The Transformation Story Archive Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...

I knew you'd forget

by mike chmielecki

I'M GOING to tell you a quick story before I blow my head off.

I have a Mossberg twelve-gauge shotgun leaning against the corner of my desk, right next to the small plastic joystick and black sneakers scattered on the floor. My desk is a mess, so forgive me if my writing is too, since, by nature, I am a slob.

Now what on earth could possibly bring me to killing myself? Hell, I've got all night. I gotta do this soon, though. Soon as this story is done and printed, I'm gone. But, hey, don't worry about me. Death is better than the alternative.

Where should I begin?

Okay, my name is Ronald Draeger. I'm around five foot six, one hundred and forty-two pounds, age of seventeen, thin and wiry. But hell, you can read the statistics on my death certificate. I'm sure that will be more clear than the story I'm gonna tell you.

Well, anyway, as unbelievable as it seems, my friend is a monster.

Funny, huh? Laugh all you want. It's too true. I'd be laughing too if I didn't know better.

But I do.

Anyway, my friend, by the name of Jake, is no different than you or me. Except that he's a monster, like I said.

He came up to me last night and told me he was gonna give me a gift.

There was no way in hell I was going to accept a gift from him. My parents were dead because of him. I hated him.

He ignored my insults and threats and changed in front of my eyes into a snake.

Now some people might be scared of snakes and all, but none as terrified as me. I was attacked by a snake when I was a baby, and ever since then just writing the word makes me shiver and want to puke.

Jake must've known this--how, I don't know--and I guess that's why he changed into a snake.

Funny thing, how he did it, too. It wasn't a slow motion morph or anything like that. Just, bang, one minute a human, the next a snake. His eyes went from a blue to evil yellow, scales covered his face, fangs replaced his teeth. It was as if he had never been a human, and had always been a snake.

But I know this isn't true. He's a twenty-two year old homeless high school dropout who hung out with me ever since I met him in the soup kitchen.

Oh sure, you might be wondering why I'd work in a soup kitchen, well, it was because I was in Scouts. Not a very fun thing. When the leader told us we'd be helping out over the weekend at the soup kitchen, we all groaned. He told us it wouldn't be that bad.

Actually, it wasn't that bad. We all thought we'd have to clean up vomit and change bedpans while others made soup, but it wasn't like that at all. We just served people. That's how I met Jake. He asked for a weird order. He called me over and asked if we had any fish soup.

That sounded pretty disgusting to me, fish soup, but he assured me he wanted it.

I went over to the ladies with the plastic gloves and told them over their steaming pots that a man with a goatee wanted fish soup.

"Oh, that's just Jake," one of the ladies told me. "He always wants fish soup. Just bring him some chicken soup and crackers." So I did.

He said thanks and told me to sit with him, which I did. He asked me my name. I told him it was Ron. He told me he liked the name Ron.

Well, to make a long story short, we hit it off pretty well and I've worked at the soup kitchen ever since.

After a few weekends of seeing him at the soup kitchen, he invited me to his home. I thought to myself that it would be some cardboard box with newspaper roofing or something like that, but I said sure to be polite. He smiled at me, revealing a pointed sharp row of teeth. That freaked me out, but when I looked again, his teeth were normal and squarish. He must've seen my look, 'cause he asked me what was wrong. I told him, "Nothing, just nerves." He smiled again.

After a few hours, we left to see his home. It was in the back of an alley, like I figured. However, it wasn't a cardboard box. It was an actual little log cabin. I rubbed my eyes and couldn't believe it. A log cabin? In the middle of an alley? Impossible, right?

Well, sort of.

You see, when I went inside, it was only a one room affair. There was no furniture, and we had to scrunch down to fit both of us inside it. It was as small as a one-person tent.

I started getting an offensive odor and thought it was his breath or something, but instead, he smiled at me as if he'd read my thoughts and said, "No plumbing."

Have I lost you yet? I hope not. This is where it starts to get real freaky.

I asked him what he meant. He told me to go outside and he'd show me. We both left the log cabin, which wasn't very big like I told you. Just because it wasn't big didn't mean it wasn't heavy. Ever try to lift a whole bale of logs over your head? Impossible. Well, not for Jake.

He took two sides of the cabin in his hands and lifted the damn thing over his head. Crazy stuff. He showed me a hole underneath where the cabin used to be.

"What do you keep in there?" I asked him.

"My waste," he said. Now that's disgusting.

But instead of running away from him, like any rational person would do if they realized that they'd befriended a crazy homeless man, I felt pity for him. I asked him if he'd like to come to my house.

"Sure," he told me. So we went to my house.

My parents freaked out, and would not, absolutely would not let Jake in. I made all these promises and stuff, but they told Jake to leave or they'd call the police. So he left and I had a huge talk with my parents, or rather my parents had a huge talk with me. I had to promise never to see him again or go to the soup kitchen. So I lied and said yes.

Well, anyway, I heard the phone ring downstairs, and before I could run down and pick it up, I heard my dad scream, "Stay away from here or I'll call the cops. Leave my boy alone."

So I knew it was Jake on the phone.

Next morning I found a rotted fish on the doorstep by the newspaper. I kicked it away and knew Jake had done it. I asked myself why he would do something like that. Maybe my parents were right, maybe I shouldn't hang out with him anymore.

Just when I was about to walk back into the house with the fishy-smelling paper, I heard the bushes rustle near the side of the house. I stood stalk-still and waited. Nothing.

"Just nerves," I said out loud.

I walked back into the house.

Jesus, I'm jumpy, I think I just heard somebody outside. Jeez, I hear a tapping on the window, but I won't open the door, I mean the window. I know it's Jake out there. God, how did he come so quick?

I've gotta finish this thing, let me just get right to the point, quick!

Well, inside the house, I saw my dad on the floor. His face was a weird sort of bluish color and it whacked me out.

My mom was already dead to the left of him. She had a pool of blood, hell, an ocean of blood where her head used to be attached to her neck. Just blood, and a tiny heart locket with a picture of her best friend in the whole world.

My dad fell over dead as I was examining the remains of my mother, and I went totally ape shit. I screamed and cursed and grew hoarse and everything. I cried a lot, which was understandable under the circumstances, of course.

So my parents are now dead. They're the lucky ones. Damn, there's that noise again. It's gotta be Jake. I know it. I'm sweating real bad now, and it's not even summer. I'm scared, hell, terrified.

Okay, calm down. I gotta finish this story, as soon as possible.

Jake came out from behind the bushes and walked into my house (mine instead of ours because my parents were dead) and poked me on the shoulder. I turned and looked at him with tears and snot and sweat dripping down my face.

"What the hell do you want, you bastard?" and quickly followed by, "Why did you kill my parents?"

Jake looked at me and turned into a snake, bang. I never told him of my fear, but he must've read my mind or something. I jumped back nearly forty feet, (well, actually two) and opened up my vocal cords and screamed loud and strong.

Though he was a snake, Jake still talked with a human voice which is weird because snakes don't have vocal cords and they have differently shaped throats than people and--jeez, I'm babbling. Just nerves.

Anyway, Jake looked at me and said, "I'm disappointed in you, Ron. You should've asked how I killed them, not why. It's a power I have. It's my gift to you." That dude is insane, all right. I should have listened to my parents.

So then he looks at me and says, "Be a snake, Ron. That's step one."

It made no sense to me, but he kept on talking, keeping me frozen in place with his cold reptilian gaze. "Don't fight it, Ron. You'll never learn if you won't let me in."

He must've been talking in code or something because I lost him. My dad used to say animals are dumber than people, and Jake certainly wasn't a people, I mean person.

"What?" was all I could manage, and I started crying it up (and snotting it up) again.

"Stop your crying and look at me. Look at my form. You have to be what you fear to understand. I want you to imagine yourself cold and ruthless, hideous to some and loved by others. I want you to feel the primal excitement of biting into a piece of meat, the undercurrent tastes of blood and death. And I want you to do it now."

I'm paraphrasing what he said, cause it's impossible to remember exactly how he said it, but that's pretty damn close. What I want to know is, if he isn't educated, how come he knows words like "primal" and "undercurrent"?

Damn it, I hear him! The whole house is rocking and sounding echoey. He's trying to break down the door. Why the hell haven't the neighbors come to help?

I really gotta hurry, that damn door is a cheesy hollow-core. I'm surprised it isn't broken yet.

Okay, so Jake said all that weirdness and I just kept on saying, "What?" to everything. He talked about the thrills of being snakelike in mind and body, he talked about the wisdom I'd learn, and how glad he was that he had the opportunity to teach me. All kinds of stuff. But I think the "What?" every four seconds began to get on his nerves. He hissed loudly and said, "Dammit, I don't want you to be a waste. Don't constrain yourself to a human form. Unlock the power." He sounded corny as hell, like some asinine B-movie bullshit. I told him as much.

He turned back into a human and looked at me sadly. "I'm coming back tonight, Ron. Be prepared." That was freaky. Be prepared is the scout motto, and do a good turn daily is the slogan and on my honor I will do my best blah blah blah.

And now here he comes. Outside for now, but it won't be long before he breaks in. Damn, the door can't take much more.

Wait a minute! Why should I kill myself? Maybe I should use the Mossberg on Jake the Snake (not the wrestler). It'll be my gift to him.

If I live I'll tell you how it turns out.

Don't you humans understand the power in yourselves? The world is endless opportunity and risks. Take them, damn it, take them. Fear is a powerful emotion. Use it to your advantage. Become what you fear. Ron didn't understand the ways of the world. Neither did his family. The present I wanted to give was lost in their misunderstanding. It's lost to the rest of the human race, as well. I knew you'd forget the power deep inside you.

RON GOT up off the floor and saw Jake typing at the computer. He was a human again, and his goatee was shaved off. The eerie emptiness of Jake's hairless chin sent a shiver through Ron's spine. And to Ron's surprise, he seemed to be all spine. He tried to turn his head around, and felt the rest of his body join in. He saw a green tail flitting out behind him. He had become what he had feared. Mentally, he died at that moment, and became a common beast.

JAKE TOOK out the sheets of paper from the laser printer one by one. They were crisp, clean, and virgin on one side and marred with human misunderstanding on the other. He removed those pages and kept the ones he had written.

He took a small red journal from his pocket and opened it, found a clear page, and wrote down the date and time, along with Ron's name, and a brief account of what had happened. He would have to get a new journal soon. This one was almost full.

He shut off the printer, and left the papers for close-minded people to find. Before he left the house, he picked up the snake that had been Ron and put him on his shoulder. He walked back to the log cabin, lifted it easily above his head, and threw the stupid snake down into the hole. A few rats, some insects, other snakes, and darkness had died down there along with milk cartons proclaiming MISSING and newspaper clippings proclaiming MURDER.

Jake covered the hole with the cabin he had constructed himself over the years with the help of stolen cords of wood and sheets of plywood from houses that he had visited, brushed dirt from his hands, and whispered to himself, "Yes indeed. I keep my waste down there."

I knew you'd forget copyright 1996 by mike chmielecki.

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