An Original Transformation
Under the glow, Fleur’s dyed hair appeared a deep red. She kicked the ball over to me and we booted it back and forth. Sometimes, I accidentally sent it sailing over her and she had to go hunting for it. I’d let it squib between my legs sometimes so I would have to rush after it as well. After a quick game, I tried the footbag. It was another one which locked to me personally but at least it was cheap.
Thankfully, success at playing with it wasn’t a requirement for the change. Otherwise, we would’ve been there all night. Each good kick was mixed between either whacking myself in the face or accidentally booting the ball several feet.
It was a good method because I was so focused on success that I didn’t think about the minute but many ways the bag was changing my body. Each touch and kick blasted out nanites just for me.
I staggered and stumbled but Fleur hung nearby to prop me up. I knew my feet were a little smaller and my legs felt different. The first big distraction was when my thighs felt different as I maneuvered them. I bent to keep my balance and my hat on my head.
Following much failure and many stumbles, I found a position where I could consistently kick the ball straight up. Switching legs only happened once with a girlish squeal from me. My best was better than I expected for a first time. I dropped the bag with a grumble and was about to pick it up again when Fleur stopped me and gave me a little poke.
I looked at her with a frown when I realized how much I’d missed. First of all, I noticed my pants were a different, much closer fit. They weren’t uncomfortable but they clung to me in a way I wasn’t used to.
I flexed around in them and said, “The instructions didn’t say anything about a clothing change.”
Fleur bent her head to the side. “I read these sometimes have that as a bonus. Too snug?”
I shook my head. I ran my hands to my waist. It felt different. Trimmer. Not a bad change. My hips felt exaggerated in those pants but, as I touched them through the material, they didn’t seem all that different.
I’d seen so many changes online. Most fell into well-worn clichés. A stocky man becomes an hourglass or at least pear-shaped woman. If I had to characterize my shape as I turned and stretched to get a look at myself, it would be a…what?...maybe a banana?
My waist pressed in but not as much as I first thought and I did have a different shape to my hips but, despite the close knitting of my pants, they weren’t extreme. My legs felt fuller and my walk seemed different, but it was all by incremental degrees of change. Like tweaking an imaginary slider on my body in one of the games Fleur had mentioned for her piecemeal inspiration.
That said, I couldn’t see much of my behind. Fleur took a few long looks before giggling. I wanted to hike my pants up higher, but they settled lower despite all my efforts to fix them. At least my flush feeling and nervousness didn’t translate into anything else ‘banana’-like at that moment. I remembered that exposure to multiple nanite lines, especially transforming ones, could have various side effects.
Fleur assured me I looked very nice and I wore a sudden blush. Standing there, I realized that the differences between her and me had been reduced to a few small but critical things.
Arm locked in arm, Fleur kicked the ball against the slope of the pavement.
“Remember the game we used to play? Imaginary places?”
I remembered. It was a string of games after a mutual friend had introduced us to fantasy card games. Fleur played them for longer than I did because they had a Transformers version. One day, we were going through a game when a card in particular made me wonder. I passed it to Fleur, and we started to wonder over it together. It was a small town in a deep marsh marked by glimmering crystal towers like beacons from a futuristic era.
It was a catalyst. We tried to fill in the details. We even took up pen-and-paper games for a whirlwind month. But making the places was more interesting than whatever feeble quest or adventure which marched against the setting.
So we broke off and decided to play a game of our own. We tried to imagine a setting and fill it with so many details till it felt like something which could stand beside our hometown of Brookville as a real place.
As we booted along the hesitant kickball, Fleur spun together the little restaurants, gas stations, and horse ranches which clung to the edges of civilization into the last surviving harbors of a “fantasy apocalypse”. The rest of the world had been ripped asunder in its comfortable splendor but the hard places, the raw and rough places, survived.
The former blue of a gas station bleached against the hot sky, the rubble of pavement instead of the weed-dotted but comfortable black beneath our feet. Past that island were the Wilds, the domains of “here be dragons” in the literal sense. Scrub and succulents provided an exotic reminder amidst alien vegetation which no longer played by any of the old rules.
Fleur described each place in vivid terms, detailing how even the separations of the sprawl which had once been our home turned into different climes and species of human. The strip mallers on this side of town had been twisted by their need for things. Their slack and sloping flesh reached out for every possession, like a hoarder, till their skin was cloaked in a mottled rainbow of everything they saved, melded into their bodies.
Those who lived in the hills with their cliff-clinging micro-mansions didn’t fare much better except for skinny wings for gliding and the arching, bony extensions of bats. They too resorted to hoarding but with plump nests crystallized with strange saliva.
Not all had turned into fantasy abominations but even the normal humans had become idealized visions. Fleur built me up as though I’d just stepped out of a comic book. She dressed me in a spiked helmet the same tone as my trilby. She flared my blond hair out in all directions as though it were moving even when I was standing still.
I jiggled but with a hardened bustier to protect me from the ravages of this new land. She painted me partly as an assassin but a heroine. Some dark past invading at the edges of every bar I visited, spying for scarred, hooded figures only wearing a human form so they could destroy the last of us.
I presented Fleur as an energetic barkeep, a fair wind in the angsty assassin’s gale-force existence. I flattered her as well and we looked to one another, returning to the world of lights and commerce but still feeling ourselves within a private realm where all that mattered was a single moment shared after the doors had been locked and the lights brought low before the angry nights.
The real night of laughs and a dozen half conversations flowed over us like sketches from another world as we freed the kickball to find its own way. Gently, gingerly, I leaned towards Fleur. I tilted her head towards mine, stretched my toes, and kissed her softly on her cheek, just barely avoiding her warm lips.
I’d done it before, though only once at a time. Each time, it passed without any other comment from either of us. This time, Fleur let herself have a little smile and bumped my shoulder before saying, “Well, enchanting assassin of the night, how about a massage to release all your long, tired hours at work?”
I blinked to myself as Fleur gestured to a set of pay massage chairs sheltered in a glass partition in front of a trinket store which sold chairs like them. We each settled into one. Fleur set hers for a deep but transformation-less massage while I paid a little extra to smooth down my shoulders as the rough, robotic motions tried to pinch out the tiredness. It failed but I felt better with how my shoulders looked with the rest of me.
Our next stop was the most giggle-inducing. Across one of the busiest intersections in town was DD’s Pastries. My parents had picketed outside of it once. This evening, it was rather quiet. The inside was sparse with a design area and a computer off to one side. It didn’t have a lot of seating aside from a couple of bar-style tables and chairs. A fridge unit offered self-service with some specialty items in the front.
From the back emerged a clerk not much older than either of us. She wore a peach, long-sleeved top and a pink apron nearly as sharp in color as Fleur’s hair. Her nails glittered brightly, as decorated as the pastries around her. Her long, pale-brown hair was cinched up in a tight bun. As she walked around the display unit to help us, I noticed she had on a lightly-colored skirt which reached nearly to her sandaled feet and fluttered like the drapes in Fleur’s bedroom. I also noticed how her chest curved generously, despite the cloak of multiple layers of clothing.
Fleur showed her phone to her and she directed us to what they had in stock.
The clerk pointed out an inconspicuous little cupcake to one side, explaining in a voice higher than Fleur’s old, nervous tones, “It’s a strawberry ice cream in chocolate cake blend. Don’t mind the size. It’s fully programmable.” I fought against a flush of warmth in my cheeks.
Smiling at us, the clerk asked, “One for each of you?”
Fleur shook her head and gestured to me. “Just for my friend.”
The clerk clicked at her keyboard as I tried to breathe my way through the butterflies. She was calmly professional, ticking through all the stuff about allergens as well as nanite sensitivity.
Then, she asked, “Are you currently using any nanites?”
I had to nod. If I’d been alone before this petite woman with just the words in my mouth, then I might’ve stammered and hid. But, with Fleur beside me, I told her, “Yes. Piecemeal nanites. My name is Zack.”
The clerk beamed back at me and answered, “Cool! My name is Malcolm.”
I shouldn’t have been shocked, but my eyes still arched up and regarded Malcolm again. She giggled and brushed at her apron, “At work, it’s Malina. Piecemeal nanites, huh? Sounds challenging.”
Fleur unfurled our plans to her. Malina wore a cheeky grin as she reiterated, “Cool! So, we better get your boobs ready as soon as possible.”
She outlined the options while holding open a little take-home menu. “You’ll probably want a quick change but not too quick. I have a heavy-load version of the recipe which should last you all night. Heavy-load so far as nanites, not…you know…” A giggle escaped as she went back to work on her computer.
It turned out the icing also offered an additional “support” element which could be customized depending on how she arranged the decoration. I let Fleur recommend a comfortable design as she smirked and hinted ominously, “You’ll need plenty of support…”
The rest was whispered between the two of them over by the counter. I waited and tried not to listen. The swelling was returning but I shifted to hide it as I gave myself a few calming breaths.
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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.