|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
Island of Circe
I sat at my mistress' feet and watched the news segment with growing fascination and arousal. Since I had been told to watch the screen I didn't turn to look at her but I felt that her eyes were on me, not on the segment which she must already have seen. I was sure that she would be aware, at least, of my sexual arousal. Indeed given that, as usual when we were private, I was naked apart from my collar she could hardly have missed it. Not that that embarrassed me any more. I long ago gave up my right to hide anything from her.
When it was over I turned over onto my knees and waited.
"I was thinking we might visit the place, you and I." She said. "Would that please you?"
I did not answer immediately. One of her rules is that I must never speak without pausing for thought. And indeed thought was needed to sort out my contradictory feelings. "It pleases me to obey." I began at last. "And what would happen to me there might please me. It frightens me and excites me. I find the things that are supposed to be done to slaves there erotic in fantasy. How I would face the reality I can't say. I would try to be obedient to your will. I always will whatever happens."
Johans' Island, the news segment had informed us, had been a typical Pacific volcanic island. Until '98 it was believed to be a French dependency but, in that year, an examination of historical documents showed that the French claim of sovereignty was invalid. Ordinarily this minor fact would have been glossed over but the Chief Barmat, the hereditary leader of the remaining native population had the benefit of a combined honours degree in law and business studies from an English redbrick university and he knew an opportunity when he saw one. He approached Biotechniques, already a world player in bio-technology and soon did a deal that gave him the resources to fight a case through the international courts. Soon Johans Island was an independent monarchy with its own constitution and it's own laws. Laws, It hardly needs to be said, peculiarly liberal in the area of biological research.
When, in 2003 the Barmat research institute produced the first effective anti-argathic the proportion of the resulting huge profits that went into the island's coffers was a tribute to the king's negotiating abilities.
Barmat appears to be a complex and often devious man but rather indifferent to the conventional trappings of wealth. With the wealth now at his disposal he turned Johans Island into what is probably the most technologically advanced community in the world today. He showed a knack for attracting pilot projects. The island has the world's first 10 megawatt ocean thermal power station, for example, and the associated aquaculture makes the island a net exporter of foodstuffs. And yet the internal combustion engine is illegal and powered vehicles of any sort are available only for the emergency services and industrial use.
Now all this would bring the applause of the majority of westerners, perhaps modified only by envy. Yet the history of the Kingdom has been a continual struggle for survival. Why? Because Barmat seems to have acquired, perhaps in his student days, some very unconventional ideas about what should go into a constitution. Above all because Johans Island is now the only country in the world where chattel slavery is recognised as a legal institution.
Now in my own mind I am my lady's property and she may do with me what she will. I willingly gave her that right three years before this time. Yet, of course, the laws of this country do not recognise such a bond and always, at the back of our minds, is the knowledge that if I ever wished to take back that right then the law would be behind that decision and only my honour would prevent it. On Johans Island it would be very different. If we went their as mistress and slave the law of the island would recognise that relationship. She could kill me there and there would be no repercussions either there or when she returned. That was both the attraction and the source of fear. The last element of unreality would go out of the roles we play. This would happen too in a place where bio-technology was on the leading edge and unrestrained by either law or, apparently, much by ethics. A place where human beings, if rumour was correct, were used as lab animals. Human beings but not people. Human beings like me.
My lady did not mention the Island again to me until we were on our way. Two months after our viewing the film she suddenly ordered me to hand in my notice at work. Four weeks later I looked into her bedroom and saw her packing her clothes. Disturbingly she cupboard where my modest store of clothing was kept was still locked. I wondered if she were going to leave me here. It always alarms me when she goes away and I have to fend for myself. It's something I'm no longer used to.
Half and hour later she had me carry the suitcases downstairs. She followed me and, much to my relief, I saw she had some clothing for me. A pair of jeans and a thick sweatshirt. No underwear. She then produced the key to my collar and had me kneel while she removed it, slipping it into a side pocket on one of the large suitcases. That probably meant we were going to fly because the collar causes such an embarrassing nuisance with airport metal-detectors. She had me dress although I hated wearing clothing around her. She never seems to look at me when I am dressed. I wore clothing at work, of course, without a qualm but in her world it seems unclean and the nakedness of my neck compounded my discomfort.
The way we act together in public often causes confusion and embarrassment to third parties and I could see that the stewardess on the first leg of the flight was taken aback at my refusal to eat until my mistress had finished. On the second leg though, as we flew to the Sachels when the same thing happened I'm sure the stewardess, after a double take, knew just what was going on because she gave me that "poor crazy" look that my collar often attracts in parts of the world where such things are not so uncommon. My lady had not told me our destination but even before I saw the destination of the second flight I could think of only one place.
We took a taxi from the airport, mostly for the benefit of the three suitcases I think. After telling the driver to take us to "pier four" she took out my collar and locked it onto my neck I saw the driver looking at this little ceremony in the rear-view mirror with a knowing grin. As a result he had a near miss with a bicycle and cursed in what sounded like Arabic.
Waiting at pier four was one of the most beautiful ships I have seen. A large hydrofoil of the very latest design. There were no formalities. My lady just waved the smart card with our travel documents over the sensor and we walked through an electric gate onto the covered gangplank. At the other end we were confronted by a large video screen which displayed a notice. In six languages it said:
It is important that you study the laws of Johans Island before arrival.
Laws on the island differ extensively from what you may be used to. Failure to be aware of these laws may cause you inconvenience of even danger.
In particular note that it is illegal for a slave of either gender to wear clothing that obscures either genitals or anus. If you are importing a slave you are required to see that this law is complied with before docking. You should also note that it is a misdemeanour for a slave to speak without being directly ordered to do so. Either of these misdemeanours may result in a spot fine for the owner.
Having read this rather startling pronouncement we turned left into a large cabin with seating. I noticed immediately that there were many obvious slaves in here. Some naked. Some wearing various bondage paraphernalia, many on leashes. "Take off your clothes." My lady ordered, "and put them in the small case."
Despite the numbers of my own kind present it was disconcerting to undress in so crowded and public a place but of course I obeyed. She then found an empty seat and, sitting down had me curl up on the floor in front of her. Each chair had a small screen and keyboard in one arm and she began to use it, paying me absolutely no attention for the time being.
I have always found it difficult being around other submissives so I was rather glad of the no talking rule. As I lay there trying to get comfortable I looked around and, between the legs of the seats, could see many slaves in the same general position as myself. Most of them looked nervous or even frightened and, I suspect, would have wanted to converse with one another and me if it were allowed. After a brief scrutiny I decided to ignore them. They were none of my business.
After about twenty minutes my mistress got up and told me to heel. I obediently got up onto all fours and crawled after her on hands and toes. We descended some stairs and went through a narrow door being met suddenly by a pungent smell of excrement, evidently confined to the corridor beyond by clever ventilation. The corridor had cages on both sides and was dark until we entered at which point some sensor switched on red lights. The cages were various shapes. The first few were full height those on the left being about six feet deep, on the right perhaps only two feet. Further on there were two rows, one above the other. I saw that there was a simple mechanism of the doors with a key and a money slot. My lady opened one of the bottom cages and told me to back in. Then she closed the gate and I heard her work the mechanism. Great! I was left luggage. I found myself in a narrow box about three foot square by six deep. There was sawdust on the floor with a few dry turds in it. Projecting from the right side near the door was a large rubber teat like a penis complete with a small hole. "I'm going to get myself something to eat." My mistress told me. "I'll fetch you something later." She walked away without a backward glance, putting the key in her bag and as the door closed behind her total darkness descended.
Once I got accustomed to the stench (didn't they clean these cages out between trips? I visualised skeletons of forgotten passengers lying unnoticed in cages at the back) I was actually more comfortable in the cage that I had been lying on the lounge carpet. Here I felt free to fidget to my heart's content. I've always liked being caged or chained up anyway. It takes away a whole galaxy of temptations and responsibilities. I soon fell into the pleasant thoughtless mental state I usually achieve under such circumstances. I believe that I become mentally more like an animal than a human in this state. I've always envied animals what I imagine is their habitual inner silence. We pay I high price, I often think, for the admittedly great benefits of a verbal mind.
My lady returned some indeterminable time later. She fed me a packet of some kind of sharp tasting snack pushing the flakes between the bars were I would take them with my mouth. We made a game of it and she laughed but she didn't stay long, put off perhaps by the outhouse stench of the place. After she left I sucked water from the teat and lay back down, fairly content. For a while my head was full of worries about what lay ahead but I finally managed to put them aside. I think I slept then for some hours waking only briefly to piss in the straw.
I think it was the commotion of owners come to collect their property that finally woke me properly. I heard a girl greet her master and the sound of a blow as he reminded her that talking was forbidden. I waited eagerly for my own mistress to come. She was last, I think. That's her way in such things. Why hurry only to queue further along the line? She opened the door and as I stuck my head out grinning she snapped a leash onto my collar. "Wouldn't want us to get separated in the crush." She said, tugging me out.
Initially I tried to heel properly at her side on all fours but as we went up on deck it became impractical in the crowd and she ordered me to stand upright. The people, the ones with clothes, tried to avoid contact with my somewhat dirty self as a result of which I was physically more comfortable than most of them were. As we emerged into the open the bright sun struck my naked body and I thought, for the first time, about the problem of sunburn and perhaps sunstroke. I had never been particularly well adapted to outdoor nudity.
We descended the gangplank among the last to do so with her luggage on a trolley. Inside the terminal we headed immediately for a channel marked "Slaves and Owners." We entered a side booth and an officious looking woman told my lady to have me kneel and read some words from a small notice aloud. I read:
I acknowledge myself an animal with no human rights and the proper
property of [state your owner's full name here].
To say these words aloud gave me great satisfaction as well, I may say, as a hard-on. When I had spoken the woman produced a plastic gun with an alarmingly thick needle projecting from it together with a small sterile package and another device with a loop sticking out of it. She walked behind me and I resolutely kept my eyes on my mistress. There was a cold wet feel on my left buttock and I braced myself. The needle hurt like blazes but it was only there for a moment and I managed to keep silent. The official spoke to my lady and gave her a form to sign. "All animals on the island over five kilograms in wieght are required to be tagged and registered with the international animals registry. The transponder contains a permanent official identification code. It is illegal to remove it while you are on the island. When you sign this you take responsibility for your animal. If you sell it the onus is on you to see to it that the new owner registers their ownership officially or you remain responsible. If it dies that too must be notified. We recomend you keep its entry up to date even if the change of status occurs outside our teritory, that way if your animal is brought back here everything will be up to date. Should you leave and return then the transponder will be detected in the lobby and you will be passed through without formalities. Once a human has formally renounced his or her personhood as your slave just did it can never again be considered a person under our laws. Enjoy your stay."
A moment later we were out in the late morning sunshine. I felt curiously elated, despite the ache in my buttock. Here, at last, we could walk in the open with the nature of our relationship plain for all to see and there would be no confused or pitying looks. No explanations. I laughed aloud with delight, hoping that this was not illegal. Although she told me to hush she too was smiling broadly. I think we both felt as if we had come home.
On the island people walk for the most part but there are always people with heavy luggage at the port and we were quickly approached by a small cart pulled by a rather overweight donkey in a straw hat. I put the suitcases in the back and walked alongside as the driver nudged his beast into motion. My lady had taken the leash off since it was too short to be conveniently used under these circumstances. It was not far, nowhere on the island is very far really and the ground, mostly mud and grass, was forgiving to my bare feet.
The hotel was a little surprising. I'd been expecting the kind of stateless concrete block that spring up at tourist centres like pallid fungi in the night but, except for the lack of cars, this was more like a rustic American motel with low wooden buildings and individual cabins. In front of each cabin was a large wooden kennel of the classic sort. As we entered I saw two that were occupied by slaves and one by a large dog, in each case tethered by a cromed chain. Obviously the hotels around here would all have the "Pets Welcome" sign out. I wondered if the kennels would get too uncomfortably hot in the sun.
My lady checked in while I fraternised with the donkey whom I found to be true to type, grudging of any display of positive emotion though he seemed very well cared for. I generally get on well with animals, perhaps because I have little of the conviction of innate superiority normal in humans. When she emerged with the key card we soon found her cabin. When she entered I thought about it and decided I shouldn't enter without orders because I was too dirty so I sat on the doorstep and whined to attract her attention. She noticed after a moment and looked at me for a moment. "You are right. You are in no fit state for a civilised room. Get into the kennel and we'll clean you up later."
As I scrambled to comply she came back outside and examined the tether. One end was welded to a ring set in the ground on the other was a small padlock which responded to the key card. There was about eight feet of chain but she chose to lock it to my collar about half way along. It wasn't that she thought I would run away or anything like that. She just knows what I like. She filled a water bowl from me from a tap on the side of the building. For someone used to lying on flat surfaces the kennel, whose floor was covered in clean sawdust, was quite comfortable and it was good to get out of the sun. Already I could feel the first skin tightness that heralded sunburn. I hoped my lady would notice or think of it soon. Sometimes she would order me to tell her of the things that were on my mind. Perhaps she would do that in the evening.
Some time passed. I suppose she settled in, unpacked and showered because when she emerged holding my leash, there was a clean smell and a floral scent to her. But when I emerged from the kennel at her call she was suddenly dismayed. "Oh, poor pet. You're quite pink. I'm sorry. I should have thought of that. Stay out of the sunlight and I'll find something for you." Leaving me tethered she walked of rapidly towards the entrance. I sighed with relief and crawled back into the welcome cool. The way my skin was feeling a long exploration of the town in the afternoon sun would have been disastrous.
I can't measure time under such circumstances but it seemed to be quite a long wait. Part of the time I dozed, still jet lagged. Occasionally there was interesting activity in the courtyard. At one point there were the unmistakable sounds of one of my fellows being beaten making me wince in the sympathy of one who has earned a beating or two himself. Eventually the light of my life returned with a paper bag in one hand and a small box in the other which she was reading from. When she reached me she put the box back in the bag and unlocking my tether put me on the leash. We went to the main building where there was an outside tap with a hose. She tied the leash to a pipe and proceeded to give me a thorough wash, the cold was instant balm to my hot skin. Although I soon started to shiver I wriggled in the stream, thoroughly enjoying my wash.
Now for the first time she allowed me into her room, a nice enough if compact bedroom. She took a tightly folded sheet of some mat plastic from the bad and spread it on the bed and patted it to indicate I should lie there. Next she took a large red capsule from the box and put it into my mouth, giving me a gulp of water to swallow it with. The next things to emerge from the mysterious box were some film gloves and a tube of cream. I expected this cream to soothe my skin but when she started to apply it it stung like fire so that I could barely choke back a cry. I fought an instinctive urge to get away from the hellish stuff and accepted her ministrations. I didn't know if she realised that the stuff hurt but it was not my place to tell her. After a moment I was startled to see that it was leaving a blue stain on my skin. I have faith. She often hurts me but she has never truly harmed me.
The initial burning sensation did not last long, thank God, though when she did my testicles a whimper escaped me. She was careful to cover almost my whole body excepting parts of my face and the balls of my feet. The blue effect was extremely startling, rather as I believe woad must have looked. Eventually she took off the gloves, being very careful not to get the suff on her own skin, and flushed them down the toilet. She then stood back and watched as the blue colour slowly faded, which took perhaps twenty minutes. Then she reaching into the bag again and produced a second tube, this one of ordinary sun lotion which she applied almost as thoroughly though with less care. This operation was bliss and it took away the last of the stinging.
"There." She said. "The sunblock solves the problem in the short term. The other should solve it in the long term. Now we can go walkies."
I went on all fours at first. In the past most of my walking on the leash has been done indoors at home and occasionally at parties and it has always seemed appropriate. Here though we were going farther than I ever had on hands and toes and, despite my practice, it soon became painful and then unsustainable. My lady saw that I could not keep it up and told me to stand up which I did to the protest of my leg muscles. It was a fairly short excursion. I think that she too was more than a little jet-lagged. As we returned to the hotel she said. "Isn't it great to be able to do that and not even get funny looks, let alone arrested?" I agreed wholeheartedly. Despite the pain I had enjoyed our walk.
She put me back in my kennel and said she was going to stretch out on the bed for a while. Some time later she went out past me without speaking to me, presumably in search of dinner. When she came back she gave me some scraps and then filled a bowl with some kind of pelleted pet food which was bland but not too bad. She also gave me another of those red capsules. Though she didn't stay to watch I ate, as usual, without using my hands. Afterwards I thought I should settle down for the night but a while later she came out and fetched me into the cabin. There she made love to me. You want details? Use your imagination. I'm here to bare my murky soul to your gaze, not hers. About and hour later she put me back in the kennel before finally turning in. She makes love to me fairly often but I never get to sleep with her. She is right in that. It would be blasphemy for me to see her vulnerable in sleep.
I woke myself, scratching before the sun was up. I itched all over so that I began to wonder if I had fleas (it wouldn't have been the first time). My skin seemed strangely slick. Then I remembered yesterday's sunburn and was less worried, though no less uncomfortable. As dawn approached the itching mounted to an intolerable crescendo then gradually receded. In the first light of dawn I examined my skin and did an authentic double take. Then I felt the parts I cannot see without a mirror. Suddenly I burst out into laughter, hastily stifled as I remembered my lady would still be asleep. Here was the long term solution to my sensitive skin all right. I was covered in soft tawny fur, still short but dense enough to promise complete protection.
When my lady appeared much later I stroked my arm and tried to put into my expression the thanks I was forbidden to put into words. She unlocked the tether and gestured to the open door. "There's a big mirror in the bathroom." She mentioned. I was in there like a shot.
She came up behind me as I was admiring the effect. The fur was not one colour but shaded from a dark brown on my spine to a lighter fawn on my chest. I felt it looked best when I was on all fours. Unexpectedly she stroked me, running her hand down the length of my spine. It was an entirely new and delightful sensation and it made me arch my back to get the best contact. Even my penis was covered in short fur. I hoped that it would bring her extra pleasure next time we made love.
"I understand that in this climate it will grow to be about an inch." She told me. "It's length will change gradually to suit the temperature you are living in. The effect can be reversed but I don't think I'll ever want to do that. Do you like it?"
"I love it. Thank you my lady. It's a wonderful surprise."
"I'm very pleased with it too. I wasn't sure how it was going to look but I like the way it came out. It makes you even more completely my pet. I wonder what else they can do here in that way. Perhaps they can give you a tail. What do you think about that?"
"I doubt if that's possible, mistress, I don't see how they could get a nerve supply. Having been born without a tail I won't have the necessary circuits in my brain." I hestitated a moment over the other aspect of the question, if it were possible how would I feel about having one. "If it were possible it seems to me that it would make me of less practical use to you because it would be hard for me to get a job like that. That would sadden me. I like you to have all the things you want. But if would please you to see me with a tail more than you would miss those things then it pleases me. Perhaps you could get the money back somehow exhibiting me at a carnival or something. I think I might like that. To have people pay to see me in a cage."
"I don't think I'd like that. That would be like sharing you with strangers. It doesn't matter. I make a good living myself and I have lots of savings. You're my pet and I love you. I don't keep you for practical purposes."
What could I say to that? I turned and licked her hand and she stroked me again. Things developed rapidly from there. My speculations about the effects of furry penises were resolved favourably although there was as much giggling as gasping.
After a time we got up and went into town, me back on the leash but this time not attempting all-fours. The town was a curious mixture of the very mundane and the extraordinary. There were perfectly normal shops. Clothing. Groceries. Small cafes alongside brothels. There was a drug shop advertising a special price on heroin alongside the toothpastes. Looking at the adds, the books and so on there was none of that specialness which, in our own society, separates "sexual" from "normal" matters.
We came to a small cafe in front of which a labrador was tied up to a ring in the wall. My mistress tethered me to the same ring and went inside for breakfast. I sat with my back to the wall trying not to obstruct the pavement. The dog sniffed me but would have none of my stroking. Obviously a class conscious beast who would accept affection only from his betters.
So I sat and watched the passers by, none of whom gave me a second glance despite my hirsuit state. I soon saw why as several creatures wierder by far than me went past, generally with their owners. One arrived that shook me to the core. She had, I think, been a beautiful woman. Now she was a truely beautiful animal. She walked as a true quadruped and possesed a pronounced snout. I could see her paws were rather like those of a lion. They were quite broad and furry although she had nails like a dog. They were definitely paws. Hands, however hairy, could never have moved like that. Her chest too was of the deep shape typical of quadrupeds rather than the broad flat affair of humans. Despite the snout her facial expressions were remarkably human and readable, rather like those of a cartoon animal but far more refined. She was covered in black fur except for a broad white streak down the spine. She did not, I noticed with some trace of muted of satisfaction, have a tail.
Walking neatly to her master's heel she looked about her with lively curiousity and the changable expression on her face was generally serene and sometimes amused. He held her loosly on a cromed chain attatched to a broad jewelled collar that glittered against her black fur. She walked with all the unconcious grace of a cat, her head held high at what should have been an impossible angle to her trunk. They passed quite close to where I sat, frozen in shock, and she looked me full in the face and winked. Her unashamedly mamalian scent reached my nostrils for a moment. I wanted to talk to her. I wanted to run a mile. I wanted to stroke her. I wanted to look away. I could do none of these things.
The encounter left me stupified by its implications. The posibility of what had happened to her being done to me filled my mind. It was at once terifying and infinitely seductive. And my mistress had not seen her! I was torn between a desperate hope that she would never become aware of such possibilities and the desire to rush into the cafe. To call her out to see. To beg her to find for me the artist that had given that creature her second birth. I actualy felt myself start to move and perhaps only the swing of the leash which tethered me woke me to my own brand of sanity. To do that would be deliberate disobedience. To untie the tether she had tied was unthinkable.
I determined to put the internal debate asside. Such decisions were not for me but for her, thank God. I would tell her about the woman creature if she asked. I would become such a creature myself if she wished it. I would neither plead nor resist. I try to live in the present like an animal. I guess that is the main point of the life I chose. I fought now to let the present take me back. But it's hold was weak because I was haunted two ways. From the past by the sight and scent of the woman creature which seemed to have burned its way indelibly into my mind and from the future by the possibility of such transformation. I closed my eyes and sought to focus the whole of my consciousness on the breath moving in and out of my nostrils.
A few moments later a man emerged from the cafe and collected the labrador. To my suprise as he stooped to untie the dog's leash he stroked me once. I didn't know how to react to this but his attention was only momentary. I had a flash of irritation but on reflection the man's action had been kindly meant, not consciously condescending. He had stroked me in exactly the same spirit in which I had tried to stroke the labrador; a momentary, meaningless exchange of sensual pleasure. That kind of thing never really happened at home. Oh, when we went to parties and events within the "scene" someone might pat me or pull on my collar but always as a self-conscious challenge; generally with their eyes on my mistress to see how she would react. In the future I would try to accept such actions in the spirit they were offered. I have no right to react defensively to unsolicited handling by strange people unless they go against my owner's interests.
The meditation and the minor suprise had centred me when my mistress reappeared but, although she said nothing, she looked at me sharply. She is always sensitive to my mood and I think she knew something had disturbed me. She had brough me a little treat; a section of a waffle with maple syrup on it and she dropped it in front of me before bending to untie my leash. As I worked it into my mouth I thought of the woman creature's snout. How much easier it would be to eat from bowl or floor with such a snout.
When people find out about the abnormal parts of my lifestyle they often ask if eating scraps of the ground or the floor like this doesn't cause stomach problems. Actually I've had far less problems with my stomach since becoming a pet than in my feral days. Modern pets get a regular and balanced diet, far better than most people would chose for themselves. As to germs well, I get my shots and regular exposure to low levels of bacteria keeps my immune system in good shape. Too much hygene can weaken your defences. As to why I pounce so gleafully on such scraps, even though I'm not allowed to use my hands for eating, the truth is I only get one real meal a day and I'm almost always at least slightly hungry. Most western people literally don't know what hunger is these days. That's why there are so many cases of eating disorders. For me hunger is a familiar companion which is as it should be. It helps ground me in the present.
We spent almost an hour going arround a shop with the most complete collection of bondage and sado-masochist equipment I have ever encountered. At home such stores are our delight but I was still rather distracted and my lady too seemed to find it hard to get interested although a selection of shock collars with various kinds of triggers had her attention for a while. We left rather suddenly and we went briefly back to the hotel to pick up a towel and her swimming costume and then down to the beach where we spent most of what remained of the morning larking about in the water. She invented a game where she'd throw a stick into the breakers for me to fetch. Of course I was expected to take it with my mouth only and got several duckings. Eventually we where both fairly exhausted and she decided on more sedatory activity. She made me roll in a small freshwater stream which ran down the beach to get the salt out of my fur before it dried and she spread out a blanket for sunbathing. I found that sunbathing is not really for the fur covered but I settled down at her feet and drowsed. The warm sun was a powerful soporific.
It was probably a little after noon when I was roused by the the sounds of galloping paws and rymic breathing. I looked up expecting some large dog to see my four legged aquaintance of that morning in full flight. She flew in front of me in an extended gallop which she made look effortless though every muscle in her body must have been involved. A little further along she spun to a stop and I saw a small black object fall to meet her. She caught the ball on the first bounce. Her athleticism was awesome. She made my own efforts at four legged motion look like those of a beached walrus. A moment later she was in flight again. This time heading straight for me. Before I could get up off my side she had jumped cleanly over me and was heading back to her master making two sides of a shallow triangle. I heard my mistress make a startled protest.
The girl creature reached her master and did a sit-up-and-beg offering him the ball. But he was not pleased and flicked her accross the snout with the back of three fingers so the ball fell to the ground. "Bad girl. You got sand on the lady's towel showing off like that." She put on an immediate display of contrition. Picking up the ball and walking round behind him to his left where she stood at heel with her head lowered. Not though, it seemed to me, without a furtive gleam remaining in her lowered eyes.
For the first time I was able to take a good look at the owner of this remarkable pet as he approached us. He was a small man, basically caucasian with a hint of the oriental. He had a bushy grey beard and appeared to be in his late middle age. He had a friendly smile for my mistress, no more than a glance for me.
"Madame, I appologise for the exhuberance of my pet. Her contrition will be more genuine when she learns that she is going to spend the rest of our walk at heel."
My lady was sitting up now, one arm arround her raised knees. "No harm done. What a fine looking animal. May I handle her?"
The man agreed casually and my lady snapped her fingers for the creature to approach. Her handling was partly caressing, partly an anatomical examination.
"May I ask where this work was done? It's not just idle curiosity." She gestured in my direction, producing an instant sinking fealing.
"The Selman Institute. A small company about half a mile out along the greenway. You may have heard of Dr. Selman and his reconstructive work. I don't know how he'd feel about doing this kind of work for a visitor though. There might be legal complications. Don't let him charge you too much though, I think he'd have done this job for free, for the interest of it."
"Thank you, I shall certainly give him a call. Who knows?"
My lady now released the creature which, with a backwards glance at her master came over to me. I held still as she licked my face. I wanted to stroke her but using my hands didn't seem proper or fair somehow and I didn't have permission to speak (I wondered if she was capable of it). I nuzzled her cheek and she broke my rather reverential mood by nipping my ear. Imagining what we must look like I got into the mood and attempted to sniff her rear. She swayed sideways nudging my side in a friendly way. And we cicled like a pair of dogs for a moment. I liked the way she smelt and buried my nose for a moment in the fur of her flank.
My lady laughed and after a moment the man chuckled too. "I think he's a prime candidate for conversion." He said. "It should make him less clumsy, at least. I should think first, though, about the legal problems you are likely to have at home. By the way my name is Mark Thackery. You can tell Dr. Selman I recomended you. Come on girl. Heel."
They left, the animal walking demurely at heel and we watched them go in silence for a while. "Was it something like that that shook you up this morning?" She asked me at last. I nodded. "How do you feel about it?"
I thought about an answer for a moment. "Glad that the decision is yours mistress, if it were mine I would not know how to choose."
She looked at me carefully for a moment, perhaps weighing my response. "Well, we can at least explore the possibilities."
Dr. Selmar agreed to see us at five o'clock. He let us in to the building himself and we went straight into a small lab where I was made to assume various possitions inside a camera array, allowing the computers to build up a three dimensional picture of my shape.
The Dr. was a tall, gangling black with a thin face and a west coast accent. As he worked the array he said to my mistress. "I've thought long and hard about this and how any publicity will affect me. I've decided the net benefit will be for the good. I imagine if the world learns of my little hobby projects it will think me a monster but, and this is the point, it will think me a highly competent monster. So I've decided to offer to do this for you at cost. Let's go into my office and discuss the possibilities and then you can decide."
"I don't want him present while we have our talk. I try not to burden him with the future."
The doctor nodded and led us from the lab into another room which smelled of rodents. There were many cages of different sizes most of them containing laboratory mice, rats and rabbits but some larger and a couple large enough for me. "He seems frightened." Said the doctor "I could administer a sedative. If you like he could sleep until it's all over one way or the other."
"No. I'm not one of those people who believes in better living though chemistry. Of course he's affraid. We're all afraid of change but he's entitled to the full experience including, if possible, the actual operation. I think you might be surprised how tough he is mentally."
The doctor shrugged and they shut me in one of the primate cages, turned down the lights and left.
Left to my own devices the first thing I did was to check the the cage was secure. Don't misunderstand: If it hadn't been I would not have left it anyway but I always settle more comfortably once I have proved to myself that escape is not an option. I found I was shivering slightly with shear physical fear so I began to meditate. It's a simple enough trick but it works for me. If you can focus your awareness on the fear itself, instead of the thing you are afraid of the fear fades. Come on: Be an animal. The smells of straw and rodents are real. The feel of the breath through your nostrils is real. The throb of blood in your ears is real. The future is just fantasy. It's a kind of mental judo. A force does harm only if resisted. But if this was judo I was in the fight of my life. Again and again the future would grab me by the neck and shake me, my heart would race and I would find myself curling up into a defensive ball, mentally and sometimes physically. Then I would fight my way back to calmness. I realised that I was hoping that my lady would chose to do this thing to me. Once done I would not have to worry about it. If she decided against it would always hang over me as a future possibility.
It seemed an enternity before they returned. The moment they turned the lighting up I could see by my lady's face that the die was cast. She was nervous and, I think, exhilerated. She studdied me, I think trying to fix my present appearance in her memory. All she said was "I'm going now. You are to do everything the Doctor or his people tell you. I mean to visit you each day until you are ready to leave. Be good." I put my fingertips through the mesh of the cage feeling the need to hold onto something and thinking that I would not be able to do this much longer and she briefly touched a finger with one of her own. Then she left quickly and without turning back. Not much more happened that evening except that the doctor gave me an injection. I hope my lady slept better than I did. Hunger was starting to take precedence over fear.
When the doctor and two assistants came to fetch me in the morning I was found I was as strengthless as a dishrag so that they had to drag me from my cage. I also saw that during the night all my hair had fallen out. Not just my newly acquired fur coat but every hair on my body. That really upset me and I felt suddenly and ridiculously tearful. It was my lady's gift and it had brought us both pleasure. The doctor saw my look. "I'm sorry about your handsome fur coat." He said kindly. "But it's only for a few days and we have to be able to get laser light through your flesh." The loaded me onto a strecher of some kind of very transparent plastic which streched to fit my form although, oddly enough, it did not get hot and sticky.
I remember the next few days almost as a dream. Although I was perfectly conscious most of the time complete helplessness gave the experience an unreal quality. They washed me and the doctor did a trachectomy and inserted a tube into my windpipe. He then gave me a powerful muscle relexant. From that time on I was able to move only my eye and a machine did my breathing for me. I remember spending a long time in some kind of multi-mode body scanner. Then hours on a clear plastic table about which lasers rotated on gymballs sending pulses of light into my flesh to activate the drugs I was being given. I remember the Doctor operating on my brain. First through the roof of my mouth and later through the left side of my head. As he did this I had a series of powerful sensations. An instant of pure joy. A moment horrible indescribable suffering. A tremendous burst of sexual arrousal, of hunger. At one point I could hear the doctor talking to his assitants and it didn't make sense to me at all, not like hearing a foreign language but as alien as whalesong.
Throughout when they must move me they handled me with exagerated care, as if I were as fragile as an eggshell. I think that may have been the case. Perhaps my skeleton was largely decalcified. During those three long days I really expected to die. The thought of death was positively attractive. I clung to my memory of the girl-creature. She had survived this, so could I.
I must have slept part of the time though there were no clear divisions between sleep and waking. My mistress came and comforted me serveral time and, though I could show her nothing of my gratitude, her visits were the one thing I looked forward when I could no longer believe that this operation would ever be finished.
The first sign that it was coming to an end was that they became more casual about handling me. Then I thoughlessly moved a leg and it responded. Shortly after that I started fighting the ventilator and they removed it, sewing up the hole in my throat. At last they carried me out of the labs into the open air at the back, depositing me unceremoniouly onto straw bedding in a pen in one of the outbuildings. There, blessedly, they left me in peace.
I lay there exactly where I had been dumped for a considerable period of time, rejoicing in the fealing of strength seeping back into my body. Then I began to pay attention to the demands of my sadly empty stomach which said firmly that while intravenous feeding might be all very well for me stomachs required less rarified sustenance. So, with a certain ammount of trial and error, I got my legs under me and explored my little world finding a bite drinker and some pellets in a trough which I assumed were food.
I was careful about eating with my rearranged mouth, fearful of biting my tongue. It was a strange sensation. I could feel my long tongue emerge from the side of my mouth and touch the short fur on my cheek. When I had got a few mouthfuls down I decided to examine those parts of my body I could see. which was not all that much of it. I had the beginings of a fur coat again though it was no more than stubble as yet. My legs where narrower that I had expected, much narrower than when the had been arms. To my suprise turning as far as I could I caught a glimpse of a tail which seemed to be moving independantly of my will. I wondered how they had solved the nerve supply problem perhaps it really did have a will of its own. I began to walk around the pen, gradually reaching an understanding with my new legs. As I moved about, trying out various maneouvers I wondered about speach. I was tempted to try in spite of being forbidden to speak without being at least implicitly told to. But did it count if there wasn't anyone to hear? This seemed too much like mere sophistry so I didn't try. I wasn't sure if I wanted to know anyway.
When my lady and the doctor arrived I had just reached the point where I was wishing the pen was larger so that I could try running. She jumped over the railing and knelt, taking my head in her hand and scratching my ears. "Oh, It so good to see you on your feet. You'll look teriffic when your fur grows out again."
To my own surprise I found I was purring. It was quite involuntary and, in fact, my intention to stop had no effect on it. Behind her the doctor said "There's no reason why you can't take him away with you if you like. Here."
He held out a small black box to her, like an old fashioned T.V. remote control. She took it and examined it closely. Then she made an adjustment and turning back to me asked me how I felt.
"I feel_" I stopped in confusion. My voice sounded odd, the way it does in a recording. Then I realised it was coming from the box, not from my mouth. "I still feel a little weak but relieved that it's all over. Or I think it's over."
To add to my confusion when I had thought I had finished speaking my voice continued to come from the box. It started to repeat "I'm relieved that it's all_". Then I realised what was happening "My God, it's my head-voice, my stream of consiousness." I thought and, scarely the box spoke the thought aloud. It rambled on like an echo of my internal thoughts, incoherent, repetative. It made me aware just how nonsensical most of what goes on in our heads at the sub- vocal level is.
She laughed and switched it off. "Well nobody can talk coherently with a snout like yours. So this box takes signals from Brocca's area of your brain and simulates your old vocal apparatus when it's switched on of course. It seems to work not just on what you want to say but on anything that reaches the sub-vocal level so from now on you'll have to learn to keep your thoughts pure. Since it's got a range of several hundred yards you won't always know when I'm listening. The box has other functions too the radio link is two way_ but you'll find out what these little buttons do as the occasion arises. Suffice it to say that this little box plus the collar you are wearing and a little device in your head give me more control over you than I've ever had."
And I'd thought I'd had my quota of shocks for the week. Actually I quite liked the idea of the voice synthesiser in the box though the idea she could listen in on my thoughts was very frightening. But what were these "other functions?" More surprises to come.
My lady put the box in her purse and took out my leash. "Come on then pet, let's go back to the hotel." as she led me out of the pen she suddenly kissed the doctor on the cheek. "Thank you doc, you're a true artist."
I was, to be honest, nervous about appearing in public but of course my reluctance had no effect on events. At first I had no attention to spare for onlookers anyway, getting the pace of walking to heel and learning to manage steps and other obstacles. Once my ill placed forepaw slipped of the edge of a step and as I stumbled the leash jerked tight. An instant of that indescribable suffering I had experienced under the knife occured and a yelp escaped me. Even immediately afterwards I could remember nothing of the sensation, only the horror of it, only the knowledge that I'd do almost anything rather than experience it again. I was more careful of the leash from then on. I finally worked out that the collar must have punished me for pulling too hard. If so that probably meant that one of the buttons on that innocent looking box could produce the same effect.
After a few moments I had recovered my equanimity and was sufficiently confident to look arround a little. People were indeed looking at us. Their expressions suggested a range from horrified fascination to aesthetic pleasure or even amusement. I thought of what effect such stares might have on my lady. I have no social status so it doesn't matter for myself but for my lady it is quite another matter. I tried to walk with more pride, keeping my eyes forward and more of a spring in my step.
When we reached the hotel the first thing my lady did was to give me my first real look at myself in the mirror. My first impression was not too good. The girl-creature had given an overall feline impression but my pink skin showing through the stubble of my fur gave, at best, a porcine look. Those hairless cats that some people dote on have always made me shudder. I told myself firmly that that condition would soon pass and tried to look at my shape rather than colouring.
I was confused at first by the apparant smallness of my head. Then I realised the artistry with which the shape of my torso and the subtle stripe pattern emerging in my fur had been designed to fool the eye in this regard. The result was that my human cranium, which would have appeared grosteque on a normal animal's body appeared only a little to large. My snout was longer than that of the girl, perhaps five inches in all with nostril slits about two thirds of the way to the tip. My canines were only slightly pronounced and the sides of my mouth extended only perhaps an inch and a half backward. I had short pointed ears. It was more the face of a goat than that of any sort of carnivore and, in fact, where the girl had given the overal impression of potential fierceness my own body seemed that of an inoffensive grazing animal. On such a body hooves would have seemed more natural than the small paws I actually possessed.
My tail was quite short an heavy, only just reaching the ground. What was fascinating and disturbing is that I had no direct control over its movements. It hardly seemed a part of me at all and yet it's movements fitted in with those of the rest of my body. As I had walked I had felt it moving to help my balance. When I sat down it moved out of the way. It seemed, literally, to have a mind of its own. A mind that was aware of the movements of the rest of my body.
My coat, such as it was, was mostly tawny but with white markings: broad strokes for the most part but narrowed stripes near the neck and on the hauches. There was a black diamond shape just above my eyes and over the crown of my head. Arround my neck was a leather collar with a simple buckle, an ordinary dog collar except for a shallow plastic box attached under the chin. The identity disc from my old collar had been attatched to the D ring. While human it had been proper for me to wear a metal collar with a good quality lock in defference to my dexterity. Now an ordinary buckle was more that adequate. Trying to be objective I felt that, once my fur had reached a respectable length I would look quite a hansome beast, unfamiliar perhaps but not unnatural.
Having given me sufficient time to take this all in my lady stroked my head and said. "Well, pet, our relationship has certainly entered another new level of intensity. At home there was some unreality about your dependance on me. Coming here reduced that unreality but on what we both knew was a temporary basis since we are only here for a couple of weeks and I have my job to go back to. Now though your dependance is completely real and permanent. You really are an animal now. You will never be a person again. It feels right. I know we were both ready."
I nodded enthusiastically. I had been aprehensive but now the change was done it did indeed feel right. My humanity was like a burden that I had finally found a way to put down. Over the last few years the "pet" role, starting as a game, had become who I really was. The "person" role I had played at work had become a hollow pretense. I hoped and believed that I would never have to play that role again. At the same time I had seen her make the transition from the "girlfriend" role to the "owner" role, gradually accepting the responsibilities and decisions that society said should be mine. The change in me had been, perhaps, more profound because I was now and wanted to be nothing more than her pet whereas she was, and always would be, much more than my owner. She had a career; friends. She might eventually marry. Yet I did not doubt, even in my darkest moments, that my owner would always be a part of what she was.
She put me out in the kennel for a while giving me a chance to discover that this was a far more comfortable body to lie about in than it had been. No awkward feet; my legs tucked neatly away under me and my chin lay along the ground without strain. It didn't seem to long before she emerged. "Well that's that sorted. Now lets go walkies. I feel like a little shopping and then the beach.
For the first time I felt a cringing inside as she fastened my leash, thinking about that aweful punishment the collar had given me before. Usually I find the snap of the S-hook a comforting sound and I resented the way this little pleasure seemed to have been spoiled for me.
We went down to the main shopping street, she browsing the window, me carefully watching to comply with sudden stops an starts. She spent several moments outside what I realised was a pet shop and we went in. She went over to a display of muzzles and tried several of them on me until she found one that was a snug and secure fit. She bought is and also a rubber "bone" (though only a human would have the imagination to find a ressemblence. She seemed, for a moment, in two minds as to whether I was to wear the muzzel of carry the toy but, to my pleasure, stuck the muzzel in her bag and gave me the toy. As we left the shop she said "The good doctor said that you should practice with your mouth so I want you to carry that about and chew on it for the next few days."
The next shop she entered was a dress shop and this time I had to be tied up outside. Actually when it comes to dress shops I find this preferable and it gave me some time to practice chewing. I was careful and bit my tongue only once, and lightly. I thought my new mouth was going to be the hardest part of my altered anatomy to learn how to deal with. She emerged with a large bundle and we went back to the hotel to stash the plunder and then down to the beach where, for the first time, I was allowed to run free.
Well I ran. I was clumsy and had several falls but I was encouraged by slow but progressive improvement. We played "fetch" with the bone and when I brought it back she'd roll me over and tickle me. A simple but enjoyable way to pass the time which became a pattern for much of the remainder of our stay on the island.
That evening, rather carefully we made love. When we'd had our first orgasm and I tried to withdraw we discovered that the doctor had left us a little surprise. Trying to withdraw hurt. I couldn't do it. We were "tied" like a pair of dogs until my erection subsided, which it seemed in no hurry to do. Instead I felt the build up to another orgasm start almost at once. I had three before my testicles finally admitted to exhaustion and we could separate. We were both gasping like stranded fish.
"That man has quite a sense of humour." She said at last. "I wonder what other little suprises we have in store. He did say that he'd taken steps to make you the world's best sex-toy, for the use of woman or man but he wouldn't go into details. I think that's plenty for tonight. I need a shower. Out you go."
The rest of that holiday was, for me at least, almost idylic. Like most pets the one thing I can never get enough of is my owner's attention and in those weeks I had most of it. Although I didn't notice anything strange at first my pleasure every time I pleased her in some small way, when she petted me or paid me some small complement was greater than ever before, as was the anguish at letting her down in any way or the mildest rebuke. My pleasure at the snap of the leash returned even though I continued to treat it with great respect. It was nearly a week before I noticed that her left hand was always in a pocket during these incidents. She was using the control box to induce pleasure or suffering directly into my brain! I felt briefly outraged, violated but it didn't last long. She was entitled to train me in any way she saw fit. If I had somehow got power myself over that box it would doubtless have destroyed me very quickly but used as she was using it it made our wills more perfectly one.
She seldom switched on the speach function of the box, at least where I could hear. Whenever she was out of sight I would wonder if she was listening to my thoughts. I kept wondering what she would think of what I was thinking. It encouraged me to meditate. To keep, as she had said, my mind pure.
All too soon, though, it was time to leave. My mistress had responsibilities to attend to, a living to make. As we boarded the hydrofoil my mind turned from regret for the end of the holiday to worry. There was no problem on the hydrofoil, of course but how would we manage on the planes? I could no longer pretend to be a person as I had on the outbound journey.
On the boat my lady gave me about twice my usual ration of food pellets and, even though it was much earlier than my usual mealtime, made me eat most of it, so that I felt unpleasantly bloated. She also had me drink my fill, warning me that I wasn't going to get stewardess service on the plane. As the boat pulled into its moorings she muzzeled me.
There was no real fuss, for a wonder, at Seychels customs, perhaps because they new we were just in transit. On the other side among the people waiting was a man holding up a card with my mistresses name. He let us to a van emblasoned with "Hamilton's Pet" Supplies and though I wasn't too pleased to see what was in the back I can't claim to be suprised. It was a "sky kennel" a lightwieght but solid plastic crate with a mesh door at one end, mesh covered ventilation slots and fittings for handling by fork lifts. I suppose it was the largest size the airline allowed but it looked awefully small to me. And a moment later so it proved. It was neither quite long enough for me to lie straight, tall enough for me to stand fully upright or wide enough for me to curl up as I'd recently discovered I could do. I was forced to lie with my backside pressing against the back of the box and my muzzled nose jammed against the mesh. This wasn't going to be a very pleasant flight.
The man from Hamilton's drove us to the airport and, with the help of a ramp and a porter, unloaded my crate onto the pavement in front of the terminal. My lady paid him and went inside leaving me feeling very lonely and vulnerable. A number of people stooped and looked at me through the grill in a puzzled way and someone kicked the crate. Finally two men with an electric cart came and collected me. They, in turn, left me at one side of a large, rather dirty room full of unidentified boxes. I could see only a limited part of the room but a dog was barking incesantly somewhere to my left. I hoped he wasn't going to be on my flight because it didn't sound like he was going to stop barking until rescued from his imprisonment.
But this wasn't ever going to be my day. After my crate had finally been loaded into the small pressurised section of the plane's cargo space the very next thing to come aboard was another crate from which now frantic barking sounded. Considerately the baggage handlers chose to put the damn mutt right next to me. Just to make the day complete I was beginning to feel the effects of my extra-large meal. Already I was desparate to shit. Soon the point was going to be reached where lying in it for the rest of the trip was going to seem like a small price to pay for the relief.
So I lay there as the loading was completed and the hold sealed and tried to find a little charity somewhere in my heart for my fellow traveller while heartily wishing that he had been the one wearing the muzzel. I don't suppose it would have stopped the barking but it would have reduced the volume. Praise heaven when the doors were shut and darkness decended on us he gave one last frantic peal and finally shut up. Perhaps it had finally got through to him that nobody who might possibly let him out was in earshot.
I suppose that if I were to rank the misserable times in my life for shear hellishness that flight, and the second leg that followed would not be at the top but it had its moments. Every time I shifted in a futile search for a comfortable possition that damn dog would start barking again. I'm affraid that well before the first leg of the flight was well begun I was forced to capituate to both bowels and bladder, contributing a new unpleasantness to the atmosphere of the cramped crate. When we finally landed and my crate was transfered to another plane I prayed the my canine companion would be going somewhere else but the Gods were in a malicious mood that day and not only was my previous companion loaded neatly next to me again, just as before, but a small, yappy dog was added on the other side and the two of them set out to keep one another amused for the whole flight. Oh lady how I longed for the sight of your hand on the door catch!
When we were unloaded the second time my heart was glad indeed but the way things were going it was too much to hope for use to breeze through the airport. Customs is still keen, to a degree I find ludicrous since, in these days of easy synthesis, we have become a net exporter of illegal drugs. The baggade handlers showed no interest but my first warning of the trouble to come was the appearance of the sniffer dog in my very limited field of view. Although he ignored his fellow canines with impressive professionalism when he got a look at me he did an almost laughable double-take and started barking.
Almost immediately his place at the door of my crate by the face of one of his human collegues. Seeing the look on his face it is probably as well that I no longer have the capacity to laugh out loud. "What the hell are you?" He said at last. My lady having the speach box I was perforce uninformative. I think the question was rhetorical anyway.
The next hour or two I had a very narrow view of a burocracy trying to react to a situation that wasn't in the books. A whole series of faces, with or without a variety of uniforms peared in at me. At last they pulled me out of the crate. It was both painful and ridiculous. They used one of those noose on a pole things that dogcatchers use. Depite the fact that I was muzzeled they treated me as if I were strongly suspected of being rabid. Someone they called "doctor" examined me. I think he was a vetrenarion. He poked and prodded and took a blood sample. He examine my face minutely. He read my name tag aloud. At last he said to me "You are human, aren't you?" I shook my head vigorously, no.
He stood up and addressed himself to the assorted customs officers and police in the room, wrapping the mantle of his expertise about him. "This is," He began with full pomposity, "The most extreme and perverted case of bio- sculpting I have ever seen. He undoubtably understands everything we say and what is going on here but he can't or won't talk. Probably can't."
"But what are we going to do with him?" An official asked in a dazed tone.
"Well, a good start would be to remove the catchpole, give him a drink of water and clean him up a bit. He doesn't look like he's had a pleasant flight. He's not about to bite anybody though I suppose it's possible he might try to get away."
Bless the man. But although this all seemed like something out of Gilbert and Sulivan I knew we were in trouble here and I should try to take it more seriously.
They followed the vet's suggestions anyway. Perhaps because it was something to do while they thought about it. He himself cleaned up the fur where I had soiled myself with the air of someone used to such distasteful activity and he removed my muzzel, though they all looked as if the expected me to explode into an orgy of violence or something. Instead I licked his face. I'm not sure if he was pleased or digusted.
When I had drunk my fill he put on some rubber gloves and began to clean my fur with some antiseptic and a rag where excrement had stuck to it. As he did so he attempted to question me.
"You do understand English don't you?"
I was tempted to lie about it but it would probably just complicate things so I nodded reluctantly. I really didn't want to play these games. Why couldn't they ask my mistress these questions?
"You deny being human but you don't deny that were human. I'm sorry, a yes or no answer to that would be ambiguous. I mean were you human?"
It was pointless to deny it. He already knew and it was easilly proved. My DNA was still human.
He found my name tag and read it out. "Did you allow this to be done with you of your own free will?"
Again I nodded although I'm not sure if I'd claim to have my own free will these days. Who needs it?
One of the customs officials finally decided that he was being excluded. He harrumped. I saw, with a slight sinking feeling, that he had the passport of my erstwhile self. "Do you claim to be_" and he read out what used to be my name, a lifetime ago. I replied in the negative.
"Oh. I suppose that was the wrong question I should have asked Were you once_"
This time I nodded.
"Oh, this is ridiculous. None of this is of any importance. You may be a loony and think you are a dog or something but that doesn't matter to the law. You have attempted to enter the country illegally as a stow-away. That's the long and short of it and we must establish your citizenship and immigration rights and determine what laws have been broken. The only real problem is that this obscene peice of medical malpractise makes it difficult to confirm your identity."
That was the attitude I'd feared and it was a hard one to crack. To one who viewed it from that angle my mistress' actions would probably be criminal, although I don't know exactly what law would be invoked. I don't believe that the law could officially charge her for my transformation, which took place beyond its juridiction but there were plenty of cases where a person was essentially tried for one crime and sentenced for another (remember Al Capone?) I was very much affraid that they would dredge up some charge, bend it to fit this unprecidented situation, and come up with the severest sentence they could muster. What I dreaded most for myself is that they would try to "cure" me both physically and psychologically. I don't believe the pschologists ever changed anyone's basic nature but they can do a lot of damage trying. A wave of depression came over me. I hate the future and my face was, once again, being forcibly rubbed in it.
There were eight men in that crowded interview room. I took a quick survey of their expresions. Of all of them the vetenarion was the only one who was looking straight at me. I think in that moment he was the only one there who was aware of me as a living thing, rather than as a technical problem. I'm sure he was the only one aware of my sudden defeated look. He made and effort then to cut through that mood.
"I don't think this is any business of customs and immigration. Either he's the man you've got a passport for or he is what he wants to be regarded as, just an animal that his owner is importing. Either way I can't see why his entry is illegal. It might be in breach of airline regulations or something if he's to be regarded as a human, but not of the law. "
That produced a momentary silence. Then there was a general shaking of heads and muttered conversation. One of the customs people finally took charge. "We're going to hold you on suspision of entering the coutry illegally. You'll appear before a judge as soon as possible, probably in a matter of hours. We'll let a court sort it out. Simkins, take him to detention."
I started, relucantly, to follow the man but my veternarian friend was not through yet. "Just a moment. I don't know what the detention cells here are like but you do realise that he's unlikely to be able to use any of the facilities: Sink, toilet, call bell and so on."
Obviously they hadn't. Further debate ensued. Someone suggested the quaranteen kennels, half jokingly but was shouted down. Finally they put me in an ordinary cell with a bowl of water. Some time later someone brought a cat- litter tray for me. I wonder where they got that. Mostly though I lay there wishing they would let me be with my lady. I've never felt so misserable. Compared to this my recent journey had been a barrel of laughs. I could find escape from the future only in the past which is infinitely inferior to the pressent as a place to be. I've always accepted that "normal" people will never understand me; not with their heads full of the ideals of liberty and the work ethic, and here we were firmly in the hands of the straights. I supose it's necessary from society's point of view that these dogma remain mostly unexamined. Maybe I'm not so harmless after all.
Perhaps a couple of hours later a small, bespectacled figure was ushered into my cell. He had my control box in his hand. Like some of the customs men his initial reaction to the sight of me was a shrinking away, a controlled fear. This reaction was ceasing to be ammusing. Here I was less capable of violence that the average sheep and practically everyone reacted as if I were a lion or something similar. The thought emerged from the box as words, further startling him but he got himself under control quite quickly. In my few "conversations" with my mistress using the box I had found only one way to deal with it and that was to ignore the words coming from the box and just try to think as if my thoughts were as private as ever. I just had to accept that with the box turned on the human knew my thoughts. Why not? I have accepted that I have no rights. Why should I reserve even this privacy? But this situation was different because I was not talking to my lady and she had a right to privacy. On the other hand she had, presumably, given the man the control box and, with it, total power over me therefore if he learned anything about her that she didn't want him to know could that be my fault?
"I_". The poor man was floundering. His problem was that when the box is on my thoughts rabbit on all the time, not letting a polite person get an word in edgewise. It is rather like logorea. It was an aspect of the general problem we were facing. He was being polite, treating me like a person, an equal. He needed either to ignore me or, more simply, turning the voice box off while he thought and spoke.
He heard the thought and, after a moment's fumbling, turned the speaker off while he spoke. "My name is Latimer and I'm a lawyer retained by your er companion to help sort out this business. I have to say that the whole affair is unique in my experience and the airport authorities seem to be floundering arround trying to decide what to charge who with. I think that's a disgraceful state of affairs. It's pure outrage translated into legal action. Everything would be simpler if we could solidly establish your identity. Can you think of a way to do that?" He turned the speaker back on.
I had already asked myself that question and I couldn't think of anything at all solid. Presumably my retina and DNA were unchanged but neither was on record. My photograph, of course, bore no ressemblance. I could not produce a signature. Even the notion of finding someone who could verify my identity with personal questions was effectively out since my mistress had been my only confidant for years.
But, in any case I was convinced that verifying my identity would just exchange one set of problems for another. I was not that, or any other person and every attempt to treat me, physically, psychologically or legally as a person would just leed us deeper into the mire. The me he wanted to establish as my identity no longer existed.
"So what you are saying is that you want your previous life declared ended. Do you realise what you are asking? You would have no rights except those established by cruelty to animals laws. You could be bought and sold. Killed on a whim."
That was, of course, precisely what I wanted. I tried to make it clear to him. Peopl are domestic animals and like all domestic animals society gives and society demands. People are special because their principal function in society is to make decsisions. To function in this way they must be not only free to make decsisions but be required to do so. Society gives peopl more freedom than other domestic animals in exchange for comesurately more responsibilities. The deal simply didn't suit my personality. I didn't want the responsibility so I couldn't in fairness accept the freedom.
I had been incredibly lucky. I had found a lady who had use for me without my decsision making function. Who was prepared to take responsibility for me in exchange for power over me. And, even more rarely she had found a way to change me physically so I could truely lay down the human burden.
On Johans Island this had been fully recognised and accepted. I had been happy there. If only there were some way he could help us have the realities of our relationship recognised here I would be eternally grateful.
If they tried to force me into the mold of their stereotype of humanity, to force freedom down my throat I would have a thoroughly misserable life.
The lawyer turned off the box and put it in his pocket. "I believe I understand now and I'll do what I can." He understood well enough anyway to stroke my head reassuringly. "When we appear in front of the judge we won't use or mention this box. If you're asked questions you must answer with gestures as best you can. We'll try and keep it pragmatic and impersonal. We want logic to win over emmotion. I'll go now and prepare as best I can; not that there is much preparation I can do there being essentially no precedent. You shouldn't have to wait here much longer."
I had plenty of experience at handling waiting but this wait seemed an extrodinarilly long one. Eventually a group two policement and a customs officer came to take me to court. Although there seemed some disagreement of the right way to escort me common sense finally prevailed and they put me on a leash.
In the van on the way to the court I saw my lady for the first time since boarding the flight, although they put us at opposite ends and wouldn't allow us to touch. She gave me a smile, although I could see she was worried and determined.
There was another wait before we entered the court. When we were finally let in they seemed to be at a complete loss as to where to put me. My lady called out helpfully to the two policemen who were my escort. "I don't normally allow him to climb on the furniture but if the court is going to see him hadn't you better put him up on a bench?" It cheered me to see the typical manly confussion of men who get a self-evidently sensible suggestion from a woman with which they can find no fault save its source. After a moment they did as bid and I lay on one of the appelants' benches, getting a good view of the court. I was delighted to see that the preciding judge was a woman. Score one for pragmatism. I caught her eyes briefly then lowered mine in deference. The public gallery was surprisingly full. Had the press got onto this already?
When everyone was reasonably settlted the judge made her opening remarks. "Anyone can see that this case has an unusual element which will require certain procedure of the court to be modified. However I will not permit this to degenerate into farce."
The facts of our arrival were quickly established since they were not in dispute. Then Latimer asked my lady if I was, in fact, the man whose passport she held.
"In certain respects. In a metaphysical sense yes. In a legal sense? I think that's to be established."
"Do you consider him to be a person now?"
"Person is one of those cluster concepts. A person is something with a series of properties like two arms and two legs, the ability to fulfill a certain role in society, certain mental abilities and so on. Some of these properties are evidently more important that others . For example a human being without the mental abilities of a normal human is still a person whereas an ape which is taught sign language is still an ape. On this basis, since mental abilities are the only obvious thing he has in common with humans and mental abilities do not seem to be very important in deciding whether something is a person or not I have to say that the answer is no. He doesn't have enough of the important defining qualities to be a person. He's just an unusually smart animal. The person in the passport no longer exists. You can say that I destroyed him in a way permited by the laws of the country where the act was commited, though according to those laws he entered the coutry as an animal since he formally renounced his personhood on arrival."
"Why did you arrange for him to be flown as freight rather than as a passenger."
"For the same reason that the court officials led him in here on a leash, rather than treating him as a conventional suspect. Common sense. I don't believe that the airline would have carried him any other way and they would be quite right. You can't have large animals in an aircraft cabin. He'd've upset the other passengers. He couldn't have been properly restrained. He can't use a toilet intended for people."
"So you are asking the court to treat him not as a possible illegal immigrant, not as a returning citizen, but simply as an animal belonging to you which you chose to import."
"As such he would have no civil rights, no entitlement to state benefits. What about criminal responsibility?"
"I believe there are adequate laws to protect people from antisocial behaviour of domestic animals. I accept my responsibilities as owner."
They questioned me next although they did not put me in the witness box, where I would have been invissible. They read the civil oath and I nodded my acceptance.
The prosecutor had no questions for me. Latimer asked me to confirm who I had been born as. Then he asked. "Did you accept this surgical modification of your own free will?". "Do you understand what has been said here?". Then he asked the two critical questions. "Do you consider yourself a person?" and "Is it your wish to be legally regarded as an animal rather than a person from now on?" To which I emphatically shook and nodded my head.
Latimer then made a simple closing statement. "Whatever we may think of the morality of these two and their relationship is irrelevant. There is no evidence for a breach on imegration law except for technical annomolies which were bound to happen under the circumstances. Either this is a returning citizen or an animal. In neither case is his entry illegal. The possition that he should be treated, under law as an animal seems common sense since he clearly cannot function as a human being within our society."
The retired briefly. On her return she said. "On the matter of entry I find for the defendants. On the matter of whether this creature is a person or not I am not competent to make a decsision. That matter I will refer to higher courts. I'm releasing you two weirdos on the understanding that further action will almost certainly follow and that you, young lady, had better not assume rights over your pet that haven't been established."
I jumped off the bench and ran over to my lady, nuzzling her gleefully until she called me to order. For the time being, at least, we had won.
Fortunately my lady has an estate car with enough room in the back for the sky kennel. She put the crate in the back and made me climb into it, my enthusiam for getting home slightly tempered by the fact that this meant I had to enter head first with the door closed against my backside. This added to the former discomforts of the crate in that I could not see out and that my head was now only inches away from the leavings of my last stint in here. There was, alas, no room to turn arround. Still I settled as best I could and these physical discomforts could not really dent my opertermistic mood though the journey seemed longer that it had in the other direction.
Eventually I heard the sound of garage doors closing and the engine stopped. The entry tone on the alarm told me she was openning up the house. Then I heard the suitcases being taken from alongside the crate. I smiled, used to being fairly low on the list of priorities in these matters. At long last she let me back clumsilly out of the crate and down from the tailgate but instead of leading me into the house she called me to heel and walked through the small door into the small but secluded backyard, sadly overgrown at the moment. As I had feared she led me straight to the wooden kennel which stood against the back fence and clipped the chain which was attatched to it to my collar. She patted me then went and fetched the large waterbowl which she put, briming, next to the entrance hole. She patted the bleached wood of the kennel. "Now you have a proper fur coat you don't need much protection except from really extreme weather. So this kennel can be your home from now on. Here is where you will eat, sleep and shit. I'll probably often invite you into my home, the house, but I want you to understand that you will be there on sufferance and only when I'm there to keep an eye on you. It's a priviledge to be earned. Now I'm going to shower and unpack and you are going to stay here and wonder if you'll be invited into the house today."
We've often played with the kennel and I've stayed the occasional night there, though it is generally to cold to sleep naked out of doors. As a man it was too short for me to lie full length in but now I found it was a fair fit. As our lifestyle had developed I had a corner of the basement assigned to me with sawdust bedding and a chain tether. This had actually been my own idea. I had found those times when my lady was out or asleep to be full of temptations. It was the boredom that had been the hardest thing to learn how to handle. I dare say boredom is an occupational hazzard of all pets but I think I felt it more than most of them. An hour after being left alone in the house the thoughts would come_ she'd never know if I watched the T.V. for a bit or made myself a snack. I'd succumb to these thoughts occasionally and then feel misserable and guilty until, often days later, I'd confess and ask for punishment.
In the end I had begged her to save me from these temptations by tethering me whenever I was in the house alone. What surprised me was that being out of the reach of temptation actually seemed to assuage the bordom to a considerable extent as if much of the feeling was caused by my temptor trying to drive me to insubordination and, since he was no longer able to do so, he no longer made my life so misserable.
Accordingly what she had said about the kennel being my new home did not really upset me. My real home had been for some time not the house but a corner of the basement. Of course I no longer had a job to go to but that didn't seem any great loss anyway. It had come to seem unnatural and onerous playing the role of a person for my collegues. Though alone I did not feel abandoned here. The longer she stayed away from me the greater my joy when she came at last.
The sun had set when she came out of the back door with my leash and muzzle. I stood up immediately walking carefully to the end of my tether, the consequences of pulling too hard on it clearly in mind. She patted me on the head and I licked her hand. Then she fitted the muzzle and leash and walked me out of the side gate. It felt strange going out through that gate like this. We've never gone "walkies" in public before other than on the island and I was a little nervous.
As we emerged from the gateway I froze for a moment in shock until she spoke sharply to me, mercifully not jerking the leash. The road in front of the house was packed with reporters. A fusillade of electronic flash units went off a second later and all the reporters started talking at once. I realised I wasn't understanding a word. Their yelled questions were just a noise to me. My lady had considerately turned off my ability to understand speech. I think without that the verbal barrage, which of course I could make no response to, would have been very unpleasant. It is almost painful to be bombarded with more speech than the brain can handle. As it was it was simply a loud noise.
My lady spoke a few short, calm answers but did not stop walking. Soon we were walking down the street with the pack in pursuit. Basically we ignored them. We went to the local park and we went for a jog which had the newsmen puffing. She did not let me off the leash and I wouldn't willingly have left her side anyway with all those people about. As we returned home I saw that this was the strategy most likely to get rid of the newshound pack in the shortest time. Had we remained in hiding it would have just provoked their nosiness. This way most of them would lose interest fairly quickly.
And so it proved. Over the following days the number of press people declined markedly. Meanwhile I began to accustom myself to my new lifestyle, and in particular to the long hours when my lady was away at work. Those hours wore on me and yet they served to throw the time I spent with my lady into high relief. Sometimes during the quiet hours I would think back to my job, and to my previous life but not with any real nostalgia. It was as if that life belonged to a different me and I suppose in many ways that was exactly the case. I had changed more than physically, and I was still changing.
As the press interest declined our walks became freer and I was able to run freely in the park. Of course we attracted a great many odd looks and at first the ordinary park users pointedly avoided us. Their dogs were, of course, another matter. When we met them off the lead most of them were naturally curious about me and would sniff around me and occasionally try a little horseplay to which I responded as well as I was able. This kind of thing very much embarrassed their owners who needed to retrieve their pets but wanted no contact with either my lay or myself. They would try calling their dogs from a distance but the animals did not always respond and they would have to approach far closer than they wanted to. Increasingly they started to put their dogs on the lead as soon as we appeared. I was about used by now to being treated as if I had a new kind of infectious disease that might be contracted through and incautious look. Still, I felt it would be nice, just once, for someone to look straight at me other than through a viewfinder.
Once the last of the press people had given up we took to going further afield. She would put me in the back of the car and drive me to the coast or into the national park. It was on one of these trips that someone finally did look straight at me and we met Edward. Edward didn't just look straight at me. After asking permission he stroked and, at the same time examined me. He and my lady started talking, initially about me and we sat down together. The novel thing was that whereas he was openly curious about the technicalities and the legalities of my conversion he never once enquired about its motives. Nor did he question the way I was treated.
Since then we've seen more and more of Edward. I am ashamed to say that I still suffer boughts of jealousy. Of course what I feel and think has no practical relevance. And yet, though his visits mean my lady has a little less time to spend with me I now have a master as well as a mistress and I am starting to value his attention too.
It was Edward that came up with the idea. Sooner or later my legal status will have to be resolved and, to win, we will need money. So why not, he pointed out, sell my story to a newspaper. There where technical difficulties, of course, but they proved easy enough to overcome. It was easy enough to tap into the voice synthesiser with a computer. The main problem has been to edit the repetitions and irrelevancies out of this account.
Well, there it is, perhaps the end of the story. We seem to be destined to settle down to a fairly conventional form of domesticity. Assuming, of course, the law doesn't radically interfere. Well shall see.
Island of Circe copyright 1996 by Malcolm.
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