Justin plonked down into the chair. He had cycled all the way to my house – and looked exhausted.
“Hey, did you get anything to drink?” I asked expectantly.
“Yeah, I managed to find this stuff in my Dad’s shed. It’s all he had.”
Justin held up a couple of small green bottles. The poorly printed labels on them read:
DREAM MAKER: “You’ll the object of your loved ones desires! It really brings out the animal in everyone!”
“Cooool!” I exclaimed, “I could do with animal magic to stand a chance with Julia.”
“No way pal! If anyone gonna pull her for the Summer Ball – its gonna be yours truly.” smirked Justin.
“Sure....” I sighed. Why did Justin always think he was God’s gift to girls. Yes, he was probably the best looking bloke in class (not that I noticed things like that) but he was no Boy Band heartthrob either.
“Where did your Dad get this stuff?” I asked.
“Dunno mate. Never seen him drink it. In fact Mum and Dad don’t drink much at all. It took two hours to find this. Dad spends ages in his shed – building furniture, or making illegal beer” grumbled Justin “He never has any time for me. I needed help on my wood work project – but he seemed totally disinterested. But he can always find time for my bloody little sister.”
“Tell me about it.” I replied. “Mum and Dad dote over Jason; but me – they don’t even know exist half the time.”
Justin passed me a bottle, and clinking together them in a vague toast to riding the World of parents and younger siblings, we took a gulp.
“Hey, that tastes good.” said Justin, wiping a dribble off his chin.
“I’m not too sure” I replied. The strange liquid seemed to have passed its best – whatever it may have been. Justin carried on drinking – virtually emptying the bottle, but I only took a few more sips. After about five minutes of idle chat, Justin started to squirm uneasily in the chair. He looked a little pale. To be truthful, I was feeling a bit queasy as well. We couldn’t be drunk – we had barely drunk a bottle in total.
“Wooooo, I feel funny.” groaned Justin.
“Me too!” I replied, as my stomach started doing somersaults. I tried to turn the subject onto something else. “What were you saying about your sister earlier. Did she get that pony for her birthday?”
“No, Mum and Dad can’t afford it. They tried to explain to her – but the stubborn little cow wouldn’t listen. In the end, Dad promised her she would get one somehow.” replied Justin, now looking as if he was in pain.
“You’re lucky,” I joked, “My little brother Jason wanted a real life gorilla for his birthday last month.”
Jason had always been fascinated by gorillas. He had nearly twenty toy ones, all fluffy, stuffed and horrible. Gorilla posters covered his walls, and his e-mail address was something like gorillaboy@yahoo. He just needed a real one to collect the set. I was about to continue to downgrade my kid brother some more when I saw Justin put his hands to his face, and scratch.
I stared at him. Something was wrong. His face looked rougher, hairy.
“You need a shave.” I quipped.
“I don’t! I shaved this morning.” he blurted back.
Suddenly Justin stood up, shaking. In the gloom of my bedroom, I could see that Justin was changing, growing. His face began to push outwards, taking on the shape of a muzzle. A horse’s muzzle!
“Hhhhelp me!” whinnied Justin, as his hair grew down his neck. Justin stood erect - shaking and crying. His neck stretched longer. I could see the buttons on his shirt begin to strain from the growing bulk they had to contain. His jeans were getting tighter, clearly showing the development of huge muscles in his legs.
“Jesus Justin!” I shouted. “You’re turning into a fucking horse!”
Suddenly his shoes burst open, but instead of feet – a pair of hooves clattered onto the wooden floor. I continued to gaze as Justin’s head took on more and more equine features. The change seemed to flow up and down his body. The buttons started popping off his shirt one by one as his chest barrelled outwards. Splits appeared in the shoulders and sleeves as Justin’s new equine limbs forced their way into the open air. His whole body was slowly growing a thin layer of silky smooth hair, or was it fur?
“Doooooooott Scumthing!” cried Justin, his voice loosing more and more of his familiar sound. There was nothing I could do, but watch.
The top button and zip burst off his jeans. Justin then fell forward onto all fours, splitting the seat of his jeans as he did so. Through the split in the material he swished his long tail. It was not long before the jeans had split all the way down, leaving Justin standing there in all his horsey glory. Dumbstruck, I just looked at the horse standing in my bedroom where my best friend had been a minute or two earlier. One thing was for sure, he certainly wouldn’t complain about his new tackle. He would be God’s gift to the girl’s now. I walked slowly over to him, and rubbed my hand over his back. He whinnied, but said nothing I could understand. It was then that I noticed my own hand looked rather dark and shiny itself. Staring in disbelief and horror, my hands turned black – with thick stubbly hair sprouting out of the skin on their backs.
“No, not me too” I cried, falling to my knees. I could feel the pressure begin to build in my training shoes. I was tempted to pull my shoes off, but was too frightened to see what was happening. I curled my toes over, trying to stay within my shoes. I could feel my socks tearing inside as my feet developed what felt like thumbs. My jeans then started to bulge as my legs shortened and thickened, and the buckle of my leather belt burst open to accommodate my new gut.
Then it all stopped.
Regaining my composure, I looked back at Justin. He was a fine horse – a colt! He twitched his head, and opened his mouth – but only wheezes came out. I thought I could just make out a whisper of “Help.”
I turned and looked in the mirror. My face was wider than I remembered, and my forehead hung over my eyes like the brow of a cap. Black hair covered a large part of my head – making it look like I had a full beard and sideburns. I opened my mouth to speak, but my attention was captivated by my new set of fang-like canines. My hands were black and leathery. I was also about two inches shorter. I was unmistakably turning into a gorilla – but I was not as far gone as Justin. All this from drinking some reject alcoholic lemonade, or at least that’s what I thought it was.
“Come on!” I said, “We can’t stay here.”
I put my hand on Justin’s long neck, and tried to direct him towards the stairs, picking up the half-empty bottles of Dream Maker as I went. His hooves clattered loudly on the wooden floor. Thank goodness everybody was out. He stumbled, trying to get purchase on the ground. He acted just like a newborn foal did as it got use to walking, only that he was a teenage horse – not a baby. I too found it difficult to walk properly. My thighs were much thicker, and rubbed together. My jeans were pulled so tightly around my knees I couldn’t bend them properly. My shoes also felt like they were several sizes too small.
I had just about made it to the top of the stairs when the tingling sensation started in my body again. I cried in pain, and fright as my arms started to stretch out of my shirt, becoming longer than my legs. I fell over onto all fours like Justin had done, feeling all the more comfortable for doing so. I managed to rid myself of my constraining shoes by flexing my toes a couple of times.
Eventually we made it downstairs. Fortunately, my parents’ garden backed onto a small wood. We could hide out there until we had figured what had happened to us. I sat on the log whilst Justin circled around, nibbling at the shrubs. I rested my head in my thick hands, trying to work out what was going on.
Justin was a horse. Why?
I was turning into a giant ape? Why?
What, if anything, did it have to do with that Dream Maker drink?
“That’s it!” I boomed. “You’ll become your loved one’s desire. Bloody Jason! He’s got his stinking gorilla now.”
I heard a creaking sound. Looking down – I saw the fabric of my jeans stretch as my legs started to grow again. There was the sound of seams popping. The top button of my shirt also popped off.
“This is no good. We must do something.” I moaned, turning to look at Justin. Justin just cocked his head on one side, and looked as if it grinned – or as much of a grin as a horse could give.
“Justin – it’s me...... Simon. Are you in there?”
The horse just turned away, and then continued munching a small bush.
“Oh no! Justin’s lost it.” I moaned. “This is hopeless.”
Suddenly there was a rustling in the trees, and a familiar figure walked into the clearing.
“My dear – you do make a very fine ape. And sweet Justin, Zoë will be pleased!”
At that point Justin’s little sister Zoë came bounding into the woods, followed by her parents. She threw her arms around Justin, shouting “A pony! A pony! Thank you Mummy and Daddy!”
I looked at my Mother in horror. She had now been joined by Dad and Jason. Jason was crying, and whispered in Dad’s ear.
“You’re not quite what Jason was hoping for Simon. I’m afraid you’ll have to finish your drink.”