The Party

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...

 

The Party

 


Dog Days

In this story, someone turns into a cartoon rubber doberman, then turns someone else into a cartoon rubber poodle via sex. So, y'know, be warned. Explicit.

It started with a hiss.

He'd been hunched over the desk for---geez, was that the time?---hours, and his back had begun protesting. He set down the pen and rose from his seat, straightened up and arched his spine. There went his joints: pop, pop, pop! A crack so sharp he heard it echo down the hall, followed by a low, steady hissing noise.

Did someone turn on a faucet? He cocked his head, glancing up at the ceiling, then over his shoulder. The sound wasn't coming from the walls. And it wasn't quite as light as running water; it sounded tighter and thicker. He turned in place and waited a moment, but the sound didn't change. The heavy hiss seemed like it was coming from...beneath him.

He looked down. His eyes fell on his crotch, bulging against the front of his jeans. Its shape was smooth and swollen, and slowly straining against the denim while he watched. He staggered backward; his bulging crotch bobbled from side to side against his thighs. The wall caught him and he stood there, staring down at his expanding crotch.

Damn it, not again!


All Chained Up

A quick sketch of a post-apocalyptic doberman transformation. Explicit.

When I wake up, my hand goes straight for my knife, which isn't there. I roll around until I can get my knees beneath me, then stand up nice and slow. There's a heavy weight around my neck, and the clank of a chain as I move. I grab at my neck—there I find the collar, and the thick chain hanging down from it.

The sun's as bright as it always is, but if I squint, I can start to make out where I am. Outside of some raider encampment, it looks like. I wince and cradle my head as last night barrels right into my skull, right up until I see a pipe swinging for my head.

Could be worse, I guess. I could be inside the camp.

I follow the chain back to its end, where it's been wrapped tight around some bent, rusted rebar sticking out of a concrete block. I don't like this. It doesn't make sense, chaining a girl up outside the camp and just leaving her there. I try all the things you'd expect to get free, but the collar's been welded shut and no amount of scrabbling at the chain will get it off the rebar.


Brushstroke

Sure, get your face painted like a tiger at the weird renaissance fair booth. What could go wrong? Explicit.

Stepping into the face-painting tent felt like stepping into another world. Perhaps that should have been a warning sign. The tapestried walls of the tent caught the sun, which illuminated their ornate wheels and intricate knots and meanders in silhouette, and bathed the small tent in bronze light. When the tent flap closed behind me, the noise of the fair became muffled and distant.

Sitting on a stool, behind a podium with 'Face Painting' stencilled on it in blackletter, was a woman in a flowing dress, which might have been purple, but the amber light transformed it into satin black. Her braided hair rolled down her back, to the laces of her leather corset. Leaning on her podium with one elbow, she held between her fingers a small crystal ball. She seemed more interested in it than in me, and she wasn't very interested in it.

"Hi," I said, to break the quiet. "You do face painting?"

Briefly, she glanced at me, then back down. "Hold on," she said, and sat up slightly. With a wave of a finger, a gleaming light flickered into the crystal ball. "Hmm. You came to the fair alone, didn't you?"

I made a shy, shrugging laugh. "Yeah, I guess so."

The glow from her crystal ball lit her arched eyebrows. "You want a more exciting life," she said.

That was fair to say of anyone at a renaissance fair. The way she said it was uneasily accurate, though, like she'd plucked the unrealized thought right from my mind. I nodded quietly.

"And you want me to paint your face...like a fairy," she said, with a lazy wave of her hand meant to be dramatic. "Right?"

A moment's silence passed as I came back to reality. "Um, actually no. I was thinking some kind of animal?"

With a a sigh, an eye-roll, and a snap of her fingers, the crystal ball vanished. "That's a lesson for you. Never buy from fortune tellers." She shook her head, then her eyes focused on me again. She stood from the stool and leaned over the podium. "So. What manner of beast does the fair lady wish to be? I've done panthers, griffins, leucrotta..."

I said, "A tiger would be cool."


Spiked

A reality-warping collar turns an office worker into a tough hyena porn star, and changes those around him in pornographic ways. Explicit.

It starts while I'm washing my hands in the bathroom. I look down at the sink, then back up at the mirror, and instead of my tie, I'm wearing a collar.

As collars go, it's not even very work-appropriate.

The band is thick black leather, about an inch and a half tall, studded with round, half-inch steel spikes. It's big enough that I can slip my fist between the collar and my neck and still have wiggle room. There's a clasp in the back. I spin it around so it's facing front, and try to pull it open. It doesn't budge.

All right, fine, I'll just pull the collar up over my head instead. I slide the back up my neck and try to squeeze the front over my chin. Even though it's a loose fit, it's not loose enough to slide off. I keep trying for a good minute, until my neck's pink from the collar rubbing against it. My ears are hot and my face is flushed, too. I let go and it clunks down against my shoulders and collarbone.

If I can't take it off and I can't pull it off, maybe I can cut it off. I've got scissors back at my cubicle. I crack open the bathroom door and peek down the hall before I leave. I don't feel like trying to explain why I'm wearing an oversized punk collar in the middle of the office.

The coast is clear, so I slip down the hall, turn the corner, and see my boss, Tricia, coming my way. She's the sort of person who likes gray suits because 'they're neutral colors' and cares about timesheets and dress codes.

Maybe she won't notice the collar if she doesn't look too closely. I step to the side to slip by Tricia and give her a shy smile.

She smiles back, doesn't even glance at my neck, and says, "Hi, Spike."

I'm already past her, but I stop and pause. Was 'Spike' a dig at the collar? But if she saw it, she would have told me to take it off. I turn back toward her. "Um, what?"

"I was just saying hello," she says with a friendly shrug.

"Yeah, but my name's not Spike."

Tricia frowns lightly, then lifts an eyebrow. "Oh. All right, Mister Ryder," she says with more than a little sarcasm, then turns the corner and walks off toward her office.

My name's not Ryder either.


The Bureau

A fox goes to the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management for a routine appointment and runs afoul of red tape. Mature.

Robin found the yellow envelope waiting in his mailbox on Thursday. It announced, in thick letters, that it was his final notice from the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management, and that he needed to renew his license by Friday or it would be revoked. As well as the final notice, it was also the first notice, and the only notice, that Robin had gotten.

The thought of letting his license lapse as some sort of protest came to mind, but then Robin remembered what a nightmare his friend Nick had gone through when he'd gotten his license revoked. He didn't even get his old name back; he'd had to take a crummy public-access name like Reginald.

So shortly after noon and still a little sleepy, Robin tugged the garage door open, threaded himself between his apartment-mates' cars, and climbed into his own. It wasn't a long drive, but he didn't want to leave his license's fate to the whims of the local bus route.

---

The building of the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management looked like a brick of tofu. It did have windows and doors, which aren't features of tofu, but even the un-tofu parts of the Bureau building were infused with that bland simplicity. Robin imagined vandalizing its facade with spraycans of sauce and spices.

There was a short concrete walkway that led to the front door, guarded by railings made lumpy by so many re-applied coats of black paint. Beside the double doors were two plastic signs mounted to the wall. The first said, 'Bureau of Orthomorphic Management, Regional Office'. Below, next to a small intercom, was the second sign. A drawing showed a stick-figure with large tusks hunched over, trying to fit through a door too short for them. 'Persons needing assistance please press button,' it said.

Robin pulled the door open and stepped inside. The top of the doorframe cleared his ears with two feet to spare. Foxes like him weren't the tallest species, but you'd have to be a giraffe to have trouble with the front door.

Past the front doors, Robin came to the lobby. The lobby was meant to have a directory. But at some point, someone had thought to pin up a sign directing visitors to their department. Then everyone else had realized what a good idea that was, and by now, the lobby had grown into a jungle of signage. Sheets of printer paper with arrows were taped to the walls and pinned to bulletin boards and stapled on top of each other, all begging the reader to follow their directions.

If you were coming to see the Exercise and Fitness Approval Board, that was on the other end of the building. Nonstandard Locomotion Permits could be found on the sixth floor, stairwell access only. The Body Planner's Office announced that it was "on the Mezzanine", which Robin thought was likely a made-up word to trick young interns.