|The Transformation Story Archive||With Fur and Claws...|
He woke up. The room he was in was well furnished. There was a chair, a dresser, and a bed. He was lying the bed. There were two doors, both open. One was to the bathroom, the other was to another room. "Where am I?" he thought to himself. "Better, yet. Who am I?" He got out of bed and searched the room for a clue to who he was. His scaly tail was swishing behind him. Not finding anything to tell him who he was, he went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. The face that looked back at him was of a lizard. He examined the rest of his body. His skin was covered in green scales. His tail was slightly longer than his legs. His hands had five claw-like fingers. His toes were claw-like to match. "So," he said to himself, "I'm a reptile." For some reason, that didn't seem right to him, but his reptilian body felt as natural to him as if he was born with it.
He decided to explore more to search out his identity. He went out the other door in the bedroom and walked into what looked like a living room. On the coffee table were some pictures. They were of him with other animals. All the animals were on two legs, like him. That didn't seem right to him either. None of the pictures had any names on them. He went to the front door to his house and opened it. The day was bright and sunny. The sun felt good on his scaly hide. "I must be cold-blooded," he thought. He looked around at his yard. The mail box was in the wall of the porch. He had mail. There were bills and an issue of "Scales! (the magazine for reptiles.)" All were addressed to Tim Grey. "I am Tim Grey," he said aloud. "Unless this is not in my house." Inside the phone rang. Tim went back inside and answered it. "Hello?"
"Tim?" asked the voice on the other end. "Is that you?" "I guess," Tim said.
"How are you feeling?" asked the voice. "You over that Reptilian Flu?" "Yes, I think," Tim answered. He didn't feel sick. "Who are you?" "This is Frank," said the voice. "Don't you remember me?" "I don't remember anything," Tim replied. "I don't even remember who I am."
"Oh," Frank said sounding let down. "I'll be right over. I'll bring Cindy and James, too. Is that OK?" "Sure," Tim said. "I'll get straightened up." "OK, see you in about 30 minutes. Bye", Frank said hanging up the phone.
Tim hung up his phone and went into his bedroom to take a shower and get dressed. He must have always been a reptile. Not only were there pictures of him, but all of his pants, shorts, and underwear had holes in them for his tail. He had finished dressing and was tying his shoes when the doorbell rang.
"Hello, Tim," said the man resembling a camel when Tim answered the door. "I'm Frank. Remember?"
"No, but come on in," Tim replied opening the door more. Frank walked in followed by a frog and a horse. Tim still had that strange feeling that these animals walking on two legs was wrong. Frank noticed Tim's confusion. "Tim, this is James," he said pointing to the frog. "And this is Cindy." Frank motioned to the horse. "We are your closest friends."
"Tim," Cindy took her queue, "We are going to try to help you remember who you are. That Reptilian Flu you had must have affected your memory."
"I've never heard of a case like that," James replied. "I haven't either," Tim said frustrated. "I haven't even heard of the Reptilian Flu."
"You have," Frank said. "You just don't remember. The Reptilian Flu is a version of the flu that only reptiles get. You happened to get it bad."
All four of them sat and talked for hours. Frank, Cindy, and James all tried to get Tim to regain his memory. No one succeeded. Tim didn't remember anything. But, when his three friends had left, Tim now knew more about his life than he did. "If only I could remember all this instead of hearing it second hand," Tim thought to himself.
Frank was driving away from Tim's house. "So, what do you think about 'our friend?'" he asked Cindy and James. "I think he has definitely lost his memory," Cindy replied. "I don't think he could have acted like he had for that long." "Tim seems like he is going to fit in with the community very well," James said. "He's going to be a common citizen like everyone else." "The Doctor is going to be pleased to hear our report," Frank said smugly. All three wore a grin for the rest of their trip.
Tim was still confused about one thing. His whole life. Even though Frank, Cindy, and James, his friends tried to get him to remember things, it didn't work. It was still like someone telling stories about old times. Except these old time were his. They said he moved into this house a week ago, right before he got the Reptilian Flu. He didn't remember his old house, moving in, or having the flu. After searching his house for anything to jog his memory, he gave up. He decided to go exploring his neighborhood. After all he did just move in. He should know where he lived. He memorized his address in case he got lost and set out walking down the street. He wanted to get the feel of his neighborhood, so he didn't take the car. And the fact he wasn't sure he remembered how to drive. The sunny weather felt good. His scaly green skin soaked in the sun rays. The neighborhood seemed friendly. Many people were outside doing chores or lounging. All were different species. A few waved at him. But no one started a conversation. It was a good thing, too. Remembering only a few hours wouldn't provide much to talk about. A few blocks down the road, there was a quaint little park. Tim decided to top for awhile and enjoy the park. Children were playing in the playground. A few were flying kites. "I moved into the perfect spot," he thought to himself. Of course, he didn't have anything to compare it to. But he still liked the area. "Anyone sitting here?" asked a voice behind Tim. Tim turned around and saw a woman that resembled a kangaroo. "Uh, no," sputtered Tim. "Would you like to have a seat?" "Thank you," she replied. "You're new in the neighborhood. Aren't you?"
"Yes," Tim replied.
"I'm Milly Welch," said the woman. "I live a few blocks down that way." She pointed in the direction of Tim's house. "I'm Tim Grey," he said. "Where do you live exactly? I live a few blocks that way too."
"251 Dillard Road," she said.
"Really? We're neighbors. I live at 253 Dillard Road," Tim said. "Wow, it sure is a small world," Milly said. "I do remember somebody moving in last week, but I never saw who it was." "Well, I'm glad someone remembers me moving in," Tim said. "I came down with the Reptilian Flu after moving in, and I'm afraid I don't remember anything before this morning."
"That's terrible," she said patting him on his shoulder. "Well, I'm trying to remember," he said. "I wanted to see the neighborhood.... So, tell me. How many people live in this city?" "Well, I wouldn't call it a city," she laughed. "There's only about 200 people in the town. There are a few houses outside the limits. Yontsville is the only town on the island. It's a small island. "Island? We live on an island?" asked Tim. "Why yes. We take care of ourselves pretty well. About once a month, we get a shipment of items from off the island. But, it's a nice island. And the best thing is that there aren't any tourists," she chuckled. Tim laughed with her.
"We're here," Frank said pulling on the side of the road. Cindy pulled out a remote control from the glove box. She aimed it at the barren field on the side of the road and pressed a button. A section of the ground started rising revealing a tunnel underneath. When the tunnel door stopped moving, Frank drove the car into the tunnel. It sloped down for a while before leveling out. He drove to his parking space and parked. He had been waiting for that parking space for years. He doesn't have to drive that much since he lives next to his work, and he only takes the car on his outside ventures. But, he earned the space and now he finally has it.
The underground facility is huge. He would need the car to get to the other end. But, he never goes there. The "back end," as everyone in his work area calls it, is for the in depth research and other stuff Frank isn't interested in.
The three of them walked into the main building. Cindy and James were following Frank as usual. The Doctor was waiting for their report, and Frank was the head of this team. Upon reaching the Doctor's office, Frank motioned Cindy and James to wait outside. The Doctor usually only wants Frank to give the report. And he doesn't want to disappoint the Doctor again. Frank knocked on the door. "Come in," came the Doctors voice from within. Frank opened the door slowly and stepped inside. "Frank! My little camel friend. How are you?" asked the Doctor swiveling around in his chair to face Frank. Frank hated being called "my little camel friend," and the Doctor knew it. The Doctor always rubbed in the fact that he was human and Frank was an anthropomorphic camel.
"I'm doing fine," responded Frank.
"Splendid," said the Doctor leaning on his desk. "And how's Tim doing?" "I have great news about Tim," Frank said. "Good," said the Doctor. "Let's hear it." Frank told him everything he and the other two discovered about Tim.
During the next few days, Tim had spent a lot of time with his neighbor Milly. She introduced him to many people on his block. Yontsville was small enough for everybody to know each other. And, they always welcomed new people. Tim knew he would like it here. But, he still hadn't remembered anything before waking up that one morning a few days ago. He wanted to know who he was. He hadn't seen Frank, Cindy, or James since that first morning. They lived on the other side of the island. With it being a forty minute drive, Tim understood why they don't stop by that often. One day, Tim decided to take Milly out to lunch during her lunch hour. He was still looking for a job. It is pretty hard if you don't know your own past work experience. Milly worked at the town museum. She is responsible for the alternating exhibit room. Tim walked to the museum and was amazed. He didn't know his own history, but this building contained everybody's history. He looked at everything he passed going to Milly's office.
"Tim?" came Milly's voice behind him. "Tim, I'm over here." Tim turned and saw Milly leaning out of one of the exhibit rooms waving at him. "Milly," he said walking toward her. "This place is amazing. I can honestly say I don't remember being in a museum like this before."
Milly giggled. "It's that good. Huh? So, what brings you here?" She stuffed a notepad into her pouch. "I wasn't doing anything, so I thought, 'Why don't I take Milly to lunch?' So, now I'm here."
"I'll be honored," Milly said. "Where were you planning?" "Anywhere you want to go," Tim said. "I don't know if I have a preference or not."
"How about Big Mamma Hippo's?" she suggested. "They have a great buffet." "Sounds good to me," he said. "When do you get off?" "Any time I want," she said. "We can go now if you like." "Ok," he responded. "Let's go."
"First, I need to tell someone I'm going. I'll be back in a second." Milly headed toward the main offices. Tim took the opportunity to look more closely at the exhibits. He wandered into one of the exhibit rooms and was shocked. It was a display of old bones. Many of them belonged to huge reptiles. "I wonder if I'm related to them?" he asked himself. One set of bones stood out from the others. He walked over to the display and read the information plaques. "Homo Sapiens," it read. "This species has been extinct for three thousand years. Like us, they had developed a language, technology, and civilization. The cause of their extinction is unknown." "Interesting. Isn't it?" asked Milly behind Tim. Startled he turned around. "Don't sneak up on my like that. I'm not sure if I have a temper or not."
"Come on, I'm ready to go," Milly said laughing. They both left the museum for lunch.
Dr. Robert Giberson sat in his office waiting. He hated waiting. The head scientist from the research lab was supposed to bring him an update on the new project ten minutes ago. He read his memo to remember the scientists name. "Dr. Casada," he said to himself, "where are you?" It shouldn't be taking Dr. Casada this long to drive from the "back end."
He dreaded hearing Dr. Casada's update. He always speaks with a monotone voice. If he was teaching at a college, he would put everybody in the class asleep. That's why he was available for the job. If it was Dr. Giberson's project to begin with, he wouldn't have hired Dr. Casada. But, now it is his project, and he has to use the people that were already here one way or another.
There was a knock at the door. "Come in," said Dr. Giberson. The door slowly opened, and Dr. Casada peaked his head around. "Ah, Dr. Casada," Giberson said. "I've been expecting you." He looked at his watch.
"I'm sorry I'm late," said Casada. "I was held up at my office." "You have an update?" Giberson asked.
"Yes, sir," Casada said handing a folder to Giberson. "It's all in here."
"Good," Giberson took the folder and laid it on his desk. "Anything you want to add?"
"No, sir," Casada replied.
Giberson was relieved. He didn't have to listen to Casada's update. "Very well. I'll expect to hear from you again." "Yes, sir," Casada said backing up toward the door. "I'll keep you posted on the research."
"Bye, Dr. Casada," Giberson said as Casada closed the door. He picked up his phone and dialed security.
Dr. Casada hurriedly walked to his car. He didn't like visiting the Doctor. He always tries to intimidate everyone. He knew the Doctor hated it when people were late. Lucky he didn't get fired. Even better he didn't have the same fate as other employees do. The human employees that is. He didn't want to know what happened to the others. It was easier before Dr. Giberson was in charge. Casada didn't know why Dr. Yonts left for the USA right when the project was getting interesting.
He reached his car and started it up. His door suddenly opened, and he was pulled out. Two security guards were standing there. One pinning him against the car. The other reached in his pocked and pulled out his ID card.
"He's Dr. Casada," the guard said.
"What's going on?" asked Casada.
The guard with his ID revealed a syringe and injected the fluid into Casada's arm.
"You're going to take a little nap," said the guard holding him said. Everything went black.
Dr. Casada woke up in one of the lab rooms. He was laying on the white bed in the completely white room. The bed was the only piece of furniture there. The two way mirror was on the other side of the room. He had sent numerous people to rooms like this. People that were willing to work in that part of the project. Never has he put someone in these rooms against their will. Why was he in here? Then he remembered the guards and the meeting with Dr. Giberson. "Oh, no!" he said out loud and examined his body. Coarse reddish-brown fur was starting to cover his skin. He got off the bed and stumbled over to the mirror. He saw that the reason he was stumbling was that his legs were now digitigrade. His feet were black cloven hooves . He looked at himself in the mirror. His worst fear was staring at him. His own reflection. His human face melted into that of a boar. "No!" he squealed. He stood there staring at the anthropomorphic boar in the mirror. The door to his room opened. Dr. Giberson walked in. "Ah, Dr. Casada. Your new body looks good on you. You were always such a bore," Giberson laughed.
Casada stood speechless. He hated the Doctor more than ever now. But he didn't want to risk any further transformation. "I still want you to lead the research like you were," Giberson said. "You were doing a wonderful job. I know you will be punctual from now on."
"I'm sure I will," Casada said. The coarseness of his voice surprised him.
"Good," Giberson said opening the door. "You are free to go back to work now." Giberson left leaving the door open. Casada stood there for a few seconds and then slowly walked out of the room. The sound of his hooves echoing in the empty room and in his head.
Susan and her son Andy were taking a picnic near a small stream outside of town. Woods surrounded the area. Andy loved playing in the stream, his fur soaking in the water. Susan sat on the bank watching her son play. It was a wonderful day.
"Mommy," called Andy from the other side of the stream. "I bet you can't catch me." He took off running into the woods. Susan loved playing with Andy. She got up and took off after him. She could hear him giggling as he ran from her. She lost sight of him as he ran down a small hill. Suddenly she heard him scream. "Mommy!" "Andy?" she called back. "What's wrong?" She reached the top of the hill he ran down. Andy saw her and ran up to her.
"Look, Mommy," he said.
She saw a large white sheet caught in the trees. Ropes were connected to the sheet. The ropes reached down and connected to something. It was a person. She ran down to see if the person was badly injured. When she reached him, she screamed. It was a Homo Sapien.
The day was another beautiful day. Tim loved to walk through the neighborhood on sunny days. The sun warmed his scaly skin. He couldn't remember his past, but he loved his present. And his future looked good also. He had just come from a job interview at the local fast food restaurant. It went very well. And the best part was they provided on the job training. He hoped eventually he would remember some skills so he could get a better job. But, this one would give him money. That is if he gets the job.
He passed a house with a moving van out front. Several people were moving furniture and things into the house. "Hey," Tim thought to himself. "Someone is moving in. I'll have to meet them when they gets settled." Tim looked for the new owners but could only see the movers. Tim walked up his driveway past the car. Someday he wanted to learn how to drive, but walking was more enjoyable. He entered his house and went straight to the kitchen. He was craving a tall glass of water. He grabbed a cup from the cupboard. He noticed a small piece of paper in the bottom of it. It was a note. It read, "If you are who I hope you are, follow the map on the left side of your left ankle." "Map?" Tim asked out loud. He looked at his ankle. Sure enough, lightly scratched onto his scales, was a map. And he knew where it was talking about.
Lt. Ned Boiger awoke. He looked around and realized he was in a hospital. The last thing he remembered was his plane's engine catching on fire. He ejected and landed in a forest. Somebody must have found him and brought him to the hospital.
He sat up in bed and examined himself. He didn't seem to be injured badly. Although his head was throbbing. "I must have hit my head on a tree when I landed," he thought to himself. The door opened and a nurse walked in. Well, what he thought was nurse walked in. What he saw was a deer. A deer that was wearing clothes and walking on its hind legs. "When did I get to Disney Land?" he asked.
"I see you are wide awake," the nurse said. That startled Ned. But it did make since. Any deer that wears clothes and walks on its hind legs should talk, too. He must have hit his head harder than he thought.
"If I may," the deer nurse asked him. She was definitely female. "might I ask you your name? I need it for the records." The name John DOE popped into his head, but he decided it wouldn't be the time to make a joke. "Lt. Ned Boiger," he said. "Lt. Boiger," she said writing his name on her clip board, "where did you come from? We haven't seen a Homo Sapien before. They were extinct thousands of years ago."
"What?" Ned shouted. "What do you mean?" "If you would just tell me where you are from," she continued. "A doctor who is an expert on Homo Sapiens will be here shortly. He will answer your questions."
Ned stared at her. She met his gaze. "Georgia," he said eventually. "Atlanta, Georgia."
"Do you remember how you got here?" the nurse asked. "My plane was crashing, so I ejected. I landed in a forest. The next thing I know I'm here."
The nurse wrote all that down. "Thank you Lt. Boiger. You seem to be in good health, but I can't be sure. I've never dealt with a Homo Sapien before." With that she left the room. Ned leaned back in bed and tried to think of an explanation for what was happening. The only thing that he could come up with was a "Planet of the Apes" scenario.
The door opened again and two creatures walked in. One was a humanoid boar. The other was a humanoid camel. "Lt. Boiger," the boar said, "I'm Dr. Casada. I am here because I have studied Homo Sapiens extensively." "What's going on here, Doc?" asked Ned. "Just relax, Lt. Boiger," the doctor said. "I am going to give you this shot."
"What is it?" Ned asked.
"It's a new rejuvenation formula," Dr. Casada replied. "It will cause you to go to sleep. But, when you wake up, you will be a new man." Ned noticed the camel trying to hold back a grin. "There. That wasn't bad. Now was it?" asked the doctor. Ned looked at the syringe. The doctor had given him the shot, and he didn't realize it.
"Just relax, Lt. Boiger," the boar said. "We are going to take care of you."
Ned felt light headed and very comfortable. Soon he was in a deep sleep.
"Nurse, we are taking the Homo Sapien to my facilities," Dr. Casada told the deer nurse. "We can treat him better there." Frank was pushing Lt. Boiger down the hall in a wheelchair. "Yes, Dr. Casada," the nurse replied.
Dr. Casada caught up with Frank, and they both wheeled the human out to their car. After managing to get him into the back seat, Dr. Casada started driving to the outskirts of town. "So, Doc, I guess you never thought you would ever do on-location work," Frank said jokingly.
"Shut up, camel man," Casada replied. "How's he doing back there?" Frank turned around to look at their passenger in the back seat. "He's coming along pretty fast. It looks like the transformation is almost complete."
"Good," Casada said. "We are almost to the other car now." "Do you think this new stuff works?" Frank asked. "I mean the mind changing part."
"It did in the lab," Casada replied. "His old memories should be overwritten with the new by now. We'll just have to wait until he wakes up." Casada hated doing this. He never wanted to change someone against their will. Like he was himself. But, he had to keep the project going in case Dr. Yonts returns.
Casada pulled off onto the side of the road where they left the second car. They transferred Lt. Boiger into the driver seat of the other car.
"Ow!" Frank yelled. "Did you have to change him into a porcupine?" "We needed one," Dr. Casada said. "You should be more careful." "Well, I got the prickly end," Frank said examining his wounded hand. "You'll live," Casada said. "Now, we need to leave before he wakes up. His new past says that he was driving to Yontsville and fell asleep at the wheel."
"You got that detailed?" asked Frank.
"We had to."
They hopped into their car and drove off to the facility leaving the new porcupine behind.
Tim followed the map on his ankle to one of the path stones in his back yard. His curiosity drove him to find what the map was pointing to. Why was there a map scratched on his ankle? Who put it there? Hopefully the destination will tell him. He lifted the stone and saw loose dirt underneath. Something was buried there. He started digging with his hands. His claws were good at digging. When he dug about a foot down, he found something. It was a book. Tim went inside dusting the dirt off the book. He sat down in the chair in the living room and started reading. "I assume you followed the map," the book read. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr. Philip Yonts. If you are reading this, then I no longer exist. I think your name is Tim. Tim, in a way I am no more. But, in another way, I am you. Or you used to be me. Which ever you prefer. My body is no more. My Homo Sapien body was transformed into the lizard body you have now. My memories will eventually be erased. Thus, leaving a clean slate. So, you are actually your own person. "I know this might sound hard to believe. But, I know you don't remember your past. That is because your past was my life. It has been erased. I'll fill you in on the important details. One very important thing. Don't tell anyone about this journal. Your life may depend on it." Tim couldn't believe what he was reading. It was who he used to be. He had to read on.
"I created this town you live in. It was all part of an experiment. It is called Localized Interaction of Zoological Anthropomorphics, Research and Development. LIZARD for short." Tim continued reading.
Tim couldn't believe what he was reading. He was reading his own past. The past he couldn't remember. Dr. Yonts (who he used to be) didn't fill in all the holes, just the important parts about the experiment. The whole community was an experiment. An experiment to see how humanoid animals would behave in a society. Tim was now one of those humans.
"The humans who were changed were volunteers," the journal said. "They have no memory of being human. They have the same memories but they think that have always been the way they are. This brings me to another point. There are three versions of formulas. "Version one changes the human into a humanoid animal but remembers being human. This was before we managed to change the thought patterns. We used this version on a few employees who would interact with the citizens.
"Version two changes the human and the thoughts. This is the formula we used on all of the inhabitants. "Version three is new. It changes the human and erases all the memories. This is what they used on me/you. I didn't know about this formula until it was injected in me. I didn't want to erase anybody's memories. Dr. Giberson, my assistant, was the one who had it secretly developed. Unfortunately, I was the first he tried it on. "I thought I overheard some discussion about a fourth version, but I have no idea what it is capable of doing." Tim put the book down and looked out the window. People were out in their yards doing chores. Children were playing. They had no idea that they were once a Homo Sapien. He wondered about the children born in the town. They were never human.
He picked up the book again. "Tim, I'm sorry if I'm confusing you with the word 'human'. A human is a Homo Sapien. The citizens use the word human referring to themselves, anthropomorphic animals. If I say human I'm referring to a Homo Sapien. That is the way I'm used to. "The reason I'm now you is the fact that Dr. Giberson didn't like the way I ran the experiment. Plus, he wanted to market the formulas. I was against that from the start. I'm not sure how it would affect society. Here it is accepted. That is because everyone is an animal. But in the outside world, everyone is human. I doubt that the humanoid animals would be accepted."
"Do you love animals?" the announcer voice from the TV said. Pictures of different animals were flashing across the screen. "Have you always thought they were fascinating? Then why don't you join them?" A picture of a pasture of horses was on the screen. A humanoid horse walked on and hugged one of the real horses. "That's right, you can be a human animal with The Animalizer. We have all sorts of animals to pick from. You can be a lion, tiger, or bear. Oh, my." Pictures of different transformed people were showing for each named. "Always wanted a family dog? Why not be a family of dogs? That's right we have everything from aardvark to zebra. You can be any animal for just $99.95. Just call this number and have your credit card ready. Be sure to know what animal form you want before you call." The number flashed across the screen. "Hurry up! Be the first hippo on your block." The next commercial started. Dr. Giberson turned off the TV. "That was a masterpiece. Wouldn't you say, Frank?" "Yes, sir," Frank responded. He didn't want to disagree with the Doctor. He might end up like Tim. "Hey, Cindy, you're a star now." "Want my autograph?" Cindy laughed which sounded more like a neigh. "Ok, back to work," the Doctor cut in. "Go make sure the packaging is running smoothly. I want to ship as soon a possible. A cargo plane should be arriving later tonight. We should have lots of orders to fill." The commercial aired all over the United States. The Doctor was going to send it to other countries, but they were short on funds. Frank and Cindy left the Doctor's office. Frank couldn't believe the Doctor was going through with this. Dr. Yonts may have been right.
Tim decided to stop reading the journal for awhile. He felt like a walk. He headed down the street. The night air felt refreshing. All this stuff about his past life was overwhelming. He liked the life he had now. Would he have to go back to his old life? But that wasn't really his life. Or was it?
He passed the house that had the moving van earlier. "I wonder if they moved in yet?" he thought. He walked up to the door and knocked. After a few seconds the door opened. "Yes?" asked the porcupine man.
"Hi, I'm Tim Grey," Tim said extending his hand. The porcupine took it and shook hands. "I live down the street. Welcome to the neighbor hood."
"Thanks," said the porcupine. "I'm Ned Boiger. I just moved from West Virginia."
"Nice to meet you."
"I would invite you in, but I'm still unpacking," Ned said. "That's fine," Tim replied. "I'm just taking a walk. Maybe we'll run into each other again." Tim turned to go down the path to the sidewalk.
"Maybe," Ned closed the door.
Tim continued on his stroll. He ended up on the outskirts of town. Not many houses were around. "Hey," he said to himself. "Why don't I go see if I can find the experiment headquarters." It sounded like a good idea. He didn't have anything else to do. And he loved to walk.
"We've landed," the captain said. Darrel lowered the cargo plank. Twenty other people walked down the plank and gathered at the bottom waiting for their instructions. The captain of the plane walked up to two men that were stand out in the middle of nowhere. Darrel waited with the rest of the crew. "What would they need for us to pick up out here?" he thought. "The crates are behind those trees," one of the men from the island said pointing to one area of the forest. "I assume you have everything you need to load."
"Yes, sir," the captain said. "Ok, men. Let's get to work. And don't get lost. I'll just have to leave you here." The captain gave one of his smirks.
All the crew went to do their particular jobs. Some got the forklifts. Others made sure the crates were strapped together tightly. Darrel was one of those. He was one of the last to leave the forest when the last pallet was taken to the plane. He thought he saw something move deeper into the forest. It must be one of the crew exploring. "Hey, you," he yelled. "Come back! We are about to leave." He didn't get a response. Reluctantly, he went after the person in the forest. It got darker quickly once he got away from the air strip. "Hey, where are you?" Darrel ventured farther. Unfortunately, there was a large hole where he ventured. He fell to the bottom and twisted his ankle. "Oh, man," he said. "Help!"
He heard the plane's engines start. "No. Help!!" No one heard him. He tried to climb out, but his ankle wouldn't let him. "Hello?" came a voice. It could be the other crew member that was in the forest.
"Help! I'm in a hole."
He heard foliage rustling. The he saw the silhouette of someone looking in the hole.
"You down here?" the man asked.
"Yeah," Darrel said. "Do you have a rope?" "I'll get something," the man said leaving. Darrel sat in the bottom of the hole waiting. Why did he come this far? A vine fell by his arm.
"Here's a vine. Can you grab hold of it?" the man asked. "Sure." Darrel grabbed the vine and pulled himself out. When he got to the top, the man reached out his hand to help him out. Darrel took his hand and climbed out. The hand felt strange. Sort of rough. It must come from moving crates around. "Thanks," Darrel said. "We better hurry. The plane is about to leave." Just then he heard the plane fly overhead. "Just great! We missed the plane." "You missed the plane," the man said. "I live here." "Well, it looks like I do now."
"No, don't say that. You don't want to LIVE here. You would much rather work here. But then there is a risk to that, too," the man said panicky.
Darrel tried to see the man's face to get the expression, but the light was too dim. All he could tell was that he was bald. "By the way, I'm Darrel Ott. I was one of the crew on the cargo plane that just left." "I'm Tim Grey," the man replied. "That was a cargo plane?" He sounded worried.
"Come on," Tim cut in grabbing Darrel's hand. "We've got to get you out of here." Tim ran with Darrel behind him. Tim released Darrel's hand. Darrel kept up, but the long belt Tim had was getting in his way. Tim's hand did feel strange. It was rough on both side. "Darrel, I need to tell you this now," Tim said while they were trekking through the dark forest. "I am not human." "Not human?"
"I used to be human.... It's a long story. I am now a lizard man." "What?!" Darrel stopped running. Tim stopped too and turned back. "What do you mean you are a lizard?" "Just that. I am a human that was turned into a lizard. All the inhabitants of this island are half man, half animal. Except the employees of the facility."
Darrel stood speechless.
"Come, Darrel," Tim said. "There is a clearing up ahead. You can see what I look like there."
Darrel followed. Mostly out of curiosity. When Tim stepped into the moon lit clearing, Darrel could see that he was not human. The 'belt' was a tail. And his skin was covered with scales. "Darrel, don't be scared," Tim tried to comfort him. "I used to be human. Now, you are at a great risk here. The other animal people think humans as yourself have been extinct for thousands of years. If they see you, no telling what would happen. The citizens of Yontsville could deal with you themselves, or the employees could find you and make you a citizen. That means you would lose all memory of being human. Or, like me and lose memory of everything."
Darrel stood there taking all this in. He didn't know what to do. There he was on an island talking to a lizard who says his life is in danger. "Ok, I believe you. Just want are you planning?" "Well, you could hide out at my house. Not many people should be out at this time of night. It should be easy to sneak you through town. I'll explain things better on the way."
Dr. Giberson strolled back to his office after seeing that the cargo plane had taken off. He was pleased that the first shipment of Animalizer was on its way to the USA. He was surprised at how many orders were received on the first day the commercial aired. This is going to make him rich!
He walked into his office and sat down behind his desk propping his feet on it. All he has to do is sit back and wait for the money to roll in.
"Dr. Giberson!" a guard's voice came over the intercom.
"Yes?" Giberson asked leaning toward the intercom.
"Doctor, there seems to be some trespassers leaving the airstrip. Our security cameras picked them up. They are heading for Yontsville on foot."
"On foot?" Giberson was surprised. Yontsville was about twenty miles away. "Do you seen any type of vehicle?"
"No, sir," the guard answered.
Someone must be trying to escape the facility. He hoped they weren't employees for their sake. It could be one of the test subject for the new formula. "Bring them back here and lock them in one of the lab rooms."
Giberson leaned back in his chair again. He hated interruptions like this.
Tim and Darrel were on their way toward Yontsville. It was a long walk, but Tim loved to walk. He didn't know how Darrel felt about their long journey, but the human was keeping up.
"So, what's it like?" asked Darrel. It was the first thing said for the last few miles.
"What's what like?" asked Tim.
"Being a lizard man," Darrel replied. "What's it like being a reptile?"
"I don't know. I can't compare it to anything. I don't remember anything before waking up like this about a week ago. I don't remember what it was like being human."
"I was just wondering," Darrel said. "I've never talked to a lizard before. I always wanted to know what it was like to have scales or to be cold-blooded. I don't want to get turned into one though. No offense."
"Well, I don't know how to explain any of that. Sorry...." Tim trailed off. He saw lights behind them in the distance. They were cars coming from the facility. "Duck," Tim yelled pushing Darrel to the ground. This part of the island was pretty bare. No trees, but there were a few sparse bushes. Hopefully the cars won't see them on the ground this far from the road.
Darrel and Tim lay still watching the cars drive by. One was a truck with a spotlight on the back of it searching the sides of the road. The beam swept too close to where they were laying. The beam was heading back in their direction. "Let's go," Tim said pulling on Darrel's arm. They both crawled away quickly. Tim was much faster than Darrel. Tim heard a shot ring from the caravan of cars.
"Tim!" Darrel yelled.
Tim crawled back to Darrel. He had been shot with a tranquilizer and was out cold. Tim tried to drag him away, but he was too heavy. Another shot hit Tim in the arm. He managed to pull it out just before he blacked out.
Giberson hurriedly walked to the lab. The trespassers were being held there until he decided what to do with them. He didn't like going to the "Back End", but dealing punishment was one of the enjoyable parts of his job. He stepped into the lab and walked over to the observation window. The people inside couldn't see him through the two way mirror. In the room he saw a lizard and a human.
"Casada, is that Tim?" Giberson asked.
The boar stopped what he was doing and ran up to the Doctor. "Yes, that is Tim Grey."
"And who is the human?"
"We are not sure, Doctor," Casada said. "He doesn't work for us."
"Give me the microphone," Giberson ordered. Casada handed him the microphone and flipped on a switch. "Hello, Tim." His voice came over the speakers in the observation room. Tim and the human looked toward the mirror.
"Who are you?" asked Tim.
"Why, you don't remember me, do you?" Giberson said. "I am Dr. Giberson. The former assistant of the person you used to be. Who is your friend?"
"Why do I have to tell you?" Tim asked.
"You don't have to. When we are through with him, he will be someone else anyway."
"What do you mean?" asked the human.
"We can't just let you go. You are going to become one of the residents here. Now, let's see. What animal should you become?" Giberson paused to act like he was thinking. He knew exactly what animal he needed. The human would not live in Yontsville, but would work in the facility. "How about a shark. I need a new guard to patrol the waters."
"I will do no such thing," the human said.
"Oh, but you will. You see, after you have changed into an anthropomorphic shark, your memories will have been replaced. You will think you have always been a shark morph and have worked for me for most of your live. You will be a loyal guard."
"Doctor," Casada said. "Sorry to interrupt, but you have an important phone call."
"Tell them to hold. I'm driving back to my office to take it," Giberson said turning off the microphone switch. "You heard what to do with the human. Wipe Tim's memory also. But, let's keep him a lizard."
"Yes, Doctor," the boar answered.
Giberson left the lab and drove to his office on the other side of the facility. He got behind his desk and picked up the phone. "Hello."
"Bob, this is Brian," the person on the other end said.
"Bob, this Animalizer thing you are selling needs to be recalled."
"The FDA is furious."
"That's why I paid you."
"I sneaked it past them once. But, if they trace it to me. I'm the one going to jail, and I'm dragging you with me."
"Brian, I know you can get away with it. You've done it before."
"But this is different," Brian nervously said. He sounded angry also. "It could be dangerous."
"Why start sounding like someone at the FDA, now? What could be dangerous about people changing into part animal?"
"It is potentially dangerous."
"We've tested it thoroughly here. There are no side effects."
"Well, I am warning you," Brian hung up the phone.
Giberson sat back in his chair to think. "The Animalizer will succeed. It has to." He was only selling Version One. He didn't want to mess with people's minds. He just wanted to let people partially change into the animals they like and make a prophet off of it.
Tim sat in the lab observation room. He knew what they planed for Darrel, but he wasn't sure about what to expect for himself. Darrel was sitting on the floor contemplating his fate. "So, the person I am will just cease to exist, and I will be this shark freak and not know any better," Darrel said to himself.
Tim sat there thinking about what Darrel said. The same thing already happened to him. The only difference was the Tim didn't have any memories about his past. It sounded like the formula would make a new history for Darrel. "That must be Version Four. The new formula Dr. Yonts wrote about," Tim thought to himself. Dr. Philip Yonts was who Tim used to be. He overheard Dr. Giberson saying something about Version Four, but he didn't know what it did. Now, Tim knew.
The door to the room opened. Darrel looked up ready to fight. Frank stepped in. "I'm here to free you," Frank said.
Darrel looked confused.
"How do we know, Frank? You were supposed to be my friend. And know you are here at this lab," Tim sat prepared for Frank to tranquilize them again.
"I've worked here when you started L.I.Z.A.R.D. I mean when Dr. Yonts started L.I.Z.A.R.D. He hired me," Frank said walking in the room with his arms up. Tim couldn't see any weapons.
"You know this camel guy?" asked Darrel.
"I'm not sure," Tim said.
"Tim, what they have done to you before is horrible. But, they plan to wipe your memory again, or replace it with another. I can't allow that," Frank said.
Tim didn't know what to do. It seemed that going with Frank would be the best choice. "Let's go then."
"We're going with him?" asked Darrel surprised.
"If we don't go, we will be changed. If we do go, we might be changed. I want to go with the might," Tim explained.
Frank checked outside the door. "The coast is clear," he said. "Let's go now." They all three sneaked down the hall. Tim was surprised that they didn't run into anyone in the hall. Frank led them to an air vent. "This leads up to the surface." They crawled into the vent. It gradually slopped up. They reached outside without any trouble. They must have been out for a long time. It was morning now. Frank had a car parked nearby. "They shouldn't stop my car. I make daily trips to Yontsville to check up on things," Frank said getting into his car. "I know of a good hiding place in the woods outside of town." Tim and Darrel hoped into the car and Frank drove off.
Frank stopped the car on the edge of the woods outside of town. "This is as far as we can drive," he said getting out of the car. They proceeded to walk into the woods. Frank was leading. After about a mile, Frank bend down an pushed some bushes back. Behind it was the opening to a cave. It was well hidden. The three of them crawled inside. It was big enough for four people to camp comfortably. "How do you like it?" asked Frank.
"I think I could live here for awhile," Tim replied. "Darrel?"
Darrel nodded then continued looking around the cave. He has gone through a lot since last night.
"Well, I better get back. I need to actually do my rounds," Frank said with a small laugh. "I'll try to bring some supplies." He turned and left.
Tim and Darrel stayed in the cave. Darrel sat on the floor of the cave and seemed to be thinking things out. Tim couldn't help but wonder how long they would have to hide.
Frank made his rounds through Yontsville. He didn't see anything that would harm the project. The citizens were going about their business. It was just another normal day. Frank headed back toward the base.
He opened entrance to the underground facility and drove in. He parked his car in his space and walked toward the main building. Dr. Giberson was standing at the door waiting for him.
"Ah, Frank," the Doctor said. "How have you been?"
"Doing great, Doctor," Frank responded.
"That's good. Where were you just now?" he asked.
"I was making my rounds of the town," Frank answered.
"I see," the Doctor said. He snapped his fingers. Several guard came around the corner and grabbed Frank. "I know you let the prisoners escape, Frank."
"I don't want to hear what you have to say." The Doctor turned to the guards holding Frank. "Take him to an observation lab."
Frank's eyes grew with fear as the guards drug him off. He struggled to get away from the guards, but it was of no use.
Coming back from his break, Dr. Casada walked into the lab and saw that one of the observation labs was occupied. He didn't have anyone scheduled now. As he walked up to the window he saw Dr. Giberson standing over a strapped down figure. When he got closer he saw it was Frank. The Doctor was just taking a syringe out of Frank's furry arm. Then he left the room. A guard walked in and removed the straps and left. Frank just sat there.
Dr. Giberson walked around to the observation window where Casada was watching Frank. "What did you do to him?" asked Casada.
"I decided to try out the new formula," Giberson answered.
Casada turned angrily to face Giberson. His mouth in a frightening tusky snarl. "You used Version Five on him? We haven't fully tested it yet," Casada growled.
"Don't take that tone of voice with me, Dr. Boar," Giberson said confidently. "Why don't you watch Frank for your testing?" Giberson turned toward the observation window.
Casada looked at Frank. Frank seemed to be more camel like. Casada just stood and watched Frank's body change from a humanoid camel to a regular camel. Frank looked around in horror. Then his eyes became vacant. The camel looked around for something to eat.
"Frank is not going to spoil my fun anymore," Giberson said walking away.
Casada knew Frank's mind was still in the camel. The camel mind is in control of the body. Frank is simply along for the ride. Casada didn't know if Giberson knew that or not. Casada designed Version Five that way. The person would be an animal in body and mind, but the process could be reversed.
Tim and Darrel waited in the cave for three days. Frank never came back with supplies. Darrel had seemed to calm down. He would sit and think for long periods. He was still nervous about getting caught and changed into a shark.
Tim was getting restless. He didn't like being cooped up for the past few days. He had to get out. He had to get supplies. "Darrel, I'm going into town," Tim finally said.
"What? You can't go in town," Darrel said coming out of his deep thinking.
"We need supplies. We have no food!"
"We can hunt for something."
"There isn't anything around this area," Tim said pointing out the cave opening. "I've already checked. I need to go." Tim waited for Darrel to respond, but he didn't. "I'll ask Milly to get some food. I can't just go to the supermarket."
"Be careful," Darrel said as Tim left the cave.
"I will," Tim called back. He started his journey to town. He had a good sense of direction. Hopefully he could find his way back to the cave. He thought he could if he got back before dark.
He managed to sneak into Milly's backyard without being seen. He didn't know if he was on the most wanted list or not. He didn't want to take the chance with the neighbors. But, he could trust Milly.
He knocked on the back door and waited. Milly finally came to the door. "Tim, where were you?" she asked hugging him. She pulled him inside by his arm. "Are you ok? What happened?"
"It's a long story," Tim said. "I'll explain it later. I need you to do me a favor."
"I need some food."
"Food?" She looked concerned.
"I can't go to my house or the grocery store. Can you go get some?"
Milly walked into the kitchen. Tim followed. She opened the cupboard where she kept soup and caned fruit. "You can take some of mine," she said. "I'll stock up later."
"Thanks, Milly." Tim kissed her on her furry cheek. She helped him load some of the caned food into a sack. She also lent him a pot to cook it in. Tim thanked her again and sneaked back to the cave.
Darrel was overjoyed to see Tim return. He couldn't wait to start eating. Tim handed Darrel the sack to rummage through. "So, where's the can opener?" he asked seeing all the canned food.
"Oh, man. I forgot it," Tim said. "You don't happen to have a knife on you, do you?"
"No," Darrel replied.
"I have a can opener," came a voice from outside the cave. Milly poked her head in.
"Milly, what are you doing here?" asked Tim
"You forgot the can opener," she said holding it up to glimmer in the light.
Tim quickly blocked her from coming in. "You shouldn't have followed me, Milly. You can get into danger."
Milly pushed her way into the cave. "Danger? What danger could you get in....?" she trailed off when she spotted Darrel. "A... A..." She fainted.
"I must have that impression on women of all species," Darrel joked.
"Help me get her out into the fresh air," Tim said lifting her from under her arms. Darrel grabbed her legs, and they both carried her out of the cave. They laid her down on a soft grassy spot and tried to revive her. They were too busy to notice a figure watching them from behind a distant tree and then leave toward town.
Dr. Giberson sat behind his desk. Cindy was to bring him the results of the search for Tim and his human friend. She wasn't late yet. Knowing Cindy, she won't be late. He leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up. Just when he got comfortable, there was a knock at the door. "Come in," he called.
"Dr. Giberson," Cindy said poking her equine head around the door. "I have the current situation of the search."
"Let's hear it."
"There is no sign of Tim or the human," Cindy said. "We have searched the whole town. The police are on the lookout for Tim. We are searching the rest of the island as we speak."
Giberson was disappointed. "Keep up the good work. I know you can find him."
"Thank you, Doctor," Cindy replied. She turned and left the office.
The phone rang when Cindy closed the door behind her. "Hello?" answered Giberson.
"Doctor, there is an aircraft landing on the airstrip," the voice on the other end said.
"An aircraft? We don't have anything scheduled!" Giberson screamed.
"I know that, sir. It looks to be a military airplane."
Giberson sighed. "Get the gas bomb ready."
Richard Graves didn't know what to expect on this assignment. All he knew was that he had to apprehend a Dr. Robert Giberson. So, that's all he could tell his men. He wasn't positive, but he thought that this doctor is connected to the Animalizer thing. The FDA was outraged that something like that got pasted them.
The plane laded on an airstrip on the island. Graves ordered his men to move out. He followed. They were in the middle of a forest. No sign of any kind of base. "Where is this doctor?" he asked himself. "Ok, men!" he shouted. "Let's find this Giberson guy. Move out!"
The squad split up to search the woods on both sides of the airstrip. Suddenly there was an explosion from the middle of the clearing. Graves turned and saw a gas emitting from the source of the explosion. He hurriedly put his gas mask to his face. It didn't fit properly. He couldn't explain it. It fit perfectly before. He looked around at his men for any injuries. They all seemed to be in pain. Some were trying to keep their gas mask to their oddly shaped heads. Graves was in suddenly hit by a tremendous pain as another pair of arms pushed their way out from his sides halfway between his arms and legs. His body twisted and contorted as his bones disappeared and his skin became armored.
Then the pain stopped. He looked around at his men. They all seemed to be fine. "Ok, men. Let's go back to the base. Our mission was a success." They all followed Graves single file to the facility.
Giberson watched the monitor happily. The Version Four Gas Bomb prototype worked. Now he had an army on his side. An army of army ants.
Ned couldn't believe it, but he managed to get the neighborhood gathered at his house for the meeting. Being the new porcupine in town, he didn't know if anyone would show up. This was important. Something had to be done.
He walked up to the front of the room and quieted everyone down. "Everybody, thanks for coming. I am Ned Boiger. I'm new to this town. I'm sorry to say that I have to bring you this news. I have seen a Homo Sapien."
The crowd burst into a constant chatter. "People! A real live Homo Sapien is on our island," Ned shouted above the din.
"We have to get it for the zoo," shouted one person.
"No, we need to study it," shouted another.
"Let's go get it," shouted others.
Ned didn't have a chance to say anything. The mob charged out of his house with him in the front being forced to lead the way to the Homo Sapien.
It took a while, but Tim and Darrel finally calmed Milly down after she woke up. She was hysterical at first. She couldn't believe that a real live Homo Sapien was here. Tim had told her the whole story about how Darrel got here. He conveniently left out all the parts about the islanders being transformed humans. Luckily Darrel did also. No telling what Milly would have done if she found out that she wasn't really a kangaroo.
Night came, and the three had a lovely dinner. Tim had cooked vegetable soup over a fire they built. They sat around talking. Milly wanted to know all about the Homo Sapien. After a short while Tim thought he heard a noise.
"Did you hear something?" he asked.
"No," the others responded.
"It sounded like something moving," Tim said standing up looking in the direction the noise came from. Milly and Darrel looked, too.
"I don't see anything," Milly said.
Suddenly from behind them several figures rushed out from the shadows. Tim saw Milly fall from a blow to the head. He rushed to her pushing the attackers out of his way. Milly was out cold. Tim grabbed a large stick that was to be used for the fire and swung it at the attackers. He saw that Darrel was standing his ground.
Several of the foes surrounded Tim. He sent a few running away with head wounds. Unfortunately, he didn't get all of them. One of the attackers managed to knock Tim out with a blow to the head.
Tim woke up to Milly's voice. She was leaning over him. "Tim, you are going to be fine," she was saying not seeing Tim was awake.
"Milly?" Tim asked raspy.
"Tim! You were knocked out. I was too. But, don't worry. Neither of us show any sings of internal bleeding."
"What about Darrel?" Tim asked slightly raising his head.
Milly hesitated and then cried, "They took him."
Ned was among the mob. After they found the Homo Sapien and captured it, he became insignificant. The mob was set on putting it into the zoo or a lab. They had the thing's arms and legs strapped together and tied to a pole that was carried between two people. It was unconscious at the moment. Ned liked it better that way. Even though it was bound, he didn't want to know what it would do if it was awake. He thought he heard it speak during the fight. The thought of something that can speak tied up like that made him feel sorry for getting the mob together to begin with. He should have kept finding the Homo Sapien a secret. Tim and his neighbor, whatever her name was, must have had some reason to associate with it.
The mob took the captive creature through town. The police would keep it over night until they decided what to do with it. Ned hoped the mob kept its curiosity about the creature so they wouldn't kill it on the spot.
Suddenly a shot rang out. Ned saw one of the men carrying the pole the creature was strapped to fall. People screamed and scattered. The other man eased the creature to the ground and ran to the other's side. Ned looked around and didn't see anybody. The street lights didn't light up the alleys too well. Another shot hit one of the people near Ned. Ned saw that he was hit with a tranquilizer. More shots found their targets while a stream of darkly dressed figures poured out of the allies. The dark figures outnumbered them. Ned and the few mob members remaining conscious were forced to flee.
Two of the figures grabbed the Homo Sapien. Ned saw that they looked like ants. The two ran off into the alley they came out with the creature. Ned got his courage up and ran after the two. He reached the alley. Ned brought out his flashlight he carried to show the way to the cave and shined it down the alley. The two figures or the creature were nowhere to be seen.
Tim and Milly ran through town in the direction they thought the mob went. Tim thought it was Giberson's men that attacked them, but Milly insisted it was townsfolk. She said she recognized Mr. Sutphin, one of the men on their street, before she was knocked out. Tim went with this notion, but he knew that Giberson was involved somehow.
They heard gun shots in the distance. "Oh, no," Tim said. He hoped Darrel wasn't the target of those shots. They ran toward the source of the shots. When they reached the area, they saw several people lying on the street and yards nearby. Darrel wasn't one of the people.
Milly ran to the side of one of the victims. "They were hit with tranquilizers," she said looking back at Tim. "They will be fine in a few hours."
"What happened here?" Tim asked no one in particular.
"We were attacked," came a voice from an alley. Tim spun around and faced the person. When the person stepped into the light Tim saw it was a porcupine. It was Ned. "We were attacked and the Homo Sapien was taken."
"Who did it?" Milly asked.
"I don't know. They were a bunch of ants," Ned replied. He looked nervous. "Tim, I'm sorry. I didn't know all this was going to happen."
"Sorry for what?" Tim asked.
"I was the one who told them where you were hiding it. I didn't know it was going to turn into a mob."
"He is a 'he'. Not an 'it'. His name is Darrel," Milly said angrily. "He is human as much as you and me."
"Sorry," Ned replied. "If there is anything I can do...."
"Go report this to the police. But leave out the part about the Homo Sapien. Milly and I will make sure these people are safe until they revive" Tim said.
"I'll do it," Ned said. "I'm so sorry." He ran off toward the police station.
Milly and Tim carried the tranquilized people to a yard nearby and arranged them in rows. None of them seemed injured. "Milly, I need to go find Darrel," Tim said after they got everybody off the street and into the yard.
"Go find him? How?" she asked.
"I think I know who captured him..."
"I can't say," Tim responded. "Just promise me you won't follow me this time. Someone needs to stay to take care of these people."
Milly stared deafeningly at him for awhile. She then gave in, "I promise."
"I have your word," he said running off.
"Be careful," she yelled.
"I will," Tim yelled back. He wished he learned how to drive. He had a long trip ahead of him.
Darrel woke up in the same lab room he and Tim were in a few days ago. He was back at the facility. If he doesn't escape he is going to become a shark guard for that crazy doctor. He looked around the room. All that was in there was a bed fastened to the floor with sheets and a pillow. A mirror almost filled one wall. He assumed it was a two way mirror. The door was locked from the outside. "There's got to be a way out of here," he said to himself.
The door opened. A human guard stepped in. The doctor followed. A boar man came in last. He was carrying a syringe. He closed the door behind him.
"Good morning, human," the doctor said. "I am Dr. Giberson. I still don't know your name."
Darrel sat on the bed without saying a word.
"It doesn't matter. You are going to be a new person." Giberson turned to face the boar man. "Dr. Casada, will you do the honor?"
The boar motioned to the guard. The guard grabbed Darrel and held him still. Darrel tried to get away, but the guard was too powerful. The boar prepared the syringe and injected it into Darrel's arm. Darrel didn't know for sure, but the boar had a sad look on his face.
"Too, bad your friend Tim couldn't see this," Giberson said as the guard released Darrel.
Darrel still didn't say anything.
"It doesn't matter how defiant you are now, human. When the transformation is complete, you will be my loyal guard." Giberson, the boar, and the guard all stood around Darrel watching him.
"Dr. Giberson," the boar said, "the transformation is starting. We should leave."
"Very well," Giberson said walking toward the door. Casada and the guard followed. "I'll see you later, shark."
Darrel was scared. He didn't want to see what was happening to him. There had to be a way to escape. But when a chunk of hair fell onto the bed, he knew it was over. He glanced up at the mirror. He saw himself sitting on the bed. He didn't look different, except the fact that his hair was falling out. He thought he saw a grayish tint to his skin. Extreme pain shot through his body, and he passed out.
Tim arrived at the forest where he found Darrel. He was careful to hide from the cameras this time. The air vent they crawled through with Frank was around here somewhere. Tim searched for hours keeping to the undergrowth. He hoped his green skin helped him blend in.
Then he found it. The vent was well hidden by shrubs and small trees. Unfortunately, Tim discovered it was locked tightly. He didn't have any tools with him either. Discouraged, he set off to find another air vent.
After a short time, he arrived at the airstrip. An airplane was still parked there. A group of humans and morphs were doing something. It looked like they were going to fly the plane. Tim stayed hidden and watched. After about ten minutes, the plane started and took off down the runway. The rest of the people that were working headed off into the forest. Tim decided to follow.
They arrived at a small clearing. One of the people took out what looked like a remote control and pressed a button. A portion of the ground started to rise. Eventually a door was exposed. The group of people walked in. Tim ran up to the door. He slipped in before the door closed and stayed back from the group in front of him.
The passageway sloped down a ways. Then it leveled out and opened up into a huge cavern with buildings. Tim saw the group go into one of the buildings marked "Offices". He followed them.
When he got in the building, the people he followed were no where to be found. He sneaked down the hall. He was looking for some clue as to where Darrel was. Frank would have been a big help.
Tim continued down the hall. He passed many doors. None of which said anything about Frank or a lab. Then he came upon a door with Giberson's name on it. "So this is his office," Tim thought to himself. He poked his head in, not knowing what to do if Giberson was in there.
And he was. "Tim!" Giberson said looking up from his desk. "How did you get in here?" He pressed a button on his desk. "Security, there is an intruder in my office."
"We know, sir," came a voice over the intercom. "We were just about to inform you when he opened your door."
"Well, get over here!" Giberson pressed another button. The door locked behind Tim. "I know what brings you here, Tim. It's too late. Your human friend is now one of my guards. He seems happy as a shark."
"NO!!" Tim yelled.
"You are just like what you use to be. Phil didn't want to transform anyone unless they were willing. I found it to be a great disciplinary function. You were never willing to take chances."
"I'm not Phil anymore. I'm Tim. And it is because of you!" Tim yelled.
"Why, thank you," Giberson acted flattered. "No one has given me credit, yet. But, that will change. You see, I have already shipped a load of the Animalizer to the USA. They seem to be liking it."
"Tim, I wouldn't get me too angry at you. You might end up like your friend Frank."
"Frank? What did you do to Frank?" Tim was getting furious. This man was crazy.
"Look," Giberson said punching another button on his desk. A monitor popped on with an image of a camel eating.
"That's Frank? You turned him into a camel?!"
"He is all camel. Mind and body," Giberson said with a twisted smile. "Just like you will be a lizard. Don't you think it is fitting. You becoming what you named the project after?"
Tim leaped at Giberson knocking him to the floor, his claws digging into flesh. Giberson screamed with pain. Giberson took his foot and pushed Tim off of him. Tim fell backwards. Giberson picked up his chair like a shield. Tim leapt to his feet.
Someone pounded on the office door. Tim figured it was the security. He had to take care of Giberson now. He moved toward Giberson causing him to back up. Giberson backed into his desk. He groped around and pressed a button. The door swung open revealing a large shark man in a security uniform. He was carrying a gun.
"Shoot him! Shoot him!" Giberson cried. "He is out of control."
The guard aimed the gun at Tim. Tim froze in his tracks.
"Isn't it ironic?" Giberson panted with a smile on his face. "You getting shot with the lizard transformation formula by the friend you were trying to protect?"
Horrible feelings ran through Tim. This shark guard with a gun pointed at him was Darrel.
"What are you waiting for? Shot him!" Giberson shouted.
The guard eased his finger on the trigger. Tim closed his eyes. He heard the gun go off. But he didn't feel anything. Then he heard a yell. It was from Giberson. Tim opened his eyes and saw the shark lower his gun. The tranquilizer dart that was filled with the formula was sticking out of Giberson's back.
"NO!" Giberson yelled. His voice was becoming raspier. Giberson's hair was falling out as green scales took their place. He was shrinking also. Tim watched as the doctor disappeared into a pile of clothes. A small green head poked out from under the clothes. The gecko darted past Tim and Darrel and took off down the hall. Tim and the shark stood speechless.
"It is still me, Tim," the shark said. "I'm still Darrel."
"How? I thought they were going to give you a new personality."
"Giberson wanted to. But, Dr. Casada, the boar, didn't. He gave me the formula that only changes the body and not the mind. Giberson thought that Casada gave me the other."
"I'm sorry I didn't make it in time to keep you from changing," Tim said. "I...."
"Don't worry. I kind of like it. I discovered I can breath in water and air."
"Frank!" Tim suddenly realized. "I wonder if Dr. Casada can restore him."
"I'll lead the way," Darrel said. They both left Giberson's office and ran toward the parking lot. Darrel had a security car parked out in front. They both hopped inside. Darrel drove to the lab.
"Of course I can restore him," Dr. Casada said. "But only to his camel form. I managed to keep a secret from Giberson. Frank's mind didn't get replaced by the camel's. Frank is hidden in the background."
"So, Giberson is the same way?" Tim asked.
"Yes, I'm afraid so. But, I don't think the gecko mind will let someone catch him to change him back." Casada prepared a syringe and walked into the camel's room. He injected the contents into the foreleg. After a few minutes, the camel shrank and became more human. Finally the camel-morph Frank was standing there.
"Boy, it's nice to be me again," Frank said. "Well, as much me as I can be. I was about tired of chewing and spitting." He then saw Darrel. "Who's this?"
"I'm Darrel. The human you helped escape with Tim," Darrel replied.
"Sorry to see you were still changed," Frank said.
"Don't be," Darrel cut in.
"Can't you change him back?" Frank asked Casada.
"I can't change any of us back into humans," Casada replied. "I haven't developed a way yet. But some day...."
"What's going to happen to the project now?" Tim asked.
"Well, since you are back, you can be in charge of it. I'm sure the workers will accept you as you are," Casada said.
"No, I can't do that. I don't remember anything about the project," Tim said. "Besides, I like living in Yontsville. Why don't you be in charge?"
"Me? I'll be honored," Casada said.
"I'll stay here and work," Darrel said. "This security work is exciting."
"I'll show you the ropes," Frank told Darrel.
After the four visited for awhile, Frank drove Tim home. Milly was waiting there for him.
"What happened?" she asked as Frank drove off. "Where's Darrel?"
"I couldn't save him," Tim replied sadly. "The ants had killed him before I got to their ship. They took his body across the ocean."
"I'm sorry." Tears welled up in her eyes. She gave Tim a big hug.
"I'll be fine," Tim said. "I know he is in a better place, now." He hugged her tighter.
Lizard copyright 1997 by Lance Holloway.
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