Through the Fire and the Flames - A TG Mixed Tape

A quirky Doctor and her sidekick, a young teen facing a crisis, living toys, and an astronaut's greatest joy! Press play to read these and other exciting tales that can only be discovered on a TG Mixed Tape! And then, read the Mixed Tape round table interview to get insight into how some of these authors work!

Also including stories by MA Thermidor, Phoenux, MrMarvel, Desert Willow and Semicolon.

I hoist myself up into the attic and wave the flashlight around. Stupid squirrels, making me come up here. I look around the attic for the fuzzy monsters but I spot nothing movie, save for the occasional cobweb due to a draft. I sigh. This is a waste of my time.

I keep low, thanks to the fact that the attic is only about four feet high. I carefully move from the entrance further in, shining the light everywhere. I don't see the squirrels, but I find a cardboard box that had to have come from the 90s. It has "MOM'S TREASURES" written on the side.

After forty minutes of looking for squirrels that aren't there, I take the box downstairs and dump it on my bed. I open the box and find a multitude of things, ranging from diaries to photo albums to a selection of very outdated mixtape cassettes. I pull out the first one; the label says "Awesome Mix". I set that aside and pick up another. This label reads "Through the Fire and the Flames". The name sounds neat, but I drop it back in the box.

Finally, among all the other things in the box, I find an old cassette player. Not a Walkman, but a boom box deal, big rectangle with speakers bigger than your head and handle that most people don't even use. I take the boom box and the "Through the Fire and the Flames" cassette out to the kitchen with me and find a pack of AA batteries.

About a few seconds into the song, I realize that "Through the Fire and the Flames" isn't just the name of the mix, it's the name of the song. I recognize it from about ten years ago, not a bad song, honestly. The idea of why it's on a cassette tape never even comes to mind as I just go about doing some spring cleaning and listening to the music. I don't entirely know why I feel like cleaning, I just do.

Another song comes on, one I don't recognize, but it's not a bad little tune. I swing my hips from side to side, dusting away at the ceiling fan blades, the corners of the room, and then behind the appliances. Never do I notice that the room gets bigger, or that I get shorter.

And that's not all I don't notice, at least right away. I don't notice my jeans and tee-shirt changing into a black blouse and skirt, respectively. I don't notice my worn out old tennis shoes turning into a pair of black four inch heels. I don't notice the red nail polish create itself from thin air. And I damn sure don't notice that the house looks completely different. I just go on cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, because that's my job, after all. I need to make the house spotless.

The third song now, and I'm still not realizing the changes. When my hips and butt widen and my boobs almost explode into existence, I just keep up the cleaning. It's not until my hair grows out that I notice a minor irritation, but I just chalk it up to my forgetting to style my hair into a ponytail, like I always do for work. I manage to get the kitchen clean enough for my standards and move into the den.

Finally, I start noticing the differences. My walk, my stance, my everything. I look at the feather duster in my hands and concern starts to spread within me. And then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I almost scream. The French maid in the mirror looks gorgeous, but I also know that she's me, and I realize that the music on the tape changed me.

"Gilda," a voice behind me says. I see my boss - some guy I've never seen before in my life - carrying the boom box. "You left this in the kitchen, dear. I wouldn't have said anything, but Amelia's got friends coming over for dinner. Wonderful job on the kitchen, by the way. It looks immaculate."

The music enters my ears again and I curtsey to Mr. Hemswald. "Thank you, sir. I'll not forget it again," I say, and I return to my task of cleaning the den.

Through the Fire and the Flames
A TG Mixed Tape
Edited (mostly) by Trismegistus Shandy and (a little bit) by Hikaro
(With an outrageously appreciated amount of help from the other contributors)

Table of Contents

Space Dudeguy in Space
By Person42

Doctor Who?
By Roberta J. Cabot

There Will Be Syrup
By Desert Willow

Saving Grace
By MrMarvel

Toy World
By MA Thermidor

The Years Path to the Wonder Woods
By Semicolon

A Starless Night
By Phoenux

Times of Reflection
By Desert Willow

Spirited Away
By Sylvia Waldgrave

The Curse: Loose Ends
By Hikaro

Going Public
By Trismegistus Shandy

Charlie's Other Angels
By Roberta J. Cabot

The Mixed Tape Interview

Afterward

Space Dudeguy in Space
~~By Person42~~

"I'M IN SPAAAACCCEEEEE!"

Spacey Dude McDudeguy was currently in space. He was a lab rat, nothing more, but that didn't put a damper on his mood. Something about the effects of a unique type of radiation coming from the nearby star that was supposedly about to die or some such.

"WHOOOOOO!"

There was a collective groan from Deep Space Testing Probe Number One Zero Three Four Six, the ones testing the star. Out of all the candidates, it had to be Spacey Dude McDudeguy who turned in the application on time.

"SPAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCEEEEEEE!"

"Mr. McDudeguy, would you please rotate thirty three degrees counter clockwise?" Mr. Anderson, the head of research on DSTPN10346 asked in his kindest voice, hoping Spacey wouldn't ignore him.

He did. Spacey pressed a button and held it, spinning around in circles clockwise. Mr. Anderson hung his head backwards and sighed into the microphone. "Mr. McDudeguy, please."

"SPAAAACE!"

"We're all in space. You've been in space for three weeks. Would you please-"

"SPACE! I CAN SEE EVERYTHING IN SPACE! FREEEEDDOMMMMMMM!"

Mr. Anderson nodded, exasperated. He breathed deeply into the microphone, flipping open the glass case over the neon orange button.

"This is your last chance Mr. McDudeguy, if you don't-"

Spacey did flips out in the open space, and Mr. Anderson pressed the button. He kept pressing it, but failed to realize Spacey had broken the microphone and transmitter within the suit, and the entire fragile system was malfunctioning.

"Wait, is that gas?" one of the researchers asked, looking at Mr. Anderson. "Wait, it is! Vent! Quickly, vent it all!"

"To where, imbecile!? As Spacey so elegantly informed us, WE'RE IN BLEEPING SPACE!"

"Oh, right, I had forgotten..."

"You... how!?"

The researchers closest to the gas started to cough, and Mr. Anderson quickly pulled on his personal gas mask. "That makes thirteen for myself, and fifteen for Mr. McDudeguy."

The twenty-eight researchers without gas masks looked at each other and sighed, falling to the ground, giving up. They knew what the gas did. Soon enough thirteen obedient women, little more than dolls, would separate themselves and crowd around Mr. Anderson, and the others would wait until Spacey got tired of being in space to crowd him. They knew they'd never leave.

"Why less for you, sir?" Lieutenant Rogersmith asked.

Mr. Anderson simply pointed to the readings that the researchers were beginning to fail to understand. "He did get us the data. The star is harmless. Until it explodes."

They let out one last collective sigh of relief before giving themselves to unconsciousness.

~~

Person42 is the author responsible for many short stories that are pretty much the same thing in different words. She also wrote longer stories such as Magical Mayhem, and has many works-in-progress that for the most part will get updated eventually. Probably.

Doctor Who?
~~By Bobbie Cabot~~

dr-who-title.png

“Well, I don’t know why you had to regenerate me as a girl!” the tall, slim, very pretty blonde complained while she walked down the row of stores in the open-air mall.

“I didn’t regenerate you as a girl,” her companion, a shorter brunette answered crossly as she followed the blonde. “No one regenerated you! Didn’t he explain that there’s really no controlling regeneration?”

“But why a girl!! Of all the things…”

“Like I said, no one can control regenerations!”

“Seriously, Binky. A girl?”

The brunette raised her arms in frustration. “I give up!” She reached out and swiped at the flashlight-thing that the blonde was holding. “Gimme the sonic screwdriver, for God’s sake! You don’t even know how to work it.”

“Hey! Gimme that back. I do so know how to work the screwdriver! I was the one who got the brain dump.”

“Well, he said that would take time to take effect. In the meantime…” She flicked something on the flashlight and the top opened up like a four-pronged pair of pliers with a green light in the middle.

It made a kind of warbling sound, and the brunette followed the sound like one would a geiger counter’s clicks.

“I think I found it!” She waved the blonde to follow. “Quinn, stop shopping and come on!”

The blonde looked up from the vintage, striped brown, off-shoulder blouse she was looking at. She returned it to the hanger along with the rest of the blouses in the shop’s display and hurried after her friend.

- - - - -

The brunette that Quinn called “Binky” stood in front of a vintage music store. The sign said “Groovy Tones – musical curios from the 40s to the 70s.” She was waving the buzzing flashlight with the green light at the store’s glass display front.

“So, it’s inside?” Quinn asked.

Binky nodded. “Apparently.” She went into the store, and Quinn followed.

The tinkling of the door’s old-fashioned chimes greeted them, and an old man in a bathrobe that seemed to be his uniform came over.

“Good morning, Quinn, Mary Elizabeth. Welcome to Groovy Tones. What brings you two here?”

“Good morning. Are you the one that runs the place?” Quinn asked.

“Not usually,” he said. “But my shop is currently in… ummm, let’s just say it’s in a state of temporal flux at the moment, caught between two planes of reality. So, while I wait for it to turn up, I’m here helping out a friend, and taking care of his shop.”

“Hold on… you know us? How did you know our names?”

The old man chuckled. “It’s magic! More like a magic spell, actually.”

Binky frowned at him.

“You don’t believe in spells?” he asked her.

“Arthur C. Clarke’s third law says ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’”

“Arthur C. Clarke again,” the old man growled. “What does he know?”

“So, you know us?” Quinn asked.

The old man harrumphed. “Of course! You’re Doctor Quinn Valentine, who recently completed his residency and doctoral thesis, and just acquired his doctorate at the University of Cambridge, and you’re with your best friend, Mary Elizabeth Kristensen, and she is a doctoral candidate also in Cambridge.”

She was about to nod and congratulate the man for his knowledge but paused.

“Wait! You said ‘he’…”

“Well you were, weren’t you? A ‘he,’ I mean. Before your regeneration made you into a girl.”

“Hold on a second! You know about that, too?”

“Of course I know! You should be more careful. Your regeneration’s your own fault, you know, letting your TARDIS land on you and crush you.”

“It wasn’t my fault! How would I know it would take off straight up and then come crashing back down? We just finished assembling it, and we were still testing it, after all.”

“Well, anyway, what can I do for you today?”

Quinn looked at him for a second, made the decision to ignore any questions she might have tor the old man, and to just concentrate on what they were after.

“We’re looking for something,” she said.

“Well, duh, of course, you’re looking for something. I mean, what are you looking for, specifically, and maybe I can help you find it?”

“We’re, umm, looking for a cassette tape. You know what that is, right?”

The old man sighed. “Well, yes, of course I know what a cassette tape is. You ARE in a vintage music store, after all. You know, for a doctor, you don’t sound too smart.”

The old man led them to a table piled high with a lot of music knickknacks and odd-and-ends. He pointed to a cardboard box full of used cassette tapes in the corner. Some of them were still in their cases but most weren’t.

“Here’s our selection of cassette tapes,” the man said. “You can have the entire box for five hundred dollars.”

“Five hundred American dollars for a box full of moldy, used tapes?” Binky said in a very crisp, northern English, Lancashire accent. “I think not.” She started rooting inside the box. After a moment, she found the one that they wanted.

“Aha!” she said, and held up the beat up-looking cassette tape. It was labeled “TARDIS Mix Tape. DO NOT ERASE! - The Doctor.”

Quinn turned to the old man. “We only want this one. How much?”

“That one? How about fifty cents?”

Binky reached into her jeans’ front pocket and brought out a bunch of coins. “Bugger! I don’t think I have any American coins!”

“Here,” Quinn said, and handed her two quarters.

Binky stuck her tongue out at Quinn. “Americans…” she muttered, and gave the coins to the old man.

“Thanks, m’dear. Anything else?”

Binky put her hands on her hips. “Hello? Receipt?”

The old man gave her a dirty look, but after a moment, turned back to an old-fashioned manual cash register on the front counter, punched up some buttons on it, pulled a lever, and it spit out a small piece of paper. He handed the receipt to her.

“There! Happy now?”

“Ta... Umm, thanks,” Binky said.

“’Kay, let’s get outa here,” Quinn said. “Thanks, mister.”

“Let me help you,” the old man replied. He snapped his fingers and they found themselves being picked up by something invisible, and then they were floating towards the front of the store. The door swung open and they found themselves outside.

“Whoa!” Quinn said. “That was like magic!”

The old man chuckled. “That was nothing. I’m great at magic. Spells are us, you know. Now, goodbye!”

The door slammed closed.

They looked at each other.

“Rude,” Binky commented. “What did we say?”

“Let’s not find out and just get back to the phone booth. That dude’s pretty creepy, and I’m scared what else he’ll do with his ‘magic.’”

Binky suited words to action, and they rapidly walked back to the edge of the little open mall where a red telephone booth stood. Most British people would have recognized the red telephone booth with the legend “TELEPHONE” near the top, but it was weird seeing a red, British one in California.

The two didn’t hesitate and opened the booth’s doors.

crowded-booth.png

“Boo!” a bunch of uni freshers exclaimed, and leaned out the doorway as a soon as Quinn and Binky opened the doors.

“Oi!” Binky said, and tried pushing them all back in. “You lot! Back in there!”

There were at least a dozen of them trying to lean out of the door. Someone from the outside would wonder how a dozen people could fit in a tiny phone booth (or, more appropriately, a red London “telephone box”), but TARDISes, even home-made copies of old, outdated, broken-down ones, are still larger on the inside than on the outside.

“We’re hungry!” one of them said. “Did you get chips at least?”

“Shut your mouth!” She turned to Quinn, in an almost accusing manner. “You didn’t have to bring your bloody students!”

Quinn shrugged. “They didn’t want to be left behind. And we wouldn’t have been able to finish the TARDIS if it weren’t for them. We owe them.”

“Bloody students…” Binky muttered, shoved them inside, and stepped in herself.

When everyone was inside, Quinn took the opportunity to look her new TARDIS over. She would have preferred the chameleon circuit to be working, but what could they do? They were building a copy of the Doctor’s TARDIS, but that one’s chameleon circuit wasn’t working, so her version wouldn’t have a working one either. At least they were able to update the look so, instead of a 50s police call box, hers was disguised as a contemporary, red, London phone box.

At the moment, her TARDIS could only fly through space. But, with the data cassette tape they just acquired, it’d be able to fly through space AND time. Hopefully…

“Anyway,” she thought, “time to get back to the lab and finish up the final pieces of the TARDIS. Besides, I’m sure the Doctor is getting impatient by now.” Maybe next time, she’d be able to come back and stay longer. She sure did miss LA.

She stepped into the box, closed the door and, in moments, the red box slowly disappeared accompanied by a mechanical, groaning kind of sound.

--- end ---

Note that this is a fanfiction story of Doctor Who. The TARDIS
and the Doctor, as well as the original Doctor Who logo,
are properties of the BBC. No ownership of these properties
is claimed. No IP infringement is intended.

london.png

Watch for the continuation of Quinn’s story in
“Bigger on the Inside,” coming out soon.

- - - - -

Roberta “Bobbie” Cabot is a transgender girl from DC. She transitioned in 2004, and has been living as a girl full time ever since. With a mom from Italy, a dad from Quebec, and a spouse from Kyoto, her writing (and her speech) is less than perfect. However, she doesn't really speak Italian, French or Japanese, although she can puzzle them out a bit. She is a fan of sci-fi, drama, love stories, romcoms and comedy/sitcoms, - these are the kinds of stories she looks for. Her only “claim to fame” is her still-incomplete story, “Danny,” which was first posted in Crystal’s Storysite back in 2009 (“Danny” is also posted here in BigCloset Topshelf). Her most recently posted stories in BigCloset Topshelf are “Shepherd Moon,” “Autobots Revisited” and “Drew Nance, Girl Detective - Book 1: The Secret of the Old Clock.”

If anyone wants to contact Bobbie, one can send a Private Message to her. Her handle in BigCloset is, of course, “bobbie-c”. lol

There Will be Syrup
~~by Desert Willow~~

It had been a long week, but the long-awaited time finally came for waffles. Jeremy wasted no time making his favorite breakfast in the whole world, and even less time pouring the maple syrup on the impacted patty of delicious morning bread.

Jeremy set the syrup back in the fridge, ignoring the sound of something small and thin falling behind the closing door, before sitting down to enjoy his meal.

Oddly, the waffles and syrup filled his body with a tingling feeling. He enjoyed the maple topping and waffle recipe before, but this time was different. He could not stop if he wanted to, he thought for a brief moment. The tingling sensation only grew and grew until suddenly it faded before the last few bites.

Then it finally struck him to look down at his own body instead of focusing on the uneven squares remaining on the plate.

His skin was softer. A strand of hair fell across his face and shoulder, which seemed odd because his hair was short. The tip end of the strand landed against the mounds of flesh sticking out from his chest. Boobs?

Jeremy hurried to every reflective surface in the apartment until he found the only one good enough to answer his questions – the mirror in the bathroom.

She watched in intrigue rather than horror as her boxers shifted into a pair of panties. Fright had to set in any moment, but it simply wouldn’t. What was wrong with her? She wasn’t afraid, but she had to know what was happening.

Her entire wardrobe was changing, be it hanging in the closet or sitting in the laundry basket. Much of her style didn’t change, nor did her posters—aside from the fact that they were in frames instead of hanging by thumbtacks, and thus were in better condition—and other collections she had, from what she could tell from a hurried glance.

For a brief moment, she stopped and waited for something before realizing an epiphany. Despite her recent and fonder memories of being a man, she was thinking of herself fully as a woman already. This was her now, but that couldn’t have been right.

She found her wallet, which changed only in how well-kept it was, and grabbed her ID card. It listed her name still as Jeremy, but her gender as female and her height as an inch below what she remembered as a man.

How was this possible? Memories flooded her mind at once. The bottle of syrup was brand new from the store, and something fell inside the fridge. Jeremy opened it to find the rear label having fallen off of the bottle.

In its place, there was another sticker like the label, but the writing was a message:

“Hello, and congratulations on being the lucky winner of the Mega Magical Mayhem Match, Millennium Maple M-edition. (Pardon the cheat)”

Jeremy paused a moment to check the front label. She had been buying the Millennium Maple brand of syrup for a couple years now, so this was new. She kept reading.

“Our contestant witches, wise and playful men and women beyond their years, have chosen this product and others to conduct an experiment via enchantments. You need not concern yourself with the details of the experiment, or how it is to end, but rest assured in your safety during its course. As you have noticed, we have placed a calm on you during this transformation so that you may find and react to this message reasonably. Once you have changed back that first-time enchantment will wear off and future transformations will be all you, however you feel and react to things.

“Please allow for a full passing of the night before partaking in this product. Once morning has come, you can eat this syrup and turn back to how you were before. Then, should you choose to change again, simply wait for another passing to attempt it, or the syrup will have been wasted. Minor changes in appearance may come as future transformations do; please do not be alarmed.

“It takes only a simple mouthful of maple syrup to transform, so long as it comes from this product. Should anything happen to destroy the product, or the product becomes depleted, you will be stuck in the form you are in at the time of transformation. Handle with care.

“Thank you again, and enjoy this product like you would if there was no enchantment at all.”

Weird, Jeremy thought. None of this made much sense, let alone could be believed, but here she was in just her panties when she was a man in his boxers not one hour ago.

Lucky for her, Jeremy planned to relax today and rewatch an old show from the 90s. She spent the rest of the day running a marathon of Hercules and Xena until she dozed off halfway into one episode. That was her cue to go to bed when she started with a short gasp of air, and the credits were finishing.

The next day, she hadn’t really planned to make waffles, particularly because she had to take care of errands that day and probably didn’t have time to cook more waffles and clean the dishes. So, after eating the bowl of cereal, she poured the syrup directly into her mouth and swallowed. Jeremy was skeptical, of course, but how was she going to explain these changes to everyone who knew her? Was it going to be necessary if she stayed a woman? When her body tingled, he knew he wouldn’t have to explain anything.

He looked around his apartment in case anyone was watching, as ludicrous as that sounded in his head after already having done it, and ate another mouthful of syrup. Nothing happened. That was just a mouthful wasted.

Wait, why do I care if it’s wasted or not?

And yet, the bottle of syrup was never dumped over the next week. Jeremy did, however, grow increasingly curious and ask himself questions about what certain situations would be like. What were the minor changes brought up by the message?

He caved on his own curiosity the day before his weekend from work began. She was scared that someone would ask questions when Jeremy arrived at the office, but no one did. Except for one guy. He bothered to remark that she wore the same outfit a couple days ago, the nosy jerk.

Her haircut was different this time. Then he was back to his old self. Then a comic convention came, for which he had a ticket, and he made the decision to go as a woman. Her Jessica Jones costume wasn’t impressive, she thought, but some people did flirt with her. A couple did get a little too close for her comfort.

The next time she was a woman after that, she had a cute nose ring on the side, and one of the tiny moles on her shoulder she had as a child was gone. She also did a spit take of her tea when one of her friends tagged her on Facebook in the Jessica Jones outfit. The piercing was there in the pictures, though it was small and blended in with her skin almost. She did not remember having it then, but at the same time she did.

After that, changes began to appear to his male form. The opposite mole from before was gone this time, for one, and it looked like his eyebrows were better kept through proper trim.

Curiosity grew, and female Jeremy said yes to a man asking her out while they were at a café across the street from her office job. She wondered what would happen if she consumed the syrup either the next day from when the man asked her out, or on the day of their date. Nothing came of the thought, so then she saw the movie with the man trying to be romantic with his movie choice.

She giggled at him and suggested something more adventurous the next time they were together. The next time!

Jeremy switched back to a man after her date left, and he cried. What was he doing to himself? Over the next week, he felt so awkward upon seeing the man he dated as a woman, but the man didn’t even look his way as anyone he knew. It only hurt more.

He spent days yearning for another change and telling himself that this was his life, that this was who he was. But, Jeremy realized that people opened up to her more as his female form was apparently more approachable. It made him question what he knew; what he thought he knew.

One day, at a meeting, his boss asked around the table to see if there was any additional business. Jeremy got up and informed everyone that he was a transgender, and that if that was a problem then he would put in his two weeks. Several people shifted in their seats. A bead of sweat formed in his brow; he had no idea why he went and said that, or what impact that would have on his female form. In the painfully awkward moment, his boss thanked him and let him sit. One of his coworkers patted him on the shoulder, and he broke down on the table surface.

Jeremy came home that night and found a trail of ants in the kitchen leading to a crumb that would have otherwise been forgotten in time. Priorities conflicted within him. What was more important, the ants now or transforming back into a woman? If he dealt with the ants now, then would they have returned once the transformation had completed?

He held the bottle in his hands for a long time, and huddled in a corner of the kitchen as the ants continued to do their business.

He took a swig of the syrup.

The trail dispersed into a number of ants seeking something to bring back to their colony. The tears on her face remained. A voicemail appeared on her phone from her boyfriend. Oh yeah, in this version of reality, the two of them had sex on their second date two nights ago, and it did nothing to detract from how much of a gentleman he was.

Jeremy listened to the message. Marc congratulated her on her promotion and raise at work. Her decisions made a wide enough difference in the company to bring them a higher margin of profit, and the promotion was announced today. These memories seemed so wonderful, but so different than the life she knew as a man.

She examined the bottle by holding it over the sink in the kitchen. There was enough in it for just as many transformations as she experienced since buying it and eating the syrup that fateful morning. Her hand twitched and tilted.

She asked herself more questions, of course. What sort of man could she become? What would happen to her current, seemingly perfect life as a woman? Could she really go through with destroying the contents of this bottle?

Her hand tilted more and more, shaking with every movement, until the answer came.

***

Desert Willow is a writer on TG Storytime in the process of expanding her variety in posted stories. She is also the local wiseass and purveyor of Waffles who started this short story as something of a joke. She loves feedback, too, which is totally important.

Saving Grace
~~By MrMarvel~~

(This story contains religious and suicidal themes)

I sat there alone in the dark of my parent’s basement, thinking of the words to write, the words I would be remembered for. I read through what I wrote again, straining my eyes as I tried to read in the dark. “It’s still not good enough,” I whispered to myself as I scrunched the paper up into a ball and threw it into the bin next to me. I reached to the pile of paper I had weighed down with my father’s revolver and made another attempt at my suicide note.

As I started my seventh attempt at my suicide note I once again recalled what brought me to this point, how I have always felt that I am trapped in the wrong body and I should’ve been born a girl. Though that alone wasn’t the reason while I was preparing to end my life, no it’s the ridicule and hate I received when I tried to express who I truly am. For that I was beaten, insulted and shunned by people not only close to me but strangers as well and when I tried to seek comfort at my local church and told them my story they called me sinner and abomination then cast me out.

“So much for an organisation that preaches on love,” I scoffed as I finished writing a paragraph aimed directly at them. If I was going to die, I was sure as hell going to make those responsible fully aware. “Let’s see how they react then, when their church is accused of driving someone to suicide.”

I paused on that paragraph and read through it again. “Sinner, Abomination,” I said with spite. “How can they claim such things? It’s not like I wanted to be this way!” I yelled in anger while tears ran down my face. “I was born like this, so if if I’m an abomination or sinner, it’s God’s fault! Not mine!”

A part of me wanted to end it right then and there, with 6 crumpled up notes and a 7th incomplete one, there would’ve been enough for people to work out what happened so why was I letting this torment continue? I couldn’t come up with an answer to that question so I grabbed the gun, confirming the chamber was loaded and put it in my mouth. My finger was on the trigger as tears ran down my face, I refused to go on anymore so I pulled the trigger.

Click

I expected a large bang, followed by horrible pain, then nothing. But instead nothing happened, the gun was still in my mouth but it didn’t fire. I pulled the gun from my mouth and went over it again, the safety was off, the chamber was loaded, so why didn’t it fire? Just in case I emptied the bullets and exchanged them for different ones. I put the gun back in my mouth again and prepared myself for a second time.

Click

Once again nothing happened and so I threw the gun across the room in anger and frustration. “Why God?” I screamed. “Do you hate me that much, you’d force me to live in this living hell?”

“Do you think God is so cruel that when he saves your life, not once but twice, it’s out of punishment?” I heard a calm and soothing voice say. “If that were the case, that first bullet would’ve fired and you would be spending an eternity in hell, but that’s not how God is, I thought you would’ve known that from your teachings from Sunday School.”

I looked around the cold and dark room, which seemed to be warmer and slightly lighter but couldn’t see where the voice was coming from. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining things or not but I still lashed out at it.

“Those priests called me a sinner and abomination for what God made me!” I yelled aloud. “If he was truly loving and caring he wouldn’t have made a mistake and I would’ve been born a girl!”

For a moment I heard nothing but silence and so I turned away and buried my head into my hands before starting to cry. That’s when I felt a warm hand touch my shoulder and as I looked, rather than seeing something physical it was just light.

“Poor, poor child. God didn’t make a mistake nor are you a sinner or abomination for who you are. You are one God’s children and he loves you no matter what. Don’t listen to those so called ‘servants of God’, they think they speak for him but in the end they are just humans like you, flawed and full of ignorance, using what they think they know to fuel their own hatred and misunderstandings.”

“If it wasn’t a mistake, then why? Why am I the way that I am? Why didn’t God just make me a girl from the beginning?” I asked the radiant light, no longer filled with rage or hatred.

Once again the voice went silent, but this time its presence remained. “I’m not sure,” it confessed. “No one knows how the Lord works, not even his servants. All I know is his love and what I was told to do.”

I looked at the being of light curious and confused. “And what have you been told to do?”

“My first task was to prevent you from taking your own life,” it confessed. “And my Second is to grant you your desire.”

The being of light faded away before I could ask what it meant by that but I quickly realised as I noticed my body felt very different. I had long blond hair in my eyes and my chest felt heavier and I could feel a wire going across my back, I moved my legs with more freedom as I was now wearing a skirt. I lifted my hands up to see my nails painted pink. I touched my face and felt no facial hair.

“I’m a girl!” I screamed in delight with tears of joy running down my face. “Praise God, I’m a girl!”

Toy World
~~By M A Thermidor~~

Mickey set the last of his old toys into the small box placing the figure named Robotic Commander on a bed of bubble wrap. Tomorrow his mother was taking the action figure to the post-office to begin its journey to a new home. On the other side of the country the trigger happy bidder who had bought it online was eagerly awaiting its arrival. Despite being 18 Mickey was sad to see the figure go, it was his favourite toy when he was a kid so had a special place in his heart even now. Tomorrow morning he himself would be getting shipped out of this house to his way to a new home. His destination was the student residence of his new university which was a seven-hour drive away. If everything went well there then tonight would be his last night living in his parents’ house. His bedroom had already been claimed by his seven-year-old sister who was looking forward to having twice as much floor space as before. The room was almost bare as most of his belongings had been sold, thrown out or were in the car waiting for him to join them tomorrow morning. On his desk there was already a tea party of dolls left by his sister, who was essentially marking her new territory.

“Well, this is it,” he declared. He wrote the address of the box’s destination on it just in case his mum forgot. He was about to transition from happy go lucky teenager to broke student so needed all the spare cash he could scrape together and didn’t want the buyer issuing a claim over goods not received.

“Well, this is it,” Mickey whispered. It felt kind of anticlimactic. He had hoped to end his life as a teenager with some kind of epic swan-song but his hopes were going unanswered. As he finished scribbling down the address he heard a faint voice call out to him. He went dead still as he listened for it again and was able to pinpoint its location; it was coming from inside the box.

“What the hell?” He stabbed the pen into the tape and ran it down to cut open the box. The voice grew clearer as he opened up the box and he frisked through the bubble wrap to pull out Robotic Commander.

“Mickey!” The small man yelled struggling against the teenager’s grip.

“Holy!” Mickey dropped him and the figure landed softly on the bed of bubble wrap. “Y-you talk?!?” Mickey shook his head. He wasn’t a kid anymore, dream of toys coming to life had long past. He must have been hallucinating or something.

“Mickey we need your help! The land of toys is in danger and only you can save it!” What the hell, was this a kids’ movie?

“I’m imagining this aren’t I?” As a child he had been fascinated by the idea of living in a world of toys but obviously those dreams had died when he entered high school.

“No, lad, you’re not. There isn’t much time; you must pick out a toy!”

“A toy? But…”

“No buts, I have only a few seconds remaining. Choose a toy and come with me!”

Mickey panicked. He wasn’t sure what to do but his true desire for adventure overpowered his uncertainties.

“Hurry! I can’t stay much longer!” There was only one thing in this room right now that could be called a toy, so Mickey had no option but to reach for his desk and grab one of his sister’s plastic dolls.

“Will this do?” He was out of time. Robotic Commander had to act even before he saw what Mickey had chosen. A bright flash of yellow light knocked Mickey out cold.

***

With a long ‘uugghh’ Mickey awoke from unconsciousness.

“What happened?” He asked with a higher pitched voice.

“Get up blondie!” Yelled the voice of Robotic Commander except now he wasn’t a toy but a fully grown man made from flesh, bone and cybernetics instead of moulded plastic. Mickey tried standing up but his centre of balance was all over the place. He looked down at his feet and nearly had a heart attack.

“Jesus Christ!” They were tiny. His entire body was now so slim that a doctor would diagnose him with anorexia at first sight. Odder still he was also wearing a light t-shirt and short pink skirt instead of the jeans and jacket he had on before.

“So this is the form you chose? I won’t discriminate against ya lad… or lass.”

“Lass? Oh God no.” He lifted up the white t-shirt and saw that he had a pair of breasts being supported by a flesh coloured bra. He wasn’t a man anymore, he had become the toy he had chosen which meant that right now his body was that of a living girl’s dress up figure. His hair was a smooth blonde and his eyeslashes thick and full just like the toy’s.

“C’mon lass, we don’t have all day to sit around marvel at the powers of toy magic. We have a kingdom to save.”

“I can’t save a kingdom like this!” Mickey protested. His childhood dream had finally come true but if he was to be stuck in this form then he would have rather not opened that box.

“It’s the form you choose. The prophecy foretold of a hero that would come from the material world in the form of a chosen toy to save us from the evil wizard that threatens our land.” Mickey knew where this was going.

“And the only way for me to return to my world and original body will be to save this world right?”

“Hmm? Oh I have no idea how to return you to normal but fear not because somebody probably does!”

“That’s not encouraging!” Mickey looked down at his thin slender hands. Why couldn’t toy designers make these dolls realistically portioned? Better yet why couldn’t it have been his sister’s stupid doll that came to life? That way he would in the body of Robotic Commander right now. Well, at least this meant he would be able to fight alongside his favourite toy so there was that.

“Onwards and forwards I guess.” Mickey weakly punched the air. Honestly he knew this was kind of what he had been wishing for. It was his grand Swan Song to end childhood and become a man… although ironically he’d be doing it as a woman.

~~

M A Thermidor is the author responsible for literary abominations such as Creation Unleashed, A Night Not Remembered and most recently Operation Cyber V. With an inconsistent writing style, constant spelling errors and a record for stories gone unfinished you know you’re dealing with unprecedented quality when reading their works.

The Years Path to the Wonder Woods
~~by Semicolon~~

I remember that once as a young child, I wandered away into the woods just behind my house. I don't remember why exactly though. It must have been some childish reason, as I recall kicking stones and pebbles out of frustration along my walk in the forest. I remember looking up to the sky through the branches of the oaks, which were like outstretched arms cradling the clouds, keeping them in the air~

… lest they may fall.

I remember the songs that the birds sang, calling out for all friends and family to hear. The ground, littered with the colors of autumn, crunched with every single one of my light child steps. I remember thinking. Thinking my young naive thoughts how the balding oaks must not have wanted the leaves they had thrown away. Or maybe, they had tried to hang onto them, as the leaves took their dying breath, and dropped~

… Forever fading away. Forgotten.

I returned home later that day, accompanied by a whimsical aura instilled in me by the forest, whose magical powers forever changed my outlook on life. Nobody knew I had even gone missing.

~~~

I remember that once as a tween -- an awkward, anxious, angry, tween -- I wandered back into the woods. Just like I had done whenever I was emotional, or needed time to myself. I followed the rocky path I had crudely constructed (which was really just a line I made kicking rocks whenever I came out to the forest) back into my backyard woods. Though calming, there were no supernatural features about it. I had grown up past that already. Gone was the wonder.

It had only been a few years, but in my eyes I had matured decades. Right in the middleroad for a child and a teenager, I thought I had the world figured out. I would be an adult in seven years but I was already smarter than all of them. I knew how the world ran, and I also knew how it should be run. I passed a squirrel hiding food in preparation for the coming snow, where food would be scarce and the survival would be hard. I headed toward the largest body of water around for a few miles minimum.

I remembered I paused; right next to the only tree in the clearing by the side of the small lake. Putting one foot forward, and pulling with an outstretched arm, I grappled myself up the tree branch. I glanced around. The woods had not yet lost their charm; trees extended for miles on end. I looked into the shallow, and yet somehow deep lake; the sparkling surface beamed back at me, whose slight ripples and waves seemingly chuckling as the fresh water lapped at the shore. The lake gave me a knowing smile. With a small heave and a bit of a hop, I climbed once again, ascending the tree. Once at the peak~

I gazed upon the world with bright and open eyes.

~~~

Those really were the days. The rays of the sun peeked through the crevices of the clouds in the sky, comforting me. The groans and creaks of the branches spoke the age of the tree too well. As I sat in its comforting arms, I pondered. This is, as the saying goes, "it". What a wild ride... I thought back my morning, the wind rocking my wooden cradle formed by the thicker, flexible branches.

Graduating high school as valedictorian and passing the entrance exam with flying colors, I had been a shoo-in. The university was offering a full ride, and only a fool would decline. The university being far out of state, there was no choice but to take my things and move out for a few years. I had already said my goodbyes to friends and family, however there was just one last goodbye I had to make. Around me, birds chirped, and the lake sparkled its beautiful sparkle.

That early morning, I had finished packing. I had gotten up and was careful not to wake anyone up. I stuffed my belongings and my essentials into the minivan, and jumped the back fence to head out towards the familiar woods. I followed the stones, but paid no attention to them as every step I took to the forest was memorized long ago.

I found the old pair of deer -- stag and doe, a rare sight I had not seen in the recent two or three years. Perhaps they came to voice their good byes. We exchanged looks, and they both darted out of sight. I couldn't help but let out a faint smile.

In half a year, the woods will be cleared out for a construction project in preparation for the new residential neighborhoods. I kicked another rock, a little out of sadness, as was tradition whenever I was emotional. The path I had made, the over-decade-old path I had created, would also be erased forever.The path I had walked so often, that anyone could have mistook it for a government created official nature park trail.

I strolled through, knowing that it would be my last look at my secondary home. No, my next vacation once I left would be far too long after the forest was to be cleared. I sighed, and out was vented my soft despairs, regret, and frustration. The forest wind patted my back.

With a bit of a jog, jump, huff, and pull, I was back on the tree. The best oak in the world. The oak whose branches comforted me through exams, breakups, arguments, and more. There I sat, in preparation for the sunrise-

~And it waited for me.

When the sun peeked over the hill, its sister appeared in the lake, both shy to meet the rest of the sky. And soon enough, the other stars left. I cocked my head back and accepted the warm caresses of the sunlight. I sighed, and made a small wish, unheard to even those who may strain to listen.

I must have caused great pain to the elderly oak as I snapped its branch. Leaning much too far back, I toppled backwards and hit my head. Suddenly, just the act of thinking became hard. A small space on the trunk of the tree became splotched with my red. On the lowest few branches, my descent was halted. Like a mother holding a sleeping child, my position was that of a fallen soldier being carried by a fellow acquaintance, in a war the neither of us wanted. I glanced downwards and from my heart protruded a branch. I faded out of consciousness-

~ A dew drop landed on my cheek; a tear of the forest.

~~~

I woke up at the base of the tree. Noticeably, I was alive. A strand of nearly-white blonde hair fell over my eyes. I reached over to examine it, but another discovery made me pause. My absolutely tiny dainty hands with polished, colorless nails caught my attention. Looking back at my hair, it extended all the way down to my lower back, in a long delicate fishtail braid. I stood up, and found I had lost much of my height, now standing at an optimistic 5'5” or 5'3”. My slender thin legs were accentuated by my short summer dress; white, lacy, and impossibly detailed in a stylistic design. My smaller feet wore ankle sandals, straps heading all the way up to a bit above my ankles, as the name may suggest. I bent down and crawled towards the lake, too afraid to walk.

In my own reflection, I saw my face. It was definitely my own face, but also definitely female. In the lake, a girl my age had the most beautiful face I had ever seen. Somehow plump, yet also thin, my mouth was slightly open as I gently touched my lips. My eyes were the brightest shade of blue I had ever seen -- something straight out of a television commercial. My cute button nose fit perfectly on my flawless face, not a blemish or imperfection to be seen. This was true of every part of skin on my body. My brows were furrowed in an expression of confusion, or maybe fear. Finally, my heavy eyelashes were nearly unnaturally long, seemingly elongated by professional makeup work. This was also similar in what seemed to be eyeliner around my eyes, which accentuated my look of innocence and adorable qualities -- bright, shining, gazing eyes, ready to take in the whole world.

I stood back up, brushing a strand of hair behind my ears. I put a hand on my chest. I gave a small squeeze, and whimpered softly as I felt new sensations throughout my entire body. I jumped up and down, and my breasts followed suit with a small delay. My breasts were a little small in the grand scheme of things, but fit just perfect on me. The area between my legs felt warm, and I placed my hand over the area on the sundress and slowly stroked. I began whimpering against my will, though I tried my hardest to stay silent. Small waves of pleasure washed over me, but I managed to stay in control, even when my knees buckled, and I landed on my plump behind, so plump and ample that the fall didn't hurt at all. The landing sent ripples and aftershocks, emphasizing my newfound high sensitivity.

Standing back up, my hair had not been the least messed up, staying perfect the way it was when I found it. My white sundress was still spotless and pearl white, though I had been on the ground. Deciding to test something, I walked over to oak the and intentionally chipped the polish on my perfectly manicured French tipped nails on some bark. Unintentionally however, I nicked myself on the very same finger I used, and got a small cut. I yelped in pain and pulled back my index finger, but upon examination, there was no blood. In fact, there was no cut either. Both my fingernail and my nail were completely fine-

~ It seems like I'm stuck like this.

In one final test, I unbraided my hair and attempted to ruffle it up. I made sure to rub my slender fingers through each unbraided section and shook every section to make sure it was as untidy as possible. Satisfied with the mess on my head, I gave one final shake of my head to finalize my new hairdo. However, to no surprise, my neck once again felt that perfect fishtail braid, untouched and to my lower back, just sitting on my bottom. I gave a sigh, for as I turned to look at my hair, it swung like a pendulum and came to my front. With that feeling though, I felt a small weight on my neck. Looking down, sitting right between my breasts, lay a necklace-

~ Gold banded, to a pendant of an oak tree leaf.

I glanced back at that oak. Right behind it rose the morning sun, sparkling the lake and signalling the forest animals to wake up for their new day. The oak itself felt a small wind. Just enough for it to swing back and forth, in a long dramatic goodbye wave. I pushed another strand of loose hair behind my ear. Right then and there, I thought to myself a thought. All things considered, I should have died, even if it was a dumb or unlucky death. I took a long gander at the oak, lake, sun, and forest around me. I clutched the pendant in both my hands. The wonder of the forest, reflected in my bright eyes. Being able to take a piece of it with me forever-

~ Well, that certainly granted my wish.

A Starless Night
~~By Phoenux~~

I lay on the soft grass in the park just across the street from my house, staring up at the black sky, the stars hidden by the city lights. "Heh, how ironic."

A young girl's voice calls out from nearby "Ironic? Why do you say that?"

"Huh?" I sit up and find a young girl sitting on one of the benches. "Is it really Ironic?" She says.

I get up and walk over to her. "Mind if I sit?"

She shakes her head and I sit. "Light is blocking light. Would you not say that is ironic?"

She tilts her head, thinking her answer over. "I suppose, but life is full of small little ironies like that is it not?"

"I suppose. Though it’s a shame."

"A shame? You mean not being able to see the stars?"

"Yeah, I’ve been thinking that I want to live up in the mountains. That way I could see a sky full of stars every night."

She giggled.

"What's so funny?"

"You, what is it you dream of? Looking at the blank sky above? You must have some sort of reason for gazing do you not?"

"Hmmm... A reason, huh? If I had to say, maybe it's because I feel so small? Compared to everything going on in the world, all the people, all the worries. But when I look up at the night sky and imagine all the stars in the night sky. It makes me realize that, my worries may be small in the eyes of the world. But even so, there is a larger picture where the whole world's worries are trivial."

"Hmmm... You're fairly wise for one so young. Most do not think of such things."

"Heh, please. You don't have any right to call me young. I'm at least ten years older than you."

She stands up and for the first time I take a good look at her. She is short. Her skin fair, more so than I'd ever seen on a person before. Though despite her skin being so pale it was nothing in comparison to her har.. Her hair is white and long, Reaching down to her thighs even with it braided. Despite its length it seemed to be well taken care of. She wore a black one piece. Her eyes shine with a color that almost seemed red. Though that's not possible, the low light must be playing tricks on my eyes, after all, the way it bounced off her skin gave her the effect of glowing.

"You believe yourself older than I? Ha! You've no idea what you are talking about."

She walks to the slide, climbed the ladder and sat at the top. She glares at me as if she were waiting for me so I walk over to join her. Sitting on the top step, our backs pushed against each other.

"Is that really such a strange thought for me to have though? Isn't it something that everyone thinks about? The world around us, how our troubles compare to those around us?"

"If it were, the world would have a much kinder past. Sadly most humans are so caught up in their own lives that they do not bother with such thoughts. They only have so much time after all."

"Ha, what? So are you saying that I have too much time on my hands?"

"No not at all. I'd say I'm the one with too much time on my hands. Life is a fleeting thing, you should think hard upon such questions and cherish the answer you arrive to."

"Speaking of time. Isn't it past your bedtime?" I felt her push hard against my back as she let out a small pout.

"I don't have a bed time thank you very much! Besides, I just woke up not long ago."

“Heh? You're a weird one you know that? But it is summertime, I guess it's alright to have your sleeping schedule off every once in awhile. Though make sure you get enough sleep or you won't grow anymore."

She smacks me on top of the head. "I'm not that short!"

Flinching I push her down the slide with my back, a small yelp followed by laughter as she hits the bottom. "You're an interesting little brat you know that?"

"Ya know, you should really stop trying to push this whole you're older than me thing now. I'm twenty five you know?"

"Yes and I am three hundred years old. So I am clearly the older of us."

I can't stop myself from letting out a laugh as a slide backwards down after her. "Yeah, and next you'll tell me that you're a vampire and you're going to kill me or something!" I get up and turn to face her, but she isn't there. "Wait where'd you go?"

I hear a small voice from behind me "Well, you do look rather tasty." a shiver runs up my shine and I freeze as I feel her hand run along my neck.

"Your hand."

"What about it?"

"It's cold." I manage to loosen up and turn around "You're not sick or anything are you?" She's not there. I quickly spin looking around for her. She's back sitting on the bench from before.

"Sick? No, I'm as healthy as I'll ever be." I slowly walk towards her. Caution is more or less pointless. Whatever she is, if she wanted to hurt me, she would. "You're afraid of me."

"Well, I'm pretty sure that would be the normal response to this situation, wouldn't?"

She giggles "I suppose. Though I don't really take you for being a normal human." I sit back down next to her. I shake my hands in front of me, trying to get the jitters out of them.

"What is that supposed to mean?" She leans over putting her head against my shoulder. I flinch just slightly, but don't move.

"Well, a normal human would be scared, that's true. But would a normal human have come and sat down right next to me? Of course not. They would have turned and headed for the hills would they not? You may be a little shaky, but you're rather unbothered by me."

"Well, I guess running was an option, but it's not like I could have outrun you. You've already shown how fast you are."

"Good judgement. You've got a rather good head on your shoulders don't you? So then, why come and sit right next to me. Did you give up?" She stands up and begins acting dramatically. "I'm going to die so why must I mount a futile struggle?" She drops to the ground, feigning death. A few moments pass and she looks back up at me, sticking her tongue out. "Or..." She gets up from the ground and positions her face near mine, hand against my throat. "Did you intend to fight? It’s been a few decades since I've had a good fight. It might actually prove to be rather interesting. I'm pretty weak you know, fast, but weak."

“Nah it wasn't anything like that. I have no desire to die. And even if I did stand a chance in a fight I couldn't fight you.” She smirks. Her face showing that she is enjoying the current situation. “Regardless of your age, I couldn't bring myself to fight a cute young girl like yourself, it just wouldn't feel right."

She crosses her arms and puffs out her cheeks, refusing eye contact. "Hmph, I am not sure I enjoy being viewed in such a manner. So then why?"

"Well, I can't really say. Sure I'm a little scared of you, but I don't feel like I have any reason to fear for my life."

"Hmmm..." She leans forward, looking closely at me. Looking into my eyes as if searching for something. the she gets close to my neck and I hear her take a deep whiff. "You've got some good blood in you boy. You must be descended from a line of hunters."

"Hunters? Who were they?"

"Well, let me see. Would you like a bit of a history lesson? This is nothing you'll find in any textbook you know."

"I guess. I don't see any harm in knowing a little bit of forbidden history."

She giggled again "You are most interesting indeed. Well, I will give you a basic run down for the time being. Up 'til oh, four hundred or so years ago there were a few organizations around that those of my kind referred to as Hunters. They were called this due to their tendency to, well, hunt us."

"So, they were like mercenaries or something? Bandits?"

"Oh no no, nothing so trivial boy. As you've gathered by now, I am not a normal human, though what you may have not noticed is that neither are you. Well, you arehuman. Just not entirely.. I am, oh what do you humans call us now? Right, a Vampire." She flashes her fangs as if emphasizing her point.

"Heh, so vampires were real then? Are real."

"That's right. And your family was a special kind of human who hunted down us vampires."

"Special human?"

"That's right? Come." She gets up and walks over to one of the tall trees lining the back edge of the park. "Jump, you can reach that branch can you not?"

"Well, I think I can. It's pretty high up though."

"Yes, at least seven feet I'd say." She jumps up and with one kick off the trunk she's sitting atop the branch. "Well, come on then."

I shake my legs, getting ready. "Man, it's been a good while since I've done anything really physical." I grit my teeth and jump, catching the branch with both hands and pull myself up. She scoots over allowing room for me to sit beside her. "Well, that wasn't too bad I guess."

"This branch is nine feet high."

"Ha, you're kidding right? There's no way this thing is that high."

"I am not lying. Most would not be able to reach such a high branch. Especially someone who does not engage in frequent exercise."

"So, is this to prove some kind of point? I mean, I've always been on the athletic side."

"That's right. I am sure you were excellent at sports as a child. You Hunters contracted a pact with a certain vampire clan long ago. You were granted heightened physical abilities almost on par with us vampires."

"But why would we got through so much to fight vampires? And why would a vampire clan help us?"

"Well, as for the reasons the clan helped you humans I cannot say. They were killed once others found out about the pact but it was too late. And as for the humans, well, is it not obvious? Humans were being killed by an enemy they could not compete with. Would you not search for a way to protect those you care about?"

"Of course I would. But could they not have worked something out between the two groups? I mean, it's not like you have to kill humans right?"

"Hmmm..." She stared off into space. I couldn't tell if she were thinking of a way to answer, or if she simply didn't intend to respond.

We sat in silence. The crickets began chirping, filling the gap left by our voices. "No, there are ways for us to coexist with one another I suppose. But there would be yet another set of issues to deal with. Humans are not the most accepting of others who are different from themselves."

"I can't really argue with you there. So, can I ask you something?"

"I do not see any reason to refuse. So long as it is an appropriate question to ask a lady such as myself."

"Why are you here? I mean, here, talking to me?"

"I do not know actually. I was simply wandering and happened upon you in this park. I thought you might make a nice snack but for some reason I became interested in you, so I sat at that bench and then you spoke."

"Heh, so I almost ended up a midnight snack? Man, so much for late night walks. I'm only going out if the sun is up from now on." I managed to get a small giggle out of her.

"Almost. Though the sun has not shown itself yet. The night is young." She jumps down from the tree. Though floats might be a more appropriate description. I follow her lead and we sit back at the bench from before. "Though I don't believe I could bring myself to eat you at this point. I have grown rather fond of you."

"Well we wouldn't want you getting lonely now would we?"

Her eyes seem to glaze over "Lonely huh? That would be most troublesome indeed."

We sit in silence again. The crickets continuing their song. The occasional breeze blows through the leaves. My eyes begin to grow heavy, and just as I begin to fall asleep I feel something sharp on my neck, and hair brush against my arm. "So I'm a snack after all?"

She jumps back "No! That's not it! I- I am sorry. I do not know what I was thinking. I, I just. Suddenly I was against your throat and, I could not stop myself. Just, just the thought of being alone any longer. It has been so long since I had someone who I could speak with. Someone who I felt I could become close with. The thought of having a companion again. It overwhelmed me! I am terribly sorry, I should go!" She turned to run away, but I catch hold of her hand before she can manage to get away.

"Heh, not so fast this time are you?" I pull her in and gave her a tight hug. "It's okay, I forgive you." I close my eyes and listen quietly until the soft sobs coming from my chest stop. "Are you better now?" I could feel her head nod. "Are you going to try to run again if I let you go?" She nods again. "Heh, well, I guess I have no choice but to keep you like this then do I?" This time she shakes her head while sniffling.

"So, if it wasn't because you were hungry, would you like to explain what that was all about?" She pulls her arms in tighter as if she could hide from me if she made herself small enough.

"You are going to leave me."

"Wha-, we just met for the first time and you're already in love with me? Man, I must be pretty damn charming. Though I think if anyone saw us like this I would probably get arrested." She tried to muffle it, but I could hear her laugh.

"I would not let them take you from me. And," she lifts her hand from my chest and pounds it back into my chest "I am not in love with you!"

"Okay, okay I get it. You are completely in love with me. It's cool I understand."

This time she hits me again and again "I said I'm not! Who would fall in love with a measly human like you."

"So, what then?"

"I've avoided humans for so long. A hundred years it's been since I have spoken with anyone. I have done so well avoiding others so as to not get hurt. So why? Why did I not just eat and then leave like always."

"Maybe, it's because no one is meant to be alone. And somewhere inside you have realized that."

"But you are just a human. You will just leave eventually! If not for any reason other than the simple reason that one day you will die! That is inevitable!"

"Well, what if I weren't human? And I couldn’t die?"

"What do you mean? I could not do somethi-."

"I mean, what if I were to be a vampire like you? I've already got a blood connection with vampires. And it's not like there's anyone or anything in this world that would miss me if I weren't around. Well, you might be the lone exception to that now.."

"You... You realize what you're asking me don't you?” She pounds her fist again before putting her head back on my chest. ”You're asking me to rip everything away from you. Your future, your life, your family, your job!"

"My family has already passed. My job, well quite frankly I don't give a rat's ass about." She laughs at that. "As for my future. Well that’s gonna come one way or another isn’t it? All you’re gonna do is giving me more of a future. Not take it away."

She sniffled and wiped her nose on my shirt. "Are... Are you sure about this? There is no going back."

"Yeah, why not? Carpe diem and all that, right?"

"Heh, you are a fool, you realize that right?"

"Yeah, I do. I’ve known that for quite a while now."

"Close your eyes. And please think happy thoughts, this will most likely be painful. I do not know how it will end. It is rare for a human to become a vampire. And the effects, the transformation is different for everyone."

"I'll be fine. Don't worry." I couldn't help but shake a little. I didn't have any reason to turn back, but still, making such a huge decision would be nerve wracking for anyone.

I feel her cold lips brush against my ear as she whispers "I wish you the best of luck." Then shortly after I feel a small pinch as she bit into my neck.

It feels as if something was flowing into my body. Which was weird, with vampires you normally think of blood flowing out. Though to say blood isn’t flowing would be a lie. I can definitely feel my blood leaving my body. My head grows dizzy making it difficult to remain standing. I feel as if I would simply fall asleep and never wake up again.

Suddenly a strong icy pain pierces my gut. I hear screams filling the air, though they sounded far off in the distance. The fangs that had pierced my neck retreat from my skin and I can hear the young girl’s voice, though I have no idea what she is saying. The pain just grew and grew. My skin burning, my bones freezing as the seconds tick by, I feel my eyes spinning even though I can’t see. My brain is being crushed by pressure, thousands if not millions of bugs crawl across my scalp, cracking sounds fill my ears joined shortly after by a small buzzing sound.

Just as suddenly as everything had started it stops. Did I pass out? It wouldn't be surprising. I open my eyes and am greeted by a blinding light forcing me to shut them again.

“Ow! The hell is that light?” I barely manage to get the words out. My throat is sore, my chest heavy and my tongue is numb.

"You are awake? Careful, the sun is up. Your eyes are going to be more sensitive to light than they were before. It will take some time to get use to."

"Whe-where are we?" I coughed, my voice hoarse and throat feeling dryer with every word..

"I carried you to your house. This is your bedroom."

"H-how did you know where my house was?"

Though my eyes were closed I could sense her blushing. "It is not like I knew where you lived all along! Y-your license was in your wallet in your back pocket. I found the address to your home there. You were causing a lot of commotion and we needed to get out of the open. The sun may not be deadly but it is most definitely not kind to us. Not to mention you were, well, you were quite vocal."

"My voice. My mouth, my throat, everything."

"It hurts?"

I nod. I don't even have the strength to sit up. The pain may have settled but it was replaced by a numb throb. As if I had an intense sports match earlier.

"That is no surprise. You've gone through quite the transformation. I was surprised to say the least. I have not seen many humans become vampires in my time, but to my knowledge you are the first to turn out this way."

"Shit. Wha-what do you mean?"

"Here, drink this first. It should help you feel better"

Still unable to see I blindly reach out and she lays my hand back on the bed. "I will help you, it will be difficult to pour for yourself like this." I feel the cup touch my lower lip. "Here I go." She begins pouring the drink into my mouth and unable to resist I start gulping it down as quickly as I can. Instantly my body begins to lighten, regaining its ability to move.

I sit up, a large, rather uncomfortable and unusual, weight shifting across my chest. I open my eyes just a sliver, attempting to get used to the light. "Wha-what happened to me? What did I just drink? B-blood?"

"It was. The thought may not be pleasant yet but the taste is undeniably enjoyable. Your body has gone through a rather unexpected change. It will take some time for you to get used to." Her voice sounded nervous.

"Why are you so nervous?"

"I..." She hesitated for a moment, unsure of what to say. "I do not wish for you to be angry with me. Like I said before, I have never seen something like this."

"Why would I be angry? It’s not like I have six eyes or something right?" My eyes open enough to see a sliver.

"No of course not, but, you are not the same person you were last night. You... how do I put this.”

She pauses for a moment before spitting her words out as quickly as she can, as if ripping off a band-aid. “You now have the body of a woman!"

"Heh, is that all? A wo- wait, what?" My hands instinctively shot to my chest. Making contact much sooner than they should have. My hands hit much harder than expected and cause more pain than they should. "Ouch. Bo-boobs? Okay. Okay. It's no big deal." I begin running my hands across my body. One up my neck, the other down my stomach. Every crease, every smooth feeling, every inch be it soft or hard felt entirely foreign. Entirely not me.

"Are you upset with me?"

"No, I'm not, honestly." My eyes halfway open now, more than enough to see my new self, and enough to see the young girl sitting on the bed in front of me. Her eyes are red and puffy with tears streaming down. I reach out. "Your hand." She puts her hand in mine and I pull her into my new chest. "If I could go back and get a second chance I would still decide the same. I decided to do this so that I could be by your side. That has not changed. Rather, I should be the one asking if you are still willing to have me by your side?"

She sniffles before giggling a little "Of course I want you by my side. I never wish to be alone again."

"Well, I was looking forward to acting like a big brother. But it looks like I'll be a big sister instead." I laugh and smile at her as she plays with my new long black hair.

She had the pouting look on her face again. "I told you already, I am older than you! You do realize in our world this makes me your mother right?"

“Really? Cause if anyone saw us like this I would clearly look like the big sis here, not the daughter..”

“Hmph, say what you will. There will be a lot for me to teach you in the coming days. About your new body, the world around you, the dangers of your new life.”

“I guess everything is gonna be different from now on huh? I gotta say though, I’m more than a little excited to check out this new body.”

“I would rather not think about the meaning of your words. You don’t seem very upset that you are no longer a man?”

“Yeah, I don’t really know what it is. I just, feel right like this. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t dissatisfied with being a guy or anything. I don’t know, everything is bound to feel different as a vampire than it did as a human. So maybe the feelings of shock from being turned into a woman are dulled by that? A new body for a new life sort of deal maybe?”

“Well I am glad to hear that you are handling this situation better than I did at first. I was afraid you would resent with me.”

“Well that wouldn’t do me any good now would it? I did this so that I could be with you regardless of how things ended up. Besides, my body hurts and I’m exhausted. So I’m just gonna cuddle you and fall asleep if you don’t mind.”

“I suppose sleep is a good idea. The sun is up after all. Sleep well young one, there will be many starry nights for you to come.”

~~

I enjoy the mental consequence aspect of a tg transformation. The thoughts and emotions that go through someones head when their world has been flipped upside down (for better or worse). How those around them would be affected. What it would be like to peer over that great wall that is otherwise blocking our view of a world we will never know.

Times of Reflection
~~by Desert Willow~~

Luis threw his bag against the wooden chair. He didn’t know why, but life was so infuriating lately.

“I’ll be ready to go in five minutes,” his mom called from another room.

“OK, Mom,” Luis responded. He stepped in front of the body-length mirror while putting on his denim jacket.

“Make sure you have your homework, your teeth are brushed, and you’ve eaten breakfast.”

“Yes, Mom!” Seriously, he wondered what was wrong with his mother. Luis was twelve years old. Just because he didn’t really want to go to school didn’t mean he didn’t know how.

He had looked away for a brief second to respond angrily at his mother. When Luis turned his head back to the mirror, there was a woman standing there. She was tall, had horns sticking out of her head, skin tinted a reddish-violet, a pair of wings coming out of her back, and a low-cut outfit that made Luis feel things he didn’t quite understand, but might have liked.

“Luis,” the demonic woman said, “there you are.” She reached through the mirror’s frame and grabbed Luis by the shoulder. “We need to chat.”

Before he could protest, Luis could feel himself being pulled forward. He shouted out, but it didn’t do him any good. He passed over the woman’s head and spotted a tail before she turned.

He stopped, but there was nothing to stand on. They were somewhere dark and twisted, with the only light being the shape of the mirror, now a distance behind the horned woman.

“Who are you? What do you want with me?” he asked.

“I told you,” the woman said, “I wanted to chat. It’s not every day I get to talk to my younger self. Goodness, I had forgotten what I looked like back then. I could have done with some changes here or there.”

“What are you talking about? You can’t be my future self.”

“This realm between mirrors sure does sound impossible, doesn’t it? Oh, I’m sorry, did you mean both of us being here at the same—for a lack of a better word—time? Sorry, little me, but you’re more than a little off.”

“You mean I become some sort of evil demon?”

“Huh?” She twisted around and examined herself. Then laughed. “Oh this? Do you like my succubus costume? I was on my way to a party when a friend told me about her cool new device. I wonder how many hot boys will be interested.”

“Ew! You mean to tell me I’m into boys? That’s gross.”

She stopped for a moment with a frank expression and observing eyes. Her lips shifted to the side.

The woman said, “Right, late nineties. I had forgotten how much those times sucked. I thought I knew everything, and then paid the price for it when I realized how wrong I was. Do you know how hard it is to undo what you learned about someone else’s rules? It’s like learning that you’ve been using Monopoly rules to play Cards Against Humanity, or Apples to Apples, and now you’re trying to fix your habits; or worse than that.”

“Apples Against . . . a-what?”

“Don’t worry about it. Here, follow me. I know how to make this easier.”

“Why should I follow you?”

“I mean, if you want to, you can go home, and live out your teenage years like I did. Angry, surrounded by people but alone, never truly understanding what I could have done differently until the day finally comes and you learn how expensive it is to fix what little you can. Your mirror is right there.”

Luis didn’t move. He considered, he even thought about telling this woman that he’d go as soon as he’d figure out how to do so, but part of him wanted to know what she was talking about. Part of him wanted to be a happier human being.

He wasn’t entirely sure how, but he faced the woman who claimed to be his older self as she floated slowly in one direction.

“Ah,” she started, “you probably want to know how to move, don’t you? Imagine your mind trying to swim through the air. Give yourself a moment to figure it out.”

“Am I going to be late for school, by the way?”

“That depends on you. I’d say it depends on me, but you’re you . . . now. Let’s not get too confusing here. Follow me, and what I’m trying to say might make more sense.”

“I’m trying!” Again, why was everyone so infuriating?

“Also, word of advice: If you ever get the chance to punch your younger self in the face for being a little jerk, no matter how tempting it can get, don’t. Just don’t.”

Luis tried to do what the horned woman suggested. It was hard not to swim without his arms and legs, and trying to move with his brain made his head hurt. Luis stopped for a moment to relieve his head, and soon he realized that he did move, even if it wasn’t much. If only moving through this space was as easy as flexing an arm; just a lift, push, or pull in the one direction.

And he moved. It felt like swimming, but without the water.

The demonic woman smiled at him and drifted further in her direction. Believing that he had it, Luis followed. They passed several mirrors as they moved. Various sounds crossed the void, but he couldn’t make out any of the specifics. The few shouts were muffled by the distance.

It seemed like the woman was stopping for a moment, if that, but then she merely glanced in Luis’s direction and then took off for a mirror to the left. She was fast in this place. Luis cut across to try reaching the mirror quicker, but the woman got there in an instant. He feared she was going to disappear, he feared that he was going to be trapped here forever; she turned and rested a hand on his chest.

“Whoa, whoa, not so fast,” she said.

“Says the woman who went full Superman . . . er . . . Supergirl on her way here,” Luis retorted.

“You’re going to love Raven, and even like the animated Wonder Woman.”

“What?”

“Don’t worry about it. So this mirror looks into a certain day while you’re nineteen years old. If you hover in front of it while it is active, it can show one of a number of possible outcomes, this being seven years into your future. If I hover in front of it, there will only be one image – my past.”

“I’m not sure I get it.”

“It’s a lot to take in, granted. Even I don’t know all the details, and I’ve been listening to my friend on her theories while she worked on developing gadgets as a hobby. She’s amusing and adorable when she gets worked up. Here, come on up.”

Luis closed in on the mirror. It became less foggy as he did so.

“Let’s see a wonderfully happy you, and me, if you make the right choice,” the woman whispered in his ear.

On the other side was his room again, but there were some changes. Colors and patterns, from what little Luis could see, did not match the one he left behind, and yet he could somehow tell that it was his. Or rather, it belonged to the girl who appeared before it. She was in her lingerie, and adjusting her bra.

If Luis had an older sister, this was what he imagined she would look like, except it clearly wasn’t a sister. She was too damn hot to be his sister. Her dirty blond hair matched his, though hers was longer and tied back as opposed to his short and spiked. She was marveling in her reflection, and Luis was marveling back, totally confused by what he was feeling for it.

The older woman giggled. “I’ll look the other way if you want, but live it up. That’s you if you start your transition as soon as possible, so you may or may not want to get used to it.”

He switched his gaze between the mirror and the older woman. Their faces and figures were so similar, aside from the girl in the mirror having slightly wider hips.

His older self grabbed the top of the mirror and spun it around like it was a globe. The image changed drastically. Luis felt his heart, and other feelings, plummet. How could he become so cruel at whatever age the older woman was?

She said, “Choose to pretend everything’s hunky dory, and here; take a look at the outcome we both share.”

A young man checked the sides of his hair in the mirror angrily. It was longer than Luis had it now, but nowhere as long as he wanted it. Yes, Luis wanted longer hair. That made so much sense to him. The man looked like he was dressed for a job.

Elder Male Luis flipped off the mirror and walked away muttering something about all this being for a fast food job.

Luis, the younger, darted a gaze at his older, female self. She replied with a sigh before spinning the mirror again.

“Many people ask themselves what could have been, or what will be. I needed to find you because it’s damn important. I’m happy now, sure, but do you know how hard it is to shake lingering regret? Do you know how hard it is to lose more than you gain for so long that, when you finally do find a way to get ahead, it feels hollow rather than like a proper achievement? Not yet, of course. The anger never truly goes away; it just slumbers and leaves you alone until the wrong thing comes to trigger it at full force. I’m being so very careful, and I’d be happy, so very happy, if some version of me was able to escape that fate. Don’t let that monster grow.”

“Becoming a girl will fix that?” Luis asked.

“Look again at Linda here. Whatever beast is there is a housecat instead of a sabertooth the size of a mountain, I am willing to bet.”

She did look happier. Linda, at nineteen, was just finishing putting on her makeup when she winked at the mirror and leaned in closer. Luis felt compelled to do the same and match her puckering lips. Linda kissed her reflection, sending a strange chill through Luis’s body. He floated back a bit and looked down. His body had become like hers.

“She must be really happy,” older Linda said, “if she feels strong enough to do that. Give it a second and . . . there, you’re back to how you were.”

Luis looked again, and sure enough he was back to being a boy of age twelve.

“You turned into me for a split second when I pulled you in,” she explained.

He was impressed. He wanted more. For a moment, he felt so right. So not angry! He had so much to ask.

“You said you date men, right?” he asked. Of all the questions he had, that was oddly the first.

“Mostly. Come, it’s probably best not to spoil too much about the future. Part of living is finding it out for yourself.”

“But how can I change? How will my family react, or my friends? How can this make me so angry?”

She rested a hand on his head as they moved through the space. “There will come a time when it will make sense if it needs an answer. There will come a time that you will know that your anger is reflective of how you see so many around you until the day you are ready to let go. There are hard times ahead of you, no matter your choice. That chimp in a suit won’t help, but you have a choice to make. Your choice. I wish I understood it when I was your age.”

“I still don’t understand!”

“I know. That makes me even crueler, because I must do this.”

Suddenly, she pushed him back, and Luis went flying until light surrounded him and his legs collapsed on what was soon identified as the ground.

His mom entered the room, saying, “I’m ready. Let’s . . . Luis, honey, why are you on the ground crying?”

When he realized that a tear was rolling down his cheek, Luis got up and ran to his mother with arms open. He hugged her.

“Mom,” he said, “I think there’s something I need to tell you.”

***

Desert Willow, a writer of TG Storytime, wrote this as a swan song for a dream, or a dream for a swan song; either way. She already wrote her blurb for the Syrup story, so here she would just like to tell everyone to live for today. And thus she continues to write.

Spirited Away
~~By Sylvia Waldgrave~~

A chill seeps into the bones of your arm, waking you from your sleep. The cold becomes all the more apparent as you come to.

Opening your eyes you find yourself in a dark room, lying prone on the stone floor with nothing but old rags for clothing. Your hands and feet lay bare on the cold floor, covered in a film of dirt.

Light throbbing on the back of your head interrupts your thoughts. You struggle to remember what happened.

What... happened...

Something has changed. Things are not how they used to be, should be, but you cannot put your finger on what. As much as you want to keep thinking over your situation, the floor continues to chill you, stealing the remaining vestiges of warmth from your body.

You roll onto your chest and push yourself up from the ground. The rags brush over your chest. The rough fabric rubs against your skin, causing a weird sensation to run down your back. Your normal clothing may have been of better quality, but never had you felt such a reaction to a little contact friction.

The lack of light makes it hard to see far beyond your own body and impossible to make out details besides those close enough to touch. You reach out for anything that can be of help and find the wall.

More stone, without the slightest hint of any surface layer to cover it.

Stone floor. Stone walls. If the wall wasn’t so smooth it could have passed for a convincing cave. Pushing the distracting thoughts to the back of your mind, you place a hand on the wall for support and keep it to your left. You follow along the wall, looking, listening and feeling for any key features.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The day had started out well. Your best friend Tony had invited you to watch the latest blockbuster to hit the big screen. There was no way you could refuse. Janet, the hottest girl in the school, would be there and if you weren't then how could you get her to notice you? You weren't one of the popular guys, even on the best of days.

Chances were she didn't know you existed.

The movie was fun, but you had no chance to impress her. Not when you couldn't even get near her to say hello. The after party was just as bad, your friends never left you alone, blocking any attempts you might have made to go introduce yourself. Sometimes you would get an odd feeling like a predator had targeted you with its gaze, dissuading you from making any foolish moves.

The party soon came to an end and everyone was taking off back home when you spotted an opportunity. Janet was waving off the last of her friends and entered an alley alone.

You found it odd she would walk down a dark alley in one of the roughest areas in the neighbourhood. But in your haste to catch up, the thought was pushed to the back of your mind.

The alley is dark and quiet, the lack of activity giving it an ominous, spooky vibe. Despite entering close behind Janet, she was nowhere to be seen. No shadowy silhouette, no sound of footsteps, just the night breeze rolling by devoid of scents.

You couldn't have been that far behind her. You were certain she had entered this alley before you and yet here you stand, looking down an empty pathway. Disappointment sets in as you recognise another lost opportunity. Maybe it wasn't to be, maybe your friends were right, and you were reaching too far out of your league. But at least you tried, and that's the important part. Tomorrow will come and you will move on to a more realistic goal.

You turned to leave, but saw a figure moving in the shadows. Before you could focus, a sharp pain spread from the back of your head. Your legs collapsed, sending you sprawling across the squalid cobblestone alley path. The pain was too much to stand. Unable to organise your thoughts, never mind control your legs.

You pushed at the ground beneath you, succeeding only in rolling onto your back. The shadowy figure walks out into the light looking down on you, their face visible under the scarce light. Janet. A creepy smile is on her face, her expression one of ecstasy and bloodlust.

Garbled sounds ring out in the alley as you try to form coherent words and fail. You continued your futile attempts, blacking out soon after.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

After turning right twice, you bump into something resembling a small table. The table has nothing on it and the lack of further sounds tells you that nothing has fallen to the floor. Past the table you feel a wooden surface instead of stone, arm-length in width and taller than you can reach.

Having found a door you reach around looking for a handle. You find the handle on the right side just above shoulder height.

Surprised at the unexpected find, slight confusion sets in as you wonder about the weird dimensions of the door. Why would the handle be placed so high? Is the room meant for someone much taller, or maybe the handle is so far up to act as insurance against short people. At five feet eight inches you could be certain you were at least average height if not above average. How tall would you need to be to require a door handle so far up?

Not now. Focus. I need to focus. If I am to find out what happened, I mustn't let myself get distracted.

You try to clear your head and focus at the task at hand. Holding tight the door handle, you turn and pull as hard as you can. It grinds along as if years of rust have determined to make the door impassable.

Relief wells up in you as you hear the latch grind free from the strike plate, allowing the door to swing open on its hinges. Overjoyed that the door is unlocked, you rush out into the passage. The passage is no brighter than the room was and only leads in one direction. It seems your room was in the deepest corner of this mysterious place.

You walk down the path in complete darkness, passing door after door, all locked and identical to the door of your own room. There are no sounds coming from any of the locked rooms you pass, leaving you to assume they were empty, the alternative being too horrifying to dare imagine. Having seen only the insides to your own room, you ponder whether all the rooms are the same or if some have more sinister features. Pictures and stories of medieval torture rooms from history class and many horror movies come to mind before you banish the thought.

Only now you are in this situation do you feel that the sounds of torture would be a welcome release. The darkness blocks your vision. The silence penetrates to your core. At least with torture there would be screams and with screams you must have other people, most likely your abductor and fellow victims. The silence however is much crueller. It reminds you of how alone you are. How isolated you are from the rest of the world. The silence hammers into you how futile it would be to try calling out for help.

The ground beneath your feet wears away at your energy, the prolonged walk without protection leaving many bruises and small cuts across the soles of your feet.

After minutes of walking, following a slight curve to the right, the ground feels cleaner and harder. You set foot onto the bottom step of a spiral staircase leading above.

Torch-light illuminates the staircase, releasing you from the confines of the void that surrounds you. The flames on the torches don't burn the bright orange you would expect, but instead light the room in a calm azure glow. The light feels warm to the touch, yet after slipping a finger near the flame, you feel not the slightest bit of heat. Illuminated by the flames, your skin glows with the same gentle azure light.

The torches are mounted to the wall, hanging loose from a chain and hoop. Although the torch feels light in your hands, you struggle to move the chain and fail to achieve more than a low rattling noise, the hoop unmoved. Frustrated by your weakness you move on and continue ascending the flight of steps.

The stairs wind upwards for what feels like hundreds of steps and open out in a rundown courtyard. Piles of rubble lay all over the place. Walls half collapsed in places, gone in others.

"What happened here?"

Awe washes over you as fear creeps into your voice. The pitch masked by your lungs ridding themselves of the dust inhaled in the underground. It sounds different somehow, but you suppose that is normal with a throat full of dust.

"Is there anybody out there? Hello..."

No matter how many times you yell out, no response ever comes.

Looking around once more you can understand why. These ruins must be old. Not just a matter of years, but hundreds of years should have passed for the ruins to get this dilapidated. Dust. Dirt. Moss and vines covering every exposed surface. It looks like the forest has been hard at work reclaiming the site and was halfway there.

This doesn't make sense. Why am I here? What happened after I got attacked and why can I not remember any of it?

Only when you look around again do you notice things you missed before. The sky is dark and full of clouds. A full moon hangs high in the sky above a crescent moon.

It must be night then... wait, two moons? Am I hallucinating or are they really there? Curiosity sprouts in your mind.

Waking in a dark room wearing nothing but rags and climbing a staircase lit by blue flames without heat opens your mind to the possibilities.

Not far from your current position you can see a dilapidated castle, its walls overrun with vines but almost entirely intact. A small wooden door stands ajar, allowing you inside.

Well. It's a better option than staying out here in the dark and miserable cold. If those clouds are anything to go by, it should rain soon.

Finished convincing yourself, you enter the castle and escape the cold night winds. More torches like those in the staircase light the way and make it easy to find your way around.

I wonder what that place I woke up in was. A cellar? or maybe a prison. Did I do something to warrant being thrown in prison though? Ah, damn it. If I could remember what happened, maybe I would at least know what is going on right now and what I am supposed to do about it...

Various doubts and emotions pass through your mind. You continue to explore the ruins of the castle. The door you entered must be the servants’ entrance because you find the kitchen, pantry and servants’ quarters soon after.

How nice, having the servants all tucked away, where no one can see them do all the dirty work. your expression stiff, your thoughts dripping with sarcasm.

You pass by some large empty rooms, assuming they must have once been the dining room, ballroom and grand hall. The furnishings having long fallen to rot and decay, nothing but sheets of torn cloth remain, piled in heaps by the walls.

Those must have been the banners with the family crest emblazoned on them.

You enter the last room and ascend the staircase to the next floor. The rooms on this floor are in much better condition than those below. Various wall banners, cupboards and desks bear the marks of an old conflict, some chairs and benches surviving, aged but unharmed.

Isn't this an old ruin of a castle? Why is the stuff on this floor in such good condition, this is nothing like what I saw below.

All the rooms on this floor appear to either offices or barracks. An armoury lies at the east wing of the floor, complete with rusted weapons and degraded armour. You search through the room and leave disappointed with your loot. Something serious must have happened, you feel so much weaker than you remember being. You couldn’t use the gear that were several sizes too large, but you should at least be capable of lifting and moving them around with a little difficulty.

Yet no matter how hard you exert yourself, you only succeed in lifting a dagger that has a narrow and long blade. The dagger looks a lot like a stiletto only bigger and while it's not much, at least you have some form of self protection going.

The dagger looks rather fancy to be found in a castle armoury. Maybe it had been left behind by a noble or an important visitor. Running your fingers across the side of the handle you make out a small carving in the handle. Unfortunately, the dagger has aged too much to make out any clear details.

You head out of the room and head to another set of stairs to ascend yet another floor. At first you thought just the design of the doors were odd. But with torch-light illuminating the castle halls you realise that the dimensions of every door look the same as normal, just at a larger scale. Upon arriving on this floor you noticed that not only the doors were large, everything else was too. The surviving furniture made it look like the castle and its interiors were built for a race of half-giants. Maybe being 6 feet tall was on the shorter end of the spectrum for the past inhabitants.

Climbing the last flight of stairs you are let out onto a floor with but a single door leading to a room. In the hallway before the room are various couches, lounge tables and bookshelves of high quality. Every last piece of furniture is in pristine condition. Not even a layer of dust could be found on the walls, the floor or any of the rich tapestries lining the wall. It all seemed as if it had been cleaned but moments ago by a team with almost godly skill.

My mom is a clean-freak and even she couldn’t get rooms this clean.

The stray thought deflates your excited mood.

That's right, my mother must be looking for me. I went to a party and then just disappeared. Oh God, I hope she doesn't suffer a breakdown or something because of me.

Your mood calmed by the sobering thought, you snap out of your distraction and test the door to the last unexplored room.

If the previous results are anything to go by, then something amazing must be behind this door.

The door clicks and swings open, smooth and light on its hinges. Not a single groan or squeak can be heard from the door. No locks or security of any kind can be seen. It must have been guarded by those using the armoury downstairs. Maybe in the past, two guards would stand in front of the door, barring all unauthorised entry.

Past the door you find a room the size of a small house. Soft white lights line the walls. In the back of the room you find a canopy bed. Covered in velvet silk, rich feather down pillows and silky sheets. The mattress must be queen-size at the smallest. Stood near the bed is a full-length mirror. The mirror looks similar to the exotic ornate mirrors of renaissance France before the fall of the monarchy.

Two more doors can be found in the room. A brief check of each reveals an en-suite bathroom with a bath the size of a small pool and a walk-in closet. The closet is filled with dresses and outfits of all shapes, styles and colours. Racks of shoes line the bottom of the walls, heels, boots and pumps everywhere, placed beneath the dress or outfit you suppose they pair with. Drawers full of inners and corsets, accessories and jewellery, Tights, leggings and stockings, yet not a single sock.

Judging by the clothing, this room and by extension castle, must have once been residence to a very wealthy noble lady. The lack of anything resembling a throne room eliminates the possibility of this castle being host to a royal family. On hindsight, you suppose it should have been obvious. The castle is large by Earth standards, but the low number of rooms would suggest it is not large enough to have been so important.

With nowhere left to explore and nothing better to do, you return to the bathroom to wash off all the dirt and dust, courtesy of your time spent underground. You turn the faucet of the bath and release the hot water before walking over to the wash basin to clean your face. The basin looks like a large bowl engraved with fancy decorations covered in gold leaf. You could swear you saw the basin flash for a moment, but chalk it up to exhaustion from a long, painful and tiring day of exploration.

The basin fills with warm water and you wash off the dirt and grime covering your face. Though you haven't been sweating, your face feels covered in a layer of grime. A mix of dirt, water and dust cake the surface of your skin and you revel in the feeling of its removal. As you reach out for a cloth or towel to wipe down your face, a strand of hair drooping past your eyes catches your attention. For years you have kept your hairstyle short and easy to manage, so why do you now see a shoulder-length strand of obsidian black?

What is this? My hair isn't supposed to be black. I have a light brown, inherited from my father's side of the family. Did the person who abducted me do something to my hair? What else have they done?

You look up at the face-sized copper mirror above the basin, but struggle to make out any clear details. You know something is wrong, but no matter how you tilt your head, you cannot make out anything besides more strands of hair covering your eyes.

The mirror in the bedroom.

As soon as you remember the full-length mirror by the canopy bed, you rush as fast as possible without tripping. A sense of crisis and urgency clear in your mind.

For the first time since waking in this desolate place you note your current appearance. The darkness of the dungeons made it impossible and the awe of seeing a castle in person had distracted you from any other endeavours.

Stopping to catch your breath, you walk to the front of the mirror and inspect the reflection. You find a small female child with a soft round face, bright eyes and shoulder-length obsidian black hair. The once freckled, tanned skin now as white and clear as porcelain. Even covered in dirt, you can see the child would grow to become a stunning beauty. Rags like a worn burlap sack dress the girl, a few sizes too large.

You make out two small mounds on the girl's chest. Dainty hands and feet hang where coarse, bony limbs once hung. Looking at the girl’s face you realise the eyes aren't just bright, they are glowing. No iris or pupil can be seen between the eyelids, just a deep darkness, home to thousands upon thousands of miniature stars.

A small button nose and small cherry coloured lips sit beneath her eyes. You continue to examine the girl’s face as if locked in a trance; tilting your head side to side and the girl in the reflection mimics you. No matter how you position your head or pull back your hair, you cannot find your ears. They must be somewhere because you can hear; without ears you would be deaf, so where could they be? As you focus on your ears, you feel a slight twitch from the top of your head. Two small folds of flesh lay embedded in your hair atop your head. You poke at them and they continue to twitch at the odd sensation. The repeated touching causes the folds to raise, displaying a small pair of cat-like ears. The two triangular ears pivot in all directions at various speeds as you try to familiarise yourself with your new appendages.

You can hear the air currents drifting around the room without having to turn your head even the slightest bit. The sound of cloth rustling as you breathe enters your ears as if happening right beside them.

Shock sets in as you realise that the mirror-girl is you. An impossible situation has appeared before your eyes and to refute it would be to turn away from reality. You realise that the castle and its rooms and furniture are not designed for a race of half-giant people. It is just that you have shrunk down to almost half of your previous size. Everything looks so much bigger because you are so much smaller.

"No. This can't be real. I have to be dreaming. You don't just wake up in a body so different from your own one day and act like everything's normal..."

You pace back and forth, getting faster and more crazed with every step.

"Yes. This is all just a dream. A very realistic dream. Any moment now my mom will call me or my alarm will go off and I will wake up... Yes, that must be it. All of this was just a crazy hallucination caused by too much partying and someone spiking my drink. That’s more logical... right?"

"All I need to do is figure out how to wake up. Right? Maybe if I-"

Before you can continue any further, knocking sounds reverberate through room. You focus toward the sound, your ears pointed at attention, but no matter how hard you strain, you cannot detect anybody nearby.

After a short pause the knocking resumes once more. A muffled voice calling out from beyond the door, a sense of urgency in their tone.

Though dangerous it may be, you catch your breath and walk over to open the door.

What’s the worst that could happen…

To Be Continued…

********

Sylvia Waldgrave is an eccentric fox-spirit visiting from beyond-the-veil to play pranks on the unsuspecting and left behind this story as greeting gift. Being mischievous by nature, she won’t allow you to get too comfortable before plotting her next prank. Keep your eyes peeled and watch out. Sylvia is a stickler for quality, so you can expect every effort has been poured into each story. She hopes you enjoy her work as much as she enjoyed the struggle to write it. This particular piece was inspired by a writing challenge encountered on a whim over the interwebz based on writing a piece in the elusive 2nd Person Point of View. I bet you didn’t even think that was a thing now did you ;)

The Curse: Loose Ends
~~By Hikaro~~

The light shined in my eyes, so I instinctively closed them and used my arm to cover my face. I didn't want to wake up. Every time I walked out of the house was just an adventure in trying not to explode at people. If it wasn't for that fucking sun, I'd be just fine.

I rolled over onto my other side. That wasn't exactly a great sight. Just another reminder of something that I desperately wished were a nightmare. The pink panties on the floor, the magazine half hanging on the dresser, the lipstick tubes on the desk and that thing I knew was hidden in my night stand. I finally rolled over onto my stomach, and pink pillowcase covered with flower and heart designs just reminded me that I couldn't escape my life no matter where I looked.

"Get down here!" I heard my mom shout. I sighed. Not for the first time, I wondered why Dad didn't stay instead. He wasn't exactly happy with what I'd become, but he wasn't the total bitch my mom was. How she knew I was awake, I'd never know.

I threw the sheet off of me and got out of bed. I caught sight of myself in the mirror on my desk and felt another surge of anger for what had happened to me. The black baby doll nightie I was wearing almost made it look like I'd become a girl physically, though the lack of tits was pretty obvious. I'd slimmed down considerably since the day of the panty raid that caused all of this, and it annoyed me.

I pulled off my nightie and slipped on a pair of shorts. My dumbass circumstances meant that I only had shorts that hugged me like a second skin. I then reached into my dresser and pulled out a bra that I didn't need to wear, but felt like I did. Finally, I grabbed a tank top that didn't really hide the bra straps at all. Even out of the nightie, it'd be easy to confuse me for a girl.

I walked downstairs to find Mom sitting on the couch, a freshly lit cigarette in her hand and a bottle of Jack Daniels on the coffee table. She glared at me when I came into the room. "What the fuck took you so long, bitch?" she asked.

"Nothing," I said, softly.

"Get your ass outta my house and make something of yourself today, I'm tired of lookin' at ya."

I looked away from her. Make something of myself, yeah right. She just wanted me gone for the day. If I wasn't at home, she wouldn't have to look at her sissy son. I walked back up to my room and slipped on a pair of sandals, then grabbed the purse that I couldn't leave the house without (and even had panic attacks the few times I'd tried). I looked at myself in the mirror and let out a depressed sigh. I looked like that. Like a flat-chested girl. I hated it.

***

I didn't have a whole lot places I liked to go. I liked to stay away from public places, even though for the most part, nobody really humiliated me anymore, though I still felt like everybody was watching me, and wanted me out of whichever building I was in. About the only place that didn't make me feel like I was an outcast was the mall, so I went there.

I sat at a table at the food court and watched everyone around me. I mostly saw groups of girls and their friends, though every now and again I'd see groups of guys or couples. One couple in particular caught my eye and brought my anger to the surface: Amanda and Steve.

Amanda used to be Adam. He'd been a fag, and had broken into my house to get all the panties back from the raid my friends and I had done before the last week of school. Steve was his friend, now boyfriend, and had been involved. Then the bitch who lived in the house beside me turned out to be a witch, and set the three of us down a one-way trip that made Adam Amanda, me a sissy and I don't know what the hell happened to Steve, but he had a girlfriend now.

They looked happy, as usual. Holding hands, kissing occasionally. Steve even grabbed her ass a couple times, though she promptly moved his hand away from that. I hated how they just went on like they hadn't ruined my life. Of course, they'd gotten everything they wanted out of this situation, why wouldn't they be happy?

I crushed my soda cup and tossed it in the trash beside me. I had to take my mind off of them enjoying themselves. I knew I wasn't going to have a good day, but it'd be a helluva lot worse if I let them bother me.

I got up from my table and just walked around. I stopped in some stores, obviously for girl stuff instead of guy stuff, but nobody really paid me any attention. Maybe soon nobody would care that I was such a sissy. That would certainly make things easier. Mom would still hate me and Dad would still be gone, but maybe over time, Mom would just stop caring.

I poked around some clothing racks, looking at all sorts of things I really wasn't going to buy. It was all just a distraction. I needed that, but it wasn't helping as much as I wanted it to. I sighed and left the store. I needed something else to distract me. I wasn't gonna find it in a Gap.

***

I took the bus back to town and found myself walking past the elementary school that I went to. I hadn't been by the place in years, pretty much ever since I got into middle school. I saw some kids playing on the playground, a couple little girls just having fun. They looked happy, excited, joyful, a complete opposite to me.

Was I starting to envy them?

I sighed. Why wouldn't I envy them? They were enjoying themselves, while I was moping around with no real life to speak of. I felt like shit, and seeing them having fun was making that even worse. Of course I envied them.

I looked away from the girls and forced myself to walk away from the school. Everywhere I went, I was running into reasons to be depressed and sad, and I needed to find somewhere else to go. The only good thing about today was that only my mom had treated me like crap.

I walked, and walked, and eventually only stopped walking when I came to a bridge just down the road from my house. There was a small river running through the middle of town, and the bridge separated the residential from the business part of town. Even before the panty raid and the bullshit that I'd suffered, I liked to watch the river.

It was pretty much the only thing that calmed me.

“You look like you're having a bad day,” a voice beside me said. I wanted to reach out and throw her into the river, but I restrained myself. Amanda. There. “I noticed that when I saw you at the mall, too.”

I looked over at her and saw that Steve wasn't attached to her. “A depressing day, not a bad day.”

“Depressing, bad... I don't see a difference.”

“Trust me, there's a difference.” I turned away from the river and leaned against the bridge railing. “Why are you here?”

“Walking home from Steve's place. Saw you. Decided to ask what's up.” She leaned against the railing beside me. “So, what's up? Thinking of taking a nosedive into the river?”

I shook my head. “I'm depressed, but I'm not that depressed.” I almost felt like laughing. “You're not hoping I'll jump, are you?”

“Uh, no. You're still not my favorite person, but you're not as much of an asshole as you used to be.”

I sighed. “Whatever. How's that bitch who changed us?”

“Ms. Malski? She's a sorceress.”

“And I said 'bitch', not 'witch'.”

“I know.”

“So?”

“She wants to talk to you, actually.”

“Huh?”

“She wants... To talk... To you,” she said, talking slower as a joke. “You live next door to her, how do I know about this first?”

“Why?”

She shrugged. “I dunno. How's about we go there right now and find out?”

***

“I've been trying to get you over here for days, y'know,” the bitch said, sipping coffee from a small cup. She looked so normal, sitting there in a pair of sweatpants and a tank top with a big orange heart on it. It was so hard to believe that she was in any way magical. If I didn't know what she could do first hand, I'd just have confused her for any late-twenties woman. Especially considering I had a tanktop that looked exactly like that, but with reversed colors. “You're a difficult young lady to get a hold of.”

I rolled my eyes. “Don't call me that.”

“It's actually why you're here.”

“Why?”

“Amanda suggested I ask you what you want.”

“What I want? What if I want to go back to being the guy I used to be?” I started to feel tears welling up in my eyes. It wouldn't be the first time I cried since this happened to me. “You fucked up my life and I want it back!”

The bitch shook her head. “You and I both know that's not true, Dean.”

I caught sight of Amanda, who looked surprised. Certainly, I wore the same surprise on my face. “What are you talking about? Yes, I want my old life back!”

“Is that why you wrote this?” I don't know when it got there, but suddenly the bitch was holding a black notebook, one that I instantly recognized. How had she gotten that? Where'd it come from? Why was it there?!

“How'd... How'd you get that?” I asked, my voice barely louder than a whisper. If she hadn't heard me, I wouldn't be surprised.

“I'm magical, young lady, I should think you'd accept anything at this point.” I wanted to tell her to stop calling me young lady, but considering she had my notebook, I knew exactly what point she was going to make. Why? Why had I written that? I didn't care if it was true, why had I written it? “However, I'll have you know that your mother gave it to me about an hour ago. She recognized my name and thought it important to ask what it was you were talking about.” Oh. Great. So Mom had given her the notebook. “You know what it says in here.”

I nodded. “Yeah, I know. And yeah, I wrote it, but that doesn't... Doesn't mean anything.”

“We both know that's not true, Dean.” She opened the notebook and turned to the latest page. “'I'd never tell Richards this, but I wish I was in the same boat as her. She got to go all the way and ended up a girl completely, while I'm stuck halfway. Guys don't want me, and girls make fun of me. It's taken me most of the summer to accept what I am now, but I think I've finally come to terms with it.'” She set the notebook down. “That's quite a bit of progress.”

“You envy me?” Amanda asked.

There were those tears again. I didn't want to answer the question, but I knew I needed to and goddammit, I knew the real answer. The answer I didn't want to be true. “Yes,” I said, again, barely more audible than a whisper. “Yes, I wish I could be a real girl, okay?” That one was louder. “I didn't know that's what I wanted before, but it's what I want now.” I reached up and wiped tears away. “There, are you happy?”

Amanda surprised me by hugging me. “Why didn't you say anything?”

I couldn't answer that question, but I could return the hug, so I did.

***

The bi – the sorceress – ended the hug by talking. “Now, Dean, I have some options for you.” She handed me the notebook, after I dried the actual happy tears from my eyes. “I can't return you to your old self, because that's not who you are. Well, I'll rephrase that. I won't return you to your old self. That would be a disservice to the young woman you've allowed to blossom over the last month.” I nodded. For the first time since this happened, I was happy with that decision. “You can either remain the way you are, or I can finish out your changes.”

There they were, the two choices that part of me had hoped to hear from day one.

And I...

Couldn't...

Choose...

I fell into the seat behind me and hugged my knees to my chest. “I don't know.”

“You don't have to choose right now,” Amanda said, a reassuring smile on her face.

The sorceress sighed. “I hate to rush you, but you actually do need to choose soon, though not right this second.”

“Why soon?” I asked.

“It'll be easier to alter your transcripts for next year.”

I rolled my eyes. Of course. She was the principal, after all. “What exactly changes about my life for each one?”

She took another sip of coffee. “Regardless of your choice, you're moving in with me.”

“Whuh? Why?”

“I've met your mother, she's not the nicest woman to talk to, so I can only imagine how horrible it is to live with her. Those arrangements have already been made, your mother was only too happy to have you leaving her house.” I sighed. Of course she was happy I was gone. Didn't matter to her that I'd actually made a big life decision. “As for what else will change, obviously, if you choose to become female completely, you'll need to deal with everything a girl your age deals with. If you choose to remain this way, very little will change aside from your home address.” She set the coffee cup down on the table. “Have you made your decision yet?”

I took a deep breath, then exhaled. “I have. I think I'll go with – “

~~

Hikaro is a man who wants to know why the hell you're reading what it is he writes. He knows you can't possibly be enjoying his stories. He would particularly enjoy it if you were to leave him a comment explaining yourselves.

Going Public
~~By Trismegistus Shandy~~

"Okay," I said to Lori, "this has been a lot of fun, but we've got to go back to work tomorrow and I'll sleep better if I'm in my own body."

"Hmm," she replied. "I'd rather swap back in the morning. After we shower, but before we get dressed -- I can dress that body and do its hair and makeup a lot faster if I'm in it."

"That would be fun, but no. I didn't sleep very well the last couple of nights with these things on my chest." (Not to mention the other things Lori and I were doing besides sleeping.) "We can swap again next weekend."

"All right. I'll go get the orb."

But a couple of minutes later she returned, saying, "Um, Pete... it's not where I left it. Did you do something with it?"

"No," I said, my heart sinking. "Let's go look for it."

An hour later, we sat down and stared dully at each other.

"I swear it was at the bottom of my underwear drawer the last time I saw it," she said.

"My underwear now, if we can't find it. Yeah, I remember seeing it this morning when I got dressed. But it's obviously not there now."

"If neither of us moved it... somebody must have broken in."

"Then they must have known exactly what they were going for. They didn't touch your jewelry or our laptops... What if it vanished the same way it appeared?"

"Let's not give up yet."

"All right. But I'm too tired to search any more tonight."

We didn't have sex again that night, she just held me until we fell asleep. Next morning, we called in sick to each other's bosses and spent the whole day turning the apartment inside out looking for the orb. It wasn't anywhere. We even searched my car, and went back to the restaurant to ask if a lost orb had been turned in. Not that we expected it to turn up there -- we knew we hadn't taken it with us -- but we wanted to try everything. We both remembered the door being locked and deadbolted when we got back from lunch, and when we tried the windows, they were still latched, and so stiff and sticky they obviously hadn't been opened in months. So that ruled out burglary, not that it mattered. The orb had vanished in the same mysterious way it appeared, and we were stuck in each other's bodies.

"So what do we do now?" I said, as we sat down to eat.

"You'll have to teach me how to do your job, and all about the people you work with, and I... Um. I can't teach you my job, so we'll have to come up with a good excuse for you to quit. I'll have to teach you how to do your own hair and makeup instead of doing it for you like the last couple of days, and you'll need to teach me, um... how to keep this thing under control." She shifted uncomfortably on her chair, her legs spreading wider.

I smiled. "Yeah, we'll need to teach each other more about how to handle these bodies. In a couple of weeks I'll need your help with tampons and stuff. But I don't see why I should wear makeup just because I'm in your body."

"Well... we don't want people to notice anything weird about us."

"Yeah, I think that's a lost cause. There's no way we can fool everybody into thinking I'm you and you're me. And there's no way people aren't going to gossip about me suddenly quitting your job. But... you love your job, why not keep doing it?"

"But how? You don't have my qualifications..."

"We can tell people what happened to us. We've both got enough friends and relatives who know us well that we can prove ourselves by answering questions only we would know the answers to. Then with enough independent testimony, we can go public with it."

"But... nobody who doesn't know us really well will believe us! Even we didn't know stuff like that orb existed until it showed up; I wouldn't have believed a story like this a week ago."

"Yeah, but going by the principle of mediocrity, we're certainly not the only people this has happened to. Only none of them told anyone because they thought no one would believe them. Somebody's got to break that vicious cycle, and why not us?"

"Or they did tell a few people and no one believed them, and they either shut up about it or got sent to insane asylums."

"Maybe. But if we go public with testimony from our friends and relatives, I'm sure the orb's other victims will come out of the woodwork. Then we can get the authorities to issue us new ID with each other's pictures, and go back to work at our old jobs."

She stared at me for a few seconds, then said: "It might work. But what if it doesn't? They might lock us up as crazy."

"If it looks like that's starting to happen, we can say it was all a hoax. But even if we don't tell anyone we've swapped bodies -- or rather, can't convince anyone -- I don't think we can pretend that nothing has changed. I can't do your job, and I don't think you'd be happy doing my job long-term. Once I get another job to support us, you could go back to medical school; it should be a lot easier the second time around. And another thing... Are you comfortable in that body?"

Lori shifted in her chair and looked down at herself. "Well... not as uncomfortable as I might have expected before this happened. But not as comfortable as in my own body."

I nodded. "Yeah, I've had a lot of fun in this body, when I've been alone with you... but when we went out dancing Saturday night, and the restaurant Sunday, that wasn't the most fun part of the experience. Seeing how guys looked at me... even how women looked at me, them thinking I was a women, when I'm not. Not inside."

Lori looked curiously at me. "So... are you thinking of coming out as trans?"

"Yeah, probably. Or maybe gender-fluid or non-binary. I'll give it a few weeks to see if I get more used to your body, but I have a feeling I'll wind up donating those skirts and dresses to Goodwill. And I don't know if I want surgery -- I'll do some more research and talk to people -- but I'm pretty sure I'll want hormone therapy. What about you?"

"I don't know. This body feels kind of weird, but trans people are discriminated against pretty badly... I don't know if it's worth putting up with that to get a rough approximation of the body I was born with."

"I'll support you whatever you decide."

"So will I."

We cleaned up the supper dishes and then sat on the couch, leaning against one another, not saying anything for a long time.

* * *

Trismegistus Shandy is the author of more than thirty transgender stories, available at Smashwords, Amazon, BigCloset, Shifti, and Fictionmania. They're currently working on a novel, a sequel to Wine Can't be Pressed Into Grapes and When Wasps Make Honey.

Charlie’s Other Angels
~~by Bobbie Cabot~~

Charlie's-Angels-Title.PNG

(To get a background on this little story, please read the
previous installment, “Charlie’s Angel,” in the previous TG Mixed
Tape, “Awesome Mix Vol. 2 - A TG Mixed Tape”)

--- what happened before ---

Jill had been living as a girl for almost two years, the past year as a police beat cop. She was more-or-less comfortable in her new life as Jill Munroe now, but, in many ways, she was still Charlie Townsend, the young, idealistic cop that got killed by Eric Knox, a corrupt police detective, by means of black magic.

His mysterious guardian angel, someone named “Jill,” rescued him from sure death via a magical ‘70s cassette tape, by turning him into “Jill Munroe.”

Now, here she was. She wasn’t Charlie anymore, but at least she was alive. Now, she was a newbie lady cop, and as hot as any girl she had ever seen. She also has two new best friends - Sabrina and Kelly, whom she met at the Police Academy. Her quick adjustment to her new life and identity was probably due to them. And, now, truth be told, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

--- that morning ---

As the three of them walked into the squad room, they greeted everyone. The three of them were by far the most popular in the squad. After all, they were the hottest-looking among the girls in their squad (even in their police uniforms), and everyone’s ‘good morning’ to them were quite cheery.

Their squad’s police sergeant, Sgt. Tom Bosley, began their morning meeting. He said their friends from the detective squad needed some help. They had a big bust that night - a Mexico-based sweatshop ring operating in the LA area, and they were short some people.

This was nothing new. With the manpower shortage, this kind of thing happened all the time. The captain had volunteered three from their squad to help out, and the ones next in the “rotation” were Duncan, Garrett and Munroe…

--- that night ---

“Okay, guys,” Jake Peralta, the lead detective in charge of the bust, briefed everyone in a little empty garage a few stores away from the large warehouse where the ring was making knock-off Gucci bags, Christian Loubotin shoes, and D&G belts.

“Grab some seats,” he said, and everyone made themselves comfortable.

“Sgt. Bosley has assigned us three of his officers to our little operation. These here are Police Officers Jill Munroe, Kelly Garrett and Sabrina Duncan.”

Jill and her friends nodded. They were in casual clothes, of course - jeans and jackets over Henleys or tank tops – the de rigeur uniform for police officers on stakeout. They could put vests on under the jackets and it wouldn’t be too obvious. Of course, when they go in, they’d be replacing the jackets with ones with the legend, “POLICE” on them.

Peralta introduced his team – Detectives Amy Santiago, Rosa Diaz, Charles Boyle, Michael Hitchcock and Norm Scully. Sgt. Terry Jeffords was currently in the van that they were using for surveillance.

“The objective tonight is to get video and audio,” Jake said, “and to get them to admit that they’re working with Doug Judy, the notorious ‘Pontiac Bandit.’ Doug Judy has expanded his illegal activities to include knockoff designer products. So Amy and Rosa will go in as prospective buyers and get them to admit that they’re working with Doug Judy.”

“Excuse me, Detective,” Jill interrupted, “but why is that important? Seems to me, you already have the goods on these people. Why is this important?”

“Well, we have Doug Judy in custody already, but we were hoping to connect him to this particular sweatshop. With this connection, we can establish a logical connection to several other sweatshops, and then we can shut them all down. It’s a big deal, actually, so we really need to do this right.”

The girls nodded.

“Okay. This is how we’ll do it. Detectives Hitchcock and Scully will have the alleyway beside the warehouse staked out while officers Munroe, Garrett and Duncan will watch the front. Sgt. Jeffords will continue recording, while Detectives Diaz and Santiago will go in to talk to the suspects. They’re the best to do it since they speak Spanish and have the right look. Detective Boyle and I will be at the back entrance ready to back them up just in case.

“Jill: you, Kelly and Sabrina will remain in front and keep a lookout in case they call in reinforcements. When our sister precincts did similar busts, they were taken by surprise when gunmen came in and shot up the place. You three will be our lookout to prevent us from being taken by surprise, and to provide backup.”

“Right, Detective,” Jill replied.

“Okay, let’s get ready.”

Everyone donned their vests and, while they did so, Charles Boyle came closer and tried to appear suave and debonair to the girls, but just ended up with egg on his face.

Jake just waved him away while he swooped in to try and make time with the three new girls, only to be clipped by Amy. Clearly, those two had some kind of relationship.

The three just laughed and got ready.

--- later that night ---

The three of them were parked just outside the warehouse in Jill’s white ’76 Mustang Cobra II. Stakeouts were boring.

“You know, Jill,” Kelly said as she sipped at her cup of coffee, “I can understand you keeping your car as close to original as you can, but I don’t understand why you don’t replace the tape deck with a nice DVD-MP3 player at least.”

“Well…” Jill hesitated.

“Really.” Kelly said. “I didn’t even know there were cassette tapes still available.” She pawed through the glove compartment, which was full of cassette tapes.

“Oh, sure!” Jill replied. “You can buy them through the internet. There are tons. And there were some people in the precinct that helped me transfer my favorite albums onto tape. But I’m buying my own recording deck as soon as I find a decent one.”

“Why go through all that trouble, Jill. Just upgrade.”

“Guys!” Sabrina said, tapping the two on the shoulder. “There are three men walking towards the warehouse. And it looks like they’re carrying shotguns!”

Jill whipped up her surveillance binoculars while Kelly borrowed Sabrina’s.

“One of them looks like Eric Knox…” Jill murmured.

“Who?” Sabrina asked.

“One of them looks like Ray Carter,” Kelly said.

Sabrina looked at Kelly. “You mean the Ray Carter who…”

“Yes.”

“Jill! Get the girls and Sgt. Jeffords on the radio. Tell ‘em there are guys coming.”

Jill pulled out her police radio. “Amy!” she said into the walkie-talkie. “Sgt. Jeffords! This is Jill. Heads up! There are three guys with shotguns walking towards the warehouse!”

“Okay, Jill,” Terry Jeffords replied. “Do you hear that, Amy. Wrap it up. I’m calling backup.”

“It’s okay, Sarge,” Rosa Diaz responded. “We just got the foreman to say what we needed. We’re done here.”

“Good work, Rosa,” Jake said. “We’re coming in. Get your suspects to safety.”

“Bri,” Jill said to Sabrina, “what do we do?”

“We back them up, that’s what.” Sabrina brought up a couple of police-issue shotguns that she got during the briefing, and gave them to the others. “Let’s go!”

Armed with shotguns, they got out of the Mustang and sprinted for the warehouse. In their earphones, they could hear Jeffords calling for backup, and the dispatcher responding. Backup’s ETA was ten minutes, but ten minutes might just be too late.

They heard shotguns firing, and Jill hit the front door with her shoulder. The three of them poured in and saw the workers crouched behind some of the tables and Charles, Jake, Amy and Rosa engaged in a firefight with the three heavily armed men. They were clearly outgunned.

Jill saw the one that looked like Eric Knox wave his hand and Amy and the other three were magically thrown backwards.

Jill, somehow, wasn’t surprised, given what she knew and what happened to her. She quickly peeked at her two friends and they didn’t look surprised, either.

“This is the police!” Sabrina called. “Freeze!”

One of them, the taller one, turned around and made a gesture similar to Knox, and it threw Kelly and Sabrina back, as well. Jill was, however, able to duck under the tables.

She peeked over the tables and saw them walking over to her, but she had to duck down since the three used up all their ammo trying to get her. When they ran out, she raised her own shotgun and fired several shots. The tall one got hit on the shoulder while Knox was hit in his arm, making him drop his gun.

Jill ducked down and reloaded her shotgun. Looking over, she noticed Sabrina and Kelly were still woozy. She knew she couldn’t expect any help from them for a while.

Jill grabbed Kelly’s shotgun and hefted both hers and Kelly’s. She took a deep breath and stood up. The shortest of the three – the one that wasn’t hit yet, faced her. He gestured with both hands and fire flew from them and straight towards her.

Jill ducked at the nick of time and the fountains of fire just missed her. They splashed on the brick wall behind her and broke up, leaving smoldering burn marks.

After the fire had dissipated, she stood up and fired both shotguns. She hit the guy point blank and he fell backwards.

This gave Jill time to run to her right and drag her friends to a more protected location. She stood and continued to shoot. The remaining two made their own gestures but she knew what to expect now, and was able to dodge properly. The wall behind her exploded in certain spots as whatever-they-were that emanated from their hands hit the wall.

Jill pushed the questions in her head away, concentrated on the here-and-now, and continued firing as she got closer and closer to the two remaining bad guys, but, for some reason, the buckshot wasn’t hitting them this time.

Eventually she ran out of shots. But by then she was close enough to the two to hit them with her fists. But, instead of fists, she swung her two shotguns like baseball bats and hit Eric Knox on one side of his head, and then the other side. This dropped him like a sack of potatoes.

She breathed hard, trying to catch her breath and control the adrenalin rush. It wasn’t over yet – there was still the tall one. But her shotguns were both out of ammo. She backtracked, trying to find a table where she can hide behind or something, but the bad guy was too close.

“I got you now, girlie,” the tall man laughed evilly.

“Freeze, you son of a bitch!” Sabrina called. “Step away from her!”

Jill looked down and she saw Sabrina woozily standing, along with Kelly. She had her shotgun pointed at him while Kelly had her service pistol out. Knowing these two, Jill knew they’d be firing at the slightest provocation so she crouched down.

The tall man raised his hands to fire a couple of fireballs at them, but the girls fired first.

The first shots went wild but the follow-up shots hit true. The tall man was hit with buckshot center mass several times, as well as hit in the neck and shoulder with Kelly’s shots. Maybe Knox was the one with the force field thingy. The tall man fell.

“Jill!” Kelly called. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine!” she called back. “How ‘bout you two?”

“My head’s spinning.”

Well, don’t fire. I’m standing up, ‘kay?”

“Okay…”

Jill stood and ran over to them. They were both sitting down on the concrete.

“I’m not feeling so good, Jill,” Sabrina said.

Jill cradled the two girls in her arms and waited for the cavalry. She broke down and cried, just from the reaction and relief for her and her friends. Sgt. Jeffords crashed into the warehouse with several officers behind him, and he saw the girls exhausted beyond exhaustion. He gestured to them and some of the officers checked them out.

The sarge slowly walked in and noticed the workers and their foreman crouching in the corner. He signaled and several officers went over.

In the middle of the warehouse, he saw the three men who came in, and they were dead or dying. He saw the damage on the walls. Whatever happened here must have been epic.

--- after all the shooting and shouting was done ---

Jill was in Sabrina’s house where both she and Kelly had been staying, to recuperate from their concussions. Jill decided to have a chat.

Jill said that, during that night in the warehouse, Jake Peralta and his people were unconscious the whole time and they didn’t see anything while their backup only arrived after everything was over.

But that wasn’t the biggest thing that they discussed.

It seems the thing that happened to Jill happened to the other two as well. Sabrina used to be Bill Duncan, another policeman, and Kelly Garrett used to be Dr. Alan Samuelson, and in both cases, just like Jill, they were going to die in similar circumstances. And, like Jill, both were turned into girls via a cassette tape. Sabrina’s said “Bri’s Mix Tape” and Kelly’s was “Kelly’s Mix Tape.”

Aside from Eric Knox, the other two that they brought down turned out to be Seamus O’Grady, an Irish gangster that was responsible for Bill Duncan’s death, and Ray Carter, an ex-US marshal that was responsible for Alan Samuelson’s death.

And there was Eric Knox… Why were they working together? In fact, why were Jill, Sabrina and Kelly together? What did it all mean?

Jill tried to lighten the mood. She asked if Kelly and Sabrina got cool retro cars as well. The two frowned. Kelly got a fairly-okay-looking ’76 Ford Mustang II, except it was beige. Kelly made a face when she said “beige.” Sabrina’s expression when she told Jill what she got was even worse. That’s because it was an orange-and-white ’76 Ford Pinto. It seemed that Jill was the only one that got a good one. They all wondered why the cars were all ’76 models.

In any case, the three knew that there was no way back – their male bodies were found dead a day or so after they found themselves transformed, and rather than try to recapture something that they couldn’t… they all decided to forge ahead.

The following Monday, all three of them were back on duty. At the Monday meeting, their entire squad gave them a round of applause for their work. But, before they started, Sgt. Bosley took them aside and told them that they were invited to attend a kind of meeting on Saturday. He handed Sabrina a slip of paper with a date, a time and an address.

“What meeting is that, Sarge?” Jill asked.

“You’ll find out,” Bosley said. “it’ll answer a lot of your questions.”

“What questions…” Sabrina started to say, but Bosley made a shushing motion.

“Later,” the sergeant said, “It’s time for the meeting.”

--- that Saturday ---

Jill and Sabrina rode together in Jill’s Cobra II (Sabrina was still embarrassed to use her little orange Pinto) while Kelly met them at the hotel using her beige Mustang.

Together, they rode the elevator to the big function room at the hotel’s top floor.

When they entered the auditorium, there were other girls already there. There must have been thirty of them.

Sabrina went to the reception desk and the man there handed her three nametags.

“How did you know our names?” Sabrina asked.

“You three are the last. So…”

“Oh.” Sabrina handed Kelly and Jill their nametags.

“Hello, hello…” someone spoke over the PA. They all looked towards the stage and they saw Sergeant Bosley at the mic, but this time he was wearing an expensive-looking business suit.

“Good afternoon, ladies. Now that everyone’s here, please take your seats so we can begin. Please take your seats.”

Everyone took their seats, and when all the murmuring died down, Bosley began.

“I am sure you all know me,” he said. “My name is Tom Bosley. And I am also sure you are all aware of the Charles Townsend Detective Agency.”

Jill’s eyes went wide. That was her old name when she was still a man!

“Some of you are actually employees of the agency, right?”

Except for the three of them, everyone else answered with either a “yes” or a “right.”

“What the hell?” Jill murmured.

“That’s right,” Bosley said. “Except for three of you, you are all employed by the Charles Townsend Agency. But what you didn’t know was that the agency actually has seven branch offices, and the other girls around you are, like you, private investigators of the Townsend Agency.”

This was greeted with a rising murmuring.

“First, let me introduce our investigators from our L.A. office. We have Julie Rogers, Tiffany Welles and Kris Munroe. Girls, can you please stand?”

A brunette and two blondes stood. They were quite attractive. Actually, Jill thought, everyone in the room was all quite attractive. And then her brain did a double take. “Kris Munroe?” She thought. “Munroe! What has she go to do with…”

Bosley continued. “From our Miami office, there’s Kate Prince, Eve French and Abby Sampson. Girls?” This time, an African-American girl, another brunette and another blonde stood.

“Then, from our DC office, there’s Natalie Cook, Dylan Sanders, Madison Lee and Alex Munday. They also brought their two trainee investigators – Ashley and Kate.” This time, two blondes, a brunette and an Asian-American girl stood. The last to stand were two diminutive blondes.

“Six girls this time,” Sabrina whispered to Jill and Kelly. “Their DC office must get a lot of business.”

“From our San Francisco office, there’s Connie Bates, Bernie Colter, Pam Ryan and Trisha Lawrence.” Two blondes, a brunette and an African American stood this time.

“We also have three international offices: a German office, a Taiwanese office and a Latin American office.

“We have Betty, Cindy, Annabelle and Angie from our Taiwan office, and Elena Sanchez, Adriana Vega and Gina Navarro from the Mexico City office.” The seven girls then stood.

“And then, finally, we have Chris Rabe, Franziska Borgardt and Lena Heitmann from our office in Germany.” This time, it was a dark-haired girl, a brunette and a blonde that stood.

“We have also been joined by three others from the LA Police Department. They’re Police Officers Sabrina Duncan, Kelly Garrett and Jill Munroe.

“The reason Jill, Sabrina and Kelly are here is that, about two weeks ago, these three were responsible for eliminating three very dangerous individuals which the Agency has been trying to get for a long time, and these girls have done it.”

Someone, the blonde girl from the German office, raised her hand.

“Yes, Lena – you have a question?”

“Mr. Bosley,” the blonde said. “What’s all this? Why keep everyone secret from the others? And why let everything out now?”

“I will answer that presently, Lena.

“You see, aside from all of you being private detectives of the Townsend Agency, you all have one other similar thing. You all have undergone, shall we say, a major change in life. Let me ask Officer Jill Munroe to come up to the stage. Officer Munroe?”

“Bri,” Jill said. “What should I do?”

“I think it’s okay,” Sabrina replied. “Go ahead, Jill.”

Jill nodded, stood up and walked to the stage.

Climbing up, she went to Bosley, who handed her a microphone.

“You’re not really a police sergeant, are you?” Jill said to Bosley.

“No,” he chuckled. He brought up his own microphone. “Now, Jill, please tell everyone what happened to you two years ago.”

Jill’s eyes grew large. She looked at Bosley. “You knew?” she said.

“Yes. But it’s all right. Please tell them. Trust me, Charlie.”

Charlie… “He called me Charlie,” she thought. Jill looked at him, the same face that she’d known for a year. She sighed and decided to take him at his word.

“Hi, everyone. I’m Jill Munroe. I’m a police officer like Sergeant… sorry, I mean Mr. Bosley, said. But I wasn’t always Jill.” Without telling them any names, she then proceeded to tell them the whole story. The entire function room grew quiet as they listened to her tell them she used to be a man, and how an evil, magical curse made by an evil, evil man almost killed him. She was saved with the use of a magical mix tape from a guardian angel also named Jill, but, in doing so, she was turned into Jill Munroe.

She then introduced her two best friends, Kelly Garrett and Sabrina Duncan, and before they could ask, she told them that they also used to be men, and were almost killed, too, except for their own magical mix tapes. Jill nodded to Kelly and Sabrina. They brought out their mix tapes and held them up. And she explained that the ones responsible for them being this way were the three that they killed in that bust the week before.

The murmuring grew louder.

“Ladies,” Bosley said into his mic, “can you all bring out your own, ummm, ‘mix tapes?’”

Slowly, the girls all brought out their own ‘mix tapes,’ except that not all of them were in cassette tape form.

Though the girls from the LA and San Francisco offices held up cassette tapes, the others held up CD disks instead while the girls from the Miami office held up memory sticks.

“Ladies,” Bosley said, “everyone in this room has gone through the same thing, that all of you used to be men, but were turned into women to save you from death. We had not told anyone your individual stories out of respect for you, and to protect your new lives, especially from those who tried to kill you. But things have now changed. For whatever reason, three of these people that were responsible for the, ummm, death of three of you, have joined forces. It’s our conclusion that all of those that were responsible for your changes are teaming up.

“That means we have to do the same thing. We have to, finally, join forces as well, and finally get rid of these evil people. But we have to do it under the radar. No one must know, of course, because people will think we’re crazy, or it might cause a panic or something. So we’ll do it under the guise of our detective agency.

“So, let’s all start our planning. Let’s…”

One of the girls from the Miami office, a totally gorgeous blonde, raised her hand.

Bosley nodded. “Yes, Abby?”

“Mr. Bosley, you keep saying ‘we.’ Who’s the ‘we?’”

“Well, me and Charlie Townsend, of course.”

“Will we finally get to meet Charlie today?”

“I don’t think so…” Bosley said. He then clapped his hands to break the mood. “Okay! So where were we…”

--- after the meeting ---

After the meeting and everything was hashed out, everyone filed out to the adjoining function room for a bit of dinner before going home. Jill, Sabrina and Kelly were chatting with Bosley, discussing some of the details of how they’ll transition from the police department to the New York agency, when one of the girls from the LA office came over and tapped Bosley on the shoulder.

“Hi, Kris,” Bosley said. “Glad you’re here. Jill?”

“Yeah?”

“Jill Munroe, I’d like to introduce you to your sister, Kris Munroe.”

“What!?! Sister?!?”

Charlie's-Angels-collage.PNG
--- end ---

About the story: As you may have seen, I’ve thrown a lot of names in but they are far from random. Over the years, there have been several reboots of Charlie’s Angels, the TV show. Aside from the original series that ran from 1976-81, there was a short-lived reboot in 1989. There was also a Hispanic version called “Angeles” in 1998, a Taiwanese movie in 2001, a German series called “Wilde Engel” in 2003, two movies in 2000 and 2003, and yet another reboot series in 2011. (There is actually a new movie being made right now, which is going to be directed by Elizabeth Banks.)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to use the names of the characters from all of the past shows.

I kept the three so-called “replacement” angels from the original series (Chris, Tiffany and Julie) in LA. As for the others: I invented a San Francisco office for the angels from the ‘89 series. I put the angels from the “Angeles” series in Mexico City, the ones from “Wilde Engel” in Berlin, the Asian angels in Taiwan, the ones from the movies in DC, and the girls from the 2011 series in Miami. As for the original three angels (Sabrina, Jill and Kelly), I invented a New York office for them. And if you’re curious about how they look, see the collage at the end of the story.

However…

Please know that this story is only loosely patterned after the Charlie’s Angels plotlines/storylines so this has no real connection to the TV shows/movies. No copyright or IP infringement is intended: the sources are fully acknowledged here. The images and character names used are from the Charlie’s Angels TV shows and movies. Some of the character names used are from Brooklyn Nine Nine. The sources are hereby also fully acknowledged, and no claims of ownership are made. This is a re-imagination fanfic so the characters have no story/plot connections to their sources. They are used here mostly as a tribute and inspiration. And a big “thank you” to my dad for lending us his Charlie’s Angels DVD box set… which started me on this Charlie’s Angels thing in the first place. lol.

This particular “Mixed Tape” story you’ve just finished reading is actually a continuation of my contribution to the previous “Mixed Tape” compilation. That story was entitled “Charlie’s Angel.”

The Mixed Tape Interview

[Conducted on Saturday, September 10th between the hours of 8 and 10pm Eastern US time]

Hikaro: It is now time to begin the first Mixed Tape interview during my tenure as Mixed Tape editor. Joining me today is...

Desert Willow: A tumbleweed rolls by. Then three. Then several dozen

Hikaro: Seriously, everybody partaking, introduce yourselves.

MA Thermidor: Oh that was our cue? I usually go by the name M A Thermidor....

Desert Willow: Hi, my name's Desert Willow, and I'm an online game addict.

Hikaro: So, what are some stories that you all write?

Sylvia Waldgrave: I guess I am here participating.

Hikaro: If'n ya want to.

Desert Willow: On the site: I've written the Dallevan Trilogy entries of the Paragon Verse, started a holiday-driven short series with "Monster's Song," am writing my own story for the Brave New World series "Message in a Bottle," and I have more on the way including a couple stories that involve catgirls.

Hikaro: Ooh, catgirls.

Desert Willow: Yes

Sylvia Waldgrave: I just got back from commenting on a discussion in tgs so was slow to arrive xD

MA Thermidor: Well most recently I wrote Operation Cyber V. I also wrote Catgirl vs the world, which I scrapped..... Curses, Alchemy and Ancient Technology, which I scrapped and Identity Control which I didn't scrap but is in hiatus

Hikaro: No problem, Sylvia, I'll do some editing for the Tape.

Desert Willow: One story features a world/scenario where a large fraction of the population grows animal features, and one person goes from little boy (on the verge of discovering gender identity) to a girl with cat ears and tail.

Hikaro: So, age progression or no?

MA Thermidor: To match Desert Willow's story, I am currently writing a story where an adult man is flung into the far future to discover humans extinct and replaced with a world populated by demi-humans and monsters. Catgirls are in the plenty.

Sylvia Waldgrave: So far I am still in the middle of finishing the pieces I am adding to the mixtape as well as posting to TGS. But off-site on my own blog I have experimented with centering a story around an old RP, some poetry and something else I forgot the contents of.

Hikaro: Catgirls are always nice.

Desert Willow: Another is a fanfic of Final Fantasy XIV where a group of adventurers are running through a dungeon when they take an unlisted detour, and their leader--a muscular man trying to do his part in the world while saving money for a nice house--becomes a Miqo'te (catgirl). She meets other Miqo'tes and falls in love with two of them, derailing her plans to try and become male again. The first story I listed doesn't so much have to do with age progression, no, but with how the world as a whole handles changes and people who are different. Most of the Point of View in the first one is between her and the other trans character, who becomes like a centaur but with deer features instead of horse ones.

Hikaro: Ah. Sylvia, you mentioned a blog. You wanna link that here for anybody interested?

Sylvia Waldgrave: My stories will possibly show a "subtle" distaste for humans, even though I am very vocal about it out of story-verse. I don't have any real signature to my writing yet, but I try to focus on a grim-realist angle, putting the characters through various hardships. To lots of people life isn't easy, and it isn't fair. That’s something I want to try and show in my stories.
The link is http://daofox.com. I have adjusted the visuals, now i just need to post more there.

Hikaro: Describe your approaches to writing. Do you start with an outline? An idea? Do you plan your story or is it written off the cuff?

Sylvia Waldgrave: It's not like I have a dislike for positive flows or endings, but sometimes stories just go a little too conveniently for the main cast. I want to try and balance the good and bad endings in stories I share.

Desert Willow: I start with a few scenes in my head, often in the middle or end, and I come up with a basic idea, short of an actual outline, of what I want the main plot to be. Then I make the characters and places, and hit the ground running... until a MMORPG steals me away mid-writing process. Also when I say hit the ground running, I just let myself go wild, letting things happen if or when they must.

Hikaro: That's mostly my style.

Sylvia Waldgrave: My approach: I like to find even the smallest of inspirations first, to get me thinking about something in particular. I cannot narrow the scope of my view unless I have something to set my sights on. A general concept to work with and then find any events I could throw in within an acceptable range. Usually I end up developing a general series of events and plot the direction they will take before developing some characters to fit the story. I try to plan what i need to work with and see what i can come up with on the cuff as far as dialogue and descriptions go.

Hikaro: Thermidor? Anything to add?

MA Thermidor: Well it all depends on what I'm writing, for shorter stories I focus on only making a single moment perfect and write the rest of the story around it. For larger stories I just write with the aim for reaching a certain point in the story. Most of what I write I had no plans for when I started. Often I'll think up better ideas while writing and make a note to edit it in at the bottom of the document.

Hikaro: Desert Willow, you mentioned MMORPGs taking up your time. I think most of us play games semi-casually, if we're not full-on gamers. Certainly, I've been inspired to "borrow" ideas from the games that I play, have any of you written scenes based on the games you're playing?

Desert Willow: Well, it'll be obvious that the FFXIV fanfic will borrow a lot from the game's scenery and lore, but... Whether on the site or off of it the closest I've come to matching what I saw in a game to a scene in a book is in the third part of a 13-part series I'm writing where my MC is wounded physically and mentally, and she flies down parallel to the water in a somber moment. Beyond that, I can't really say I've copied anything from a scene in a game.

Hikaro: And from other sources?

Desert Willow: Other sources might inspire, but I'm not entirely sure I've copied anything. Well, no... There's a scene in my third Dallevan story where I practically copy a moment from your first BNW story, but then subvert the end of the scene in a semi-humorous fashion.

Hikaro: Not the source I imagined.

Desert Willow: hahaha

Hikaro: Sylvia? Thermidor? Anything?

Bobbie: Hellooo! Sorry i'm late.

Hikaro: No problem.

Bobbie: Just got back...

Desert Willow: Bobbie got back. ... I like. Big. BOOKS and I cannot lie!

Hikaro: Not the reference I was expecting.

Bobbie: Yes, she has (lol). Hello, Desert Willow.

Hikaro: So far, Bobbie, I've asked for an introduction and an explanation of your writing style.

Desert Willow: =^_^=

Bobbie: Ahh. My turn?

Desert Willow: Yeppers

MA Thermidor: As an anime fan many of my ideas come from that medium.

Sylvia Waldgrave: I have previously mentioned that I have played A LOT of games, 150 being a rough estimate that would be accurate give or take 10 or 20. I cannot actively remember having ever taken inspiration from a game I played, but there are good chances I have done so subconsciously. My old RP i mentioned before was written as part of a minigame for a really small-scale web-game between a variety of active players, we did keep the responses within reason to our fight logs but none of the content itself was inspired by the game.
I know that I favour fantasy themed games the most and in them the variety of races you could play as is part of what I enjoyed the most. Perfect World was my first time playing a fox girl, but i have managed something similar in most later games to follow, never a human character was made. The game systems like crafting skills also got me interested in non-combat content that involved collection, compounding and creating as compared to mindless slaughter and running around legs a headless chicken xD

Bobbie: Like Therns, I, too, am an anime fan, though I am not too current with my anime. I reference it, sometimes, but not too often. I DO use anime graphics on occasion, to illustrate the stories I do post. But, as a writing style, I guess the closest I can call it is that mine is a stream of consciousness kind of writing.

Desert Willow: That, Sylvia, is why I enjoy crafting in FFXIV. It's like a minigame on its own unlike in other MMOs. I just wish the Specialist nonsense wasn't there to lock omnicrafters out of relevant crafting content. I like being self-reliant.

Hikaro: "Stream of consciousness" kind of writing?

Bobbie: Yes. As everyone around here knows. I google a lot (lol). so... Lemme google the term for you. here you go: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_of_consciousness_(narrative_mode)

Hikaro: Ah.

Sylvia Waldgrave: Desert Willow In the up and coming crowfall I will be a resident hybrid crafter. I may even write stories based on it, but not yet as it’s both still in trials, and i lack a satisfactory computer on which to enjoy it. I do watch anime occasionally, but I more often read novels or mangas and that where I get most of my inspiration if not an event i personally experience

Bobbie: I guess, for all of us, the things we like, and our hobbies, color how we write. Many here are gamers, so I can surmise that their writing derives partly from RPGs, video games and the like. Unfortunately, I am not too into games anymore. I don't even play Pokemon Go (yep, I have so far been successful in resisting the temptation), so when everyone chats about them here, I am left out. what DOES affect my writing, I think, are the books I read.

Hikaro: Don't feel too bad about that.

Bobbie: Oftentimes, it is even deliberate. Such as in my story, "Shepherd Moon" - I consciously tried to ape the so-called "space operas" that I loved reading when I was younger. like the stuff by Pournelle, Niven, Brin, et cetera. No prob, Hikaro. Thanks.

Sylvia Waldgrave: I’m actually not much of a gamer by nature. I gamed a lot to simply stave off a lower quality of boredom. I am nominally a book enthusiast. I like to read, learning stuff is great too, but only without the stupid tests or obligations to learn xD

Hikaro: Not a big fan of school, eh?

Desert Willow: Tests and obligations to memorize and regurgitate THEIR interpretation of the facts... meh.

Bobbie: As for the stuff I wrote for the Mixed Tape compilations, my “insipiration,” I guess, is my dad - he recently lent us his set of Charlie's Angels DVDs, and that was my basis for my stories - that and a Stephen King-ish twist and a lot of googling to get the Charlie's Angels references right.

Sylvia Waldgrave: At least until the end of highschool I was peak of topset for maths and most other subjects, always topset but I only peaked maths and science. My mom is a teacher so I know a lot about how educational facilities function.

Desert Willow: Yes, the mixtape stories... My inspirations are always so random with those.

Sylvia Waldgrave: The ideal educational system would be one teacher to a handful of students that are suited to learning in the same way that teacher teaches.

Bobbie: I tried to be off-the-cuff, but I couldn't.

Desert Willow: There's one story I would love to expand on from my first mixtape I did, but it's kinda low on my priority list.

Bobbie: Which one?

Desert Willow: The one on the train, back in November last year.

Bobbie: I guess I missed that. I'll look it up.

Hikaro: I'm certain I read it, but I've since forgotten it.

Bobbie: For me, I'd DEFINITELY like to continue the stories I've made up for Hikaro's mixed tape compilations/posts.

Hikaro: Time for the obvious question: What brought you to write TG fiction?

Bobbie: Ahhh - that would be a LOOONG reply for me, and very personal. Maybe the others can go first?

MA Thermidor: I started so long ago I can barely remember....

Desert Willow: Well, that is the question... I'm TG myself, but outside the site my stories tend not to have tg in them (except one hidden character), because I didn't want that to define my writing style or genre. Still don't for the stories I do eventually get published. But when I came to TGS, as opposed to when I read off of Nifty, I found myself wanting to actually write for the site. I had one serious story in progress when Minikisa came out with her first Paragon story, and I still haven't returned to that story I was writing since.

MA Thermidor: From the moment I discovered the fantasy side of TG I've been hooked by it. It was when I discovered TGS that I started writing TG stories but even before that I had written TG elements in stories although not as the main focus

Semicolon: Hello, am I too late to answer questions?

Hikaro: Nope.

Bobbie: For me, it's a bit more straightforward - I'm post-op TG. I transitioned way back in 2004/2005. At a low point in my life, back in 2008, I was looking for TG-related stuff on the net, and I stumbled on FictionMania, and then that led me to Crystal's Storysite. I wrote stories there, and I commented about how difficult it was to post stuff there. The readers suggested I try BigCloset Topshelf (or BCTS, or BC, as the members called it), and I reposted my stuff there. Good thing I did, because shortly after that, Storysite had it's famous meltdown and my posts there disappeared, along with many others' posts. And while interacting with BCTS folk, they suggested I visit TGS. And here I am. I've been a member in TGS since 2011, but I've only started being active this year. I'm a little sad that Storysite, as well as many other TG sites, had "died". Hopefully, TGS will last a long time.

Hikaro: We can all hope so.

Desert Willow: I hope TGS lasts, but also picks up again soon with people who like their stories with actual substance.

Bobbie: I think, rather than just hoping, we can help - by being active in the site, and posting stories and comments and discussion topics (BCTS' version are called "blogs" instead of "discussions" - and they really feel like blogs.)

Sylvia Waldgrave: hmm, writing TG? I would have to say nothing brought me to write it. I read a lot and have always had a rather serious case of "beginners writers block" in both meanings of the term, both as a beginner and also in that starting is the hardest part for me, it’s much easier after i have a piece or so out or started. My block has always gotten in the way of me wanting to just write in general, so i stuck to reading for a long time. To me TG stories, often under the tag of "gender bender", were just another genre i liked to read that put an interesting twist on things. It was only a little while later that i recognized a connection between me and one of the stories i was reading. What’s important to me is that thanks to TG stories I was able to learn a bit more about myself and where i stand in life. I like to write stories in general and for me TG is a genre just as qualified as any other to be written about. I don't try to force myself to put TG into every story I come up with, in fact most of my Ideas are easier to write without it, because it doesn't always suit the idea I was inspired to write. As such nothing in particular brought me to write about TG, it was always within my acceptable scope. However, you can only write about what you have experienced, and it is because I read TG and related to it that I made such an acknowledgement. so what cause me to write TG would really be about what first caused me to read TG. What caused me to first read TG was a random day browsing the internet, it may have been on deviantart but it could easily have been elsewhere, but I noticed a "caption" themed around sissies. the story itself didn't resonate with me but certain thoughts and feelings described did and so i spent the effort necessary to find more similar stuff and figure out what exactly it was I resonated with, and was i not as "different" from everyone and as isolated as i had thought. It was by pure chance I noticed that picture and thus started to explore who i was. had I never seen that one picture my whole life would have been very different right now.

Hikaro: Well, on BigCloset, they are blogs, as opposed to discussions.

Sylvia Waldgrave: 2k limit... ugh i am wordy sometimes [Editor's note: Referring to the limit Discord puts on messages, 2k characters]

Hikaro: No problem.

Bobbie: You're right, Hikaro.

Sylvia Waldgrave: You can easily simplify it though. When it comes to referencing it ultimately it comes down to "nothing led me to writing TG" but rather "what lead me to discover TG and thus a part of myself to begin with"

Hikaro: Semicolon?

Semicolon: The topic of TG has been pretty interesting to me, but usually I don't write about TG things. Whatever I do write, I never let anybody read. I don't have enough courage to post things online or participate in groups I'm not familiar with. I really struggle to push myself to talk online, so just last year I wrote a series (uncompleted) and attempted to be active. I could never shake the feelings that my story wasn't good enough so I just stopped. This mixtape is myself trying to jumpstart my courage. This is kinda my release I guess (writing TG stuff, that is). To be honest, I'm struggling to write this message. But, this is how it do?... sorry

Hikaro: No problem.

Bobbie: Anyway, I've been living as a girl for a while now, and except for close friends and family, no one knows of my TG status. I now have a family - a wife, and a baby which we conceived via A.I. (I had deposited samples at the bank - the other kind of bank (lol)). So, to me, TG stories, and other TG-related life "stuff" are very much part of me. Anyway, that's how I ended up in TGS...

Hikaro: Let's talk about the Mixed Tape, now. Some of us were contributors during PersnicketyB's tenure as editor, while others of us were not. What led each of you to want to join the Mixed Tapes?

Bobbie: I wasn't. I guess I missed that chance of joining when Persnickety was still doing it.

Desert Willow: Usually, when I write a story for TGS, or even when I go for one, I try to go for one that doesn't push being TG into a fetish sort of deal. Usually.

Bobbie: I agree with that, Desert Willow.

Desert Willow: My meta story "Critique" was the exception for the sake of poking fun at the fetish crowd.

Sylvia Waldgrave: It’s a good chance to get some open feedback on a lighthearted story concept and at the same time a way to borrow some of the popularity of established authors to try and establish myself.

Hikaro: To some, TG is nothing but a fetish. What are your thoughts on that?

MA Thermidor: It's hard to say due to the numerous different types of TG.

Bobbie: Well, as I said, I am TG myself. So I suppose, such stories are very frustrating and sometimes offensive to me. But I don't express it much in sites like Fictionmania, as the bulk of their readers and writers are TG fetishists - I'd be alienating their entire membership.

Desert Willow: My thoughts on it are that people have a nasty tendency to do stupid things for stupider reasons. I can only hope that our non-fetish stories would nudge people in the right direction to see TG content as potentially classy and substantial content that HAPPENS to have tg elements. I know it won't do as much good as I'm hoping for, but I can still hope it.

MA Thermidor: Some of the types, like Bimboification is 100% fetish while other types such as say cross-dressing can be used realistically.

Desert Willow: Don't get me wrong, there are some stories that are borderline fetish that I still enjoy, and it's more for seeing how the characters get through their situations. Unfortunately, a lot of those stories are incomplete with no sign of the author coming back to finish it.

Sylvia Waldgrave: understandable. Everyone thinks differently. to me TG fiction is just another type of story to enjoy, a great chance to see the opinions of a character out of their pre-established comfort zone looking to right things. I would have to use a poor analogy but it’s like how to me, my feet are just there to keep my balance and help me move about effectively from A to B under my own power. But to some, Feet can be a very sensual or sexual thing that interests and excites them. there are those whose stories just feel like a gathering of cliches and fetishes, as i do not share these interests I hold no interest in reading these. however there are stories that make a good effort to have a story to tell which i can happily enough read even if they happen to be ripe with fetishes. "to each their own".

Hikaro: Did TG start as a fetish for you any of you?

Desert Willow: Thankfully no, or I'd feel all sorts of dumb right about now.

MA Thermidor: No. My very first TG experience as seeing a Trans woman on a reality TG show and my inital reaction was curiosity.

Desert Willow: I do have a perverted side, but it's not being tg, any of it.

MA Thermidor: I had no idea people could be trans before that.

Desert Willow: My godfather was trans, ftm, before I was even born.

Sylvia Waldgrave: not for me. It was mentioned above in my reply to "what got you writing tg fiction". for me it was a means of self discovery. I had vague feelings of discomfort I couldn't always notice or put my finger on, finding and reading TG in the beginning was a means of me figuring out who i am rather than just what i am.

Desert Willow: He actually lost his license to practice medicine because of his operation, because a board of directors at the time still saw it as an entirely fetish sort of thing. Horrible, right?

Hikaro: Very much.

Bobbie: For me TG didn't start as a fetish. Writing TG stories was an outlet, and TG sites were the only places I could post them. I realize that TGS isn't really a site for TG folk alone, but in sites like BCTS, TG fiction became a springboard to find an online TG community for me. TGS, for me, is more a venue for posting stories (and to interact openly with non-TG folk).

MA Thermidor: Being a curious person I've always wondered what it would be like to be a girl. That brought me into the world of Transgender fiction and I like to see how it is portrayed across the various mediums.

Sylvia Waldgrave: thermi, until near the end of highschool I had never even heard of trans or anything LGBT related.

Hikaro: Many of us write in different genres, occasionally some of us write in most of the genres. Which genres do you prefer?

Sylvia Waldgrave: i simply didn’t know it existed. all my surroundings and activities never touched upon such a topic, so it was by pure chance that i noticed and was able to start seeing I wasn't the "odd one out" who should lie to themselves.

Bobbie: I guess, going by that question, Hikaro, TG is more a sub-genre? Anyway, to answer you question - scifi is always a big thing. i've been trying my hand at horror, but it's slow going.

Sylvia Waldgrave: for me my favourite genre is fantasy. reading was a way for me to escape reality and my surroundings and go to a better more interesting place. content like romance, action adventure can all come and go, but for me fantasy will be the one constant, even when it could be explained by sci-fi i would still view it as fantasy.

MA Thermidor: I usually start with two things, a setting and a method of transformation. The story I write could be anything from experimental science, magic or even because God felt like it. Somethings I take a very simple concept that's been done already and throw a wrench into it such as in one story everyone but the MC was transformed

Hikaro: That brings up an interesting idea, the notion of the TG story where the MC isn't the one who undergoes the change. Do any of you look for this type of story, or do you simply find it occasionally?

Bobbie: I try to compartmentalize the TG aspect too, Therms, and reduce it to just a story plot element, such as what you do - just as a "method of transformation" - but I can't seem to reduce the TG aspect to “just” a plot element, given my pov.

Desert Willow: I have found it in the past, more so on Nifty Archive than on TGS. It can be alright.

MA Thermidor: Depends on what the story is about I guess. It's hard to make the focus of a longer story but in a short it’s doable.

Bobbie: I have seen many of that kind of story, Hikaro, but in writing them (as opposed to just reading them), TG becomes a major component of my stories and, I suppose, by making the TG component to just a "side element," as it were, it wouldn't really be a TG story to me...

MA Thermidor: The first time I put a TG element in a story it was a friend of the MC being cursed opposed to the MC. The story wasn't about her transformation in any way and was more to show the kind of people they were fighting against

Bobbie: … and such stories can be found in other sites.

Sylvia Waldgrave: there are a few times where I read stories that don't centre around a TG character but simply include one. these are interesting if handled properly, but i do get annoyed when they handle the TG badly as a plot gimmick because they didn’t think things through and just tossed it in for the sake of it. I don't look for it, but it is nice to find occasionally.

Hikaro: And now, to wrap this up, what are some future stories that you'd like to let the readers know about?

Desert Willow: Other than what I've mentioned already with my catgirl stories and what's left of "Message in a Bottle?" umm... I do have some ideas I'm sitting on, but they're simply ideas at this point.

MA Thermidor: I have a sequel to Operation Cyber V planned which some people who read the previous story have been requesting but currently my hands are occupied with my demi-human future story.

Bobbie: Well... I am converting my Shepherd Moon into an open universe, so those who like the story can make their own (that’s still ongoing, however). I have a few new posts of my Drew Nance stories cooking, and I am close to wrapping up my Danny story, as well as a few more instalments of my “Charlie's Angels” stories in the Mix Tape. As for new stuff, I have a comedy-romance thing cooking, a new scifi story about a new humanoid race trying to live alongside humans, a couple of horror stories, and I guess my most ambitious effort, an erotic story - that's pretty hard to do - keeping the sexuality central to the development of the story yet keep it tasteful, and still have a story to tell. That one will take a looong time to write, I think (lol).

Sylvia Waldgrave: I don't have any really major projects in the works just yet, still in the planning and structuring phase. But I would like my potential readers to know that my themes will likely pertain to non-human races in the key roles. additionally I like to have a bit of flaw/damage to every main character that gets a proper story around it, a sort of balancing that works around a disability or disadvantage. something a bit tricky for me as an author in relatively good health. my first project in the works is currently titled "no end in sight" but is open to change should a more fitting title be coined before posting. A small hint is that slavery will likely play key in the stories general setting.

Hikaro: Anything from you, Semicolon?

Semicolon: Uh, nothing planned except for short stories. Mostly one-offs, but maybe a redo of the one series I have up right now. I might rewrite it completely to a point where I would be more comfortable posting it again.

Hikaro: Alright, everyone, thus ends the first Mixed Tape round table interview. I'd like to thank each one of the participants for helping make this discussion happen.

[Editor's note: And one last thing]

Susy: Susy is really sorry for not arriving on time to the interview, she however wants you the viewer to take a good look at the stories in this collection, all the authors are amazing and they deserved to be seen. I hope this isn't much to ask, but they deserve all the love possible
P.S. Pweaaaaaase
P.P.S. Wuv yaaaaa
P.P.P.S. hugs woof!

Afterward

Lookie, lookie, a Mixed Tape! And it's being posted here on BigCloset, too! If you visit TG Storytime, you'll have noticed that a previous Mixed Tape, Awesome Mix Volume 2, was posted there in July. Why I didn't think about posting it here, I'll never understand. I just didn't, and that's on me. Either way, as you can see, this Tape is here, now.

But you wanna know about the next one, don't you?

Well, it'll be posted here, too. And I'm accepting submissions for it now, due by October 20th for an early November release. Some things to keep in mind:

1) 500-2500 words. 10k is the most I'll accept, but try not to get there.
2) Anything goes. If you're looking for a theme, October-December holidays is nice.
3) Multiple stories are accepted.
4) Write an "About the Author" blurb. IT IS NECESSARY!

Submissions are to be sent to me, Hikaro, at [email protected]. You'll be updated about the Tape via email or a chatroom link that I'll send to you when you send in your submission. All the contributors to this Tape can be found at this chatroom, so if you wanna visit anyway, just email me.

Get ready for the next one, everybody! See ya then!



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