Creative Writing Challenge: Metamorphosis

The poking in my sides woke me early.  I’d been dreaming a huge bear was hugging me to death.  No matter which way I tossed or turned, my sides hurt.  But that was only the beginning.

Sitting up in bed, mentally awake after I push back the covers, I feel the sides of my body.  From my armpits to my waistline, my body is extending out, like two giant flaps.  Already three inches out from where I remember my sides being, and almost 3 inches thick, my skin is now stretched painfully over huge bulges that shouldn’t be there.  My t-shirt is stretched tight, making Jimmy Hendricks look fat.

I’m freaking out, just losing my mind as I look in the mirror in horror.  What is happening?  I feel them slowly, probing, my heart racing with crazy fears of the Alien popping out of me, or some horrible cancer about to explode from my body.  I take deep breaths, trying to calm my frantic heart.  I can hear the heart attack drumming its way closer and closer.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Calm down.  Go look again.  Maybe I’m still dreaming.

No, still there.  Oh my God, how am I gonna go to work today?  Or ever again.  Where’s my grey sweatshirt.  The one that was left behind by my x-husband, that is huge.  I’ll hide in that.  OH my GOD!  What the hell?  I wrap myself in my oversized robe, not bothering to tie the belt.

I find my phone, pull up the number for my friend Peter, a pediatrician actually, but I don’t care, because I trust him.  He’s been a friend since childhood, and see’s me for everything but female issues, no matter what.  Even when I had to have a female surgery, I came to him first for his opinion.

But this, this, is just crazy.  I’m still freaking out a bit, but when Margaret finally understands I’m in a true panic, she insists I come in at noon and see Peter during his lunch hour.  He won’t care, and would want me to, especially if I was this upset.  She’s a sweetheart, and I feel a bit better just after talking with her.  She has a very calming voice and is like a doting aunt.

I began searching for my sweatshirt, finding it dirty, crusty actually, at the bottom of the basket, and decide to wash it.  Then finally head to the kitchen for a cup of desperately needed coffee.

I arrive early and sit on the couch, since I don’t think I would fit in one of the chairs with arms.  I bite my nails chewing furiously on each chunk until it’s pulp and can be spit out.  Finally she calls me in, and I carefully make my way past her, so as to not brush up against her with my huge sides.  She pats me on the shoulder as I go by, and says, he’ll be right in.

I take off my windbreaker jacket, leaving my sweatshirt on, and sit on the table.  He comes in and says,

“Ok, sweety, what’s the crisis?”

I don’t bother to say a word, I just cross my arms and reach down to grasp the bottom of my sweatshirt, and pull it up slowly.  I drop it next to me on the table and wait.

He stares in awe then leans in to touch my sides.

“Oh my God, Tree!”  Short for Teresa, my childhood nickname makes me melt, and I begin to collapse, losing all my strength, and begin to sob.

“I don’t know, I just woke up this way Peter! What the hell could it be?”

“Oh my God!” he says again.  Then lifts my arms together, and palpitates all the way up and down, trying to feel what’s inside.  “We need an X-ray!”  He taps his wireless intercom button, clipped onto his pocket, and says, “Margaret, get X-ray in here right now…..yes, thank you.”

We go over everything he can think of, but he can’t wrap his head around what could be happening, and decides to give me a sedative, to calm my high blood pressure.  Margaret brings in a heated blanket, and he tells me to lay there until X-ray is ready.  He’ll be back after they’re done.

Three hours later, I wake up as Peter and another gentleman walk into the room.

“This is Dr. Michael Genesis, and he’s a bone specialist, from the university.  I called him after looking at the X-rays.”  Peter walked to the wall with the X-ray viewer, and slid the first X-ray up into the slot and turned on the light.

I nearly fainted.  All I could say was,

“What the hell?”

Dr. Genesis looked at me, like I was a freak of nature, and asked,

“Are you taking any drugs?  Steroids of any kind?  Weird supplements?”

“NO!  I just woke up like this.  I was fine and fucking dandy when I went to bed last night.”

“This happened over night?”

“Yes, and I think they’ve grown since this morning,” I add sadly.  “They feel bigger even now!”

The X-ray blew my mind.  I looked again, not believing my own eyes, but my brain was screaming, wings.  I’m growing fucking wings.  The X-ray clearly showed the start of winged bones, a crosshatching of bones attached to my spine, and growing out.  I looked at Peter and asked,

“So, what do you think is happening here?”

“Well, sweetheart, I think you’re getting your life long wish, to be a bird.”

“You are SO NOT FUNNY!!  BE SERIOUS!”

But he just stands there, mouth open, eyes wide, like he is totally serious.  But he can’t be serious, or I’m screwed!

I so wanted to be an Angel.  Really a personal goal of mine.  Not a bird, although flying was the ultimate benefit of being an Angel for me anyway.  But to be a bird, then I wouldn’t be human anymore.  That scared the shit out of me.  These wings were not placed in the proper spot for me to be becoming an Angel.  I thought I was worthy.  But I guess I’ve fallen short, somehow.  But I must have done something right, to be blessed with flight!  God knows how I long for it.  But, as they say, God only knows. 

Dr. Genesis suggested,

“Lets put her in a private room at the university, until…until she’s done, you know.  Make sure her organs can handle it.  We could document it.  It’s a first.”

“Oh great.  Now you want me to be a guinea pig.  You want to be famous, eh?”  I did not like this man already, but being in a hospital until this was over was probably a good idea.  I waited for Peter to comment.  He said,

“Yes, lets put you in the hospital Tree, where I can check on you, make sure things go smoothly, painlessly.”

“Ok, but only you.  I’m not liking his attitude much.”

Peter grinned widely, leaned in for a half-hug, and said,

“Stay here, I’ll drive you over in an hour or so.  I’ll send in some food for you.”

“Ok, I gotta go get my laptop out of the car first, then I’ll be fine.”

I couldn’t wait to tell my kids, I had to email each one immediately.  Only Violet lived nearby.  So after I sent the news out, I called her.

“Oh my God, Mom, are you kidding me?  What if you turn all the way into a bird?  What are we gonna do for a Mom, and a GrandMother?”

“Well, sweety, I don’t know.  I don’t think I’ll lose my faculties, others don’t.  So we’ll just have to play it by ear.   Will you please come see me tonight, I’ll be at the university hospital in a private room.  I want you to …” I paused as I said this, the reality of it sinking in, “to take a picture of me as I am now, before… you know.  Just for posterity.”

“OH God, Mom.  This is so not cool.”  I could hear the devastation and sadness in her voice, and realized for myself, for the first time, that I may be gone in a very short time.  Me, gone.  No longer human.  No longer able to hug my children, or my grandchildren.  No longer able to speak.  Yet the idea of flying, something I have always craved, was too great for me to be sad for long.

Two weeks flew by, and even after the feathers started coming in, I discovered something new.  When I woke up saturday morning, my hips were huge.  My thighs were larger, and my feet were shrinking.  Peter was a bit thrown with these new developments and insisted on a battery of tests, to see if my DNA had changed officially yet, and see what I was becoming now.  The wings had come in fully, reaching almost 5 feet from either side of me, and were becoming a beautiful white with shimmering hues, much like a trout looked in the sunlight.  They were spectacular, and the 5 o’clock news had already been out to take pictures.

I was very proud of them, even tried them out one night when no one was around.  I snuck up to the roof, via the hallway stairs, and flapped around to see if I could fly.  I only managed to get a few feet off the ground, before I freaked out and landed, hard.  Almost breaking my ankles because I was so unbalanced; not used to jumping in the air in any way.  I was never a basketball player or high jumper.  So I gave up, and went to bed.  Happy I had managed to take off, yet not truly flying.  Not yet, anyway.  I couldn’t wait.  What a glorious thing to be happening.  I have lived a good life, my children are grown and on their own now, and I really feel like this will be amazing.  If it would just stop hurting, it would be wonderful.

Three of my children were happy for me, but Jeffrey was not.  He was adamant this was not happening and refused to believe it was even possible, no matter what the doctors told him.  I had Emily send a picture to him, from her phone, and he called up screaming at me, that this is the worst joke he’d ever seen.  He would be coming in on the next flight, around 3 this afternoon and was truly in for a shock.  He was a neuro surgeon who believed there must be something else going on.  This could not be happening to his Mother.  She was human.   Not a freak.

When he walked into her extra-large room, with two beds pushed together so she could rest comfortably, he did faint.  Right onto the floor.  He came to a few minutes later, after we got him up onto the bed, and waved some smelling salts under his nose.  He sat up, looking straight at me, wings spread wide, and started to cry.  My baby.  Who was realizing he was losing his Mother.  Even at age 30, it was too much for him.  We had always been so close, but had drifted apart when he moved to Hawaii ten years ago.  I pointed the wings back behind me, and leaned in to hug him, holding him possibly for the last time.  Mother and son; a bond too strong to break.

A week later, my hips and legs had become the back-end of a horse.  I thought I may become a Pegasus now.  And new I would lose my human self soon.  I adored horses and a Pegasus was the epitome of greatness.  The doctors testing for DNA had come up “unknown”, which kind of worried me, but then, when did we have a Pegasus’ DNA in the first place, to test it against?

I had no more thoughts about working, or my home.  I had my daughters go through all my belongings and keep what they wanted, donating the rest to a charity.  And I spent as much time with my grandchildren and children as I possibly could; hugging them with all my might, with arms that were now mutating into legs; my hands almost gone.  I wondered how long it would be before my head began to change.  My hair was growing very long and thick, and a light coating of fur had appeared covering my skin in just a days time.

I began having the headaches soon after.  My skull felt like it was splitting open, and I turned to an opium drip for about a week, before I dared to look in the mirror.  Feeling my head growing long now; my eyes had slowly changed to where I could see everything in the dark without lights on anymore.  I could almost look down at my nose, extending far below my eyes.  I could still speak and think so today was the day I was seeing all my children once more.  We had a party and called it a wake, due to the awakening in me, and celebrated with loud music from my favorite bands, and lots of food I may never again want.  Two giant pizza’s with 5 types of cheeses was just the first course.  Then the Alaskan King Crab legs came in, dripping in butter and I gorged myself.  For desert, I even managed a large bowl of ice-cream and black cherries on top, with the help of Emily feeding me.

At some point during the coffee I was trying to sip, but slurped instead, my head nearly exploded.  Peter came running over, ready to give me a shot of morphine, but I stood instead, and while holding my head with one hand, soon to be a hoof, leaning back on my hind legs and supported by my wings I said loudly,

“No Peter, everyone, please, listen … my head is exploding and I don’t have long.”  Everyone in the room began to quiet, someone turned off the music, and I said:

“I don’t have long.  But I must say, I love you all.  You have been the light of my life.  My joy.  My heart.  I will be staying with Jeffrey, as he has a beautiful pasture and barn, and once I learn to fly long distance, I will come see you all.  I don’t know if I will be able to speak or not, but just know that every time I show up, I love you.  I need you.  I want you to all tell me everything about you, each time.  Even if I don’t respond, or look like I’m listening, tell me everything.  I will need to know you are all ok, and happy.  So promise me, you all will.”

A huge chorus of “we promise” filled the room.

“And….know that I will watch over you all, if I can, and protect you when I can.”

My family looked at me, now a beautiful white shimmering Pegasus.  I bent over in excruciating pain, as everyone began to murmur, worrying aloud.  I knelt down to the floor with the last racking pain exploding in my brain.  I would’ve cried had I been able to.  But at this moment, things changed.  I changed.  When I raised back up, I was no longer a human, or even just a Pegasus.

I was now a white Unicorn Pegasus; so far, the only one of its kind.

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