Five short stories filled with Halloween-y costume transformation. Mature.
The setting sun lit the tops of the trees like Halloween lights against the purple sky. The old house poked its third story up above the leaves, looking down at the town below, where trick-or-treating was in full swing. The weather had relented just in time, making the evening crisp, but not cold. Cars already lined the narrow road leading up from the highway, parked off the shoulder wherever space could be found.
The path to the house was strung with small lanterns, but Mitch lingered by the side of the road, pacing while trying to look like he wasn't pacing. He picked his head up every time he heard another car rolling by, and occasionally reached back to make sure the duct tape holding his tail on wasn't peeling off. His fox costume was a last-minute affair: a headband with red ears, a costume tail taped to the seat of his pants, and a scribble of black marker on top of his nose, with a few whiskers drawn along his cheeks.
When she saw Mitch, Leah called out, "Hey!" Then she remembered her mask and pushed it up on top of her head. "Hey, Mitch!" she called again, jogging up to meet him.
Leah was dressed as a lion, in a costume that could have come from a stage production: a tawny bodysuit, big furry gloves and boots for paws, a fake mane with rounded ears poking from the top, and a rubber mask, which had been painted over to match the rest of the costume. A wire in her tail kept it curled in the air and made it swing behind her when she walked.
Mitch turned and smiled, relieved to see someone he knew. "Oh, hey!" he said, then nudged his glasses up his nose and took a closer look at Leah. "Where'd you get that? It looks good."
"My parents' attic. I had to kinda sneak it out of their house, but it was pretty dusty, so I don't think they're going to miss it for one night," Leah said, turning sideways to show off the tasseled tail.
"By the way, thanks for inviting me," Mitch said. "If you hadn't, I'd probably just wind up sitting in my dorm all night."
The two of them joked about tearing themselves away from video games until Allison arrived, dressed in a tank top in defiance of the fact that it was almost November, and with her arms folded tight against her chest. She looked from Mitch's bargain-bin fox costume to Leah's full, theatrical lion outfit. With a hesitant frown she asked, "Uh, is...everyone going to be dressed up?"
"There's probably going to be some people not in costume," Leah said. She lifted the lion mask from her forehead and offered it to Allie. "But you can borrow this if you want."
"Thanks," Allie breathed. She slipped the mask on over her face, then ruffled her hair to hide the elastic strap and tugged at the eye holes until they lined up with her eyes. The well-rendered snarl and wrinkled snout went a long way toward making up the fact that it was just a mask. "I don't want to look lame if Tory's going to be here," she said, wrapping her arms around herself again. "Now can we go inside?"
"We're still waiting for Erin and Chris. Let's give them another minute or two," Leah said.
It was hard to miss Chris. As he walked up, he announced himself with a dramatic growl of, "Greetings, puny humans!" He was dressed in a long-sleeved shirt patterned with red scales, a pair of tattered pants he'd used to be everything from a pirate to a peasant, red body paint to cover his hands and legs and face, a small rubber dragon's snout on top of his nose, and a stuffed red tail bouncing against the back of his calves.
Erin showed up just after Chris, wearing a jacket and jeans and canvas trainers. The only thing of hers that was even remotely a costume was the shock of red dye she'd put her hair the week before, and she had insisted that was just because she was tired of purple. "I heard you all the way down the road," she told Chris, giving him a mild glare. He didn't take it personally. Mild glaring was Erin's default state.
"You know this is a costume party, right?" Allie asked Erin.
Chris added, "I've got some horns and extra body paint back in my car. You could make a pretty good devil."
Erin rolled her eyes and sighed through her teeth. "Thanks, but I'm fine. I don't want a costume, I'm just here for the party."
And so the five of them filed up along the path toward the house: Leah in most of a lion costume, Chris already in character as a dragon, Allie wearing Leah's lion mask, Erin resolutely refusing to be anything but herself, and Mitch as a makeshift fox, bringing up the rear and gazing up at the old house rising from among the trees. The night was already settling in, rolling up the last rays of sunlight and drawing the sky darker. The warmth of music and voices rose as they crossed the lawn, eager to join...
25 October, 2018
Megan hypnotizes Erica into becoming a burly lion barbarian; the now-male Erica takes control and hypnotizes her right back. Explicit.
While Erica leaned back cross-legged on her girlfriend's bed, Megan pulled a mahogany jewelry box down from the top of her bookshelf. Holding it in one hand, she opened the lid and lifted a brass stopwatch out by its long chain.
Erica stifled a snort. "You're gonna use that to hypnotize me?"
Megan's cheeks turned red. She began to bundle the chain into her palm. "Well, I mean, I don't have to use it. I want you to be comfortable. I thought—"
"No, it's fine." Erica shook her head. "I just figured a watch would be, like, too stereotypical."
The smile returned to Megan's face. "It's easier with a physical focus," she explained, scooting up onto the bed to sit in front of Erica. Megan had insisted that the both of them dress down to just their underwear, though she hadn't explained further than to say that this was going to be a 'sexy hypnosis session'. She'd dodged every question Erica asked about what that meant or what she was going to do, though Megan had been clear that Erica would be able to stop any time if she wanted. Megan had been so eager Erica couldn't refuse. It was hard to say no to those big brown eyes.
Megan bent over the watch, clicking the stopper a few times, then winding it up, clicking it again, and winding it one more time before she seemed satisfied. Holding the chain between her fingers, she let it drop from her hand and spin until all the kinks in the chain were worked out.
"So what do I have to do?" Erica asked.
Megan caught the stopwatch between her hands and held it between her palms. "Just listen to me. You'll know what to do," she said. She waited until Erica's eyes were on her, and not on the watch. When Megan was sure she wasn't looking, a tiny glimmer of light flickered across the brass case and wove down into the clockwork gears. The spell was set. Megan opened her hands again and smiled. "Ready?"
Erica re-crossed her legs to get comfortable, sat up straight, and nodded at Megan. "Hypno away," she said. She tried not to be too sarcastic. As dorky as she thought all this fantasy role-playing stuff was, she knew Megan was into it.
With a click of her thumb, the watch began ticking. Megan dropped it from her hand, then let it sway at the end of its chain. A slight tip of her wrist from side to side kept it swinging.
Curious, Erica followed the swinging watch. She wondered what it was about watches that was supposed to be so trance-inducing. Maybe the gleam of the light rolling off of brass and crystal, maybe the way the second hand spun within the pendulum's arc, maybe the tick-tick-tick-tick that kept tick going and tick wouldn't tick stop tick.
15 July, 2018
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.
4 March, 2017
A couple visits a spa staffed by faceless latex attendants, and slowly lose themselves to the hypnotic smoke.. Explicit.
The highway weaved along the coastline, between the warm beaches on one side and the orange cliffs on the other. Riley sat behind the wheel of her rental car with the window rolled down and her arm hanging out to feel the breeze. The wind whipped at the side of her short mane. Riley had the imposing posture, sharp smile, and sinewy frame that came with being a hyena. She watched the road from behind her mirrored sunglasses as she followed it north.
Julie sat in the passenger seat. While the lioness didn't look as tough as Riley did, their tussles in bed had proved that they were evenly matched. Julie's copper hair was brushed back behind her ears, though the wind blew around the inside of the car so much that she had to occasionally re-tuck it. A pair of gold studs sat in her left ear, nearly hidden against her tawny fur.
As they came around another ridge, Julie's ears flicked up and she leaned forward to point. "There it is," she said.
Nestled between two orange hills was a building shaped like a white cylinder, three stories high, and shaded from the road by lines of narrow cypress trees. It was smooth and nearly featureless, and if it hadn't been for the spacious parking lot and well-kept driveway, it might have seemed like a water tower.
Riley pulled off the highway and followed the driveway up into the empty parking lot. She plucked the sunglasses off her face, then asked Julie, "Is this place open? It looks deserted."
11 January, 2017
Captured by the Lion Clan, a cursed adventurer struggles to keep his independence. Mature.
The misty forest hung heavy on Circ's whiskers. The droplets of dew weighed each whisker down. The weight of the drops became an unseen hand pushing his head down, telling him to stop, to turn back, or at the very least, to rest. If Circ knew anything about this land, that feeling meant this was the worst possible place to rest.
The young cat pushed on through the mist, clinging to his spear like it would draw him through the woods. His armor creaked softly as he moved, stretching around his slim form. Armor was little help if he was ambushed, though, and he was so slight that only light leather could give him enough mobility to defend himself. His best defense was the small shield buckled to his forearm, followed by the tip of his spear. If anything came at him, the best he could do was put it down quickly before it could get its claws into him.
Minutes crept by and trees emerged from and disappeared into the haze. He had no idea where he was going, but at the very least, he couldn't see any tracks ahead of him, so he wasn't circling around. Every sound of shifting leaves made him turn and squint into the mist. He was almost sure he saw a figure moving or a bit of fleeting motion behind a tree. When he looked again, there was nothing, just the mist playing with his eyes.
Three friends play a fortune-telling game to grant their hearts' desire, but is it really giving them what they want? Explicit.
Cole stood beside the cabinet, like he was presenting it to them. "It's like a fortune telling game, but it's got special rules to it. You play it with a bunch of people, you get one fortune per day, and the first person to get to five 'blessings' wins."
"Wins what?" Tricia asked.
Cole pointed to one of the rules. "Your heart's desire."
Alex made a soft snort. Cole grinned. Tricia was starting to smile too. It was a cheesy old game.
"So, want to give it a shot?" Cole asked.
"That's what we're here for," Alex said. Even if it was silly, it was something they could all play together.
Alex stood up, fished one of the tokens out of the open coin return, and dropped it into the slot. A tinny recording of a sitar played as the cards on display in the booth swirled around and the lights on the outside flashed on and off in a spinning pattern.
A slot in the front spat out a yellowed card. Alex picked it up, then moved to the side. Tricia stood by her after getting her own fortune, and once Cole got his too, they all turned to face each other.