When consciousness returned to him, he was instantly overwhelmed by fatigue. Though he possessed the ability to move, he chose not to. Possibly because he was afraid of what might be beyond his sight. He tucked his knees into his chest, hugging them there for comfort. There were sirens in the distance, this he could hear. But as it droned on, getting neither louder nor fainter, he began to doubt its existence. It was just the ringing in his ears, from the numerous concussions.
He finally forced himself to sit up. It hurt, but the wet ground had been irritating his ear. His gaze slid groggily across the dark room, and he started to wonder where he was. But the itching in his ears was persistent, and it had now spread to the opposite lobe. He shakily went to rub, but withdrew instantly. His fingers had brushed against something furry and soaking. Tracking his gaze down to his hand, he saw even in the dim light that there was blood on his fingertips. But this did not explain the hair he felt.
There was no chance to check again. A creaking sound, like that of an old door opening, had filled the room and he held his breath with anticipation. Soft steps followed, as though someone were taking graceful strides; quick, but still remaining delicate. In fear of who might be responsible for those steps, he clumsily shuffled back into the nearest crate. It reeked of dirty animals, but he managed.
But perhaps in his haste he had caused some sort of noise, for the steps had stopped, as if someone were listening for the sound again. He trembled in the kennel, and terror made his breathing heavy and loud. In the darkness of the room, he could feel the person watching him, possible creeping up to the cage with inhuman stealth. There was not a sound, or at least none that he could hear. But he wasnt surprised; his heart was beating louder than the worlds largest bass drum.
As minutes passed he began to wonder if the footsteps had been a figment of his head-trauma. He worked up the courage to crawl out of the crate and take a quick glance around the room. On hands and knees, he slithered across the damp concrete floor. He was nearly half-way out of the kennel when something caught the belt loop on his pants. Before he could seize the chance to investigate, it yanked him back on his rear. A slender hand was placed on his shoulder.
Hello Jeff. Grace said softly. Her expression was emotionless, except for the little smirk fighting its way into her features. It seemed almost involuntary; as if she simply had to smile. He jerked out of her grip, cringing in pain, but putting through the suffering in an attempt to scoot away. The girl stared at him, her eyes blank but a mischievous grin now contently lying across her lips. Dont try to run. Itll only make it worse for you. She warned.
As soon as the words left her lips, a searing headache began to pound in his skull. It felt as though his head would explode at any given moment, and he suddenly feared that idea as a possible occurrence. Obviously this young lady had power. Whos to say she would not use it in the cruelest of ways? He could only imagine
Why are you doing this
? Jeff choked out, sputtering up a small amount of blood. He looked up at her pitifully, pleadingly. She sat cross-legged, with hands neatly placed in her lap. Her posture and overall demeanor didnt fit the crazed mile on her pretty face. She giggled at him as he finally fell to the side and began to writhe in agony.
Her unnatural lime-green eyes glittered. Why? Why?! Grace laughed; a pure, though bone-chilling laugh. You were my doctor at the asylum. You, with that jackass John Winzinger, put all sorts of nasty things in me. Gave me pills that made my insides burn, injections that made me horribly ill for years
well, the others gone. Its just you left now.
Her retelling of the events made him sick with guilt. The pain in his head had faded to a mild pulsation, making it bearable, but there was crackling and popping in his ears like he was on an airplane. It was uncomfortable, but Jeff forced himself to reply: I was just trying to help you. Those things were supposed to help you not be so
He trailed off and then screamed in distress as his ears burned with invisible fire. Gripping his head and twisting around only brought more laughter.
crazy? Grace prompted with a giggle and stretched out her legs, swinging them freely over the side of the crate. Her striped-sock covered feet kicked at him softly, almost playfully. I dont think it worked, Jeffy.
His hands pressed into the sides of his head, as if trying to pop it off. He would have welcomed such a death at this point; this on-and-off suffering was worse than any other fate. But the pain was already starting to fade away to a dull ache. Jeff rubbed his head slowly, and once again brushed against fur. He felt for it again, and this time succeeded. Yet, he wished he hadnt. Where his human ears once were he felt something cone-shaped and hairy.
Putting aside his confusion and panic, Jeff glanced back up at Grace. She was making shadow-puppets on the wall by candlelight. Her current puppet was that of a dog, and she seemed especially amused by it. I never meant to hurt you, He began, but she went about her play as if he hadnt said a word. I swear, everything I did was with the best of intentions. The pain spiked up again and he yelled out.
Some of the worst crimes ever committed were done with the best of intentions. Grace countered in a frighteningly dark tone. She finally put her hands back in her lap and just watched him as he squirmed. The smile on her face merely grew the more he cried and begged. Through his watery gaze he saw her; not how she was right now, but how she had been. He had known her since she was six years old, when she had been found unconscious outside the institute with a scribbled note stapled to her shirt:
There is something wrong with this child.
The pain began to build up in his face. At a slow, torturous pace his human profile began to shove outward into an awkward form. His mouth and nose became one as an animalistic muzzle was formed. Eyes bulging in shock, Jeff began to cry out for help and thrash across the floor. He caught glimpse of Grace, smirking. But she also seemed to be concentrating very hard on something
She was doing this. He didnt know how, but she was making this happen to him. This girl wasnt human; and soon, if these changes progressed, neither would he. Thick muscle was developing around his neck, arm and thighs and a tongue much longer than he recalled now lolled out of his open jaws. He could feel the sharp, carnivorous teeth that lined his new mouth.
How are you doing this?! Jeff cried in both fear and bewilderment. Perhaps he shouldnt want to know. But what did it matter, anyway? There was obviously no hope for him; no future. He couldnt begin to imagine what other terrible things she had planned for him, brewing in her terribly twisted mind. Suicide was an option, but he couldnt see any sharp objects nearby.
The heels of his feet lifted off the ground and stretched at an angle, while the toes plumped and became even with each other. All except his little toe, this traveled up his leg and became a dewclaw, much like his pinky finger much met the same fate. And with four legs properly formed, his spine began to bend to be acquitted for quadruped mobility. In fact, he now found all but impossible to stand up.
His chest barreled outwards as ribs realigned themselves for new atomy. The mid-transformation sensation forced his body into a very awkward place. He coughed up a bit of stomach-bile , most likely the result of his changing organs, and then collapsed as blood began to leak out of his mouth. Please
please make it storprrr
Jeff murmured, curling into a tight ball and wishing for it all to end. For the world to end.
Pressure had built in his spine, and he didnt need to look to know what it could be. And then he was set on fire. Invisible flames lapped at his body, charring him black. But what he mistook for burnt flesh was actually thick, glossy fur sprouting at great speed across his body. It crept up his neck, turning his brown hair to locks of midnight and then spreading across his face. The wave of fur passed over his eyes and changed them as well. With a simple blink, his blue gaze became a dark brown. The eyes of an animal.
And then, it stopped. As if someone had just shut off the switch to his electric chair, everything seemed to fall into place. He looked up and saw that Grace was gone. All that was left in where she once sat was a bright green collar. Jeff approached it cautiously, tripping over himself. The shock of the transformation was starting to set in, making him dizzy and light-headed.
He sniffed at the leather collar and saw it had a glinting tag attached to it. Soon after his discovery, the collar sprang to life and lunged at him, bound itself around his neck. Jeff pawed at the leather strap but after several minutes of struggle he realized it was a hopeless cause.
He hung his head in despair, jut waiting for the collar to tighten and strangle him to death. But in his patient waiting for a brutal death, Jeff saw bone-shaped cookie placed so perfectly right under his nose. Impulsively, he ate it and wagged his tail with satisfaction. It had tasted meaty, with lots of good bone marrow and intestinal flavor.
Jeff paused in brief terror, swallowing the dog food. Thoughts were invading his mind; thoughts that he did not take credit for. Canine impulses; to investigate the interesting smell in the corner, to chew at his shoulder where it itched. It seemed unreal how fast it was happening, too.
All the years of medical school were being drained from his brain. Jeff became frightened, trying desperately to hold on to his human memories. But everything was slipping through, no matter how hard he tried. It was like trying to catch smoke youre your bare hands.
No! Please, dont let me forget! Im human, not a dog
not a dog
a dog. No, no! I
I cant remember how to write. Or read! Oh God, no! He spun in circles in dazed confusion, his mind straining itself in futile attempts to hold on. But it was all in vain; and the spinning soon turned into the act of chasing his tail. I cant stop it. Im doomed. No
just, please dont let me forget my name, my identity. Let everything else go just
what is my name?
And simple as that, Jeff Donagon was gone.
The large, iron door to the basement creaked open once again and Grace pranced into the room. A smile lit her face, one of joy and success, as she saw the black German Sheppard licking some drain-water off the floor. She bounced once in victory, throwing her arms in the air and then hugging herself. The animal looked up, startled but soon gleeful, as he ran to the girl and sat at her feet. With a madly thumping tail, he stared at her with a silly doggish grin.
Grace returned the expression and put her hands to her hips. Wanna go get some dinner? She cooed, and she giggled at his unchanged features. He hadnt understood a word shed said. And that was just as she wanted it.
Taking another dog-cookie from her pocket, Grace tossed it up the stairs for him to follow. He raced right after it, soaring up the steps and into the brightly lit house. Satisfied, Grace followed. "Good boy..." She murmured and closed the basement door.