Seeds of Evolution

For those who are familiar with my previous stories, the universe in this one may seem to be something of a cross between my Twisted and Burke’s universes. This is no coincidence since all three universes originated years ago from a single story idea, which split and went into several different directions. I’ve been sitting on this particular variation for a few years now and decided to finally play around with this one as well.

**********

Spring had finally arrived, though technically it had actually been here for some time. However, we’d finally moved past the April showers phase to the May flowers one. Nearly everyone on campus was taking advantage of the nice sunny weather, as evidenced by just how many students were gathered around the open courtyard. Like me and my friends, many of them were taking the opportunity to hang out and do a little people watching.

My name is Bryan Garrett and I was a sophomore at the college, though I hadn’t decided on my major yet. So far, I’ve been taking a few classes that interest me, though I’ve also been making sure to get plenty of credits for math, science, and other such topics. Though I was tempted to just continue following my interests and see where they’d go, I knew that I’d have to settle on a serious major soon. As my dad had pointed out before I’d left for college, I wasn’t spending all this time and money just so I could get a career asking, ‘do you want fries with that’.

I was sitting around a small courtyard table with my friends, who I jokingly called the Three Stooges. None of us really had anything in common, but we happened to end up together as roommates, sharing a small house just off campus. We got along well enough that we often ended up hanging out together, just like we were doing right then.

There was Matt, the short and slender boy who wore glasses more for the fact that they made him look smart than because he really needed them. He was the serious and studious member of our group. Bobby was tall and lanky, not to mention a real genius…not that you’d ever guess. Along with being the smartest person in our group, he also spent half his time being stoned out of his mind. And then there was Daniel Jones…who everyone just called DJ. DJ was a himbo, with blonde hair, a lean athletic build, and a laid back ‘surfer dude’ attitude that always confused me since he was from Colorado.

I was considered to be the musician our group because I played guitar and had been in a garage band back in high school. I was pretty decent, though certainly not great. And unlike the other guys in my old band, I’d never had any illusions about one day becoming a rock star. I played simply because I enjoyed it, and admittedly, because it impressed the girls.

“Dude,” DJ exclaimed, looking towards a hot looking brunette girl who was walking past. “Definitely some nice scenery out today…”

“You can say that again,” I agreed, giving the girl an appreciative look. Then after she’d gone past, I turned my attention to the sketch pad that I was currently using to doodle.

“How bout that one?” Bobby asked, nodding in the direction of a petite Asian girl. Of course, no one was surprised that he’d pointed her out. We all knew that Bobby had a thing for petite women.

Matt was silent for most of this exchange, focusing instead on his laptop and the class project that he’d been working on. Since he was a computer science major, he was usually playing around with a computer in one way or another, and he always had either his laptop or his computer tablet close at hand.

Then DJ exclaimed, “Now look at that one…” He stared at a hot looking blonde girl, shifting into a bad Australian accent as he said, “Isn’t she a beaut…?”

I stared at the girl, recognizing her from one of my classes. “Denise Andrews,” I said, remembering how she was a couple cup sizes smaller last year and not quite as hot. “I overheard her telling someone that she’s an evo…”

All three of my friends suddenly looked up at that, including Matt. Evos were people who’ve been artificially evolved due to exposure to an alien spore, or at least they were people who’ve been changed…often becoming stronger, smarter, and more attractive. Whether or not the process could be considered evolution was a question of some debate, but almost no one questioned the fact that evos tended to have a lot of advantages.

“Dude,” DJ exclaimed. “That is awesome…”

“Naw,” Bobby said with a shake of his head. “She’s not an evo… She just had a boob job and a makeover…”

I frowned at that, “But she said…”

“She was probably just doing the same thing DJ does,” Bobby pointed out, gesturing to DJ.

All of us knew that one of DJ’s favorite tactics to use when trying to pick up girls was to tell them that he was infected with evo spores, and that they could activate and turn him into an evo at any time. Though that did scare away some girls, there were quite a few who fell for it. After all, a lot of people were fascinated with evos and would be happy to hang around with one, or get their foot in the door early with someone who might become one.

“Becoming an evo isn’t something to joke about,” Matt said, glaring at DJ. This was an old disagreement between them, or at least a subject that Matt tended to get rather passionate about.

“What’s wrong with telling chicks I might turn evo?” DJ asked with a grin.

I gave him a wry look and asked, “Besides it being a lie?”

“Hey, I have just as much chance of turning evo as anyone else,” DJ responded, still grinning. “I’m just being a little optimistic.”

“I’m sorry,” Matt announced grimly, still glaring at DJ, “But I don’t think the idea of being taken over by an alien fungus and then turning into some kind of pod person is something you should ever hope for. The fact is, evos aren’t even real people anymore. They’re victims…alien puppets.”

“Meat suits,” Bobby joked while Matt nodded agreement, apparently not realizing that Bobby wasn’t serious.

There were a lot of advantages to becoming an evo, such as perfect health and a vastly improved body, so it was no wonder why a lot of people envied them and wanted to become one themselves. However, there were also people like Matt, who thought the whole thing was too good to be true. Some of them, like my friend, thought that evos were part of a vast alien conspiracy with sinister goals. The truth was, no one really knew much about the spores that changed normal people into evos, but almost everyone had a theory.

Then Matt let out a sigh and sat there with a sad look on his face. “Poor Allison…”

Last year, Allison Prescott had been one of Matt’s friends, a plain and somewhat nerdy looking girl who spent almost all of her time studying. Then last fall, she’d gone evo, turning into a gorgeous and stacked babe. With her new body and instant popularity, she’d turned her back on all her old friends and joined a sorority, then proceeded to make a reputation for herself since as being a bit of a party girl.

Matt just sat there with a scowl on his face, probably thinking about Allison. I couldn’t really blame him for feeling hurt either. Almost overnight, the girl he’d liked had suddenly become out of his league, and she knew it. He’d procrastinated on asking her out, and when he was finally ready, it was too late. She’d dumped him and all her other old friends, and from what Matt said, she hasn’t had anything to do with them since.

“It changed her personality,” Matt said bitterly. “It turned her into someone else. She isn’t Allison now…just some kind of alien controlled pod person.”

“Look, Bro,” DJ told him with a shrug. “She just got a hot new body, so of course she wants to take advantage of it…” He didn’t say anything, but from the look on his face, I guessed that he was wishing she’d take advantage of her new body with him.

“He’s got a point,” Bobby agreed. “A hot bod like that demands to be used. She was probably like, totally repressed and this just gave her a chance to let it all out…”

Matt looked frustrated, and I was pretty sure that he was about to snap at Bobby and DJ. I decided that it was time to change the topic and asked, “Do any of you guys have plans for tonight?”

“I’ve got a date with a fine lady,” DJ answered with a grin.

“I’m just gonna chill out,” Bobby announced, which we all knew meant that he was going to spend the night getting stoned and playing video games. I could definitely get into the video games, but I wasn’t interested in the rest of it. I tried smoking weed a couple times, but I’ve never really enjoyed it.

Matt looked at his laptop, then admitted, “I have to finish up my debugging project.”

“What about you, Bro?” DJ asked me, more to be polite than because he was really interested. “You got a hot date too?”

Bobby snorted at that and said, “Bryan with a date? Not likely. Ever since Natalie dumped him, he’s been avoiding girls like the plague…”

I squirmed uncomfortably at the reminder of my last girlfriend, who’d dumped me in spectacular fashion a few months ago. She’d been a nice girl at first, but then she’d fallen in with a few friends who convinced her that men were the root of all evil. The next thing I knew, she was accusing me of misogyny and sexism in absolutely everything I did, from leaving the toilet seat up to my choice of foods. Our breakup had been loud and messy, with her making a lot of wild accusations against me in the middle of the campus courtyard, just a short distance away from where I currently sat.

“Hey, I need to pay my tuition somehow,” I joked to my friends. “So I signed up for a study to test cootie repellant…”

“I think it’s working,” Matt pointed out with a faint smirk.

I just shrugged at that, taking the teasing as it came my way. “I have to work on my history paper tonight,” I finally told the others. “But first, you remember when I went for my physical last week?”

“Yeah,” Matt responded, not looking up again from his computer. “Why?”

I frowned slightly, thinking about the medical appointment and how I hadn’t wanted to waste time going since I felt perfectly fine. However, my dad had always insisted that everyone in the family get an annual physical, and since I was still on his insurance plan, it had been a pretty good idea to play along. After all, Dad and his insurance company were the ones paying for it, not me.

“Well,” I said with a sigh, “the doctor said they found something in one of the blood tests and he wanted to talk to me about it in person. So, I’ve got another appointment this afternoon.”

“Did he say what it was?” Matt asked, looking a little concerned.

“No,” I responded with a shake of my head, trying to act as though I wasn’t at all worried about this. “But on the plus side, he has a really cute nurse working with him…”

A few hours later, I was sitting in the doctor’s office with my sketch pad in hand, absently doodling and making cartoon caricatures. I wasn’t a very good artist, but this was something that I’d always done to distract myself whenever I was bored or worried. And at the moment, I was definitely worried.

Dr. Albright was a hefty man in his late fifties, and when I’d been here the last time, he’d come off as good natured. However, when I’d arrived for this appointment, he’d been all business. Instead of telling me why he’d called me back, he immediately rushed me in for some more tests, saying, “I want to have a little more information before I tell you what I’ve found.” And now that he’d finished the tests, I was sitting there, waiting impatiently for him to finally tell me what was going on.

“Cancer,” I muttered. “It’s got to be cancer…”

I shuddered, not only at the idea of having cancer, but at the certainty that my Aunt Colleen would say, “I told you so.” She’d always warned me that using cell phones would cause cancer…that watching TV would cause cancer…and that even dinking soda would cause cancer. Nobody in the family took her seriously, but there was no doubt that she’d take my having cancer as proof that she was right all along. In fact, the rest of my family just might not forgive me for giving her the opportunity to be even more obnoxious about it.

When Dr. Albright returned, he said, “I apologize for making you wait like this, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t overreacting or being premature.”

“No offense,” I told him with a weak smile, “but I kind of hope you are. You’ve got me kind of worried here…”

Dr. Albright stared at me for a moment, then admitted, then said, “To be honest, I’m not certainly whether you’ll consider this good news or bad, though I would certainly be concerned.”

With that, he typed something on his computer and an image came up on the monitor. I stared at it for a moment, then I realized that it was an MRI image of a head, probably the one that had been taken just a short time ago.

“I’m not exactly sure how to tell you this,” Dr. Albright said, looking a little nervous. He gestured to the MRI image on the screen which showed a small lump at the base of the skull. “You have seed.”

“What?” I gasped, feeling as though my entire world had just shaken. “An evo seed?”

I couldn’t have been any more shocked if Dr. Albright had just told me that I had cancer. In fact, an evo seed…or seed of evolution as the more dramatic referred to them, was very much like cancer in a way. But at the same time, they could also be thought of as being a form of anti-cancer.

Whether you called them evo seeds or seeds of evolution, they were the result of infection by alien spores which had first appeared on Earth about five years ago. They could change a person in amazing and nearly impossible ways, often making them stronger, smarter, and even more attractive. Evos were also given better than perfect health, curing them of any and all diseases in the process, and sometimes they even developed special abilities that went beyond what any normal person could do.

There was some debate about whether or not the process counted as evolution, though there was no doubt that evos were often the targets of jealousy and fascination. The benefits could be amazing, with many evos being given the celebrity treatment, so a lot of people would give anything they owned…or even kill for the chance of becoming an evo themselves. Of course, not everyone felt that way, as Matt proved. For one thing, an evo could also be changed in ways that they’d never want or ask for, turning them into someone else entirely. The prospect of being an evo filled me with a mixture of both excitement and dread.

“This isn’t the end of the world,” Dr. Albright pointed out wryly, probably thinking about how many people would have loved to be where I was at the moment. And the fact was, if I did go full evo, I’d probably end up so healthy that I’d never need to see a doctor again. “In fact, this might just be the beginning of a whole new one for you.”

“So, does this mean I will turn evo?” I asked Dr. Albright nervously.

“Bryan,” he started carefully, looking me over for a few seconds before asking, “How much do you know about an evo infection?”

“Just what everyone does,” I answered, suddenly feeling like I was being called on in class when I hadn’t done the reading assignment. Everyone knew about spores and evos, but I’d never given a lot of thought about how they infected people. “These alien spores infect you and then change your body.”

“True,” Dr. Albright said with a sigh. “But there’s much more to it than that.” He paused and rubbed his chin, which was something I’d seen him do several times while he was trying to decide what to say. “Unfortunately, I’m not an expert in evo infections. This is all very new, and when I was in medical school, we never even dreamed that something like this was possible. In fact, you’re only the third patient I’ve ever seen with an evo infection.”

I nodded at that, understanding completely. After all, spores and evos had only been around for five years. I didn’t really understand how any of it worked, but I was pretty sure that no one else did either, not even the people who claimed to be experts.

“I’ll explain what I do know,” Dr. Albright told me. “Evo spores…well, we call them spores because they are similar to fungal spores, but once they infect a host, they behave more like a virus. From what I understand, they aren’t actually a fungus or a virus, but are something else entirely. Something…”

“Alien?” I supplied wryly.

“Exactly,” Dr. Albright agreed with a shake of his head.

“The spores are supposedly quite fragile and don’t usually survive outside of a host for more than a day or two before dying. And just because you get exposed to a spore, that doesn’t mean you’ll actually become infected. In fact, I’ve recently read a study that suggested people who live in highly populated areas like large cities, are exposed to spores on a regular basis.”

“But you said I am infected,” I pointed out, not really caring about just how close I may have come to not being infected. What I wanted to know was whether or not I’d become an evo…and if there was some kind of treatment. Because in spite of all the good things that apparently came with being an evo, I’d heard plenty of bad ones as well.

“There are five stages of evo infection,” Dr. Albright told me in a serious tone. “In the first stage, evo spores are spreading through your body but haven’t really taken hold yet. Nine times out of ten, your own immune system cleans the spores out and the infection doesn’t go any further than this. In fact, you may even have been infected several times before now, without ever knowing it.”

“For a stage two infection,” Dr. Albright continued, “the spores have advanced beyond the point of the immune system to handle unaided, and they are integrating with the nervous system. With proper treatment, the infection can be halted from progressing further, and in earlier stages, sometimes cured entirely.”

Dr. Albright looked me in the eyes, his expression grim as he stated, “You are currently at a stage three. At stage three, the spores have spread through the body and have fully integrated with your brain and nervous system. They’ve also formed a seed…a small organ which interfaces with your brain and nervous system, tracks your emotional and environmental stimuli, and which controls the nature of the evo progression from there. At this point, the spores have all gone passive and can remain in that state for years.”

I took a deep breath, glanced to the MRI image which showed the seed. After a moment, I asked, “What can I do about it?”

“Treatment options are…limited,” Dr. Albright admitted, pausing to rub his chin again. “A stage three infection is considered semi-stable, as the spores are no longer contagious and have ceased spreading. There are treatments that are believed to reduce the chance of the seed activating and progressing to stage four, but it does still happen. From what I understand, every attempt that has ever been made to surgically remove a seed has merely resulted in it sprouting immediately.”

I sat there for a moment, feeling a bit shaken by that information. I’d been hoping that I actually had a choice in the matter, that if I decided that I really didn’t want to become an evo, that I could have gotten antibiotics or something. But from what he’d just said, I wouldn’t even be able to cut the seed out like I would have a tumor.

“At stage four,” Dr. Albright explained with a scowl, “the seed sprouts. It releases a new surge of spores through your body while activating the ones that are already present and giving them instructions. This is the point where your body changes in whatever manner the seed directs. Once you’ve stopped changing and the spores become stable again, you’ll have entered stage five…as a stable and full evo.”

“Oh shit,” I gasped, dropping my head into my hands and trying to absorb all this. From what Dr. Albright said, now that I had a seed, it was only a matter of time before it sprouted and I turned full evo. And while this could end up as the best thing to ever happen to me, it could also be the worst. “What am I going to do?”

Everyone knew that when someone went evo, they would change in various ways, usually in ones that could be considered positive. They’d become stronger, healthier, and sometimes even smarter. It was said that this was because their seed was trying to improve them…to evolve them. And though a lot of evos seemed to become idealized or ‘perfect’ versions of themselves, sometimes they also became different people entirely.

Dr. Albright put a reassuring hand on my shoulder, though he obviously didn’t know what to say in order to comfort me. Several times, it looked as though he was about to speak, but then he closed his mouth instead. Finally, he pulled his hand away, giving me a sympathetic look.

“I don’t know how your seed may end up changing you,” Dr. Albright finally told me, apparently deciding to go for the professional route. “From what I understand, there are quite a few factors involved, and I have no way of predicting what the outcome will be. What I can tell you is that you aren’t the only person who has to deal with this.”

Dr. Albright spent the next ten minutes alternating between telling me what I could expect from my infection and trying to be comforting, without a lot of success. He did give me a few pamphlets and addresses for web sites that would be able to answer a lot of my questions.

“There is a local group for people with evo infections who meet up and share their experiences,” Dr. Albright told me before I left. “I recommend that you go to one of their meetings. These people are going through…or have already gone through the same things you are and might be able to help you to get a better understanding of what you’re facing”

“Thank you,” I told him, letting out a sigh as I left.

--------------------

The tunes of Joe Satriani filled the air, or at least my pale imitation of them. I was in the middle of my bedroom, rocking out and doing my best to play some of the sweet notes from Surfing with the Alien album, but unfortunately, my skills just weren’t up to the task of truly doing justice to the legendary guitarist, though I was certainly doing my best.

Of course, I wasn’t taking all the blame for my less than impressive rendition. After all, I was in a cramped bedroom that had been a storage room before the house owners converted it in order to collect more rent money, which meant that the acoustics sucked. And then there was also the fact that my amp was also turned down pretty low, just so I didn’t upset the neighbors. I was less concerned with annoying my housemates.

Once I was done with my practicing, I finally heard someone knocking on the wall from the next room over. “Dude,” DJ’s voice called out from the other side. “Keep it down. I’m on the phone with a babe…”

“Sorry,” I called out, trying to sound sincere, though I wasn’t. There had been more than a couple time when DJ had kept me up all night with the noise he made with girls he brought home, so I didn’t feel the least guilty about bothering him.

A minute later, I emerged from my room, only to immediately catch the strong scent of weed in the air. Bobby was sitting on the couch in our common area, playing some game on his Playstation. Though he wasn’t smoking anything at the moment, from the smell, it was pretty obvious that it hadn’t been very long since he had.

“Hey,” I greeted Bobby, who gave me a half wave, not bothering to take his eyes away from the screen.

Unlike DJ, Bobby hadn’t been bothered by my playing. Then again, Bobby was almost never bothered about anything. However, if Matt had been present, he definitely would have complained about the noise, which was why I’d waited until he’d left for work. One thing I liked about Saturday afternoons was that I could usually practice in peace.

I watched Bobby playing Call of Duty for a few minutes, then glanced towards DJ’s bedroom door, which was still shut. I frowned slightly, thinking about the fact that it had been over a week since I’d learned about being infected with an evo seed, and I still hadn’t told my housemates. I was relatively certain that Bobby and DJ would take it pretty well, probably even congratulating me on it, and perhaps even insisting we get drunk to celebrate. However, I had absolutely no doubt that Matt wouldn’t take it quite that well. In fact, I was pretty sure that he’d either move out of the house, or insist that I move. And if I told DJ, Matt would find out anyway. DJ couldn’t keep a secret if his life depended on it.

When DJ came out of his room, he had a smug look on his face. “Dude, I’ve got a hot date tonight…”

“Is this one a pyromaniac?” I asked him wryly.

“Yeah,” Bobby agreed, finally tearing his attention away from the game, at least long enough to glance at DJ. “If you don’t satisfy her, she might set your ass on fire…”

“Sounds kinky,” DJ responded with an easy grin. “I don’t know what does it for you guys, but that’s not exactly my thing…”

We joked around for a couple more minutes before Bobby asked, “Hey, you guys wanna play?” He held up his Playstation controller and nodded towards the TV.

“Sure thing,” DJ immediately agreed. “But let me grab a beer first…”

“Not me,” I told Bobby. “I’ve got something I need to do.”

“SomeTHING?” DJ asked with a grin. “Or someONE?”

Bobby grinned. “Bryan clearly said someTHING, so I’m guessing he bought a new blow up doll…”

“Bite me,” I responded, flipping them both off, much to their amusement.

After that, I decided it was time to get going. I grabbed my backpack and the business card that Dr. Albright had given me last week. Across the front, it merely said Evo Group, and provided a phone number. When I’d called to ask about the group, they provided an address and time for their weekly meeting.

I glanced back at DJ and Bobby, momentarily feeling guilty for keeping something this big from them. Fortunately, it only lasted a few seconds, and then I was on my way.

When I arrived at the address I’d been given, I found that it was a small brick house that was old but in good shape. It looked like it had originally been created as a residential home, but considering location and neighbors, I doubted that it was still used as such. On one side of the house was a very similar building, which had large signs declaring it a lawyer’s office. On the other side was a much newer building, which housed a real estate office. There were no signs on the building that I was looking at, which made me wonder if I was in the right place.

I spent half a minute just staring at the building before I climbed out of my car, grabbed my backpack, and went to the door. Seconds after I knocked, the door open and I suddenly found myself facing an enormous black man. He was about 6 foot 4, half a foot taller than me, and he was bulging with muscles. I stared at the man in surprise, and my first thought was that he had to be some kind of hardcore bodybuilder.

“You must be the new guy,” the large man said in a deep voice. I might have been a little intimidated, if it wasn’t for the fact that he was giving me a friendly smile. “Bryan right?”

“Yeah,” I responded in relief. “So I am in the right place?”

“You are, if you’re looking for the evo meeting,” he told me with a chuckle. He stood back to let me in, then held out his hand and announced, “I’m Luke.”

“Nice to meet you,” I told him as I shook his hand, only a little nervous that he might crush it. When I stared at his arms, and his biceps which were bigger than my thighs, I thought it was a legitimate concern.

Luke gestured to the large room, which had obviously been the living room when the building had still been a residential home, and I saw that there were nearly a dozen chairs set up around the room almost in a circle. All of the seats were currently empty, except for one which was occupied by an absolutely gorgeous blonde woman, who really had a MILF vibe. From her appearance, I was pretty sure she was evo.

“Have a seat,” Luke suggested. “We’re still waiting for everyone to arrive…”

I nodded at that, then almost without meaning to, I blurted out, “Are you an evo?”

Instead of being offended by the question, Luke looked amused. “Sure am,” he responded, flexing his arms to show me his muscles. “I didn’t even have to work for these…but admittedly, it’s a lot of fun going to the gym and showing off.” He gave me a wink which had me grin in response. After all, if I had muscles like that, I’d probably look for any excuse to show them off too.

I found an empty chair to sit in, then reached in to my backpack before pausing. I had been about to pull out my sketch book so I could do a little doodling while I waited, but it was damn hard to ignore the total babe on the other side of the room. As it was, I probably should focus on drawing, just so I didn’t stare at her.

“I’m Bryan,” I said awkwardly, as though she hadn’t heard me introduce myself to Luke.

“Mary,” she responded, giving me a faintly curious look.

I blushed at the attention and stammered out, “I’m not really even sure what this is. I mean, I just found out I had a seed, and my doctor recommended I come here…”

Mary smiled a little more at that before saying, “Then you have definitely come to the right place.” She paused a moment, then began to explain, “This is just a casual group that meets up every other week, and for the most part, we just sit around and chat about all things evo. Some who join our group are like you, coming because they just became infected and want to know what to expect, while others have already gone full evo and either want to help out, or just have the opportunity to talk with those who’ve gone through the same thing.”

I nodded at that, feeling a little relieved since it didn’t sound too bad. In fact, it was starting to sound like this really would be a good place to get my questions answered. And as I looked at Mary, I realized that if Bobby and DJ found out about this meeting, they’d die of jealously. Hell, DJ would probably pretend to be infected, just so he could come in and hang out with her.

At this point, more people began to come in. They gave me curious looks, and I thought about introducing myself, but Luke told me, “Once everyone arrives, we’ll do a round of introductions.”

Once a few more people arrived, the meeting began and a man stood up. He was stocky, in his mid to late fifties, and had gray hair and a beard. One look at him was enough to know that he wasn’t an evo, which meant that he was probably like me, having a seed and just waiting for it to sprout. The man also looked vaguely familiar, though I couldn’t place where I might know him from.

“Hello everyone,” the elderly man greeted the group before he settled his attention on me. He gave me a friendly smile. “I am Professor Ernest Parnell, and I teach microbiology at the college.”

“That’s where I’ve seen him,” I muttered in recognition. I’d seen him a couple times around campus, though I hadn’t known who he was or what he taught.

“Clearly, I am not an evo,” Parnell continued with a chuckle. “I do not have a seed, nor am I infected with any spores. However, I am something of an expert in evo infections, so I do have something to add to the discussion.”

“He’s also the one who started this group,” Luke said, looking right at me. “About three years ago.”

Parnell nodded agreement. “I had met a number of evos and the infected as a result of my research, so it seemed a small matter of introducing some of them to each other. Shared resources make for greater understanding.”

The professor sat down after that and Luke stood up and introduced himself. “My name is Luke…and I am an evo.” He’d already told me this when I’d come in, however, he didn’t stop there. “Before I was an evo…my name used to be Lucy.”

“Lucy?” I blurted out, wondering why he’d had a girl’s name, though I could certainly understand why he’d changed it.

Luke gave me a wry smile. “Yes, I was born female…and white.” He gestured down at himself, giving me a wry smile as he joked, “My seed turned me from a rather chubby white girl, to this.”

I just stared at Luke in shock, having a hard time believing it. I knew that evo spores could change you, that they could change you drastically. However, I hadn’t realized that it could do anything that extreme.

“Damn,” I whispered.

Luke shrugged, then flexed his arms. “I’m not sure how much of these came from the fact that I’d just started going to the gym to try getting in shape, and how much was from my donor.”

I was about to ask what Luke meant by ‘donor’ when he sat down and the girl sitting beside him sat up. She was about my age, and very slender, or skinny if I was being less polite. She had brown hair, glasses, and didn’t seem to have much fat or curves to her body.

“I’m Leslie Trask,” the girl said, staring at the ground rather than me. “I’m a college student, majoring in literature, and I learned I had a seed about four months ago.” She paused at that, and I thought she was done, but then she quietly continued, “Sometimes, I hope it sprouts, but other times…I’m terrified about what will happen to me if it does.”

There were nods from around the room, with one guy saying, “I definitely get that. I felt the same way, before my I went full evo.”

Leslie sat down, and the man who’d begun speaking stood up, apparently deciding that since he’d started, he might as well continue. He had a lean and athletic body, which seemed pretty ripped, though not bulky. Unlike Luke, he was built more like a swimmer or runner.

“I’m Jon,” he said, looking around the room before settling his eyes on me. “I turned evo about two years ago, after spending a couple months with a seed. Ever since then, my life has definitely gotten better.”

At this point, Mary stood up, immediately drawing my attention to her since this gave me an opportunity to really check her out. Standing up, I could see her figure a little better, and if anything, I’d underestimated how hot she was earlier.

“As I already told you,” she told me with an amused look, “my name is Mary. I am forty-eight years old, happily married, and a mother of three.” I gaped at the revelation of her age. “I had no idea that I was even infected, until my seed sprouted and I turned evo. As you can see, becoming an evo was like finding the fountain of youth, though admittedly, my figure wasn’t nearly this good when I was this age the first time.”

“So, you really got younger?” I asked, knowing that my parents would kill for that.

“Much to my husband’s delight,” Mary responded with a smile, “and daughter’s disgust. My family has had mixed reactions, to say the least.”

I was so busy thinking about what I’d already learned, that I barely noticed the final two people stand up and introduce themselves. One was a tall and willowy Asian woman, while the other was a tanned and muscular guy, who looked like he could be on the cover of some romance novel. Admittedly, I was intentionally ignoring him.

Once everyone else in the room was finished with their introductions, it was my turn. The fact that everyone was now looking at me expectantly was also a pretty good indication.

In spite of feeling extremely self-conscious, I stood up and gave an awkward smile. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you all…” I paused at that, seeing there were a few nods and smiles, though no one said anything. “I’m Bryan Garrett, and I’m a student at the college…” That seemed to get the attention of both Leslie and Parnell. “I just found out I have a seed a little over a week ago, and I came here hoping to get some idea of what’s going to happen.”

At this point, there were a few comments like “Hello Bryan,” and “Welcome to the group.”

Parnell looked at me and announced, “Since Bryan is new to this situation, and probably has a lot of questions, I believe we should start this session by helping him answer as many of those as possible.”

“Sounds good to me,” Luke replied.

“That is why we’re here,” Jon added.

“Okay,” I said, once again feeling a bit self-conscious and awkward since everyone was looking at me expectantly. “I do have a lot of questions, but I’m not really sure where to start.” I gestured to Luke and quickly added, “Like, how can some alien spore change someone THAT much?”

“Perhaps I should start at the beginning,” Parnell mused. “To answer those questions, and many others you may have, you need to understand the purpose of the spores…or at least, what I believe the intended purpose was.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a wooden pipe, though he didn’t light it. Instead, he just held it in his hand as though it was lit. “I assume you’ve heard of the Mordens.”

“Yeah,” I nodded agreement. Everyone had heard of the Mordens.

About five years ago, a small alien spaceship broke through the atmosphere, spun out of control, and crashed outside of the small town of Morden Wyoming. The ship had been mostly destroyed, and the two alien passengers had both been killed in the crash, though something they’d brought with them had survived and flourished. The evo spores.

“I was one of the people called in for the initial investigation,” Parnell stated, making me stare at him with new respect. If he’d been researching the whole evo thing since the very beginning, then it was no wonder he’d referred to himself as an expert. “In fact, I’m still consulting with the government on the evo spores.”

Parnell brought is pipe up as if to take a puff on it, but paused when he remembered it was unlit. He had a faint chagrinned look as he lowered it again. “Two of the extraterrestrials, which we now call Mordens after the location of their landing, had been in the craft. One of them appears to have died during the impact, while the second one survived for only a short time longer, expiring from a combination of injuries and exposure to our atmosphere. Both were found with their bodies saturated with spores, though the spores in the second alien appeared to have been active and in the process of changing him before his death. Examination indicates he was in the process of developing lungs that could have handled our atmosphere.”

I stared at the professor, listening intently to every word he said. After I’d learned that I had a seed, I’d done a little research online, but there was so much rumor and speculation, it was hard to tell what was accurate and what was complete bullshit. It was nice to actually get the real story from someone who knew what they were talking about.

“So,” I mused, “the Mordens were evos…”

“Indeed,” Parnell agreed, bringing his pipe up as if to smoke it. He chewed on the stem for a couple seconds before he seemed to remember that it wasn’t lit. “I believe the Mordens intentionally created the spores for the purpose of altering their bodies, of improving them…and perhaps so they could function more efficiently on alien worlds. Instead of carrying survival suits and a large supply of breathable air, they could simply adapt themselves to the environments. And if they insert the DNA of the natives, it would probably make it easier for them to blend in as well.”

“The changes seem kind of…random,” I pointed out skeptically, glancing to Luke. It was hard to believe the Mordens could have used the spores like that, when they were so…unpredictable.

Parnell nodded. “The spores were designed for Morden physiology, not human, so they may not work with our bodies quite the same way they do with the Mordens. They probably would have been used under controlled circumstances, programmed for specific changes. Unfortunately, they’ve spread out of control, and we have neither the knowledge nor understanding of how to correct this.” Then he smiled before adding the word, “Yet.”

“But returning to the point,” Parnell told me. “Once your body is saturated with spores and they form a seed, which is directly connected to your nervous system and your brain. This seed will monitor your thoughts, emotions, physical and environmental data. When the time comes, your seed will determine what form your…evolution will take.”

“It usually just makes you super healthy,” the Asian woman pointed out, “and unlocks the full potential in your DNA. It makes you into a more perfect you.”

Luke scowled at that and added, “It CAN…but it can also do a hell of a lot more.”

“Yes,” Dr. Parnell agreed with a thoughtful look. “There are indeed other factors. Your seed won’t just use your DNA to determine your changes, but will also use your thoughts, emotions, and environmental information…especially any stresses that may have triggered the seed to begin sprouting.”

“Basically,” Luke said, standing up and flexing one of his arms. “If you work out a lot, or even just hang out around people with muscles, you’re a lot more likely to develop guns like these.”

“Indeed,” Parnell responded with a nod. He used the stem of his pipe to point at Luke, adding, “And as an additional complication, the DNA and information that your seed uses as a basis, may not always been your own.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, feeling a bit lost. It seemed that the more Parnell told me about spores and seeds, the more confusing this while situation became.

The professor brought his pipe back to his mouth again, looking rather thoughtful. “A single spore is capable of storing vast amounts of information, much the way a single cell in your body contains information in the form of DNA. When you are in your contagious periods, the spores that you release may contain your DNA…and even a full record of the information recorded by your seed.”

I stared at Parnell for a moment, then at Luke, understanding what they were getting at. “So, you changed into a copy of the person who infected you…”

“Or some kind of idealized version of him,” Luke agreed with a wry smile. He flexed again, obviously enjoying the chance to show off his muscles. “I’m not sure how much of these came from him, or from the fact that I’d been going to the gym and trying to lose weight.”

“Unfortunately,” the professor told me, “we have no way of knowing for certain what information your seed will use to change you, much less of actually controlling it. I’ve been researching that very thing for the last few years, with little real progress.”

I gulped, staring at Luke, then at the other people around the room. “But I don’t know who I caught it from…”

“Most people never do,” Mary told me with a faint smile. “But more than likely, you’ll just turn into some kind of idealized version of yourself”

“But not everyone does,” I replied, still looking at Luke, who nodded agreement.

“Don’t worry too much,” Mary said, this time smiling a little more. “I’m sure you’ll be quite a handsome evo, and the girls at your school will be all over you…” Her eyes darted to Leslie, and both Leslie and I blushed a little at that.

“Hey, I never would have asked to look this way,” Luke pointed out, “but there are a lot of great things about being an evo.” He flexed his muscles again, and this time I rolled my eyes. He really was a show off. “Hell, I’m almost three times as strong as I actually look too…”

“Three times?” I blurted out in surprise.

“Evos usually have a mixture of physical and mental gifts,” Parnell told me. “Most develop incredible health and fitness, though some become even stronger, gain increased senses, or an ability to heal even faster than most. In addition, it’s quite common for an evo to gain increased intelligence, improved memory, and even new or enhanced aptitudes in some area…”

“I’m also a math prodigy now,” Mary stated rather smugly. “Which is quite a change, since before I went evo, I could barely balance my checkbook.”

“Well, I can do this,” Jon announced, obviously not to be outdone. Jon held his hands out and sparks shot out from one of his palms and went right to the other, reminding me of a tesla coil. I gasped at the sight, feeling more than a little surprised. “I’m an electrician, and I’ve had a few minor zaps over the years, with one of them triggering my seed to sprout”

“Show off,” Luke joked.

I wasn’t the only one to have noticed how much Luke likes showing his muscles, because Leslie smirked and pointed out, “Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?”

“Hey,” Luke responded with a cheerful grin. “If you’ve got it, flaunt it…”

“Amen to that,” Mary added with a smug look of her own.

After this, the conversation changed a bit, and instead of explaining how the spores and seeds worked, the other members of the group began sharing their experiences, and how they’d first changed. It was all quite interesting, and by the time the meeting was over, I was actually looking forward to coming back and hearing more.

-----------------

It was Friday evening, and after a long week of classes, I was ready to go out and party…or stay home and chill with pizza and a movie. Though I enjoyed a good party every now and then, I hadn’t been invited to one tonight, nor was I really feeling up to dealing with that many people. After a busy week, I wanted to lose the stress, not add more.

The Three Stooges and I were all staying home, which was a rare thing for a Friday night. Usually, I could count on DJ being gone on a date, though tonight, he’d chosen to stay home with the rest of us. I suspected that this was less due to his enjoying our company, and more because he was dead broke.

“Did you have to order pepperoni?” Matt complained as he looked at the top pizza. “I don’t like pepperoni. It’s too greasy…”

“The second one is a Hawaiian,” I pointed out. “Canadian bacon and pineapple. And the third one is sausage and olives. See…no pepperoni.”

Matt glared at me, as though it was my fault he hadn’t thought to check the other pizzas before complaining. However, Bobby was picking out a slice of the Hawaiian pizza and asked, “Have you guys ever wondered why they call it Hawaiian pizza? I mean, I’m pretty sure they don’t use Canadian bacon, so wouldn’t you need to add spam or some of the luau pork to really make it Hawaiian?”

“Hey, I’m not the one who named it,” I reminded him.

DJ just chuckled. “Dudes. Less complaining…more eating.”

“Amen to that,” I agreed.

“Now, on to the next important topic of discussion,” Bobby announced, looking around with a serious expression. “What movie should we plug in?”

We were just beginning what promised to be a nice long disagreement which the movie we were going to watch, when the doorbell began to ring. DJ immediately jumped to his feet, exclaiming, “Oh yeah, I invited Tina over…”

“Tina?” I asked, realizing that she had to be his girlfriend du jour. DJ went through so many of them that I usually didn’t bother to learn their names.

Seconds later, DJ opened the door and a cute blonde stepped into the house. I’d seen her a couple times before, though I hadn’t known her name until now. She was the same girl DJ had been dating for the last two weeks, and I already liked her better than his previous girlfriend. The last one had been a real screamer, and kept me awake a time or two.

“Hi,” Tina said, giving a friendly wave towards us. “I hope you don’t mind, but I brought my roommate…”

“No problem,” DJ responded with a grin, gesturing for them both to come in. “The more the merrier…”

Tina’s roommate entered the house right behind her, and was a cute but fairly plain looking girl with brown hair and glasses. She was also quite familiar looking since I’d met her last week.

“Leslie,” I said in surprise, giving her a nod of acknowledgement.

Leslie gave me a look of surprise as well, then smiled a little. “Bryan, wasn’t it?”

“You two know each other?” DJ asked.

“Not very well,” I admitted to my housemate. “We just met last week.”

“Have a seat,” I told Leslie, gesturing to an empty spot on the couch. She smiled at that, looking relieved to have someone else here that she knew besides her roommate.

“You live here?” Leslie asked me curiously.

I nodded at that and gestured around the room. “And these are my housemates…the Three Stooges.”

Bobby just chuckled at that. “If we’re the Three Stooges, that makes you Shemp.”

“The Three Stooges?” DJ asked with a look of mock disbelief. “And I thought we were the Three Musketeers…”

“The Three Caballeros,” Matt added with a smug look.

I looked at Leslie and repeated. “Stooges.” She laughed at that, definitely looking more at ease.

“We’ve got plenty of pizza,” I told the girls, gesturing to the boxes. “Help yourselves.”

“Is any of it vegetarian?” Tina asked eagerly while Leslie stuck out her tongue, letting me know what she thought about vegetarian pizza.

DJ looked a little awkward as he said, “Well, it is if you pick off the pepperoni…”

With the girls present, it took a bit longer to pick out the movie, but that was fine because things were getting more interesting. “I’ll get the beer,” I announced, getting up and going to the kitchen.

To my surprise, Leslie offered, “I’ll help…”

I was a little surprised by her offer, though by the time we reached the kitchen, I realized that it was because she wanted to talk to me alone. “Tina knows I have a seed,” she announced, “but I’d prefer it didn’t get around…”

I nodded in complete understanding, giving her a chagrinned look as I admitted, “I still haven’t told the guys.”

“Are you afraid they’re gonna get jealous?” Leslie asked with a teasing smile.

“Maybe DJ and Bobby,” I responded with a shrug and a grin. “Matt, not so much. He…doesn’t like evos. He had a bad experience with a friend who went evo.”

Leslie nodded at that. “It happens. I hear that sometimes, you can really change…and not just physically.” For a moment, we were both silent, then she said, “Tina is hoping she catches some spores from me, but….I don’t think she even realizes that I won’t become contagious until my seed sprouts. And even then, the odds of my spores taking hold would be really low…even if we do live together.”

“Then, I hope she isn’t too disappointed,” I commented, reaching into the fridge and pulling out the beer.

When I handed one to Leslie, she shook her head. “No thank you. I don’t drink.” Then she hesitated a moment before cautiously adding, “You might not want to drink much either.”

“I’ll be fine,” I assured her with a chuckle.

Leslie looked a little uncomfortable, then blurted out, “Getting drunk might make your seed sprout…” I froze at that and she quickly continued, “Stress on your body can make it sprout…and if getting drunk doesn’t do it, then a hangover just might.”

I felt a knot form in my stomach at that reminder, because I couldn’t help but thinking of all the stress that studying for finals would produce. After going to the meeting last week and seeing what those spores had done to Jon and the male model, I’d been almost looking forward to getting that kind of treatment myself. However, whenever I thought of Luke, and just how extreme his changes had been… I shuddered, carefully setting my own beer back into the fridge.

When I returned to the living room a minute later, I passed around the beer, even though Leslie and I were both going the designated driver route. “I’m fine with this,” I said, holding up a can of Mountain Dew when Bobby gave me a curious look.

Our little gathering wasn’t quite a party, but between the talking, making fun of the bad movie Bobby had chosen, and everything else, we were all having a good time. Before long, I pulled out my guitar and entertained everyone with my renditions of Stairway to Heavy, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and a couple other tunes.

“You’re pretty good,” Leslie told me, and I puffed up a bit, feeling rather pleased by the compliment.

“Thanks,” I responded with a broad grin, unable to resist bragging a little. “I used to be part of a band too…”

“Awesome,” Tina exclaimed, seeming impressed by that. “Do you have an album?”

I burst out laughing at that. “Nope. No record deals for us, just a gig or two at some local parties.”

Leslie looked amused at that. “I bet you’re good at Guitar Hero…”

“He SUCKS at it,” DJ burst out laughing.

“It is rather ironic,” Matt agreed.

I glared at my traitorous housemates and defended myself, “You don’t play a real guitar by pushing those stupid buttons…” That earned a round of laugher.

“Not everyone can handle a video game,” Leslie teased me, having relaxed a great deal. “I’m sure you have other skills to make up for it…”

Everyone was making fun of me and my poor Guitar Hero skills, so I announced, “That’s it…I’m going to the kitchen and I’m not bringing anyone a beer…”

“Oh, come on man,” Bobby mock pleaded. “I didn’t mean it…”

DJ grinned. “Bro, we were just kidding…”

“Nope,” I responded smugly. “No beer for you. And afterwards, I’ll show you some more REAL guitar…”

As I started for the kitchen, Bobby got up and announced, “I guess someone has to get the beer…”

Bobby came into the kitchen right behind me, and as I was grabbing some new cans of Mountain Dew for Leslie and myself, he slung his arm around my shoulder. “You and that nerd girl really seem to be hitting it off…”

“Yeah,” I admitted with a faint shake of my head. Leslie wasn’t really my type, and at the meeting last week, she’d seemed pretty shy. But tonight, we’d both relaxed a bit, and we were getting along pretty well. “She’s all right.”

“Cool,” Bobby told me with an easy grin. “Congrats man. After Natalie, I was wondering how long it would take…”

I squirmed at that, a little uncomfortable at the reminder of my ex. “We’re just hanging out,” I reminded Bobby. “This probably isn’t going to go anywhere…”

I thought that was the end of it, but as I was about to leave the kitchen, Bobby abruptly asked, “So, what’s going on?” He sounded a bit more serious than usual, which caught me by surprise. “You’ve been acting kind of strange for the last couple weeks.”

“You’re imagining this,” I responded, feeling a little nervous. Who would have thought that the stoner of our group would have been the most observant? “Everything is fine…”

“Don’t bullshit a bullshitter,” Bobby told me, giving me a curious look. “It has something to do with that Leslie chick, doesn’t it?”

For a moment, I just stared at Bobby, then let out a sigh of resignation. Bobby might be pretty easygoing, but I had a feeling he wasn’t going to let this go that easily.

“You can’t tell anyone,” I stated, giving Bobby a steady look. “You can’t tell DJ, and you especially can’t tell Matt.”

“Whoah, man,” Bobby replied. “Keeping secrets from your posse isn’t cool…”

I scowled at that. “Maybe, but I’ve got a good reason.” I fixed him with a steady look again. “Promise?”

Bobby hesitated before nodding. “Sure. I promise.”

I glanced back to the kitchen entrance to make sure no one was there, then quietly blurted out, “I have a seed… An evo seed.”

For a moment, Bobby stared at me with an expression that clearly indicated that he thought I was messing with him. Then he blinked. “Whoah.” He gave me surprised look, followed immediately by an easy grin. “Congrats.”

“Maybe,” I responded awkwardly, shaking my head and feeling self-conscious. “The truth is, I’m kind of freaking out. I mean, I’ve seen what a seed can do to you, and it’s pretty damn weird.”

Bobby just shrugged at that. “Just relax and go with it, man. What will be, will be.” He put a hand on my shoulder and promised, “Being an evo is gonna be awesome. You’ll see…”

“Maybe,” I repeated, not really convinced.

“Now quit being a downer,” Bobby told me as he grabbed a couple new beers. “We’ve got a party to get back to, and you’ve got a cute girl waiting for you.”

I just laughed at that. “You’re a wise man.”

“And don’t you forget it,” Bobby said with a wink, right before he walked out of the kitchen, calling out, “Hey, anyone up for a primo buzz?”

--------------------

It was Saturday afternoon, and instead of practicing guitar or hanging out with my friends like I normally would, I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair, surrounded by evos. I looked over the meeting room, which looked nearly identical to the last time I’d been here, two weeks ago. The chairs were slightly out of place, there was a garbage can in the corner that was overflowing with 2 liter soda bottles, and the people were sitting in different seats, but it was all close enough.

Jon was missing from today’s meeting, as was the male model, whose name I’d never bothered to learn. I’d been told that this was common, as only a few people attended every meeting, while others just came whenever they felt like it. However, along with the two absences, there was a new member, or at least someone who was new to me. Tanya was a fifteen year old black girl, who was built like some kind of porn star, and who had apparently been a member of the group for six months. It took every ounce of energy I had to keep from staring at her, and I kept silently repeating the mantra, “Jailbait. Jailbait. Jailbait.”

Leslie sat to my left, and the two of us had been chatting before the meeting began. However, at the moment, I was listening to Mina, the Asian woman whose name I’d missed last week. She was currently telling everyone about some of the relationship problems that she’d been having lately, due to being an evo.

“It’s frustrating,” Mina announced. “At first, Dan loved my improvements, but before I knew it, he started getting jealous whenever anyone else even looked at me. And lately, it’s been getting worse. I think, now that the novelty has worn off, he feels threatened by me…”

“Or maybe insecure,” Mary pointed out. “It could be, that he thinks you’re going to leave him…”

“If so,” Leslie added, giving Mina a sympathetic look, “then it could be a self-fulfilling prophesy.”

“I’m just glad I was single when this hit,” Luke announced, gesturing down at himself. “It was rough enough when a couple of my friends freaked out, so I can only imagine how someone I was dating would have reacted.”

I nodded as the conversation continued along these lines, with almost everyone having something to share. Even I had something to add, and reluctantly said, “I have a friend…a housemate who really doesn’t like evos…” I glanced to Leslie, who nodded since she knew exactly who I was talking about. “I haven’t told him I have a seed yet, and I’m pretty sure he won’t take it well…”

“Yeah, there are a lot of people who are jealous of us,” Luke said, flexing his arms as he added, “Of course, I give them good reason to be…”

I rolled my eyes at Luke’s showing off. “Yeah, but I don’t think he’s jealous. He liked a girl, but she went full evo last fall and began treating him and all her old friends like crap. To make it worse, he keeps seeing her on campus, which just keeps it fresh…”

“On campus?” Parnell mused, staring at the pipe in his hands as though thinking about lighting it. “This girl wouldn’t happen to be named Allison, would she?”

“Yeah,” I blurted out in surprise.

Parnell chuckled at that. “Alisson used to come to our meetings, though I haven’t seen her here in several months.”

This sparked off another round of conversation, as Luke, Mary, and Mina all mentioned that they knew Allison from previous meetings, though the professor stopped any gossiping about her while she wasn’t there. Instead, he directed things in a more productive route, asking if anyone had suggestions for how I could deal with Matt.

Eventually, it was time for the meeting to end and everyone began to leave. Tanya rushed out the door, and it took an extraordinary act of willpower not to stare at her impressive breasts when she got up to leave. I distracted myself by staring at Mary instead. It was still rude, but a little more acceptable.

“Good luck dealing with your friend,” Luke told me.

I was just about to leave as well, when Parnell said, “Bryan, if I could ask a favor…”

“Sure,” I responded, giving him a curious look.

He gestured to the overflowing garbage can in the corner and chuckled faintly. “It seems that the Friday night gaming club didn’t clean up after themselves last night. I was hoping you could help me remove this. After all, it wouldn’t do to leave a mess for the AA group when they come in tonight.”

“No problem,” I told the professor.

“I’ll help,” Leslie volunteered, surprising me a little as I thought she’d already left. She gave me a self-conscious smile before rushing to the cleaning closet to get some fresh garbage bags.

“There’s no need for that,” the professor protested.

“It’s no problem,” Leslie assured him.

While I carried the garbage back out to the dumpster behind the building, Leslie replaced the garbage back with a new one. In just a couple minutes, we’d finished cleaning up the mess and were ready to leave for real.

“That should do it,” I said, nodding to Leslie and deciding right then and there that I was going to ask her out tonight. She wasn’t my usual type, and was a bit nerdier than the girls I usually dated, but I liked her.

“Thank you for your assistance,” Parnell said, giving me a strange look.

“It was no problem,” I assured him.

“No,” the professor said with a grim look. “The assistance that you are going to provide.” With that, he pulled his hand out from behind his back, revealing that he had a gun in it, and that it was pointed straight at me. “I truly am sorry for this, but I have little choice…”

“Professor?” Leslie demanded in shock.

Suddenly, I felt a sharp sting in my shoulder, and when I looked down, I saw a dart sticking out. I felt a moment of shock and confusion, and even as I registered what was happening, my arms and legs began to feel extremely heavy. I let out a gasp, then looked to Leslie, who now had a dart sticking out of her stomach. A moment later, I collapsed to the ground, unable to move my body.

The professor came closer, and with a guilty expression, he said, “Again, I truly am sorry.” He looked to Leslie. “I only intended to take Bryan here, but you just had to be helpful. And unfortunately, I can’t simply leave you behind to tell everyone what I did, so I’m afraid you have to come along too…”

I lay on the floor, terrified out of my wits, though when I tried to scream, the only thing that came from my throat was a weird gurgling sound. Leslie made similar noises from where she was spread out on the floor, and I had no doubt that she was just as freaked out about the situation as I was.

With that, Parnell shot me again, though I was so numb that I didn’t even feel where this dart hit. He didn’t say another word as he left the room, coming back a minute later with a luggage cart, which he loaded me onto. After this, it took very little time before Leslie and I had been moved into a van.

Though I couldn’t move my body, I was awake and aware the entire time. I didn’t feel a thing when the professor banged my elbow against the van door or when he smacked my head while getting me inside. However, I was pretty sure that if I somehow made it out of this, I was going to feel it all later.

Eventually, we arrived at what I assumed was Parnell’s home, and Leslie and I were taken down into the basement. A large section in the back of the basement had been converted into a prison cell, with bars, a cot, and even a toilet installed. The sight of this sent chills down my spine as it proved that this wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. The professor had been planning this.

Leslie and I were locked inside the cell, with our ankles chained to a metal ring that was set in the floor. “I know the accommodations will be rather cramped,” the professor said as he finished locking the cell door behind him, “but I had only planned for one…guest.” He had a rather guilty expression on his face before he turned and left the basement.

Once the professor was gone, I resumed trying to scream and move, but it was useless. I was a prisoner in my own body, which was even more terrifying than being kidnaped had been. If the professor came back to kill me, there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop him. I couldn’t even lift a single finger in my own defense. I was completely and totally helpless, and at that moment, all I could do was think…think about how I might be trapped like this for the rest of my life. I kept trying to scream in horror, though only more of the gurgling sounds came out.

Of course, I wasn’t the only one in this situation. Leslie had been unceremoniously dropped on the floor right beside me, and I could hear her gurgling noses as well as my own. For a brief moment, I wondered if we could somehow communicate that way, but I was so freaked out that the thought didn’t stay with me for long.

Eventually, about an hour after being locked in this cage, though it felt like it had been much longer, my sensation and control began to return. It started with a pins and needles feeling through my entire body, which was extremely uncomfortable, yet quite welcome. I felt an incredible sense of relief as I began wiggling my fingers and toes, being thankful for the fact that I could move at all.

“Are you all right?” I asked Leslie, though it came out more as an unintelligible mumble. Still, it was better than a gurgle, and from her mumbled response, she was in the same state as me.

Fortunately, whatever the professor had given us, it was wearing off pretty rapidly. It didn’t take long before I was sitting up, massaging my aching muscles and the fresh bruises that the professor had given me, though I was also desperately trying to figure out how to get the cuff off of my leg. It was loose enough that it had room to slide a little, but there was no way I was going to slip my foot through it. And in addition, the cuff had a chain coming from it, which was connected to a large metal ring embedded in the middle of the floor.

“DAMN,” I snarled in frustration, unable to either get out of the cuff or pull the chain loose. “We’ve gotta get out of here…”

Leslie gave a half-hearted tug on her own chain, which was connected the same metal ring as mine. She gave me a desperately worried look as she asked, “Do you have a paperclip…or anything we can use to pick these?”

“You know how to pick locks?” I asked in delight, glancing to the lock on my cuff while already feeling my pants pockets, though I was pretty sure I didn’t have anything on me that would work.

Leslie shook her head before reluctantly admitting, “No…”

“This is fucked up,” I snarled in angry frustration. I turned my attention from the cuff and chain, to the cell door, which was also locked. I could reach the bars, though even if the door had been opened, the chain around my ankle wasn’t long enough to even let me step through it. I really was stuck…trapped. In a burst of anger, I kicked at the bars with my free foot, though it didn’t do any good. “Damn bastard…”

“I don’t know why he’d do this,” Leslie exclaimed, looking just as scared and confused as I felt. “This isn’t like Professor Parnell… He’s always been so nice…”

“The neighbors said he was such a nice guy,” I said sarcastically, thinking about how the news reports would go. I grabbed the bars and tried pushing them as hard as I could, in a desperate but futile attempt to bend them. “Damn. What the hell is he gonna to do us?”

“I wish I knew,” Leslie admitted quietly, plopping down on the single cot we had to share.

A short time later, Parnell returned to the basement. As soon as we heard the basement door opening, Leslie and I both froze for a moment, then as one, we looked to the door. The professor entered the basement with an exhausted look on his face, and if it wasn’t for what he’d done to us, and what he might yet do, I probably would have been worried for him.

“LET US OUT OF HERE,” I jumped up and yelled in rage.

“I can’t,” Parnell said, giving me a tired look. “Not yet.”

“Not yet?” Leslie blurted out, seeming surprised by those words.

“I wish this wasn’t necessary,” the professor stated. “But it is. I will let you both go…once I have what I need.”

“And what’s that?” I demanded, my mind running wild as I imagined what that might be. I felt sick to my stomach as I considered just what kind of perverted stuff he might us for.

Parnell hesitated for a moment before answering, “Spores.”

A moment later, the professor reached down to a holster that was attached to his belt, pulling out what I immediately recognized as a taser. The security guards on campus always carried weapons just like that, so they could deal with rowdy students without having to use lethal force. And without any further warning, the professor shot me. The darts struck me in the chest, and agony immediately shot through my entire body. My muscles spasmed, making me drop to the ground like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

“Bryan,” Leslie cried out.

Once the pain stopped, all I could to was remain on the ground, feeling like my muscles were all made of jello. I gasped in pain, or the memory of the pain that had completely filled me mere seconds ago, and then I finally looked up at the professor, glaring at him furiously.

“I am truly sorry that I must do this,” Parnell said, his hands shaking as he put the weapon away. “If the physical and emotional stress of your capture wasn’t enough to trigger your seed, this probably will be.”

Leslie bent over me, putting a hand on my shoulder and checking to see I was all right. Then once she seemed satisfied, she glared at the professor and demanded, “Why did you do that?”

However, instead of answering, the professor stood there for a moment with a grim but determined look on his face, before he finally turned and hurried out of the basement.

-------------------

I was sitting on the edge of my cot, staring intently at the sketch pad on my lap, trying to decide what I should do next. I’d spent half the morning drawing, as a way to distract myself from everything that was going on. Unfortunately, it was getting harder and harder to do that.

“Bryan,” Leslie started, giving me a worried look. She came over and sat down beside me, glancing over at the picture I’d been working on. Her eyes widened and she blurted out, “Is that me?”

“Well, it’s supposed to be,” I answered self-consciously, fully aware of the fact that my skills weren’t that great. I could do some great cartoon characters and caricatures, but trying to draw an accurate representation of a real person was a little beyond me. But I was trying. “At least once I’m finished.”

I let out a sigh and looked around our cage, noting that for a crazed kidnapper, the professor had actually been treating us surprisingly well. Last night, and again this morning, he’d brought us dinner and breakfast, and he hadn’t skimped on either quality or quantity, almost as though he was trying to make up for kidnapping us in the first place, or at least make our time in the cage a little more tolerable. Last night, he’d provided us with a second cot, so that neither of us had to sleep on the floor, and he’d even tried to make sure we weren’t too bored. He’d given us books, magazines, the pen and paper that I’d been drawing with, and surprisingly enough…a TV. Of course, the TV was on the other side of the room, outside of our reach, but he had left us the remote.

I gave Leslie a wry smile, then started to go back to my drawing, or at least I tried to. My hand had become just a little shaky, which made it difficult to really do any sketching at the moment. So with a snort of frustration, I set the paper and ben aside.

Leslie hesitantly reached out, then put her hand on my arm. “It’s going to be fine,” she promised, though the worried look in her eyes showed that she didn’t really believe it.

“Yeah, sure,” I responded with a forced smile. We were both on the verge of freaking out and panicking again, and the last thing I wanted to do was give her that little push over the edge. As it was, we were both trying to reassure each other with false promises and lies.

I absently scratched at my arm, though when I looked down, I saw all the arm hair falling out. I felt a knot of worry over that, though I wasn’t surprised. After all, Parnell had intentionally tried to make my seed sprout…and he’d done it. Yesterday, half an hour after he’d zapped me with the taser, I’d felt the first signs. I felt a strange itching and tingling through my entire body, and it had only grown worse since then. My entire body felt...wrong…almost like it was made of rubber. My sense of touch somehow felt dulled, and a little distant. And of course, over the last hour, I’d begun feeling a little nauseous as well.

“How are you holding up?” Leslie asked me carefully.

“I’ve felt better,” I admitted wryly. Then after a few seconds, I admitted, “It’s pretty weird… When I close my eyes, I can almost feel my body changing…”

Leslie nodded at that, having been with the group for a lot longer than I have, so she’d probably heard the descriptions a few times before. “Before this is done,” she said quietly, “I might go active too. I mean, this is a lot of stress, so I’m almost surprised that I haven’t sprouted yet.”

“So, do I look any different?” I asked her with an almost morbid curiosity.

“A little,” Leslie admitted awkwardly, almost as though she was afraid to tell me. “It isn’t anything really obvious yet, I mean, other than looking a bit pasty and all…” She stared at me intently for a moment before blurting out, “Your face looks a bit different, like…you’re your own brother or something.”

I nodded at that before reaching up to feel my face. It didn’t feel any different, but I didn’t doubt Leslie either. After all, I’d already noticed that my clothes no longer felt quite right. My shoes were just a little loose, as if they were a size too big.

“On the plus side,” I joked, to hide my nervousness about all these changes in my body, “In a couple days, I’ll probably be better looking.”

I was about to say more when I heard the basement door opening. Leslie and I both watched as the professor came into the room, carrying what looked like a hard plastic suitcase. He came towards us, stopping a few feet back from the bars, and setting the case down.

After staring at me for several seconds, Parnell announced, “You’re well into stage four. Excellent.”

“Why are you doing this?” I demanded, grabbing hold of the bars and glaring at the professor, wishing that he’d get close enough for me to grab. However, he was just beyond my reach.

For several seconds, Parnell just stared back, looking rather sad. “In spite of what you must think,” he finally responded, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the familiar looking pipe. “I am not some mad scientist in search for subjects to perform horrific experiments on. I’m not a monster.”

I gestured around the cage, not taking my eyes from the professor. When I’d first met him, he’d seemed friendly and harmless, almost grandfatherly. But now… In spite of what he’d done, he still didn’t look all that dangerous, and that unnerved me since it would have been so much easier if he looked like some kind of evil person. That would have made more sense.

“Then why are you doing this?” Leslie asked, almost pleading. She’d known Parnell for longer than I have, and was obviously confused by his actions.

Parnell lit his pipe, taking several puffs on it as he did so. Once it was going to his satisfaction, he finally looked back at us again and said. “I’m not a monster. I’m desperate.”

With that, the professor went and grabbed a folding chair from where it was leaning against the wall, and he set up about six feet away from the cage. He let out a sigh as she slowly sat down, then he smoked his pipe for a few more seconds while watching us.

“I have cancer,” Parnell abruptly stated. He held the smoldering pipe in his hand, glancing at it as he continued, “Not lung cancer, as you must be thinking. I have a brain tumor.” With a snort, he reached up and tapped his temple. “I’ve been told that I probably have four months left, but that I’ll likely start losing my motor and cognitive functions in as a little as a month.”

“My God,” Leslie exclaimed with a look of shock and horror. In spite of the circumstances, I actually felt a twinge of sympathy for the professor.

“Of course, there are treatments,” Parnell continued with a dismissive snort. “Aggressive treatments that MIGHT have some effect.” He snorted again. “Why should I spend my remaining time, intentionally making myself even more ill, on the slim chance that it MIGHT buy me more time…when there is a guaranteed way to restore my health?”

Leslie gasped from beside me. “You want to turn evo…”

“Indeed,” Parnell responded, puffing on his pipe with a grim but thoughtful expression. “But as you know, intentionally infecting yourself is much easier said than done.”

“I know,” Leslie said quietly.

“There are only two times during the infection that you are contagious,” Parnell explained, slipping into what was obviously his lecture mode. “Stages two and four. These are the times when the spores are rapidly reproducing, and not yet bonded to your cells. Unfortunately, you are only in stage two for one to two weeks, and the symptoms are so minor that most never even know they’re infected, unless of course, they happen to receive the proper tests.”

Leslie let out a gasp of understanding. “So, you wanted someone you knew had a seed…who you could force to go into stage four…” She looked at me with a stricken expression.

“Indeed,” the professor agreed, taking another puff on his pipe. “Ideally, I would acquire type A or even B spores, but those are only produced by someone in stage 2.” He looked directly at me. “I have little choice but to make due with type C, even if it means they carry more information from the host seed than I’d like.”

I bitterly spat out, “I’m so sorry this is so inconvenient for you…”

However, Parnell acted as though he hadn’t even heard me. Instead, he blew out a stream of smoke, while cradling the pipe in his hands.

Parnell turned his attention back to Leslie, saying, “You were the only stage three I found in time, but I didn’t want to risk what your spores might do to me.” He gave a wry chuckle and admitted, “I’m quite satisfied with my gender and have little interest in changing it. But, as I said, I’m desperate. I…I was nearly at the point where I had no choice but to use your spores, but then Bryan appeared…”

“And you think that makes this better?” Leslie exclaimed.

“I know,” Parnell admitted as he set his pipe down and stood up.

“Why didn’t you just ASK?” she demanded.

Parnell shook his head. “I couldn’t risk a refusal, and losing my only chance.”

“So you kidnap us instead,” I snarl angrily, though my voice cracked in the middle of it. “And then do THIS…” I gestured down at myself while glaring at him. “And when you’re done, you kill us…”

Parnell looked surprised at that and protested, “I’m no murderer…”

“Just a kidnapper,” I point out bitterly.

“Once I have what I need,” he promised, “I’ll let you both go. I’ll just disappear and start over somewhere else. You’ll never have to see me again.”

I snorted at that, not believing a word of it. If he was desperate enough to kidnap us, and to forcefully trigger my seed, then there was no telling what else he might to do keep what he’d done a secret.

Parnell took a deep breath, musing, “By now, you will be releasing spores, and the air in this confined space should contain quite a few.” Then he paused to look at me. “Unfortunately, I could remain here, breathing them in until you finish changing, and the chance of my becoming infected would still be rather low. And even if I do become infected, the process would most likely abort before I entered stage two

“So, you do all this,” I stated grimly, “and it’s probably all gonna be for nothing anyway.”

“No,” Parnell responded with a chuckle. “I’ve taken immune suppressants to increase the likelihood of success, but that still isn’t enough. I need direct exposure to a much higher quantity of spores. I’ll need to take them from your blood stream.”

With that, Parnell opened the plastic case that he’d brought into the room with him, revealing some medical equipment. He pulled out a syringe and began preparing it, not even looking at me. I backed up a bit, thinking that he’d have to come into the cage if he wanted to get near me, and once he did, I’d jump him.

“Once I enter into stage two,” Parnell announced, looking at Leslie and I, “I will let you both go. You have my word on that. So, the sooner I achieve that goal, the sooner you will both be freed.”

“Like we believe you,” I responded bitterly.

Parnell didn’t seem bothered by my skepticism. “Believe it or not, it is the truth.” Then he gave me a steady look and said, “It would be much easier on everyone if you cooperate willingly.” He held up the syringe, one that was obviously meant for taking blood rather than for injecting something. “If you cooperate, we can get this over with quickly. If you don’t, I will be forced to incapacitate you both again so that I can enter the cage safely, and that stress might force Leslie’s seed to sprout.”

I glanced to Leslie, who didn’t look very thrilled with the idea. During the group meetings, she’d seemed pretty resigned to going full evo, and even looking forward to it a bit. However, seeing me going through stage four was enough to make her a little less willing.

“Fine,” I snarled, moving to the bars and sticking my arm out so the professor could reach it.

I didn’t want him to push Leslie into going through what I currently was, not when it could probably be delayed for quite a bit longer, and to be dealt with in a much better setting. However, the reason I agreed wasn’t because I was that selfless. The truth was, I was terrified of being drugged and helpless again.

“To remove any possible temptations,” Parnell said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a key ring, one that obviously contained the keys for both the cage and our shackles. He went to the far end of the basement, then set them down on a small table near the door. “Now, even if you grabbed me, you wouldn’t be able to get those.”

I scowled at that, not saying a word as I glared at Parnell. I was annoyed that he’d thought of that, because I’d just come up with the plan of grabbing him and then forcing him to hand over the keys. Now, if I grabbed him, it wouldn’t do any good.

Without saying a word, I stuck my arm out between the bars. Parnell came closer, though he kept his body far enough back that I couldn’t grab him. I couldn’t have grabbed at his arms when he reached for my arm, but he had that taser on his belt, and I didn’t want another zap of that, especially when it would be pointless to grab him in the first place.

Parnell drew two vials of blood, then stepped back, seemingly satisfied “This should do perfectly,” he mused before hurrying out of the basement with the vials in hand.

“You know him better than me,” I said, looking at Leslie. “Do you think he’ll really let us go?”

She hesitated a moment before admitting, “I don’t know. If you would have asked me a couple days ago, I would have said there was no way he’d ever kidnap someone…”

“Damn,” I grumbled, reaching up to scratch my scalp, only to have a handful of my hair come out into my hand. This day was NOT getting any better.

--------------------

After two days, the cage I’d been living in was beginning to grow on me…like a cancer. It would probably be considered pretty large for a cage, taking up about a quarter of the basement, but being stuck in here was driving me insane. Then again, that might have been everything else going on as well.

I was sitting on my cot, not trusting my legs enough to pace back and forth. Half the time, they seemed to work fine, but the other half, they felt like jello. Of course, that was to be expected since my entire body was messed up.

I frowned as I used my tongue to jiggle one of my loose teeth. All of my teeth were loose, and it wouldn’t be long before they fell out…just like my hair had yesterday. Fortunately, new hair had immediately begun growing in, though it was a different color than my formerly brown hair. I now had black hair that was nearly down to my shoulders, and it was still growing.

According to Leslie, this was pretty normal for people for people who were turning evo. Apparently, it was easier for the spores to completely replace things like hair, teeth, and fingernails than it was to change them. After all this, the idea of becoming an evo had lost any of the glamour it once had.

My entire body had changed a great deal, and it was still doing so. I could actually feel the changes happening, and it was like a constant itch that I couldn’t scratch. And to emphasize what was happening to me, my clothes were now too large and hung loosely from my body.

Before this all happened, I’d been a few pounds overweight, though not enough to be considered fat. Now, I was thin, though not scrawny. My muscle tone actually seemed to be firming up, though it didn’t look like I was going to pack on muscle the way Luke had.

“Damn, this feels weird,” I told Leslie, though my voice cracked and sounded strange, which made me wince as I heard it.

I looked at Leslie, who was sitting on her own cot with the pen and paper. While I’d been keeping myself occupied by drawing, she’d done a lot of reading, though a short time ago she’d used a sheet of paper to begin writing some kind of poetry.

“It…looks weird,” Leslie told me with a worried look.

I nodded at that, then paused as one of my teeth popped free from its socket. There had been no pain from that, nor from any of my changes, only a little discomfort at how strange it all felt. I spat the tooth into my hand, and when I used my tongue to probe the empty space, I could feel the bud of a new tooth already growing in.

“On the plus side,” Leslie pointed out with obviously forced enthusiasm. “It should be over soon. Most evos only take two or three days to change.”

“Lucky me,” I responded sarcastically.

I looked down at myself and felt a knot of dread in my stomach over the way my body had been changing. I’d been trying hard not to think about it, but at the moment, there was nothing to do but think.

Though I didn’t seem to be losing height, I had lost weight, becoming thinner but better toned. At first, I’d been kind of thrilled by that, until I started to notice all the other changes occurring, such the way my waist seemed to be getting a little too thin, or the overall shape my body seemed to be taking.

And then there was the fact that Little Bryan seemed to be a bit smaller than his normal six inch length. I’d noticed that a short time ago, when I’d been using the toilet that Parnell had so ‘kindly’ built into the cell. Since I was turning evo, if anything, Little Bryan should have been getting bigger.

“Oh shit,” I whispered, trying to push those thoughts away the same way I had been, but they continued to sneak back in.

I reached up for my face, which felt a bit different, though I didn’t have a mirror so I couldn’t see what I now looked like. However, I did notice that after several days without shaving, my cheeks were perfectly smooth and hairless. Of course, my arm hair had been the first thing to fall out, but I would have expected to feel at least the beginnings of stubble, or something.

“Leslie,” I asked awkwardly, dreading the answer, though I had to know. “Do…do I look like I’m turning into a girl?” If it hadn’t been for Luke, or for Parnell mentioning it yesterday, I probably never would have even considered this as a possibility.

“I…I don’t know,” Leslie responded awkwardly. However, from the guilty expression on her face, I had my answer.

“I do,” I blurted out, jumping up to my feet in a moment of panic. “I am turning into a girl…”

My legs collapsed from beneath me and I immediately fell face first into the concrete floor. I hit with what should have been a painful thud, but at the moment, the spores seemed to have put my pain receptors on hold, because it didn’t really hurt.

“Bryan,” Leslie exclaimed, immediately appearing by my side. She put a hand on my shoulder and gently helped me sit up. “Are you all right?”

I spat three more teeth onto the ground. “Define all right.”

Leslie winced slightly at that but continued helping me to my feet, and to my cot since my legs didn’t really want to support me. “I didn’t want to say anything,” she admitted awkwardly. “I didn’t want to make you worry any more…”

“I’m turning into a girl,” I whisper, feeling the knot of dread tighten in my gut.

I looked down at myself again, noticing for the first time that my chest was getting a little pudgy, enough that I could notice it through my shirt. I was growing breasts, and since I was turning evo, there was probably very little chance that they’d remain small and unnoticeable.

“Oh shit,” I groaned, poking at my chest and feeling pretty weirded out by the idea.

Then I noticed my hands, which looked different as well. They looked more delicate and feminine than normal, which I suppose, was to be expected. My nails had already fallen out this morning, with the new ones pressing up and growing beneath them. The new ones had already grown out to normal length, and perhaps a bit longer.

I pushed back the temptation to grab at my crotch, to feel Little Bryan and verify he was still there. It was one thing to go to the bathroom while she turned her back, but it was another to feel myself up with her sitting on the cot beside me.

“I don’t want to be a girl,” I quietly admitted to Leslie, feeling ashamed from the fact that I was starting to cry, but I couldn’t seem to stop.

Leslie didn’t say a word as she put her arms over my shoulder and hugged me. I felt stupid and silly and weak for crying like this, but for some reason, being held like that made things just a little better.

--------------------

I woke up on my cot, though it would have been more accurate to say that I’d tossed and turned all night on my cot, dozing a few times, and I had finally decided it was time to get up. I cautiously sat up, fully aware of just how strange my body felt, especially the weight on my chest. Those things on my chest were one of the big reasons I’d tossed and turned so much.

Last night, before going to bed, my body had changed enough so that even without a mirror, there was no doubt that I was changing into a girl. By then, I’d grown C cup breasts and Little Bryan had just been a stump. I didn’t want to think about how much more I’d changed during the night.

But as I sat there on the edge of my cot, looking over at Leslie asleep on hers, it suddenly struck me that I didn’t feel any of the itching or tingling that had been present for the last couple days. I could no longer feel my body changing.

A chill ran down my spine as considered what that meant. I was no longer changing. I’d moved out of stage four and into stage five, which meant that I was not only a full evo…but also fully female.

I just sat there for several minutes in stunned silence, though I wasn’t sure why I felt shocked by that realization. After all, I’d known that my body was changing for several days, and I’d known that I was becoming a girl since yesterday. Intellectually, this wasn’t a surprise, but emotionally was something else.

I hesitantly reached for my chest, or at least for the firm round globs that now pushed out from it. They felt absolutely enormous to me, but I’d noticed that during the night since they’d made it pretty awkward to get to sleep.

“Shit,” I whispered, horrified at just how big they seemed. “I turned into a damn stripper…”

After taking a deep breath and hesitating for a few more seconds, I put my hand down the front of my too loose pants. Even if I had a new pair of pants that fit, I couldn’t put them on because of the chain. A second later, I confirmed that Little Bryan was gone, and what I felt in his place was definitely all female.

For a moment, I was frozen with my hand remaining in place. My new equipment was familiar yet completely alien at the same time. Seconds later, I yanked my hand back as though I’d touched a burning stove.

My heart was racing as a hundred different emotions rushed through me at the same time. I felt shock, confusion, and terror. I was furious at Parnell and frustrated at still being trapped in this cage. And at the same time, I felt another emotion that completely surprised me. I felt relieved. I was relieved that I was done changing, and at least, that was something I no longer had to worry about.

I was still sitting there like that when Leslie woke up. She stared at me without saying a word, obviously taking in how much I’d changed. I wasn’t sure how much more I’d changed since last night, but I doubted it was all that much.

“It looks like it’s finished,” I said. My voice sounded strange to my own ears. It sounded feminine.

Leslie gave me a sympathetic look. “You’re… You’re all female now?”

“It looks that way,” I responded as I stood up. Then I weakly joked, “No more standing up to piss for me.”

“I’m sorry,” Leslie told me quietly.

“Me too,” I whispered.

Neither of us said a word for about a minute, then Leslie admitted, “I’m… I’m afraid of changing too much… After Luke told me about how he changed…” She winced and I nodded in understanding.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “I didn’t think it would happen to me.”

I was trying to think of what to say next, when Leslie abruptly asked, “So, what should we do today?” She flashed me a smile and continued, “I think you’re probably in need of a new wardrobe, so maybe we should go shopping…”

I was a little startled by her abrupt change of topic, until I realized that she was trying to distract me, and probably herself as well. “Isn’t that a cliché?” I asked. “I mean, the whole women and shopping thing?”

“Yes it is,” she agreed. “But things become cliché for a reason.” She paused at that. “Well, I’m not really into shopping myself, but my sister is a champion shopper.”

Leslie and I continued to make ‘plans’ for the day, which consisted of a long and detailed shopping trip to get me everything I’d need for my new body, lunch at a popular local café, and even a stop at the theater to catch the latest action blockbuster. To my delight, Leslie had similar tastes in movies to me.

This conversation kept us both distracted until Parnell eventually arrived, bringing our breakfast. He came into the basement with a tray, which held two plates containing pancakes, eggs and bacon. It was a home cooked meal, and much better than cold cereal or leftover pizza I usually made due with.

Parnell set the tray down in front of the cage, where we could easily reach the food. Stepping back, he looked me over. “Unless I miss my guess, you’ve reached stage five…”

“Bite me,” I spat out in response.

Parnell acted as though he hadn’t heard me, and instead, announced, “You’ve become quite a lovely young woman…”

I grabbed the bars and clenched them tightly, though this time I didn’t say a word. Leslie put a hand on my shoulder, but whether to comfort me or to keep me from screaming at the professor, I didn’t know. What I did know was that I REALLY wanted to beat the crap out of him. Normally, I’m not a violent person, and I’ve very rarely gotten into any kind of fight. But at that moment, I REALLY wanted to make an exception.

Parnell began patting his pockets as though looking for something, perhaps his pipe. When he couldn’t seem to find what he was looking for, he gave up with an expression of annoyance. After a few seconds, he turned his attention back to us, saying, “You should be pleased to know that the spores I injected myself with have taken hold. I am currently progressing through a stage one infection.”

“Well, congratulations,” I responded sarcastically. “That makes this whole thing worth it…”

The professor raised an eyebrow at my sarcasm, but didn’t respond to it, at least not directly. Instead, he continued speaking as though I hadn’t interrupted him. “A stage one infection typically takes three or four days, so once I have progressed to stage two and am no longer at risk of spontaneous abortion, I will no longer have a reason to hold either of you. In just two more days, it should be safe for me to release you.”

In spite of the fact that I was extremely skeptical he’d keep that promise, I still found myself feeling hopeful. I was sick and tired of being locked up, trapped, and feeling completely helpless. I HATED the fact that I had to rely on the person who’d done this to me, and that he was the only one who might end this. And what pissed me off even more, was the way Parnell actually looked happy when he left the basement.

“That bastard,” I snarled, glaring down at the tray of food that he’d brought. Sure, it was surprisingly good food considering the circumstances, but it pissed me off that he was acting like we were bed and breakfast guests…as though a good meal could somehow make up for what he’d done to us. “I hope those spores turn him into the rat he is.”

Suddenly, one of the two glasses of orange juice toppled over, soaking half the plate. I jumped back in surprise, then defensively blurted out, “I didn’t touch it…”

“No,” Leslie responded, staring at the plate with a look of surprise. “But you were staring at it...” Then she began to grin. “Oh my God. Do you know what this means?”

I blinked at that, wondering why she suddenly so happy. “That our breakfast is ruined?”

“Besides that,” she said, grinning even more. Before I could answer, she blurted out, “You did that… You moved the glass without touching it.”

I was a little confused by Leslie’s reaction, and it took me a moment to realize that she wasn’t accusing me of ruining the breakfast. She was genuinely excited, though I wasn’t quite sure why. Just because the glass had fallen over while I was staring at it, didn’t mean that I’d done it.

Apparently seeing my confusion, Leslie smirked. “You’re an evo now. You know…short for evolved. And you know, one of the things the seeds do is change us so we can better deal with our problems. We’re locked in a damn cage…” She gestured around us, her eyes seeming to dance with delight. “What can be a better way to deal with that, then by developing a way to reach outside the cage?”

“Okay,” I responded carefully, giving Leslie a curious look. “Maybe I’m still a bit dazed from everything that’s going on…like waking up as a girl…but I don’t see where you’re going.”

Leslie just burst out laughing and grabbed me in a tight hug. “Silly girl,” she teased me. “I think you’ve developed telekinesis.”

Though I didn’t like being called ‘silly girl’, Leslie’s enthusiasm was enough to make me overlook it. “You think I have telekinesis? From one spilled drink?”

“Well, you certainly wouldn’t be the first evo to develop some kind of psychic power,” Leslie responded defensively. “I mean, Tanya can light candles just by looking at them. Okay, so I might be getting ahead of myself here, but if you really do have telekinesis now, that could get us out of here…”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

Leslie pointed towards the basement door, though it too me a moment to realize that she wasn’t pointing at the door itself. My eyes settled on the small table beside the door, and the keys that were still sitting on top of it. A couple days ago, Parnell had left the keys to the cage and shackles right there within our view, though well out of our ability to reach. As soon as I remembered those keys, I grinned as well, understanding exactly what Leslie meant.

“Gotcha,” I said with a nod.

Of course, Leslie and I still didn’t know if I actually had developed some kind of psychic ability, or if it had just been a coincidence that the glass had tipped over while I was looking at it. Before I got my hopes up too high, we needed to figure that out, and whether it was something I might be able to control. That meant we needed to do a little experimenting.

Since Parnell had been so thoughtful as to provide us utensils to eat with, I set a fork in the middle of the floor and tried to concentrate on it. At first, nothing happened and I was about to write the whole thing off as coincidence, until I remembered that I’d been pretty angry at the time the glass spilled. I tried focusing that same kind of anger on the spoon, and to my surprise, it suddenly slid across the floor, away from me.

“Okay,” I said, trying to hide my excitement. “Now to see if I can do something else with it, because pushing the keys away would be pretty damn useless…”

After another twenty minutes of practice, not only could I reliably push the spoon away, but I could also pull it towards me as well. I had a feeling that I could probably do a bit more, with a little more practice, but I didn’t want to waste time on that at the moment. Right now, I could control this enough to get what I needed, and that was what mattered.

“Wish me luck,” I told Leslie as I focused on the keys on the other side of the room, trying not to think about the fact that they were much further away from me than the spoon had been.

To my frustration, the increased distance did seem to be a problem, as I couldn’t get the keys to move…not at first. I grabbed hold of the bars and squeezed as tightly as I could, letting the anger and frustration bubble up inside, and then I used all that to fuel my focus. This time, the keys slowly began to move, until they fell off the table and hit the floor.

“All right,” Leslie exclaimed, bursting with excitement. Then she realized that she was distracting me, and made an obvious effort to stay quiet.

The keys continued sliding across the floor, almost as though I was using a fishing line to reel them in. It was taking a lot of concentration to do this, and my head was starting to hurt, but I didn’t let up. If I stopped now, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to start again until after a long rest.

As soon as the keys were close enough, Leslie snatched them up, let out a girlish squeal of excitement, and triumphantly exclaimed, “I’ve got them…”

“Good,” I replied as I absently rubbed my temples. “But do they work?”

“One way to find out,” Leslie told me, already bending over to try the keys on her cuffs. A couple seconds later, her leg was free from the cuffs, and she handed the keys to me.

Less than a minute later, Leslie and I were at the basement door, carefully checking to make sure that it hadn’t been locked from the other side. Once we found it wasn’t, we hurried out of the basement, came up into Parnell’s main house, and then ran for the door as quickly as we could. We saw no sign of the professor, much to my simultaneously relief and regret. After all, I would have loved the chance to bust him in the chops, however, I wanted to escape far more.

--------------------

I sat in the doctor’s office, feeling antsy and impatient. After everything that had happened, after spending the last week locked in a cage, all I wanted to do was go home. Unfortunately, that had to wait a little longer.

This had been a busy day, starting with my waking up as a girl and not getting any more normal since. After Leslie and I had escaped from Parnell’s basement, we’d called the police from the neighbor’s house, but the professor was already gone by the time they arrived.

Leslie and I had spent half the day at the police station, giving our statements and trying to convince them that I was who I claimed to be. If it hadn’t been for Leslie vouching for me, I probably would have been stuck there a lot longer.

Then, just when I was finally going to be able to go home, Leslie talked me into stopping by the doctor to get checked out. After all, as she’d pointed out rather insistently, I’d just gone through a drastic change, and evo or not, I should at least get a physical to make sure everything is working.

Dr. Albright didn’t have any room in his schedule for someone to drop in without an appointment, but Leslie called her doctor, who was more than happy to look over an evo. So, now I was sitting in Dr. Morgan’s office while she stuck a light in my eyes, then asked me to stick out my tongue.

Dr. Morgan was a middle-aged black woman, who was a general practitioner, who just had a keen interest in evos. Though she was doing my physical, that was more of an excuse or her to examine an evo in person. Still, she was doing me a favor, so I didn’t really mind her satisfying her own curiosity at the same time…as long as she didn’t go too far.

“Blood pressure and heart rate are both a little off of normal,” Dr. Morgan told me, “Though there isn’t any doubt you’re in absolutely perfect health.”

“What next?” I asked her, feeling a bit grumpy. “A prostrate exam?”

“I don’t think you have to worry about that anymore,” she responded wryly. However, there is another kind of examination that I recommend you receive in the near future. At my blank look, she said, “I know that you’re an evo and that you appear to be in perfect health, but I still recommend that you receive a gynecology exam, just in case.”

“Gynecology?” I squeaked out, feeling a moment of absolute dread as I suddenly realized that I now possessed the right equipment for one of those. “Oh God…”

“I’m afraid that I don’t have the proper equipment or correct specialization to do that here,” Dr. Morgan continued. “But I can recommend several good specialists…”

Dr. Morgan continued talking, though I was a bit too dazed to really pay attention. However, the word ‘mammogram’ snapped me out of it with a momentary surge of panic.

She gave me a look that seemed to be half amusement and half sympathy. “I think we can schedule that for a later visit. You don’t appear to have any urgent medical needs, so I recommend that you go home and get a bit of rest. Maybe take a hot bath to unwind…”

“A bath,” I said, letting out a sigh.

I closed my eyes for a moment, imagining how good a hot shower would feel. After spending all that time locked up in a cage, without a shower available, I was getting a little ripe. With that thought, I was suddenly embarrassed about coming to see a doctor when I wasn’t even up to normal hygiene.

I gave her a self-conscious smile and admitted, “A bath sounds great…”

Once Dr. Morgan gave me the ‘all clear’, at least for the moment, I happily left her office. Leslie had been waiting for me in the waiting room, and immediately asked how it went.

“She was threatening to torture me,” I told Leslie, who gave me a look of surprise and confusion. After a moment, I whispered, “She told me I should get an appointment to see a specialist…” I blushed brightly, not able to say it aloud.

Leslie’s eyes widened with understanding. “Oh yeah. You’ll definitely need to do that”

“But I’m an evo now,” I pointed out with a shudder. “I shouldn’t need that kind of stuff.”

“Maybe,” Leslie admitted with a shrug. “Maybe not. If nothing else, it’s an experience that every woman should have at least once.”

I just shook my head. “I think I’ll pass…”

Leslie gave me a look that said she disagreed, and that I probably hadn’t heard the last of this. However, she wisely decided not to press the issue, at least not at the moment.

“So,” she asked awkwardly, gesturing at me. “What are you going to tell the Three Stooges?”

I froze at that, feeling a lump of dread forming in my gut. “Oh God,” I groaned, doing a face-palm. I gave her a chagrinned look, then admitted, “I hadn’t really thought about that…”

“You’ll need to figure it out soon,” Leslie pointed out. “I mean, they are your housemates, and they’re probably pretty worried about you being gone…”

“Yeah,” I agreed, though without any enthusiasm. “I guess I’ll figure it out on the bus ride home…”

“Forget the bus,” Leslie told me, giving me a gentle hug. “I called Tina to come get me, so we can give you a ride home…”

Tina arrived at the doctor’s office a short time later, and the moment she saw Leslie, she rushed over and gave her roommate a hug. “Are you all right?” the cute blonde demanded. “I was so worried…”

“I’m fine now,” Leslie assured her. “I just need a long bath…and some good dark chocolate…”

“Chocolate fixes many ills,” Tina stated as though it was a simple fact.

“A-men,” announced a new voice, which came from the office receptionist, whose desk was a short distance away.

“So,” Tina asked. “You said that Bryan was kidnapped too… Is he all right?”

Leslie gave me an awkward look before telling her roommate, “Well, about that…” She gestured to me. “See for yourself.”

Tina looked me over, and I saw a strange expression on her face, and it took me several seconds to realize that it was jealousy. That just made me feel even more self-conscious, and I instinctively slouched down to make myself less noticeable.

“Where’s Bryan?” Tina asked, giving me a curious look. “And who is she?”

“I am Bryan,” I admitted quietly.

“Bryan had a seed,” Leslie quickly explained. “And he…she turned full evo while we were locked up.”

“Holy shit,” Tina blurted out, staring at me now with a look of shock and disbelief.

“It isn’t exactly easy for me,” I said defensively, which seemed to amuse Tina for some reason.

“We met a one of the meetings,” Leslie explained. “And we kind of got kidnapped together from the one on Saturday.”

“Wow,” Tina said after a few seconds. “You are totally hawt.” I just groaned at that.

“I really don’t think Bryan wants to hear that right now,” Leslie pointed out wryly. “He…she just needs a ride home, and I kind of offered to help.”

Tina just stared at me for several seconds before nodding, “Um… Yeah… Sure…” Then she brightened up. “I can stop in and see my boyfriend…”

“Then it’s settled,” Leslie announced, though Tina wasn’t really paying attention.

“Wow,” Tina said, still staring at me. “I mean… Just… Wow…”

“Stop staring,” Leslie told her roommate. “You’re making him…her uncomfortable.”

I grimaced at that but didn’t bother to protest the way Tina was staring at me, even if it was embarrassing. After all, if some guy I knew suddenly turned into a hot chick, I’d be staring too. And even more importantly, I still needed a ride home.

The house wasn’t really all that far from Dr. Morgan’s office, but the drive seemed to take forever, mostly because Tina wouldn’t stop talking. For the entire drive, she asked a series of nonstop questions about what had happened, where we’d been locked up, and of course, about my changes. Leslie seemed happy to answer most of the questions, though she kept giving me apologetic looks whenever her roommate focused on me.

Once we arrived, I hesitated to get out of the car, but after a little encouragement from Leslie, I managed to do so. “What am I going to tell them?” I asked apprehensively.

Tina raced to the door and began ringing the doorbell while I was still getting out of the car. The door opened before I even reached it, and Bobby stood there with a somewhat vapid smile, which usually meant that he’d been smoking his weed.

“Hey, Tina girl,” he greeted her. “DJ isn’t here right now, but you’re welcome to come in and chill with Matt and me.”

“Oh,” Tina responded, looking a little disappointed. “Actually, I didn’t really come to see DJ…” She gestured back towards Leslie and I.

“Leslie,” Bobby exclaimed, “You’re all right… Tina said you up and vanished, about the same time Bryan did…”

“Yeah,” Leslie agreed with a forced smile. “Bryan and I were kidnapped. We escaped this morning, then spent most of the day talking to the police…”

Bobby scowled at that. “Kidnapped… Damn.” Then he stared at her with an expression that was a bit more aware than what I would normally have expected of someone who’d been smoking weed. But one thing that I’d learned about Bobby, was that even when he was high, he could still be pretty sharp. His eyes went to me and he asked, “Where’s Bryan?”

“I guess that’s my cue,” I awkwardly announced as I stepped forward. “You remember how I told you I had a seed?” I gestured down at myself and gave a forced smile as I added, “Well, I had an evo spore makeover…”

“BRYAN?” Bobby blurted out, staring at me with a look of wide-eyed surprised. I nodded self-consciously, knowing that I had to be blushing like crazy. “Holy shit, man…”

“Yeah, that was my reaction too,” I told him as I walked past him and went inside.

“Matt is totally gonna shit a brick,” Bobby pointed out.

I just groaned at that. “Tell me something I don’t know…”

“Damn,” Bobby exclaimed, looking me over again with a very appreciative expression. “You can’ be Bryan. You’re a totally hot babe…”

“She is Bryan,” Leslie quickly interjected. “I was there when she changed…”

“Well, you are wearing Bryan’s clothes,” Bobby admitted, looking me over again. “And they REALLY don’t fit you…”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” I grumbled.

However, Bobby continued, announcing, “I mean, your tits look like they’re gonna burst right out of that shirt…”

I winced at that and tried to cover my breasts, though it didn’t do much good. Tina giggled at that, obviously amused by the whole exchange. Leslie, however, gave me a sympathetic look.

“I would give you some of my clothes,” Leslie offered, “but none of them would fit you…” She stared at my chest, and I saw a brief flash of jealousy before she shook it off.

“Thanks anyway,” I told Leslie. “I appreciate your trying to help me…” I gestured down at myself and gave a weak smile. “But, I know that you’re just as eager for a hot shower and a change of clothes as I am…”

Leslie and I spent another minute saying goodbye, and I even promised to call her later on to let her know how I was doing. Then, once she and Tina left, I let out a sigh before turning back to Bobby. Without Leslie’s presence, I suddenly felt even more awkward and self-conscious than before.

“Stop staring at me,” I snapped at him in annoyance, which just made him chuckle.

“Yo, Matt,” Bobby abruptly called out. “Bryan’s back…”

“Bryan’s back?” Matt exclaimed as his door opened up. “Is he all right?” He started to look around, then froze with his eyes locked on me. I could see the immediate look of interest and attraction, and I shuddered at having it directed at me. After several long seconds, he tore his eyes from me and gave Bobby a curious look. “Where is he? And who is this?”

“That is Bryan,” Bobby said with a broad grin, apparently deciding to use the band-aid approach, which was to just yank the band-aid off and get the pain over all at once. “He decided to go evo…”

I glared at Bobby for the assumption that I’d ‘decided’ to go through this. Matt just blurted out, “Enough with the stupid jokes. Where is Bryan?”

“I AM Bryan,” I responded, having a bad case of deja-vu and wondering if I’d have to go through this again once DJ got back. Before Matt could say anything, I quickly explained, “You remember when I went in for a physical a couple weeks ago? Well, I found out I had a seed…and a couple days ago some bastard intentionally triggered it…”

“No way,” Matt started to respond, though he stared at me with an intense expression before his eyes went wide in surprise. “You are an evo…” There was disgust and even fear in his voice, and he took a step back while glaring at me. “You’re a freak…”

I was a hurt by Matt’s reaction, even though I’d been expecting it. “I don’t need this crap,” I blurted out angrily, glaring right back at Matt. “I’ve been kidnapped, was locked in a fucking cage since Saturday, was tasered, and even turned into a chick.” With each of those items I listed off, my anger grew, and Matt had just made himself into a target.

“Whoah,” Bobby exclaimed, suddenly looking a little worried. “Chill…” He turned to Matt, “That was way uncalled for. Tone it down. It sounds like she’s already had it bad enough…”

“You have no idea,” I responded bitterly. I was still angry, and as good as it would feel to take it out on Matt, I knew that he didn’t deserve it. Parnell was the one I was really pissed at, though Matt’s attitude hurt. “I need a shower,” I announced, deciding that it was better to do that than do take it out on Matt. And with that, I went to the bathroom, slamming the door behind me.

An instant before the door closed, I thought I heard Bobby ask, “Does she have PMS already?” However, I told myself that it was just my imagination. Or for his sake, it had better have been.

Once I was alone in the bathroom, which was the first chance that I’d really had to be by myself since Saturday, I let out a cry of frustration, then grabbed the edges of the sink and cried out, “Damn it, damn it, damn it…” After a few repetitions of that, I did feel a little better.

I finally looped up and straight into the mirror above the sink, letting out a loud gasp as I did so. Earlier, when I was in the police station, I’d used one of their restrooms, but I’d intentionally avoided looking into a mirror. At the time, I’d been too scared to look. This was the very first time that I’d actually seen my own face, and even though Leslie had told me what to expect, it was still quite a shock.

The young woman in the mirror was gorgeous, and I suddenly understood exactly why everyone kept staring at me. I had nice cheekbones, full and kissable lips, dark and smoldering eyes, and luxurious black hair that cascaded down to the middle of my back. I couldn’t really tell my ethnicity, but suspected that my donor might have been at least part Latina.

If my face was beautiful, the rest of my body didn’t disappoint either. I quickly stripped out of my clothes and used this opportunity to truly check myself out for the first time. I definitely had a killer body, the kind that was just a little too perfect to be real. I looked like one of those airbrushed photos of a professional model, with smooth clear skin that seemed entirely without flaw or blemish.

I was pretty sure that my height hadn’t changed during my transformation, which meant that I was probably still 5 foot 11. I had some very nice curves, with a slender waist and big breasts, each of which was larger than a cantaloupe yet smaller than a soccer ball. And not only were they big, they were perfectly shaped, being high on my chest, round, and firm. Then, as if all that wasn’t enough, I also had fantastic muscle tone, with clearly visible abs.

“I look like a cross between Jessica Rabbit and a fitness model,” I observed. After a few more seconds, I added, “Definitely an evo.”

Along with my looks, my voice had changed as well. It sounded strange to my ears, but Leslie had insisted that it sounded sultry, with a smokey quality. I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant by that, as those were her words rather than my own.

I stood there for several minutes, silently staring into the mirror, feeling a mixture of dread and awe. Normally, if I saw a girl like this, I’d immediately know that she was out of my league and wouldn’t have the nerve to even approach her. She’d be fodder for my fantasies, but nothing more. Now, I had what was probably the hottest girl I’d ever seen, standing in my own bathroom. That would have been a dream come true, if she wasn’t also me.

I had no idea how much of this came from the natural genetics of my spore donor, and how much was due to evo enhancement. And though I was morbidly curious, there was almost no way that I’d ever find out. I didn’t even know where I encountered the spore that infected me, much less who it had come from. For all I knew, I might have had my seed for a year before learning about it.

After what felt like an hour, I finally tore my eyes away from the mirror and my own body. I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths, trying to stem the panic that was starting to rise. That woman wasn’t me. She was a fantasy come to life…not ME.

For a moment, I tried to calm down and pretend that everything was normal, but there was no way that would work. I could feel the weigh on my chest. I could feel countless warnings from all over my body, that things were different than I was used to…a continuous declaration that everything was wrong. Hell, even running my tongue across my teeth was enough to remind me that I was no longer myself.

With that, I plopped down onto the toilet seat and began to cry. I was disgusted at myself and ashamed of sobbing like a little girl, but I just couldn’t stop. I had no idea how long I sat there before I finally collected myself and remembered why I’d come into the bathroom in the first place.

Showering was both intensely satisfying and extremely weird. The hot water felt amazing, and after going so long without showering, it was great to finally get clean. However, washing myself only made me even more aware of how much my body had changed, especially with the way my chest stuck out. And unfortunately, because I hadn’t showered since Saturday, I couldn’t afford to just rush through it and had to actually take my time to make sure I really was clean.

Once I was finished with my shower, I learned two important lessons. One was that long hair was a real pain when wet, and that drying it with a towel really didn’t work. And two, when I took a shower in the future, I REALLY needed to bring some clean clothes in with me, especially since I lived in a house with three other…three guys. As it was, I had to wrap myself in two large towels, one covering the lower part of my body and one the top, just so I could leave the bathroom.

I stepped out into the living room, and there was no sign of Matt. However, DJ had returned and was in the middle of a conversation with Bobby. From the way they both immediately froze when I came into the room, with guilty looks on their faces, there was no doubt what they’d been talking about…or who.

“Bryan?” DJ asked cautiously. “Dude, is that really you?”

I hesitated a moment before answering. “Yes.” DJ gaped at that, and looked like he was about to say something else. However, I didn’t give him a chance. Instead, I hurried to my bedroom, and once I was safe inside, I locked the door.

--------------------

It was late Wednesday morning and the Three Stooges were all away for their classes, which meant that I currently had the entire house to myself. Technically, I should be attending my own classes as well, but wasn’t ready for that. Or more specifically, I wasn’t ready to face the people in those classes or how they’d react to me.

Since I was on my own for the time being, I’d set my amp up in the middle of the living room and was practicing with my guitar. My changed hands didn’t quite meet the guitar neck and strings the way I was used to, but it didn’t take me long to adjust to that and compensate. Now I was wailing away, playing one high energy song after another, and feeling my anger and frustration leaking away with the music. By the time I finally stopped playing, I was feeling much better.

“Way more therapeutic than any shrink,” I announced as I gently set my guitar down. “Take two jam sessions and call me in the morning.”

Now that I’d calmed down a bit, I could think clearly and realized that there were a lot of problems I would have to deal with, and hiding out inside my room wasn’t going to solve a single one of them. I glanced down at my clothes, which included an oversized sweater that Aunt Colleen had given me last Christmas. One of the first things I needed to do, was get some clothes that actually fit me.

“And no more shopping in the men’s section,” I reminded myself with a grimace.

I definitely wasn’t looking forwarding to buying new clothes, especially girl clothes, but I couldn’t deny the necessity. With my new body, none of my old clothes fit, and the ones that came close, were uncomfortable and ugly. Unfortunately, clothes were expensive, and as a college student, I wasn’t exactly rolling in money. That meant, I would probably need to call home and beg my dad for the money, which was something I dreaded.

It had been about three weeks since the last time I’d called home, so my parents didn’t know about my kidnapping, turning evo, or becoming a girl. Hell, I hadn’t even told them that I had a seed in the first place, so when they found out, it was all going to be quite a shock. I definitely wanted to put that call off for as long as I possibly could.

Then I suddenly thought of my Aunt Colleen and burst out laughing. She was always warning everyone in the family about one illness or another, thinking that every headache might be a sign of a brain tumor, or that every sneeze could mean ebola. After she found out about me, I had no doubt that she’d start thinking that every symptom could be caused by evo spores as well.

I was coming up with a list of things I needed to do, as well as excuses to procrastinate, when the doorbell began ringing. When I went to answer it, I was a bit surprised to find Leslie and Tina both standing there, each holding a large bag.

“How are you doing?” Leslie asked me with a concerned expression.

“A little better,” I admitted as I gestured for them to enter.

“Wow,” Tina exclaimed, pausing to stare at me for a few seconds more before coming inside. “I still can’t believe you’re you…”

“Tell me about it,” I muttered.

“We stopped at a thrift store and picked up some clothes,” Leslie announced, holding up the bag she’d been carrying. “I had to guess at your sizes, and a lot of these aren’t exactly stylish, but I figured you needed something to wear…”

I was a little surprised that Leslie would go out of her way so much in order to help, but I appreciated it. “Thank you.” Then I admitted, “I was planning to go buy some new clothes today, but my budget is pretty tight...”

Leslie just smiled at that and teased, “You just barely turn into a woman, and you’re already planning a shopping trip. Shame on you for giving into the cliché…”

“I know some great places to go shopping,” Tina blurted out excitedly. “And I know where all the best deals are…”

“Uh oh,” Leslie said, giving me a worried look. She leaned over and whispered, “I said the S word…”

“S word?” I asked.

“Shopping,” Leslie answered with a sigh. “I’m not exactly into shopping, so if it was just the two of us, we could just go in and get what you need. But if Tina comes…” She gave a sidelong look at her roommate and shuddered. “She’ll make an event of it…and will probably try to get us all makeovers…”

“That will be great,” Tina stated cheerfully. She put a hand on my arm and assured me, “Don’t worry Bryan. We’ll get you looking like a proper woman in no time…”

“But,” I started to protest, but the look of resignation on Leslie’s face told me it was already too late.

Before I could even think of a protest, Tina excitedly went on, “You’ll need a new name too. I mean, Bryan is great for a guy, but just won’t do now. How about Brianna? We could call you Bree for short…”

“I don’t think so,” I responded, but Tina was already dragging us towards the door, and didn’t seem inclined to listen.

Since I needed to pick up some things anyway, and Tina was just so enthusiastic, I let her take me shopping. Leslie came with, seeming both annoyed at Tina, yet amused by the whole situation. Fortunately, she was nearly as bored with the idea of shopping as I was, which made her a bit easier to deal with than Tina.

Tina started off by taking us to a shoe store, much to the disgust of my battered masculine pride. How much more of a cliché could it get, for women…even a newly minted and very reluctant one…to go shoe shopping?

“It’ll be fun,” Tina insisted with an almost manic look in her eyes. Leslie and I shared a look and then shook our heads. Before long, the cute blonde was holding up a pair of stiletto heels, announcing, “These would look great on you…”

“Probably,” I grudgingly admitted, knowing that with my new legs, they probably would look awesome on me. However, I shuddered at the thought and gave an emphatic, “But no.”

“You’ve got to at least try them on,” Tina kept insisting.

I had absolutely no intention of trying on those heels, or any heals, but with enough insisting, and some pleading that involved puppy dog eyes, much to Leslie’s obvious amusement, I finally agreed, just so Tina would stop pestering me. After I put the shoes on, I stood up, fully expecting to lose my balance and do a face plant…or considering my new physique…a chest plant. But to my surprise, I was able to keep my balance in the heels fairly well. I wasn’t sure if that was because women always exaggerated how difficult it was to master walking in heels, or if my sense of balance had been augmented along with everything else. What I did know, was that Tina squealed with glee as I strolled back and forth in front of her.

“Those look awesome on you,” Tina exclaimed. “You have GOT to buy them…”

“They do look good on you,” Leslie admitted, looking just a little jealous, though she quickly added, “But you’ll never catch me wearing shoes like that…”

“They don’t feel too bad,” I reluctantly admitted, even as I was mentally grumbling about how weird it was for me to wear heels. I quickly took the shoes off, and before Tina could say anything more, I quickly told her, “And no, I’m not buying them. Hell, I couldn’t afford them even if I did want to.”

Tina grabbed two pairs of shoes, and to her intense disappointment, the only shoes I walked out with were a pair of plain sneakers. Those would be perfect, and they’d be a better fit than the shoes I’d left my house in…a pair that I’d ‘borrowed’ from Matt without his knowledge.

“But every woman needs some nice shoes,” Tina tried insisting one more time as we were leaving.

“She is right,” Leslie told me, looking as though she was reluctant to agree with her roommate. “Eventually, you’ll need a few more for different situations.”

“But not now,” I grumbled, satisfied at having some comfortable shoes on my feet again, though not eager to buy any more.

After this, we went to lunch at a café that was pretty popular among some of the college students because they gave good sized portions for low prices. I felt awkward as I stepped into the café and was immediately stared at by nearly everyone there. I squirmed self-consciously and hurried to my table, wishing everyone would just stop staring. Unfortunately, I knew what I looked like, which meant that I also knew that wasn’t going to happen.

When the waitress came by, she stared at me too before blurting out, “Excuse me…but are you an evo?”

“Yes,” I reluctantly admitted, knowing that there was no point in denying. Just about anyone who looked at me would be able to tell I was.

The waitress’ eyes gleamed with excitement. “You’re the first evo I’ve ever met in person…”

She continued to chatter cheerfully, while I put on a polite smile, even though I just wanted to bang my head on the table. I wasn’t at all happy with this attention, and found it weird that a complete stranger would treat me like I was some kind of celebrity. Of course, I’d always known that a lot of people did think of evos as celebrities, but until now, I’d hadn’t realized that this would apply to me too.

Once the waitress hurried away, Leslie leaned over and whispered, “I’m kind of surprised she didn’t ask for your autograph.”

“We’re not done yet,” I pointed out with a sigh.

As expected, once we were finished eating and the bill arrived, our waitress Becky, asked for my autograph. Tina beamed just as proudly as if she’d been the one asked, while Leslie snickered in amusement. I blushed and signed my autograph for her, feeling like an idiot for doing so. Fortunately, my autograph was messy enough that I doubt she’d be able to actually read what my name was. But to my surprise, I found that the bill included a nice discount, which almost made the awkwardness worth it.

Next, we went to a large department store, where I could pick the rest of the clothes I needed, or at least, enough for my immediate needs. Then, as soon as we entered, Tina pulled me straight into the lingerie section. Leslie gave me a sympathetic look and a shrug.

“You’ll definitely need some under things,” Leslie told me, though she gave me a wry look as she gestured to a rack full of lacy and frilly panties. “But I think you can probably do without going that fancy…”

Tina, on the other hand, immediately started for the most feminine and frilly items available, which made me immediately put the brakes on that with a firm, “Hell no…”

“I think we need to be more gentle about this,” Leslie told her roommate. “Let’s keep this simple. All Bryan needs are the basics right now, so you can worry about converting her to lace and thongs later on…”

“But it took months to get you to try them,” Tina protested. “I mean, you used to wear those ugly granny panties…”

“Enough,” Leslie exclaimed with a bright blush which made me chuckle.

Fortunately, it only took a couple minutes to find what I needed as far as panties went. I grabbed some plain white ones, and on Leslie’s suggestion, a few pair of black ones as well. These were probably some of the least expensive they had in the store, and Tina seemed almost aghast, but I could live with them.

But unfortunately, I wasn’t done with the lingerie section yet, as Tina and Leslie both pointed out. I still needed a bra. I groaned at the idea, and my first and even second impulse was just to say, “Hell no,” but I’d seen a few girls walking around campus without bras on, and it was often pretty obvious.

One of the women who worked there helped me to measure my bust, much to my extreme discomfort, and even more embarrassment when I saw how big I was. Of course, as Leslie pointed out, I could have become bigger, but I was still far too big for my own comfort.

“That is a little larger than what most stores carry,” the store employee told me. “But we do keep a few in larger sizes in stock, because you never know…”

They did have one bra in my size, but when I saw the price tag, I nearly choked. I’d never considered how much a woman had to spend on bras, but after seeing this, I was certain that it was way too much.

“Custom order bras work better for larger sizes,” she assured me. “They can be more comfortable and a better fit, but you do pay for it…”

I hesitated for more than a few seconds, hating the idea of spending that much money on a piece of clothing. And what was worse, this one wasn’t even one of the custom ordered ones that the saleswoman had talked about, but it was still far too much.

“I’ll be eating ramen for a month,” I grumbled as I decided to go ahead.

I hated the idea of wearing a bra, and especially having to pay so much for one, but I suddenly had an image of nipping out in class and having everyone stare. With my new assets, there was going to be more than enough staring as it was, and I didn’t want to give anyone even more reason.

Now that we were finished with the more sensitive and embarrassing items, we moved on to everything else, or at least to pants and shirts. Tina kept wanting me to try things on, and I had the distinct feeling that she thought of me as a life sized doll that she was playing dress up with. I humored her a few times, just to keep her happy, but put my foot down just as often.

“There is NO WAY IN HELL that I’m putting on that miniskirt,” I blurted out one time, followed a few minutes later by, “That shirt doesn’t even cover a third of my chest…”

I grumbled in annoyance, because most of the clothes that Tina recommended, would have looked great on my body…uncomfortably so. I felt like a hypocrite since I knew that I’d be drooling over a hot chick who was wearing some of that stuff, but there was no way I was going to try it. As a result, I was pretty sure that I came off as being something of a prude.

“Just be thankful they don’t have more in your size,” Leslie told me while Tina was out of earshot. “Tall women and busty women both have a hard time finding clothes that fit, but usually that’s considered a downside…” She glanced over towards Tina, who was letting out a squeal of delight at finding something else to have me try on. Leslie snickered and added, “But this time it’s to your benefit…”

Seconds later, Tina came rushing over, waving a new piece of clothes, “This is a great deal… They’ve got a BOGO sale on these shirts…”

When we finally left the store, after a very long three hours, all I bought was socks, panties, one bra, one pair of pants, and three shirts. Tina was absolutely mortified that I didn’t buy more, and she kept insisting I get a purse and some accessories as well, much to Leslie’s amusement.

“I’m broke,” I tried to explain in exasperation. “I couldn’t buy anything more if I wanted. As it is, I’m going to be stuck eating ramen for the next month…and maybe some cheap boxed mac and cheese if I feel like splurging.”

Of course, I was still hoping that I’d be able to get some money from Dad, but I still hadn’t told him about my changes. The very thought of that phone call made me wince, so I shoved those thoughts away, at least for the moment.

“You didn’t get very much,” Leslie agreed, but then pointed out to Tina, “But between the essentials Bryan got here, and everything we picked up for her this morning, she should be fine for a week or two.”

“Or at least until I can get my folks to send me money,” I admitted with a sigh.

Once we were done there, we drove to another store where we picked up some shampoo and conditioner that both girls insisted I needed, along with a couple other things. I tried to protest that I couldn’t afford it, but Leslie told me, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of this, and you can pay me back whenever you can. No hurry.”

“Thank you,” I told her, grateful for how much she’d been trying to help me. As embarrassing as it was, I probably would have been lost without Leslie and Tina.

When Tina parked her car in front of my house a short time later, I was still thinking about everything that Leslie and Tina had done for me today. They’d done more than picking up clothes at the thrift store and taking me shopping. They’d kept me so busy and distracted, that I didn’t even have a chance to sink back into self-pity. They’d been there as friends when I needed them most.

“You two want to come in for something to drink?” I asked as we got out of the car.

“Sorry,” Leslie responded with an apologetic shrug. “I’m going back to classes tomorrow, and I need to do a little catching up…”

I shuddered at that. “Yeah, I should probably do that too.”

“Maybe we can hang out another time,” Leslie said.

“What?” I joked. “You haven’t gotten enough of me yet?”

“I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment,” she responded with a grin as we both chuckled.

“Thanks again,” I told her, feeling more than a little self-conscious.

“You too,” Leslie said, suddenly throwing her arms around me in a surprise hug. “Take care, and call me if you need anything…”

“Hey,” Tina joked, “Where’s my hug?”

“DJ might not be happy about me hugging his girlfriend,” I pointed out, which seemed to amuse Tina.

A minute later, Leslie and Tina were gone, so I took the bags containing my new purchases and went into the house. However, as soon as I stepped through the door, I realized that I no longer had the house to myself. The Three Stooges were all home and siting in the living room. All eyes immediately turned to stare at me.

“Dude,” DJ blurted out, only to be elbowed by Bobby.

“Hey,” I greeted them awkwardly. I held up the bags, and almost defensively said, “I had to get some clothes that fit…”

Bobby snickered at that. “You’re a chick for only a couple days, and you’re already out shopping for clothes…”

“Bite me,” I responded, which earned a couple chuckles.

“At least some things haven’t changed,” DJ pointed out while Matt just watched me suspiciously.

I started for my bedroom, but Matt blurted out, “What happened?”

“Yeah,” Bobby added. “You were like…kidnapped. What happened?”

“Who did it?” DJ added.

All three of them were staring at me expectantly, obviously burning up with curiosity. I let out a sigh and nodded. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll tell you.”

With that, I went and dropped my bags off in my room, along with the ones that Leslie and Tina had brought earlier. Once I was done with that, I went to the kitchen and grabbed a beer, taking a long drink before making my way back to the living room where I plopped down in an open chair.

“Dude,” DJ blurted out. “You’re totally hot…”

“Shut up,” I snapped, fighting the urge to hide. The last thing I needed was to have my housemates ogling me. “I didn’t ask for this…”

Bobby held up his hands in a sign of surrender. “We’re all dying for some answers here…”

I nodded at that, took another long drink of my beer, then began to tell them everything. Matt kept giving me the stink eye, but he didn’t say anything, though DJ seemed intent on interrupting me every sentence or two.

Finally, Matt blurted out, “How’d you get away?” Apparently, his curiosity overrode his dislike of evos. Either that, or he was annoyed at the constant interruptions and wanted to get to the end.

“Like this,” I said, looking to the coffee table and focusing intently on the TV remote that was sitting on the other side. After a moment of concentration, it slid right across the coffee table and into my waiting hand.

“Whoah,” Bobby blurted out. “Awesome…”

“You didn’t even touch it,” DJ gasped.

I gave a wry smile before explaining, “Some evos get little tricks like that, and I was lucky enough to be one of them. The bastard left the keys to our cage out in the open, on the other side of the room…”

“So you swiped them and let yourself out,” Bobby said, nodding approvingly. “Sweet move.”

“Thanks,” I responded wryly.

“Dude, that is really fucked up,” DJ said with a shake of his head. “I mean, getting kidnapped and then turned into a chick…”

“At least you made it out of there,” Bobby said. Then he held up his beer and offered a cheer, “To surviving…”

“To surviving,” we all toasted, even Matt, who wouldn’t look me in the eyes, though admittedly, he didn’t seem to have a problem looking at my breasts.

I took a long drink of my beer while looking at the Three Stooges. I could think of other people I’d rather be looking at, like Mary, Tina, or Leslie, but it was great to be hanging out with them again. For the first time since Saturday, I actually felt like things were normal.

--------------------

It was Thursday morning and I was returning to class for the first time since my kidnapping, though I would rather have been doing almost anything else. I wasn’t ready to go back, to face my instructors and classmates, to see their expressions when they saw how much I’d changed. I had planned on waiting until next Monday…at least, but I didn’t really have much choice. Part of the deal that I’d made with my dad was that I ‘get back on the horse’ and return to classes immediately.

Last night, I’d called my dad, which was another thing that I would have preferred to delay for as long as I possibly could. Unfortunately, I needed to borrow some money, so I swallowed my pride, braced myself for what I knew would be a humiliating conversation, and called him. Since I hadn’t even told him about my seed before all this happened, and all of this had been a huge surprise, I’d had a hard time convincing him that I was really me. I had to go on Skype so he could see me and my room, and get the Three Stooges to all vouch for me. However, Dad still hadn’t been fully convinced until he called the local police department and got their confirmation on what happened.

The entire conversation had been extremely awkward and uncomfortable, especially once my mom got on Skype and saw what I now looked like. When she burst into tears, it was all I could do to keep from ending the call right then and there. I had no doubt that my next visit home was going to be an especially painful one. I shuddered as I imagined what Aunt Colleen would say, not to mention my cousin Melissa, who I used to tease mercilessly about being a girl.

“It could be worse,” I tried telling myself, thinking that at least they believed me…eventually. Dad was transferring a few thousand dollars into my account to help with my extra expenses, but of course, he expected me to return to classes immediately, and to call home more often. Those were both small prices to pay.

Another good thing, was that I was wide awake and bursting with energy, when normally I was dragging at this time of morning. It seemed that this was one of the benefits of being an evo, which I hadn’t realized until this morning, though it was one I could definitely get used to. I hadn’t suddenly become a morning person, though considering the way the Three Stooges had all given me disgusted looks this morning, I might be a little too close.

When I arrived at my first class of the day, History of the Ancient World, the reactions weren’t quite what I was expecting. From what I’d already experienced, I was expecting most of the girls to give me looks of jealousy while the guys would stare with obvious lust. However, I hadn’t expected people to start whispering, or to hear my name among the whispers. Obviously, news of my change had already spread around campus.

“Great,” I grumbled with a roll of my eyes, though I had to admit, it would probably save me on some explanations.

“Miss Garrett,” Professor Waynwright greeted me with a sympathetic look. “I’m surprised to see you back so soon after your ordeal.” She gave me a gentle smile as she added, “Welcome back.”

“Um…thank you,” I responded self-consciously, fully aware that all the other students were staring and whispering amongst themselves. Thanks for that brief exchange, some rumors had obviously just been confirmed.

I hurried to my seat, and had barely sat down when I realized that the girl who sat beside me, and who usually ignored me completely, was staring. “You’re gorgeous,” she gushed out, her voice rich with jealousy. “I can’t believe you’re really a guy…”

“Not anymore,” I grumbled awkwardly as I blushed brightly and stared at the surface of my desk so that I wouldn’t have to meet anyone’s eyes.

“Can you turn me into an evo?” an eager voice asked from behind me. I glanced back and saw a somewhat nerdy looking boy, who I vaguely remember being named Gary.

“It doesn’t work that way,” I tried to explain, fully aware that everyone nearby was paying attention, even those who were trying to pretend they weren’t. “Full evos aren’t contagious. I could give you a blood transfusion, and you still couldn’t catch any spores from me…”

“Oh,” “Gary responded with clear disappointment.

I suddenly wondered if that was what he’d been thinking…that he could talk me into donating blood and infecting him. After what had happened with Parnell, I really didn’t want anyone else getting that kind of idea.

The girl beside me chirped, “I hear you’re going by Brianna now.”

I nearly choked at that, but managed to squeak out, “Oh really?”

Suddenly, I had a really good idea of who it was who started the rumors about my turning evo. Tina was the one who’d insisted I should start calling myself Brianna, and she was quite a chatterbox, so there was little doubt in my mind that she’d been gossiping. I just wondered why I hadn’t expected it.

“Do you mind if I call you Bree?” the girl beside me asked, looking cheerful and friendly.

“Why not,” I responded with a sigh of resignation.

Whether I liked it or not, I no longer looked anything like a Bryan, and would probably have to choose a girl name of my own soon anyway. I didn’t really have anything against Brianna…or Bree…except that they were girl names, and it seemed that a lot of people already thought I was using it anyway.

“So,” she cheerfully continued, “My sorority is having a party tomorrow night, and it would be like, totally awesome if you could come…”

I was a bit startled by the invitation and told her, “I’ll think about it.”

Of course, I had absolutely no intention of doing to some big party, even a sorority party. Normally, I would have loved getting an invite to a sorority party, because that would have been a great way to meet girls, and maybe even get laid. However, with the way I now looked, the dynamics of that had changed a great deal. I shuddered, knowing that any guys at the party would be looking at me with that same objective. There was no way I was putting myself in that situation.

The sorority girl looked like she wanted to say something else, but thankfully, Professor Waynwright chose that moment to begin her lecture. I let out a grateful sigh, fully aware that a number of boys in class were still watching me, but not all of them. The attention was all so annoying, that I began focusing on the lecture, just to distract myself.

As soon as class was over, Sabrina, as I’d learned the sorority girl’s name was, immediately began chatting to me as if I was her new best friend. It was quite a drastic change from last week when she’d ignored me completely. I wasn’t sure how much of this new interest was because I was now a hot looking girl, and how much because I was an evo. What I did know, was that there was no way in Hell that I was going to let her suck me up into some sorority where they could brainwash me into being a good little bimbo.

I quickly gave Sabrina the slip, though I learned that she wasn’t the only person who suddenly wanted to be my friend. During the next two classes, I received another invitation to the same sorority party, an invitation to a frat party that was occurring at the same time, and one guy just straight out asked me to go on a date with him. I’d always known that evos received a lot of attention, but experiencing it first-hand was a bit overwhelming.

Of course, my newfound popularity didn’t extend to everyone. A number of people gave me looks of disgust, contempt, or hostility. Some of them were obviously jealous, or worried that I was going to steal their boyfriends, but there were also those who seemed to believe that I was now some kind of alien controlled pod person. Ironically, the last group of people were the easiest to deal with, as I’d much rather be thought of as a pod person than as some boyfriend stealing slut.

When lunch arrived, I decided to skip my usual eating spot because too many people knew to look for me there. Instead, I found an out of the way place beside the campus fountain, one that had a great view of the local scenery, namely, hot girls who were heading towards the cafeteria.

“Yeah,” I reminded myself, looking down at the weights on my chest. “And I’m one of them now.” I scowled at that, knowing it would take me a long time to get used to that idea. “I just wish there were more hot lesbians around here…”

Then my thoughts turned to the person who made this all possible, and not in a good way. Professor Parnell had escaped before the police arrived at his home, and he was still out there somewhere. I shuddered at that thought, even though I knew I would probably never see him again.

“He got what he wanted from me,” I reminded myself with a scowl. He had absolutely no reason to come back. “Thank God for that small favor.”

I felt a little depressed as I ate, trying not to think about my new body and life. I felt good…damn good…and that made the whole girl thing all the more strange. How could I be a girl, in the wrong gender, and still feel so good?

“All part of being an evo,” I reminded myself. “All that health, vitality, and energy…” I could definitely get used to all that, though I had a hard time imagining that I’d ever get used to being a girl.

I was almost finished with my lunch when someone called out, “Bryan. I mean Bree…”

“Leslie,” I announced with a grin since she was someone I was actually happy to see.

Leslie adjusted her glasses and asked, “Mind if I sit here?” Before I could answer, she sat down anyway. “I’m a little surprised to see you back so soon… I thought you were planning to wait until next week…”

“I was,” I admitted with a wry smile. “But my dad talked me into coming back sooner.”

“I see,” she responded with a nod of understanding.

With a shrug, I told her, “My dad agreed to send some money for my new expenses, but this was his condition.”

Leslie snorted at that. “I imagine that must have been an interesting conversation.”

“Yeah,” I agreed with a chuckle. “It was kind of…awkward.”

We sat there in silence for about half a minute before Leslie cautiously asked, “So, how was your first day back?”

I hesitated a moment before answering back, “About what you’d expect. Really uncomfortable. Just about everyone stared at me, a bunch of girls called me a slut, and at least four guys asked me out.”

Leslie snickered at that. “That must have been quite a change.”

I rolled my eyes. “You have no idea.”

“On the plus side,” she pointed out with a chuckle. “At the next meeting, you’re going to have a lot to talk about.”

“Oh joy,” I exclaimed with mock enthusiasm. “I can hardly wait.”

Leslie and I stared at each other for a moment before we burst out laughing. It was strange, that we and I hadn’t known each other for very long, and before all this happened, we didn’t have anything in common. However, we’d gone through a lot together, and I didn’t know what I would have done without her. Somehow, Leslie had become my closest friend, and having her by my side made me certain that I could handle my new problems as well.

-------------------

It was late afternoon on Friday, and classes were over for the week. I had two days to relax, or at least, to catch up on my classwork and notes before I had to return to the grind. Still, I was looking forward to this weekend, to being able to avoid the crowds on campus and just spend the time dealing with everything that had happened to me.

In spite of the need to catch up on my classwork, and my desire to just stay home and relax for a bit, I was current at MoFo’s, a restaurant that served killer pizza and wings. MoFo’s was one of the most popular places in town, at least among the campus crowd, so it was no surprise that this was the place that the Three Stooges had picked for dinner. What was a surprise, was that Tina and Leslie had come along.

We were currently sitting around a large table, with Leslie to one side of me and Tina on the other, almost as if the girls were trying to protect me from the guys. I found that rather amusing, though kind of touching at the same time. They had both accepted me as ‘one of the girls’, which might have been really awkward if it wasn’t for the fact that they both meant it in the best way.

Matt sat on the other side of the table, and he was making a very obvious attempt to ignore me. He probably would have refused to come entirely, if Bobby and DJ hadn’t insisted. Of course, it was no surprise that Matt was uncomfortable around me, though I hadn’t done anything to cause it other than turn evo. Still, being ignored by him was better than the suspicious glares he had been giving me.

Ironically, while my friend was ignoring me, all the strangers in the restaurant kept staring. I was doing the best I could to avoid all the curious and lustful looks, though it wasn’t easy. Unfortunately, this was one of the downsides that came with being an evo, or specifically, with being a hot evo babe.

“Dude,” DJ exclaimed, “I can’t believe you got an invite to the sorority party and didn’t go…”

“It is a sweet opportunity,” Bobby agreed. “There are bound to be a lot of hot chicks there…”

DJ nodded at that, only to get elbowed by Tina, who demanded, “And what about the hot chicks here?”

I watched DJ turn an interesting shade of red as he struggled to come up with the ‘right answer’, then decided to help him out. “It wouldn’t be the same, going as one of those chicks,” I pointed out

“But you can get the inside scoop,” DJ said, only to earn another elbow from Tina, who had a look of mock offense on her face. I had a feeling that she was going to milk this for all the attention she could get.

Leslie was watching the exchange with an amused look and asked me, “Would you really go to a party like that to pick up girls?”

“Damn right,” Bobby added with a cheerful grin while DJ and Matt nodded, earning DJ another elbow from a smirking Tina.

I gulped, suddenly realizing that I might just have gone from being ‘one of the girls’ back to being ‘one of the guys’, which made this whole relationship a little awkward. Because of my recent change, I wasn’t sure exactly where I fit anymore, and obviously, everyone else was having a hard time really deciding too.

“I was invited to a frat party too,” I quickly added, hoping to change the subject just a little. “But I figured that would be even more embarrassing…”

“But all those frat boys would absolutely love you,” Tina teased, which made me blush since I knew exactly what those guys would think of me.

“Sorry,” I pointed out wryly, “but I don’t lean that way.” I gestured down at myself and added, “The hardware may have changed, but the software is still the same…”

“Funny,” Bobby commented with a smirk. “Your hardware looks pretty soft to me…”

“Dude,” DJ exclaimed with a lecherous grin. “Can I feel and see how hard this hardware is for myself?”

Tina elbowed him again. “So, you want to feel up other girls in my presence? I’m not sure we should be dating…”

“Oh come on,” DJ quickly pleaded, realizing that he’d pushed too far. “I was just kidding…” However, I saw the gleam of amusement in Tina’s eyes, while Leslie snickered on the other side of me.

A few minutes later, I noticed Tina looking at Matt with a thoughtful expression. Before I could ask what was going on, she leaned across me and whispered to Leslie, “What do you think? Matt and Barb?”

“They’d make a cute couple,” Leslie whispered back.

Tina grinned, looking quite pleased with herself. I just glanced back and forth between her and Tina, surprised that I was caught in the middle while they made plans to play matchmaker with one of my friends. I wasn’t sure whether I should be offended by their scheming about Matt’s personal life, or amused.

“What are you girls talking about? DJ asked, looking part curious and part nervous, as though afraid they might be talking about him.

“Just girl stuff,” Tina answered with a giggle. “Nothing you’d understand…”

I just rolled my eyes at that and decided to play along. “You’re better off not knowing.” That made Leslie and Tina both laugh some more.

I shook my head and smiled as I reached for another slice of pizza. However, as I went to take a bite, a slice of pepperoni fell off and dropped right down into my cleavage. I let out a squeak of surprise while everyone at the table burst out laughing, including Matt.

“Busty girl problems,” Tina said sympathetically.

“I can help you get that out,” Bobby volunteered. I glared at him.

“I’ll never get used to having these stupid things,” I complained as I got a napkin and tried to get the pepperoni out of my cleavage. All the guys were staring, which made me blush horribly. “Always getting in the way…”

“Like when you accidentally got them in your plate during breakfast,” Bobby offered, earning another glare for reminding me of that.

“You’ll get used to them,” Leslie promised me, while I just hung my head in shame, wishing I could turn invisible. Unfortunately, my seed had made me anything but invisible.

Once we’d all finished eating and were ready to leave, we decided to split up. “We’ve got plans,” DJ proudly announced, putting an arm round Tina in a possessive manner. “Catch ya later…” With that, the two of them climbed into Tina’s car.

“I’ll give you a ride back,” I told Leslie, since she’d come with Tina. I nodded to Bobby and Matt, who were climbing into Bobby’s car. “See you guys later.”

“Not if we see you first,” Bobby joked with a grin.

As soon as everyone else was gone, Leslie said, “Thanks for giving me a ride.” She gave me a wry smile. “I think my roommate forgot all about me…”

“No problem,” I told Leslie, happy for the excuse to talk to her without anyone else around.

Leslie and I had been kidnapped together, and she’d been there while I went through my change. Because of that, she understood my situation better than anyone else could. Sure, she hadn’t gone full evo yet, and she didn’t have any direct experience with having her body suddenly change, but I still felt closer to her than to the Three Stooges. It was funny, because I’d known them, and had lived with them, for far longer than I’d known Leslie.

While I drove her back to her dorm, we talked a little about the things I was going through, and she offered more advice on how to be a woman. “I’m afraid I can’t give you any advice on how deal with guys drooling over you,” she admitted with a wry smile, gesturing down at her rather unimpressive body. “I’ve never exactly had that problem.”

I glanced over at Leslie, feeling guilty for bringing that up. I knew she felt self-conscious about the way she looked, though she never said anything about it, and that she was a bit envious of me. Leslie certainly wasn’t the kind of girl I normally liked to ask out, but in spite of her plain looks, there was something very appealing about her.

“How about girls?” I teased, trying to play it off smooth, though it probably came off a bit more awkward than I’d intended.

Leslie looked a little startled at that, and after several seconds, she said, “I’m not really into girls…”

“Oh,” I responded, suddenly realizing that I’d just made her uncomfortable. I silently cursed myself, as well as my talent for making things awkward. I grimaced, wondering what I could say to make this better…or at least less weird.

“If I was into girls,” Leslie blurted out, “I’d probably be all over you.” Then she shrugged awkwardly at that and gave me a self-conscious smile. “But I’m not, so I’m just happy to have you as a friend.”

“I’m glad to have you as a friend too,” I told her honestly.

When we reached Leslie’s dorm, she invited me in to continue talking. There was the unspoken addition that it was ‘only as friends’, which didn’t really bother me because this time, I didn’t mind being put into the friend zone. In spite of my earlier probing, I thought of her more as a friend than a real romantic possibility anyway.

“I was thinking,” Leslie announced. “Now that you’re a girl, you’ll be expected to know about things like makeup…” She paused to give me a thoughtful and even somewhat envious look before admitting, “Not that YOU need to use any. And admittedly, Tina would probably be a lot better than me for giving that lesson…”

“There a lot of things I’ll need to learn,” I admitted awkwardly, dreading the idea of trying any of that girlie stuff. However, Leslie was trying to be helpful, so I didn’t want to insult her efforts. “But I think I’ll be sticking with the whole tomboy thing…”

Leslie laughed at that. “I can see that. Somehow, I just can’t see you doing the whole beautify queen thing…in spite of how you look.” However, a moment later, she grinned and added, “But I can see you trying to pull off a punk or rocker look...”

“Maybe,” I responded thoughtfully, trying to imagine it almost in spite of myself.

“Do you want something to drink?” Leslie asked, going to the mini fridge that sat in the corner. She gave me a self-conscious smile and added, “We have Fresca and Diet Coke…”

“I’ll take the Fresca,” I answered politely.

Just as Leslie started to bring the drink to me, there was a knocking on the door. “Probably the neighbors again,” Leslie told me with an apologetic shrug. “They’re always coming over to talk with Tina…”

Leslie opened the door, them immediately let out a shriek and leapt backwards. I jumped to my feet, not sure what was going on but not liking her reaction. However, a moment later, a familiar voice commanded, “Don’t make a sound…”

“Oh shit,” I blurted out as I saw Professor Parnell standing in the doorway with a gun pointed directly at Leslie. Parnell stepped inside and stared at me for a moment before looking back to Leslie. His gun never wavered, even as he closed the door behind himself.

“I must apologize once again,” the professor stated, though the look of determination on his face made it clear that he wasn’t going change his mind.

“Why are you here?” I demanded angrily, clenching my firsts but not daring to move, not as long as Parnell had that gun. “You already got what you wanted…”

Parnell shook his head regretfully. “I fear that is no longer the case… You see, in spite of all my precautions…my infection aborted before I reached stage two…”

“You have my sympathies,” Leslie responded sarcastically.

I scowled and spat out, “So, you came to get more of my blood…”

Parnell blinked at that, giving me a surprised look. “Of course not,” he replied, looking somewhat offended. “You’ve entered stage five… You’re stable and no longer contagious…”

“Then why…?” I started, only to look at Leslie in realization.

“You want to trigger my seed,” Leslie blurted out. “You want to collect my spores…”

“Indeed,” Parnell responded grimly. Then almost defensively, he continued, “You are not my first choice. I would rather not receive your DNA, or take the rather high risk that your spores would turn me female….” He paused at that, looking almost apologetic as he added, “But I no longer have a choice.”

“You always have a choice,” Leslie insisted, glaring at him defiantly.

“Perhaps,” Parnell stated, giving her a flat look. “But my choices are to do this…or to die.”

I felt a moment of sympathy for the professor, until I remembered what he’d done, and what he was about to do again. “Haven’t you done enough?”

Parnell didn’t answer that, though a guilty expression flashed over his face before vanishing behind a determined look. “This would have been much easier for everyone if you two hadn’t run away. If you’d stayed still for just a few more days, we all could have been done with this.”

“So, you’re to lock both of us up again?” I demanded. “Too bad you lost your cage.”

Parnell glared at me, and I saw a flash of anger. Obviously, he wasn’t happy about losing his house, or about being hunted by the police. I really wanted to rub that in a bit more, but I didn’t think that was safe at the moment.

I nervously glanced at his gun, not sure if it was the dart gun he’d used to catch us originally, or if it was a real gun. I certainly wasn’t about to take any chances, not now. The only thing that kept me from freaking out was the knowledge that he wanted us alive.

“I don’t need both of you,” Parnell stated, suddenly turning and shooting me.

Leslie screamed while I staggered back with one dart in my shoulder and one in my rather large chest. “Bastard,” I snarled as my body was quickly going numb. I dropped to my knees, though I continued glaring at the professor. “You won’t get away with this…”

“Such a cliché,” Parnell snorted dismissively. “I’m not some villain in a cheap melodrama.”

“Well, you’re certainly acting like it,” Leslie spat out, looking as though she was trying to decide whether to rush the professor or not. However, after another look at his weapon, she remained where she was.

Parnell fixed Leslie with a steady gaze. “I would prefer not to drag your body to my vehicle, so I will give you the opportunity to come under your own power.”

Leslie gave him an incredulous look. “Why in the world would I do that?”

“You are coming with me one way or another,” he told her firmly. “If I’m forced to drag you, you’re likely to be injured in the process.”

I could actually see Leslie thinking about it, and after several seconds she nodded. “Fine.”

“You’ll be released once I have what I need,” the professor promised her. “And I’m sure you’ll enjoy being an evo…” Leslie and I both glared at him in response. “Bryan came out quite lovely from his evolution, and I’m certain your improvements will be equally impressive.”

“Bite me,” Leslie snarled, giving me a worried look before leaving with Parnell.

As soon as they were gone, I cried out, “No…”

I felt a surge of dread when I thought about what Parnell was going to do to her. Even if everything went perfectly, he was probably going to zap her with a taser and then keep her locked up for several more days. I didn’t want her to go through that again, especially not when she’d be on her own, without someone to help her through the changes the way she’d helped me.

“No, no, no,” I exclaimed, clenching my fists in anger.

It took me several seconds to realize that I was clenching my fists. In fact, I could still feel my body…at least a bit. Everything was pins and needles, but I wasn’t completely numb like I’d been when Parnell had drugged me last week.

“I can still move,” I told myself, knowing that I had to get up. I had to call the police so they’d catch Parnell.

In spite of all the drugs in my system, I was able to move my body, at least enough to slowly reach up and grab the darts. I pulled them from my body and forced myself to get back up. It wasn’t easy, but the pins and needles sensation was already fading. It was wearing off a LOT faster than it had the last time.

“Thank God for being an evo,” I muttered, hardly able to believe I’d said that.

I grabbed Leslie’s cell phone from the counter and hurried out the door as quickly as I could, dialing 911 in the process. “This is Bryan Garrett,” I blurted out, knowing that they’d recognize my name. “Professor Parnell just kidnapped Leslie Trask again. We’re at her dorm…”

I reached the parking lot just in time to see Parnell shoving Leslie into the passenger side of a sedan. In spite of going with him under her own power, Leslie was still resisting, enough to slow the process down. I didn’t know if she was doing this out of spite, or if it was part of a plan to buy time for help to arrive. What I did know was that they weren’t gone yet.

“STOP,” I yelled out as I rushed at them, determined to stop the professor.

Parnell snapped around and looked at me in surprise. “How…?”

He fired several more shots at me, missing with all but one that struck me in my left breast. Just like the last time, getting a dart in my breast really hurt, though this time, I pulled the dart out as quickly as possible.

“You should still be paralyzed,” Parnell exclaimed, though this was followed by a flash of realization on his face. “Of course. Your seed gave you a tolerance…”

“Let her go,” I ordered him, suddenly feeling rather smug and invisible.

While Parnell was distracted by this, Leslie jumped out of the car and slammed into him, knocking the dart gun from his hand. However, the professor didn’t go down easily and shoved her back, knocking her to the ground and then reaching for his belt. He pulled out the taser that was holstered there, and without hesitation, he fired that at me. The taser darts both struck me, but instead of the muscle spasms and pain that I’d felt the last time I’d been zapped by one, all I felt was a tingle.

For a moment, I just stood there, feeling surprised and relieved that I wasn’t curled up on the ground in pain. From the look on the professor’s face, he hadn’t been expecting anything like that either.

“It looks like I developed a tolerance for this to,” I responded with a smirk.

Parnell had a look of worry on his face as he dropped the taser and backed away. “I didn’t have a choice,” I he said. “I’m not going to just wait to die…”

“But you didn’t have to do all this,” I spat back.

“Yes,” he responded with a grimace and another look of determination. “I do.”

With that, Parnell reached into his jacket, and instead of pulling out his pipe like I’d have expected, he withdrew another gun instead. It was a little smaller than the dart gun, but it was a resolver, which clearly meant that it was a real weapon.

“How many damn weapons are you carrying?” I blurted out.

Looking a little smug, Parnell stated, “I am a firm believer in being prepared.”

“Great,” Leslie grumbled bitterly. “We’re being kidnapped by a Boy Scout.”

“You’re coming with me,” Parnell told Leslie. “And you, dear girl, are not going to interfere again…”

I stared at the gun in fear, suddenly losing that sense of invulnerability that I’d enjoyed for so briefly. I gulped, then squeaked out, “You’re going to kill me…” I took a nervous step back, suddenly wondering if I could run. Of course, I immediately realized that there was no way I could outrun a bullet, but the thought was still there.

“I’m not a murderer,” Parson announced, sounding offended by that.

“Just a kidnapper,” Leslie added bitterly.

Parnell shook his head sadly at that. “I don’t have time for this.” Then he pointed the gun at me and shot me in the leg. My thigh exploded in pain and I dropped to the ground with a scream. “I don’t need to kill you. And again, I am sorry…”

“SHIT, SHIT, SHIT,” I cried out in agony, grabbing my bloody thigh and rolling on the ground.

“Come on,” Parnell told Leslie. “We have to leave…”

Parnell started pushing Leslie towards the car again, and all I could do was watch helplessly. I screamed in frustration of being unable to do anything again.

“HELP,” Leslie yelled. Then she frantically looked at me and blurted out, “Remember how we escaped…” Her eyes darted to the ground away from me, and a moment later, I realized what she was trying to say.

“Professor,” I blurted out, getting him to focus on me instead of Leslie. “You aren’t going to get away with this…”

“Of course I will,” he disagreed, giving me a flat look. “Once I turn full evo, I won’t look anything like my old self. I’ll be able to simply disappear and start over again with an entirely new identity. I’ll put all of this behind me for good.”

Parnell looked like he was about to say something else, when the sounds of police sirens could be heard in the distance. The professor froze and looked in the direction the sound was coming from, and that was just the opportunity I was looking for.

“Now,” I blurted out, focusing all my attention on his gun and using my telekinesis to yank it out of his grip.

“What the…?” Parnell demanded, already trying to recover the gun. I could have pulled it towards me, but I was focused on the dart gun…which I already had in my hand. Without saying a word, I shot Parnell, who staggered back in surprise. “You shot me…”

“It seems only fair,” I said with a grimace of pain.

Parnell collapsed to the ground, and if my previous experience was any indication, he wouldn’t be a problem again. Leslie gave Parnell a swift kick and then rushed to my side where she saw my bleeding leg and froze for a second with a look of horror on her face.

“Call 911,” Leslie yelled out to anyone who would listen. “She’s been shot…”

“I already called them,” I told her with a wince. Then I cried out, “Damn it hurts…”

For a moment, Leslie looked like she was about to panic at the blood, but she somehow kept her nerve and remained beside me, trying to offer whatever support she could until the police pulled into the parking lot half a minute later.

--------------------

I bolted upright in bed, feeling a momentary surge of panic and confusion at the weight on my chest. For several seconds, I just sat there, grabbing at the fleshy mounds in shock, until snapped fully awake and remembered what they were and why I had them.

“Damn,” I groaned to myself, letting out a snort of disgust. “It wasn’t a dream.”

After several seconds, I shifted position, dropping my legs over the side and sitting on the edge. I took several deep breaths, trying to remember the nightmare that I’d just woken up from, yet also wanting to forget it at the same time. And though I couldn’t remember the details, I could remember enough to know what it had been about.

“Damn,” I muttered again, gently feeling my breasts, then slipping a hand down between my legs, to where Little Bryan had once been.

During the day, I could pretend that my sex change wasn’t a big deal, that it was just something I could easily learn to live with. However, at night when my defenses were down, my subconscious mind told me otherwise. The strange dreams were proof of that.

“Like I don’t have enough to deal with when I’m awake,” I said with a sigh, rubbing my thigh which was still very tender from where I’d been shot yesterday.

I closed my eyes and shook just a little as I remembered Parnell’s return, and that fact that history had nearly repeated itself. I’d stopped him from kidnapping Leslie for a second time, and I’d been shot in the process. It had hurt like hell at the time, though the pain had receded to a dull ache.

“Good thing I heal fast,” I mused, thinking about how by the time I’d arrived at the hospital, my wound had already been closing up. In fact, they’d had to cut me open again just so they could remove the bullet.

With a shake of my head, I stood up and stretched, which felt pretty good, even if my body as a whole still felt pretty weird to me. And even though I’d only just woken up, I already felt just as alert and awake as I normally did after having two cups of coffee.

“Another benefit of being an evo,” I stated with a faint smile. “There are a lot of benefits, but the downsides are a doozy.”

I looked at the clock that was sitting beside my bed, and scowled in disgust. It was Saturday morning and I didn’t have any classes, but I was already wide awake and ready to go. Something about that just struck my sensibilities as wrong.

“Another thing I’ll have to get used to,” I sighed in disgust. “I’m turning into a morning person.”

Even though I hadn’t slept all that well last night, I was now wide awake and there was no way I could fall asleep again. So with another sigh, I grabbed my shorts and sweater, dressing enough so that I could leave my room without giving any of the Three Stooges a show.

I was just about to leave my room when my cell phone began to ring. I picked it up, a little startled to see that it was Leslie calling. I figured that she’d still be in bed, or at least dragging herself out of bed with some effort.

“Hey,” I greeted Leslie.

A moment later, Leslie’s frantic voice exclaimed, “Bree…”

I immediately tensed in fear, suddenly imagining that Parnell was at her door again. The police had taken him away so I didn’t think that was likely, but that was my first thought and fear.

“What’s wrong?” I demanded.

There was a long pause before Leslie answered, “My hair…” Her voice was a little shaky as she explained, “My hair is all falling out…”

I froze at that, knowing exactly what it meant when her hair was falling out. After all the stress that Leslie had gone through yesterday, it shouldn’t have been any surprise, though it still was.

“I’ll be right over,” I promised.

--------------------

I stood on the stage, ripping on my guitar and cranking out tunes for my crowd of adoring fans. Okay, so technically the stage was really just the couch in our living room, and the crowd of adoring fans only consisted of Tina, Leslie, and the Three Stooges, but I was really getting into the music and they all enjoyed it.

“Awesome,” Bobby told me when I stopped playing. “I guess turning into a girl hasn’t hurt your playing at all…”

“Dude,” DJ added with a nod of agreement. “I think you’re even better…”

Matt adjusted his glasses and smirked, “Well, she certainly looks better…”

I bowed to my audience, and in my best Elvis voice, said, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

With that, I hopped off the couch, only to sit down on it in the normal fashion. Tina and Leslie immediately claimed the rest of the free space, with each of them sitting on one side of me.

“I thought you sounded great,” Leslie told me, looking at the guitar that I’d leaned up against the coffee table. “Can you teach me to play sometime?”

“Sure thing,” I responded with a grin.

With that, Leslie absently reached up to adjust her glasses, only to pause when she realized that she no longer wore glasses. It was probably going to take awhile for that habit to fade, just like it was going to take some time before I stopped trying to walk into the men’s restroom when out in public.

It had been a full week since Parnell had come after us for a second time, and since Leslie’s seed had sprouted. While she’d been going through her stage four changes, I’d remained by her side, offering what comfort I could since I knew exactly what she was going through and how scary it was. Of course, Tina had remained with Leslie as well, though I suspected that a large part of Tina’s motivation was the unspoken hope that she’d become infected too.

Leslie’s changes had only taken half as long as my own to finish, though they were every bit as impressive. She’d grown four inches taller, had really filled out her curves, and now had a flawless complexion. After her hair had fallen out, it had grown back more than twice as long, and was now so soft and luxurious that she could have modeled it in a shampoo commercial. All in all, Leslie still resembled her old self, though almost no one would recognize her as being the same nerdy girl. Instead, she looked like her much sexier sister.

In spite of how well Leslie’s changes had worked out for her, I still hoped Parnell spent a long time in prison for what he’d done to the both of us. However, I couldn’t forget about the fact that he wouldn’t have a long time. I felt a little sad when I thought of the fact that he was dying. In spite of everything that the professor had done, I could actually understand his desperation. He was dying and had absolutely nothing to lose. Now, because of the way he’d gone about it, he’d lost any chance he might have had.

“Hey, Bree,” Matt said, using my new name. I blinked and looked at him. “You look a little lost in thought.”

“A bit,” I admitted wryly. “I was just thinking about how weird this whole situation is.”

“Tell me about it,” Matt responded with a shake of his head.

In spite of my housemate’s general dislike and suspicion of evos, he had been coming around, or at least treating Leslie and I as the exception. Maybe it was because we were both hot looking girls, but I suspected that the real reason was that in spite of how much our bodies had changed, we were still the same people inside. I still doodled on my sketch pad, played guitar, and hung out with the guys. Of course, I’d been spending an increasing amount of time hanging out with the girls as well.

“So,” Matt asked Leslie with a curious look. “I know that Bryan…Bree can do the telekinesis thing, but what about you? Did you pick up any interesting tricks after turning evo?”

“Nothing like that,” Leslie responded with a shrug and a faint smirk. “Though I did pick up a new aptitude…”

“Cool,” Bobby responded with an easy grin. “You turn into some kind of math prodigy or something?”

Leslie just laughed. “Or something. I used to have a really hard time with my German class, but over the last few days, I’ve been picking it up like crazy. I think I might have gained an aptitude for languages, but I’ll need to test it out a bit more to be sure.”

I nodded at that and wryly added, “It would be nice if the new body came with an instruction book.”

I looked down at myself, especially at my large breasts, and let out a sigh. I could definitely use an instruction book for my new body, because it wasn’t easy getting used to it. Sure, the basics of being a girl were pretty simple, having Little Bree instead of Little Bryan, and of course, the girls. However, the maintenance and upkeep of my new body was a little more complicated than with my old, and the social aspects were a real pain. People kept expecting me to know things that I didn’t know, or behave a certain way, just because of the way I looked. It was going to take me a long time to really get used to all of that.

In addition to my most obvious change, there were the extras that came along with my new body, the additional ‘gifts’ that my seed had provided me. I was ridiculously healthy, healed so fast that a bullet wound in my leg had been almost entirely gone in 24 hours, and then, there was the telekinesis. With a little practice, I found that I could make a can of beer float across the room to me, but I couldn’t do much more than that.

And as I’d discovered during my last encounter with Parnell, electric shocks didn’t really bother me anymore, or at least not ones on the level of a taser or stun gun. It seemed that since it had been a taser that caused by seed to sprout, that I had developed a built in defense against that kind of thing. That wasn’t nearly as impressive as Jon’s ability to actually create his own stun gun effect, but I certainly wasn’t complaining.

Likewise, I’d also developed a high tolerance for drugs, or at least an ability to burn through them pretty quickly. I wasn’t sure how much of that was a result of my seed trying to protect me from being rendered helpless again, and how much was natural for any evo. Fortunately, as an evo, I no longer had to worry about cavities or most health issues, or that could have ended up being a pretty nasty downside the next time I went in for a filling.

“Leslie,” Tina exclaimed to get her roommate’s attention. “Did you talk to Bree about…?” She left it hanging there, though she was giving Leslie and expectant look.

“Not yet,” Leslie responded, rolling her eyes.

“Talk to me about what?” I asked.

Leslie hesitated a moment, then cautiously said, “You know what you told me the other day…about what your landlord said?”

I groaned at that. “How could I forget?”

“Oh yeah,” Bobby said with a sigh. “That is totally messed up…”

“Definitely,” DJ agreed. “I mean, is that even legal? You should talk to a lawyer.”

“Maybe,” I replied with snort of disgust.

Our landlord had pretty firm rules against coed habitation, and he’d clearly stated that in our lease agreement. Once he found out about my unwilling sex change, he’d reminded me of that rule and told me that I would have to find new living accommodations. He’d been understanding enough to give me a whole month to move, but it was still a pain in the ass…and humiliating.

Matt scowled with a thoughtful expression, then pointed out, “Our lease agreement clearly states that we can’t have any women living here…”

“But it’s not her fault she changed,” DJ argued.

“You could probably call it discrimination,” Bobby pointed out with a thoughtful look of his own. “It ain’t really illegal to discriminate against evos, but you know that if it went to jury, you’d have them all eating out of your hand…”

Leslie gave a not so subtle cough to get everyone’s attention, then announced, “Tina and I may have found another solution…”

“Really?” I asked.

Without a word, Leslie handed me a sheet of paper. It was an advertisement for a three bedroom condo that had just been put up for rent, and it even noted that the complex had a workout room, a lap pool, and a jacuzzi. I looked it over and gave Leslie a curious look.

“Tina and I were thinking about moving off campus,” Leslie blurted out nervously. “And we need another roommate…”

“What?” I gasped in surprise.

“We want you to be our roommate,” Tina said with a broad grin. “I mean, you need a new place to live and we need a new roommate, so it works out perfectly…”

“But…,” I started to protest that I couldn’t move in with two girls, until I suddenly remembered that I was now a girl as well. I shuddered at that, still finding it hard to believe, even after a week and a half. I suspected that it would be a long time before I really started to think of myself as a girl, or before I started to think of myself as Bree instead of Bryan. “I’ll…I’ll think about it…”

“It’ll be awesome,” Tina announced, acting as though I’d already said yes. “We can be the Three Amigas…”

“You’re gonna have to move anyway,” Leslie added with an amused glance towards Tina.

I looked at Tina and Leslie, then at the Three Stooges, who seemed a little surprised. I definitely hadn’t expected this either, but I had to admit, it did make a lot of sense. And even if I could stay here, it would just be a bit awkward, staying with three guys who were all attracted to me. I was already starting to get the jokes about being a girl and hogging the bathroom, and I imagined it would only get worse with time. And then there was the fact that I now had to be very careful about being fully dressed whenever I left my room, so I wouldn’t flash the guys. No more walking around the house in nothing but my boxers.

“It’s not a bad idea,” I admitted with a sigh, though I wasn’t quite ready to commit just yet.

“Just think about it,” Leslie told me.

After another minute, I stood up with a sigh and announced, “We should probably get going…”

“Good idea,” Leslie agreed, getting up as well. She looked down at herself with a smug expression and added, “I’ve been looking forward to this meeting since I changed…”

I laughed at that. “You just want to show off your new body.”

Leslie just smirked. “Of course.”

I nodded at that, not blaming her in the least for wanting to show off. Leslie had been going to the evo group meetings for months, and she’d always been overshadowed by women who’d already gone full evo, like Mary and Mina. Now, she finally had her chance to shine as well, and there was no doubt she was eager for the opportunity.

“I’ve been kind of dreading it,” I admitted with a shudder.

Leslie gave me a hug, and pointed out, “You’ve already shown your new look to everyone in all your classes, so this shouldn’t be a big deal. If anyone can understand, it’s another evo…” She paused for a moment before flashing me a grin. “Besides, Luke has been through the exact same thing…”

“I don’t know if it’s exactly the same,” I pointed out wryly. “But I get your point.”

“Have fun storming the castle,” Bobby said, giving us both an absent wave before he picked up the video game controller in front of him.

I smirked faintly, deciding to have a little fun and show off. I looked over to where my car keys were sitting on the coffee table and held up my hand. A second later, the keys flew right into my hand, earning a couple impressed looks and even some clapping from Tina.

“Awesome,” DJ told me with a grin. “Now, do you mind getting me a beer?”

“Bite me,” cheerfully responded as Leslie and I walked out the door.

Once we were in my car and on our way, I cautiously asked, “Are you guys really serious about this roommate thing?”

“Of course,” Leslie replied, looking a little surprised that I had to ask. “Look…I know we’ve only known each other for about a month, but you’re one of my closest friends. Tina and I have been thinking about moving out of the dorms for awhile, renting someplace a little bigger and more private, and we both agreed that it would be great if you joined us.”

I had intended to take my time and think this over, but for some reason, Leslie’s words hit me hard. My eyes misted over, and before I realized it, I was crying. Feeling extremely self-conscious and embarrassed, I tried wiping the tears away before Leslie noticed, but it did little good. She didn’t say a word as she reached over and held my hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.

“Sorry,” I finally managed to say. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me…”

Leslie just gave me a knowing smile. “Girls are better at expressing emotion than guys,” she told me, looking somewhat amused. “Welcome to the club.”

“Bite me,” I joked weakly, earning a snicker.

“Just wait until your first period,” she responded. “Trust me, it’ll be a real eye opener…”

I just stared at her in dread as the realization settled in. Until now, I hadn’t even considered that as a possibility, when it should have been extremely obvious. Obviously, I’d been in a bit of denial about everything that came with my new body.

“Damn,” I squeaked out.

After a few seconds, Leslie decided to show some mercy. “Don’t worry. Mary told me that most evo women have it really easy.”

I gave her a skeptical look. The idea of having any period, even an ‘easy’ one, was still enough to send chills down my spine. Unfortunately, that was going to be one of the realities of my new life.

Neither of us really said anything more for the rest of the drive, and once we arrived at our destination and got out of the car, Leslie immediately came over and gave me a hug, saying, “I know this isn’t easy on you…”

“Thank you,” I told her, starting to tear up again. I hugged her back, feeling oddly comforted by that. Then on an impulse, I blurted out, “And I’d love to live with you and Tina.”

Leslie let out a little squeal of delight and flashed me a broad grin. “Awesome...”

A moment later, Leslie paused and stared at something behind me with a look of interest. I turned around and saw that she was watching a man who was jogging past a short distance away. He was lean and muscular, and I found myself watching him as he ran too, feeling a strange appreciation for how fit he was.

Suddenly, Leslie blurted out, “Where you just staring at his ass?”

“What?” I gasped, my eyes going wide at that accusation. “Hell no…”

Leslie smirked. “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

I glared at Leslie, but even though I was emphatically denying it to her, I couldn’t deny it to myself. I had been staring at the jogger’s ass…and his muscles. A knot formed in my stomach at the very idea.

As Leslie had clearly reminded me on the drive over, I was a girl now, and not just in appearance. My body was entirely female, all the way down to the DNA. That meant I had girl hormones, and as much as I hated to admit it, a girl brain. Whether I liked it or not, that was undoubtedly going to have an effect on me.

“Damn,” I muttered, shaking a little as I said it.

Leslie gave me a concerned look, though I returned a weak smile. “Just still absorbing it all,” I told her.

Leslie nodded at that, not saying a word. She put a comforting arm around my shoulder, and then together the two of us went into the house where the evo meetings were held. Once we stepped inside, we were met by Luke, who had a worn look on his face, at least until he saw us.

“Leslie?” Luke asked in surprise. “Is that you?”

“Do you like?” Leslie asked with a broad grin, slowly turning around so he could get a better look at her new figure. “I sprouted last week.”

“And who is this?” Luke asked me, giving me a very appreciative look. “I’m Luke…”

“Bryan,” I answered wryly, feeling self-conscious and a bit uncomfortable from his attention. “I sprouted too…”

Luke’s eyes went wide and he looked me over again before nodding in approval. “You turned out nice.”

“Um…thanks,” I muttered, turning bright red.

It was then that I noticed Mary and Jon were already there, and both of them were staring at us. Blushing even more brightly, I gave a nervous wave.

“Damn, Leslie,” Jon blurted out. “Your seed done did you good. And Bryan…”

“Bree now,” I corrected him awkwardly.

“Bree,” Mary said carefully, as though testing the name. She gave a nod of approval. “It looks like you’ve got a LOT of adjusting to do.” All I could do was nod at that.

“It looks like we’ve got a lot to talk about today,” Leslie announced.

“That’s an understatement,” I commented wryly.

Not only would Leslie and I have to tell everyone else about our own changes, but we’d also have to tell them about the professor. I didn’t know if any of them knew that Parnell had been arrested for kidnapping, but even if they did, I was pretty sure that Leslie and I were the only ones who knew any details. That was going to be some hard news for those who’d known the professor for a long time.

Of course, I had a lot more to talk about than just the fact that we’d been kidnapped. My body had changed, and I was only just starting to realize what that really meant, and how much that would change my life. And the more I thought about it, the more overwhelming it was. Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with it alone.

With that, I took my seat, with Leslie sitting beside me. I looked around the group, at Luke, Mary and Jon who were here, and then at the empty seats for those who had yet to arrive. Finally, I turned my attention to Leslie, to my new best friend. I reached over and took her hand in mine, feeling more confident for having her by my side. I still had a lot of issues I needed to deal with, so it was a good thing that I knew just the people to help.

The End



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