Castle Freak: Part 5

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Crews Ship

by

Rodford Edmiston

"A curse?" said Dot, after Daryl insisted on being private before revealing any secrets.

Dot might have been foolish complying, but curiosity can sometimes override even survival instincts. Besides, Daryl had been a fun and mannerly companion so far. Hopefully, being female wouldn't change that.

"Well, yeah," sighed the uncomfortably female Daryl. "I've been working at the Frique place..."

"Well, that explains things!" humphed Dot.

"Ah, no; I went there to try and get help for the curse," Daryl explained.

"Oh; well, that place always did attract weirdness."

"So... You're from here?"

"Yes. Now, stop trying to change the subject. Explain!"

Daryl did so, then summed up.

"Anyway, I turn into a girl at sundown and back to normal at dawn." Daryl sighed and rose, unconsciously shifting her undershirt to try and produce a less revealing arrangement. "Now I better head back. I don't want to be out at night in this body, dressed like this."

"Welcome to the club," was Dot's sour comment. She suddenly looked thoughtful. "Wait a minute. I'll be right back."

She went into the bedroom. A cat darted out, unnoticed by her, and ran under the couch. Moments later she returned with a work shirt.

"Here; you can use this," Dot announced, holding out the shirt.

"Ah, thanks," said Daryl, taking the shirt and pulling it on. "Don't know when I can get it back to you."

"Well, you know where I work and where I live," said Dot, with a shrug.

"Thanks," Daryl repeated, in a neutral tone.

"I don't believe it," said Dot, staring at Daryl's chest as her guest finished buttoning the shirt. "You fill that out better than I do!"

"Tell me about it," sighed Daryl.

She stood awkwardly for a moment, then started for the door. And tripped over the cat. Which she didn't see because she had her head turned to say goodbye to Dot. Daryl fell awkwardly, barely missing the feline, then cried out in pain and curled up into a ball.

"Ow! Shit! Ow!"

"Oh, God!" Dot exclaimed, kneeling beside Daryl. "Are you all right?"

"Damn, damn, damn," groaned Daryl. "I landed on my left tit. With my right arm under it. Ow! Four months of being a girl half the time and I'm still not used to it. Ow!"

Dot gently helped her to sit up, then began undressing her. Daryl was in such a haze of pain that this process didn't really register at first. However, as the undershirt slid across her abused mammary the new spike of pain made Daryl realize she was sitting on the floor, half naked, while a woman she had just met examined her injury.

"That doesn't look bad at all," muttered Dot, looking irritated. "I doubt you'll even have a bruise."

She eyed Daryl suspiciously.

"You sure you're not faking it?"

"No!" said Daryl emphatically, uneasily covering herself with her hands. "This really hurts."

"Hmph. I'd hate to see how you'd react to a titty twist," smirked Dot.

"Ow!" said Daryl, in sudden empathy, having seen this done a couple of times.

"Here," said Dot, handing over the undershirt.

Feeling strangely shy, Daryl pulled the undershirt on, wincing a bit. Then the work shirt.

"I'm surprised you're not more freaked out by this," she muttered, looking up at Dot.

"Well, you're a nice g... Uh, person. Besides, Sheba likes you.

Daryl looked at the cat, who was sniffing at her cuff.

"More likely she likes something I got on my jeans," said Daryl. "Besides, she just tried to kill me."

"Well, that's one way cats show affection," snickered Dot.

She grabbed the cat and began ruffling her fur. Sheba protested mildly at first, then gave in to the sheer pleasure. Daryl couldn't help but grin.

"I really do need to be going," said Daryl. "Thank you. I'll get the shirt back soon."

"Thank you," said Dot. "I thought this was going to be just another boring day, but you bought me a float... and then changed into a girl!"

"Yeah," sighed Daryl, though she smiled at Dot's grin, "I'm the life of the party."

* * *

"We were beginning to worry about you," said Mrs. Frique, as Daryl finally got back.

"I got delayed doing someone a favor," she explained. "Guess I'll have to unload the truck tomorrow. Don't think I have the upper body strength for that right now."

"That's all right," said Mrs. Frique, beaming. "You go and get cleaned up and changed. Supper will be ready soon."

"'Get changed,'" Daryl muttered under her breath. "Already did that tonight."

In the shower Daryl examined her injury more carefully. Contrary to Dot's prediction, she found the beginnings of a bruise, but it didn't look like it would be too bad. Besides, by morning it would be gone, because the breast would be gone. It was still quite tender, though, and Daryl felt no desire to play with herself, something she normally did in the shower.

Putting a bra on was an interesting experience in torment.

"I thought women were supposed to be better at standing pain than men," Daryl muttered, as she gingerly shifted the undergarment around, trying to find a position which was comfortable.

Walking was also painful, especially if she moved as quickly as was her wont. A sore breast bouncing around inside a bra slightly too large turned out to be quite painful. Daryl made a mental note to get some bras of her own, and stop using those Mrs. Frique had altered for her. The woman had generously taken in the straps, but the cups were still a bit oversized, even for fem-Daryl's ample bosom.

As she started (Carefully!) down the stairs, wearing a simple, flower-print dress and sandals, Daryl remembered something: the leftover money. She stopped in the kitchen to fetch the keys from the hook board, telling Mrs. Frique and Babette what she was doing.

Night was well under way by this time, and the barn where the truck was kept had no lights. Which was not really a problem. Daryl knew the place fairly well by now. Not too far off she heard a wolf howl, and shivered. However, she also smiled, knowing that Oliver was on guard. She remembered his invitation, and wondered what sex would be like, really doing it doggie style.

Smiling, and not a little aroused, Daryl entered the barn and went to the passenger door of the farm truck. It was unlocked, as expected, while the glove box was locked, as expected. Daryl inserted and turned the key, took out the wad of cash, and impishly stuck it down her cleavage. Well, the dress didn't have pockets...

She closed the small door, climbed out, closed the passenger door, and turned to leave the barn. Then stopped, thinking she heard something. No, definitely, there was something moving in the back of the barn.

"Oliver?" she asked, tentatively, backing away.

Something large and vaguely human shaped came surging out of the darkness.

"Oliver!" Daryl screamed, turning to run.

She didn't make it.

* * *

Daryl came slowly and painfully awake. There was light, and movement, and voices, so she suspected she was back in the house. Opening her eyes was a test of will, and required 3 tries. Finally, she could see that she was in Dr. Frique's examining room, lying on her stomach on the table.

"Ow?" she tried.

"Don't move," said Dr. Frique, quickly. "You were pretty badly injured. I stopped the bleeding and gave you a large dose of pain killer, but am leaving my treatment at that, since you will revert at dawn."

"What... was that?" she croaked.

Dr. Frique motioned for Mrs. Frique to do something. Moments later a straw was presented to Daryl's mouth. A few sips were all she could manage, but that helped muchly.

"Exactly what your attacker was is unknown," said Dr. Frique. "Some sort of biological construct. It even gave Oliver trouble. Which is why we took so long getting you back here. He had to rest and heal some, then howl for help. By then we were looking for both of you. The howls told us where to look."

"Will he be all right?"

"Oh, yes," said Dr. Frique, with a slight smile. "Though he'll in a sour mood most of tomorrow, I expect."

"I'll have to thank him," said Daryl, surprising herself as she realized exactly how she planned to do this.

Dr. Frique looked at his watch.

"You were unconscious for several hours," he informed her. "Dawn should be breaking in just a few minutes."

"Hallelujah," groaned Daryl.

As promised, shortly afterwards Daryl felt the familiar sensations of the curse taking effect. Immediately after that, he sat up, feeling quite fine, physically. Mentally was another matter.

"I feel like I've rested but haven't slept," he muttered, rubbing the back of his neck and wincing as partly-dried blood came away on his hand. He was in a too-small exam gown, rather than the dress.

"You were unconscious, not asleep," said Dr. Frique, always glad to explain. "Sleep is not unconsciousness, but an altered state of consciousness."

He moved forward and examined Daryl's neck, then had him perform some simple tasks. Daryl was embarrassed when he spotted the wad of bills lying on a nearby table. Naturally, they had found those when changing her into the exam gown. He gathered them and handed them over to Mrs. Frique.

"Amazing," said Dr. Frique, after observing Daryl's ability to perform the tests. "I didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want to alarm you, but your spine was damaged. Without the transformation, you would have been at least partially paralyzed."

"So there are some benefits to this mess." Daryl nodded, then stood, gathering the remains of his dress and bra. "If you don't mind, I'm going to go shower, then have breakfast. You know how I'm always hungry when I first change back."

"Yes," said Dr. Frique, looking thoughtful, "and then I want you to come with me down to the lab."

* * *

"That's what attacked me?!" said Daryl, shying back as Dr. Frique whipped the sheet off the prone form on the lab table.

The thing was quite large, quite furry, and quite dead. Oliver had done a thorough job on killing the thing. Very thorough...

"Looks like it's part bear and part gorilla," said Daryl, edging closer.

"Yes, and part a few other things, too," said Dr. Frique. "For instance, The claws are extensible, like a cat's. However, its skull is larger than that of a bear or gorilla this size. I suspect the brain will be, too."

"You said this thing was a construct," Daryl remembered. "So who made it?"

"Dr. Browning, an old rival of mine, almost certainly," said Dr. Frique. "This has his stylistic signature. He was never what you would call a nice man, and since a botched rejuvenation experiment left him permanently with the body of a 14 year old boy he's been quite mad. In both senses. Here, help me with this. You hold the head, like so..."

"So he sent this thing here to do what?" asked Daryl, feeling squeamish as Dr. Frique brought a powered rotary surgical saw over.

"To spy, attack, sabotage, or some combination," said Dr. Frique, raising his voice to be heard over the whine of the saw.

With a disturbing deftness, Dr. Frique removed the top of the skull, then the brain. The mottled pinkish-grey organ was then festooned with wires and tubes and placed in a tank of clear liquid. Dr. Frique placed a lid on the tank, and turned to what looked like a cross between an organ keyboard and electrician's nightmare.

"That brain, by the way, is completely human," said Dr. Frique, as he manipulated arcane controls.

Sparks jumped and snapped, and the brain writhed strangely as pumps came to life.

"It's too far gone to be viable, but with a little luck I might be able to tap some of the memories."

Daryl watched in numb fascination as Dr. Frique worked, scarcely noticing when Oliver and Quatrus arrived.

"That it?" rumbled the werewolf.

"Yeah. Oh, and thanks for saving me last night."

"My pleasure," said Oliver, grinning savagely.

Daryl remembered how she had planned to reward the werewolf, and shivered. Whether in anxiety or anticipation he couldn't say. Oliver peered at the thing on the table while his boss worked, moving limbs around to study it better, and paying particular attention to the paws.

"Been a while since I had a good fight. Thing wasn't too fast, but it was tough and persistent. Had to get right nasty with it 'fore it admitted it was dead."

"Dr. Frique says the brain is human," Daryl supplied.

"Diabolical," whispered Quatrus, as he watched his nephew.

Daryl wasn't sure whether he meant the brain being human, or what Dr. Frique was doing to it. Probably both, considering.

A speaker burst into life with a crackle of static, making the witnesses jump.

"Beeee *crackle* bdaw meeee tooooo *pop* kizzzzz..."

Dr. Frique muttered under his breath and played with his controls.

"Biddy titty middy kitty," said the speaker, quite distinctly.

"Good," said Dr. Frique. "Some associative pathways and the speech center are still partially functional."

He swung a microphone around to his mouth.

"Who are you?"

"Who are you who are you hoooarrrrryuuuuu...."

"What is your name?"

"My name is Inigooooooo..."

"I think you're in the movie quotes section," said Daryl, trying hard not to laugh. He was afraid if he started he'd have difficulty stopping.

Dr. Frique muttered some more and made additional adjustments.

"Who are you?"

"Toby, Toby, that's my name, Toby."

"Who sent you?"

"Sent, went, bent, lent..."

"Maybe he was Catholic," Oliver guessed.

"Do you know Dr. Browning?" asked Dr. Frique, ignoring the werewolf.

"Dr. Browning, always frowning, going to towning, for his crowning."

"Why did Dr. Browning send you here?"

"Dr. Browning sent meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..."

Dr. Frique reached out and whapped the side of the container, and the vowel abruptly cut off.

"Why were you sent to Dr. Frique's place?"

"Mayhem, playhem, distraction action."

"Distraction from what?"

"What, bot, bottle. Make me strong, make me mean, I will throttle."

The bizarre conversation continued for over an hour, with little additional result. Finally, Dr. Frique turned off the speaker, though Daryl noted he left the life support equipment on.

"Well, looks like Browning found someone who wanted to be big and mean, and made a deal with him," said Oliver.

"Obviously," sighed Dr. Frique. He shook his head in an angry gesture. "He's always had this obsession with building super soldiers. He tried glandular treatments back in the Twenties, chemical treatments in the Thirties, radiation treatments in the Forties, and surgical transplants repeatedly. Most of his patients died of cancer; the rest of tissue rejection. That is, the ones who survived the initial treatment."

"So why did he send that thing here, now?" Quatrus demanded.

"That, I'm afraid, is something we will find out all too soon."

End Part 5



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