Beyond the Scope of Reason

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Author: Justin S. (Whiteflame)

“Where are we Michael?”

“I’m not sure, goddamn it. The doors are sealed shut.”

“How’d you two get us into this mess?”

“I said I don’t know damn it. I can’t remember a friggen thing. All I know is that we were out camping and some strange guy pulled up in a white van. You two were sleeping. I was attacked; I don’t remember.”

“Well, we’re stuck here, I can’t even see you guys, are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Nice of you to care Samantha.”

“Oh, shut up Michael. How ‘bout you David?”

“I guess I am okay, considering,” I said. “I’ve got a nasty bruise on my forehead, but the pain seems to be subsiding.” I looked around the room. It was white-washed and completely bare, no furniture or any sort of commodity whatsoever. We were all separated from each other. From what I could tell, Michael was in a room right next to me, and Samantha’s voice seemed to be projecting from across the hall. I looked at the ceiling. The room was a perfect void aside from a small air duct in the corner directly above the door. “I think I may have found a way out of here, but I can’t quite reach it. Mike, you’re taller. See if you can’t.”

“Damn, if I...there’s nothing in here for me to stand on. I can’t reach it either!” I began to rub the bridge of my nose with frustration, sweat dripping down my brow. We were going the have to wait until whatever sick bastard shows up and explains precisely why we were kidnaped.

“I can’t believe this!” There was a loud bang on the wall. Apparently, Michael was undergoing a similar vexation.

“Shh, someone’s coming.” Samantha was right. A small echo reverberated the walls. It was only faint, but I could discern several footsteps out of synch. There must be several people coming. Even if they are sadistic, it is definitely a relief from the oppressive isolation we are currently in, I thought.

The sound of shuffling feet crescendoed until it reached my door. I could hear mumbling, but I was unable to decipher any of the words of their speech. It seemed as though there were three individuals. I heard a door lock being unlatched and a slight metallic clink as the door was unlocked from across the hall. I must have underestimated how many people there were, for now I perceived several more voices, much deeper than the others. This conversation was louder than before, and I was able to detect a few words of their speech.

“When I open this door, you will go in first. Get the woman. Then, we’ll come back for the other.”

“What about this one?” responded one of the deeper voices.

“Never mind him for now.”

“What do you think they’ll fetch?” asked another.

“Forget it; we go in on one, two, three!” I heard what sounded like a metal door being thrown against the wall. This was followed by a high pitched scream and a struggle.

“Samantha! Get your goddamn hands off her!” Michael’s yell seemed to have little or no effect. The men had easily overpowered my friend. I could hear a scraping sound as her limp body was dragged across the floor.

After they had completed their task, they unlocked the door adjacent to my room. Someone swore under his breath. The same basic situation happened again, but this time, I could clearly hear several men engaging Michael in a brawl until a dull thud caught my attention. The room was enveloped in silence.

I strained my ears further, but could only hear the footsteps, this time slower, apparently burdened by my friends’ bodies. Was I to suffer a similar fate? I was alone. My mind was wracked in dread. Are they dead? What is happening? When are they coming back for me? I laid my body on the chilled concrete floor and stared at the ceiling for many minutes, or was it hours? I couldn’t tell. Everything seemed beyond its equilibrium. The light from the only window in the room danced eerily on the floor like heathen wisps in a hellish dance. I felt my mind slowly dimming into a dreamless, yet wretched sleep.

I awoke to a foul odor, which seemed to originate from the air ducts above the door. The viscous gas was slowly descending the room. I gasped and held my breath, though I knew it was futile. This was it, I thought, I am going to die. I couldn’t understand it. Why did they waste the time bringing me here just to asphyxiate me on some strange poison? They could have easily murdered me in my sleep. Perhaps they wanted my friends for some special purpose, and I was just an auxiliary body to be flung into a ditch somewhere later. All I managed to do was fill myself with ominous visions of how my friends were being bled and mutilated in some sick, perverted ritual. I couldn’t keep my breath any longer, and reflex took over me. I inhaled the vile gas, and was immediately thrown into convulsions.

My lungs seared with pain. I dropped to the ground, each breath a throbbing torment. My fingers and toes went numb. My skin felt as though it was being scorched off of my body, and my eyes were hazed by the noxious gas. I screamed out in agony.

The pains began to dull. The gas was being filtered from the room, and I lay curled up in shock and terror. The worst of the pain was alleviated by a breath of clear, unsullied air, but a metallic tint, though hardly noticeable, was still present. I tasted it on my tongue, and my other senses confirmed it. The room seemed surreal, which may have been a result of the gas or, perhaps, my reaction to it. They must have used some sort of nerve agent, but why am I still alive? I twitched my arms, gradually regaining control over my motor neural skills, but my fingers and toes did not seem to respond to my commands, a residual effect?

I managed to cock my head, straining to get a decent image of my hands from my contorted position. What I saw frightened me. My hands were slightly elongated; the center digit of my fingers was swollen, and none of them would flex properly. Aside from that, the nail was darker, a pale grey color. It had distributed itself most of the way around my finger, seeming to absorb the skin near the tip and attach itself to the bone. More worrisome, however, was that it seemed to be darkening in color from one moment to the next. I must be hallucinating. I quickly discarded this notion as a dreadful pain ran down the length of my spine.

I cried out. My back arched, and I lost control over my muscles. My back was heaving in and out and seemed to be forcing something out of the base of my spine. I managed to twist my body just enough to place my hand along my posterior side.

I felt around with the palm of my hand. I detected some protrusion from my spine several inches long, and it seemed to elongate itself further with each snap and pop along my back. I felt it involuntarily twitch, some sort of tail. A tail! I’m growing a tail! This can’t be real. It can’t. I’m dreaming, just dreaming. Soon you will wake up...“Oh, god it hurts!” I shouted.

Wait a minute, I’m naked. Why didn’t I notice that? It seemed not to bother me. This isn’t right. What the hell is happening to me?

My whole body seized up. My appendages burned and froze. I couldn’t tell which. Chills ran along my arms and legs, but it kept shifting back and forth between hot and cold. My extremities seemed to be tingling, almost as if someone was gradually inserting pins through my flesh and adjusting them under my skin into just the right position. I felt a million pricks along the protrusion of my pine, and something furry brushed against my leg. I twitched it again. Long, thick strands of hair hit me in the face. They were too coarse to be human, perhaps some animal? A horse? No, no, this isn’t happening. This is reality. It isn’t possible. My mind was flooded with confusion. All I could seem to focus on was each pain and unusual sensation, which spread itself over my body. The next wave of pains came as my organs and bones appeared to shift themselves on their own will, or rather, someone else’s.

It was as if someone had tied ropes to my arms and was tugging them forward. I pulled my body away from them, but this only acted to force my arms further out in front of me. My shoulders glided against bone, producing a grating sound. They positioned themselves along the front of my chest. Likewise, my ribs began to distend themselves backwards towards my rear. Each breath forced my rib cage further down my spine and knocked my arms further under my chest. My collar bone appeared to liquify, and my arms were freed to move in sickly angles. I rolled onto my back, trying to gain some control over my body. I grunted as new muscles generated themselves between my arms, locking them into place as new skin developed and fused them to my body.

The next pain was in my pelvis. I screamed while I twisted myself back and forth along the concrete. My pelvis seemed to be rotating itself and snapping forward. My whole lower body shook and undulate as my pelvis wiggled itself into a new posture. My legs were jammed up against my belly. I tried to resist the movement, but there seemed to be no muscles to direct my legs back into their original position. They forced themselves beyond my range of motion and into my rapidly developing flanks. The skin between my belly and my thighs merged, and the position became permanent. I tried to bend my legs away from me, trying to mimic a position of bipedal creatures, but they only went so far before I started to arch my back instead. Oh god, I’m losing control! I felt dismay and hopelessness. I had no influence over my body’s changes, and struggling only appeared to make it worsen. I rolled into a heap on my side in a state of depressive loss of will. I can’t stop it. There’s nothing I can do. I let the changes overtake me, but this did little to ease my agony.

My body began to gain muscle mass. Every portion of my being tensed up, but in reality, the muscles were growing. The changes increased in pace. I felt my internal organs rearranging, and my buttocks gaining more girth, which, in turn, pushed my legs to the side of my body, separating them further with each swell. By now, my fingers and toes had retracted, and fully formed hooves clattered on the concrete. I tried to stand as my changes mad lying on the cold floor uncomfortable. My feet and hands elongated with a sickening pop, and I winced as each individual bone repositioned itself for quadrupedal walking. My arms and legs became bony, and every portion of them became defined and toned. My chest, buttocks, and stomach swelled again.

The changes continued in my organs. It felt as though someone had placed their hand into my belly and was squeezing them, one after another. My anus moved up below my tail, and I could feel my intestines casting my other organs aside, wrenching themselves further into me with an appalling gushing sound. Then, the changes moved to my groin.

The pain was unbearable. My genitals expanded and pulled up against my body. The skin around my genitals was peeled off, and though I was unable to see what was happening, it felt as though it had fused with my belly. Then, I shook violently with pain. My penis expanded and forced its way into my body, causing my organs to move some more and create a pocket from which it was housed. The air felt cool against my new sheath, almost sensual.

It was difficult to concentrate on anything at all. The sensations were to powerful; they overwhelmed my weaker human mind. I felt strong, energetic, and virile. It was something beyond the effects of human adrenaline. I could feel every muscle twitch, and every pore of my body was stimulated and highly sensitive. I could feel tiny stings as hair developed. I detected a pungent odor. Moving my head around, trying to locate the smell told me that it was from my own body; it was my identity. I bathed in it.

I tried to act disgusted at this notion as a retaliation of my former self, but there seemed to be no need to. I opened my eyes, which I had shut earlier and saw a large mass in front of my face, my nose? Why didn’t I feel the changes? No, this shouldn’t be happening. I shouldn’t be reacting this way. I’m a horse, no a hum...stop, stop. I’t...just a...And then, the most excruciating of phase of the transformation commenced. Had I just accepted it, then I would have been spared the pain, but my awareness of my changing self ushered in wave after wave of relentless, intolerable suffering.

My spine distended, and my buttocks felt as though it were moving away from me. The fierce onset of pain translated into something not so distant from having your skin boiled off until your bones were exposed. My body was inverting itself. My heart, lungs, and stomach were being spilled out over the floor, or so it felt. My head shook spasmodically as if it were being stretched until it simply broke off.

I cried out, something that sounded disjointed, like an animal in pain, “Ohiih nhyhynn nyynnh aiiiiyh!” I could no longer formulate words in my throat or in my mind. The pain distorted every cognition. A simple phrase, such as “help me,” became impossible to translate into speech. I didn’t even notice that a mane of coarse strands had grown in.

Whatever attempt at expressing words for my misery was abandoned when my face began to reshape. All anyone would have heard from near or afar would have been grunts, snorts, squeals of pain, and a deafening popping noise.

My eyes pushed apart as my nose and mouth extended themselves into a horse’s muzzle. My nostrils were yanked backwards. My teeth grew in length and width. I could feel my ears moving at the peak of my head. My entire face dropped into my spine, my neck being directed behind my head instead of below it. I screamed a piercing neigh and collapsed to my side with a large reverberation as my body contacted the hard floor. My vision dimmed. Each breath was a raspy struggle for air. I saw black patches, a hill, some grassy meadows, and then, the blackness’ thrall held me. There I lay, an unconscious stallion in a barren room.

When I awoke, I was standing on all fours in the same unforgiving room. I must have gotten up while I slept. My recollection of past events was foggy. I unwittingly began to pace around the room. I detected a clopping noise. Wait a minute, I shouldn’t be on all fours! My legs became wobbly, and I fell over onto my already bruised side. A feeling that was so natural a moment ago was suddenly elusive and out of place. Then, I realized that my ears were back, my tail flicking in agitation. I wasn’t even aware a second ago that I was behaving like a horse. If felt so right. Now everything was a struggle, and maintaining control over my legs and muscles became a challenge.

I tried to think about who I was. The memories came back slightly hazed. They were drifting off, becoming obscured from one moment to the next. Thoughts of childhood, my friends, and my job were fading even as I pictured them. Other images were working their way into my memory: my mother directing me gently with a caress from her nose, me drinking milk from her tits, the time I was socked by the hind legs of the mean dark stallion, rolling on the dry grass and dirt in the hot sun, running with my own founded herd from a strange whirring thing in the air, being locked in cold bars and squeezed against the edge by the other, restless horses. I could remember being dragged to the ground by a bunch of men with ropes, one of whom I bit and left a bloody gash on his leg. I could even remember how I was taken and forced into this room by several human males, who kept thrashing me.

I stood up and began pacing. My eyes were looking in all directions rapidly. This room makes me nervous. It is so closed. I could smell my own fear, which only made my terror deepen. Sweat was dripping through my hair. I started to shuffle on my feet, ready to kick out. My body prepared itself to run or attack at a moment’s notice. The foul smell of humans was intense through my nose. Must run, get away! I heard a noise, and my ears tilted forward. I saw a man. I could smell his fear; he looked at me worried. I started chomping my jaw towards him, ears back. Get away from me! I screamed with anger. I sprang towards him and attempted to hurt and smash his bones. I knocked him over and was about to trample him, when I felt a searing pain in my neck. My muscles weakened, and I fell to the floor. The last thing I could remember was the sound of animal noises, emitted from the two humans.

When I opened my eyes, it was night, or so it seemed to be, but on a second glance, I realized I was trapped. I didn’t like it in here, but wasn’t in a state of panic. There were only tiny lights coming from a small area behind me, but for all purposes, it was dark and mostly peaceful, aside from the sudden rushing noises, which appeared to come from outside. I hadn’t ever heard anything like it. From what my ears could detect, it started soft, grew louder, then suddenly died away. I soon lost interest and began to examine my surroundings.

I could smell a slight bit of manure. There had been others here. Where are they now? I wondered. I craned my neck around to reach a tingling feeling on my side. I rubbed my teeth against it and bit it lightly. It felt good. The feeling went away, and I went back to standing. I swished my tail lazily in boredom.

I suddenly felt an urge in my loins. I felt my penis drop from its sheath, and I began to urinate on the floor. The odor was pungent. It was me; I could smell it. It made me feel confident. No one will come near here. No humans will bother me. With this new confidence, I drifted back to sleep and dreamt about courting a young mare.

I awoke with a start, and evening light caught my eye. There was a loud bang. Some young human came up to me. His confidence was reassuring. When he got close, however, he slipped something over my head. I tasted metal in my mouth. I tried to fumble with the thing in my mouth, biting on it and chewing it, but it was stuck. I shook my head in frustration—get it off, get it off!—but the human forced my head down with a tug on the thing on my head. My mouth burnt; it was cutting into my gums. I stopped struggling and allowed myself to be directed by him. I still chewed the metal, entirely distracted by it. I rolled my tongue over the surface and below, moving it around in my mouth. No position seemed to be comfortable. This irritated me. I moved my lips around its edges, trying to pull it off. I even tried to rub the base of my head against the human, but this only made him tighten his grip. It’s attached to me. I lowered my ears in sadness.

I saw another shape in the distance. It smelled like another human, but this one was an old female. She seemed frail. I curled my nose, looking for other scents. My ears perked up. There are others here. I need to go see them!

I tugged away from the man, trying to get to them, but he pulled harder on the metal thing, and it burnt my mouth again. He was a mean human. I needed to see the others. Why won’t he let me?

I could see the old human now. She seemed delighted by something. She exuded a scent of cheerfulness. As we neared her, the mean human started making noises at her. This made me angry, and I bit him on the shoulder.

The noises were louder now and full of rage. They seemed to be directed at me. My ears went back, and I began pawing the ground. I was about to attack him, when I saw the ginger human close by. She held out a hand, and I sniffed it. It wasn’t as foul as other humans. In fact, it was genial and calm. I let her stroke my face and under my mouth. It was a gentle caress. Memories of my mother flushed through my thoughts. She used to stand over me as I lay in the grass with my sleepy eyes. She nurtured me. This is a nice human. She can be a part of my herd.

When she stopped rubbing my nose, I felt worried. Was something wrong? I rotated my ears forward in puzzlement. To my most joyous surprise, she removed the thing off of my head. I am so happy! I rejoiced by bucking up and down and running whimsically in a few circles. This apparently pleased her because she seemed to become more cheerful watching me.

Now, I can go see the others! I suddenly realized. With this new insight, I bolted toward the scent. It became more distinct as I drew closer, and I could pick out two separate smells, a male and a female. I found them with their heads in the grasses, a few paces from each other. Both of them raised their heads and looked at me as I approached. They seemed hesitant, but curious at this new visitor.

I whinnied. Don’t be shy; I’m a friend. The female gave a look of approval. She seemed happy to have more company, and I felt welcomed by this gesture. The male resumed his grazing and paid me no heed, while I went to examine around the place. I soon found myself eating as well. I hadn’t realized how famished I was. So much excitement! This is much better than that lonely place with the cruel humans. Everything tastes so sweet.

As it just so happens, I was also extremely thirsty. I went looking for some water and stumbled upon an object. I stiffed it. So this is where the water is. I cautiously tasted it with my tongue and then plunged in my mouth up to my nose. It was clear and crisp, unlike the water I had been given before.

I stood there for awhile, drinking, until I felt my thirst quenched, and then I resumed grazing where I had been before. I stumbled upon a patch of clover and sampled it. Everything here seemed so much alive. My spirit was recovering from my past terror. Memories of that time began to fade as I redirected my attention to my great life. I watched as the sun set over the mountains in the distance.

Today was a brand new morning. I wanted to get out of this place so badly. I chewed on the edge of the room in state of ennui, swishing my tail back and forth to keep the flies off. I stuck my head out. Still nothing was happening. I want out. I want to run. Somebody? I neighed, trying to draw in any attention I could get. I heard two neighs come back in acknowledgment. The others are still here! I could smell them. They were near. I didn’t feel quite so lonely now, but this room did little to lessen my nervous excitement. I snorted and shook my mane, trying to get the flies off my head. They were pesky, but aside from being irritating, they didn’t bother me much.

I chewed on the edge of the room some more. I could hear the others shuffling around nearby. I started playing with the yellow twigs on the ground. It was fun, a game. I picked up a bunch of them in my mouth and then tossed them outside, all about the floor. I put my head down, picked up another mouthful, and dropped it outside. How fun! At least I am not so bored. I did it again, but stopped in the process.

I smelled the nice human. She is coming! My eyes opened wide with anticipation. Whatever drowsiness I got from standing around simply vanished. She stopped by the female and opened the door. Then, she grabbed the thing on the female’s head and guided her away. Come back! I neighed out towards them, but they didn’t pay any attention.

I waited a few seconds for the nice human to return and let me out, but she didn’t. I felt so left out. She took the female away; why can’t I go? I lowered my head, trying to look pitiful, but no one was there to see me. Oh well, back to my game. I picked up another mouthful of twigs and dropped them outside the room. I did this several more times.

There was so little to do in here. I looked around my room and tried to find something entertaining. The walls were empty. There is absolutely nothing interesting in here. I went back and stuck my head outside the room again. I saw an interesting object on the ground I remembered seeing it on the nice human’s head. I stretched my neck out to reach it. Just...barely, there. It tasted dry and flavorless in my mouth. I swung it around and then I dropped it. I realized something: I could play with it too. I craned my neck out again and picked it up in my mouth. I shook it around, and it suddenly left my lips.

I looked around startled. The nice human was standing before me. I perked up in joy, but was soon taken aback. The nice human seemed to not be pleased with me. Why? What did I do? She placed the object back on her head and opened my door. Why does she put it back on her head? I wondered, I would never do that. She lead me out of the room.

I didn’t chew the metal thing any more. I guess I got used to it. I anticipated where the nice human wanted to go and did so before the metal thing hurt me. It made sense. Anyway, wherever the nice human is taking me is more interesting than that room.

Suddenly, she stopped and tied me to a log. I watched her inquisitively. Wasn’t I going outside? She took out an object from behind the wall and began to rub it against my hair. It was soothing. I stroked my head against her in return, but she tugged at the metal thing in my mouth, and so I stopped moving.

Each brush was stimulating. She repeated the motion several times along the same area, moving down by my flanks. I felt calm and protected, secure. She brushed my legs as well and then worked her way up to my head. She seemed to be enjoying it as much as me. Maybe I don’t have to rub her as well. She did my neck and face, and tried to reach up to the top of my head. She wasn’t tall enough, so I lowered for her. It was very sensitive. I could feel my body tingling. She checked each of my feet, and then, she finished and released me from the log, taking the straps off of the metal thing.

I ran outside into the cool air and greeted the female. She was so lovely. She called out to me and I to her. Soon, we were standing by each other. She came up, nearing my body, and nipped me on the cheek. Then, she turned and sprinted off. I can’t let her get away with that. I playfully chased after her.

When I caught up, I bit the tip of her tail, and she ran faster. She was difficult to keep up with, but this game was far from taking a toll on me. In fact, it was quite refreshing, exhilarating, to be exact. I always kept her on her toes. She had to slow on the sharp turns, but these were easy for me, and I always got her right at the corner. I don’t know how long we did this, but it mattered not. It was fun. Despite the limited area for me to run, my path seemed infinite. Who would ever think that being captured could be so great? I still miss the wild, but if I could never return, I would most definitely settle for this.

When we had both worked up a good sweat, we stopped and waited around in the field. The nice human removed the things from our heads, and we went to go graze. I had tried earlier, but the metal thing in my mouth made it a challenge to bite the grass without hurting my teeth.

After I had eaten for awhile, I went roaming around the place, looking for new things. My mother had always disapproved of my curiosity, but we are all curious. I didn’t see the harm in it.

I could smell the male now. I was repulsed by the scent. There he is. He’s close by. The dislike was mutual. His ears went back, and he looked at me with his teeth bared. I bared my teeth back at him and curled my lips in aggression. We stood there like that, each ready to attack, for a little while until I decided I didn’t wish to be near him any longer. I think he felt the same, for he walked off as well. I was the larger stallion. If we fought, I would win. I was confident in that.

I returned to grazing, stopping only to get a drink of water. The day continued much the same, although at some point, I had a horrible tingling feeling on my head. I found a bunch of yellow twigs and began rolling around in them. It felt good and relieved my itch, but when I came up, I had a bunch of the yellow twigs in my hair. I shook my head and got most of them off, not caring about any that might have remained stuck.

The air grew chilled, signaling the coming of night. The nice human came about once more to head us back to the rooms. I yawned and she rubbed my forehead. Her gentle touch was so kind and generous that I suffered to wear the thing on my head for her. I was accustomed to it now, anyway. She was too frail to simply lead us without it, so the metal thing helped me understand where she wanted me to go without too much of a struggle on her part. I knew she couldn’t exert herself that much (not as much as I could), and I wanted to be complacent. She was so kind.

I went to my own room and paced for a little while. The nice human made the light go away, and I was in darkness. This is so soothing. I closed my eyes and drifted into a pleasant, uninterrupted sleep.

I have been here several risings of the light now, and although I sometimes was nervous as to whether the nice human will come and brush me and let me out, she always seemed to show up to my utter delight. I ran out to grasses to romp a little and flex my legs in the afternoon, but something was different. The smell that caught my nose was enthralling. It overpowered my senses and drove me wild. I could feel it permeating my entire body. I traced it through the area until I reached the female, and then, I knew.

I felt aroused by the female’s presence. She exuded a scent of pure ecstacy. I went up to her face and back to her rear, but she scurried away from me quickly. I followed her.

I knew she wanted to mate with me. I felt a stirring in my loins. The scent was so strong. It breathed life through my flesh. My hair felt like a ripple in the breeze, that was, until I suddenly detected another odor, which infuriated me. I twisted around just in time to avoid an onslaught from the male.

We leapt to our hind legs, thrashing each other with our feet. She is my herd! I kicked him across the neck. He lunged for my throat. The pain didn’t phase me, as I bit him back in a bloody frenzy. I forced him back. I am the stronger. He retaliated. We both leapt at each other again until we both lost our footing and fell to the ground. I rolled over to my feet, ready to resume the fight, but I thought again.

Something was different, unusual. I felt compelled to not attack anymore. The male, who had gotten to his feet, prepared another assault, but I sensed that he was hesitant. What is happening? Why am I not fighting? This is the way it is supposed to be.

The male looked at me confused. Something about this seemed familiar. I have fought dozens of times, but this was not right. What is it? I struggled with his scent. I felt repelled by it, but I didn’t want to attack. The female also stepped into the circle of doubt, twitching her ears in puzzlement.

I tried to focus on what was amiss. I felt as though I was drifting in and out of a fog, which had settled in the base of my mind. Slowly, it dawned on me.

“Michael?” I neighed.

“David, Samantha? Wh...what is happening?”

“You attacked me...,” I answered.

“I know I...wanted to hurt you, to drive you away from her. I felt like she was mine.”

“No, she was mine!” I shouted, the anger returning to me, coursing through my very blood. Her scent was prevailing over my mind.

“Calm down David,” Samantha interjected, “I know I choose you as my stallion, handsome, but this is no time to be at each others’ throats.” With this statement, I felt relieved, almost joyous. Michael hung his head in a defeated expression.

“Those men turned us into animals. How is that possible?” neighed David.

“Well, it seemed to work out okay, at least up to now,” I replied, starting to scratch myself by my haunches.

“How could you say something like that?”

“Hey, admit it. You were enjoying yourself.”

“Well, I guess I...”

“Doesn’t it seem odd that we can remember everything from both of our minds; at least, I know I can. Its as if we had lived separate live simultaneously.” I hadn’t even acknowledged Samantha’s presence until now. I was still irritated by Michael’s smell. It seemed to be the only thing on my mind, and trying to communicate as a human would, rather than my normal self, seemed to pose a challenge with all these distractions.

“Yeah, its making me have trouble focusing,” I replied. “Michael, could you step back from me a bit. Perhaps, we will communicate a little better.” He did as he was told. It scared the part of my mind that was human. I felt so dominant over him. He just stared at me with his drooping head. I bet he’d do anything I’d tell him. Wait, that is not civilized. He is your friend. You’ve got to control yourself.

I’m not sure which frightened me more, the feeling of control or the drastic change in Michael’s personality. This isn’t the friend I used to know. The again, I am definitely not who I was either. He used to be so head strong...

“So, what do we do now?” neighed Samantha.

“We can’t exactly go back. I’m not sure I’d want to. I suppose we just go on living like we have been. Its just that I keep feeling a slight resistance. It’s as if a part of me wants to go back, when I, myself, don’t want to.”

“I feel the same way,” Michael stated.

Samantha interrupted again, “I don’t think the mind was designed to be thrown apart like this. It isn’t natural.”

“It sure felt natural up until this point,” I replied.

“I think we should talk about this some more tomorrow, if that’s okay with you, David? I’m feeling sort of tired.” I had to admit, I was drowsy myself, though I really wanted to disagree with him. Probably the stallion side of me again. It isn’t like I can even control it, trying to only makes me control the human side of my mind. I guess I am not a human. I don’t even think I am. I don’t even want to try to think I am.

“Lets head back,” I said. “Try to control yourselves. Act normal. We want to stay as inconspicuous as possible.” We went up to the stables separately, while Michael kept his distance from me. I didn’t seem to have any trouble myself. The nice human came out to greet me. She rubbed my nose and lead me back to my stall. She is such a nice human. She can stroke me all she wants. She left. I was once again alone in the dark. I went to sleep and dreamt about galloping to work and being chased away by my boss, who was a bigger stallion.

Later that night, I awoke to mutters in the dark. They weren’t of my friends, and they were too deep to be the nice human’s. I sniffed. The scent was familiar, foreboding. I couldn’t quite place it, but it reminded me of being furious and frightened. It frightened me even now with an aura of maliciousness. I strained my memory. I could recall a cold floor. There were some white walls, a was him, the man I attempted to trample to death. What are they doing here. Why did they come back? They shouldn’t be here. I neighed out loud. This apparently drew their attention, and I immediately regretted it.

“I think he smells you,” said a voice, “You know, he probably can tell we’re strangers.” How do I understand what they are saying?

“Shut up, I don’t care. He’s just some stupid animal. Get the truck and meet me back here.” Apparently, this was enough noise to awaken my friends as I heard the shifting of the horses in the other stalls.

“David, what’s that?” Michael yawned.

“Shh, quiet!” I nickered under my breath. I stuck my head out of the stall slightly, trying to get a glimpse of what was happening. There was a shadow in the dark, which seemed to be loitering around. After a few seconds, a large trailer came into view, backing up towards the stables. The driver apparently miscalculated his trajectory as he rammed the trailer right into the edge of the stables’ entrance, creating a loud noise.

“Son of a...!” yelled the shadow nearby. My friends jerked their heads back, apparently startled by the shout. “What do you want to do, wake the old hag! They didn’t hire us to be so goddamn careless. Try again. Bring it back gently this time, moron.”

I looked about some more. Not so far away a light flickered on in the farm house. There was some more swearing in the dark.

“We can’t let them do this to us!” I was taken aback by Michael’s outburst. He must have recovered from our brawl earlier. Michael began to make ruckus as much as he could. Samantha, who had remained quiet until now, joined in.

I saw a figure get out of the truck. The man who had been in the shadows ran over to calm my friends down. I could smell worry. It was thick in the air from the men and the horses.

Before the truck driver could run to the aid of his comrade, I heard a shout that was different from the other two voices. I could faintly make out a small hunched figure in the dark. It’s the nice human! I could see a shotgun quivering in her hands aimed at the truck driver’s chest.

“I suggest you get back in that truck and leave before I unload this into you, horse thief!”

“Mam, just calm down. I’ll get in the truck.” The figure got back inside the passenger door. Where is the other man? I wondered. I scanned the room. A black silhouette was moving along the other side of the vehicle, seeming to be carrying an object in his hands. I screamed, trying to warn the nice human, but she did not pay any attention to it. I felt dreadfully helpless.

“You’re lucky I didn’t just shoot you, mister. Get off my property!” sneered the nice human. I called out desperately again, but it was too late. The man made his way around the other side of the truck. The nice human didn’t even realize it until the man swung the shovel at the backside of her neck. Her body dropped to the ground, motionless. It felt as if a phantom had gripped my heart. I could sense death. I reared in anguish. My thoughts were lost. I didn’t even heed my friends. Everything was spinning. I let her die. This is my fault. They murdered her. I let her die. I let her die. I allowed the men to guide me harshly into the trailer with my friends. I didn’t even fight back. It hurt too much to resist.

I came to my senses, more or less, when we arrived back at the facility we had originally came from. The men put Michael in a nearby stall, but were in such a hurry that they locked Samantha and I into a small pen just outside the building. The night chill bit at every breath. Until now, my friends and I had been silent. The atrocity was on all our minds. I couldn’t bare to think about it any longer. My insides were ripping themselves apart.

“Are you okay Samantha?” I asked as I nuzzled her, trying to consul her as well as myself. Our ears were drooped. It was if reality, our lives, had been shattered.

“How could they do that? It was so cruel,” she muttered as if to nobody.

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” I replied listlessly.

It was Michael’s turn to speak. “Everything seems so hopeless. What are we supposed to do now?”

“I wish I knew,” said Samantha. “I guess we just wait until they sell us to another person, and then, once they die, perhaps we’ll go to another.”

“This just isn’t right,” said Michael.

“Well, what are we supposed to do about it?”

I walked away slowly, not wanting to be a part of this despairing conversation. They didn’t seem to notice as they continued their speech even with my absence. I just wanted to sleep. However, as I drifted further from the building, something caught my attention. I went to investigate, trying to focus despite the void in my heart.

I could see two shadows in the dark, and I walked quietly towards them, trying not to attract attention to myself. There were two humans standing right outside our pen. I could understand their whispers to each other.

“Why did we have to bring them back?”

“There was an error in the system. The experiment was a failure. The military is pulling its funds.”

“I thought we were doing it for the money.”

“We were, but it was simply a facade. Whose to take notice of a private horse trading practice? Anyway, they were the tests and the bots had glitches. We detected them in the systems check.”

“So, what do we do with them?” The man pointed towards the pen.

“We’ve got to destroy all evidence of this project. Dispose of them. That’s what you’re here for...”

Oh no, oh no! I’ve got to tell the others quickly! I ran over to Samantha in a mad frenzy. “We’ve got to, to...”

“David, calm down. What’s the matter? I can see the whites of your eyes.” My body was tensed in fear.

“They’re going to kill us!” I yelled. I felt cold sweat.

“You can’t be serious!” neighed Mike.

“I am. We have to get out of here. Hurry! They’re coming this way!”

“I’m trying, I’m trying.” Michael began kicking the door in a maddened fury. The humans must have seen this because they quickened their pace. When they reached Michael’s stall, they threw a rope around the furious stallion’s neck. Both men struggled against his immense strength.

“Get help,” the taller one said. Soon, there were several others armed with cattle prods.

The shock of the situation wore off, and my legs seemed free again to move. The same must have been true for Samantha because she began to throw her body at the gate of the pen.

The men unlatched Michael’s door, and he bolted out, knocking the tall one over. The others began to stick Michael with the prods and struggled to get him into another barn. I could smell a pungent reek of burnt hair and ozone. Poor Michael. Don’t worry about him. He’s strong. A few humans can’t control him.

I stopped paying attention, too focused on saving my own life. Samantha and I kept kicking the door, but it appeared to be too strong to break. The lock was beyond what our equine mouths could open.

“We have to try harder!” I neighed.

Samantha emitted a high pitched squeal as she pushed her body further. I heard a slight splintering of wood, but the door was not about to give way. It was no use, our muscles weren’t strong enough. Don’t give up! Don’t give up!

“David, we must work together! One, two, three, hit!” I heard a horrified squeal in the distance. A crack of gunshot went off. It was deafening. There was a thump as something heavy hit the ground.

“No, Michael!,” Samantha screamed. “How horrible, terrible, wretched...” My stomach knotted. I felt dizzy. I was dropping away. “David, keep your focus! If we don’t get out, he’ll have died for nothing. My god, Michael!”

“Try again, again,” I yelled. “I’m going to kill those bastards!” The sound of splintering increased dramatically. The door was giving way. With our last strength, the door shattered onto the ground in a pile of logs and splinters. We leapt outside the pen. I could see the men running back quickly. One of them was shouting. Each moment lessened the distance between us. I wanted to attack them, to kill them, but instinct overcame my hatred. I realized it would only result in my death as well.

Samantha and I sprinted out into the night. The shade of darkness allowed us to slip away. Lights were flashing all over the building’s parameter behind us. I tried desperately to cry, but couldn’t. Had I, I’m sure not even the gates of hell could hold back my tears.

It has been several days since our escape from the facility, and Michael’s and the nice human’s deaths still weighed heavily on our hearts. Samantha and I have been roaming the planes, trying to relieve the anguish, which always remained buried in our hearts despite our occasional joy. I looked over at her. She was beautiful, my beloved. She was grazing while I stood a sentry, worried that there might be carnivores out in the wild. Nothing was going to touch her as long as I lived. I was so preoccupied by these thoughts that I didn’t notice as she walked over to me.

“You know, even if I could go back to being human, I wouldn’t,” she nickered, rubbing her nose against my neck. I placed my head over hers.

“I agree, but how are we to go on living like this with our conflicting minds. I know we have fully adapted to our lives, but the human part of me keeps bringing back memories of another life and horrible memories.”

“We simply forget,” she neighed.

“Forget, is that even possible?” I replied.

“Why not? I can remember when I was a foal, and you know as well as I that we both feel as though we’ve always been horses...” This was true.

Not a bad feeling, I thought, but how do we accept a different past if we know of another?

“...The horse side of us does not want human memories; we don’t want human memories. If we can let that side, or rather, become entirely that side, then we can forget. We must accept who we are.”

“I guess we can try it, if...if you’re ready,” I neighed.

“I’m ready.”

“Well, here it goes.” We moved apart. I looked into her eye and concentrated, accepting myself. I am the stallion. I could see a light behind her eye dimming, being replaced by something else. I looked at her. I could feel myself slipping, the last of my humanity fading. Like...letting...into...the... I tilted my head and sniffed her. I started running, and she followed, side by side, my herdsmate, through the long grasses and plants. We ran and ran through the planes, the meadow, the trees. We ran, stopping only to pause in a world, which may only exist...beyond the scope of reason.

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