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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Krista's Prompts - 6. Prompt 401

Infection - Animal - Morph Prompt

Tag – Infection

It started at a lab in Washington, DC. It seems people began to morph and become a human animal hybrid. At first it was just a few but it slowly seemed to spread across the country, infecting one out of every four people. Was this a lab experiment gone wrong or something new in the evolution of mankind?


“Run Jack, run!” Mother yelled from the kitchen window overlooking the backyard. I was sitting outside on the picnic table waiting for a text message from my friend Asher, pretending to study for a mid-term exam on Shakespeare for my english class.


I knew what her scream meant though. They finally found me. I felt the change threaten to tear through my body with the warmth spreading from my chest outward. The hunters wouldn’t hurt my mother, they were only here for me. I just didn’t know why, no one they come after is ever seen again and people are too scared to talk about it. Apart from a few wild tales about people who have escaped detection and capture. It was hard to say, but the hunters that hunted me now was fighting a lost cause. There were too many of us changing or born different. Studies saying one in four, but that didn’t stop them from coming - they would always come.


A second scream from the kitchen was abruptly silenced. They had subdued her. I could now hear their boots as they stormed from the kitchen to the back patio door. When the first man dressed in black armor plated gear, carrying a stunning weapon, came into view, I abandoned my schoolwork and turned towards the forest. The best thing for everyone, was for me to run. They wouldn’t hurt my family or use them against me, if I ran and didn’t come back.


When I was just past the treeline, the change took hold. I had always tried to suppress it. It would try to overwhelm me when I was angry or upset. No one wanted their children snatched from their beds in the middle of the night, not when word finally spread that the Government had sent specially trained agents to collect the infected.


At first people sought help, it started in an experimental government classified laboratory, or that’s what people said. A contaminant that escaped and spread beyond their doors. When those people were never heard from again, people started to question the disappearances. Entire states rebelled, cutting ties from the Union. Wars erupted and cities crumbled.


Now most of us lived in isolated towns across the country. Communication became slow and no one trusted easily. There was no government, not really. No one listened to laws, towns formed their own laws to safeguard against the failed Government that still tried to reign. Most everyone now just wanted a sense of normalcy. School. College. A family that isn’t stormed in on in the dead of night or on quiet unassuming afternoons. There was no whispered gossip, no quick phone call from someone in town warning us that people were on the way. The hunters were at least getting better or the people on watch were paid not to send word. The reward for information tempted everybody, especially those lucky enough not to have a hybrid in the family. The ones that didn’t know what it felt like to have someone ripped from their lives and wondering what happened to them. People still remembered what it felt like to be safe, to have food in their bellies every night. To not sleep with a gun with limited bullets beside or under the bed. Some would do anything to get that back.


We had kept supplies next to the door, a bag of clothes always packed and ready. For people that show any sign of change, it was only a matter of time before they came. We had been lucky, I hadn’t been discovered until now. Most families didn’t see their children grow up. It may have started out as a virus that spread like wildfire, but now it was in our blood - our genetics and no one was safe.


I didn’t know where I needed to go. With my enhanced hearing I could still hear them crashing through the foliage behind me at a distance. They would give up soon, they were still human. Instead they will wait for me to return home, betting I would return for the rest of the family and flee under the cover of darkness.


It wasn’t like we were dangerous. Some of us did use our animal morphism to knock over banks or kill people. That was no different than anyone else, though, not really. We were still human in all ways that mattered, the change didn’t affect our personalities. We just had to be more careful, some of us had the venom of snakes, some could breathe under water, fly, have the strength of grizzlies. While others only sprouted feathers or had scaly skin. It didn’t matter though, we were all hunted. Just some required more hunters than others.


I was at least lucky enough to take after Dad, who morphed into a mountain lion. He had put up a fight the night they killed him. I remembered the night of my first change, it was the smell of Dad’s blood that told me I was something more. I had smelled the blood that seeped through the living room floor to the baseboards below. I was old enough to remember when Dad died of Mom crying over the puddle of blood. A blood stained rag in her hand as she scrubbed the hardwood trying to remove all traces of the struggle. She had told me to go to bed. I had walked down the hall instead. It took her all night. She found me curled into a ball the next morning in the floor. I was four.


I glanced behind me hating that the memory haunted me now, still running on two legs. I was able to fight against a full change, I wanted to be above the ferns so that I could see where I was going. I also didn’t want to lose the only clothes I had. Even if the shirt snagged on briars and ripped. I had no way of carrying them if I changed completely, but I didn’t have to change completely, I still had the strength of the lion.


I ran in as straight a path as the forest allowed until well after nightfall. The hunters would back off and get dogs to follow my scent after dark or return to the house and wait. I leaned against a large tree and I watched my claws turn back into human fingernails and the sand brown fur along my arm disappear. Gasping for air, I looked around. The birds had gone silent for the night, but I could still hear the crashing of a deer in the distance as it winded me and ran for safety. The forest showed no sign of thinning and I hoped I wasn’t about to cross into another town. People didn’t like intruders, they know what it meant. That either a group of hunters were starting an investigation or a hunted had just outran their capture. Every town had secrets, people they didn’t want hunted. So new faces were always unwelcome - the bounty for someone you didn’t really know was too tempting and deals could be made.


Trying to control my breathing I jumped when the cry of a bird split the stillness of the night. Looking towards the rising moon I saw a falcon land on the branch and look down at me. Being a daytime bird, I knew it wasn’t a natural animal, well that and the fact they were clutching a small bag that should have been too large for a bird of that size to carry. Smiling I turned away knowing they would want some privacy to change and dress.


“They paid that bastard Tanner off,” a girl hissed from the branch above me. “Don’t look I’m still naked and I’ve not had time to get a good tan going.”


“I wasn’t,” I said knowing the voice instantly. “Did they crash in on you too Emily?”


“No, but I knew they would after knocking down your door,” she said, “another round up in our region, someone’s been talkin.”


“You weren’t on duty tonight?” I asked knowing that unassuming shifters were asked to keep watch at the traveling routes for intruders.


“Hello Mid-terms,” she answered, then I heard a crash as she leapt from the tree. When I turned around she was slowly picking her way out of a blackberry bush. “Was a longer fall than I thought.”


“Why didn’t you just land on the ground?” I asked reaching out my hand. She took it and I winced when I felt the tips of her taloned fingernails.


“I don’t really like dirt,” she countered smiling as she brushed off the back of her jeans. “Asher and Kyle are on their way.”


“Kyle,” I groaned wrinkling my nose.


“Yes, Kyle,” he’s masking your tracks that I’m sure anyone could follow.”


“Anyone else? How about Annlou?” I asked and I noticed Emily’s eyes fill with tears. Annlou was her grandmother.


“Too old to run,” she said, “she bought me time to escape.”


“I’m sorry Emily,” I said wanting to reach out to her, but I knew she wouldn’t appreciate the gesture.


“Yeah, I’m sorry about your Mom,” she said, “she’s all alone now.”


“They’ll look after her after they run Tanner out of town,” I said feeling the catch in my throat. I cleared it with a cough and we both fell silent hoping to hear the footsteps of Asher and Kyle any moment. We didn’t need to stay in one place for very long - we didn’t know how determined these hunters were.


“He better start runnin now,” she said her voice transforming into the shriek of the falcon as her anger took hold. I glanced at her trying not to notice the curved beginning of a beak starting to replace her lips. An unwelcome change would have been funny if we weren’t running for our lives.


“I think I smell Kyle,” I said reaching up to cover my nose with my hand, knowing it would do little good.


“Poor Kyle,” Emily said as she buried her nose into her shirt. “And poor Asher for that matter.”


“We’re over here Kyle,” I yelled when I heard the rustling of ferns a few yards away.


After a few minutes a stocky built dark haired guy stepped out from behind a tree. He crossed his arms over his broad chest looking around the forest before finally glancing towards me. Shortly after him Asher stepped out from behind a tree tugging on the t-shirt that he had worn to school today. I couldn’t help feeling relieved when I saw him. He had been my best friend since pre-school. Kyle though was the town mechanic that graduated high school four or five years ago.


“Can you believe them fuckers?” Kyle said nodding his head back towards town. “Scared of a skunk. What’s a damn skunk going to do to them?”


“You know they take anyone,” Emily said pulling her shirt off her nose. Kyle didn’t like it when people shielded their nose around him. He truly only stunk when he lost control, but Kyle had an easy temper, so that was often.


“And when a skunk is the size of you,” Asher said looking up at Kyle who seemed to flex. “Who the hell wouldn’t be scared?”


“I’m more dangerous like this than I am a damn skunk, I only did this to cover pretty boy’s tracks,” he said pointing a finger at me. “So if I see any of you damn kids wrinkle your nose at me I’m kicking all your asses.”


“We won’t,” Emily said trying not to laugh. “You couldn’t catch me anyhow.”


“Whatever,” he said and then we all jumped when a naked girl leapt from the thick ferns that surrounded us. She quickly ducked behind a tree. I felt my face flush, but when I turned to look at Asher I saw that he was trying to poke his head around the tree.


“Stop,” I whispered reaching over and smacking him on the shoulder.


“Who’s back there?” Emily asked, “Come out from behind that tree.”


“I didn’t have time to dress,” the girl said. “I was in the shower.”


“Is that you Lynn?” Emily asked grabbing her bag. “I have some spare clothes.”


“She can have my shirt,” Kyle said holding out his shirt. It reeked of skunk and I had to chew on my cheek to keep from laughing when Emily jumped away from it waving her hand.


“I have plenty,” Emily said then when she noticed Kyle's scowl softened her voice and mumbled a quick ‘thanks,’ before ducking behind the tree with Lynn.


“Dude,” Asher said glancing between the two of us. “Two girls, one tree.”


“Shut up,” I groaned, but I saw Kyle crack a grin shaking his head.


“I didn’t even know Lynn was one of us,” Kyle said, “she’s Chief Ray’s daughter, right?”


“Yeah,” I answered stepping in front of Asher attempting to block his wandering attention again. “I didn’t know either.”


“Then how did the hunters find out?” Asher asked still glancing at the tree.


“Wonder how much Tanner knew,” Emily said as she stepped out from behind the tree, the bag she carried no longer in her hand. “If none of us did.”


“Do you think they’ve found a better way to spy on us?” Kyle asked, “they busted down about every door in town.”


“Then where is everyone else?” I asked frowning when Kyle looked away.


“They did a simultaneous assault,” Lynn said, “Tanner likely made a fortune selling all of us out to them.”


“How did he know about you?” Emily asked, “We didn’t know.”


“I don’t know,” she said, “I didn’t think anyone knew, I just started changing into a fox about a month or so ago.”


“So you weren’t born with it?” Kyle asked and I suddenly felt sorry for Lynn. She looked like she was about to collapse. Her red hair was matted with the leaves of ferns and flower petals from the wild blackberries and roses.


“Probably not,” she said, “I guess it is still spreading.”


“We need to get going,” Emily said looking around. The moon had risen completely and it was full. I didn’t need advanced night vision to see a fair distance of the forest around us. So they could have used the promise of an illuminated night to help them track down the ones that escaped.


“Can’t we wait?” Lynn asked, “There could be others.”


I was about to answer, but the sound of hunting dogs cut through the night. Their baying barks sent a chill through me. I turned to see Lynn wrestling out of a pile of clothes that no longer fit her smaller frame as a fox. She wasn’t in control of herself enough to fight it back when flooded by sudden emotion.


“Fuck I can’t outrun dogs,” Kyle said slamming his fist into the trunk of the closet tree. When he didn’t flinch I heard Asher whistle, his face twisted into a grimace.


“I’ll carry you,” I said, “get in Emily’s bag.”


“My bag?” Emily asked suddenly clutching her bag tightly against her chest.


“I think he’d rather me carry him in your bag than between my teeth,” I said holding out my hand.


“Not my bag,” she whispered. “Where are we going to put our clothes?”


“In the bag,” I said as Lynn bounced around the small clearing that we had created by smashing all the ferns. She looked like she was going to bolt any moment now and I didn’t want us separating.


“With skunk man,” Emily hissed, “I don’t think so.”


“Drop the fucking bag,” Kyle growled unbuckling his belt and pulling it through the loops. He quickly unbuttoned his jeans and pulled them off over his stocky legs. Emily shrieked and dropped the bag, the clothes she wore falling off her as she shifted. I quickly gathered up all the clothes trying not to glance at Kyle as he impatiently waited. Emily flew to the low lying branch she landed on after she found me and waited.


My face flushed, I quickly undressed and stuffed my clothes into the bag as well, but by the time everything was in it there was no room for Kyle. I glanced over at Asher, who still had his boxer briefs on. He frowned looking down at his own jeans folded in his hands.


“We have to leave,” Kyle said as the sound of the hounds grew closer. They were still leashed or they would have already been on top of us. If the trail got any hotter the hunters might set them loose. Stories of people being ripped apart by dogs had caught our ears every so often, but it was difficult to know if they were just stories to scare us or make us hate the hunters more. Remembering the night Dad died, though, I wondered just how far they would go to catch us. They had taken too many of us for it to be just for research already, there was no reason to keep taking us alive. Unless they had something else planned for us, but I wasn’t going to find out. I would rather die before that happened.


“Okay,” I said as I pulled my clothes back out of the bag and dropped them to the ground. I then watched as six feet four inches worth of solid muscle transformed into what looked to be about a four pound bushy tailed skunk. I would have laughed if the hounds weren’t closing in as he waddled into the bag.


“Ready?” Asher asked as his yellow eyes, eyes he had since birth, started to glow in the brightness of the moonlight.


“Yes,” I said and I let the change rip through my body. When it happened quickly, it felt like a painful twisting of bones as we took on a new body. Wrinkling my nose as a black wolf nudged by me to join the fox I picked the strap of Emily’s bag up between my teeth ignoring the hiss that sounded from somewhere in the bag and the sudden stench of skunk that burned through my sinuses and together we all took off through the woods as the real hunt began.


Infection - Animal - Morph Prompt

Copyright © 2015 Krista; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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On 03/15/2015 12:30 AM, Rook Lee said:
This is great, I love Kyle the skunk. Rofl
Lol.. I know! I'd be cranky too.. :P I'm glad you liked it.
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On 03/14/2015 11:46 PM, Valkyrie said:
Great prompt. I'd love to read more! :)
Thanks! It was different, I enjoyed writing it. :) I wanted to go on, but you know.. prompts aren't supposed to be this grand productions.. lol. But I likely will expand on it. :D Thanks for commenting!
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Prompts are whatever you want them to be. More than one has become a full multi-chaptered story. I love this. I find it amusing that the biggest of them ends up as a skunk. :lol: Very imaginative Krista. Hope you decide to do more with this.

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On 03/16/2015 07:10 AM, comicfan said:
Prompts are whatever you want them to be. More than one has become a full multi-chaptered story. I love this. I find it amusing that the biggest of them ends up as a skunk. :lol: Very imaginative Krista. Hope you decide to do more with this.
Thanks for reading! It was totally fun to write. :D
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Well, it sure beats the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. :P No, seriously I liked it. You could work this into something more. Your story has real potential, Krista. :thumbup:

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On 03/16/2015 02:00 PM, Ron said:
Well, it sure beats the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. :P No, seriously I liked it. You could work this into something more. Your story has real potential, Krista. :thumbup:
Thanks for reading and liking it! I'm glad it beat MMPR.. lol. I would have to retire otherwise.. mercy.


I likely will expand on this. :D It was fun to write.

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