I hadn't expected the complete overturning of my life to be so... boring.

So many strange things were happening in my life - but they were happening slowly. Agonizingly slowly. I was left sitting on the hospital bed, watching videos on my tablet. Jackie kept to herself. Through Wednesday afternoon I was thankfully free of any new changes. I did question if my arm hair felt thicker than normal, but I couldn't be sure.

In a way, nothing clearly changing made me far more anxious than if I'd known something specific was changing. It left me in relentless anticipation of what was going to happen next. Would I find myself suddenly barking, unable to speak? Would I wake up the next morning and find the color in my vision washed out?

In my boredom, I'd made the poor decision to pass the time by looking up things about dogs - and it now gave me way too many things to be worried about. I now not only feared losing my ability to speak, or to walk bipedally, but I feared losing something as simple as being able to eat chocolate.

I gave up on this research after a while, turning to the slightly lesser discomfort of looking at the news. Specifically, I was searching for any mention of this- of the cancer treatment gone rogue, now affecting countless people throughout the world. I found articles on testing new strains of produce made for vertical farms, trees out of a lab in India designed to consume more carbon - but nothing about a virus turning people into dogs.

Finally I gave up on searching for things about genetics. It clearly was not bringing up results, even after trying multiple search engines. So I tried a new topic of search - virus. This brought up equally unhelpful results. An article on a woman from Africa who'd done work in viral research, an article from my local news on the current cold season, but not much else. It reached a point of desperation where I was looking through multiple pages of search results.

Then I found it. An article from Japan that I had to translate, reporting on how several people in a clinic who'd come in due to a high fever, were now exhibiting "unforeseen" symptoms. The people were around my age, and their common trait had been that they'd received the cancer treatment all those years ago. The article declined to give further details at this time.

It wasn't going to be long now. The world was going to change forever, and for some reason, I was at the center of it. I had gotten the short end of the stick, out of billions of other people. I laid down on my bed, staring up at the ceiling. I could smell the metal from the air ducts up there.


I heard no response.


"What?" her voice came from behind the divider. "I'm here. What is it?"

"Do you... ever think about fate? About destiny?"

"No. Why?"

I rolled to my side, looking at the divider, imagining her there looking back at me. "Why us? Why out of all the people in this world... why did it happen to us?"

"Because trash things happen in the world Matt. It's a simple matter of statistics that someone's going to have to suffer."

I rolled unto my back again, and took a deep breath. I could feel the strange movements of my wet nostrils. I felt my tail fidget beneath me. I had accepted that. It was mine. It was part of me. There was nothing I could do to stop it, and living in denial that it was happening wasn't going to make me feel better.

I checked my watch. I only caught a blurry look of 4 o'clock before I dropped my arm down, tired at even that effort.

"I can't believe we're going to have to live with this," I said.


"But at least we'll have a lot of other people like us to feel awkward around."

I made a nervous laugh. Jackie still didn't respond. I sat up, and heard the sound of Jackie's feet touch the tile floor. I heard her pull the divider back, shoving it to compact against the wall.

I stifled a gasp as I saw that the top half of Jackie's ears were now sagging down.

"Look at this face," she pointed to her wet snout. "No one is going to want to be around us Matt. Nobody. Not our families, not our friends. We're going to be alone. Don't you dare laugh this off. I'm trying to stay calm right now because I'll go insane otherwise, but make no mistake, we're going to go into a Venusian level of hell as soon as we reveal ourselves to the outside world."

"It... will be hard...," I admitted. My eyes wandered to other parts of the room as her piercing eyes burrowed through my soul.

"I'm sure you've picked up on stuff in history classes Matt - human beings find it very easy to hate each other - and we are no longer human."

"I don't agree with that."

"Doesn't matter," she made a dark, trembling smile. "They will hate us anyway."

"I'm going to do my best to get through it," I said. "I know that in time our friends will... will get used to it. As bad as it sounds like this situation is, at least having this many people like us will get the community more used to it."

"Oh there will be plenty of people around here who will hate it," Jackie said. "Doesn't matter who they are, religious zealots, hyper natural advocates, or just normal people who don't like the ugly dog people - we will become scapegoats, a prime example of the horrors of mad science. Especially the fact that both of our parents worked on this, we will both be greater targets. Even other people afflicted with this will look disdainfully at us. They will consider us the source of all their problems. We will be wanted by no one. We will both be alone."

Nothing moved in my body. For a minute or so, it felt as though not a tendon quivered, nor a vein pulsed. When I finally brought my eyes up to Jackie's, I saw something I hadn't expected. I expected her to be standing there fuming - but an ashamed look was there instead.

"I'm sorry," she said emotionless. "I don't know how to make people feel better. I just say it how it is."

I was going to say something in response, but the door opened. My mom walked in, dinner in hand. I quickly put on the best happy face I could, but it was hollow. My smile was fake, my robotic words faker. By the time Mom left, and I began eating my dinner, I didn't put on a video or anything. I sat there in silence, haunted by the words Jackie had said.

"We will both be alone."


A note from RockyTheDogBoy

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Bio: A golden retriever that knows how to use a computer

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