Ariel finds her changes come with more than enhanced athleticism
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Dr. Hollister woke to the weight of her girlfriend’s arm against her stomach and a gentle quiet that was interrupted by Caitlin’s soft snores. She lay still for a few minutes while trying to remember everything that happened the night before but it was all a jumbled mess in her mind.
There was pain, yes, she remembered that. And the concern in her lover’s eyes. But not much beyond that.
Slowly, and as carefully as possible, Ariel wiggled sideways out of bed while holding Caitlin’s arm above her. She stood and stretched, purring lightly for a brief moment as she raised her arms as high as they could go while on her tiptoes. Joints popped along her back and shoulders and she smiled in pleasurable satisfaction from the release.
Whether it was imagined or not, she felt light on her feet and full of energy. And incredibly hungry. With a backward glance at her exhausted partner, Ariel made her way to the kitchen. She smacked her lips and yawned wide. Her jaw cracked and the faint lines connecting her lips to her eyes spread over her cheeks.
Obsidian filled the tiny cracks in her pale pink lips. She brought the back of her hand up to her mouth to hide a second, even wider yawn. Her lungs expanded to their new capacity with her first full breath and she danced with a swirling two-step at the sudden urge to move. Her deep chest swelled, forcing the sides of her breasts through the arms of the plain white tank top she was wearing.
As she passed into the hallway, the young scientist hummed a happy tune. Her fingernails tapped the top of the cotton shorts Caitlin had wrestled onto her while she’d slept. The concave white nails brushed faint black hairs that began to emerge in a scattered line from her sparse pubic hair to her belly button. Interspersed within the black hairs were groups of light orange hairs. They caressed her fingers as they lengthened and she pulled at them and teased them while her black-ringed eyes scanned the kitchen for food left out.
Her eyes flicked past the smart screen on the fridge door and then snapped back.
Two-! Two days?! she thought to herself incredulously. She’d lay down Friday night but the clock showed just after 1 pm on Sunday. That’s- but. Jesus. Jesus Christ. No wonder I’m starving.
A bunch of bananas sat upon a stand and she snagged one, peeling it as she opened the fridge. Her eyes darted between shelves while her stomach rumbled and her fingers slipped beneath the band of her shorts to follow the trail of fur down her lean stomach.
Ariel tossed the banana peel into the open trash can and then reached in with long, limber arms to grab bread, low calorie mayonnaise, vegetables and deli sliced turkey. She hummed and tapped her feet and stepped side-to-side while making her sandwich with fast, efficient movements. The top slice of bread was barely slapped on over a generous helping of lettuce before she brought it to her mouth. Her hand flexed, triggering new muscles that pushed the tips of her claws into the soft bread.
Unable to keep herself still, Dr. Hollister paced around the kitchen as she ate. She felt heat wash over her from her scalp to her toes and she shivered from it. Her body struggled with the changes being forced upon it and another wave of heat brought a cold sweat with it.
A single black hair emerged from the marble skin of her back. It pushed forth to disturb a drop of sweat that fell to trace an erratic path down her spine. More coal-colored hairs followed with a mixture of orange as her body grew an adolescent hybrid version of a mane. The hairs were wispy and short and tapered off as soon as they reached the bulge of skin at the base of her spine. She reached around to scratch the smooth lump and the loose bones within shifted at her touch.
As soon as the first sandwich was gone, she made a second sandwich and chased it down with two large glasses of water. Finished eating, she dumped her plate into the dishwasher and dashed down the hallway to the bedroom. She paused at the doorway to stare at Caitlin. Her brown eyes grew unfocused as the wave of heat pulsed through her again. This time, she felt it as if it were a deft hand strumming the nerves along her body and she stretched and chirped quietly at her mate. Her throat jumped and her mouth opened as another chirp escaped her lips.
The dark lines on her lips branched out and the coloring spread as if draining the pink surrounding them. At the same time, her dark brown eyes lightened to mahogany and she blinked rapidly to clear the fog from her head.
She crept into the room on the balls of her feet while her ears twitched to catch her lover’s steady breathing. Caitlin snorted and Ariel froze before stepping over to the dresser. She lifted the drawer to retrieve her gym clothes as her girlfriend turned and began snoring again.
On silent, raised feet, she fled the room with a quick backward glance.
Birds sang to each other, drawing Ariel’s attention. She glanced sharply towards the trees and then continued to her car. Her yoga pants stretched tighter than usual against her body and her muscles flexed beneath the black material as it cradled every inch of her. The banded cuff of the pants sat below her calf on legs lengthened by the changes over the past two days.
The soft leather seats in her car molded themselves to her as she pressed herself back into them before closing the door. She slung her bag into the passenger seat before starting her car. Her boundless, scattered energy seemed focused now that she had a goal in mind. She glanced at the side mirrors, the rearview and then over her shoulder as she reversed and then shifted into drive fluidly.
Other cars annoyed her as they followed the speed limit. She mapped them, tracked their speed mentally and gunned it, growling quietly as she slipped from her lane to the incoming lane and back, skipping past cars in an adrenaline-fueled push to get the the gym as quickly as possible.
It was only when her burnished eyes caught flashing lights far in front of her that she realized she was heavily speeding. She checked herself, looking down at her speedometer with some surprise while slowing down to what felt like a crawl. It was in her nature to drive conservatively yet even while forcing herself to follow the speed limit, she caught herself glancing around and plotting the path she’d need to force her way through the other cars.
Pent up energy from being stuck in bed? she mused as her foot pressed the gas once she passed police officer parked on the side of the road. She focused briefly on the woman the officer had pulled over and then accelerated while overtaking a van driving just over the speed limit. Just need to be more conscious of what I’m doing and tone it down a bit.
Scattered pairs and individuals made their way towards the gym’s entrance and Ariel followed. She quickly found herself impatiently stepping around and between the meandering people until the automatic doors hissed open for her. The young receptionist greeted her with a wide smile.
“Good afternoon, Dr. Hollister!” the girl beamed. She was always polite and cheerful and seemed to know all the patrons. Ariel had been pleasantly surprised, and slightly ashamed, to find her initial knee-jerk reaction to disliking the attractive young girl was wrong. And another in a long line of reminders to try and stop judging people by their appearances. “Wow! You’re looking amazing today. Have you been using a new scrub? And your eye shadow is on point. It really brings out your eyes!”
“Oh,” the young scientist said, blushing fiercely. She touched her cheek and smiled back before swiping her gym card. “It must just be the lighting messing with you. I haven’t done anything. I was actually sick in bed the past two days. Maybe I finally caught up on sleep?”
“Well, you’re looking fantastic,” the girl told her. “Have a good workout and I hope you’re feeling better! It’s a pretty light crowd today.”
“Thanks,” Ariel said, holding her bag tight against her shoulder. She stepped aside to let the other patrons check in and made her way through the back.
Televisions blared the news from various networks in a ring around the gigantic cardio room. She glanced at a few and sighed while passing ellipticals and treadmills and other highly specialized pieces of exercise machinery. The machines had a few runners and she stopped to consider joining them, itching to give her body a test drive to see if she felt different. But, the more she looked at the machines, the less interested she became. The idea of being constrained on a short path didn’t feel right to her
Further she walked past mirrored walls that led to the free weights and strength training machines. As she walked, the gasping, huffing and grunting faded until she pushed the bar on the double doors.
The often unused gymnastics area lay open before her. Unlike the rest of the gym, it was colder and darker with a faint smell of mold. Monthly classes were always offered and then nearly always cancelled due to lack of participation but she eyed the oval track running the perimeter of the room. The need to move filled her and she bounced from one foot to the other before stepping into the room.
Foam blocks of various shapes and sizes littered the huge area alongside gymnastic bars and rings suspended from the ceiling. As she walked across the floor towards the small set of lockers, the arches of her feet began to ache. She stamped her feet lightly and then stopped to untie her shoes. Aside from the track, the floor was covered with foam padding and she realized she wouldn’t need her shoes anyway.
The relief from freeing her feet was immediate and she felt a sudden burst of vigor that made her laugh and spin as she held her shoes by their laces. She wanted to run and jump and swing and run but first, she lay her gear on the benches beside the lock and settled on the mats.
Ariel held her breath and then exhaled leaning forward with her hands straight and her legs spread to the sides. Her fingers reached her toes and she readied herself for the little twinge she’d always felt in her back but it never came. She continued to reach and her changed body flexed freely. Her palms touched the mat and she slid forward, waiting every second for an ache or a pain or something yet her hands slid forward and her sacrum opened.
“Holy shit,” Ariel whispered as her chest and nose touched the mat. She lay, completely bent with her upper body flat against the ground and not a single joint or muscle complained. “Holy shit!”
The young scientist pushed her body forward while closing her legs until she lay in a straight line. She anchored her body and pressed up to raise her chest. Bones popped in her spine as she flexed and the skin above her ass bulged. Muscles and nerves began to form beneath the bump. Cartilage developed beneath the new muscle and calcium joined to form her first caudal vertebrae.
Black and orange hairs emerged from the shifting lump of skin. They spread down beneath her pants and around her labia before mixing in with her pubic hairs and up slightly in a fanned peak over her mound. She shivered as the hairs caressed her pussy lips and they grew thick and wild between her thighs.
Down, her chest went as she raised her hips to the air. She growled quietly and her vocal chords vibrated into a rumbling purr as she raised her chest just above the matt while pushing herself up by her toes.
More dark hairs emerged along her nape to join the ones already dotting her skin. Her miniature version of a cheetah’s mane crept down to the middle of her back.
Unused muscles lengthened as she continued her stretching. Sparked by the activity, her body began to change further. The yellow ligaments within regenerated as cartilage and membranes regrew over her joints.
With a gasping, breathless laugh, Ariel planted her hands and raised her legs slowly. Nerves and muscles connected her coccyx to the vertebrae in her tail and the single, hidden bone flexed, desperately trying to maintain her balance as she brought herself to a handstand.
Strong muscles, built while the gene editing altered her body, stood out along her forearms and biceps and back. She swayed and then steadied herself until she was a perfect line from her hands to her extended toes. A drop of sweat formed above her vestigial tail and rolled down until her mane trapped it.
She leaned forward, dropping her feet and then raising herself into a standing position. Her larger heart pounded, pumping her blood to every part of her body and her powerful lungs drew in deep breaths as more sweat gathered at her brow.
“Hah!” she laughed, raising her arms. “Haha! I did it! I fucking did it!”
Not a single muscle ached within her body. Rather, she felt even more hyper. Her mouth lay open as she began to pant to aide her sweating body in cooling her down. The subtle lines from her eyes to her mouth stood out on her flushed cheeks. She pulled her tank top off and tossed it to the bench, leaving her clothed in a sports bra and yoga pants.
Her bright eyes traced the track and she chirped as she walked to the edge of the room on the balls of her feet. Her shoes forgotten, she reached back to scratch the itchy tail and then bounced on her toes.
“Okay,” she told herself. “Okay. Let’s see how it goes.”
She jogged, keeping her pace short as she built a baseline. However, an annoyed growl escaped her lips and she stretched her legs. The woman’s already tight yoga pants pulled close to her body, outlining every inch of the muscle developing beneath her smooth, hardened flesh.
Despite her growing speed, her steps were light and she barely felt the challenge of it. She pushed herself further and the mound of her tail extended into a small stubby, hairless tail that curled up just over the band of her pants. Black hairs dotted the surface of it and it shifted slightly as she rounded a corner.
The scientist’s calf muscles and thighs strained against her pants and it clung to her, outlining her mound and sex until it clearly showed her moistened lips.
And still she ran faster. She could feel the air moving against her now and her eyes darted along the track. She felt anxious. Constrained. Eager to move and angry that the track was so short.
Her toenails bent as she practically leapt with every kick of her foot. The joints and bones thickened as her toes swelled and new claws developed within. The jabbing pain of their development was lost to her as she pushed harder.
Ariel’s long, powerful strides ate up the track while her heart kept a steady rhythm. Coal-dark hairs slid forth from her shoulders, swaying in the air with her speed as they grew up the swell of her neck to join her mane.
The room spun past in an almost dizzying sight but her eyes kept focus until she began to take a turn. Her tiny tail jerked to counter-balance her sudden change in direction as her claws ripped through the tips of her toes to dig into flooring beneath her.
Unable to turn in time, she slammed against her wall but her enhanced reflexes caught her and she pushed away to drop into a rolling tumble, aimed toward the center of the room.
She leapt and her tail arched and twitched side-to-side until she leaned on all fours beside a huge foam block.
Despite her speed and the sweat lining her hardened body, her breathing was as steady as her heartbeat. Alone in the room, she knelt and raised her hands silently in triumph. She smiled so hard she thought her face would burst from it. And, finally, she lowered her arms and licked the palms of her hands before running her fingers through her sweaty hair.
Her smile faltered when she felt the thick mane of hair at the back of her neck. Frowning now, she explored, flexing her arms down while tugging at the hair.
Ariel hissed when she flexed her hand and her claws slid forth to scratch her back. She snatched her hands away to look at them and her eyes widened at the sight of four claws tipping each finger. She screamed and then covered her mouth while falling on her ass.
The young woman’s eyes locked onto her feet. She could see her dented nails and the thick, bent claws lining all ten of her toes.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck!” she stuttered. More fur, as black as the hairs lining her back and shoulders, emerged from the back of her feet. She watched, horrified, as it marched up to disappear within the straining band of her pants. Intermixed with the black were groups of dark orange hairs.
Spots, she realized. Like a cheetah.
She focused and her rational mind took over as she began to hyperventilate.
Okay, she thought, licking her blackened lips. The faint lines on her cheeks darkened until they nearly matched the onyx surrounding her eyes. Okay. Fuck! Okay. It’s the gene editing. Clearly. I can- Shit, no, I’m going to have to take another blood sample and see what’s gone wrong. To see if there’s any way I can halt the damage I’ve done. First, I have get out of here. Oh god, what will I tell Caitlin?
Feeling herself calming slightly, she pushed herself effortlessly into a standing position. She glanced at the door and made her way to the bench where she grabbed her shirt and pulled it on. The fabric brushed against her fur and she shivered at its touch.
How bad is it? she wondered, looking around the large room for any mirror. Finding none, she bit her lip and then cursed as she felt the pointed tips of her canines dig into her skin.
Ariel searched through her bag to find her phone. The single blinking message notification light seemed ominous under the current circumstances. She woke it and hissed as a claw slipped from her thumb to scratch the display. Taking her hand away, she stared at it in concentration, flexing and unflexing it.
There was something new there. Some new muscle that she’d felt briefly. She twisted and turned her hand while making a fist until she felt it. The more she moved her hand, the more she could feel it within until, suddenly, something clicked in her brain and the tendon flexed. She smiled briefly before growling at the realization that she was happy over a freakish mutation. Still, she couldn’t help but play with the new ability to retract the claws of her hands back into her fingertips. And then out. And back in again, painlessly.
The sound of voices made her look up from her experimentation and her ears spasmed against her head. A loud hiss blotted out all other sounds and she slammed her palms against the sharp stab of pain deep within her ears. But, as quickly as it appeared, the pain and the static vanished and she pulled her hands away.
“… see… looked…. him?” the faraway voice asked. Her ears swiveled as the voice moved and she felt stray hairs shift against them.
“Ooooh hell,” she whispered. The changes were still happening. Faster now, it seemed.
Pulling her claws back, she woke her phone and scanned the message with a sigh of relief. Caitlin was awake and out shopping before her shift at the bar.
Did you need anything, love? the text asked.
Replying, in between accidentally unleashing her claws several times, that she was good and she loved her, Ariel put away her phone and breathed deeply.
There was no continuous pain and the changes seemed localized. Her mind raced to worry whether there’d be a cascade of genetic errors but she knew she’d have no time to deal with them if there were. Until then, she felt amazing and cognizant of her surroundings and situation.
She still wanted to run. In fact, she yearned for it. To let loose in an open field and feel the wind against her fur while-
Ariel shook her head and mane in angry annoyance. She shoved her toes into her shoes and her forefeet strained against the opening in her shoes and refused to move. She bit her lip with her little fangs and shoved, her quiet growling growing into an inhuman yowl as she bent down, released her claws to tear into the laces and tongue of her shoes.
The fur along her shoulders and back stood at end while her eyes narrowed and she panted in frustration. Her hands relaxed and her claws pulled back, allowing her to grab her shoes and stalk to the nearest trash can.
Her calves flared as she found herself raising instinctively onto the balls of her feet. At the same time, her claws dug into the mat with each step and the tip of her tail lashed ineffectively behind her. The young woman dumped her ruined shoes into the trash and then paused as her ears flexed back and forth. She could hear the indistinctive yet loud hum and chatter of people at the front of the building and outside in the parking lot from where she stood. Yet nobody was nearby so she held her bag tight against the fur still showing over her shirt and then slipped out into the hallway.
As she crept along the hallway, her sensitive ears kept her alert. She couldn’t hear the showers running or anyone in the locker room so curiosity won out and she pushed the door open to step inside.
With a glance at the door behind her, she licked her lips and her tongue dragged against her soft skin. She ignored it and stepped over to the mirrors.
The difference was immediately visible to her.
Her eyes were no longer mud brown but the color of burnt sand. Dark mirrored lines ran from the her eyes to her lips in the distinctive pattern of a cheetah’s marking. She stepped in close and realized what the receptionist had seen: the skin around her eyes was obsidian – a natural anti-glare coating. She pulled her eyelid down and her fingers brushed black peach fuzz hairs surrounding her eyes.
Still watching closely, she ran her fingers along the bridge of her nose. Her nostrils were more gray than the surrounding skin and her top lip curved up slightly in the center. Unlike her nose, her lips were almost as dark as her eyes.
She glanced up at movement in time to see hairs sprouting from the backs of her ears. She brushed her hair back and flexed her ears to watch the hairs cover the skin and then continue to grow down until it merged with her mane.
“Fuck,” she whispered as she finally caught a look at the thick ruff of fur on her nape. It was dark as a raven’s feathers but seemed to absorb the light rather than reflect it. Orange spots littered the thick fur and she pushed the back of her shirt down to see how far it grew.
A scream nearly escaped her lips as she bit down hard enough to drop blood. Her tail curled out of the back of her shirt and she felt it brush the rough hem of the tank top.
Her head snapped up to the door as she heard voices coming down the hall. As quickly as she could, she grabbed her bag and left the bathroom. She left through the back entrance and darted in between cars while eyeing people as they entered the building. As she had while driving, she found herself naturally plotting a path through the vehicles in order to provide cover for herself until she jumped into her own car.
Once inside, buckled and hidden, she took a deep, shuddering breath.
“One step at a time,” she told herself as she started her car and pulled out of the parking lot.
Ariel stopped in at her home to steal a pair of Caitlin’s shoes as well as a full shirt and hoodie to hide her changes. She left before her girlfriend could come home and raced to her work to find the parking lot completely empty. A few people worked on Saturday but she’d forbade her employees from working Sunday in order to force them to take a break. And now, on a Sunday afternoon, she was grateful for that.
Despite her girlfriend’s larger feet, the stolen shoes felt cramped and wrong and she kept raising up to walk on her toes.
The security team had finally overhauled their system recently and the doors opened as she approached. Even better, they’d fixed the announcement system and it no longer gave the company’s tagline when she walked into the foyer.
As she walked through the cubicles, she could feel her tail struggling against the copious amounts of surgical tape she’d used to hold it down. Yet she also wished she hadn’t as it had grown down to brush against her labia. She refused to admit that the sensation of it grinding against her ass and pussy was turning her on and distracting her. Still, it was hard to ignore the slowly building ache within her guts.
Being surrounded by the familiar equipment in the laboratory granted her a fraction of calm. With quick, concise movements, she drew her blood and inserted the tray into a nearby, unused machine.
And then she waited.
The machine clicked and hummed and she stared at it intently, flexing and unflexing her hands. She found the movement of her claws soothing in a strange way. The smooth, dense keratin moving against the little sheaths while pressing against the opening in her skin was unnatural yet calming. The tendon within her hand relaxed and she touched the tip of her fingers, unable to feel the slit. Her fingers would then roam over her bent fingernails. They were no long rounded but rather dented to allow room for the claws. And then she returned to flexing and exercising the tendon. All in a looping pattern as she eyed the machine.
The buzz of her phone startled her and she hissed while feeling the hairs raise on the nape of her neck. She grabbed it, automatically releasing her claws so they hooked to the edge of her phone case. As she swiped to answer the call, she felt the smooth screen against what felt like wrinkly skin.
“Hey babe,” she said into the phone while staring at her hand. The bottoms of her fingers looked like she’d spent hours in the bathtub. She kicked her feet and the rolling chair she sat in glided across the floor until she stopped at one of the desks. “Are you already at work?”
She felt goosebumps rise on her arm as she watched the skin on her palm begin to protrude. At the base of her thumb and along her palm beneath her fingers, the skin pushed away from her hand while turning gray.
“I’m- I’m sorry, what?” Ariel asked as she stared at her developing paw pads. She swallowed and licked her lips, wincing as her tongue rasped against her skin. “No, I can’t. I’m at work. Yeah. Running a test. I thought, uhh, since I wasn’t feeling well recently I could use that to check a new test we’re developing.”
The young scientist flexed her hand and then closed it into a loose fist. The pads pushed together, preventing her from completely closing her hand yet forming a tight grip where the pads touched. She traced a fingernail along the skin and opened her mouth in a silent gasp at how sensitive it felt. The sensation traced a lazy line along her arm down to her thighs where she twisted her legs together.
“I’m sorry, babe,” she said. She felt the phone begin to slip from her hand until she gripped it tighter with her claws. It moved against her as the pads on her right palm developed. “Can I drop by your work in a couple hours? I shouldn’t be long.”
A bead of sweat slid down to the tip of her nose – not entirely from the warmth of the hoodie she wore. She felt empty deep within and entirely too sensitive. Her heartbeat was an exquisite throbbing ache that reminded her of how turned on she was with every beat. As she realized the issue, she felt her ass cheeks being pushed aside. Ariel gripped the table and grinded her teeth as her tail grew thick. It lengthened and the head slipped between her pussy lips
“Yes!” she gasped into the phone. “Yes, I mean! I’ll- I’ll, uhhh, I’ll be there tonight. Love you!”
The tips of her claws clacked against the phone as she ended the call. Reaching back, she kept her claws extended and sliced through the tape holding her tail in place. She groaned as it slipped free to press against her jeans. The soaked tip filled her little area with the scent of her arousal.
Looking back, she could see how thick it was and she felt strange looking at it. With a timid, gentle movement, she gripped it within her paw. WIspy black and orange fur covered it in patches but it was mostly skin. It felt warm and firm in her hand and it flexed back and forth as if it had its own mind. She pulled it free from her pants and sighed at the release. Her happiness caused the tip to lash around, tugging at her lower back.
The machine chimed and she released her tail. It drooped below her but she could still feel its weight and its presence.
“Alright,” she told the room. Her left hand dipped down to drag through the light patch of fur on her belly. She scratched herself lightly without paying attention and began to prepare the next test. “One down.”