Gone with the Wind

by Shrike

Chapter 3

Just as I tried to swing the knife down into my body someone grabbed my hands and held them immobile above my head. My Dad’s angry voice boomed, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He quickly took the knife from my hands. Then he picked me up with one arm around my waist and took me back to the dining room.

There he put me on a chair while Mom and Remo were watching with confusion. Mom asked, “What happened?”

Dad scowled at me and said in a growl, “She just tried to kill herself with a knife.”

Mom gasped, and Remo looked at me with a mix of anger, pity and surprise. I already felt bad, I didn’t need this. I hid my head in my arms and tried to hide from it all. Someone began hugging me. I could feel that it was Mom. ‘Of course only Mom hugs me.’ She softly whispered, “Why honey? I raised you better than this, right?”

I took my arms from around my head and put them around Mom. I started crying, shaking from all my sobbing. Mom stroke my hair and said, “Just let it all out honey.”

I wailed, “I don’t wanna be a girl. I just wanna be my old self and play basketball and football. And I don’t want to be a hybrid. I look hideous and grotesque with this big tail. I don’t ever want to go out or to school. They will make fun of me, harass me and even assault me like they did Marjorie.” I paused for a moment, “I don’t wanna live anymore. Just let me die now.”

Mom kept on hugging me, “Honey don’t say things like that. It’ll be all right. I don’t want to lose you. Please promise me that you won’t try to kill yourself anymore.”

I still kept on crying, but was lost in my thoughts as my words struck a nerve within. ‘The detective had been right. it turned out I wasn’t immune to MORFS myself. And maybe I was right as well and it is a punishment from God. I certainly had been bad. And I do know that now I too have to look forward to attacks, harassment and ridicule from former friends and classmates. Now I can also understand what Marjorie must have gone through. I can relate so much more to her now. And I’m glad that I hadn’t been there when she was assaulted.

“Mom, I’m so afraid. I mean, look at me. Everybody will stare at me. Do I have to go to school?”

Mom shushed me, “It will not be that bad. Besides you’ll have your brother there with you.”

I snorted, “A lot of good that will do me. He’s never backed me up before.”

“Maybe he’ll surprise you this time, sweetheart. Just go with the flow.” She paused for a moment. “How are you feeling now?”

“A little better, I’m sorry for trying to kill myself. I didn’t mean to hurt you and Dad. I just felt so awful.”

Mom hugged me again, “That’s okay honey, we understand that you’re going through some tough times. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I need to take you to the MORFS center in Des Moines.”

I started to whine, “Do I have to? I don’t wanna go out and certainly not to a big city looking like this.”

Mom however was adamant, “Yes you do and we’re going early tomorrow morning as the roads are still passable at the moment. Who knows how much snow we are going to get this winter?”

I pouted at her, but she didn’t budge. I went to bed early as I didn’t feel like watching any TV that night. I’ve been going to bed on my own for quite a long time already, so I was unpleasantly surprised that my parents came to my room to tuck me in. I whined, “Why are you here? I don’t need tucking in or something. I’m not a small kid anymore.”

Mom shushed me, “You’re our girl now, and we are worried about you sweetheart. You did try to commit suicide already. We really don’t want to lose you, so just humor us.” Mom treated me like a little girl and gave me a kiss on my forehead. Dad gave me slight kiss as well and I was mortified and enraged. ‘How dare they treat me like a kid?

After they were gone I started tossing and turning as I couldn’t get to sleep. My new body still freaked me out and I started thinking about all the bad things that could happen to me now. I started to cry sob very softly and cried myself to sleep.

Even in my dreams I wasn’t safe, as I got hunted by everyone in school. The girls called me a pervert, the boys lusted after me or simply wanted to kill the animal. Even my fellow MORFS survivors were hunting me, saying that I wasn’t good enough to join them. Out of breath with my heart beating very loud and fast I woke up. I was panting like crazy and suddenly it struck me. I had fur now and like all animals I couldn’t perspire, so to expel excess heat I had to pant just like them. ‘Damn this disease. I really am an outcast now. I don’t understand how Mom and Dad can deal with it so easily. But then again they don’t have to live with it like I have to.

I was afraid to go back to sleep and just turned on my reading light. I picked up my favorite book, an old sci-fi novel titled, ‘A World Called Treason’, and started reading where I had left off last time. The main character just learned how to utilize temporal powers, though he wasn’t very good at it. He already did have the power of moving and talking to earth and stone. I started thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have some sort of power like that? Just being able to talk to earth and stone and have it move and do whatever you wanted it to do. Or having a power like going faster or slower through time. That would come in handy at school. That way I could just walk past all the bullies while they were frozen in time.’ But I woke from my daydreaming realizing that I couldn’t very well avoid them all the time. And what was more important the character from the book was almost immortal, able to regenerate his whole body. Without this ability, whenever he went to fast time, he would age so quick that the people around him would just see him age years in mere minutes.

Then I heard a knock on my door. Hesitating, I said softly, “Enter?”

Mom opened my door saying, “Good you’re awake already. I’ll help you shower again and then we have to be off to Des Moines. Now, come on don’t dawdle, get out of bed.”

I groaned, but put my book back in its usual place and followed Mom to the bathroom. It did take more time again then I usually needed, but with Mom’s help it went quicker than I had feared. I had to dress in the same clothes as yesterday again. But Mom already washed them the night before. I didn’t want to admit it, but I needed new clothes.

A little later we had some breakfast and were off driving on the roads that were cleared off snow at the moment towards the big city. At first I looked outside to the beautiful countryside, but soon I felt bored and dozed off a bit.

I woke up when Mom shook me, “Wake up honey, we’re at the MORFS center.”

Woken rudely from my dreamless slumber I looked up. ‘Did I nod off?’ As I looked around, I saw only a strange parking lot in front of a big dark looming building. I guess I must have fallen asleep during the drive over here.

Mom took me into the center, and we were told to make an appointment. They could fit me in about 2 hours from now. so we had some time on our hands. Mom decided that we should go shopping for some clothes then. There was a mall close by and Mom practically dragged me in there. As we looked for a clothes store to do my shopping, a security guard walked up to us and said, “I’m sorry Ma’am, but all pets have to be kept on a leash here. Even when you dress them up like a human.”

I practically exploded, “I’m not a PET.

The guard wasn’t fazed at my outburst. “Like I said all pets and the alike need to be kept on a leash, or I will have you removed from the premises.”

Mom gave him a cold hateful stare and took me back outside into the street. I complained, “Now you see, Mom? People won’t even consider me a person anymore.”

“Honey, don’t let bigots like that moron get to you. You’re still my child and nothing will change that.”

I sighed, “I know Mom, but I will be on the receiving end of everything. I don’t know if I can deal with it all.”

Mom did her best to console me, as we went to another even bigger mall. Once inside we looked for clothes stores when a boy pointed at me, “Look Mom, there’s a big squirrel.”

The woman with the boy looked at me and said, “Don’t point Tommy, it’s not polite. And keep away from that animal.”

My mood sank another notch as we walked on. At the first store we wanted to get in, we got barred by a burly salesman. “I’m sorry but animals are not allowed in this store. Please leave the beasty outside.”

I was ready to commit murder at that time. “I’m not a pet or an animal. I’m a person like yourself, idiot.”

He snorted, “No need to get abusive, store policy is no animals allowed, no matter how sentient they may be.”

Mom’s eyes spit fire to the man, but took off with me in tow to another store. Before we could arrive there, two security guards walked up. I groaned, “What now?”

One man harrumphed, “I’m sorry madam, but there have been complaints about your ... whatever.”

Mom was furious and with barely contained anger said, “How many bigots are there in this city. My daughter went through MORFS and all you can see is an animal? I’ll report this to the authorities.”

The other guard said, “Go ahead madam, I wish you good luck with that.”

We were both extremely upset at the treatment we got there and left the mall immediately. Once outside, a woman spoke to us, “Hello there, I’m sorry for intruding, but I overheard a bit of your trouble. It pains me to see that people here are so intolerant to the new situation with hybrids. By the way I think you look lovely my dear.” She said to me.

“Thank you Mrs. Eh….” Replied my Mom.

“Stein. Bertha Stein is my name. Some groups of people to which I belong as well, are trying to change things, but it’s slow going I’m afraid. Now, I doubt you would have found anything for your daughter to wear in those stores even if they did let you shop there. But I know off a little boutique that would be willing and able to sell or even make some clothes for you.”

Mom thanked Mrs. Stein and she took us to the small store not too far from where we were. There the owner, a nice lady called Cynthia, took my measurements. I told her, “My name is Sinthia, but it is spelled as Es, Eye, En, Tee, Atsj, Eye, A,” she smiled at our names sounding so similar.

Cynthia was a bit apprehensive about my special needs with all the fur and tail. She did have a solution though, she would alter some of the clothing herself and have it ready when I would get back from my MORFS evaluation. In the mean time she gave me a sort of bathing suit to wear. She said I would need it for my physical test at the center. I wondered what she was talking about, but the sound of it appealed to me already.

I tried the bathing suit out in the changing room and though it was very revealing, too much for my taste actually. However it was very comfortable and gave me lots of room to move in. Next I tried some clothes that the woman had given me to try on and showed them to Mom and Cynthia. After all the measurements were taken and I tried on some more clothes, it was almost time for my appointment, so we quickly went over to the center.

First we had to fill out some paperwork, which Mom mostly did. Then I got called in for a talk with a Psychiatrist. Her name was Cherida Woolsey, and she began with an apology, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any telepaths or other psychic endowed morfed people on our payroll at the time. We do hope to enlist one in the future though. In the mean time we can’t be certain if you have any powers. Unless you already noticed something, all we can do is talk to you and guess.”

I looked at her, ‘Powers? What was she talking about!’ Then I knew, a few of the people that morfed gained a kind of super power. But most people did not. Well I hoped to be one of those few, but with my luck I’d probably didn’t get any.

Cherida continued in the mean time, “So I see here that you changed quite a bit, from a normal boy to a girl with squirrel characteristics. Well, I must say you are the first squirrel hybrid I have met. But you look cute.”

I scowled at the woman, I didn’t want to look cute.

“So tell me Sinthia, how do you feel about changing into a girl and a hybrid?” asked Cherida.

“I hate it! I used to be a big boy and now I’m a small girl.” I started complaining, “I can’t play basketball or football anymore, and being a full hybrid sucks even more. I just know everyone at school will make fun of me or even hate me enough to do bad things to me. As small as I am I can’t even defend myself anymore.”

Cherida tried to soothe my thoughts, “It won’t be all that bad, there are laws against people behaving like that.”

“Yeah,” I replied bitter, “We already encountered that before we came here. The guards in two shopping malls wanted us to leave. Well, one guard actually said, that I should be kept on a leash at all times.”

Now Cherida looked astonished at me. “Really, you should report it, they can’t do something like that. Not with more people morfing all the time.”

I sighed, “Now, I know how a few decades ago the black people must have felt. And how Marjorie must have felt a few days ago.”

“Who is this Marjorie?” asked Cherida.

I looked down in shame, I had called her an abomination and a freak. I even said to the policemen that people like her should be thrown out of the country. And here I was just as much an abomination as her.

“Sinthia? Please, tell me about her. I can see that you are troubled over her.”

I started rambling on the verge of tears, “I used to like her, before she morfed into a badger hybrid. Some people attacked her, raped her and left her to die in the snow. I wasn’t there, so I don’t really know who did it, but I think Gary and Phil were amongst them. The police questioned me, but I didn’t tell them anything. In fact I was a purist, and spoke out against morfed people. Now I am one of them and I feel ashamed, I just want to die. I am a female squirrel hybrid and I don’t deserve to live anymore.”

Cherida started in a firm tone. “Nonsense, you deserve a life of your own. Don’t talk about wanting to die just because you changed a bit. Do you know how many people I have seen already? Some hybrids felt like you, but after a while they accepted it. Why should you be any different? Everything happens for a reason and it is your mission in life to find out why. Now, I won’t say this is going to be easy for you, but afterwards you’ll be stronger because of the experience. Promise me that you won’t have those dark thoughts anymore.”

I looked up at her, “But, how about …”

“No buts, Just make something of your new life. Now those boys you mentioned, I guess they were friends of yours?”

I nodded, and she continued, “It is up to you if you want to report them now. If you do, it may prevent them from launching an attack on you. On the other hand, it may trigger an attack out of revenge on you.”

I thought about it, but couldn’t make up my mind yet. In the mean time Cherida started again, “Are you religious? Do you go to church much?”

“Well, not really. I mean we say grace before dinner and sometimes we go to church on special occasions, but not much. Why do you ask?”

Cherida explained, “Well, in a lot of cases it helps if you have a religion or faith to draw power from to cope with everything. But it doesn’t mean that it is necessary. Now, we already covered the hybrid part. How about being a girl?”

I was riled again, “Didn’t you hear me earlier, I hate it. I can’t do my favorite sports anymore and have to help Mom in the kitchen instead of doing my chores that I liked.” I started crying, “I don’t want to be like this. I want my old life back.”

Cherida let me cry for a while and handed me a hanky, “I can understand how you feel, you’re not the first, who had changed gender, that I counseled.”

I looked at her in surprise, I hadn’t realized that other people had changed gender before me. She brought the conversation to a new direction, and asked if I had seen some strange things or experienced some things that I couldn’t explain. I told her that I hadn’t and the conversation drifted on several subjects after that. I told her what my chores used to be and what I liked to do. She even knew the book that I was reading. She liked it as well and asked where I was in it now. I told her and she smiled, saying that I was in for some surprises in the next chapters. Well, I could hardly wait. Then Cherida said that it was time for my physical test. She wanted to see me after that again. She would guide me through the whole procedure she said.

I changed into the bathing suit and felt really exposed in it. I didn’t like going out into the big gym that was waiting for me.

It turned out that I wasn’t the only one being tested. A hybrid boy that had scales sort of like an armadillo was going through an obstacle course. I saw him going in a straight line towards some sort of gate, while several automatic ball firing machines shot balls the size of basketballs at him. Though the balls hit him from all sides, he just kept on going and didn’t stray from the line. After he reached the gate, he had to do another obstacle course, but this one designed to test his agility, he had to zigzag around some cones, but hit several of them, I guess he still had to learn to use his new body to avoid obstacles that he couldn’t just go through.

Suddenly a big man blew on a whistle, I hadn’t seen him before and was startled from the sound and the sight of him. He turned to me, “Hi there, you must be Sinthia. I’m almost done with Preston, you’re up next. I’m Mr. VanLeek. I’m going to evaluate your performance and determine what physical shape you’re in.”

I just nodded and watched as he talked to the armadillo boy. As he walked back to me, I saw the boy staring at me. ‘Why does he stare at me like that? I don’t like it. I would rather that he didn’t do that.

Then Mr. VanLeek spoke to me, taking my thoughts of the boy. “Well I’m just going to reconfigure something on the machines, why don’t you warm up a bit.”

I nodded and ran a lap around the court and stretched my muscles like I normally did before a match of basketball. But this time it was a lot different. I felt so weird now. Oh, the muscles were the same, yet different as well. And my breasts, while contained in the cups of the bathing suit, were a big distraction as they seemed to have a life of their own. The tail however I mostly didn’t even notice, except that it kept me in perfect balance all the time. Like it knew how to do that automatically.

Then Mr. VanLeek called me over. “Sinthia, I’m ready for you. Can you come here, please.”

I quickly dashed over and he motioned to the court, “Please run as fast as you can to the end, touch the pad there and run back here.”

I took off in a heartbeat and almost flew to the other end. I touched the pad lightly and dashed back to him. He looked at the timer surprised and said, “Wow, you really are fast.”

I looked at him puzzled. He showed me the timer and said, “th you just did a 100 meter dash twice and broke the World record both times.”

Now I showed surprise on my face, ‘Gee, am I that fast? I could be on the track team with that.’ Then I remembered, no MORFS survivors were allowed to participate in any regular sports. They said it gave them an unfair advantage. I felt tears well up in my eyes,

I guess Mr. VanLeek saw my tears because he said, “Hey, are you going to cry now? Why would you do that?”

“I finally find something that I can do well and like to do, but I can’t do it in any competition. MORFS survivors are not allowed to participate in sports.” I told him bitterly.

Mr. VanLeek gave me a sympathetic look, “I know that, but with more morfed people around all the time, it won’t take long before that is changed. Now I want you to try the obstacle course. The task for you is to avoid getting hit by the balls. Don’t worry if they do hit you, it won’t hurt as they are quite soft.”

He showed me the course I had to take and on his signal, I started my run. The machines started firing balls at me. I don’t know how I did it, but I kinda sensed them coming and weaved my way around them. Moments later I had finished the course and hadn’t been hit a single time.

Mr. VanLeek congratulated me, “Well done, you’re the first to complete it in this time without getting hit. Now the next test is for you to go a little higher. I want you to walk on that pole till the end if you can. It doesn’t matter if you can’t complete it, nobody has ever reached the end before.”

He pointed upwards to a horizontal pole that got thinner along its length and I climbed up a ladder to reach it. There I had little trouble walking fast on the pole, until I came to a part that seemed to become unstable. I realized that this part wasn’t fixed, but able to roll and spin. My tail really was a great help now. It kept me in perfect balance and though it became more and more difficult I stayed on the pole, slowing my walk down to a quick crawl. Finally I reached the end and touched the pad there. I stayed up on the pole looking at Mr. VanLeek.

He looked astonished at me. “Damn girl, nobody ever reached the end. You set a new standard. I’ve never seen such a well balanced walk before. Well done.”

I beamed at his praise and lightly jumped down to the floor next to him. He threw me a basketball, “Here, try to score if you can.”

Now this was something I liked. This was my sport. I bounced the ball, getting a feel for my new height and the seemingly increased size of the ball. Well the ball was the same as always, but I wasn’t. I was a lot smaller. After a little while I felt confident enough and made a series of fakes trying to find my opening and soon I dashed past him and jumped up towards the basket. With ease I reached the rim and dunked the ball. Now I was astonished, I had never been able to dunk the ball before. This was really cool!

Mr. VanLeek told me to try again and this time his defense was much tighter, but he was quite close to the basket. So instead of passing him I jumped from outside the bucket with all my power hoping to make it close enough to the basket to score. To my wonder I quickly reached the basket itself and dunked the ball again, but I actually had to hold on to the basket, to avoid going too far and crushing into the board. As I let go and dropped to the floor, I saw Mr. VanLeek pick up a computer tablet and write something on it. I asked him, “What are you writing?”

He smiled at me, “I’m writing down your athletic abilities. You’re a natural in any sports that includes running or jumping now. It was a real pleasure watching you perform. Thank you Sinthia. Now let’s go to the weight machines. We need to test your strength.”

I followed him to bar between pillars with a bench between them. Per his instructions I lay down on the bench and grabbed the bar. He tapped on his tablet and suddenly the bar became heavier. Mr. VanLeek said, “Just push the bar up and let it down as long as you can. I’ll be increasing the weight in the pillars a little each time.When you feel that it becomes too heavy, you just let go of the bar.”

I started pushing the bar up and letting it down again, Each time I pushed it up it was a bit heavier. Finally I couldn’t push it anymore, though I kept on trying. Mr. VanLeek said, “Don’t push yourself too hard, this is not a contest, just let go if you feel that it is too heavy.”

I let go of the bar and Mr. VanLeek looked at his tablet. “You are a bit stronger than I thought. You pushed about 300 pounds, quite good of you.”

I was puzzled, I was a weak girl, but I could still push about the same weight as I did as a boy? I didn’t have more time to think as Mr. VanLeek took me to the next machine. This was to test my leg strength. The same routine as before was repeated till I couldn’t lift it anymore. It turned out that I could lift about 800 pounds with my legs now. Again I didn’t get time to think about it. I was taken to a treadmill or something like it. Mt. VanLeek told me that he wanted to test my endurance in running.

It turned out that while I can run fast, I can only do it for short distances. I could run about 300 meters at full speed before collapsing. Mr. VanLeek suggested that I might make it longer with practice. I also noticed that with a little rest I could do it again. So, I could do short sprints in quick succession.

Mr. VanLeek wrote it all down in his tablet before saying, “You are done here now. I will relay the data to Miss Woolsey. She’ll guide you through the rest of your evaluation. You can change your clothes, even shower if you want and report back to Miss Woolsey.

I nodded and wanted to change quickly into my clothes, but my nose told me that I stunk again from the physical exertion. ‘But I don’t sweat anymore like I normally do. Still, I don’t like smelling this bad. But now I have this problem with drying I think What should I do?.’ I checked out the shower and was surprised to see that there was something looking like a giant blow-dryer on steroids on the wall. ‘Maybe I’m not the first furry MORFS changee that they evaluated.

I showered and dried myself using the dryer. It felt so good, that I wanted to stay there longer, but as soon as I was dry, I reluctantly turned the machine off and put my clothes on. I quickly went back to Miss Woolsey’s office and she was waiting for me. “Hello again Sinthia, I see you did very well on your physical. Now I have a little unpleasant evaluation for you. I need you to be checked by a physician.

With trepidation I went with her to a doctor’s office and though the woman, dr. Moresby, was nice, it felt humiliating as she inspected my inner plumbing. The other things were not that bad though, and soon all the data was collected.

Cherida took me back to her office and after writing a bit more on her computer, soon gave me a printout in a folder. “This is for you, if ever people ask for it. I’ve cleared you for school and other activities. I do recommend that you see a psychiatrist on a regular basis though. If you can’t find one close by, you are always welcome here with me. I want to keep in touch with you as well. Will you do that for me?”

I nodded and she called Mom in. She talked to Mom for a while and though I didn’t hear what they said, I could guess well enough. I didn’t say anything to Mom though as she took me back to the shop where Cynthia already had my clothes ready. Mom paid her and not too long afterwards we went back home. My mood was mixed, on one hand I was glad that I wasn’t a total freak and washout. On the other, I would have to face a lot of problems as the experiences in the malls had shown me.

We reached home just in time, as it started snowing. Soon the roads would be blocked again and we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere anymore. Dad and Remo were waiting for us and asked how it went. I didn’t want to talk about it and quickly disappeared to my room. I could hear the outcries off both Dad and Remo as Mom obviously told them the things that happened at the mall. It made me think about it again and though I didn’t want to, I started crying again.

A short while later Mom came into my room. She obviously saw the fur around my eyes wet from tears and said, “Honey, why did you cry again? You’re here safe and sound in our home.”

Damn that fur, it always shows when I have been crying.’ I thought before answering her. “Yeah, Mom. But next week I have to go back to school. And I just know that my troubles will begin again.”

Mom sighed, “I know things won’t be easy for you, but we’re here to help you. Even Remo volunteered to guard you against those morons. Now just try your best and give it all you’ve got. Promise me that?”

I resigned myself, “Okay, Mom. I’ll do my best. Can I ask you a favor though?”

“Shoot,” Mom smiled at me.

“Can I feed the animals again, and be a bit less wanted in the kitchen. I will help you there, but I always liked feeding the animals.”

Mom smiled again, “Sure, Honey. It is important to us that you feel happy here. I’ll talk to Dad about it and we will make a new task schedule. We have to do that anyway. Now you can stay here if you want, or you can help me make dinner.”

I gave a wry smile, “Okay, Mom. I’ll go down and help.”

Mom hugged me again and together we went down to the kitchen where she explained some things on how to cook.

New Years came and went. We didn’t have any fireworks, so instead we watched TV. Too bad the game where my big brother Mack played wasn’t important enough to be on, but it was mentioned in the overview. His team lost by a narrow margin. He would be coming home soon, and we were looking forward to it. It didn’t even occur to me that he didn’t know about my transformation yet.

A few days later I felt like being cooped up inside the house too long and wanted to get some fresh air. I already fed the animals and wanted to take a walk towards the main road just outside our land. Remo hadn’t cleared a path yet, but I felt bold and jumped onto the fence and balancing exquisitely, I walked halfway to the road. The main roads had been cleared of snow enough to allow traffic, but there was rarely any traffic here. Only the neighbors and some stragglers like salesmen came by.

I was watching out over the fields towards the forest. I would like to go hiking again there. But the snow was piled up too thick for that now. I didn’t even notice that a minivan stopped on the main road. Nor did I notice the big guy getting out and walking through the thick snow towards our house. I only noticed something when my big brother Mack was standing in front of me. He asked me, “Hello little girl. Are you lost or something? Can I help you?”

I was furious with his patronizing tone. I totally forgot that he didn’t know my new condition. “Fuck you, Mack.” I snarled at him, before bouncing in big leaps big towards the house, barely hearing him speak, “Hey, wait. How do you …”

I reached home in record time and threw my coat and boots to the ground, not bothering to put them back into their place. I bounced up the stairs to my room just as fast and started crying again.


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