Full moon in a cloudless sky: the silent countryside was lit in a magical silver glow. There was no sound, and not a whisper of wind: the world hushed in enchanted reverence.
Down the shadowed lane a bicycle came, the flickering of a dynamo headlight unnecessary in the moon-glow that was bright enough to cast shadows.
The youth free-wheeled to a certain five-bar gate at a certain pasture. He'd been planning this for months and he couldn't believe his luck. The situation was perfect: the ambiance; the timing; the remote locality where he could be assured of privacy; and best of all, her.
She was an equine dream; a centerfold for horses; fifteen hands of milk-white Arabian perfection. Soft dark eyes of liquid brown veiled by long white lashes; delicate pink nostrils and a mouth with a kiss like silk when he had delightedly fed her some mints the day before.
He had dreamed of one such as her: fantasized over what it would be like to meet her in similar form. In lustful dreams he had possessed her, imagining her body eagerly quivering beneath his; the wonderful scent of her in his nostrils as he proved his virility upon her.
He parked the bicycle, straining his hearing for the possibility that he might not be alone. All was silent. He carefully pushed the bike until it was concealed in the hedge. Then he crept stealthily over to the gate. He grinned nervously to himself. He was not doing anything precisely illegal, but he felt... guilty, almost. He couldn't imagine what he'd say if anyone appeared and challenged him. The human world no longer had means for dealing with what he was about to do.
Ah! There she was, if possible even more beautiful by the eldritch light of the moon. He let his eyes play over the slender legs; the graceful curve of her belly; her firm quarters.
Nervously, he put his weight on the wooden gate and climbed carefully over. The grass in the meadow was long, and he felt much more secure once he was within its comforting concealment, rather than fully visible in the road. The mare lifted her head and watched him for a few moments, ears pricked, before returning to idly grazing.
The youth took a deep breath and shakily exhaled. This was it: the moment he'd worked for, preyed for, dreamed about. Cautiously, self-consciously, he removed his trainers, then his teeshirt, then jeans, leaving him entirely naked: he had deliberately not bothered with socks or underwear on this venture. It felt very odd to be sitting naked in a field in the open air: he felt a breathless excitement at having performed something taboo, and a curious freedom. The night was pleasantly warm and he felt the faint touch of a cool breeze waft across his chest and thighs. His nudity and the thought of what he was about to attempt caused him some arousal and he looked down at his stiffening organ, pale and white and smooth in the mithril light. He couldn't chicken out now. Picking up his jeans, he retrieved a small glass vial from them. Uncorking it, he contemplated what he was about to do for a moment and then shut his eyes and quickly swallowed the contents, grimacing at the bitter taste of the potion.
He began to feel very slightly dizzy. There was a fiery sensation in his stomach that quickly spread, followed by a rush of adrenaline that made him gasp. Then he began to change: he grew, muscles and skeleton swelling powerfully. He felt strength flowing through him like a river: felt his lungs inflate as his chest expanded massively, drinking in a river of sweet night air. It was working! It was actually working!
He watched in amazed wonder as his hands and feet became hooves, and a flowing tail emerged from the base of his spine. His neck became a proud arch from which a long sweep of ebon mane cascaded; his face elongating into a nobile equine profile.
When it was done he stood there, silently exulting. He had done it! He was transformed into a stallion! He could feel the coiled strength of his body: the elemental grace and beauty of this form. It trembled through him, spilling from him in liquid flames, filling him with himself, inflating his chest with pride and arching his neck. Gods, what a rush! He had never known such confidence! He felt so... so male! He glanced in the direction of the seemingly oblivious mare, feeling his arousal grow into a palpable, throbbing energy. This was what he'd dreamed and fantasized about, from those early days feverishly reading Stein's Night Mares and Lin's Happy Valley on the Internet; even Destrier's Beast Dance. His body was trembling with desire, scarcely within his control, drunk with the nearness of the mare.
The mare raised her head and looked at him. Her ears pricked, clearly outlined against the moon-bright sky. Her nostrils dilated. He was astonished at how good a horse's night vision was. Cocky now, he paced toward her, tail plumed and head low. He could scent her clearly now and the sweet taste of her in his nostrils incredibly furthered his state of arousal: his distended member slapped against his belly - an unbelievably erotic sensation that made him gasp. The mare turned, proffering her hind quarters and lifting her tail, winking her vulva in unmistakable invitation. He could scarcely credit how closely to his dreams this was going: how willingly the mare was cooperating! He was actually going to go through with this! Breathing hard, he positioned himself behind the mare, almost beyond control of himself. He reared over her...
...only for her to sidestep neatly and turn to face him. "I don't believe you lot," she said in tones that were anything but amorous. "You're all the same!"
He landed awkwardly, completely off stride. What the hell?
"You really seem to think this is one big boy's night out, don't you? Turn into some big impressive stud with three hind legs, and have your way with the first poor mare you come across? Honestly!" She tossed her head indignantly. "Well, not this mare, boyo: not tonight. Count yourself lucky I didn't give you the benefit of both my hind hooves in your face."
"I'm sorry," he stammered, somewhat surprised to find he could speak, though not as dismayed as he was at mare's equal ability. "I didn't think..."
"Evidently not!" she snorted. "You didn't even ask! A natural-born stallion has more manners than that! I suppose you thought I was an easy conquest, did you? 'There, there, thank you mare'?"
The wouldbe stallion fought for the right thing to say, guiltily aware that that was exactly what he had thought. He opened his mouth but couldn't seem to form a coherent phrase - to have his erotic fantasy interrupted so devastatingly at the moment it had been had left him badly off balance and his command of the English language seemed to have temporarily deserted him.
Not so the mare: she was warming to her subject, pacing around the disconcerted stallion, her tail lashing from side to side in a manner more fitting to a feline than an equine. "I just have to wonder what you guys look for in a relationship. Do you approach human women the same way? 'Oh, here's a nice quiet one on her own: she won't mind.' I don't suppose you'd given any thought to the consequences, had you?"
The stallion looked at her helplessly, still tongue-tied. The hot ardor in his loins had evaporated. He couldn't seem to get a word out, and it wasn't just because the mare wasn't about to let him get a word in edgeways.
"Supposing I'd been the biddable dumb animal you expected to fornicate with?" she continued. "I could be with foal by now: do you realise that? Have you thought that maybe I might have an owner whose plans don't include caring and paying for another four legs? What happens then?"
He tried to offer some defense but the words seemed to stick in his throat. What came out was a strangled neigh.
The mare frowned - a startlingly human expression. "What, nothing to say? No defense? No apology?"
He tried again, uttering a squeaked whinny. What was wrong with him?
The mare regarded him with a searching expression and then a dawning comprehension. "Uh huh. That just about figures. Lost your ability to talk? Can you change back?"
Change back? he thought worriedly. Don't potions just wear off, like a drug or something?
The mare shook her head with a look of disgust. "Well, you're consistent, I'll give you that. I know they say all men think with their gonads but you take the idea to extremes. You didn't give this a moment's thought, did you?" She gave a neighing laugh. "Well, Handsome, you've got time to think now, 'cos unless I miss my guess, you're going to be playing stud for a mite longer than you might have intended. Unless someone comes along and gelds you of course." She began to walk toward the gate.
The stallion followed her, increasingly worried. He couldn't remember his name. It was growing increasingly difficult to concentrate - what was he trying to do? What words was he trying to say anyway? The grass smelled distractingly good... No... Yes... He shook his head in confusion and whinnied pathetically.
"Don't look at me," the mare said. "You're stuck that way."
She said something then: a word that seemed to pull the silver from the moon and set the night to fragmentary sparkling like static on a television screen. When it faded, the mare was gone and in her place knelt a young woman. She straightened, brushing a few stray grass-stalks from her bare skin. "God, to think I thought turning into a horse might be romantic!" She retrieved a concealed bag and produced clothing. Dressed, she nimbly vaulted the gate. She made as if to walk away then turned back. The stallion stood at the gate, eyes wide and frightened.
She hesitated for a moment then shook her head. "Typical," she murmured. "Absolutely typical." She turned her back on the horse and began to walk away down the lane. Still, she mused, he might be dumb as a brick but he was remarkably well formed. Perhaps some other night… She smiled. Her own captive stud. It might be kind of fun…