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|Copyediting is welcome|
|Winds of Change story universe|
The Raptor's Hunt
I guess that as a child I had never thought of myself as an aggressive person and yet tonight I was having the weirdest dreams imaginable. I had turned fifteen the day before and now I was having some really strange dreams. If I ever told my parents about my dreams they would probably take me to a psychologist to have my head examined. For one thing in these dreams my form wasn’t even human. For one thing I had scales from my head to my feet and for another I was roughly the same size as I had been before although my form was stretched out over a longer distance. The other interesting thing was the fact that I wasn’t alone, I seemed to be out hunting with a pack of other animals where identical to me in their basic forms, although there were a few superficial differences between all of the members of the group. For instance each of the members of the group seemed to be acceding to my own leadership. However, if you took a moment to actually look at each animal you would recognise the fact that they were from a very different period in time. They all were all bipedal walking on digitgrade feet. The first two toes on the each foot didn’t even touch the ground, the first one being a mere vestige and the second one sporting a huge four to five inch long curved claw that was held up and off of the ground. The other two toes were longer and they seemed to be what we all were walking on. After walking around the small clearing for a few moments I picked up an odour that instantly reached my consciousness that said ‛Food, Hunt, Kill.’ Without conscious thought I began to walk down a small path following my nose until I reached the edge of the small corpse of trees to look out over the plain. In the distance I could see what had triggered my hunting instincts it was a small herd of three horned dinosaurs that I didn’t recognise. They were similar in form to triceratops but their frill was a bit larger in size. After considering the animals for a few minutes I barked out some low sounds and then other members of the pack spread out and began the hunt. Half an hour later I woke up with a strong taste in my mouth. I shook my head and opened my eyes I was laying on my side looking at the wall beside me.
“That was one weird dream I had last night” I said to myself and was surprised at the slight growl that entered my voice. In that moment I heard a shout from the other room in the house. I leapt up onto my feet; surprised at the way I was standing I looked down and saw that my feet weren’t all that different from what I had seen in the dream. My two sickle claws were at least four inches long and sharply curved, they were held off of the ground by a strong arrangement of tendons in my lower legs. I turned and looked at myself in the mirror and was slightly surprised at what I saw staring back at me. My body seemed to be covered in a light layer of primitive feathers that were almost universally brown in colouration. The only place were my skin was displayed was on my head, my hands, under my tail near my pubic vent, and my feet. After taking a few moments to get used to the image that I saw in the mirror I turned and ‛Ouch damn son of *#@%’ as I banged my tail into the wall. That was probably the most noticeable part of my body seeing as it balanced out my head and torso and helped me maintain my balance. Once I got over the swearing I opened the door and walked into the hall just in time to hear another shout from the room across the hall
“What the hell has happened to all of us?” Just then the door to my parent’s door swung open and a huge shadow fell over me. I looked up and then bolted into the living room before I could think. The only thing that was going through my head at that moment was ‛That way too big find pack.’ When I managed to gain control once more I turned as the massive dark brown furred form entered the living room.
“Simon is that you?” I looked up at him and then my nose finally did its job and identified the shape in front of me ‛Father, Alpha Male, don’t challenge.’ I laughed to myself before I managed to say to him
“Yes it is me dad and you gave this little Raptor the fright of his life.” He looked at me and then said
“Without those feathers you would be a dead ringer for one of those Raptors in the Jurassic Park Movie.” I laughed and then pointed out the fact that when I first saw myself in the mirror I had come to the same conclusion. At that point a considerably smaller furred figure came into the living room and walked over to where my father stood and said with a slight squeak in her tone
“John do you know what has happened to us?” As soon as I got a whiff of her scent my instincts spoke up once more ‛Mother, Alpha Female, don’t challenge.’ She looked at me and the shook delicately furred head and then turned and headed to kitchen. One thing that I was quite able to see was the fact that each of us was of a degree of change. I was obviously not all that different from whatever animal I was supposed to be. On the other hand my mother was of low degree with not all that many features that distinguished her as some form of animal. My father was the median of the two of us being that he seemed to be an even mix of animal and human traits, whatever animal he resembled though it had been very large. “Mom do you think that we could have some breakfast soon I’m starving.” She looked over at me and then a shiver ran through her fawn coloured pelt and she replied “I think that from the look of you that you need some meat in order to fill that stomach of yours.” As I nodded my head at her my instincts put in a note ‛Find Gizzard Stones.’
“Mom I got to go outside and get some stones.” She looked at me sort of funny before my dad pointed out
“Helen I think that he needs some stones to aid in digestion. From the appearance of his body he is not all that far removed from a bird in his physiology.” After a moment of considering it I looked at him and finally managed to say
“Dad I think that you’re right on that count because when I thought of food a voice in my head told me that I needed to find some stones.”
“Your hearing voices now?” my mom asked in a rhetorical tone of voice. Dad put in
“Helen I think that the voice that he mentioned is simply the voice of his instincts. As far as I can tell so far they haven’t lead him astray.” I nodded at my father’s guess about what my instincts were before I went out into the back yard. It took me a few moments for me to locate about fifteen good size stones that I took inside and put in a pot so that I could sterilize them before swallowing them for gizzard stones. Fifteen minutes later I put the now cool stones in a cup and held them up to my muzzle before I said
“Here goes nothing” before pouring the cup of stones down my throat. It was a weird sensation that’s for sure but to me it somehow felt natural. Once that issue was taken care of, my mom handed me a large plate that had maybe four steaks on it. During the period after the change we were lucky because my Uncle owned a Cattle Ranch just outside of Williams Lake B.C so I had a consistent reliable source of protein to fill my needs. One thing that I did figure out during breakfast was that Raptors don’t chew their food that particular function is taken up by the gizzard. I held the meat with my hands and tore off bite size chunks with my teeth and then swallowed before repeating the operation several times.
“Simon what exams did you have to write today?”
“I have to take a look but I’m not sure that we will have to given the current situation.”
“Well this isn’t stopping me from going in to work today” That was my dad for you. He had been in the military for ten years before he retired and joined the RCMP and so far had been serving with them for three years. I acknowledged his comment and then walked to my room to check the schedule. I had two exams today, Humanities 8 and Science 8. Tomorrow I had the remaining two required exams Math 8 and French 8. Now that I knew what I had to go to exams for I walked back into the living room and turned on the TV to encounter nothing but static. After flicking through several channels I managed to find the Local News Station, which was still broadcasting.
“Today all over the world this strange change has made the human condition all that much more interesting.” The announcer said, this particular announcer was particularly funny because she had been turned into the stereotypical newshound, a Bloodhound. I focused on the running script at the bottom of the page and read to see if the schools were closed, but my luck wasn’t that good because all of the elementary schools were closed but the high schools were still open for exams. I checked the watch which I had just barely been able to get over my hand, it possessed three long fingers a short palm and a thumb that was almost as long as the fingers. I don’t really know how they expected me to hold a pencil with this hand of mine but I would have to make do with what life had given me. I had ten minutes to get to school and something like three kilometres to get there. I grabbed my backpack and somehow managed to get it on, though I couldn’t do up the chest strap and the belly strap just barely fit. Since nothing in the house fit me I mentally shrugged my shoulders and went outside. Five and half minutes later I was at the school panting slightly for breath. The next hour was both mind numbingly boring and somewhat interesting because of the myriad of forms that I saw in the class. What was more interesting was the fact that not all of the students were completely changed. One of my friends was in process of becoming some sort of bird but it didn’t look like he was all done yet. However, there was one thing that I could probably do without and that was the constant attention that I received as a dinosaur. Just about everyone that I met in the halls wanted to ask me what it was like and if I was smarter or dumber since the change. All very asinine questions if you ask me, considering that personally I considered my change to be an honest improvement over my old human self. When I had been human I had lived with effects of an exceedingly rare genetic disorder that caused me to start experiencing the effects of puberty when I was only three. Luckily the doctors had been able to diagnose the disorder very quickly, but not before I began growing dark facial hairs. When I was twelve the therapy to mask the disorder had been ceased and by the time I was thirteen I could reasonably pass for someone who was at least four years older. It had made me the star of the high school basket-ball team, football team, and volleyball team but it had also given me a reputation of a jock that I personally considered to be quite insulting considering the fact that I had always been a straight A student from the time I was in grade 1. When I finally got out of the school, that is until my next exam three hours later, I headed for my favourite burger bar to grab some eats. When I got there I found the cook, who looked like a small bear, shaking his head in dismay because in the corner there was someone who looked vaguely like a cow barfing its guts out all over the table.
“Hey Donnie do you think I could a have a quad raw burger with nothing on it.” He picked four patties out of the fridge slapped them on a bun wrapped it up and gave it to me
“Don’t complain to me if this gives you stomach trouble though”
“Donnie I highly doubt that this thing will give little old me any stomach trouble what-so-ever considering the fact that I am for intense purposes a carnivore.” He nodded slowly and watched as I unwrapped the morsel and tore it to pieces before swallowing it.
“Simon if that is you, you know that you have the worst table manners that I’ve ever seen.”
“Donnie can I help it if I can’t chew my food anymore? I really don’t think so.” He shook his head once more but after that I left the place and headed to my favourite spot out by the lake. I actually went for a short swim while I was there before I sunbathed myself dry. Swimming as a Raptor was quite interesting in of itself because instead of using your legs and arms to propel you through the water you’re using your tail. I was lucky that even though my tail was almost completely inflexible when it came to vertical movement it was still relatively flexible in the horizontal plane. After a good five minutes swim I went back to the beach and spread myself out in the sun to dry. One thing that I didn’t have to ever worry about again was getting sunburnt because my feathers and scales had a natural SPF of something like 70. Once I was dry though I had to spend a few minutes tending to feathers with my claws and teeth because getting them wet had matted them together and made quite a mess of things. Once everything was back in place I ran back to school to complete my second exam. That was where I ran into Billy-bob Haer. This kid was a terror and now he was more so considering the fact that he was partially turned into a European Wild Boar. He outweighed me by more than a hundred pounds and moreover he knew it.
“Hey there if it isn’t Simpering Simon the itty bitty dino boy.” That was one thing that as a human I had never had to deal with. After all when I had been human Billy-bob had been a fat kid who bullied the smaller kids while I had been a large very fit young man who could probably wrap him around a telephone pole with one arm tied behind my back. The simple reason for that was because I happened to be a Second Degree Black Belt in Jujitsu and a Third Degree Black Belt in Aikido. However, now the tables were turned because his body was more human than my own and I didn’t want to cause him any injuries. With my personal armaments that was defiantly a difficult thing to do considering the fact that I had claws on the ends of my fingers and toes, my face itself was a weapon, and my inside toe on each foot possessed a lethal four inch curved talon that could kill. The only advantage I had when you took my personal weapons out of the picture was my reflexes and the inherent speed which the species that I resembled was known for. The one thing that I was lucky for though was right now wasn’t the time to get into a fight and he knew it. I was happy that I was the first one to complete my exam, even though I did have some trouble with my hands, so that I could get out of there before Billy-bob finished his exam. Although I probably didn’t have to worry about that considering the fact that he was one of those students who was pretty mediocre at anything that was remotely academic. When I got home I went out into the backyard and began to do a little practise with my new body. I had to be able to take care of myself even if this wasn’t the body that I had been born with. While I was doing a little running practise I actually entered something similar to the space warp that was used by some sci-fi TV shows to illustrate faster than light transit. When I came out of the warp I found myself in Berlin Germany just under the Brandenburg Gate. I looked around for a second and then shook my head and this weird occurrence and then began to walk around gathering in as many of the sights as possible. I had never been here but since I was here I might as well take advantage of this opportunity. The only problem that came from me being here was the fact that it was around 02:30 in morning Berlin Time. Mind you that really wasn’t that much of a problem considering the capabilities that my eyes possessed. After half an hour I turned around and went through the weird space warp again to return home. I missed home by several thousand kilometres and found myself in Osaka Japan. However, this time I didn’t spend anytime in Osaka instead I turned around and headed the opposite direction. This third time I was much more accurate and ended up some ten kilometres from my target. Since I was close enough to home I decided to simply run the remaining distance since I didn’t want to end up on the other side of the world again. Twenty minutes later I arrived outside the front door, slightly winded, but otherwise ok. I opened the door and my mom was standing in the door with her delicate white and fawn coloured arms folded across her chest. I knew that look, I should’ve been here fifteen minutes ago, and now that I was late I was in trouble.
“Where have you been Simon?”
“I went out for a run mom and I ended up in Berlin and Osaka before getting back here, or rather twenty klicks from here.”
“What do you mean by telling me something that is so obviously fabricated?”
“Mom don’t you have a skill that is hard to explain through normal laws of nature?”
“Yes I do but what does this have to do with anything?”
“What it has to do with this is simply that I have a talent like that. As far as I can tell I can warp to any point on earth in mere seconds. After all how else can I explain the fact that I just went to Berlin Germany and then Osaka Japan?” She looked down at me for a second before she managed to respond
“I don’t really know anymore. This world has gotten a whole lot more complex today than I ever though possible.”
“That certainly is a mild way to put it mom. I don’t think that the world has ever gone through such a big change all in one day.” She shook her head before turning to go to the kitchen and begin getting supper ready. During supper the whole family talked about what had happened that morning. My little brother Christopher was still human, but from what we had heard on the news children who were prepubescent hadn’t changed. I wasn’t sure if the change would’ve been confused by my condition. However thinking like that was probably nothing more than empty speculation. After dinner we all gathered in the living room and sat down before dad began.
“I think that we all are going to have to change our habits now. For instance I don’t fit on the bed anymore and I highly doubt that Simon will be able to sleep in bed without tearing it into little pieces with his claws.” I looked up at him from where I was crouched on the floor and replied “I think I know what you mean dad. These claws aren’t dull by any stretch of the imagination and nor would I want to dull them.” He nodded before he pointed to his own claws before he rumbled
“My own claws are much different than your but I think I can understand what you mean by that statement.”
“Simon, John I think that we’re getting a little off topic with this discussion on the quality of you claws and what they’re meant for. After all we need to figure out where everyone is going to sleep tonight.” My mom pointed out to the two of us.
“You’re mom is right Simon. I think that Chris can continue to sleep in his room but we may need to move you to the large guest room in the basement although we will have to move the bed out of there.” I nodded before I asked him if we could get a bed for me when something a little more suited to my body shape came out on the market. “Of course you can Simon, and it’s only a matter of time before something like that comes out on the market.”
“I certainly hope so Dad because I think that sleeping on the floor will get old really fast.”
“What about you John, for some reason I don’t think that you will fit in our bed anymore either. It’s not the claws that I’m worried about it’s the fact that you are probably more than a foot longer than the bed itself.”
“I guess that I’ll spend some time on the floor like Simon here until I can find a bed that will fit my body.”
“It’s not just your length that we will have to worry about John it’s also the fact that you weigh more than any person that a bed is normally designed to accept.” “How much do you weigh now dad?” Dad looked down at his feet before he slowly said
“I broke the bathroom scale, so I used our scale at work and I found out that I weigh five hundred and seven pounds.”
“John I don’t think that you’re overweight it’s probably just how much this species that you’ve become actually weighs. I mean look over there at Simon. He weighed close to two hundred pounds before the change and now I doubt very much that he is more than one hundred and sixty pounds if that.” Dad nodded slowly once more before he looked up and replied
“I certainly hope that what you say is true because I would hate to be some kind of overweight bear.” The family discussion went on for more than an hour before we each went to go take care of some of the things that we had all agreed on. My clothes were packed away; there was nothing in the house that fit me. The same went for dad’s clothes. We moved my bookcases and computer downstairs before moving the bed out of my new room. Once everything had been arranged I curled up on the floor and tried to get comfortable. I’m not sure how long it took for me to get to sleep but I was glad when I did get to sleep.
I awoke to the beeping of my alarm clock on the table next to my computer. In order to turn it off I had to get to my feet and slap the off button. I looked at the display before I groaned 07:45 the display read. This was entirely too early to wake up. I went into the en-suite bathroom and found another problem that we hadn’t discussed the night before. The toilet was backed up against the wall and there was no way I was going to be able to use it with four feet of tail sticking out behind me. There was no way I could even bend it that much because the my tail was somewhat flexible but it really wasn’t that flexible. After looking at the problem for a few minutes I went into another part of the basement and located an empty laundry detergent bucket that I had to use as a chamber pot. Once that distasteful operation was completed I checked my feathers and then headed on up the stairs. The nice thing about my feather coat was the fact that it was actually not all that maintenance intensive, and it helped insulate my body during our rather mild winters. Kelowna was known for its mild climate and warm summers and that was a boon to me since I was based on a life-form that had been somewhat adverse to cold weather. When I got upstairs my mom told me that my Uncle had just been on the phone and that he needed someone to come to the Ranch for a little while to help him deal with a problem that he was having with the local deer population. It seems that one of the local deer herds was eating all of the feed that he was putting out for the cattle. What made the situation worse was the fact that the predator population around the ranch was depressed because of my Uncle’s activities in trying to protect his herds.
“Mom can you phone him and tell him that I would be happy to drop by once I finish my exams today.”
“That is a little short on the notice isn’t it Simon?”
“Mom there’s no time like the present. Besides it will give me a place that I can get used to my new body, as well as an abundant food supply that will not stress our finances too much.” She looked at me and before nodding her head and saying
“Well if that is what you want Simon I think that I can arrange it.”
“Mom if you want I can make the arrangement even easier on you by coming home every day after I finish hunting.” She nodded and then put her hands on my shoulders, which were slightly lower than her own chest and said “I guess that we will all have to make use of our strengths and one of yours is probably hunting.” With all of that cleared up I had breakfast, raw beef steaks again, before heading to school to take my morning exam. The rest of the day went ok until I got out of school after my last exam. Standing just outside of the front door of the school was Billy-bob Haer and a group of his friends. They were all relatively large, considering the fact that I was a light-weight compared to them, and all seemed to share in his stupid sense of humour.
“Hey there I see that they let you out of your cage Simpering Simon.” I looked at him and growled
“One of these days Billy-bob your going to push your luck too far and then you’re probably going to get the butt whupping of your life.” He laughed, an ugly sound before he replied
“Who is going to give me that beating that you promise? You, I doubt that you could beat up on a child now.” He was really pushing his luck now, goading a Raptor into a fight wasn’t exactly the smartest thing in the world to do. However, smarts was the one thing that Billy-bob did have a decided lack of.
“You really shouldn’t push me too far or you will learn some things about my species.”
“Like what, all you are good for is running you little runt. Hell you’re dumb enough to not know when to get down before your betters.” He was going too far and I changed my stance to one that was implicitly threatening. I spread my arms out and spread my fingers, trying to look bigger and screamed out a challenge. Rationally I knew that he could do some serious harm to me but I no longer cared. There was only so far you could push a Raptor before you found out that its claws weren’t for display. At that moment I felt something weird and I found myself looking down at him. He looked up at me his jaw dropping before he backed away. I had to crouch down to pick up my pack before I turned again and jumped over the line of him and his friends. Before I left I slowly turned and said
“Billy-bob next time you pick on someone make sure that you know everything that they can do or you might get yourself a serious whupping.” With that smug comment used as parting words for the summer I headed back home. I actually had to concentrate in order to return to my familiar small size before I entered the house. Once I threw my pack into my room I ran back outside and entered a warp to go get some supper at my Uncle’s place. All in all these first two days hadn’t gone all that badly at all when you consider some of the chaos that could’ve happened. I wondered what the rest of the mouth would be like