Paradox
by Wayne Keisler

1997


I was working second shift at the time. One of my co-workers was on vacation and I was filling in on second shift. We were already short handed and the work was beginning to pile up. I went in to work early, at 2:30 in the afternoon. I knew then that it was going to be one of those interminably long days. I worked by butt off for over twelve hours. There was just no one else to do the work, with my fellow worker gone. A twelve hour shift has never been to my liking or I doubt to anyone else's either. The others left at 11:30, leaving me there by my self. I stayed until 2 am, when I felt as if I was going to drop in my tracks.

Thank God that home was only fifteen minutes away. I made it home, got a bath and collapsed into the bed without another thought. I had to get up about five am to attend to business, but immediately fell back into bed, thinking that I would be able to sleep late in the morning. I usually turn the air conditioning up at night and sleep under a light cover, but this morning, I woke up and was hot.

I had left my glasses in the den on the counter and didn't want to go get them. I felt for the controls for the AC and turned it up. I was never a morning person. I looked at the clock and it was 8:01 am. Damn. I was going to sleep until at least 11. I went into the bathroom to splash water on my face, when I got the surprise of my life. I had felt nothing different, but that could have been because I was groggy.

First, I had trouble turning on the water. My hand didn't want to work right. I looked down at it and saw to my amazement, that it was covered by light brown fur, was shaped funny and I had claws on the ends of my fingers. I still didn't have on my glasses, but being somewhat nearsighted, I saw this. As I looked up and saw my head, My ears stood out. They just weren't where they were supposed to be either and they were pointed. I ran into the den and tried to grab my glasses from the counter, but I dropped them.

As I bent over to pick them up, another surge hit. That was the only way I can describe it. I screamed in pain as something pushed out of my lower back and tore the pants that I slept in. I had socks on my feet, but realized that something was wrong down there also. I sat on a chair, carefully avoiding, what I realized was my tail, and pulled them off. They were the feet of an animal and bore little resemblance to the feet that I had washed last night. What was going on? After retrieving my glasses, I had trouble putting them on. First, I had no ears where they were supposed to be, to hang them on. Secondly, I found that my face had pushed out slightly, forming the beginnings of a muzzle.

I stripped what was left of my clothes off and stumbled back into the bathroom, to look into the mirror. Now, some people might think that I would be upset, but this was what I had wished for since I had started reading transformation stories. As I looked in the mirror, I was pleased with what I saw. I still didn't know what caused it, but this was so cool! The creature that stared back at me was basically human in form, except for digitigrade legs. I felt like I was standing on my toes.

As I watched, I felt uneasy, like it wasn't over. I was right. The last wave hit and things were moving all over. It seemed like my whole body was crawling or something. Fur grew in at an incredible rate. It felt like huge hands grabbed my face and pulled. That was not quite how it felt, but its as close as I can come. I got a bit shorter. Before, I was six foot two inches and now, I was more like five eight or so. My head was almost completely that of a wolf. I tried to speak, and found that I could, but it was low and guttural, almost a growl. I grinned. The canines that I bared, were awesome.

Then there were the new sensory perceptions. My nose had almost exploded. I had heard that a lupine sense of smell was believed to be over a hundred times more sensitive that a humans and now I knew it to be so. I guess that if I had had that sense of smell all along, I would have cleaned more often. I recognized my human scent and realized that it had really changed. I could see little color, but the return from my nose more that made up for it. I wasted a lot of time, walking up and down the hall, trying to get used to my new situation.

I didn't know whether to go out in public or not. What would people say about my new condition? I didn't know at the time, that I wasn't the only one. I thought about putting on clothes, but my hands and the new shape of my legs, nothing I owned would fit anyway. I thought about something. I had a wolf calendar on the wall and I wanted to see how I compared to the pictures. As I looked over the calendar, I realized something funny. There seemed to be something that I needed to do. I looked inward and found a shimmering wall of some kind. I put my hand through it and much to my surprise, I felt another change. I no longer had a hand with claws, I had a paw. Suddenly in wonder, I moved through that wall.

A sharp pain in my back drove me forward, to place hands, now paws, on the ground. I shifted completely into a wolf. I padded back into the bathroom to look once more. Everything was black and white now, but I could tell That I had become fully a wolf. Then, half in fear, I looked inward once more and again stepped through that wall and once more achieved morph form. I did this several more times, just to prove to myself that it worked, kind of like a kid, trying out a new toy. Then, I went out to my truck and tried to get in.

Its amazing how much difference, having a tail makes in getting into a vehicle designed for a human. I knew immediately, that that wasn't going to work. I went back inside a got a utility knife and cutters and after about an hour worth of work, I had a decent sized hole for my new tail. I got in and started making adjustments. My proportions were radically different now and it took quite a while for me to get adjusted to fit. Then, have you ever tried to mash a gas peddle with claws? Everything was different, but I was determined to go out. I had to know if there were others.

I managed to drive to the local mall. Strangely, the doors were open, but there was just no one to be seen. I walked into the mall and went up and down its length, when I heard a sound. There was a rabbit morph, streaking at top speed, by me. I wondered at this, when I remembered that I was now a predator. I was standing there watching it, when I scented someone behind me. I turned suddenly, and came face to face with a female fox morph. I stood there and stared at her for a moment.

"What are you staring at, Mr. Big Bad Wolf," she asked?

This struck me as really funny. I had read the story of the three little pigs when I was younger, now I was the wolf. Strangely, I was attracted to her. She wasn't even my species, but was attractive, never the less. It turned out that she had come in early to get ready to open the store for the day, when the change had started. She found herself changing, much as I had, and had only just ventured out of the store. It seemed that there was a deer tearing around the mall also, doing who knows what and she was afraid to come out.

I don't know why, but I invited her back to my house. Not knowing yet, what was really going on, she agreed. I had never seen her before in my life, but I felt a kinship with her somehow and she with me. Julie lived alone in an apartment and she didn't want to face staying there alone, after what had happened.

I wanted to show her what I could do, so I shifted into norm form and looked back at her. I had a moment to investigate the shimmering wall in my mind then, and I saw more of the same type walls farther away from the initial wall. I wondered briefly what these were for, but didn't have the time to investigate then.

We drove by her apartment, so she could get some of her things. There was a menagerie of other animals and morphs around her building. Some were just sitting and staring. Others, were running around wildly and some were even chasing the others. It was a scene of chaos, like I had never seen. It seem as though others were not handling this change as well as Julie and I were. I walked her to and from her apartment. Apparently, I was sufficiently threatening, that none of the others bothered us. We got back into my truck and made for home.

I kind of doubted whether she would like my place, but it seemed to be just fine with her. She went in and laid her things down and made herself at home. She curled up on my couch and asked if we could try the TV. I turned it on and the only channel still working, was CNN. The person doing the reporting was some kind of antelope or so I thought. The one thing that I saw immediately, was that we weren't the only ones. I found that almost everyone, over a certain age, had changed. We watched the news reports for the rest of the day and settled down for the night. Several of the other stations had come back online, but we were tired and didn't really care.

I woke early the next morning and went into the bathroom. After I took care of business, which was really different also, I had time to think. Julie was still in den, asleep on the couch, so I wanted to do more investigation. I knew already, that if I went through the first wall, I would become a full wolf, but I wanted to know what the others were. I mentally moved toward the next nearest silver wall or door, I really didn't know what it looked most like. I have never been a person to go slowly, so I pushed rapidly forward through the next one and felt another shift.

I shrank even further. My fur, that had been gray, became tinged with red. My muzzle and head became shorter. My legs became shorter and if anything, my tail became even bushier. I was a fox. This excited me to no end. Julie was a gray fox morph and now, I was a fox also. I couldn't wait to tell her. I bounded into the den and up onto the couch where she slept. I licked her in the face. Maybe, I shouldn't have done it like that. She yipped and jumped off of the couch and I flipped off of her, onto the floor.

I rapidly retreated to wolf form and then back into morph form where I could talk.

"Sorry Julie, I found that I could become a fox and wanted to surprise you."

"You succeeded in that," she said. "If it had been a wolf staring back at me, I don't think that I would have been scared, but I never expected another fox."

"I wish that you could change into norm form too," I said," then we could go for a romp in the woods."

"Maybe I can," She said. "How do you do it," she asked?

"Well, I look inward and I see a type of shimmering wall or door, and when I go through it, I change," I told her.

"Let me try," she replied.

I was quiet while she tried and I almost gave up and asked her what was wrong, when she shrank and became a normal gray fox. I was overjoyed. She shifted back and said," I finally did it, but it was so hard!"

"I just concentrated on the picture of a fox, that I had seen and suddenly, something seemed to give and I shifted. I shifted back the same way."

" Well, I guess it doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you can," I told her.

We left my back door open and went into the woods that bordered my yard. It was so cool, as we slipped silently through the forest. I had resumed my fox form and we just enjoyed ourselves. I had no idea how much a fox I had really become, until a rabbit bounded away from us and I couldn't help but give chase. I heard Julie running behind and we flew like the wind. I slowly caught up to it and with a final burst of speed, I caught it and bit down on its neck.

My world exploded! I was racked by such agony, that I thought I was dying. I couldn't feel my body, just the agony that invaded my head. It was released so fast, that before I could even think, I blacked out and knew no more. I came back awake, with a worried fox morph bending down over me. I had no idea what had happened.

"God, I thought you were dead," Julie said. "You just let out a horrible noise and fell over with the rabbit still in your mouth."

I could tell that she was really worried. I could feel it! I don't mean, that I could read her mind, not in words, but I could feel what she was feeling. Oh, Shit!! I was an empath! That explained what had happened to me. When I clamped down on the rabbit, I had felt its death. God, I could never forget that feeling. It had nearly killed me. What in hell was I going to do now? How could you be a predator and an empath also. I had little success so far in controlling the animal side of me and I sure as hell couldn't take that once more. I groaned as I thought over my predicament. Julie, bless her, tried to comfort me. But I just didn't know what to do. What a paradox. A predator, that knew what others were feeling.

I moped around the house over the next week. Julie was getting disgusted with me. She said that my mood was bringing her down. Finally, she packed up and moved back to her own place. I didn't care. I hated having to deal with anyone anyway and now, there was no one near enough for me to read. Peace at last. Why the hell couldn't I have been a horse? It would have been so much easier. Grass doesn't have any feelings. I had more pictures of horses around the house that wolves, but that was what I was. I couldn't stand the house any more and went out to the park. Most everyone, except for other predators would give me wide berth, so I wasn't bothered. I sat there wallowing in self pity, for who knows how long.

I heard a voice talking, but didn't pay too much attention. Usually, if I ignored them, they would go away. Then in an even louder voice," I said, would you please shield yourself?" I looked up and got a shock. There was a female wolf. She was a much lower degree than I was, but a wolf never the less.

"Excuse me?," I said.

"I was walking through the park and you were broadcasting misery so loud, that I got a head ache," she told me.

"You could tell what I was feeling," I asked?

"Yes," she replied, I've been an empath for years, even before the change and I couldn't help but feel what you were broadcasting." "Hasn't anyone taught you to shield?"

"What is shielding," I asked stupidly.

"Is your place nearby," she asked?

"Lets go there and maybe, I can show you enough to stop the mental leaking that you are doing," she told me. "I'm Erin, by the way."

"Thanks, Erin," I replied."

I can't tell you how long she stayed there helping me. I found that I had been receiving feelings from others, that were scared and upset over the change, and hadn't been able to sort them from my own feelings. Then she finally said," That's all we can do for now, but I'll come back tomorrow and we'll work some more." I looked up and realized that it was dark already. Erin had carefully shown me how to imagine my gift as an object and slowly build a mental wall around it. By the time that she left, I could block out all feelings from others and shield my own broadcasts. I only leaked a small amount now. Erin told me that I would become better with practice. After she left, I lay on the couch in norm form, nose to tail and slept soundly for the first time in weeks.

I woke late the next morning, refreshed and at ease for the first time in over a week. You couldn't imagine, what dealing with other feelings every waking hour, can do to a person. I am a person of pretty strong character, but it had nearly driven me crazy. Only the one in a million meeting with another like me, had saved me. If I had to guess, there probably wasn't another wolf-morph, empath, in the world.

As I wandered around the house, I decided to explore the morphing ability, that I had. I had already morphed a norm fox and wondered what was behind the other walls I remembered. I once more looked inward and found the shimmering door. I tried to look farther inward, but there was nothing more there. I went through the first door and became a norm wolf. Then, as I looked around, there were the many faceted doors that I remembered. It seemed the only way to them, was through my norm form.

As I neared a door, it came to me what was going to be behind it. I don't know how I knew, but it was there, never the less. I went from door to door. The fox, I had already tried. As I wandered from door to door, I found coyote, numerous canine breeds, various species of foxes and even an African wild dog. It seemed I could become almost anything lupine or canine. I realized that I could only reach morph form, when I was a wolf though. I wanted to explore these newfound forms, but something was intruding on my consciousness. I came out of my trance like state and realized that someone was ringing the doorbell.

I got off of the couch once more and angrily went to the door. When I opened it and saw Erin there, my anger faded. I had been looking forward to seeing her again. I let my shield down a bit to see what she was feeling. I carefully tried not to broadcast, just receive.

"That's much better," she said. "Quite an improvement from the park yesterday. I couldn't even sense you, until you opened to me."

Somehow, I took a pride in my accomplishments. I wanted nothing more that to please this woman. I had only met her yesterday and already I owed her so much. Julie was long forgotten. We worked for several hours and as we both were hungry, I recommended that we go to a local restaurant that I had heard, catered to predator types. I didn't really thing that we were going to find meat there. Meat now came at a premium price, with so many predator types around now. We wolves, didn't really eat that much, especially when you consider how much some of those dinosaurs, that I had heard about this morning, ate.

Erin and I finished our meal and left. It had been much as I expected. There was that damned synthetic meat that someone had come up with a while ago. What, with all the animal rights people on their case and the highly publicized working conditions in the meat packing plants, the supply of the real thing was almost nonexistent. The vegetables they had also served, we had both turned out noses up at, but the owned said, that we needed them, as we weren't completely wolf.

Once more back at the house, with full bellies, we started to go back to work. I had a much harder time concentrating this time. I had been reading her emotions for a couple of days now and I realized that she was beginning to care for me. As for me, well, you know how us dog types are, I was attracted to her from the beginning. I watched her face for the minute expressions that she made and also opened to her feelings. She opened her eyes and we looked at each other. Something clicked then. That was the only way I could describe it. I was not a very experience lover, but I found that it didn't matter.

We stayed right there on the floor and made passionate love. For the first time, I found out what being an empath, really was. As we moved, both of us were as open with each other as anyone had ever been. I could feel what she was feeling and she could do the same. Our pleasure echoed and reechoed and with each consecutive wave, grew stronger. Feelings were the center of our world for what seemed like forever. This thing that we were feeling built gradually stronger. I was not even thinking coherently any more. Pleasure overwhelmed every thought, until only the act was left. Finally, when I thought I couldn't stand any more, the dam broke and we were thrown into a torrent of emotions, that were greater that any raging river!

I woke first and got slowly to my feet. God, had we passed out? I was still groggy and almost felt like I had a hangover. I knew then and there, that love would never be the same for me. Somehow, we were connected now at a deep level, that was no longer voluntary. She woke, as I was going into the bath to shower. I never even had to look back to know this. I tried to block this out, but there was no way. I couldn't yet talk to her, so I went in and showered. It took 5 or 6 towels to dry this fur! That and several more minutes with the blow dryer. I was thankful that I wasn't a higher degree that I was. I still had fingers, even if they had long black claws on the ends.

Erin was waiting for me when I came out. She hugged me and said nothing. I knew what she was feeling and I was glad. I had been lonely for so long. Absorbed in work and never having time for another. I would have to find time now! I would be lost without her and she the same. We had to make plans for the future. I had been out of work for several weeks and my boss was calling. He had already left messages for several days. I knew that I would have to deal with returning to work and other things, but with her to come home to, I knew that there was nothing I couldn't conquer. We had the rest of the day to enjoy each other and I knew just what we were going to do. Tomorrow, I would deal with the rest. Tomorrow.



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