"Ursus, pump your left pec a bit" Maddie said from back behind the hot lights. With only a flicker of my mind my left pectoral muscle bulked up a bit more. I could hear her video camera whir as she adjusted its height and zoom from the computer.
"OK, that's it for now. Take a break" I gratefully stepped down from the small dais putting my arms and legs though a few quick movements to loosen them up. I love photoshoots.
Adjusting my posing trunks I stepped from under the lights, Maddie had a robe waiting.
"For you, Mr. Bodybuilding Champ". I smiled my thanks at her, even as warm as she kept her flat the temperature difference once out of the lights was always surprisingly high.
"What we got so far?" I rumbled at her. Maddie smiled up at me and walked over to the computer.
Maddie is a real pro- video camera linked directly to the latest T1,000 PC. Real time picture still grabber/editor, full zoom, and 360' direction control, 3D plotting, everything. We had been doing shoots together for 12 years, almost as long as I had been pumping iron.
Maddie called up several images and lay them next to each other on her massive 28' screen. Oh, for a set up like this!- I still lumber along with a positively ancient 986, two or three years behind this beauty. I shouldn't complain though, Dad occasionally breaks out the ancient 386 he's got from the 60's to show 'how lucky we are' when me or Kelvin complain about our lot in the computing life.
Maddie's pictures are as ever excellent. We had concentrated on the set piece poses for the first half of today -- double biceps, (we agreed that my left needs a little more work), arms behind head (still can't do that vacuum trick Frank Zane pioneered), most muscular, archer, 'relaxed' (as if it was!), etc. All the basic stuff for Olympia. We were saving the afternoon for the arty complex stuff. Maddie always said her best cover shots came in the afternoons.
Not that I minded -- Maddie works for Flex, the best of the bodybuilding magazines. To call her 'high up' would be wrong, shes at the top. Personal friend of Flex Weider himself. The rumour in the gyms was that it was her influence that finally persuaded the IFBB to hold this years Mr Olympia in London instead of Stateside for the first time since the Plague War. It's true of course but I couldn't possibly comment on gym rumours...
Maddie starts rambling on about lighting and what backgrounds to put in the pics. I tune out. Whatever she does will be, as always excellant. "So if we change the colour set slightly, you arms will look a little bigger, and if we use an Alpine background..."
I recall when we first met. I was a lot younger and smaller then. It was at a youth competition in Manchester, my fourth contest. I remember being nervous as hell, worrying about falling out of my trunks, if the lighting would work for me, etc. Hell even now, as Mr. Olympia five years bloody running (I'll get your record Arnold) I still worry, its just now I have a friend to help me. Except Maddie is a lot more than that. When she approached me after my win in Manchester and asked if she could do a photoshoot I jumped at the chance, who wouldn't? World famous American muscle photographer asks young starter for a shoot and, that's were it started. Those first photos... one of them won her an award. Maddie published 'Ursus: Portfolio of a Giant' last year covering all her work with me. I think it was after my first Olympia win that she started calling me Ursus or was it after that awful off-season shot of me with that stupid bread appeared in Muscle and Fitness?
It was about that summer that we went beyond just friends...
"Of course, if I just change the mix a little bit, then we can get the same effect..."
I stared at her while she rabbited at me about lighting and oils. I love her something rotten... Thats when her dog joined us. Scamp was a Alsatian, and a big one at that. He is so damm intelligent, I swear he understand everything we say. In a bizarre way I think he's jealous of me. Certainly he's over protective of Maddie, though my size may have something to do with that. He growled at me as he forced his way between us. Maddie absently stroked him as she manipulated a photo, still rabbiting.
"What do you think?" She said breaking into my stare down competion with the dog.
"Er, I think the Alps shot" I nodded, not fooling her one bit We played with a few pictures, adding backgrounds and cleaning up the lighting. Its against IFBB rules and Maddies personal ethics code to manipulate the figure directly, pumping my the muscles with DTP or anything like that. I know of a few sites on the 'net where there were 'pumped up' pictures of me. Some are amusing, some freaky, others plain horrifying. Not that Maddie and I didn't take er... personal photos of each other (not a chance of those seeing the light of day!).
Maddie fingers flew over the keyboard to add the Alps, New York, Ares Rock... to the pictures. Its amazing how cheep it is to travel the world these days...
After we spend a little time playing she's ready to go again. I slip out of the robe and Maddie starts to oil me up. I sneak a glance at the clock -- nearly 1pm. Should be finished at 4. Then a quick break, dinner, hit the gym, then bed -- a good day. I love her touch, so deft, so quick, so sensuous...
"You are far too big Ursus" she says with a laugh in her voice. She always uses my other name when working.
"You never complained about my mass before" I play the game with her. She rubs her hand lightly across the front of my tight red trunks.
"Well its true what they say about tall men" she teases.
"Oh, and what that?" I'm trying to think about anything else -- what was last nights football scores???
"Well that everything's in proportion, and since your only an inch short of 7'5" that a lot of proportion." She had that mischievous grin on her face again as she strokes me. Football, football, football...
She lifts herself on her tip toes and kisses me lightly on the lips. we do this routine every shoot. Not only do we both still give the same answers, but we both accept the incentive to get the job done quickly and onto other things...
It does take a little while to concentrate on the job in hand and not on... but the effort makes me work harder and thus makes better photos.
"OK Ursus. Under the lights please". I step back under the hot lights, adjusting my trunks. While our personal photos are very personal I'm not ready to show the public that much of me! I turn to face the lights. I can't see Maddie from here but I can hear the camera auto adjusting.
"We'll start with a back shot I think, until you're" she giggled, I love that giggle... football, Man U, Liverpool, football... "less excited." I turn my back to the lights and face the white camera sheeting. "Cameras on auto. Start with a lat spread then move onto what ever takes your fancy" She laughed again. I put my hands on my narrow hips and spread my lat muscles wide. I could feel the muscles bunch and vein's pop up. My back looks like a giant cobra head, a huge diamond of Human flesh -- it was more than worth the effort it took to build it. I heard the camera whirring as it continuously filmed. I half turned and went down into the infamous 'Thinker' pose. This is one of my favourites; shows arm, leg and chest development in one pose. Most poses have names -- Archer, Thinker, etc. Even the 'relaxed' poses are posed. 'Relaxed' is about as far from that state as you can get -- flex your arms at your side, head back, pump up the pecs, suck in the stomach, and hold, hold, hold.
The clock strikes one.
"Lets go up to 'Stern'" Maddie says from what seems far off. 'Stern' is one of Maddie favourites, its a sort of trademark pose of ours. Legs apart, hands on hips, pull up to full height, look down and tense everything. The tripod pulls in close on its track to get the full effect of being looked down on, making me seem even bigger.
I hit the pose as an odd tingling begins in my groin. I concentrated on the camera whir as the sensation mades its presence visable on the front of my trunks. The tingling seemed to spread all over me. Football, football football... ignore it, ignore it, ignore it... An odd crash of keys made me look outward into the lights. "Maddie?" I said a little roughly. No answer. I coughed "Maddie?" I said louder. She may of gone to the loo I thought, but she usually tells me. I raised my left arm to shield my eyes a little.
The arm level with my face was not mine. The tingling seemed to get stronger all over me.
The arm was huge. Massive, swelled. At least twice the size that it should of been. Veins stood out like ropes. I have nearly 40' biceps during the on season normally, these monsters were at least 60'! There had been, was none, of the sensation that came with training -- the pump, I was just ballooning. I raised my right arm and tore my eyes over to that.
The same. I noticed the tingling was worse, like a nightmare attack of pins and needles. I looked down. I could not see my toes. When I normally hit 'Stern' I can just see the tips of my toes, now all I should see was chest. My chest. The pecs were like two huge slabs of meat, the cords of muscle ripped there way across the thin skin. I could of lost my normal hand in the sharp diving line between them.
I took a deep breath to call to Maddie, a thick feeling washed over me and I felt myself balloon. Every muscle screamed and burned like a steroid pump as I grew. I could feel my legs push apart as my thighs grew thicker, the muscles touching almost to my knees. Twisting my swelling body, I could make out each diamond shape in my calves, the horse shoe shape of my triceps, the thickening spread of my lats, pushing my arms out from my body to an almost 45 degree angle. There was a distinct TWANG from my trunks as they ripped away from my body, I experianced a feeling of relief as an erection slapped heavly against my upper abs.
Suddenly something slipped out of my rear. I twisted my monstrous upper body to see what looked like a small thick tail grow out of my lower back. It was hairless like the rest of me, then as I watched it seemed to darken with hair, I turned round and looked at the expanse of chest, hair was sprouting all over, thick hair. Off-season I let my body hair grow, but this was beyond that. I watched my skin darken, turning black and hair grow all over it, but hair became fur. Brown-black fur.
I should of cired out, screamed, or something. But I just watched as these changes came.
As I continued to get furry there was a sickening wrench. I felt my whole body twist, my arms moved free in their sockets, my legs moved independent of my body, I could feel my insides rearrange themselves, my manhood vanished inside a sheath. I grew again, but differently. It was like being remade, instead of being a swelled bodybuilder, suddenly I felt like I had been born this size. I was still huge, far beyond Human size, but my arms could touch my sides again, I could press my knees together like a normal sized person. I was reborn, remade, but something was wrong. My fur had slowed its growth on my neck, my head was untouched, I knew it was not over yet. The universe seemed to be waiting for something.
Time seemed to slow as another tingling Surge hit me I suddenly titled backwards on my huge feet as my toes elongated into claws, huge digging claws, I could feel thick pads on my feet. Raising my arms, I flexed my thick fingers outward so I could watch as my fingers grew and my nails vanished as claws grew in, my thumbs seemed to climb a little higher on my hands too. Suddenly I rolled onto the balls of my feet, I hunched over slightly and a lump grew from between my shoulder blades. I rolled my onto the flat of my feet swaying a little, I now seemd to hunch over naturally.
Then a black thing split my vision. I felt my face push outwards, I thought I should be screaming like in some horror movie, but I felt no pain. My ears changed shape completely and travelled up and back onto my skull. I watched my nose stretch and my jaws elongate into a muzzle. I used my long tongue to explore my new fangs. I knew I was complete.
An explosion of smell assaulted me. I closed my eyes against the sensory input -- I could smell too much. I tied to catalogue the smells when I realised my ears had become as sensitive. A warm friendly glow lit up inside me, a familiar, yet alien presence. He seemed to know what he was doing. As if talking to a master I let him help me sort out my mind.
[Cold tap leaking. Bathroom. Water smells of bleach]
I could smell Maddie, Scamp, and me everywhere, but the smells seemed to range in age...
I opened my eyes slowly, my sight seemed slightly less accurate, but my nose and ears make up from that. My black muzzle split my sight, but I could see more round me, more angle. What a world! I knew what I was -- I was a Bear. A huge Grizzly bear. I heard the camera whir as it recorded. I hoped it had recorded this, this Change. Boy, would Maddie love these pictures!
Her face exploded onto my mind. I had to find her. I sniffed and used my new skills to filter out the old trails. I took my first steps. It all felt natural -- the intense heat from the lights on my fur, the smells from all directions, the wooden floor under my pads. There was a wall length mirror just to the side of the dias. As I tried to filter the smells another part of me was looking at my new body. I didn't feel shocked, as if this had been me all along, just hiddern. I was shaped slightly differantly from a ture Bear. My legs seemed shaped so I could stand. I did not have the belly of a true Bear, just a small gut (soon exercise that away) so I did not waddle like a Bear when I walked, I seemed to more stomp. I stomped across the flat. When did the world get so much smaller?
[Fresh] I grunted and followed the trail. Something else was in her scent, something making me hungry...
I reached the closed bedroom door. It was then I realised how much I must of grown. Its a normal six foot door, and there are many markings above it from where I had hit my head before. Now those markings were far below me. A part of me made a quick estimation while my stomach growled its hunger at me. I guessed I would be well over ten foot tall now. I grunted again. Enough of this. I bent down (such a long way) and opened the door, nearly dropping to all fours I looked in.
There was a deer on the bed.
[Food] Hunger rolled though me. I could smell the deers fear, though it didn't look quite right, almost Human.
It was staring at me.
[Food] I lowered myself and turned my five foot shoulders though the door.
I was on all fours, the world seemed to have grown back a little. I was pacing forwards, the deers thick, juicy neck my goal. It began to back up, but it had nowhere to go. I put a paw on the soft thing it was on, and began to climb forward, the deer scrambled to move but was rooted to the spot, its eyes showed their whites as I lifted a hind leg onto the soft thing.
Something hit me from behind. I roared and reared back. I caught a glimpse of something falling off my back [Wolf] It got between me and prey. It growled long and deep, its scent said it was ready for a fight. This was its food. I pawed the air, no mutt was coming between me and...
I slipped down to all fours again and advanced on the threat.
[Food] I stepped forward.
Mutt?? No. Dog. Scamp. I scrambled to my feet and watched the world shrink again. Scamp smelt confused but stuck to his attack position. [Deer. Food] No, I told myself. Deer, Maddie. [?]
Her eyes were still showed whites, she was shaking. She looked like Bambi curled up like that, from the tiny horns to the cloven feet. She showed more Maddie in her face than I did Ursus.
"M... Ma... Maddie?" I rumbled out. I barely recognised my deeper voice. She seemed to jump at the sound. Scamp growled.
"Ursus?" her voice was pitched differently, higher. I could smell her doubt. I grunted at that, and tired to smile.
"Ironic" I rumbled. Scamp growled. She drew in a breath.
"Don't do that!" she shouted "I keep wanting to run"
"And you look like lunch" I grumbled. There was a pause as we looked each other up and down.
"What happened" she said finally.
"I wish I knew." A idea came to me "lets check the TV" She nodded and scrambled off the bed. She rose unsteady on her hooves, falling back onto the bed once, but she soon caught the balance after a few steps. I turned my bulk and squeezed back out of the door. Scamp walked between us. I could smell he was still very tense.
"You have a cute tail" she said behind me. I was briefly embarrassed about being naked- but it passed. Fur covered everything and we are lovers.
Well, we were lovers...
I half turned by the computer station. Scamp returned to an attack position.
"Urm... I'll check the TV, you check the Net" I suggested. Maddie blinked her Bambi eyes at me. Oh, to dive into those pools!
"Sure" she said and relaxed completely. Scamp let up a little, perhaps he could smell the easiness in the air as I could.
I walked to the TV room, the Den the Americans would call it. Maddie has this huge wall screen thing in there. I grabbed the remote off the arm of a chair and cracked the case. My strength! If I was a Bear what was my strength now? I suddenly saw myself on stage smashing world lifting records. Being covered in fur would spoil my chances of winning Olympia this year...
Using my smallest claw I hit the power switch. If this Change was global someone had a lot of re-designing to do. I must call Golds and get production of my Gym wear line stepped up, I got this feeling that oversized clothes were going to be needed...
BBC1 had the news on. The satellite picture quality was grainy, and a note on the bottom of the screen said transmission was being interrupted by heavy satellite use. The news was being read by a Bulldog headed man wearing a very tight rumpled suit with no tie. He was reading from a piece of paper. I hit the unmute button "...again." he growled "Do not panic. this Change is global. We have reports from all over Britain, and reports from most of the major Cities of the world. This Change is affecting the world. Again -- effecting all. Do not panic." There was something in the way he said it that made you want to believe him -- to pull together and face that whatever it was.
He started to repeat what he said so I blipped. Most of the satellite channels were down, static. CNN was up but crashed before the picture came through. BBC2 and Channel 4 were up but showing old sit-coms. ITV was showing news. There was an almost Human man in a bad suit interviewing a dove shaped man in a Doctors white coat. I was fascinated, the 'Human' actually had fine lizard like scales, greenish skin and claw tipped hands, but apart from that hadn't changed. For some reason I disliked him on sight. While the Doctor had huge dove wings sticking out of rips in the back of his coat, a heavy covering of feathers on his body, and an almost complete dove's face. Apart from the size there was something about his eyes that told you he was not an animal. I had to wait a few seconds for the sound to click in. "We have been studying all those who have come in" the Dove was saying in a sing-song high pitched voice." and so far as we can tell only Adults over 16 seem to be affected by this Change. Unborn children, kids, and youths seem unaffected."
"Have youu determinnnneddd whatttt cassssued thissss Changeee yettt?" the lizard hissed. I realised he had a forked tongue.
"No. Not yet." The Doctor sang. "It does appear random".
"Yes. Both to what animal someone becomes and to what extent they change."
"I have seen animal species from all over the globe, not just species native to Britain. And within that ratio of the Aspect of each animal taken is different. I am far more Dove, than you are Iguana for example." The lizard appeared uncomfortable discussing himself. One up for the Doctor.
"Aparttt from thee degreee of Changeee. Any unssduall sssiddee effectssss?" The lizard asked.
"Several of those coming to the hospital have displayed odd powers" The Doctor looked at the blue sky briefly. I felt I could read his mind -- that sky was calling.
"Suchhh usssss?" The lizard pushed. The Doctor audibly sighed. "We have seen levitation, flight" he looked to the sky again "and the ability to shift fully into animal form. Also..."
"Fully intooo animalll formmm?" the lizard hissed. I really disliked this rude person. I wondered who he was.
"Yes. Though they mostly remain in control" The Doctor looked into the camera as if to reassure the auidence.
"Mosssstly..." the lizard pushed. The Doctor looked at the ground.
"Some have been lost to their animal sides" I thought of what had happened in to bedroom and shuddered. To be lost completely to Bear...
"Net traffic is immense" Maddie said from behind me. I muted the interview. Scamp still stood between us, but he smelt relaxed, I think Maddie must of talked to him.
"Its everywhere" I said flatly. Its not everyday you nearly eat your love.
"Thank the Gods I got that new ISDN3 hard line put in. I managed to connect up to Worcester Uni and have a quick chat to a man-bat".
"Yeah -- all he wanted to do was bitch about his eyesight and not being able to sword fight any more. Jerk."
"Sword fight?" I half asked, some thing was going though my mind.
"Re-inactor" she said "Sealed Knot or something. All he could think about was being able to hold a sword. He was dominating the Chat pages. Such an inconsiderate prat, wha..." She broke off as I dived for the cordless phone. These thick claws made it almost impossible to dial. Ever since the Plague War when the UK almost died due to lack of communication Britains communications has been the best in the world, thus it took be only two goes to get though to Kelvin's mobile.
"What are you....?" Maddie asked.
"My Bro" I said. Kelvin isn't really my brother but we have been friends since childhood. We are very close. He was at some silly role play thing this bank holiday weekend. I got his answer phone, but he'd already changed his message.
"The Ogre is out right now have a quick shapechange. The Dragon will be available soon. Until then leave a message. If this is Ursus -- I can fly!" It bleeped.
"Call me." I rumbled "Ursus. At Home" I hung up and tried dad's number. On the second try I got... Engaged, I left a message on the answer phone, then tossed the phone to Maddie.
"How did you know I wanted it?" she asked.
"I heard you say it." I said then stopped. I stared at her, she hadn't said a word. My stomach rumbled again.
[Food] I watched Maddie as she tired, unsucesssfully to call her family in New York. Suddenly I realised that Doe were very sexy, those eyes! Dark pools that go on forever! I was filled with a differant kind of hunger. Maddie seemed to sence it too and put now the phone. She blinked her beautiful eyes, I could smell her rising interest. Scamp backed away as I stepped towards her. A stange glint came into her eyes.
"Can't catch me" suddenly she turned and ran!
I took off after her, but she was so fast. I lumbered my way around, trying not to break anything, while she darted in and out of places I couldn't get into.
I finally cornered her by the kitchen door, one way in, one way out. "Ursus want doe" I said to her. Laughing she came to me and hugged me round the waist, her arms bearly reaching half way round me. She ran her thick black nailed fingers through my fur, and giggled.
"Wot" I asked
"Nothing. Just your fur reminds me of an alsatian I once had." We held each other for a minute.
"I love you" I said.
"I know". she answered "you didn't think this Change would affect that..."
"No. I knew. I just had to hear you say it." We kissed.
"Think the bed will support your weight?" she asked
"Nope. Not a chance" I laughed.
"Well, I need a new one anyway" she giggled. I picked her up and carried her to the bedroom, with a squeeze I got us though the doorway and shut the door, leaving the dog outside. "Lets road-test some springs" I growled at her.
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