Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tyler: Lauren no more.

I could sort of feel it in the air last night, but I was worried it was just my imagination. The preliminary... whatever it is. It was like a small skin irritation that spread slowly from the middle of my body outward. I could actually feel it starting around 2 AM, but I was so exhausted I fell back asleep for a few hours while it, I guess, happened.

I woke up around 4:10 AM, woozy, but seriously alert once I realized it was probably already over with. I was sleeping naked on top of the covers, but it was dark in the room. I sat up and got lightheaded, because suddenly "up" was a lot further of a journey than it used to be. But I also didn't feel the familiar counterweight of my breasts pulled down toward the floor as I did so. My one arm went to confirm, it was a flat, lightly-haired chest, and the other rushed to my crotch to feel the new equipment there.

And I have to say I maybe was a bit too enthusiastic there, because I didn't know the exact dimensions of it, and... well, there's no easy way to put this. Within a minute of realizing I was a man again, I had punched myself almost full-force in the testes. Agh. Sort of a bittersweet homecoming.

I hobbled over to the bathroom mirror to find that the transformation was... mostly complete. There were still some vestiges of Lauren. My chest was flat, but the breast tissue was still converting into muscle, I suppose, because they were still very tender. And then there was my face... a really warped version of Lauren's, with a man's jaw and hairline. I had to look away... it was like being warped in a funhouse mirror, except for real. I actually had to look away, I found it a little disturbing.

I cleared my throat and said the first thing that came to mind, "Testing, testing. My name is Lauren. No, it isn't." Sufficiently deep, I supposed.

I checked my reflection again fifteen minutes later. I no longer looked like Lauren in any sense. In her place was this very tall, very skinny man with a wide, toothy mouth and short, curly, sandy blond hair. A chill went up my spine. I was almost overwhelmed.

There were two sets of luggage in the closet of my room: one man and one woman. The man was Alan Schmidt, 24, of Milwaukee, WI. The woman was Greta Johansen, 23, whose ID indicated she was from Minnesota. The ID also indicated she was 5'11, so I figured she would stand out.

I dumped out Alan's luggage and found something I could throw on - a pair of gym shorts and a tank top. I was about to head to Meg's room when I heard two knocks on my door.

I opened it and looked down - way down, at a face I had not seen in over a year, cheeks streaked with tears, I assume of joy. She looked slightly different, but it was her. She craned her neck up at me and gasped, "Holy..." then collected herself, and ask-stated "Ty?"

I grinned as widely as my new mouth could (which apparently is a lot.) "Yeah. Yeah! It's me!"

She fell into my long arms and I wrapped them around her. We laughed so hard in relief we couldn't breathe. "I was so worried! I was so worried." she just kept repeating. "I know, I know," I said back. My heart was beating faster and faster. I couldn't believe our luck. We had to get all this joy out of our system, though, because as far as we knew we had 11 newly-transformed people to explain things to. We kept saying back and forth "I can't believe it, I can't believe it..."

We didn't hear any signs of panic, yet, so we took a moment to read over Alan's "letter." It was actually just a brief paragraph summarizing Alan's understanding of the curse, followed by a series of bullet points:

  • Name, home address, e-mail address
  • Works as a driver for Thrio, an Uber-like service
  • Has lived with girlfriend Greta for the past year of their four-year relationship
  • Current whereabouts (To be discussed at a later date)
  • Parents Jack and Mary, 2 sisters Helen (27, married, 1 son) and Doreen (22, single) and a younger brother Jack Jr., (19, with a special note: "Jack is gay and you had better be nice to him. Mom and dad don't know yet." No problem.)
  • Allergic to strawberries, lactose intolerant (gee, must have sucked growing up in Wisconsin then.)
When you put it all out on paper like that, it seems like there's not that much to taking over someone's life. And in truth, that's just it... you're given their face and the strange trust of everyone around you that you are who you say you are, and that's half the work right there. The other half is simply not screwing up what's been given to you. There's this old saying I heard, "Leave the fridge fuller when you leave" that seems to have guided me during my year as Lauren.

I did laugh about being assigned a job as a professional driver... I don't mind driving, but I haven't done much of it this past year. Could be bad.

Once we felt settled with what had happened to ourselves, we decided it was time to start gathering people and explaining what we knew. We had made a few friends (and some not-very-friendly acquaintances)  in our short time in Maine, so we felt it behooved us to help them handle this any way we could. At the very least, one of them would be in the body of Alan's girlfriend, with her appropriate clothes and "welcome" letter in my room. I brought it along with Greta's ID.

We figured "Greta" must be in one of the adjacent rooms. In the room to my left was Erin and Rosie. Since we were closest with them, I knocked on their door first. I was about to speak, but Meg went first, saying that if they heard a man's voice they might feel threatened.

"Rosie? Erin? Are you in there?" We heard the sound of some bodies moving around. "Listen, it's... Tasha... and Lauren... if something happened to you, it's okay, it happened to us too."

I stood behind Meg in a non-threatening position. The door opened a crack. A man's eyeball was visible. He looked us over, and gasped "Oh my God." He opened the door wide enough for us to come in.

He was white and about six inches shorter than me. Probably 150 pounds soaking wet, with short dark hair and a tan complexion, with a towel wrapped around his waist. Sitting on the bed was a tall African-American guy with his head in his hands and a blanket covering his lap.

We looked back and forth between the two: "So, who..."

"Erin," said the white guy, meekly holding his hand up. He pointed across the room, "Rosie." Rosie gave a slight embarrassed wave.

"I know the feeling," I said bashfully, "You might remember me as Lauren."

"I can't believe this," Erin gasped. "What happened? What is... did it happen to all of us?"

"Yeah," I said, "Sit down, we need to talk."

We gave them the short version, about how we had been at the Inn a year ago and it turned us into Lauren and Tasha, and how we came back to get our bodies back, emphasizing that it was possible - not a guarantee, but emphasizing that this definitely wasn't permanent.

We searched the room and found that the original owners of those bodies had left their luggage under the bed rather than in the closet. They were Brooklyn natives: Erin was now Chris DeVito, and Rosie was Ahmir Johnson.

The four of us then proceeded to the room to the other side of mine, but it had emptied.  We kept knocking on doors and doing our best to reach out. It didn't appear that anyone besides Meg and myself were second-timers.

We found some young girls, ten-year-old twins. They identified themselves as Trevor's parents. I asked where Trevor was, and they brought me to him. In his room were a man and a woman - apparently the parents of the two girls. The man - probably about 36 or so, paunchy with a shaved head and a beard - stood and identified himself as Trevor. 

I guess he didn't turn out too bad, considering the possibilities, and what happened to his parents. But aging close to twenty years overnight is not a perfect situation either.

We discerned they were the Jenkinses, from upstate New York, also parents to a 13-year-old boy who had not yet appeared. The Jenkins wife/mother was sitting cross-legged on the bed, weeping. I asked who Trevor that was, and he explained that he had met a girl at the club the night we went out, and had snuck her into his room a few nights since. That made me make an involuntary groan of exasperation.

I felt bad that he had brought someone else into this, but it was more or less the same thing that happened to me and Meg, so I was hardly in a place to judge. I paid her a little extra sympathy - not that everyone else didn't deserve some, but she wasn't even supposed to be at the Inn, and now she dragged into it. Her parents will think she went missing, and she has little choice but to go off with strangers and pretend to be wife to Trevor of all people.

I was starting to get stressed, taking stock of who was ending up where and making sure everyone was OK, when I spotted her, this tall, willowy girl with dark hair down her back. Greta. She was dressed in clothes that didn't really fit her long body.

"Hey!" I called out, probably too aggressively, "Hey, excuse me!"

She glanced at me and then went for the door.

I dashed after her, almost tripping over my long legs, "Hey! Sorry! I didn't mean to scare you! I just... you're... sorry, I mean, who are you? Do you know what's happening?"

"We're leaving," she said sharply, "That's what's happening. I don't know who you people are or what you think you're doing here..."

"We changed. And you did too," I said simply, "We... we can explain. I can help. My name is Tyler, but when I came here my name was Lauren Sherman, you might have seen me around, an 18-year-old girl..."

Her eyes bugged out, "Lauren? You're that... you were... you have something to do with this?"

"I didn't... not exactly, but I know something about it. Sorry, who are you?"

Her demeanor relaxed and she held her arms out for a hug. "It's Kitty, darling!"

Oh, great.

I reluctantly let her hug me - we were practically eye-to-eye. I went on, "Yeah, it got all of us who were staying at the Inn... um, I don't mean to be rude, but what happened to your husband?"

"He's in the car," she sighed. "We were just going to go home, all this spooky stuff really freaked us out. My heart is still racing!"

She took me over to where a 13-year-old boy was sitting in the passenger's seat of her Lexus SUV, sulking. We had found the missing Jenkins kid.

I told them not to go just yet, we had a lot of stuff to sort out.

Sorry, this has taken a long time out of my day to write and I need to address some things. Will be back later. I can't wait until I have a minute to feel, somewhat shamefully, good about what's happened to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sad to see Lauren go. I was enjoying her story.