Castle Freak: Part 2

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Castle Freak: Part 2 2700 Words

Getting To Know Crew

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Hmmm..." said Uncle Quatrus.

"'Hmmm...'? repeated Daryl, concerned. Perhaps because the large man seemed to be staring at her chest.

"Hmmm..." Quatrus repeated, nodding. He straightened, which let Daryl relax a bit. "Quite interesting. Do you happen to know why she chose this particular form?"

"Well, yeah," said the cute, young woman, adjusting her posture uncomfortably. "I was looking at a magazine add for some of those Asian mail-order brides, and joked that I'd like to have one. She got mad and stormed out. Didn't say a word - didn't hear from her at all - until she showed up again with that powder, over a week later."

"Your jest seems in rather poor taste," said Dr. Frique, sternly, "but hardly sufficient motivation for placing a curse."

"Especially one which took this much work," mused Quatrus. He took a thoughtful stance and stared at Daryl for a long moment. "Your standard curse is a unitary thing. It may only take effect once, usually triggered by something, or it is continuous, triggered or active as soon as it is placed and going on until death or it is broken. Many curses have a condition of satisfaction, which makes them easier to place."

"A which?" asked Daryl

"A situation wherein the curse will be negated," explained Quatrus. He scowled, and rubbed his cheekbones with a finger and thumb in a pinching motion. "Making a permanent, physical change is quite difficult. If you include a loophole for returning to normal, it really isn't permanent, and therefore it takes less effort. This, though, is a repeating change..."

"So maybe I just need to figure out what to do to break the curse!" said Daryl, suddenly hopeful.

"Perhaps," said Quatrus, looking doubtful. "However, yours is something I've never seen before, nor heard nor read about. It is a cyclic, repeating curse, producing a complete physical change each time the triggering condition is met. Then it reverses when the loophole condition is met - that is, the sun rises - without being broken! It resembles the movie version of werewolfism."

"Is it a complete change?" Dr. Frique asked of Daryl as she stepped out of her shoes and picked them up.

"Well, yeah. I guess. I mean, all my parts are female parts."

"Externally, but have you had a gynecological exam?"

"No!" said Daryl, firmly, looking a bit outraged.

"That might be a good idea," said Quatrus. "Find out just how extensive the change really is. I mean, obviously the external shape is very different, but how far does it go? Right down to the genes?"

"Well, I'm not a gynecologist, but I am a licensed physician," said Dr. Frique. He glanced at Daryl. "I also probably know more about the human body - male and female - as a whole than most specialists. If you are willing, I'll do the exam. Two of them, actually; one for each form."

"Uh, I don't know," said Daryl. "How much is all this going to cost? I don't have much money..."

"Money isn't a problem for me," said Quatrus, with dismissive wave of his hand. "Like most family members I receive a generous stipend from a trust fund. Learning from studying you will be my payment."

"I'll do the exams for free," said Dr. Frique. "I must admit to being curious, also."

"Well, okay," said Daryl, doubtfully, "if you think it will help find a cure."

"No guarantees," said Quatrus, firmly. "I'll do the best I can, but a curse like this could be beyond my abilities."

"Okay," Daryl repeated, "I understand that. So far you're the only one who's had any idea of what's going on, so I'll stick with you."

"Do you have any clothing for that form?" asked Dr. Frique, glancing at the shoes in her hands.

"Uh, yeah, but it's pretty casual stuff; panties, shorts and some t-shirts," Daryl replied. "All indoor stuff, too, since I didn't really feel like leaving my apartment looking like this."

"Well, if you will loan me your keys I'll have Fritz - you haven't met him yet, he's our footman - bring your stuff to a room."

"Uh, okay," she said, cautiously digging into the pocket of her sagging pants.

"Good. I'll see to this; Quatrus, how much longer will you be?"

"Oh, I've done about all I can with her for now," he said. "I'll do some research tonight, place a few calls, send a few e-mails, summon a few spirits. Tomorrow I'll be able to really get started."

"Would tomorrow morning, about an hour after breakfast, be all right for the initial exam?" Dr. Frique asked Daryl. "I'll get baseline data on your male state, then after dark repeat the exam, this time including the gynecological work. Is that acceptable?"

"I suppose so," she sighed.

"Fine. If you come with me, then, I'll get you settled in your room," said Dr. Frique. He started to turn away, then turned back as something occurred to him. "Perhaps I should also have Winnie supply you with some appropriate clothes. Oh, and have you had supper?"

"Uh, yeah," she said. "I ate in that restaurant at the crossroads before heading up here."

"Uhm, fine," said Dr. Frique, looking thoughtful and distracted. "We generally live a quiet life around here. I do research or tinker in my labs until supper, perhaps for a while afterwards. My wife and I then read together in the den while listening to music, or occasionally watch a television program. Then bed by ten or eleven, up at seven, breakfast by eight, and repeat. Aside from those you've met and Fritz, there's also a cook and a general manservant. All long-time family retainers. By the way, what do you do for a living?"

"Uh, I'm an auto mechanic," she replied, looking a bit embarrassed. "Or I was, on my last job. I sort-of quit before starting here. Told my boss I didn't know when I'd be back. I've done lots of different jobs, though."

"That's actually quite fortuitous," said Dr. Frique, with a thoughtful nod. "If your stay becomes a long one you can earn your keep working on the estate vehicles and perhaps perform other tasks. We haven't had anyone in that position full-time since the start of World War Two. My cousin, Jimmy, took it over for a while as a hobby, but since he became involved in his own research interests he spends most of his time at Oak Ridge."

"Oak Ridge?" said Daryl, startled. "The atomic bomb place?"

"Well, I believe it does a considerable amount of research into other things besides nuclear weapons."

He chuckled, a something occurred to him.

"What?" said Daryl, warily.

"After your dual examinations tomorrow, perhaps you'll be the one to answer that age-old question," said Dr. Frique.

"Which is?"

"Whether a prostate exam or a pelvic exam is worse."

* * *

Daryl followed along behind her host, attention divided between keeping her oversized clothing under control and gazing at the understated opulence of the castle. So when Dr. Frique stopped suddenly, she walked into him.

"Sorry," she mumbled, embarrassed.

"Ah, Fritz," said Dr. Frique, ignoring her gaffe. "There you are."

Daryl took a step back and looked past Dr. Frique. And looked up. And up. And up. At the biggest man she'd ever seen. He wasn't just tall; he bulked larger than any body builder, and none of it appeared to be fat. She stared speechless as Dr. Frique handed him the keys.

"This is our guest, Mr. Potts. His car is in the garage. Please put his luggage in the guest room across from the second floor lavatory."

"Yes, Mr. Frique," the giant rumbled.

"Now, we must find my wife." Dr. Frique started off in a different direction. After a stunned moment, Daryl hurried after him.

"Winnie!" the doctor called out. "Oh, Winnie!"

"Here I am, dear!" she responded, approaching through an outside door.

They were in the kitchen, a large, Medieval-looking place with a quite modern assortment of food preparation equipment.

"Dear, this is Mr. Potts. As you can see, he does indeed have a curse."

"Oh, my!" said Winnie, peering at Daryl. "Is that really you in there, Mr. Potts?"

"Yeah, I'm afraid so," she sighed.

"Dear, do you think you can find her some clothes?"

"Hmmm, you know, I just might be able to. She's shorter than I used to be, but about the same build." Suddenly smiling, she grabbed Daryl's hand and began towing her away. "Come along, dear. We'll soon have you all fixed up!"

Up the kitchen stairs they went, then down a hall which looked like something straight out of a luxury hotel. They reached a room with the door open, just as Fritz was exiting.

"His luggage has been placed in the room," the big man intoned.

"Oh, thank you, Fritz," gushed Winnie. She watched in silence for a moment as he turned and lumbered off, then grinned impishly at Daryl. "Isn't he marvelous? My husband built him, you know."

"He built..." was all the confused Daryl managed to get out before once more being seized by the hand and dragged off.

Once inside the room Winnie stopped abruptly, spun around, closed the door, spun *back* around and continued. Daryl meanwhile was marveling at the room. It was quite large, and except for being a bit too frilly for peace of mind looked like it would be a very comfortable place to stay for a few days. She put the shoes down next to the closet door.

"Now, do you have anything feminine to wear already?" asked Winnie, staring at the two battered suitcases on the floor in front of the closet.

"Mostly just stuff to sleep in, and some casual things," Daryl sighed.

"Well, you start unpacking and I'll go fetch my measuring tape and some other things," Winnie told her. "Be right back!"

Indeed, Daryl had barely started hanging things in the closet when the door opened with a suddenness which caused her to give a startled jump. In bounced Winnie, sewing basket in one hand, the other arm wrapped around a bundle of female clothing.

"Now, first, we must get your measurements. I hope you're not shy, because you simply must remove those bulky things for this to be accurate."

Actually, Daryl was shy, at least under these circumstances. However, the part-time female proceeded to remove her shirt, pants and socks with as much pretense of casualness as she could manage. The smiling Winnie waited patiently until she was finished, then pounced, in quick succession wrapping the tape around several different portions of Daryl's petit anatomy and making notations on her pad.

"Well, you're certainly better endowed than I was," Winnie tittered, looking at the figures. "However, I think we can manage."

She turned and began digging into her sewing basket. Daryl took advantage of her distraction to discretely doff her jockeys and slip into a pair of panties.

That was just in time. Winnie whirled around with a broad strip of heavy fabric and a handful of safety pins.

"Well, you really don't need a brassier for support, but I think you would prefer something concealing, yes? So here's what we will do, at least for the meantime; if you decide you really want a bra later I can go with you to a store and help you find one the correct size. As well as some shoes, if nothing else."

Daryl opened her mouth to accept, but Winnie lunged in, shoving the band at her chest, then deftly moving behind her to pull it snug.

"Too tight? Well, of course it is!" she loosened the strap a bit. "Better? Good. Now, I'll pin it, then take it off and sew it. Raise your arms, dear, so I can slip it off."

This woman must be part hummingbird, was Daryl's dizzy thought.

"What do you mean, you used to be smaller?" she asked, trying to both make conversation and satisfy her curiosity, as her hostess stitched. "Is Dr. Frique a plastic surgeon?"

"Oh, my, of course not!" Winnie replied, with a giggle. She paused for a moment, suddenly looking thoughtful. "Though I suppose you could say he is in a sense. Well, anyway, he gave me this body for my fiftieth birthday!"

"Gave you..." was all Daryl managed before once more being instructed to raise her arms.

On went the strap. It felt quite strange, but after a few moments felt much more comfortable than standing there with her tits hanging in the breeze. Winnie nodded, then set to work on outerwear. In a matter of minutes Daryl had three blouses and two pair of slacks that fit reasonably well, plus two skirts.

"I don't think I'll be needing those," she said, doubtfully of the latter.

"Oh, but they show off your legs!" said Winnie. "You have such a nice pair, you should flaunt time. You'll have the boys following you in droves!

"Oh, wait," she corrected herself, suddenly remembering. "I'm such a silly. You probably don't want them doing that."

She paused, frowning.

"Or do you?"

"No," said Daryl, firmly. "Definitely not!"

Though there was something in her tone the older woman missed.

"Well, I still think you should try the skirts," said Winnie, firmly. "For reasons of aesthetics, if nothing else. Well! I think that's enough for now. I'll work on getting you some proper clothes tomorrow, including some dresses! Oh, and makeup. Definitely makeup. Not that you need much, but you'd be surprised at the difference just a little of the right shade in the right place will make!"

Off she went, leaving Daryl alone and feeling both confused and overwhelmed.

* * *

Breakfast the next morning was fairly mundane, except for Winnie making a bit of a fuss over Daryl being male again. They were in a sunny little breakfast nook, on one corner of the ground level of the castle, off the kitchen. Quatrus was not present, and none of the servants ate with them, though Daryl did finally get to meet the cook, Babette, as she served them. Afterwards, Winnifred left to get an early start on her gardening, while Daryl and Dr. Frique lingered over coffee.

"This is wonderful," Daryl sighed, as he perused the sports section. "I've been so worried about this curse the past few weeks I haven't been able to relax. I guess I needed some time off."

"That's the first time I've ever heard anyone imply that life here is relaxing," chuckled Dr. Frique.

The outside door opened and Daryl looked up to see Oliver enter.

"Mornin'," he said, nodding to both men.

Without preamble he sat down and started on the leftover bacon.

"Mmmm, just the way I like it; nice and rare."

"Okay, this may sound stupid, but were you really the wolf I heard talking yesterday?" Daryl ventured.

"Yep," Oliver muttered through a full mouth.

"So you're under a curse, too."

"Nope. Runs in the family. Bein' able t'change is considered comin' into the full birthright."

"And you just... change back and forth."

"Yep," grinned the grizzled man. "That's why it's not a curse."

"This is weird," said Daryl, to no-one in particular. "I go my whole life - well, I'm just twenty-three, but still - without seeing anything supernatural. Then, in less than two months I'm cursed, and meet a real, live werewolf."

"There's more of this stuff around than y'think," said Oliver, philosophically. "Folks involved in such matters don't generally advertise it. Course, I gotta admit, this family sees more of the interestin' side of life than most."

"My father used to say that our family came out even," said Dr. Frique. "We were blessed with genius and good fortune, in return for attracting the bizarre."

"Yeah, that sounds like him," chuckled Oliver. He shook his head wryly. "Damn, I miss him. He was like a younger brother to me. Though even I have to admit he had about as much of the social graces as a badger in heat."

"What happened to him?" asked Daryl, no longer distracted by evidence that everyone here was much older than they appeared.

"He got hunted down by an angry mob carrying pitchforks and torches," said Dr. Frique.

"When did that happen?" demanded Daryl, aghast.

"When didn't it happen?" was Oliver's sour comment. "Only this time it took."

"Uh..." said Daryl.

"Well, I think it's time for your male exam," said Dr. Frique. Since he seemed to be deliberately interrupting the conversation Daryl didn't object.

"You do know about my curse, right?" said Daryl, looking back at Oliver as he followed the Doctor.

"You change into an Asian girl," said Oliver, nodding. "Don't worry. I won't eat you by mistake."

Daryl knew he was joking. He had to be joking...



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