Castle Freak: Part 3

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Crew, Lewd and Loud

by

Rodford Edmiston

That evening Daryl and Dr. Frique were back in the dungeon, at the entrance to Quatrus' lair.

The door opened shortly after Dr. Frique knocked. Quatrus seemed eager to see them.

"I have most of the test results," the younger Frique announced, waving a pair of manila folders, as his uncle ushered them in. "The DNA tests aren't ready yet, but I suspect they'll show Daryl's female form to be a normal, human, Asian woman."

"Hmmmm, yes..." muttered Quatrus, flipping quickly through the papers. "Two folders, eh? Makes sense. Except for the memory it seems we're dealing with two entirely different people. That brings up some interesting philosophical points about identity, but discussing those isn't going to help the patient."

He looked up at Daryl, blinked, looked again, and blinked again.

"Ah, excuse me for asking, but why are you wearing a dress?"

"It was Winnie's idea," sighed Daryl, unconsciously tugging at the fabric. "She said the pad would show if I wore slacks."

"You're not..."

"No, I'm not," said Daryl, tightly, glaring at Dr. Frique.

"Look, I already apologized, and that was after warning you I wasn't a practicing gynecologist," he replied, rolling his eyes.

"So, what..." began Quatrus.

"It hadn't occurred to me that she would be a virgin. Worse, she jumped, and caused me to tear her hymen."

"Oh..." said Quatrus, mildly boggled.

"If you don't mind, I'll leave you two to discuss the mystical aspects of this situation. Good night." Dr. Frique nodded, turned and hurried off. He seemed uncomfortable.

"You know what's really weird?" asked Daryl, after the doctor had left. "Winnie was there as chaperone. When Dr. Frique explained what happened, she patted my hand and said 'Oh, you poor dear. Well, at least now you won't have to worry about it on your wedding night.'"

Quatrus burst out laughing.

"That's classic Winnie!"

"What's wrong with her, anyway?" asked Daryl, baffled. "And what's this about Dr. Frique making her body?"

"Well, Winnie used to be rather... flat," said Quatrus, motioning Daryl to a chair in front of the large desk in the center of his main room, a piece of furniture which also seemed to serve as eating table and work bench. He took a seat behind it. Considerately, he had already moved his computer keyboard and screen aside. "She often wished out loud she were more shapely. So, on her fiftieth birthday, Richard announced he had a surprise for her. He'd taken a sample of her DNA and tinkered with it, then force-grown a cloned body with some - ah - enhancements. He offered it to her; she accepted. Dr. Frique decanted the body and transferred her into it with a mind-switching machine he had invented years before."

"So what went wrong?" asked Daryl, mildly surprised that she wasn't very surprised by this extraordinary tale.

"If you mean her being scatterbrained, she's always been like this. She's actually rather intelligent; she just has an excitable personality and doesn't always - well, rarely - think things through."

"Wait a minute!" said Daryl, excitedly. "Could he make a clone of my normal, male self and..."

Quatrus was already shaking his head.

"Curses tend to follow the soul. And you better hope the soul follows the mind, or you're in great trouble."

"Oh..." said Daryl, deflating. "Well, did you learn anything which could help me?"

"Perhaps. I have determined the true nature of the curse, and it is quite astounding."

"Huh?"

"I must say, your situation is unique, and not just in my own experience," the older man continued, leaning back in his chair, expression contemplative. "Nothing like this is mentioned in any of my references, and all those I contacted found it equally mysterious. Apparently, this ex-girlfriend of yours is either a total amateur or one of the master wizards of all time."

"Uh... that doesn't sound like her," said Daryl, confused. "Either one. What..."

"Let me explain how this curse works, and you can decide for yourself," humphed Quatrus. "At sundown, you are recreated into this form you wear now. At sunup you are recreated into the form you wore just before the curse became effective."

Daryl thought about this. She wasn't stupid, and could tell Quatrus considered that information important. Then something dawned.

"You mean... I get changed into the same form each time. Not that I... resume that form, taking it up where I left off."

"That's it," said Quatrus, nodding and beaming. "Which means that tomorrow evening you will again be - by some definitions - a virgin. Have you noticed if any cuts or bruises or any other injuries aren't there when you change back?"

"I can't think of anything in particular," mused Daryl. "I suppose I can wait until tomorrow night and see if I'm still sore inside."

"Please note whether this is the case, and be sure to tell me," said Quatrus, eagerly. "I'm not certain, but I believe you are now effectively immortal."

"Huh?"

"You could be mortally wounded - perhaps even dead for a while - and at sunup or sundown - which ever occurs first - you would change into either a perfectly healthy young man or a perfectly healthy young woman."

"Wow..." Daryl was a bit overwhelmed by this information.

"So you can see, this curse is truly astounding," Quatrus continued, beaming excitedly. "Not only did it require massive power, but mind-boggling complexity. Either your friend is a grand master of sorcery, or a total novice who accidentally stumbled onto something or perhaps read something out of an ancient tome without truly understanding what it did."

"Okay, I'm glad you're happy," said Daryl, cautiously, "but it looks like I'm going to be stuck like this for a while. Which means I'm going to be here for a while. So I'd like some questions answered."

"Such as?"

"Uhm, well..." Daryl waved her hands vaguely. "What is it with this family?"

"My grandfather was a doctor and medical researcher in France. He came to this country during the French Revolution."

"Uh, wait a minute... Wasn't that in the early Eighteenth Century?"

"It started in 1789," Quatrus provided.

"There don't seem to be enough generations in there for the years," Daryl blurted.

"Grandfather Frique was a genius. Besides being a doctor he was an alchemist and a white magician. One of his first inventions was a longevity potion. My father - his son - improved it, and Richard has improved it further."

"Wow!" said Daryl. "You could make a fortune selling that!"

"We have. Several. However, the potion is expensive, difficult to make and occasionally has some strange side effects. Also, many of those who hold power do not wish the masses to have access to such a nostrum. So we tend to keep quiet about our achievements, and reach an understanding with those in power who learn of us. They pay us exorbitant fees for the potion and other medical treatments they can't get elsewhere, and we don't go public."

"Y'know, that explains a few things," mused Daryl. She grimaced. "Like how some politicians seem to go on forever."

"Well, longer than they should," said Quatrus, with a sour expression, "then they tend to die of rare and strange illnesses, because they're too important to follow the regimine.

"Getting back to the family history, Grandfather Frique thought at first that he wouldn't have to leave France, since only the nobility and public officials were being arrested. However, as the Terror became more hysterical all men of learning and/or wealth were targeted. So Grandfather packed his family and belongings, and scuttled off across the Atlantic to America. A few years later he settled here, and built the Old House."

"That's the building on the hill back there, in the woods."

"Yes. We keep it up but it's mostly used for storage these days. His oldest son, Charles - my father and Richard's grandfather - started building the castle. He wanted something which was appropriate for what he perceived the family's status to be, and which would also serve to protect us from events such as those which forced his father to leave France. Later on it also served as a useful place to conceal the works various family members have engaged in.

"There's nothing like being perceived as a harmless eccentric to keep people from noticing something they might think sinister," Quatrus finished, smiling tightly.

"Uh, yeah," said Daryl, feeling quite creeped out. "So, uh, does knowing what my curse is give you any idea how to cure it?"

"Why do you want it cured?" asked Quatrus, surprised. "You won't age, injuries will last only until the sun goes down or comes up..."

"Yeah, but I'm a woman half the time," Daryl protested.

"Half the population is female all the time, and still manages," said Quatrus, shrugging. "If you do stay on here, as you seemed to indicate you plan to, your bi-gendered state is already known and accepted."

"Well, yeah, but..." Daryl sighed, and continued in a small voice. "I'm starting to feel... girly..."

"Ah. I'd wondered about that," said Quatrus, nodding and smiling. "Physically you are a healthy young female, and likely heterosexual or perhaps bisexual. The body guides the mind, after all. Have you found yourself admiring men?"

Daryl bit her lip, and nodded silently.

"What about masturbation?" Quatrus pursued, leaning forward. He may have had more than dispassionate interest. "Do you find yourself fanaticizing about men or women when you masturbate as a woman?"

"Well, at first it was women," said Daryl, in a tiny voice, "but lately..."

"Umph. You should be grateful to your ex-girlfriend that she didn't have a viscous streak. She could have given you the sex drive of a mink." Quatrus chuckled. "I don't recall you saying anything about being compelled to have sex with men, so I'm assuming you have roughly normal desires and will power."

"I guess so," sighed Daryl. "What's really weird is that I get so... so curious. I mean, wouldn't you be?"

"Probably," said Quatrus. He laughed again, and smiled at Daryl. Only it was more of a leer. "Well, if you decide to satisfy that curiosity you shouldn't have a problem. You are both attractive and somewhat exotic."

"Uh, yeah," said Daryl, suddenly very much desiring to be somewhere else. "I realize that."

"I suppose it's too much to ask to keep this particular old lecher in mind as a partner in that particular experiment?"

"No offense, but you're really not my type," squeaked Daryl.

"Humph," said Quatrus, frowning, "and now I've frightened you. I apologize. I assure you, though my libido is strong, I am a gentleman."

"I'm very glad of that," said Daryl.

END Part Three



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