Checking my legs and feet revealed they were sleek and not made for my clothes. However, they didn't seem to have shrunk any further. I also hadn't lost more height, which was at least one note of relief. Conversion-wise, I looked like an odd, anime being with a human girl's face planted at the top with pink hair and strange eyes. That state wouldn't last long. In fact, less time than even I anticipated. I was getting ready to leave the washroom when I noticed a color shift going on at my face.
I touched it carefully. A tiny bit of influence dabbed my cheeks, so I pulled them away. But the color change kept spreading. It was like someone was reducing the color map of my face, allowing me a narrower palette. The tone matched the rest of my flesh. But color wasn't all I lost. I felt my mouth drawing in, becoming small and barely-depicted. Changing my expression brought it out again but the details faded until it was a line I could shift and part to reveal a slight, pink bloom and a deep-red arc of tongue and dark mouth within. My teeth were a crescent moon at the edges. With a small movement, I could hide all that away.
Next, my nose shrank away to a dusty, shaded mark. In profile, it gave the same kind of slant mom's did, though a little bigger. Crossing my eyes to stare at it, it was like someone had added a painted, makeup glow to my face. As for my nose, it felt like it was still there but it was so much smaller that it took a moment to realize I was looking at more to my left and to my right with each eye. My vision otherwise didn't seem different. It may have been a little clearer. I flicked off the light to try the darkness. As I expected, no cat-like vision.
I made my way out and back over to Cordelia once I was dressed. I traced my hand along the counter. She stared at my face a moment and consoled, "For what it's worth, you're turning out much better than some. I remember this one friend of mine; he was a sketch. Pale, quivering lines and no color. He looked like something out of an artsy 80s music video. He was terrified. The good news was he eventually filled in on his own and now he's quite happy with the results."
I nodded back to her and asked, "Has there been anyone you've known who…hasn't been happy…even eventually?"
She leaned back in her chair and tightened her mouth line. I was about to tell her not to bother but she said, "I've heard cases in the news, as you probably have too. People who want to go back but I'm inclined to think they're just pushing aside their true feelings. There was one I talked to on an online group who I think is sincere in not enjoying it but I found she's something of a changeling and she wouldn't be happy in any final form. She craves change. And she actually has changed from her original form a little bit. Not enough for her but it's helped. She has her down days though. And that's about it."
I'd heard of changelings. They liked everything and every style. They tended to be the ones who were happy when their change began but were unhappy when it concluded. The process of changing itself was their fulfillment. Most of them were the rare, studied cases of animated people who would remain in flux with gender, design, and colors. They tended to have mood-ring hair and eyes. I'd only heard of them but some shows enjoyed talking about them because a select few could do little changing tricks for the public which looked entertaining on TV. Most were performers.
I thanked Cordelia for everything and she hopped over the counter to give me a hug. It was unexpected but I didn't reject it. She offered to give me her cell number and info on the help network she belonged to online as well as the physical location where members of its chapter met.
I considered her offer a bit and she threw in, "And we could have a gaming sleepover or something. Or not." She gave a chuckle. Despite the fact I knew she was over three times my age, I went ahead and took down the information to add to what Parker had given me. I glared at the piece of paper as it soaked up my influence like invisible water until I was done writing.
I lingered by the front to watch an old fighting game demo before leaving. I was wary of others' eyes. Truly, I was stepping out as someone else not quite finished.
I was glad this section of the mall was quiet. Just some normal people milling around an art store. I moved in the direction of the clothing store but with a small step. I didn't feel any eyes on me. I made it several steps before a group of girls, who looked a little younger than Candace, swooped out of places unknown and swarmed around me. One of them was animated and easily the most exuberant.
Her hair was literally the color of dandelions with a soft, watercolor look. At the top, it crested from the overhead light as nearly white. She had on a gray top and an A-line skirt that swirled around her. It didn't take long for her to notice me.
She gave a blur/wave of her hand which flapped the excess of her sleeve and squeaked, "Hiya! My gosh, you're so pretty!" Her smoke-gray eyes were in Candace's size and style with her pale face spackled with freckles. Her cresting U of a smile line let me forgive the fact she'd instantly seen me as a girl like her.
My answer was a soft, "Hi. Thanks." spoken in what sounded like another voice, a small, squeaky one which came across as younger than even her. Her friends regarded me one by one from the curly-haired blond to the one with black-framed glasses and a close cut of red hair.
The dandelion girl gave a small laugh and marveled at me, asking, "Are you here with anyone? This is totally my first time out since I changed and it is so awesome to see someone else so quickly." She rattled off a quick litany of places they were planning on going. One of the girls took out her cell phone and another yawned.
She was just about ready to claim me for the group when I found the words to say, "I'm with my sister and her friend. It's okay but thanks."
After a quick nod, she told me her name (Claire) and went about info-dumping me about her friends and asking if we all wanted to hang out. She seemed nice enough but it just felt peculiar to be treated that way by a girl her age.
I had a few options. First of all, turning her down as politely as possible sounded fine but she was so infectiously exuberant. Then I could just explain my situation to her, that I was slowly turning into a cute anime-styled girl after waking up late noon-ish as a normal, male high school junior. I could just imagine whatever male ego I had left slowly dying inside as each one of them looked at me, probably comparing me to some pretty boy they'd seen somewhere. And then I could be creative and lie. I didn't say they were good options.
Ultimately, it was out of my hands because the next moment I heard Candace say from behind me, "I'm the sister and that would be a lot of fun but my friend is still kinda shy about crowds after changing too."
Claire gave a sympathetic smile but launched at Candace and reiterated they had to hang out sometime. The rest was a crush of hyper-talk blur till they were heading off and I was left with Candace by my side. Her expression didn't disguise her amusement at all.
Before I could say anything, she noted with an accenting smirk, "Of course, you know you owe me. I may not collect today. It may not even be next week but I want you to remember that you owe me for getting you some privacy. So, big question…do I have a big sister now?"
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Bio: I'm MajorKerina and I love to collaborate creatively with a group of friends to make tales where people have their genders, identities, and very realities questioned, contorted, and turned upside-down. I like slice-of-life with a spicing of the supernatural, strange, or surreal. Reality with a scent of the impossible. You can find me on DeviantArt, Twitter, ScribbleHub, and other places.