Sanctuary

A quick sketch of a deer-taur transformation folktale.

Men tell many tales of the Lady of the Wood, of her cruelty and caprice. They say that any son of man who enters into her Greenwood must either be fool, or desperate.

Desperate indeed I was on that night. The king's hounds were upon my trail, and his men so close behind I could hear their hue and cry. I had little choice but to enter the wood, or face the sword. I hoped, perhaps, that the men would turn their horses back at the edge of the kingdom, that they might be more superstitious than I, but still I could hear them. They were more distant, slowed by the branches and bramble that pricked my cheeks and tore at my legs, but still they pursued me.

I fled deeper into the forest, under roots taller than a man, over streams that wound silver in the moonlight. My breath was ragged, my face stained with blood and sweat. Still I ran, until from the woods around me, I heard a voice speak, "Halt."

The word chilled the blood in my veins, but I could not have moved even if I had wished. Where I stood, roots rose from the ground and twined about my feet, such that my legs were held fast, like a striding statue.


Sync

Two strangers become linked during a procedure to transfer their minds into synthetic bodies. Explicit.

Based on a picture drawn by Proxer.

Two days ago, I sold myself off. I should feel worse about going synth. I feel bad that I don't feel worse. I didn't have to. Technically, I had a choice. I could have let myself get evicted, go squat in some alleyway under those sodium piss-lights, and tell myself I wasn't compromising my humanity.

Instead, I tapped a blue checkbox that says 'I have read and agree to the Terms of Transfer' and scheduled an appointment: tonight, at the nearest Adelpha office.

The skyscrapers downtown eat up the amber glow from the night sky. They bounce it back and forth between their windowpanes, speckled with light from the offices of everyone working late. Down on the sidewalks, the street lights pour blue-white glare over me, washed with corporate colors every time I pass a ten-foot illuminated logo.

A helmet-faced, gunmetal gray security synth stops me outside the Adelpha office and runs my credentials. I end up staring into the polyglas door while I wait—it's slicker than water and I can see my reflection in it. I try my best to look tough. If this is the last chance I get to see myself, I want to savor it.

After about half a minute, the synth steps to the side. The door parts and slides open. With a brief gesture, the synth says, "The waiting room is straight down the hall."

The interior of the office is so sleek and rounded that I feel like an intruder. The polished white floor refuses to let my sneakers leave footprints. At the end, the hall opens into a lobby, with white chairs along two adjacent walls and a few tablet readers tastefully arranged on a table between them. There's one other person there. He's about my age, and judging by his worn-down clothes and scuffed shoes, he's in the same boat as me.


Hooked

A fox girl and her friends succumb one by one to addictive, transformative, brain-draining cigarettes. Explicit.
1 Hazel, Monday morning

Hazel hadn't seen Jordan all day. At this point, she was convinced that Jordan was home sick and hadn't texted her about it. Hazel knew the rabbit girl would be more pissed about missing track practice than missing class.

Her two other friends were already sitting at their table in the cafeteria, so Hazel headed their way. Her fluffy fox tail flicked behind her, weaving through the tight gaps between people's chairs. Between her short, crisp red hair and sharp green eyes, she had the look of someone who could be confident one day, once she got over her own teenage awkwardness. Right now, she was more lanky than anything.

Hazel slid into a seat at the table. Zoey and Evie barely noticed her sitting down.

Zoey was the biggest of their bunch, thanks to her panther genetics. She had dangerous scowls down to a science, and she was on her last strike for violating the dress code. The grinning feline skull on her tank top peeked above the table.

Evie, the doe, had her hoof-tipped fingers wrapped around her fork, halfway through jabbing it into her salad. Her glasses made her wide-eyed stare look even wider. Her flannel shirt had been scuffed in spots, a veteran of one of her many hiking trips, and her hair was pulled back in her usual short ponytail.

Zoey and Evie both were staring in the same direction. Hazel glanced between the two of them, waited a few seconds, then broke the silence by saying, "What's up?"

"Jordan," Evie said.

Hazel followed Evie's gaze, but she didn't see Jordan. All she saw was the school's varsity quarterback and some sexed-up bunny sitting on his lap. "I don't get it," Hazel said.

Zoey reached across the table, wrapped one arm around Hazel's shoulder so they were looking from the same angle, and pointed at the bunny girl. "That's Jordan," she said.

Hazel's eyes widened. That couldn't be Jordan.