Spirit Fox and Lightning Swift
by EMW
Chapter 1

I rolled out of bed that morning thinking it was going to be a great day. I had a date with my girlfriend Sandra that evening and while it was a school day, it was Friday so it was almost the weekend.

I got up and got dressed. I took a look in the mirror at the short slightly overweight blond haired boy staring back at me and tried to get my unruly hair in some sort of order. After a series of relatively unsuccessful attempts at taming it I gave up, it was good enough for school. I ran down to breakfast feeling uncharacteristically alert and perky. I grabbed some cereal and sat down at the table. My older sister Hannah was already there munching away.

“Morning Eric,” she said having a little difficulty speaking due to her tendency to stuff all her food in her cheek pouches.

“Morning Sis,” I replied.

Hannah had been mad about hamsters, as a young girl she had one as a pet and had taken it with her everywhere. It was a somewhat cruel twist of fate that when she got MORFS she gained a lot of hamster features. She now had short orange and white fur all over her body but kept her shock of red hair, a small pink stub of a tail, little round pink ears on top of her head, whiskers, continually growing teeth she had to grind down, and the pouches which could be used to store stuff. Her eyes were also the same black spheres a hamster had, which unnerved some people. She had been bullied relentlessly. She was also a little chubby when she was younger and that had given the bullies yet more ammunition, remarking that she was just a fat little hamster. She had come home many times bawling her eyes out. Eventually she decided to do something about it, she joined the school multi gym and took up martial arts. Pretty soon she had lost the extra weight, put on a bit of muscle, and the bullies were getting wary of her after she started to fight back. As she got older she became quite an attractive girl, her physical conditioning giving her an athletic body and nature supplied her with some impressive curves. Many of the people who had laughed at her were now after her for dates. She never forgot their cruelty though and spurned the advances of anyone who had been mean to her. Her experiences had toughened her and left her very independent and strong.

We were typical brother and sister and would fight tooth and nail sometimes but we loved each other deeply. It made me very angry what people had done to her just because she was a little different. I had been the little brother though and in no position to help her then, and now she didn't need my help. She was taller and stronger than me by quite a way. It had made me sure never to judge people that way just because they looked different since they were just like me inside.

We sat and ate our breakfast preparing ourselves for the day ahead.

“So big date this evening,” teased Hannah.

“I guess,” I squirmed.

“Aww, my little bro, is growing up,” she said tousling my hair.

“Leave your brother alone, Hanna you know it's my job to embarrass him” said Mum walking in to the kitchen. She had a lot of features in common with my sister being the same red hair and similar figure. She lacked the conditioning Hannah had but still was quite an attractive woman. She had the same eyes as me, a sort of dark blue. Hannah used to more take after Dad with much lighter blue eyes.

“Sorry Mum,” said Hanna grinning.

“So Eric when will we get to meet this wonderful girl you're crazy about?” Mum asked.

“I don't know, I've asked her a couple of times but she is always busy,” I said. It was strange when ever I asked Sandra if she would like to come over she would suddenly remember something she had to do. I had wondered if she was avoiding coming to visit my family, but she seemed quite happy to go out with me so I couldn't imagine why.

“I won't accept that excuse much longer young man, you ask her for real,” Mum said was convinced I was the one not wanting to subject Sandra to my family, “Anyway, you kids better get moving, I can't give you a lift as I have things to do today.”

Hannah and me groaned in unison at having to walk, then laughed together at our mothers eye rolling reaction. We packed up our things and headed off. We walked together up to school. Hannah was a sixth former, she would be off to university next year and I, all going well, would be starting in the sixth form at the same time.

My sister set a grueling pace and my somewhat less physically fit body began  a bit. School was at the top of a hill from our house and I began puffing as my sister powered her way up the hill.

“Come on keep up,” she said.

“What's ... ah ... your ... hu ... hurry sis,” I panted feeling like I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen.

She shook her head at me and said, “Bah, come on, it's not that tough a hill. I could run up it and not be out of breath.”

“You could,” I said, “That would kill me. It's making me feel ill as it is.” I was feeling a little unwell.

“Oh stop being so melodramatic,” she rolled her eyes but slowed a bit.

The slightly slower pace was enough for me so I could keep up and more or less catch my breath, “You need to get more exercise Bro, else that girlfriend of yours will dump you for a fitter boyfriend. Girls like a guy with stamina,” Hannah giggled.

I would have said something but I was still out of breath, so I just glared at her for a bit which just caused her to chortle more.

We reached the brow of the hill and the pavement finally leveled off, much to my relief. It also marked the branching point of our two paths, the sixth form having its own site a bit down the road.

“Well, catch you later slow coach,” my sister said with a wave and took of at a pace that might as well have been a run.
                                                                                                                                                                                          
I took a moment to rest the sick feeling leaving me as I recovered, then I headed in through the gates.

“Morning Eric,” called a soft musical voice. I turned to see Sandra smiling at me as she sat on one of the walls near the gate. She was a pretty blonde with long flowing hair and sparkling blue eyes. She was slim and delicate, her movements always graceful, a side effect of many years ballet training she had when she was younger.

I walked over to her and she hoped down to take my hand. Many of the people I knew that had been going out like us would meet at the gate and kiss, but Sandra didn't like kissing in public. In fact holding my hand in public was something she had only recently decided to do. She was very concerned with appearances and being proper, something most of my friends found weird about her. I found it interesting in that anything we did do felt more special because of it. We walked to our classroom together. When we got to the door she smiled at me, let go of my hand, then went in and sat down with her friends. This was another aspect of her rules; she wouldn't sit near me in lessons or in registration. She would hardly ever speak to me in front of her friends, who were a strange lot … very aloof and distant regarding everyone down the end of their noses.

It was all part and parcel of dating her. The strangeness and the rules were worth the good times.

I greeted my friends and sat down to wait for school to start in earnest.

School kicked off and lessons were as boring as usual. I did my best to pay attention, but I had a tendency to day dream that teachers hate. When I could focus I did OK but my rep as a time waster meant a lot of the teachers didn't like me and were extra hard on me.

By the time morning break arrived I was beginning to feel ill again. This was just what I didn't need with my date with Sandra tonight. I tried to fight it down and keep going, hoping it was nothing and headed off to my lesson after break, but in the middle of Maths I had to run out of the room to throw up in the toilets.

I was taken to the nurse’s office for a check. I was soon shivering and shaking as well as feeling rotten. They sent me home so Mum came to get me. I sent a text to Sandra cancelling our date since I knew Mum would never let me go out after being sent home from school ill. I promised to call her later. Later I got a reply saying “get well soon”.

I gradually got worse. The sickness made it hard to keep anything down; I was running a temperature and in a fair amount of muscle pain, so Mum called the Doctor. Some time later he turned up and examined me, he said he was fairly sure what it was wrong and pulled out a blood test. I knew straight away what that meant, he thought I was starting MORFS. I had recognised the symptoms but was hoping I was wrong. When the Doc thought the same thing I knew I was probably right. So when the blood test came back positive I wasn't overly surprised.

The Doc went over the usual rigmarole of what to expect and what to watch for, both with me and Mum. I had a few friends that had been through it and I remembered Hannah's week of hell, so I was fairly up on what was going to happen. The Doc wished me well and gave my Mum a prescription for some MORFS home transition packs. She tucked me up in bed and headed out to get me the drugs. I dozed a bit, my body still feeling rotten, but tired from all the throwing up.

I woke up with someone stroking my hair I looked up to see Hannah looking down at me.

“Hey sis,” I said weakly.

“How you doing little bro,” she said with a somewhat forced smile. I could see she was worried.

“OK I guess apart from I feel rotten.”

“Yeah I remember what it's like. Soon as you get your drugs you'll be out of it though.”

“Hannah ... I'm scared.”.

“I know,” she said smiling at me, “No matter what, I'll be there for you.” she kissed me on the head.

I smiled at her, I never had any doubt that she would be there for me, but it was nice to hear her say it. Hannah kept me company till mum returned with my meds which didn’t take long. I had to force down a horrible tasting energy bar and take a pill then I was off to sleep.

I awoke some time later, my body aching and my skin all grimy. I staggered out of bed to take a look.

I seemed to have lost some weight and I noticed my body hair was coming out. Not a good sign. I hit the shower and tottered back to find Mum changing my sheets.

"How are you feeling?" she asked.

"Still lousy," I replied.

"Well come on back to bed, the sooner it's over with, the better you'll feel."

I nodded and clambered back to bed, I was just about to take my pill when my Dad popped his head round the door.

"How you doing sport?" he asked, he had a deep powerful voice which was some what at odds with his short, balding, slightly overweight body, a shape I had inherited from him. He worked doing voice over’s and on radio where his looks didn't mater and his larger than life voice carried a premium. He had once done the voice to a villain in a movie, the actors voice was too high pitched to be convincing so they dubbed in Dad instead.
 
"OK Dad, bit sick still," I said.

"Well you get wrapped up and sleep your way through it. It'll be over soon enough," he said with a smile putting a hand on my shoulder.

"OK Dad," I replied, Mum handed me my pills and the two of them left me to it.

"Sweet dreams Eric," said Mum as they left.

I took my pills and slept again.

The next day brought more changes. I itched all over. My ears seemed to be changing, moving further up my head. The hair on my head was being replaced by red hair.

The following day my ears were pointed and on the top of my head, a thin layer of red and white fur now covered all over bar the top of my head where I had normal hair that was now the same red as the fur. The biggest shock was my eyes that were now golden. A patch at the base of my spine ached and there was a slight bump there.

The next day my fur was slightly longer and thicker, my eyes were now slits and my eye sight seemed amazingly sharp. I was taller and a little thinner; I seemed to have more musculature than before. The bump at the base of my spine was growing out, it was now about 20 centimetres long and the fur on it was longer and stuck out more. It felt very strange to have this thing hanging off me, shifting around. It meant, I couldn't sleep on my back which annoyed me.

Another day passed to sleep and I woke up feeling finally well again.

I sniffed and discovered my sense of smell seemed to have improved dramatically. This was not a good thing since I had started growing fur I hadn't been washing, since more than a quick wipe down had felt like too much effort. As a result I reeked, probably even to normal senses, but especially bad to my new improved nose. A shower seemed like it should be top of my to-do list, but first I decided to see what other changes had taken place.

I inspected the damage. I had two pointed ears on the top of my head that could swivel about. My eyes were golden coloured with cat like slit pupils. My nose and mouth area protruded slightly to form a slight muzzle with whiskers protruding from my now dark nose. I opened my mouth to reveal a fairly nasty looking array of teeth. I was covered head to toe in red and white fur, my front predominantly white and the back of me red. My face was a mixture with the top half red then part of my muzzle down white. I had a fairly tall lean yet muscular body. It looked agile. A large bushy tail, maybe half a meter long, stuck out of my back. It was red with a white tip.

I looked like a human fox.

As far as I could tell the rest of me remained normal: my hands, feet and private areas all seemed more or less normal. My legs seemed more or less the same, just a bit longer and more powerful looking.

That seemed to be about it for the changes so I decided I should take a shower. Walking over to the bathroom felt different, walking felt more like stalking now. My rearranged limbs and my new tail made me light on my feet. I was still a little clumsy as I wasn't used to my new shape and size, but it was close enough to make getting the hand of things relatively easy.

The shower was also a strange experience with all that fur, my bushy tail acted like a sponge absorbing loads of water.

I got out clean but still soaking wet and tried to get the water out of my now saturated fur. While I was trying and failing to dry myself with a towel I noticed a note stuck to the mirror.

It read, “Bro, you'll need the hair dryer. I put it in the box under this with a brush for de-tangling purposes. Kisses Hannah.”

I took the worst of the wetness off with a towel then I opened the box, removed the dryer, and hooked it up. It was some industrial strength one built with fur in mind that Hannah had gotten from some specialist shop. It certainly seemed to do the trick and after a while of blow drying and brushing, my new fur was dry.

I padded back to my room, and looked for something to wear. I noticed another note, this time in my mother’s hand writing on top of a plastic bag.

“Thought you'd need this when you are done. Love Mum,” the note said.

I opened the bag and found a one size fits all track suit for me to wear with a tail hole already cut. Some time later, after a lot of struggling I was dressed. I headed down stairs to find my sister watching TV.

Her eyes turned to me when I came into the room and she looked me up and down.

“Hey sis,” I said, or tried to say it came out a little more like 'he ssss' my new mouth and tongue making my speech a bit muddled.

“Hey Bro, how you feeling?” she said.

I tried to think of what to say but I couldn't put it into words and just sort of hung my head. Hannah came over and gave me hug. We stood there for a bit, it felt a bit odd fur brushing against fur. Eventually we broke apart and Hannah took me by the hand.

“Come on, let's get you some real food,” she said leading me into the kitchen.

She sat me down at the table and then went and to get some food for me. This had to be the first time she had ever prepared food for me, it was very sweet of her. I sat there just taking things in, my new sharper senses were odd, I could smell things much more clearly and with much greater fidelity than before. My hearing was very sharp and with some concentration I could zero in on sound with my pointed swivelling ears for even better hearing. My eyes were sharp and a lot better than before. I could make out details on things from further away, I suspected I would have pretty good night vision as well.

I decided to call Sandra while I waited, it probably wasn't the wisest move given I couldn't speak very well yet but I was anxious to talk to her, to tell her what had happened.

I rang her number, “Eric? I'm quite cross with you. Five days and not even a phone call! I know you were ill, but you could have called me,” she said a little angrily.

“I wasss sleap in,” I said.

“What's wrong with your voice?”

“Iss ma mouf an tong, no workin lie I used too,” I replied trying to get the right sounds out of my mouth.

“What do you mean? What's happened to you!”

“Iv ha Morrrlfssss.”

The line went silent.

“Ima frrox hiiibriiiiduh,” I said trying to enunciate my words clearly.

“I see ...” said Sandra in a cold voice then went silent again. I didn't like the tone of her voice. The line was quiet for a while.

“Ssaandahrahh?” I asked.

There was more silence, then in a quiet angry voice she said, “Never call this number again beast! Don't even speak to me again or you'll regret it!”

The line went dead, I stared at the receiver in shock. I hadn't expected this reaction. I had assumed it might change our relationship but I hadn't thought she would suddenly cut me off and tell me to stay away. I had always thought of the love between us as something that would not be affected by physical shape. The same way I loved my sister as much now as before her change, she was the same person inside and that was what I loved not, the shell.

I felt terrible. MORFS had cost me my girl, someone who I was madly in love with, who I idolised. I felt like I was breaking apart inside. I sat there staring at the phone tears dripping down my face frozen in place.

My sister bustling around in the kitchen eventually spotted me sat there, “What is it?” she asked.

“San ... Sa ... San ... drah dussnit lov me enry maorrr!” I sobbed.

“What! oh Bro,” she said rushing over hugging me to her as I cried. She held me for quite a while stroking my head as I bawled like a baby. The tone of Sandra's words and her calling me a beast stabbed me to my core. Hannah made comforting noises and rocking me gently as she stroked me.

At some point Mum and Dad came in carrying some shopping, “What's wrong,” asked Mum.

“Eric called Sandra and she didn't want to see him any more,” said Hannah.

“Oh dear, come here sweet heart,” said Mum and took over Hannah's place hugging me. Dad came over and put a hand on my shoulder.

Eventually I calmed down and stopped crying, I didn't feel much better, it was like some part of me had been ripped out and had left me numb inside.

Hannah put a plate of food in front of me, “Come on Bro eat up, it will make you feel better. I know it's tough to get rejected like that but you will get over it,” she said, I looked up sharply. Part of me wanted to shout and scream at there that she didn't know what it was like but I knew full well that she did. She had lost almost all her friends once and lived through it, I guess so could I. I nodded to her and picked up the fork and began eating what ever it was she had made me. My sense of taste was a little off I guess due to the new sense of smell, so I didn't really know what it was. I ate it robotically, too shocked to really focus.

“Don't worry about Sandra, maybe she'll come round, if not there's plenty more fish in the sea,” said Mum ruffling my hair.

My family gave me some space, staying close but not crowding me too much. I finished up the food and went to wash up my plate but Mum swiped it, “I'll take care of that darling, you go in the living room and watch some TV or something.”

I went into the living room and sat down on the sofa, Hannah came in and sat next to me. She told me jokes and tried to cheer me up. I was grateful for her attempts, even if they didn't do much. In the end she put on some random show and sat with her arm around me. Eventually I must have dozed off I woke up when she kissed me on the forehead finding myself in bed.
 
“Get some rest Bro, I promise things will look brighter in the morning,” she said smiling.

I nodded and snuggled down. I was off to sleep fairly quickly, my dreams echoed with Sandra's voice cutting me off and out of her life.



 


Chapter 2

I woke up fairly late in the morning, still dressed in the tracksuit. I had nothing else to wear so I gave my hair and fur a quick brush, it seemingly behaving better since there was lots more of it, then headed down the stairs.

Mum sitting doing some work at the kitchen table, “Morning sleepy head,” she said, “Want some breakfast?”

“I can get it,” I said. Grabbing some cereal and munching away. With my new sense of taste my usual cereal was way too sweet. I persevered for a bit with it but in the end had some toast instead.

“Well sweetie, we need to get you set up with some new clothes, and book you a post MORFS assessment. The clinics tend to be really busy so we may have to wait a few days for that. You get to stay off school for a bit,” Mum said, obviously hoping to cheer me up. It was a bit of a double edged sword though. No school meant I couldn't beg Sandra to take me back.

Mum bundled me up into the car and took me shopping. I hated shopping, but at least it gave me something to do and took my mind of Sandra for a little while. We drove into the shopping centre and started going through the various shops for new stuff. I was a touch taller and thinner so I needed a fair amount of new things. Not to mention my new tail issues.

We picked out a lot of the normal stuff in the regular places, I spent several boring hours trying on piles of clothing till Mum decided we had enough. She then took me to a little place called “Wings and Tails” which specialised in clothes for MORFS survivors, Hannah had recommended it. They had whole racks of tail friendly trousers and underwear. There was more dress up and then we were finally done, except mum insisted on taking me for ice cream to cheer me up. After what had happened with the cereal I had my doubts about ice cream but I knew better that to try and argue my Mum out of something she had decided on.

We were wandering back through town towards an ice cream shop when I got my first taste of anti-MORFS prejudice in the flesh.

Someone grabbed my tail and pulled on it hard which really hurt, “Hey freak where's your lead, can't you see no dogs off a leash!” some kid shouted.

After all I had been through this proved to be the last straw and anger and rage burst out inside me. I rounded on him teeth bared snarling and leapt at him.

“YAH!” he shouted and scrambled backwards falling over a bench.

I wanted to rip him to shreds and I probably would have if Mum hadn't held me back.

“Let the idiot go Eric, he's not worth it,” she said.

I turned back, the anger gone almost as soon as it had come, leaving me ashamed of my actions. I took my Mums hand and walked off with her, head hung low.

Behind us I could hear the idiot talking to the people around him, “Did you see that! I could have been killed!”

One old lady said, “Bah and the world would have been a better place, you little rapscallion! I saw you attack that boy pulling his tail! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!”

After that the boy just scrambled off, seemingly not getting the attention he wanted.

I found that ice cream was still something I could enjoy, if anything my enhanced sense of smell made the taste better. I guess there had to be a good side to everything.

We made the journey home and I changed into some new clothes, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I sat watching the TV trying to shut out my mind as Mum made us some lunch. Daytime TV was as awful as ever but it passed the time. I sent a few text's to Sandra in the hope I could convince her to change her mind, but she didn't reply. I tried ringing her again but the call went straight to voice mail. Mum told me she had got me an appointment for Friday, so all being well I would be back at school next week.

I munched my way through lunch and sat in the same dull disbelieving state for most of the afternoon. It was getting towards the end of school and I thought about going over to try and talk to Sandra but I knew it was hopeless.

Mum told me she had to go out to collect some things for work. She was working from home for the rest of the week to look after me. At any other time I would have been insulted by this but now it barely registered. She told me Hannah wouldn't be home till after her martial arts class so I would be on my own till she got back. She asked me if I would be OK, I nodded and went back to watch some TV. Some time later I realised my phone was ringing.

“Hellllo,” I said.

“Eric,” my heart soared it was Sandra! “I've decided to see you. You get this one chance, be in the mill brook park by 5:45 or we are finished!”

She was very businesslike in her manner and maybe that should have rung some alarm bells but at that time I was too overjoyed to hear from her to care. I quickly agreed to her terms, the park was on the far edge of town quite a way away. It nearly five already I would have to move if I wanted to get there in time. I checked how I looked, tidying myself as best I could. In my haste I forgot to leave any sort of note as to where I was going.

I raced along as happy as can be, Sandra was going to see me. I just knew that now she would take me back and we would be together again. She would see it was still me in this new body, the same person, just a different package. Everything would be glorious again.

I ran along as fast as my legs would carry me, which turned out to be quite fast. I felt the urge to go down on all fours but my hands were not really designed for that sort of punishment so I resisted. I reached the park with a few minutes to spare, looking around the deserted area for Sandra.

I saw her up by one of the entrances to the wood, I hurried over, eager to talk to her.

“Sanndruh! Is me Ericc,” I said.

She eyed me critically, with a strange cold glint in her eye I had never seen before. It was almost calculating. It was the first moment I felt any concern alone with her in this deserted park on the edge of town. If I had trusted that first call of alarm things might have turned out quite different.

“Let's go somewhere more private so we can talk,” she said and then held out her hand.

I took it gently and felt her stiffen and a shiver pass through her. I though it was just the strangeness of my fur that made her do that but I guess it was something worse. I was too overjoyed to see her and to be holding her hand to care too much.

She led me into the the forest out of sight, the dark of the trees and the seclusion of the spot meant it very unlikely that anyone would have seen us together. She took me deeper into the woods to a really dark and secluded area, if I hadn't been quite so focused on Sandra I might have noticed that people had been here recently and had hid when we approached. She let go of my hand and stepped away from me turning to regard me. I thought she just wanted a look at me but the evil smile that appeared on her lips when she turned worried me.

“You had to go and turn didn't you,” she said. “I had hoped you would remain pure like me but you went and became a filthy beast like that disgusting freak of a sister of yours.”

I was taken aback by her sudden shift in character, not sure what to do or say.

“You worthless beast! Did you ever think I would take you as my boyfriend now that you're a monster! I'm pure and untainted I wouldn't be seen with the likes of you, however since you are no longer human and are a mere animal I can use you in other ways, my pet!” she said laughing manically.

Suddenly I was grabbed from behind and a rag shoved under my nose, I struggled but whatever was on the rag seemed to be a knock out agent of some kind and I soon became sluggish and dizzy. The figure behind me began to tie me up with cable as I lost my fight against unconsciousness.

“Find it's phone!” I heard Sandra say. “Without that they won't be able to find the beast!” she laughed some more and I sunk into a deep dark state of sleep.

I dreamt of flying along above a green van as it wound it's way through the countryside as if from a birds eye view. The feeling of freedom was fantastic.

Some time later I awoke. I found I was no longer tied up but I was now in some sort of cage, maybe a meter cubed. It was dark but I could make things out OK, I was in a dark concrete room with several similar cages around the room and several old wooden doors leading off in various directions. The whole place felt like it was underground maybe a cellar, it was slightly damp and cold, there was broken bits of machinery and old furniture lying around with cobwebs and dust everywhere. I couldn't see anyone else in the room, most of the cages were open and were lined with straw. A few had dark stains in the straw that looked like blood.

I had woken up to a nightmare.

“So look who's awake!” Sandra's voice came from my left.

The lights snapped on (some bright bulbs strung bare from the ceiling), blindingly bright while my eyes adjusted. Sandra stepped down from a set of stairs that were behind one of the doors. I noticed that the door was heavily insulated, it looked like to prevent sound carrying. She was swinging a bunch of keys and carrying a box.

“So my pet, shall we have some fun?” she asked in a singsong voice.

“Shandrah le mi GO!” I said rattling my cage, “U can kip me ere!” I shouted

“Oh little pet foxy is all grumpy from its trip,” she said, “It’ll do well not to anger its mistress or she’ll show it  what being bad brings!” she cackled with laughter.

I frantically worked at the cage trying to get free, shouting for help.

“Shout all you want little foxy, this is my uncle’s farm out in the middle of nowhere and just to be sure this cellar is completely sound proof. Can't have my pets noises from the punishments upsetting the people can we,” she said and began rummaging in her box.

I kept shouting and rattling my cage.

“You be quiet now foxy or else mistress will teach you a lesson!”

I kept shouting till I was hoarse.

“Very well bad foxykins you asked for it!”

She pulled out a stick of some kind then prodded me with it through the cage. My whole body convulsed and pain surged through me, it was some sort of stun baton. She jabbed me again and again cackling at my screams.

When she stopped I stared at her in horror from my huddling place in the far corner of the cage, as far away as I could get from her baton.

“Now then little foxy, do what mistress says or she will have to hurt you again! It's for your own good!” she said and cackled.

“Why r yoo oing dis ta me?” I asked.

“Oh silly foxy, it is because this is what you are for now. You are not a human any longer. You are an animal, good for a pet, or for food, and nothing else,” she said with a manic gleam in her eye. “Now be quiet or I will hurt you again, only ten times as bad. Animals must learn their place.”

I whimpered in fear and crouched shaking in the corner of the tiny cage, which caused Sandra, the love of my life, my girl, my soul mate, to cackle with laughter.

She took her box of toys and went through one of the doors, by the looks it too was sound proofed so I couldn't tell what she did in there. I do know she returned some time later with a plastic bowl filled with something that to my new nose smelt revolting.

“Din din's time foxy!” Sandra said grinning, dropped the plate down in front of my cage. “Now eat it all up or Mistress will be angry.”

She took out the stun stick again, I shuddered in fear and went to get the plate of foul smelling gunk. It looked like it was dog food or some such the smell nearly made me retch.

I went to take some with my hands, “NOOOOOOO!” screamed Sandra coming at me with the stun baton, “eat it with your mouth!”

Shaking I placed the dish down in front of me and then (crying and shaking with fear and disgust) used my mouth to eat it from the bowl. It was so vile that I felt like I was going to be sick several times.

“That's it eat it all you filthy beast,” snarled Sandra. “Every last scrap or I'll make you bleed!”

I managed to choke down the rest of the horrible muck.

“Lick the bowl!” she shouted.

I did as she asked too scared and hurt to even try and resist.

When I was done she stood back laughing, “AHAHAHAHAHA, how does if feel foxy, to eat food like the animal you are? To shove your filthy snout into that bowl and chomp down that muck! Get used to it, you brute, it's the only way you are going to eat from now on.”

She stabbed me with the baton one last time just for her own amusement then left me quivering in fear in the corner of the cage. How could my sweet Sandra have turned into this sadistic monster that now had me in her grip? How could the kind gentle girl I knew and loved have become this twisted torturer?

I lay crying in the dark with a lot of pain from her attacks but also mentally terrified. What was going to happen to me here?

Sandra returned a few times to torture me some more, sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally.

Eventually she left me alone for the night. The fear of her return and the pain kept me awake for a long time, but eventually I collapsed from exhaustion. I dreamt of flying again.



 


Chapter 3

I woke up the next day. At least I assumed it was the next day. It was hard to tell in this windowless cellar. I was cold and stiff; I couldn't stretch out properly, so my limbs hurt. I pushed the hurt to the back of my mind and examined my cage more carefully in the hopes of finding some way out of this nightmare. It was made of thick steel sections welded together. The door was secured by a heavy padlock l couldn't quite get at, I had no idea how to pick locks anyway.

I was cold and hungry and I needed the toilet. I doubted I would be allowed out to use it so I did the only thing I could: I picked a corner of the cage to use.

I felt disgusted and demeaned to be having to act like an animal. I cried some more, curled up in the opposite corner of the cage.

I spent most of the day alternating between mad rage, screaming and shouting attacking the cage, and feeling sorry for myself crying in the corner.

At some point my tormentor returned, "Feeding time foxy!" she giggled. She wrinkled her nose, "oh foxykins you filthy beast you made a mess in your cage. You dirty animal! That means cleaning time."

She skipped off back up the stairs, her actions parodying an innocent little girl when she was anything but. She returned with a large brute of a man, huge and muscular, dressed in overalls and the look of someone who spent a lot of time doing manual labour. His eyes held the same dark gleam as Sandra's enjoying my torment and humiliation.

"Uncle Paul will help," she grinned.

They started to open the cage and I tried to make a break for it, but the brute Paul was ready. He smashed me hard across the face I was knocked to the floor. The metallic taste of blood filled my mouth and my head span like I was dizzy. Some sort of clamp thing was snapped around my neck and I was wrenched to my feet. I was gripped at the end of a pole that kept me out of arms reach. It was like a human sized version of what animal control people used on violent dogs, allowing them to manoeuvre me without me being able to get at them.

"Bad foxy!" said Sandra.

I was dragged through another of the doors to a room with a tiled area and a drain. There were metal shackles on the wall and floor.

"Put your paws in the shackles!" commanded Sandra.

I hesitated and suddenly got an electric shock. The collar thing must have had a shocker built in.

"Put your paws in the shackles NOW!" she shouted.

I swiftly complied, not wanting more shocks. Sandra hit a lever and the shackles snapped shut. I struggled a bit but couldn't move. The collar thing was released and then Sandra came over in front of me. She was holding a pair of scissors, she snipped them at me grinning.

'Oh no what is she going to do now,' I thought

"Silly foxy is still wearing people clothes but animals don't wear clothes. Now keep still foxy or else you may loose more than your clothes!" she said and came at me with the scissors.

She began cutting my clothes off. I stood stock still not daring to move. She hacked my clothes off with rough slices of the scissors. In several places she took off some of my fur as well even nicking me with the blades in the process.

"Now foxy isn't that better, no more silly clothes," she said and yanked at my fur. "Time to give you a wash."

She backed away and the brute turned a hose on me. A torrent of cold water hit me like a smack in the face. The force was sufficient to knock me off my feet and cause me to hang by the shackles. The freezing water felt like it was ripping the flesh off me. Sandra cackled as I was tortured by the jet of water for what seemed like hours. Eventually dripping wet and freezing cold I was dragged shivering back to my cage. Just before I was locked in Sandra approached me.

"Now that you are all clean I have a present for you," she said and held up a collar which had an engraved plate that said 'Foxy' in curly script with 'property of Sandra' in smaller writing under it.

The brute held me while Sandra snapped the collar on, and then wrestled me back into the cage.

"There, nice clean Foxy with fresh straw in its cage and a pretty new training collar. Now if you are bad it goes like this," she said pressing a small remote, causing the collar to shock me, “and don't try taking it off or it will do it worse! Now feeding time!”

I was once again subjected to the indignity of having to eat dog food like an animal. I was so hungry though I didn't care that it tasted bad. I was then left for a few hours cold wet and angry. Sandra returned at intervals to torture me some more, making me bark like a dog and do silly tricks for some horrible tasting dog biscuits at threat of an electric shock. If I didn't eat the biscuits I got a shock too. It was a real no win situation.

I spent the night screaming and shouting. I slammed myself against the cage trying to loosen it but it was far too sturdy. I knew my only chance was to try and get free when I was out of the cage.

I went to sleep exhausted from my attempts to get free. I fell into a listless sleep once again punctuated by flying dreams.

The next day was much like the last. Most of the day was taken up with long periods where I was just left alone in the dark with nothing but my own thoughts for company. Then in the evening Sandra would torture me for kicks. That evening she had her Uncle chain me to a post so she could throw a ball for me to retrieve.

Every time she tortured and demeaned me what little love I had for her died and rage burned in me. I became more like the animal she thought me. The animal part of me wanted to attack her, rip her to shreds right then and there, but the human part of me knew I had to be smart and wait for my opportunity. I spent the night licking my wounds recovering my strength.

My chance came the next day when they took me for cleaning, they were a little less careful than usual. Not gripping me quite so tightly and not making sure they had me under control. I remembered something my sister had showed me from her martial arts, how to use the strength and weight of an opponent against them. Simple physics that allowed you to throw even a much larger opponent with ease. I struggled against Sandra's Uncle and he made to push me but instead of resisting I pulled at the moment where all his weight was committed, overbalancing him.

Hannah would have been proud as the man went flying. He had let go of his restraints while falling so I was free to move, Sandra shouted and went for her remote to shock me into submission. I slammed into her with all the force I could manage knocking her down and the control from her hand. I turned to see her Uncle getting up to come to her aid. I ran at him and attacked with all my fury tearing at him with my teeth then smacking him unconscious against the concrete.

I grabbed the little remote and switched off my collar then tore it off. I wanted revenge on my torturers but I wasted no more time with them Freedom was better than revenge any day. I didn't know who else was in this place so I headed straight for the door while I had the advantage of surprise. I clambered up the stairs, coming out in some sort of back room. I found the door to the cellar had an exterior lock, so I clicked it shut to stop Sandra and her Uncle from getting loose immediately. It might buy me a few extra seconds.

I swiftly searched the house looking for an exit. Next to the room, with the stairs to the torture chamber, was a kitchen and an outside door. Outside it looked like a farm of some description. There was a dirt track leading out off into the distance. I scrambled out of the door and ran following the road, hoping it would lead me to civilisation and a phone I could use to call for help.

I ran along the dirt track which eventually came to a paved road. Following it I came to a sign reading “Little Greenvale 4 miles”. There was a village up ahead, I would be OK! I vaguely remembered something about Little Greenvale, but I couldn't remember what it was. I knew there would be a phone or maybe a police man or something.

I ran as hard as I could, for what seemed like hours. Then suddenly I saw a car coming towards me along the road. As it got closer I saw it was a police car.

what a stroke of luck!”  I thought to myself with a smile.

I waved frantically at the car and it slowed and pulled over in front of me. Two police officers got out. I went over to them.

“What seems to be the trouble, why are you out like this with no clothes on?” asked one of the officer.

“Offica I need yo hellllp,” I said trying to be clear, “Theyff bin kiping mi innn a cagth!”

The officer on the drivers side looked closely at me, “Well son that sounds terrible!”

I moved in closer glad that they were going to help me, “I neee ta gittt home,” I said, “Ma parints wal be worried abo mi.”

“Don't worry lad we'll make sure you get where you need to go,” said the officer.

I was close enough now that I didn't see the other police officer walk up behind me and my fatigue left me not at my most alert. All of a sudden I was hit over the back of the head. The first blow didn't knock me out just hurt like hell and made me very woozy.

“Damn things,” said the other officer, “They just won't go down!”

I saw the night stick fly at me and then nothing.

The next time I resurfaced I was chained to the floor of the torture chamber. Heavy metal shackles on my wrists and ankles connected by thick chains to a thick metal collar around my neck which was then chained to the floor holding me down. I heard the officers who had captured me talking to someone.

“Thanks for bringing the thing back Steve,” one voice said.

“Ah no problem, just don't let it out again,” said the officer who had distracted me.

“Yes my pet foxy isn't going to be going anywhere any more, thanks for returning it Officer,” said Sandra.

“You're welcome little lady. It's good to see young folks like yourself taking an active role in putting these things in their place,” said the Officer who had hit me. “Some of the young folk have been really letting the village down. Even good families have been failing in their duty. You didn't hear this from me but I heard even the Wilson girl didn't properly do her duty when her brother became one of these abominations.” 

“Well, no worries about my little niece Sandra,” said the other man's voice I guess he was the brute Paul, “She's a proper lady who knows how to treat animals.”

“Well I bet you have a lot to do with this wretch,” said the cop and kicked me, “so we'll let you get on.”

They moved off up the stairs and I was left on the floor. Some time later Sandra and the man came back, Sandra was muttering something about cousins and not wanting to be reminded or some such.

Paul circled me, he was holding a battered old cricket bat. He would periodically smack the thing into his palm making a meaty thwack noise.

He stopped and prodded me hard with the end of it, “So you little beast, still got some fight left in you!” he said, “We can't have that. You tore up my arm pretty good and for that you are going to pay.”

He kicked me hard in the ribs, I tried to curl up to shield my internal organs but I couldn't with the chains holding me. He followed it up by striking me with the bat across my back. He was obviously very skilled at this as he hit hard enough to really hurt but not hard enough to severely damage me, I guess this way enabling him to prolong the torture.

“You've been a bad Foxy!” said Sandra, “You made me look bad to the police, like I can't take care of my pets. You also hurt me and for both these crimes I will see you beaten black and blue till you learn your place.”

She swung some sort of club at me hitting me across the face, the brute Paul then kicked me again and she hit me somewhere else. This continued for hours till I was a bloody mess in colossal pain. I was thrown back in my cage with the manacles still on.

“That will do for today,” said Sandra, “Tomorrow is Saturday so we have two whole days where I can continue training you all day long, won't that be fun.”

She began cackling, she and the brute went upstairs shutting out the light, leaving me to bleed in the dark.

As I lay there I remembered where it was I had heard of Little Greenvale. Hannah had told me about it a village run by anti MORFS fanatics. They expelled any MORFS survivors that moved there or people that changed. There had even been stories about a girl who had changed and her family had tried to kill her. All in all a place no MORFS survivor would want to be, I cursed my memory. This was information that would have been very useful to know an hour ago. As it was it was too late. I doubted I would get another go at escaping. Even if I did get out the damage they had done me, and planned on doing to me, meant I would probably not even make it out of the cellar.

I lay there in pain, too worn out and traumatised to even cry, till finally sleep claimed me.


Chapter 4

I woke the next day barely able to move. The area around one of my eyes was so swollen that I couldn't open it. Every move was torture. My fur hid the damage mostly. I was probably bruised all over but it was only places where they had broken the skin with the fur matted with blood that you could see the damage they had wrought.

Sandra came to rub salt in my wounds, with another round of her “training”.

By the end of the day I had gone from barely able to move to completely unable to move. Fresh wounds dripping blood on the straw of my cage, a bowl of dog food my only meal.

Sunday was just as bad if not worse. Pain became my whole world.

I got a breather when Monday came around as Sandra was obviously at school. I began to wonder how long I had though, at this rate I was sure I would be dead pretty soon. If Sandra and her uncle didn't directly kill me then I was sure the wounds they had inflicted would. None of my wounds had been cleaned and I was not living in a very sanitary environment. In my weakened state it probably wouldn't be long before I succumbed to illness.

Probably the only thing that would delay that was having very recently undergone MORFS, as it gave a brief burst of increased immune system. I suspected even with that I was living on borrowed time. How long before Sandra got tired of me and did me in? Or decided to let me starve.

A couple of days with only minimal torture and mostly humiliation followed and I slowly healed. When the next weekend came I was still bruised all over but most of the pain was gone. Sandra had me play fetch again, it hurt me a lot as my legs wouldn't straighten all the way any more and the weight of the manacles they had put on me made my movements sluggish.

When she put me back in the cage she turned to me and said, “There Foxy isn't life much better now you do what your mistress says. You are a good obedient pet and will get your rewards for it. A nice cage and a pretty collar.”

The anger sparked in me again and I couldn't help but shout out, “Yo CRAYSY BITHH! Yo ar the stupadist ugthy littal hore I av eva met.”

She stared at me in shock obviously thinking I was beaten, “yo ma kill me but I will alwas be bitter tha yo. Yo ar worthlis yo ar an imbecile yo wil die alone!”

“Better BETTER!” she screamed “You think you're better than me freak!”

If I had been in my right mind I might have stopped antagonising her there but rage fuelled my words, “I don thin Ima Bitter I knaw Ima BITTER!” I shouted back, “Yo ar a rotten ugthy lier! A filty little beasta! Some wan ho wil never amont ta anythin!”

“How ... How ... Dare you!” she screamed. I laughed at her loud and manic, “Shut up you animal, SHUT UP!”

She grabbed her shock prod and started jabbing me. The pain once again smashing through me, but it didn't stop me laughing. I think I had completely lost it by this stage, no amount of pain would have stopped my hysterical laughter. The air was soon thick with the smell of burnt fur and flesh from the repeated shocks.

Eventually Sandra ran up the stairs leaving me there, I still laughed, I couldn't seem to stop. She brought her uncle back down who once again beat me into unconsciousness.

When I woke up again in pain, as soon as I saw Sandra I began laughing again. She tortured me a bit but I just kept on laughing at her.

She tried muzzling and gagging me but it didn't completely dull the noise. I could see Sandra getting more and more frustrated by her inability to control me. It was the only way of fighting back I had.

After yet another time when I was rendered unconscious I woke up somewhere new. I was strapped to a table, Sandra loomed over me and I started to cackle. She gave me an evil grin.

"Sure laugh Foxykins best get all the laughing you ever want out of your system, you won't be laughing after we're through with you," she said cackling.

I struggled against my bonds and a huge hand clamped a rag down on my face. I was once again knocked out by some drug or other.

When I came to I was back in my cage and my throat hurt a lot. I reached up to find it bandaged. Sandra stepped into view.

"Go on Foxy, laugh!" she said with a grin.

I tried to speak but no noise came out of my mouth. I tried again, I tried to make any sort of noise and found I couldn't.

"Hahaha, isn't that better Foxy? No more annoying vocal chords to disturb my peace and quiet," she cackled. She left me there to contemplate this latest horror.

I wanted to shout and scream but I now couldn't. Instead I screamed and shouted internally, bashing against my cage.

When I finally wore myself out and I was on the edge of sleep I could have sworn I heard a voice saying "Good, it's quiet now."

The next day was another long boring day in the dark with an evening of torture. It seemed now I couldn't scream any more that Sandra didn't seem to be enjoying hurting me so much. The pain made me scream on the inside even if I couldn't on the outside. When it was over I heard the voice again, “So much pain, but the noise is stopped now. We are relieved, it was loud and we couldn't shut it out,” It said.

I guess the pain and the torture was getting to me, 'I must be going mad,' I thought.

“Of course we are,” replied the voice, “Ever since the sprouting of wings and the cage, all is dark. The monster has taken our mind.”

After all the things that had happened to me it didn't seem odd that I would start to loose my mind. I decided to just accept that I now had crazy voices echoing in my head saying weird things and try and get some sleep. Maybe I would dream of flying again. My flight dreams and the sense of freedom to be able to control where I went was my only escape now. I relished my time swooping about like a bird.

Several days passed without anything of note happening, the usual schedule of torture and humiliation. The only difference was that the crazy voice occasionally said something to me. For a while I tried ignoring it, but in the end I began to talk back to it, desperate for some company. The conversations rarely made much sense.

At evening feeding time it often perked up.

“It is the time of feeding, birdseed and water,” said the voice.

Really? I have dog food,” I thought back.

“But we are not a dog,” it said.

I know, but she doesn't care about making sense,” I thought.

“She is the betrayer who stole the sky and took our song. She offered us safety but gave only pain,” the voice said.

Yeah, I hate that annoying self righteous nut job bitch, I can't believe I ever loved her.”

“Before the change we were of one mind on all things. Now she is the dark mistress of pain and death.”

Got that right, I'd like to rip her throat out. If only I'd gone left instead of right when I got out I might have escaped.”

“So hungry for real food, wasting away, all feathers and bone. Soon, poof, gone just dust, under the ground like the others.”

The voice went quiet and I didn't hear from it again that day. It made me feel more human talking to it, like there was a piece of me that Sandra couldn't take away. It made the beatings and the humiliation a little easier to endure.

By now I had completely lost track of what day it was. Locked away in the dark with no clue as to the time or the day Sandra had been my only clue, if she spent all day it was a weekend if it was just an evening it was a school night. But she had begun to only visit infrequently and then only briefly. The brute Paul still fed me although sometimes I went days without a clean which was disgusting. Sitting there in my own filth like some beast.

I was loosing weight at an alarming rate, they were only feeding me a small amount of food. My body was becoming more and more skinny my ribs sticking out.

Every now and again Sandra would come up with some new torture or humiliation to subject me to. One day it was to pull her along in a little cart, another it was to tie things to my tail and make me pull them about.

My only escape was my dreams of flight and talking with the voice in my head. The voice and I talked more and more frequently, my craziness either getting worse or better as the voice began to sound more coherent.

One day Sandra brought some guests down to show me off.

Great, some stupid gawker come to see the caged freak,” I thought.

“You are making things up again, I see no one,” said the voice in my head.

Sandra led the four men into the cellar. I recognised one as the cop who had smacked me over the head.

Great it's the cop that hit me and three other losers. I bet Sandra calls me Foxy again,” I thought.

“You are such a strange fantasy,” said the voice. Oh that was rich now even the voices in my head were trying to pretend I didn't exist. That couldn't be a good sign.

“Here is my Pet Fox,” said Sandra. Turning to me she continued, “Come forward Foxy.”

I hate it when she calls me Foxy,” I thought.

I didn't move, so she predictably gave me a shock, after a few goes I came closer to the front.

“As you can see it still needs a lot of training,” she said.

“Well my dear this is a splendid project you have here,” said one of the men.

“Yes you are an inspiration to all the young folk of Little Greenvale on how to handle these animals,” another said.

“Well thank you Mr Mayor, it took a lot of effort from me and my family to achieve this and it's not for the faint of heart. These things can be very dangerous and can escape. This one here managed to get loose one time but luckily the officer caught him,” Sandra gushed.

“Well it's very brave of you to try this dangerous work, now what else do you have to show me,” the Mayor said.

The wandered off into the other rooms towards where the wash room was.

Bah what kind of crazy town has the mayor congratulate some crazy girl on kidnapping and torturing her boyfriend,” I thought.

“Boyfriend?” asked the voice.

Yes, I was Sandra's boyfriend at one point.”

“First imaginary people now this! I am mad to be talking to you! But at least it passes the time,” said the voice, now even the voices in my head thought they were mad.

There was a pause then the voice perked up, “Wait, I see the people! The mayor and one of the policemen. How did you know they were coming? I couldn't have heard them,” the voice sounded confused.

But they were just here talking to me, prodding me. How else would I know about them?” I thought back.

“So ... So ... they were just there, and now they are here and I couldn't have seen them. But that means that ... You're real!?!”

Of course I am, you're the imaginary one.”  Now I was having arguments with my imaginary friends how much lower could I fall.

“I'm not imaginary! I'm Jessica!” said the voice.

The name sounded familiar, I racked my brains for why. Then it hit me, Jessica was Sandra's sisters name.



 


Chapter 5

The bomb shell that my imaginary friend wasn't imaginary at all was something of a shock.

but ... but ... how can I hear you? And for that matter how can you hear me,” I thought.

*I don't know,* said Jessica, *Oh, It must be telepathy!*

*You're reading my thoughts!?* I sent.

*I guess so, I don't really know. I can't think of any other explanation.*

*I guess,* unable to think of a more plausible explanation, me being crazy seemed high up on the list though.

I was a little shocked by the whole thing I decided to assume for now that I wasn't out of my mind. I assumed Jessica must be in one of the other rooms in this place. I had wondered about the multiple cages and the possibility of other people being held here but I had long ago come to the conclusion that I was alone down here.

*So who are you?* Jessica asked.

*I'm Eric, I was Sandra's boyfriend till I changed. You are her sister right?*

*Yes, the family put me here after I changed. I don't know how long ago that was now. So many days ran together. I lost it a bit till I started talking to you.*

*Well, it must be at least a couple of months. You stopped coming to school and then Sandra said you had gone overseas or something.*

*When they found out I had MORFS they took me here to isolate me, for my protection they said. When it became clear that I was changing into a hybrid, my sister made the suggestion of locking me up as a pet. When I awoke from my final set of changes I was caged. She tortured me for days, I screamed and cried almost non stop, begging my sister and family to let me go. Eventually she had them cut my vocal cords to stop the noise. I slowly lost myself,* she sent. *I didn't start coming out of it till I felt your pain. At first I thought it was mine, but then gradually I heard your voice. I guess with your thoughts coming through, I started to come back.*

*I can't believe your own sister did this to you!*

*Worse! My twin, we shared everything. When I changed it changed her as well, like she became twisted inside. Maybe she was always like this and it just took this to bring it out.*

*I never saw this side of her before either.*

*So you are her boyfriend?*

*Yes, well I guess was her boyfriend is more accurate. Locking me in a cage and torturing me definitely put a crimp on our relationship.*

*I don't remember her mentioning you how long were you seeing her?*

*I had only been seeing her for a bit by the time you left. She never wanted me to go near her in class, she was always very reticent about us showing any public signs of any affection. It took a month before she'd hold my hand in public.*

*Hmm I guess that explains it. We were both raised very conservatively. Our family comes from Little Greenvale which has a very backward view of the world. Though we didn't live there we were still expected to comport ourselves as proper ladies. I got a little sick of it, all my friends were out having fun and we were expected to just study the bible or knit or sew or some such.*

*Sounds boring.*

*Yeah, but I'd give anything to be back like that rather than slowly dying in a cage.*

I had to agree with Jessica there.

*So how did she get you?* Jessica asked.

*After I changed she first rejected me, but then she offered me a chance to see her. It was at a park on the edge of town and I rather foolishly decided to go. She led me into the forest and someone jumped me. I woke up here. I almost got out one time but I went towards Little Greenvale and the cops brought me back.*

*That makes me both happy and sad. Happy because it meant I got to speak to you, sad because it means you are stuck in the same hell I am.*

*Maybe we could escape together?*

*It's a nice dream but I doubt we will ever make it out.*

*I managed it once when they were hosing me down.*

*I'm too weak to escape them now. If you get the chance go for it. Don't waste it trying to save me.*

*What sort of person would I be if I did that.*

*I can barely walk any more I'd doom us both.*

I sat thinking I didn't want to even consider abandoning Jessica to this, I resolved that if I did get another chance I'd not leave without her.

It was getting late so we said our good nights and tried to sleep. It was the first night I went to sleep feeling happy, even though I was still in this hellish situation. I guess having someone to talk to who wasn't a figment of my imagination helped, a sort of misery loves company.

During the night I had brief snatches of the flying thing again.

When I woke up Jessica sent, *Morning Eric.*

*Morning Jessica, how are you today,* I asked.

*Oh same as usual, some of my feathers fell out. I think the lack of nutrition is getting to me.*

*Oh ... wait feathers? You have feathers?*

She paused and then in a sort of depressed tone sent, *Yeah I'm a winged freak.*

I thought wings sounded pretty cool but I guess she didn't feel that way, *I have fur and a tail too.*

*Really, what sort of fur?* she asked

*Red and white sort of shortish. I'm a fox hybrid complete with bushy tail.*

*Wow, I always liked foxes. Does it bother you to have fur?*

*Oh yeah, it's a pain to wash. It soaks up the water like a sponge and it gets caught in things.*

*But don't you hate how people see you as a beast?*

*Well, I guess. I never really thought about it, I wasn't out and about too much before I got nabbed. My sister Hannah, she has had fur for years. She changed pretty early when she was ten. Became a hamster hybrid, got bullied a lot for it. Then she started fighting back and now she's a total kick arse martial arts expert and she doesn't let other peoples opinions on her appearance bother her.*

*Wow! Oh I think I remember your sister. Orange and white fur, black eyes, in the upper sixth.*

*Yeah that sounds like Hannah.*

*She's gorgeous though. All the boys are after her, even some of the anti-MORFS ones openly fantasise about her, course in rather negative ways. I'm much more of a monster than that. I doubt anyone would want me now.*

*Hey don't do yourself down, it's the person inside that's important, not the package. Besides some people like wings.*

*That's very sweet of you to say but I doubt you would think that if you could see me.*

I was about to answer that when I heard someone coming down the stairs.

*Some one's coming!* I sent in hushed tones.

I got a titter of mental laughter then Jessica sent back *Why are you whispering, no one else can hear us silly!*

*Oh yeah I forgot that,* I sent back feeling a little stupid but happy to have made Jessica laugh.

Sandra strode into the cellar she was carrying a small bundle of fluff, “I've come to show you how a proper pet should behave Foxy!”

I saw the bundle of black fir was actually a mewing kitten, “See how good kitty is? See how I reward her with love and affection? If you behave you too will receive such benefits Foxykins.” she said.

She showed the kitten to me it looked at me inquisitively and mewed a bit. Sandra nodded to herself and wandered off obviously to show the kitten to her sister.

*Sandra's coming, she has a kitten. Try not to give away that I ruined the surprise,* I sent.

There was more mental laughter, *I'll try. Oh isn't it adorable, poor little thing it's trapped in the grip of a mad girl just like us.*

*It seems to be a collaborator though.*

*That's true; it is cosying up to the enemy. It also might try to eat me, cats being fond of munching on birds.*

*You're still bigger than it I presume, I'd put my money on you in a fight.*

*Hehe, yeah the state I'm in it would be close though,* Her tone suggested that she wasn't exaggerating all that much.

*How bad are you really?* I asked concerned.

*Pretty bad ... let's not talk about it Eric, it's too depressing.*

*OK Jessica. So do you think we can win kitty back to the cause? She could be a double agent and go steal the key,* I sent trying to make Jessica laugh.

*Well if we had some cream maybe we could entice her, although I think it be more likely we'd lap it up than kitty. Oh, I'd kill for some cream.*

*I hope I still like cream, I found my new sense of taste doesn't work too well with sweet things. Though ice cream was still good, so regular cream probably is.*

*Your sense of taste is different?*

*Yeah I think it's part of my better sense of smell.*

*Cool I didn't really gain much in the way of additional stuff. This telepathy thing doesn't seem to reach far enough to get help.*

*What I wouldn't give for some powers to bust out of this place.*

*Yeah me too.*

Sandra then went through the ritual of feeding time, I hoped that she gave Jessica a nice sized portion as it sounded like she was not getting anywhere near enough food. Sandra then took her leave carrying her new favourite pet away and leaving us two the old hated pets in the dark. At least the distraction of a fluffy kitty meant we were ignored rather than beaten.

I was feeling tired already despite being up only a few hours, I guess the lack of food and the lack of light was wearing me down. I lay down to rest and I must have dozed off, as next thing I knew I was dreaming I was a floating around the room. It was one of those lucid dreams where I knew I was dreaming and had some control. I zipped around the room and then decided to go through to where I thought Jessica was, to see what my imagination would make of this uncharted country.

I went through the door and saw another large room with a few cages, a few stacks of dog food, and sacks of bird food. As I looked around the room seemed so real that I was amazed how detailed this dream was. I looked for Jessica, there were several cages like in my section of the cellar but in one corner I saw a cage with a dark shape in it. I swooped closer to take a look. I couldn't really see beyond a dark shape which I guess was my mind not having anything to work with. I noticed the gleam of two eyes in the dark shape turn towards me.

*Eric! There's something in the room with me!* said dream Jessica sounding scared.

*It's just me. I'm dreaming,* I replied.

*What? This isn't a dream I'm awake and there is this dark shape floating in the room!*

*Well you would say that, this is my dream,* I said dismissively.

I moved to get a better look but then suddenly was awake again back in the cell.

*I just had a strange dream with you in it,* I sent to Jessica.

*Oh stop that, the dark thing just vanished!* said a fairly scared sounding Jessica.

*What how could you know that it's what the dream Jessica was saying. Maybe I'm still dreaming!* I made every effort to wake myself up but I stayed where I was. I tried the usual tests to see if I was dreaming but it seemed I was awake.

*I said it only a few moments ago and you were blabbering about a dream!*

*I don't understand. If I wasn't dreaming then what was going on ? How come I could see in that room and was flying?*

*I don't know, maybe you have some power after all?*

*I guess it's possible. I never had my assessment thing. I wonder what it could be?*

*Maybe some sort of telesense? Not sure what the dark stuff was though.*

*I wonder how it works? I've been having a load of these flying dreams I wonder if that's what it was, me using this ability without realising it.*

I tried to work out how to trigger this power, it didn't sound very useful but you never knew. I focused on leaving my body for a while, but that didn't see to work. I tried closing my eyes but that didn't work. Eventually I figured it out by accident I fell back in defeat letting my body fall onto my straw bed and my perceptions kept falling through the floor.

I shouted in shock and promptly lost it again, but after some careful work I was able to trigger it fairly easily. It seemed that when I entered that state my normal visual senses routed through this power rather than me getting any double vision.

*Hey I figured it out!* I sent.

*Cool!* sent Jessica.

I floated my way over to her room again looking around more carefully now that I knew it was real and not a dream.

*I'm in your room. Can you see the same thing as before?*

*Yeah a sort of diffuse dark cloud.*

*Is there a mirror anywhere about?*

*Yeah over by the chairs in the corner there's an old dressing table.*

I zipped over and saw what she meant: A sort of dark cloud hung in space around where I could see from. As I thought I found it responded to my thoughts ,either vanishing or changing shape. I found I could make small shapes in the air, little shadow-like sculptures. I made one of a hand and then went and waved to Jessica.

She giggled mentally. I saw the flash of teeth in a smile in the gloom of her cage, *Wow you must be able to make illusions as well.*

*Sweet! I have got some power after all, I still wish it was super strength or some sort of zap but it's better than nothing I guess,* I paused for a moment then decided to take a look at Jessica close to, *I'm going to move a bit closer so I can see you.*

There was quiet for a bit then she sent, *OK but promise me you won't hate me.*

*I don't think that's possible.*

I floated my point of view through into her cage so I could get a closer look. I could now see her more clearly, she was covered head to toe in dark feathers with a white bit under her chin. She was small and very thin, her wings were large and scythe shaped like those of a swift. Large piercing blue eyes stared out at me.

'Wow!'  I thought even in her malnourished state she was very beautiful.

She smiled hearing my thoughts I felt a little embarrassed at her having heard my internal thoughts but seeing her smile made me feel very happy.

*You're so sweet,* she sent.

*Well, I ... I just think ... well.*

She giggled at my embarrassment, *cute too.* she sent.

She regarded my floating point of view and tentatively reached out and passed her hand through it. Giggling inside my head some more. She regarded it speculatively cocking her head to one side and fixing her eyes on me.

*I wonder if I can tag along?*

*How do you mean?*

*Well I have heard that telepaths can get pictures as well as thoughts out of peoples heads.*

*Give it a go.*

*Hmmm let's see.*

I felt a strange tickling sensation in my mind I guess as Jessica tried to tap my visual cortex. Some number of minutes went by and then suddenly she said.

*HA GOT IT!*

I felt a distinct presence in my mind. I guess this was more than passively reading my thoughts, it was actively tapping into my brain. It was like someone leaning over my shoulder to peer at a screen I was using. It was a bit disturbing but also a bit comforting I hadn't really had any friendly human contact since I had been locked up and Jessica gently peering into my head was the closest I had come.

*Can we move?* she asked. *Staring at myself like this is a little disturbing.*

*OK,* I replied.

I circled the room and then went back to the mirror, *I wonder if I can make this thing fully invisible.*

*Why?* Jessica asked.

*Well we can go up undetected.*

*Ooo spying on the enemy! We can signal agent Kitty to attack.*

Now that Jessica was more herself she had a wonderful bubbly personality, I found myself wishing I had gone out with this twin rather than psychotic Sandra.

I focused on the task at hand. With some effort I managed to pull the illusory smoke in so I was invisible. I realised I could sort of feel the illusion like it was a surrogate body, a sort of telepresence. Without it, it was much more remote, more like looking at a video than actually being there.

I floated up through the floor and found myself in the kitchen. I could hear voices somewhere behind me.

*Go left and then right,* Jessica sent, *It sounds like they're in the dinning room.*

I followed her directions and found myself overlooking a big table full of people all eating. Just staring at all that food made my tummy growl. I perched up on a shelf above the action so I could see everything.

There were seven people. Most of them were adults, Sandra was the only child there. I recognised the brute Paul but no one else. Sandra was sat at one end of the table with the brute Uncle Paul on her left and a woman of about the same age, maybe late forties was sat next to him. On the other side was another couple slightly younger than the other two. At the head of the table was an older man with a big beard.

*Who are they?* I asked.

*Well on the Left is Uncle Paul and Aunt Judy. On the right is Mum and Dad. At the head of the table is Uncle Richard.* She replied.

“I must say I'm impressed with the way you have handled the two animals downstairs Sandra. You put even full grown men to shame with your skill and dedication,” Uncle Richard said.

“You're too kind,” said Sandra, “I only do what any righteous person should do.”

“Quite so,” he replied.

*They're all nuts!* I said.

*Tell me about it,* Jessica replied.

“Yes I must say your suggestion to deal with that monster that took over your boyfriend was inspired,” said Sandra's Mother.

“I'm sure it is what the real Eric would want if there is any of him left,” said Sandra.

I wanted to throttle the little cow. In my anger I imagined forming a hand and pushing a small flower pot near me off onto her head. To my surprise the thing moved and then tottered and fell. I only moved it by a very small amount but it was near the edge, gravity did the rest. It landed pretty close to her, it didn't hit her (unfortunately) but it gave the whole room, myself included a bit of a scare.

I quickly retreated back to the cellar, mainly to collect my thoughts.

*Wow, your illusions can be solid or exert some force!* said Jessica.

I was silent trying to work out what to do with this new addition to my set of tricks. I tried moving things again, it took some effort to duplicate the success upstairs and it soon became apparent that I could not exert a lot of force. I could lift a few grams but I could focus that force into a very small space. I floated considering the implications. Maybe I could use it to escape. I sat there thinking for quite a while when Jessica shook me from my scheming.

*Hey, is that you?* she asked.

*Huh?* I replied.

*In the cage, is that you?*

*Oh yes, yes that's me. You're right about it being odd seeing yourself from the outside.*

I moved in closer so she could get a better look.

*Wow you're pretty handsome, I always though foxes were cute.*

I felt really embarrassed and happy at the same time. I suddenly felt her presence fade a bit.

*Are you alright?*

*Oh I'm tired. This tagging along is wearing me out.*

I felt her slip away, I rushed into her room. She sat there her eyes half closed her head nodding like she was falling asleep.

*So hungry and tired,* she sounded and looked really weak.

I decided to see if there was anything I could do to get her more food, I went to the stash of food and tried to lift some of it with my powers, but it was too heavy for me. The bird food was light enough for me to shift but not in any quantity. I mentally grabbed a bit and dragged it over to her, hoping that a little more would be better than nothing. She smiled at me very weakly at the meagre gift. I went back for some more and spotted a small toy truck thing in the junk. I found that with some effort I could move it about. I found that it helped if I imagined a body around the object like a hand pushing it or forming a little animal pulling it. It allowed me to focus more and apply the force more easily. I formed little legs round the cart and kicked it along the floor like a child riding a little wheeled cart.

Soon it was next to the bag of food, I tried moving it a bit at a time but it took forever to fill the cart. I decided to see if I could open the bag up and let the seed flow out naturally. I didn't have much luck till in frustration jabbed at the bag like I was poking or stabbing it. The force all focused to a small area very quickly cut through the fabric of the bag like a knife. I tried the same trick again more deliberately. I focused my force into a point and cut a hole in the bag. It allowed a jet of seed to escape into the little truck. When it was filled I carefully rolled the truck over to Jessica who was able to get at the food through the bars. It was still only a few handfuls, but it was better than nothing. I was just about to go back for more when I heard footsteps on the stairs, I rushed the truck out of sight, hoping to use it again later then returned to my body.

It was Sandra come to do cleaning and feeding , she had a few of the people upstairs as well as her usual helper Paul with her. I was tortured with electrical shocks and humiliated some more. When it was over I had been hosed down and I had eaten my dog food like a good animal. I was left alone cold wet and shivering. I lay down and pretended to be asleep throwing my awareness out into the world taking care not to project anything visually. I watched as poor Jessica went through the same thing. She was so weak she couldn't walk and had to be dragged by her collar here and there. I watched as they zapped her with electricity and her making her body feebly spasm. They gave her a small tub of bird seed, it was probably half what I had got her in my previous attempt. No wonder she was so frail.

After the party of sick torturers had left patting each other on the back and laughing at our fate I went to see if Jessica was alright.

*How are you? Did they hurt you badly?* I asked.

*No not too badly, I'm glad the shocky thing doesn't hurt me,* she replied.

*It doesn't hurt you?*

*No. When she first started she would hit me physically, then she got that stick thing and zapped me. The first time she jabbed me in a bruise so I screamed, she thought it had hurt me a lot and kept using it. After a while I realised it didn't hurt, but I still screamed just as hard if not harder so she wouldn't go back to hitting me. Most of the time it worked and she would shock me rather than hit me.*

*Wow, that thing really hurts me.*

*It just sort of tingles a bit. Feels sort of good actually like my skin is buzzing. I feel it for a bit afterwards too a nice buzz inside me. Hmmm I can feel it now it's nice.*

I noticed a slight glow about her, her eyes seemed unusually bright.

*You look kind of strange,* I sent trying to work out if it was some aspect of my new vision or if it was her that the glow was coming from.

*What? What is it?* She asked and put her hand towards the cell. A large spark jumped from her hand to the metal. *Golly!*

She repeated this and another spark jumped from her hand soon lots of sparks.

*Wow, I have a trick too!*

*You must be an electrical elemental! That's why the electric pain stick doesn't hurt you.*

*Cool!* she said creating a cascade of sparks around her.

*This deserves a celebration, hold still I'll get some more food for you.*

I brought her another truck load of food I decided to try getting her something different too, some of the dog food though it tasted foul it probably was better for her than birdseed. I found moving the cans easier and wished I had tried that first, since they just rolled along easily. I realised a flaw in my thinking, what was I supposed to do with it now, I had no can opener and I couldn't even fit it through the cage. I decided to try using my focus force and jabbing technique I had used on the seed bag. I found after a few good hits I could punch a small hole through the metal, repeating this many many times I could open the can. Then Jessica could reach in and get some of the dog food.

*I know it tastes pretty awful,* I sent apologetically, *but it's probably better for you than the seed.*

*It's not so bad. The seed stuff is so bland. At least this has a flavour, even if it's a little strange,* she replied.

 At some point she started to look really tired and yawned, *I'm sleepy but I feel pretty full for once, thank you Eric. I'm going to rest a bit I'll play some more tomorrow.*

She curled up and wrapped her wings around her, I carefully got rid of the empty can and returned the truck to it's hiding place in case I needed it again then did some more exploring.

I would have liked to get some more food myself but couldn't see a way to get the stuff through the door. It was too heavy for me to budge. If it had been lighter I might have been able to inch it open.

I searched about then noticed a small hole in one of the walls, perhaps it was made by animals or just poor maintenance. I wondered if I could fit one of the cans through. I knocked over one of the cans and then forming myself an imaginary mouse body rolled the thing towards the hole. I was in luck the thing just fit through. Once it was at the other side I rolled it up to the cage.

Once again I imagined a needle slamming into the lid of the can with as much force as I could muster. I repeated this punching process all the way round till the can opened. I switched back to my normal sight and grabbed some of the hated dog food. It tasted as awful as ever but it was better than nothing and a victory of my ingenuity. I cleaned out the can and then rolled it into a distant corner of the room under a lot of junk where it was unlikely anyone would find it.

Buoyed up by this successful use of my powers I decided to go exploring, I flew fast and free, imagining myself a bird and seeing dark shadowy wings flapping along next to me as I soared into the sky. I raced away from the farm at high speed. I suspected I could, when I knew what I was doing, project my point of view instantly to somewhere in range, but I liked the feeling this semi flight gave me.

I flew towards the hated Little Greenvale and reached the outskirts before all of a sudden I hit an invisible wall. It must have been the effective range of my power as I just stopped dead unable to move forward but able to move back. After some pushing I found with effort I could go a little further but it was physically exhausting and wore me out rapidly. Even at the maximum reach I was on the outskirts of the village within range of a few houses but nothing that was useful. I could try and alert the authorities but from here I would be alerting people that wanted me dead that I had abilities. I’m sure that would only hasten my demise. I swooped off in the opposite direction to see if there was anything that way, but it was nothing but farm land. I circled round at the edge of my range but there was nowhere I could reach where I could get help.

I flew back a little depressed. I landed on a tree and changed my shape to something approximating a cat and clambered down. I caught a glimpse of the shadow cat I now wore as my body. It was a very rough cat like shape, sharp vaguely polygonal in construction made of pure shadow faintly translucent at the edges. I stalked around the farm carefully, it was a large place with lots of fairly run down buildings. I could see why they kept us here, it was isolated and quiet, if we escaped there were few friendly places in close reach.

I went into the house and looked around, it was full of strange rooms, obviously added to and rebuilt many times over the years. As a result it was full of nooks and crannies to hide in.

I was examining ways through the house when a small mewing noise took me by surprise. I turned to see Sandra's kitten observing me curiously.

I went up to it and using my paws stroked it. Which would have looked very strange to anyone watching. The kitten tried to rub itself against me but was a little confused when it passed right through me. I played with kitty for a bit and tried copying her shape a bit better, by the time she got bored with me my shadow cat shape was much more cat like.

I returned to the cellar to think and rest. My trip had begun to make me tired. It was clear we couldn't go on like this much longer. Sooner or later we would become too much of a risk and be killed off. Or we would succumb to some illness from our mistreatment or just die from lack of proper food.

We needed to get out of our cages, that meant them letting us out and us overpowering them or somehow picking the lock.

Option one was unlikely, I decided to take a crack at option two in light of my more recent abilities. I moved my point of view over to one of the other cages and began fiddling with the innards of the lock. I didn't want them spotting my tampering on my own cage just in case I screwed up.

It was strange work as I was inside the lock, compressing my point of view to very small so that I could get inside the mechanism. It was very very dark and I couldn't really see anything. I wondered if my illusion ability could help and I tried imagining a point of light. A faint glow appeared. It seemed I could do shadow better than light but what little I could manage on such a small scale was enough so I could see what I was doing.

The workings were all unfamiliar and I had no clue how to pick a lock. It seemed to have a load of little pins inside the lock that went up and down in a cylinder that rotated. I started fiddling with them trying to work out how to open them. Several hours later I was tired and fed up I had made no progress what so ever and so I called in a night. Maybe tomorrow would bring inspiration or some such.


Chapter 6

I woke up feeling a bit stronger than the last few days. I sorted out some breakfast for myself and Jessica and then I told her about my explorations the previous night.

*I tried to find somewhere I could get help, but I can only just reach the edge of Little Greenvale and I doubt anyone there would help us,* I said.

*Well I did hear the local Doctor was somewhat sympathetic, but his practice is on the other side of the village from here,* said Jessica.

*Maybe you could contact him telepathically?*

*No. I tried that, I suspect my range is too limited. I can focus on minds I know like Sandra or my parents maybe a bit further out than you. But for people I don't know I can't reach that far.*

She sounded a bit depressed by this so I showed her my progress imitating Sandra's kitten. It made her smile I even did the usual kitten mannerisms and she tickled me under the chin. Or at least pretended to it was still an illusion so not really solid.

Jessica was still a little tired so wanted to take a nap, I left her to sleep and went back to my lock picking practice. I studied the internals of the padlock more closely and was beginning to figure out how it worked. After nearly an hour of tinkering I had some idea of what to do and was trying to put my knowledge to use. I failed quite a lot, despite what the movies and TV have shown me it wasn't very easy to pick a lock, even if I did have the advantage of being able to sit inside it.

I was so focused on the attempt I barely noticed Jessica peeking into my head till she said, *Where are you? Inside a machine or something?*

*I'm in a lock,* I replied a little startled.

*Oh so that's what that is, I've never seen one from the inside. What are you doing?*

*Trying to see if I can pick it. If we can get out of these cages we might be able to escape. I doubt I'll be able to escape when they take me out of the cage to hose me down. Even if I did I could never get you out. With the locks undone we could escape together more easily.*

*I'll only slow you down, I told you to go without me!*

*Yeah but if there is a chance of us both getting out of here then I think it's worth a try.*

*I don't want you to give up your chance of escape for me.*

*I know, but I'm not leaving you here to die Jessica. The chance of saving you is worth risking me getting caught.*

I went back to trying to open the lock after another hour of trying with Jessica encouraging I managed to do it. The lock clicked open and with a little shove the padlock swung open.

*Yay! You did it!* cheered Jessica.

*It was a lot of effort, but I now I know how to do it I think it will be easier the next time,* I said.

I lay back exhausted. Working on the lock had really taken it out of me, but now there was hope. I could disengage the locks on our cages, but what after that. I had to get out of these chains, but that was another lock, so doable. We would then need to escape this place, Jessica was still very weak, even with the extra food I had been getting her. Months of being locked up in a cage and poorly fed had taken a terrible toll on her body, she would not be able to walk, let alone run. If we did escape we would not get far. Maybe if we waited till dead of night and then I carried Jessica out of here, we would have a few hours before anyone noticed we were gone. This being a farm they got up very early and Sandra tended to come down quite late, it gave us only a few hours to escape. Given I would be carrying Jessica and I was pretty weak myself I doubted we would find help before we were caught.

I considered stealing one of the cars I had seen about the place. I had done some lessons on how to drive for a birthday present, so had some idea how to drive. We might get into trouble with the cops but given our present situation I think they would probably forgive us. Besides if they did lock us up we would be in much bigger cells with proper sanitation, proper food, and medical care. It would be the Hilton compared to our current situation.

However if we took a car our captors would soon spot us as I would need some time to work out how to start it and so forth. If we did that at night they would hear us and pounce before we could get away, and trying in the day time would be the height of foolishness.

Maybe some creative misdirection was in order. We would escape in such a way that all the bad guys ran off looking for us in the wrong direction, then we would steal the car and get away while no one was looking.

*Jessica,* I said.

*Yes?* she replied.

I explained my thinking to her then said, *So what do you think?*

*Hmm it might work, but how are we going to convince them we have escaped?*

*Well we would need some time to hide ourselves before they discover we are missing. I can see all through the house so we should be able to work out how to get about without being seen, we need some time where they don't think to look for us.*

*Oh I know we should trap Sandra down here, that way no one will look for us as they will think she is zapping us or something.*

*But she only comes down here with that brute Paul. How do we trick her into coming down alone?*

*That's where double agent Kitty comes in,* giggled Jessica.

She explained her idea that was for me to imitate Sandra's kitten and pretend to run into the cellar. Sandra would follow, we lead her into a cage, incapacitate her and lock her in. We go and hide, sometime later the people upstairs go looking for Sandra and race off after us, then we escape. I congratulated her on her ingenuity. It would be a ingenious plan. We would have to wait till it was the weekend when Sandra would be about for a long enough period of time for our trick to work. In the mean time we would try and regain our strength and practice for our escape.

I spent a lot of time observing the kitten and practising, operating my copy under Jessica's critical eye. Soon I had my kitten illusion and performance down to a T. My lock opening skill was coming along in leaps and bounds too. I could now open the padlocks with a few minutes fiddling. I also did my best to get some exercise, the lack of movement, space, and food made my muscles weak. I continued getting us as much extra food as I dared in the hopes we would both be strong enough to get away. The beatings and the humiliation continued but now it was different. I knew it wouldn't be much longer till we would escape and Sandra would be the one locked in a cage. I tried not to let the anticipation show too much.

Jessica was likewise practising, she was mastering her electrical abilities in the hopes of using them defensively.

We both studied the building, planning our escape and Jessica pointed out some good hiding places she knew from her childhood. We also scouted the vehicles. There were several on the property we could use and would be unlikely to be used to track us. We checked them as best we could and made our plans, we couldn't plan everything as we didn't know exactly what would happen on the day. We made ourselves ready and then waited for the weekend, when it came time to sleep we were full of joy of the escape. So excited and happy again with the prospect of our impending freedom. We talked often about our impending escape what we would do first. We became better and better friends as time went by. Jessica was giddy with the anticipation and I found myself looking forward to being able to see her with my own eyes and maybe even hold her.

*I can't wait to feel sunshine again,* said Jessica, *I know we have seen it through your far sight, but I want to feel the warmth on my face.*

*I know what you mean. I'd like to have a walk through a park, enjoy the fresh air. I know this nice place with a walled garden, a duck pond, and a river. We could go together, maybe have an ice cream,* I paused feeling a little uncertain, *That's if you'd like to.*

*I'd love to Eric, I hope when we get out of here you still want to spend time with me.*

*Of course, there's no one else I'd rather be with Jessica.*

She sent me a mental grin, *I'm glad, I feel the same way Eric. Sweet dreams.*

*Night Jessica.*

We slept, hope and joy of our impending freedom making our bleak cages almost insignificant.

The next day dawned and the first thing Jessica told me was that it was the weekend. I felt like I was going to snap, the tension was so great. We decided to wait till after breakfast time. That would leave us a nice gap before lunch in which we could swing our plan into action.

We waited tense and nervous, we had a bit to eat just to keep our strength up. When they started breakfast I got ready and undid the locks on my cage leaving the padlock so it looked like it was still locked. I undid my manacles but kept them on my arms. I spent most of the time watching remotely my body lying as if asleep.

When they had finished breakfast, I saw Sandra start to walk off. I manifested the kitten and scampered up to her.

“Hey Kitty come here sweetie, I'll get you some treats,” she said.

I ran away from her looking back to make sure she was following.

“Come back here Kitty!” she said, I ran to the door to the cellar and pushed at it making a small gap that a kitten could get through, “No don't go down there Kitty!”

With Sandra in hot pursuit I dashed down the stairs into the cellar. She almost caught me up, but I dived into the gap in the wall.

“You are a nuisance today Kitty!” said a very annoyed Sandra. She pushed the door to the area with Jessica in open and began looking for the kitten.

I made my move and slipped out of my cage as quietly as I could manage. While she was distracted I shut the door at the bottom of the stairs to deaden any noise then slipped into the room behind her. I was a little shaky on my feet not having walked properly for many days. I crouched in the shadows and manifested the kitten running from the shadows to the far side of the room and going into an open cages next to Jessica's.

“No Kitty! Come out of there. You'll catch something,” said Sandra disdainfully looking at her sister.

She went up to the cage and tried to get her kitten to come out but it stayed at the deepest part of the cage. She crouched and crawled in to get the kitten. I had it dodge her reaching hands.

“What's got into you Kitty!” Shouted Sandra trying to catch my pretend kitten.

Eventually she was all the way into the cage and could reach the illusion, she grasped it and her hands went right through it. All of a sudden the kitten dissolved into smoke. I stood up and quickly moved to the cage while a confused Sandra stared at the empty space where a kitten had been moments before.

She turned and saw me coming, now only a few steps away teeth bared. I would have liked to growl, but I couldn't make any noise any more. Still the look alone was enough to make her scream in terror and she scrambled back further into the cage away from me. Which was rather handy as I didn't know if I had the strength to stop her if she had run at me.

I slammed the cage shut and locked it, then smiled evilly at her.

“NO! NO! Let me out you beast!” she screamed.

I ignored her, much as I would have liked to torture her or gloat at her, I didn't have time for either. And I wasn't sure I could, even after all she had done to me.

I moved over to Jessica, her dark feathered form smiled up at me from the cage. I focused on the lock and after a few minutes concentration I opened it. I reached in and for the first time touched Jessica's delicate hand.

She could barely move, she was in a pretty bad way, I carefully lifted her onto my back. She was so light she barely weighed anything. I tried not the think too hard about her naked, albeit feathered, body pressing against me.

*So sister how does it feel to be the one behind the bars?* she sent to me and Sandra obviously wanting me to hear her taunts.

“AH! Get out of my head demon!” screamed Sandra “HELP! HELP!”

*Oh foolish girl, you know this place is well sound proofed to prevent your pets disturbing the peace!* said Jessica angrily. *So when you shock them they don't scream out, like this!*

She pointed her hand and shot a bolt of electricity at one of Sandra's hand which she was sticking out of the cage trying to get at the padlock.

“AHHHHHHH!” screamed Sandra and fell back smoke curling off her spasming body. She pulled away and scrambled into the corner of the cage.

*Lower me down so I can reach the padlock,* said Jessica to me.

I lowered her down and she gripped the padlock between thumb and forefinger and passed as much current as she could through it, effectively spot welding the thing solid.

*OK let's go!* she said.

I turned and headed out leaving a sobbing Sandra locked in her new cage.

*Right let's take a look and see what the lay of the land is,* I said and projected myself out looking over our path.

I immediately spotted a big problem the brute Paul was coming looking for Sandra.

I heard him call “Sandra honey are you down here?”

Sandra moaned loud enough for him to hear and he came running.

*Quick into the corner!* sent Jessica. I ducked into the corner, *Now kneel down and let me get a good aim!*

Paul came barrelling in, saw Sandra and ran over. He began yanking on the lock trying to get her out. Sandra came out of it and began pointing frantically behind him to where we were hid. He spun around just in time to see Jessica unleash a bolt of electricity at him. He jerked around like a puppet that'd had it's strings cut. I gently put Jessica down and raced over to where he was jerking around on the floor and hit him over the head. With a great deal of effort I dragged his unconscious form to another cage and locked him in. I retrieved Jessica and she then sealed the lock permanently.

“You monsters!” wailed Sandra.

*Ha! You are the monsters, you make me sick. I can't believe we share the same genetics! Anyway sis I'd love to stay and chat but me and my new boyfriend have to be going. I'm sure mum and dad will be along to cut you out in a few hours, bye now,* Jessica sent.

Sandra sat crying in her cage as we exited the room.

*So wait, I'm your new boyfriend?* I asked.

*Who else silly,* sent an amused Jessica.

She leaned forward and kissed me on my cheek, I stood in shock for a bit smiling like a mad man.

*Anyway, we can do more of that later, first get us out of here!* said Jessica jolting me out of my shock.

I once again surveyed our route through and when it looked clear climbed the stairs.

This time rather than heading outside I turned into the house and carried Jessica further up another set of stairs to the upper floors of the house. We sneaked into a one of the guest rooms, then through a cupboard up into a hidden loft under one of the added upper floors. We hid there waiting, watching.

Mostly the house went about it's business as normal. We watched Sandra try and escape and then, when he regained conciousness, Paul. The cages were built to withstand strength beyond anything these two could muster, so they just shouted and screamed a bit. The sound proofing more than took care of their cries, leaving them to shout themselves hoarse with no hope of anyone hearing them.

Me and Jessica lay cuddled together in the small space. I was very aware of two things, one was that we both desperately needed a bath, the other was that we were both effectively naked. I had to work hard not to stare at Jessica's emaciated but still beautiful body. Jessica gave me a wicked grin when I thought of that, obviously able to hear my thoughts.

She squeezed my hand and sent *Plenty of time for that later, right now I don't have the energy.*

I smiled back a little embarrassed, I guessed having a girlfriend who could read my mind would take some getting used to.

I turned my focus back to the outside of the loft to prevent me getting even more distracted. I watched the people go about the business of the day and eventually begin making lunch. They began wondering where Sandra and Paul were. If I could have I probably would have laughed out loud as they searched about trying to find them, getting increasingly confused and worried before finally trying the cellar.

They saw the empty cage where I should have been and hurried further in finding our two imprisoned captors. There was a lot of shouting and screaming, people running about like headless chickens, which gave me fits of silent giggles. They spent a long time trying to free them, my Jessica's welding trick had made it very difficult to open the cages. Eventually they used bolt cutters to free the two of them. Sandra collapsed crying into her parents arms, Paul ran up stairs arming himself with a shotgun and began searching for us outside. When it became apparent that we were nowhere nearby they piled into two cars to look for us and took off leaving the place deserted. Our plan had worked perfectly.

Jessica and me shared a big grin and then a hug and kiss. We then carefully made our way back down the house towards the barn where one of the farm trucks was parked.

We were crossing the kitchen when Jessica sent, *Wait Lower me down!*

I did as she asked and she reached out grabbing something from behind me. There was a mewing noise and then I felt something furry perched up on my shoulders.

*I had to rescue double agent Kitty, after her part in this she deserves to be free too,* she sent smiling.

We made our way slowly out to the barn, I was tiring fast. I was weak and carrying Jessica, even though she was very light, was still more excursion than I had managed for weeks. I made it into the open barn to find the truck, using my abilities to unlock it and helped Jessica into the passengers side. I clambered into the drivers side and then after a few minutes of trying to start the engine, Jessica produced a key from the glove box.

We started the truck, it seemed to run OK and was full of fuel. After I started it I racked my brain for how to drive the thing. I stalled it several times but on my third attempt I got it going. I drove haltingly out of the barn knocking over a few boxes and scaring some chickens as  I went.
I drove carefully out past the house towards the main road with Jessica and the kitten urging me on. As we passed the house I saw someone come running out, it was the woman who I assumed was Paul's wife. She must have been left behind by the other lot and been somewhere in the house I missed. She dashed back in and returned with a shotgun firing wildly at us. I threw caution to the wind and floored the accelerator crashing through a few bushes and weaving madly but leaving the woman chasing us in our dust.

When we reached the road Jessica gave me directions and I tried my hardest not to stall or crash and kill us. Pretty soon I saw a sign that said Wilynsford 15 miles, I could make out signs of civilisation on the horizon. We were nearly free! We carried on in silent joyous celebration for the next few miles as the edge of the town slowly approached.

Suddenly we were hit from behind by something, I struggled to maintain control and looked in the mirror to see one of the cars driven by Paul chasing us. All we needed to do was get to a large enough populated area and we would be safe. I floored the accelerator to go faster. The speed needle began creeping up, but this truck was old and no match for the one chasing us. They hit us a few more times and each time I had to struggle to keep us on the road. A few other motorists were now about and Paul was getting desperate to stop us so he pulled alongside and smashed into us. We were smashed sideways by the force of the impact. I tried to keep the car on the road but it was too much and we careened through a bush across a field towards a wooded area to a crash into a ditch.

The truck was stopped, unable to move so I jumped out, grabbed Jessica in my arms and ran for our lives. I used every last bit of my energy to run as fast as I could which wasn't very fast. It seemed crashing into us had slowed Paul down though as they were only now pulling up to the wreak of the truck we had left behind us.

We ran through the forest with Paul, Sandra, and her Parents in pursuit. The wooded area slowed them down and I kept up our lead. The wood began to thin out and I saw what looked like a park ahead. It might have even been the one Sandra had abducted me at, I hoped there would be people about. We ran along reaching a section of grass with a path that I ran along, the hard tarmac hurting my shoeless feet. Our pursuers were getting closer, Jessica using one arm to clutch Kitty to her  pointed the other over my shoulder and let lose a few bolts of electricity to try and stop them. She managed a few hits, slowing them down, but she rapidly tired having already used a lot of energy. I ran till my legs burned surely there had to be some people in this park to help us.

I rounded a corner rapidly approaching the point where I would collapse, I thought I saw three girls in the distance but I was knocked to the ground by someone tackling my legs. I tumbled to the ground causing Jessica to tumble to the grass. I pushed off my attacker and staggered to my feet. Jessica was laid out on the ground I put myself in front of her as Paul and her Father circled me while Sandra and her mother tried to get close enough to grab Jessica.

I heard Jessica send out a cry for help *Please help!* She sent.

Paul was carrying a metal pole of some kind, he sneered and swung at me while Jessica's Father tried to kick me. I dodged the pole and hit back at Jessica's father but was then caught by a strike from Paul that knocked me down.

I saw him aiming to strike Jessica's prone form, I used the last of my energy to throw myself into the path of the blow taking a nasty smack across the ribs but saving Jessica the pain. He rounded on me as I tried in vein to get up.

“You stupid beast!” He shouted, “There's more than enough beating to go around!”

He swung back and got ready to swing at me with all his might. I turned away trying to shield my internal organs as best I could. There was a bright flare of light and a scream of pain.

I turned to see Paul frantically trying to put out a fire that was suddenly burning his sleeve.

“Get away from them you bastards!” a girl said.

I looked up to see a young partial lizard hybrid striding towards us with fire in her eyes, quite literally. She was followed by a two other girls, a huge purple haired one and a small red head. They all looked familiar, maybe from school. They stepped between me, Jessica, and our attackers.

“Get away from us you beasts!” screamed Jessica's father throwing a punch at the large girl who idly grasped his fist and tossed him away as if he weighted nothing.

Paul looked at the three of them warily, swung at the lizard hybrid causing her to step back and then dodged to deliver a killing blow to me. Just when I thought it was game over the girl shouldered Paul out the way deflecting the blow into the grass.

The commotion was attracting more people and Paul grabbed his weapon, looked around and began to run as did the rest of the gang. The lizard girl gestured with her hands and a wall of flame erupted in front of our fleeing assailants. They turned trying to escape but the flames soon surrounded them, Paul made one half hearted attempt to escape but he screamed in pain dropping his weapon which fell smoking into the flame wall. They then huddled in the middle away from the ferocious flames shouting that they were innocent and to let them go.

The lizard hybrid and the huge girl kept watch on the fire enclosed prisoners and the red head came over to see us.

“Are you OK? Don't worry about those jokers Tish and D will keep them contained till the police get here.” she said.

I crawled over to Jessica who was lying there unmoving, I found she seemed alright, just worn out. She turned to our rescuers and explained telepathically what had happened. The girl who's name was Jane called for an ambulance for us. Eventually the cops showed up. The lizard girl and her huge friend leaving their captives to the police.

They came over to see us, the lizard girl muttered to her friend, “This is weird, I know those lot. They're my Uncle Paul, Uncle Fred, and Aunt Petra. Don't know who the girl is, maybe one of my cousins, I guess that side of the family is as bad as my parents.”

Jessica stared at her with her head cocked to one side and then grimaced and turned to Jane.

“Oh!” said Jane, “Tish this is Jessica, she can't talk but she is a telepath. She's having a little trouble with your anti telepath shield though. Probably partly she's worn out but anyway, she says the girl is Sandra, her sister.”

The lizard girl Tish stared at her with her eyes wide. “You're Jessica! Wow, I haven't seen you and Sandra in years and you both look different. I didn't recognise you two.”

Jessica looked at Jane again who said, “She wants to know who you are.”

“Oh sorry,” grinned the lizard girl, “I guess I look different too. I am ... or more accurately used to be ... Mortimer Wilson. I got MORFS now I'm Amanda.” she smiled at Jessica, “What are the odds, that I'm the one you run into, very weird eh cousin.”

Jessica smiled and then Jane said “She says, it's very lucky.”

Soon I was introduced around and the three girls kept the two of us company till the ambulances came. We were loaded into two separate ambulances and taken to hospital. The kitten was entrusted to the three girls who promised to take care of it and come and see us once they had sorted out the police. I dozed off on the ride and woke up sometime later in a hospital bed. I looked around to see my sister at the foot of the bed.

“Eric!” she said when she saw I was awake and ran over, “Oh we were so worried I'm so glad to have you back Bro.”

She gave me a hug which was wonderful if a little painful, I longed to tell her what had happened to me but I couldn't, which made me sad. I guessed I would have to bear that one scar for the rest of my life.

*Maybe not,* came Jessica's voice.

*Jessica!* I said.

*Hey sleepy, you've been out of it for ages, I was worried.*

*Where are you?*

*Couple of rooms over, you can come and find me a bit later. Anyway they may be able to fix our voices, they have a bioelemental on the staff.*

*Great, I'd love to tell my sister how happy I am to see her.*

*She knows, but just in case I'll relay the message.*

Hannah looked momentarily taken aback then grinned and hugged me again.

*Anyway, you're about to get really, busy your parents are on their way in. I'm going to be busy talking to my cousins who are coming soon. So I'll talk to you later Eric,* she sent.

*Yeah, when the fuss calms down I'll come over and see you,* I sent.

*Do Kitty shape.*

*Anything for you Jessica.*

I lay there and relaxed with Hannah sat holding my hand blabbering on about how much she had missed me and how worried she had been. She was detailing the searching she had done for me when my parents burst into the room.

“My sweet baby!” cried my Mother and ran over crushing me in another fearsome embrace, “I so glad you're safe. We didn't know what to think when you vanished. Some of the police thought you had committed suicide or run off because of your change, but I knew my baby would never do that. To think that evil girl took you away from us, what an awful family to allow things like that to happen, well we'll have nothing to do with them again that's for sure.”

“Well maybe not all of them Mum, seems Eric managed to get himself a new girlfriend whilst he was being kidnapped and she's Sandra's twin sister,” Hannah said grinning.

“What!” said Mum looking a bit shocked. My Dad chuckled a bit at that, I was wishing I could say something but all I could do was glare at my sister. I guess it was too much to expect a little bit of slack. At least till I was out of the hospital.

“Well ... that was ... sudden,” said Mum trying to work out what to say.

“She was in the same situation as Eric, poor kid had been locked up for months,” said Hannah

“Oh ... how do you know all this?” asked Mum.

“She told me, she's a telepath, been filling me in on their daring escape,” grinned Hannah.

"So not only did you escape, but you rescued this girl too. I'm so proud of you," said Mum smiling.

"Yeah he's everyone's hero now," grinned Hannah.

*You're definitely my hero,* sent Jessica.

I sat there smiling, I was back in the arms of my family with Jessica safe and our tormentors locked away. I was warm dry and comfy, plus it was dinner time and the size of the portions looked good. People always complain about hospital food but take it from me it is like eating in a fancy restaurant after a long time eating nothing but dog food.

The police visited to talk to me, they brought a telepath with them so they could communicate with me, they established what had happened and took my statement. They told me that police and a forensics team had been sent to look at the farm house after what we had told them. They had been attacked by the woman there so she too was now cooling her heels in a cell. They had found the evidence of our incarceration and, more chillingly, the occupants of the other cages, all buried in shallow graves under one of the barns. They told me, judging by the state of some of the bodies, this had been going on for years and they were still finding more bodies. I wondered if we hadn't escaped Jessica and me would have ended up like that. Perhaps we were to be Sandra's first kills, probably passing the tradition from uncle to niece. It was a horrifying prospect.

I asked through the telepath who all the bodies belonged to. I was told they were mostly kids of about my age, some younger, all showing signs of torture before their untimely demise. They had little to go on byway of identification, the more recent victims might be matched to photos. They would run DNA, dental records, look through missing persons, and so forth but it was unlikely they would ever know for certain who most of these kids were. There was even a suggestion that some of these children might never have been reported missing, given the proximity of Little Greenvale and its reputation. While most probably were just sent away (I would hope even the hardiest of anti-MORFS people would baulk at the thought of having their child killed) some might well have ended up in those graves, probably handed over by their own parents like Jessica was.

It was a horrifying thought. I pictured the horrors I had suffered in that basement and imagined the poor children who were subjected to the same terrors and then either killed or slowly starved to death. It was a dark place that made me shudder, the telepath obviously seeing those thoughts put her hand on my arm.

“While it's too late to help those poor kids, you have honoured their memory by putting their killers behind bars and probably preventing countless others from sharing their fate,” she said.

I nodded, she was probably right but it was still troubling. I tried to put it out of my mind and focus on the good things.

Eventually everyone was chased off and I was given time to rest. According to the doctors I wasn't in hideous shape, malnourished and suffering a few badly healed fractures that needed attention. The severed vocal cords and the area of the amateur incision were the worst bit. When the Bioelemental repaired them they were going to repair my bones as well. Jessica was in far worse shape. She had various complications from being locked in a cage, unmoving for months with a very poor diet. She would need rehabilitation and more extensive repairs and treatment. They also mentioned something about both of us needing to see a shrink.

When the fuss had calmed down I slipped out to see Jessica in cat form. I wandered down the corridor peeking in each of the rooms till I saw her feathered form in a bed. I walked over to her. When she spotted me a bright smile appeared on her face.

She beckoned me over to her, *Here kitty,* she sent.

I did a passable imitation of leaping up to her bed. I might have caught a bit too much air and destroyed the illusion a bit. I would have to work on that. Jessica's bed was a bit of a strange shape, I guess to accommodate her wings comfortably. She was sat up in bed and looked more healthy already. She still looked quite thin but hopefully now she would be getting real food and get better soon. I sat on her lap and she pretend stroked me, I found with some focus I could simulate a surface for her finger by applying an outward force. If she stroked too hard she went straight through and I was uncertain how realistic my 'fur' was but it was an amusing distraction that put a smile on her face.

*How are you feeling?* I asked.

*Pretty good, they've been giving me plenty to eat, a comfy bed, and some really amazing drugs.*

*I think my Mum wants to meet you, Hannah told her about you.*

*That sounds nice, when we get out of here you can take me home to introduce me.*

*What are they doing about where you live? Are you being taken into care?*

*Not sure yet, my cousins might take me in.*

*The lizard-ish girl?*

*Yeah, her name is Mandy she lives with her older sister Gwen. It sounds like madness runs in the family as Mandy's parents tried to kill her after she underwent MORFS. She escaped and eventually came to live here with her sister, she had just started at our school in the year below us.*

*Wow I thought she looked familiar! You must have passed her in the corridors loads of times and never known it.*

*I bet even if she hadn't changed I probably wouldn't have recognised her. We rarely saw that side of the family, dad had some sort of disagreement with their father.*

About this point a nurse walked by on her rounds,

“Where did you get that cat? Pet's aren't allowed in the hospital young lady!” she said sternly.

Jessica sent *It's not really a cat, it's an illusion. See,* and she passed her hand through the kitten shape.

“Oh I see,” said the Nurse looking a bit put out, she seemed to want to say more but just stomped off seemingly in a mood.

*She's not too happy with me,* sent Jessica, *Likes to run a tight ship keep the patients in their place and so forth. Doesn't want to be waist deep in imaginary kittens.*

*Now there's an image,* I replied. *Maybe she'd prefer imaginary bunnies?*

I changed my illusory shape to an approximation of a rabbit, it wasn't as good as my kitten due to lack of practice but it was enough to earn a mental giggle from Jessica.

*I wish I was able to get out and about and go for a wander. After being caged up for so long I would love to just walk about for a bit. I'm not really up to that yet, hopefully soon though,* she sent.

*Well I can give you the next best thing: A flight around the hospital piggybacked on my telepresence,* I replied.

*Yay, let's go exploring!*

We spent the rest of the evening exploring the hospital public areas. Though we could have wandered the wards and offices of the hospital at will it didn't feel right to spy on people like that. So we contented ourselves with the corridors and open areas. We both tired out pretty quickly. Even with proper care we were still quite weak and probably would be for a while. We wished each other a good night and slept in our comfy beds. Now that I was safe bad dreams came in the night, repeats of the tortures and the fears. I woke several times, reassured to find myself back in the hospital and not locked once more in a cage. Over the course of our treatment the dreams faded back a bit but hovered there, never totally going away, every now and again I would be back in that cage again. I guess I would never truly wipe the memory of that place away.

I told Jessica about the nightmares. I shared everything with her, it was hard not to, given her power. She told me she too had the same nightmares and together we comforted each other. We were safe and on the road to health again, and what's more we had each other. A deep bond of friendship and love that seemed to get deeper each day. We had been in the worst situation possible together, from there the only place to go was up.


 



Chapter 7

It was a very bright day some number weeks later when things got back to a more normal footing. I had been out of hospital for a while and soon returned to school. I did my best to visit Jessica every day as she spent more time getting well and strong again. She gradually got to a more healthy weight and previously her painfully thin body filled out, becoming more and more beautiful. Thanks to the healing powers of a bio-elemental we both regained our voices and it was a surprise to both of us to hear each other talk, having grown used to the mental voice. We still talked quite a bit via Jessica's telepathy since we liked the intimacy.

When Jessica was finally well enough to get out of hospital she moved in with her cousins. With some government assistance the three of them had rented a reasonable sized flat to accommodate their greater numbers. Jessica and Amanda now shared a room and were getting on very well,  finding they had much in common. They talked a lot which was unusual for Jessica who often knew what things were up from hearing the surface thought of those around her. Amanda's own abilities effectively blocked out anything but directed thoughts, leaving her mind a bit of a mystery to Jessica, who seemed to like this. Having someone whose brain she couldn't see into all the time was refreshing and allowed her to just be a normal girl. She didn't have to play the game of asking the questions she already knew the answers to so as not to upset people. In fact it was hard to get a word in edgeways between them something that seemed to amuse everyone that knew them since neither were particularly vocal usually.

All that remained was for Jessica to return to school, the big day approached and I found myself feeling increasingly nervous and excited about it.

I wandered in the school gates after practically running up the hill for once causing Hannah to ask me to slow down rather than the reverse. I got in the gate and glanced around looking for Jessica and didn't see her. My heart fell a bit I had been hoping to meet her at the gate.

There was a tap on my shoulder and then a soft voice said, “Hey handsome, fancy ditching your old girlfriend and hooking up with a real high flyer.”

I turned to find Jessica grinning up at me impishly. I smiled and she took my hand. We began walking together into class, she turned and cocked her head to one side. “Well aren't you going to kiss me?” she asked.

“I thought you'd never ask,” I replied, leaning down to kiss her on the lips.



 

 

 

The entire MORFS  Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/

 


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