Return to Stories Menu

by Destrier

God it was hot! The sun glared off the pavement and made the air dance. Eric pulled at the front of his teeshirt and blew down the inside of it. Perspiration had made it sticky. What he wouldn't give for a shower right now. He wouldn't mind so much if hot human smelt like hot horse - he thought fondly of Sugar, no doubt drowsing in her stable right now.

A drink would be nice too, but he didn't have a dime to spare. It had been a profitable trip: he held a carrier bag full of paperbacks, all fantasy, and almost all featuring shape-shifting to greater or lesser degrees, but now his wallet was distressingly empty. He'd just have to wait until he got home. And his fridge wasn't working either. He sighed, and slumped against the wall, squinting at the sky. Not a cloud in sight.

"Oh, Eric, didn't know you were stopping by. Hi! Real scorcher isn't it?"

Eric raised a hand to shade his eyes. "Er, hi." Did he know this guy? In the glare from the sun, he couldn't even see him properly. Obviously the old man knew him. "How's it going?"

"Oh, fine, fine," the old man said, joining him in leaning against the wall. "Business is a bit slow, but that's to be expected in this heat. Boy, you look parched. Fancy a drink?"

"Oh, if you only knew how much!" Eric sighed.

"Here, have one of these. Been in the cooler." The old man passed a can to him. It was a garish pink with a yellow sunburst and proclaimed itself to be "Pleasure Island Soda". It was blessedly cold and Eric pressed it to his forehead and sighed in pleasure. "Thank you."

He popped the tab and took a deep draught, almost choking - it was very fizzy. "Yow. What is this stuff?"

"It's new. Probably won't be around very long. Just carbonated water and sugar. A few additives. Ah well. Can't stay out in this heat for too long. I'll see you around."

"Er, bye," Eric called, as the old man entered the nearby store. An antique shop or something. "Thanks for the drink!" He looked up. he couldn't quite read the sign from this angle, and he lacked the energy to try. "Spurious" or something.

He sighed. The old man was right. This wasn't weather to hang around in. He set off along the sidewalk. Prepared now, he took several hefty gulps from can, eyes watering as the gas rose straight up into his nose.

He soon began to wish he hadn't drunk it quite so fast. His belly felt bloated. He took an uncomfortable breath and let it go again. His belt felt too tight, and he decided to loosen it a hole. He undid the buckle... and gasped as the leather slid through his fingers. Button and flies popped open. "What the..?" He stared down in shock at his swollen belly. It wasn't just that he seemed to have suddenly aquired a forty inch waistline - forty inches and growing - it was the pelt of grey brown fur he saw on his exposed skin.

"Ugh." He still felt painfully bloated. As the discomfort grew he doubled over and sank to all fours on the sidewalk. Ah! The position brough relief, and he took a shaky breath, self-consciously looking around. He was relieved to see the street reassuringly empty - it wasn't a main thoroughfare and most people were sheltering from the sun.

His shoes began to feel uncomfortable, and his teeshirt, not exactly baggy to begin with, was becoming painfully tight. He became aware of an odd sensation on either side of his head, and gingerly raised a hand to find long furry ears that twitched beneath his fingers.

His teeshirt gave a few warning tearing sounds, then abruptly tore from throat to waist. His shoes popped off, and looking around he stared stupidly at grey hooves protuding from his jeans. That wasn't all that met his gaze in that direction. A familiarly shaped tail could be seen.

When he looked forward again, he found his hands were also hooves.

I'm turning into a donkey! he thought with sudden panic. Why? How? He knew he'd fantasized about this, but a Boston sidewalk hadn't been the venue he'd had in mind.

As his neck extended, and his face began to push out into a muzzle, he caught sight of the overturned can of soda. What did it say underneath the name? His eyes had altered, and his sight was no longer so suited for reading small print, but as the final changes in his body took place, he made it out:

"Pleasure Island Soda - Puts hair on your chest."

The End