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User:Leasara/Change of Flightplan
Change of Flightplan
He looked at his ticket again, then back up at the clock. His neighbor would be here soon to take him to the airport. Turning off his computer for the first time in weeks, he looked around the small apartment that barely held his desk and bed, marveling at how much quieter it was with all the appliances off. The refrigerator broke his revere as it came on, reminding him that not everything was unplugged. He smiled and picked up his bag, hoping he would be returning home in a few days, once he'd straightened out the problem with his passport and gotten a new visa. Turning out the light he left his little room with the thought of crossing the street to the bakery on the other side for one more pastry before the trip.
He had been dreading this trip for some time, but last month added a new worry when he awoke and found himself completely unable to move. For two days he was stranded in bed before he was able to summon help, then he learned that some muscular infection had rendered him immobile. He was put on an experimental serum that seemed to be helping, but it had to be administered daily. Not knowing what would happen without his daily injection had become his major concern. The doctor had painted a bleak picture, but that was a worst case scenario.
The bakery had his usual, so with a pastry and a pint of milk he headed back to his yard to await the neighbor. A tingling ache had already begun in his hand from carrying the luggage, and he supposed it would have been a better idea to leave it at home for the trip to the bakery. No use in worrying about that now, he set his bags down and started to think of what he would need to do once he made it to his home country. The pain in his arm persisted, in spite of his efforts to keep it out of his mind, and he soon found himself rubbing his sore hand, something the doctor had warned him against.
To keep his good hand occupied, he returned to his snack, but the pain only got worse. His injured hand, he found, could barely move. This was much too early for symptoms to be returning, but the doctor had also warned him about the effects of stress on his condition. He stared at the offending appendage as if he could numb the pain by sheer force of will. Suddenly his little finger fused with his ring finger. It happened so quickly that the thought of what he had just witnessed took a moment to register. When it did, he shot up from his seat, spilling his confection and throwing the half empty carton of milk into the air.
The altered fingers began to push forward, pulling a mass of flesh out of his hand behind them that rapidly consumed the rest of his digits as it expanded. It seemed that his heart had stopped, or that his mind was racing so fast that he could compose a sonnet between it's beats if his attention so focused elsewhere. His forearm was changing now, ripping the seams of his shirt as it became more muscular and assumed a shape like a knife. His wrist had turned back on itself so that the meaty thing that had replaced his hand was almost parallel to his new forearm. He tried to run to the house to call the doctor, but couldn't move. Tried to scream, but found he had no breath. Then he noticed his milk carton hanging strangely in the air, it's contents beginning to spill.
His arm continued to change, and was starting to look like the largest chicken wing ever on record. Quills were beginning to push through the skin at the tip of the wing, and he began to understand that his mind was somehow moving faster than his beaten nerves could carry their signals. More likely the system was just overloaded and not able to report what looked like a painful process. Either way, for once he was thankful for his illness and injuries. A sudden shock over his scalp alerted him to the fact that the change had progressed beyond his arm.
Finally he felt some motion as his neck began to elongate. With some concentration he managed to crane his lengthening neck so that he was facing the rest of his body. Suspended in the air and starting to fall around his shoulders was his hair, still in roughly the configuration he had put it in this morning. From his new vantage point he could see his entire body as it was slowly being carried upward by his initial leap. It was more than a little strange, and a morbid fascination overtook him since he was apparently unable to act.
As dusty black feathers gave way to brown and tan along his wing, the left shoulder of his shirt finally gave way as his shoulder was being pulled forward by his changing chest. At the center of his chest, his sternum was leading his ribs away from his spine, all the while getting thicker and pulling his skin taut just ahead of the muscle that filled in behind it. His shoes and socks fell off of his feet as his right sleeve was being pushed down his arm in front of it's expansion, but his first clue that his head was changing was an acute awareness of the surrounding weather.
Leaving his shoes to a slow spin in mid air, his feet retreated up the legs of his pants, and the feathers were quickly claiming his torso, white on the chest, tan across his back. Information continued to flood his senses, a low pressure system was coming in from the Northwest, but he still had plenty of time to dodge the rain by flying Southwest. The milk was entering his field of view again, and seemed to be falling faster. Time was catching up with him.
Fir a moment his pants started to pull into his shirt, then they began to follow his shoes to the ground. Sensation was returning to his limbs, and he could feel his head changing as his eyes started to migrate to the side of his head. He wished for the numbness of that timeless moment as his lips merged with his teeth, and his nostrils slid down into his lip. Compared to the alterations his sinuses and eyes were undergoing, the beak was a minor annoyance. Gravity finally regained it's hold on him and he beat his wings instinctively, throwing the tatters of his shirt to the ground on top of where his milk had landed. With an awkward loop and a worse landing, he returned to his yard.
With his supple new neck, he gave himself a quick look and found that he made a somewhat large but otherwise perfect Canadian Goose. The mechanics of his new form came to him rather quickly, then he remembered his pastry and thought it would be the perfect fuel for the first leg of his journey across the Atlantic. Once it was gone, he took wing and headed Southwest into France to stay out of the storm, then North to skirt the lands near the Arctic Circle and finally South into the US, and the bureaucrats in his home country be damned.