. Without moving, she could see almost directly behind herself. And, yet, she could also see in front at the same time. The effect was maddening and she leaned over the side of her truck to vomit. The world swirled around her.
Again her stomach heaved but, this time, it felt as if someone had their hands deep in her sides, digging around. Although she was facing away from her body, she easily saw two slits appear just below her ribs, as if a surgeon was cutting along her skin with a scalpel. Blood slid down her sides as two thick appendages pushed out through the slits. She could feelthem moving against the hard muscles of her toned stomach. Further and further they pushed out until they were nearly as long as her arms.
And then, at the end of both new limbs, five smaller bumps formed. Raw red fingers grew at the tips of those lower arms. Something wrenched at her spine and she cried out. Suddenly she could feel the cold night air against the lower arms, as if someone was dragging light sandpaper against her body. Those new fingers ended in points and, as she watched, the tips blackened.
An insane, marching-ant itching sensation flowed along the lengths of her new arms. Bands of black and blue coloring appeared along the length of them, growing to hide the raw, red flesh. Suzanne focused and the arms moved, clumsily. She clawed at her truck bed and sparks flashed into the night from her hardened fingers. Reaching down with her upper arms, she touched the new arms and felt how slick they were.
She hadn’t noticed when the tips of all ten of her fingers had grown into claws like her lower arms. The skin around her claws was loose, hanging open. She tugged at a piece, expecting pain but then frowned when she felt nothing. Suzanne pulled and a long strip of flesh came away from her upper right hand. She felt absolutely nothing but her stomach still heaved. All four arms gripped the side of her truck while she threw up. She watched the clear liquid fly away from her belly but she also saw two birds fluttering in the branches above and some small animals rustling the bushes behind her.
The young woman stood on trembling legs. Her body felt heavy and awkward; her four wing had grown while she’d been distracted. Even standing, they reached the ground around her feet.
A sudden gust of wind shook the trees around her. Suzanne watched with her many eyes as tufts and strands of her hair were taken by the wind. Muscles in her back worked reflexively in the wind and her wings trembled. Without moving, she could easily see through some parts of them now. Along the top edge of all four wings was a thick casing, alternating blue and black. More hair flew away from a second gust and she reached for her head to feel it.
Suzanne run her fingers through her hair and her claws tore flesh. She felt the tips of her claws against the soft tissue beneath her skin but there was again no pain as strips of skin were pulled from her head. With a cry, she ravaged herself. Her lower arms ripped at her bra, tearing it from her body, exposing her breasts to the night air. Her nipples ached as her breasts swelled, straining against the already dead skill barely holding them back. She rubbed her aching breasts by reflex. The skin tore and she screamed again, suddenly in a rage. Clawing and tearing at her body, she exposed bloody red flesh to the night. Steam rose from parts of her body. She could barely feel the cold now.
As she screamed, her lower jaw cracked, breaking into two separate pieces. The bones flowed as they separated, creating two working mandibles that clacked as her voice broke into an unrecognizable gurgle. Her teeth clattered around her. Suzanne’s lower jaw pushed out and away from her mouth and she stared at it in horror. All four hands reached for it but the jaw pulled back, clicking back against her upper jaw.
Her mouth pushed forward slightly and the skin around her face simply sloughed off to the ground. All that remained of her nose was the hole beneath the skin and cartilage. Her shell quickly grew to cover her skull, around her eyes and down to cover her old nose. Her jaw was left bare.
Thick black hairs pushed through the tough plates along her arms. More of the hairs grew through the cuts in her jeans, either through tears she’d made in the flesh of her legs or making their own new holes.
Suzanne fell to her knees with a loud crack, creating two small dents from the incredibly hard material growing along her body. She tried to cover her eyes to blot out what she was seeing but she couldn’t block everything out and the sensation of touching her new eyes was alien and uncomfortable. She had no eyelids to close over her new, bulging eyes.
Something tugged at her pants. Suzanne felt muscles pushing and pulling at her lower back and, without turning, she watched a lump of flesh grow from the base of her spine. The lump swelled, cracking the bones in her hips. She felt pain now and tried to grit her teeth. Instead, her mandibles clattered together. Once more her body pushed, stretching outward to grow. Her ribs strained, cracking and growing more joints. Her spine widened, new nerves attaching and, suddenly, her wings lifted from the ground, strong and true. They snapped to attention at her sides.
Skin fell away from her straining body, exposing patches of red and blue and black. Her hips widened to accommodate her size and the growth of her new tail. New, hard muscles pushed at her pants, straining the fabric to the breaking point and beyond. Her jeans ripped, exposing her growing legs. The thick black hairs along her legs swayed in the air and she shivered. They were extremely sensitive; nearly pleasurable in fact. Her wings fluttered in response and she could see how huge they’d grown. While her bottom set of wings were bigger than her top, they were both over six feet from tip to tip.
The claws from Suzanne’s upper arms dug into the thick metal of the truck bed, tearing ten small holes as she anchored herself. Her wings adjusted automatically. The young woman tore at the rest of her jeans with her lower claws, pulling flesh and fabric away. Her feet pressed against her shoes, straining for release. She kicked at them but watched as new claws tore through the shoe on her right foot. Her left shoe came off before the tips of her toes hardened.
Her brained rewired itself. Rerouting pieces to handle her new eyes, wings and arms and the nerves and sensations that went with them. It felt like the world was exploding around her. Thoughts slipped away in the chaos screaming through her mind. She was… she was… there was… who… things moved around her and she swiveled to watch, mandibles clicking. She felt hungry but didn’t know why. Her belly was empty and she knew she’d need to feed soon.
Black and blue coloring slowly inched up from her legs. Her armor grew in waves and patches to cover her body, soft and light until they darkened and hardened in the night air. Suzanne twitched, running her upper claws along her head and down the side of her face. Her ears had fallen off at some point but she hadn’t noticed.
She was hunting. Tracking movement. Searching. She didn’t like that it was night time but she was hungry. She needed to eat. And she needed water. Large open water. Her wings buzzed around her. Suzanne’s legs were completely covered in her blue and black plates Small delicate bands of her shell grew around the lips of her sex and then up to her mound. Faster and faster her body disappeared beneath the covering. She rolled her shoulders and her wings moved in a wave.
Behind her, her tail curled as it reached her outstretched feet. It was broad and still growing, piece by piece. Joints connected at six inch intervals, allowing it to move in various ways.
The female waited patiently for everything to finish.
Dark brown nipples hung down from her raw, exposed breasts. Her shell paused briefly around her breasts, as if unsure of what to do. Finally, they grew in rings, band by band until only her hard, fleshy nipples were left exposed. The shell covering her breasts were lighter in color than the rest of her body. Softer. The bands moved as if still flesh.
Suzanne’s tail stopped growing when it reached two feet past the end of her outstretched toes. She pushed herself with her heavily muscled arms and her tail reached down to help balance her. Her blue and black shell glinted darkly in the full moon.
Standing felt wrong but a piece of her enjoyed it. She twisted her arms, stretching her various joints. Suzanne’s huge eyes shined in the light. As she scanned the area, two black points pushed aside the plates surrounding her nose. New sensations flooded her as her antenna grew to long, thin points.
Now. Now she knew she was done. Suzanne crouched and then leaned forward. All twenty claws of her arms dug into her truck and it lurched under the pressure and weight. Her stomach grumbled loudly as a small hiss escaped her jaws.
The young woman’s huge, nearly transparent wings flicked around her. Rolling her head slightly, she caught sight of something small moving in the air. She tracked it and suddenly her wings were shimmering in the night. A loud, constant buzz filled the air as dust and dirt blasted away from the truck bed. The shocks of the old truck groaned as she pulled the truck from the ground.
Flexing her hands, she released the truck and it squealed as it landed. Suzanne was already gone.
A blur in the night.