User:Leasara/What You Eat

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This was done in about three hours on the last day of a contest held at the Lab for the winter holidays. I'm not a big fan of the winter holidays, so the closest I connected with it was the cookies. I still love the trigger on this story.

What You Eat

Author: Shannon Robertson

Samantha wasn't very good at baking, in the same way stones aren't very good at swimming, but every now and then the urge took her to very strange and dark places. This holiday season her casualties included no less than five tubes of various premade cookie doughs, two trays of brownies, and something that theoretically should have resulted in a large pumpkin pie. However she didn't let these glorious failures get her down, and once the smoke had cleared and she was reasonably sure the fire was out, she went back to the supermarket to prowl its aisles for her next victim. This time she thought she might try a mix. Something simple, like a cake or some lemon bars.

The grocery store was disappointingly bare, however. They did have some eight inch round pans for the cake, but the mixes themselves were missing. The naked shelves made her think it was as if the boxes and bags of baking goods knew she was coming. She went to put the cake pans back and met a courtesy clerk doing returns. In the front of his basket, slightly crushed under the weight of a frozen turkey, was a red box with bright gold lettering declaring its contents to be Genderbread Cake and Cookie Mix. She puzzled at the typo for a moment, then helped herself to the contents of the cart.

"Can I help you?" the boy offered.

"No thanks, I just want this gingerbread mix at the front here." she replied without looking up.

"Oh, that has to go back, it's not in the system. In fact, we don't even carry it at all."

Finding her prize at last she wasn't going to give it up so easily. "Well, this looks like the last box in the store, and I really wanted to take something to work tomorrow before the break."

"Yeah, the snow keeps closing down the interstate, so most of the shops around here are getting low on their stock, but we can't sell you something that's not in the system. We're returning it to our distribution center for them to sort out." At least the desert mixes hadn't retreated. It took all of five minutes talking to the store manager to liberate the wayward box, but they didn't have any gingerbread man cookie cutters left. She would have to make due with the Animal Shapes set, since the Halloween set would seem a little too out of place.

Back home, she carefully measured the water according to the directions for cookie dough. She folded in the egg after removing all of the stray shell fragments. She rolled the dough to a uniform thickness of about a quarter inch as the box instructed. She carefully laid out her cookie cutters to get thirteen cookies and placed them on a greased sheet, then rolled out the dough again and made another three cookies. One for everyone at the office. Since it contained raw egg, she threw out the rest of the dough, having learned about the dangers of salmonella poisoning the hard way, twice. Double checking the oven temperature, she set three kitchen timers plus the timer on the microwave and put the baking sheet in the oven. Certain that everything would go well this time, she set about cleaning up the workspace wondering how she had managed to get flour on the ceiling again.

Samantha beamed as she walked into work carrying the foil covered plate. She returned her coworkers' looks of apprehension and astonishment with a giggle and a nod as she strode triumphantly to her desk. Placing her purse in its usual drawer, she retrieved a sign she had prepared on an index card and posted it above the plate before removing its cover. In her best script the sign read, "One Each, Please. Happy Holidays." The cookies certainly smelled edible, and the rest of the staff began to find excuses to walk by her desk for a closer inspection. When they began their second passes, she finally took the top cookie, broke off it's forelimbs and popped them into her mouth. Everyone stopped and stared intently. When she took a second bite the office manager, Rob, was the first one to her desk.

"Plain gingerbread?" he asked as he took his share.

"I didn't want to press my luck with decorating them," Samantha admitted.

"Why the bunny?" was his next question, holding up his earless cookie.

"All they had left were animal shaped cutters. Are they OK?" she wondered.

There was a nervous laugh in his answer, "They're great!" he announced more to the rest of the office than to the woman in front of him. A moment later, after a few muttered thank yous and congratulations, her plate was empty and everyone was munching a morning snack. Samantha, having accomplished one of her life's goals, merrily returned to setting up her cubicle for the day's work. It seemed like the joy of her accomplishment would burst from her chest at any moment, and she had to restrain herself from singing aloud as she typed in her password to log into her workstation, but the keyboard felt strange. While her workspace loaded, she inspected the keys for the source of the velvety feeling, but was met with the same hard black keys she had become accustomed to.

Another distraction popped up as the swelling pride in her chest gave way to an itching heat on the surface of her skin that slowly sank into her stomach. Scratching at her sternum, she felt that same velvet sensation and checked her left hand to find it had a light dusting of black hair growing along the back while the palm side was turning a black leathery texture. Her right hand had taken its explorations down to her moderate bust which seemed to be the source of the irritant. Fear gripped her as she watched her breasts rapidly deflate leaving fairly toned pectoral muscles and shriveling nipples plainly visible in the cups of her bra. The weird warmth was nearing her crotch and she remembered the strange typo on the box. Just then a woman screamed in Rob's office.

Rob flew out of his office, panic as apparent on his face as the two giant orbs of flesh that bounded on his chest as he ran, their nipples threatening to shred his shirt. Even more disturbing to Samantha were the points of a pair of ears poking through his lengthening hair. The rest of the office was on their feet, but she sank to the floor looking at her hands. Trying to ignore the very wrong way her slacks no longer fit, she began to think. She had eaten the forelegs of her cookie first, Rob had eaten the ears. Her hands were quite black, and their backs were covered in fur, but otherwise they were unchanged. Everyone had rushed to Rob's aid, and she peeked around the end of her cubicle to see what was going on.

His pants had ripped along the seams to make room for his hips, and the only people that would mistake him for a man were those present in this room. Among the rest of the employees, she could see a fox tail, a horse tail, and what she hoped was a chameleon tail. Most everyone had become more concerned about themselves and their ridiculous proportions and changing hides. Everyone had an obvious problem in their pants, and most of the former guys were struggling with their new additions up top. Sam slunk back into her cubicle before anyone caught her spying.

The fur that had claimed her hands had turned a brownish gray on her upper arms, and she deftly retrieved the powder compact from her purse. In its mirror she confirmed that her cookie was not, in fact, a dog with a fat tail as dark circles formed around her eyes, trailing down her cheek to form a mask in her fur. She wanted to cry at the thought of what she had done to her friends, even as she told herself that she had no way of knowing this would happen. A menagerie of semi-human noises assaulted her ears as they twitched higher on her head and the last of her hair was absorbed by her fur. She decided to stop blaming herself as she took stock of her body again.

The tail was coming in at the base of her spine with the telltale heat. It was making her slacks even more uncomfortable, and she undid the clasp and slid them down her legs. Waiting between her legs was a sight that might have gotten her quite excited if it weren't on her body. In fact, as the fur moved to claim her new appendage, she was only slightly surprised to find that her preferences in that department seemed to be as malleable as the rest of her in the grip of whatever was happening. Hazarding another peek, she found that most of the rest of the room had quieted down and was probably in a similar contemplation. It was only natural given the situation, Sam decided.

He took off the blouse and bra that he had worn to work and left them in a pile with his slacks. The fur had begun it's march down his legs, taking care of what little modesty concerns he had left, and he rose to find that he could barely see over the three foot wall on the back of his cubicle. He had a sort of waddle to his walk as his hips were still warm, indicating that they were probably still settling in. Rob was almost all bunny now, having lost that impossible chest. Sam wondered what might have happened if the store wasn't out of the gingerbread man cutter. The image of him bouncing around behind his chest suddenly had very different implications than it had when he rushed out of his office twenty minutes ago.

Everyone was watching Sam while he hurried along as fast as his shortening legs would carry him. His goal was the office door, which was the only real barrier between them and freedom that would require hands. John, who would make a nice painted filly once her face finished coming in, fell in behind Sam since it was unlikely, she reasoned, he would be able to hold the door open himself. The pair got the door open, then Sam got a desk calendar and jammed it into the doorway over the bottom hinge to prop it open without blocking passage. Their procession startled the mail carrier as he made the morning rounds, but such a diverse group of animals walking quietly down the hall would have had most anyone questioning their sanity. The carrier finally decided not to report the incident when they called the elevator, filed in one after the other and pressed the button for the parking garage level one. Who would believe the raccoon had smiled and waved at him?