The Mind Manifests Chapter 2
I woke up in a strange place, I was drifting through space, I had no material body, I was just a drifting consciousness, all around me were hundreds of thousands of others, every creature imaginable, just hovering about. I looked down and I saw a large blue sphere, approaching faster and faster and faster. I then realized it was not it apporaching me, but me aporaching it. I kept gaining speed and just as I thought I couldn't go any faster, fire began forming around me, and it kept getting hotter and hotter. I was plunging into an atmosphere of a strange world. I couldn't take the heat, it was unbearable, I just wanted it to end. In front of me, I saw the ground approaching. I soared over the landscape blindingly fast, and the instant before I hit, I locked eyes with a strange alien, staring at me just before I went sailing into a cluster of trees.
I woke up in a sweat, the room was spinning, and I felt sick, like I was going to puke. Half my body was numb. I tried to sit up, but my left arm was stuck wrapped in the blanket we always keep on the couch. I pulled it out, which actually took all my effort, and I saw the scales. last night wasn't a dream.
I groggily looked around the room, blinking multiple times to push aside the fog and the doubled vision, but to no avail. I could hardly see and my head started pounding, but there was one thing that did come into focus, at the other end of the room, I felt something. An inexplicable pull, something calling out to me like my life depended on it.
I looked in the direction the sensation was coming from, and saw a mild green glow on the computer desk, or, I should say the fuzzy blob of color that resembled the computer desk. It was sitting right in a shaft of morning sunlight, like one of those cliche moments in a Indiana jones movie when he finds that rare artifact.
I rolled off of the couch landing on my back. The lump on my shoulderblade sending agonizing pain coursing through half my body. It took all my energy just to roll over again and begin crawling to it. The closer I got, the more energy I had. Once I managed to get within a few feet, my vision started to return.
I put my left hand up on the computer desk, and felt around for the crystal, unable to even stand up. I eventually felt a spark hit my clawed hand, and almost instantly, my vision cleared, the nausea and dizziness went away, I could balance again, and the numbness faded, being replaced by a slight tingling going across my chest and even in a set of limbs I didn't have, I felt something behind me, something coming from my back, but when I felt with my hand, there was still nothing but a solitary nub.
Quickly remembering what happened last time, I fumbled around through the junk on my desktop, and pulled out my camera, turning it on, and aiming it at myself. I then braced for it, I knew it was coming.
Sure enough,moments later my shoulder, chest, back, and a phantom set of limbs began tingling, then burning, then itching and stinging as scales erupted. Scutes began forcing their way out from my chest, and my back began throbbing with pain as I heard bones popping, the pain too intense to distinguish any one hurt from any other. Only a few minutes later and the pain was gone again, and I sat on the floor, panting, surprised at myself that not once did I shout or scream. I thought I would have. I actually should have, but something was muting me. When I felt my neck, I learned why. There were scales on it now, and it felt ever so slightly different when I breathed.
I took a couple deep breaths, and I felt a few things shift and settle inside me. Likely mutated organs moving into their proper places. I arched my back to ease a final cramp, not really in a proper mental state, until a loud pop sent a dull pain through my back. I suddenly had sensation in… wings. I suddenly regained my full senses as it sunk in. The addition of wings made it absolutely certain that I was becoming a dragon, and on top of that, when I flexed them, bringing the wing around so I could see it, it had reflective green scales, smooth to the touch, and the membranes were lime in color. A certain dragon I knew very well had those, my avatar, Dracano Sapien.
I assessed how much it had spread. My arm still looked just as reptilian as before, but scutes now covered the top of my chest, and there were even a couple scales on the right side of my chest. The scales on my left side went all the way down to my hip, stopping just below the hem of my pants. And on my back, the scales seemed to follow a line up my spine, except for my new wings, which had scales all around the base of both. Upon feeling my neck, I could tell that the scales almost met on the right side, with small scutes over where my Adam's apple used to be, a location which was now smooth, I felt an unusual new trachea. The final bit of the visuals was that the scales on the left side of my neck came all the way up to my hairline, where small amounts of hair had already fallen out.
I was somehow less afraid now that I was sure of what I was becoming, and I wanted to just get it over with. I indignantly reached out and picked up the now clear crystal, and got just the slightest prick from it, but nothing more. I waited, and only got a slight bit of pain as the fingernail on the finger that had touched it changed shape slightly. It had recharged somehow overnight, then again in the few moments it was sitting, and that was how it was continuing the change. "Somehow..", the realization suddenly thrust into my head, "it uses the dependency to force you to touch it again and again until it's done changing you, how clever."
I couldn't help but chuckle, it was a deviously useful system. It meant I'd have to keep the crystal with me or die. Just as that problem was taken care of, another one arrived with the sound of the car rolling into our little nook of the parking lot, Mom was home.
I figured I'd make no attempt to hide it, I'd let my mom know what was happening. In too many stories I read, trying to hide it ended up making things worse. I just sat on the couch and waited. She walked in the door, and when she saw me, with a set of wings and with scales over the whole left side of my upper body, she froze for a second, until I sighed, and said, "It's not a costume, it's really happening."
She came over to my side. My parents and I have a trust based relationship, they know when I'm serious and we try to get over problems in an adult manner. That didn't stop me from a chokingly tight hug when she felt the scales, finding them to be real. I waited for her to cry out something unintelligible, before she let me go and said "We need to get you to a hospital, get in the car, I'll call Frank."
"Mom, no, ask yourself this, what would happen when we got there? I'd be quarantined, and so would you for touching me. Then the CDC would be called in and I'd eventually be poked, prodded, and examined before being dissected."
She stood silent for a few moments. She knew I was right. The last thing we wanted was the government stepping in. A few moments later, she asked, "Do you know what caused it?"
"Causing, it's still happening. I found a meteorite that hit last night, this was in it."
I picked up the crystal and showed it to her "It was glowing when I found it, and it zapped me, causing this." Almost before I could finish, she went into the kitchen and returned with a set of tongs, taking the crystal from my grip. "If you know it's causing your changes, why are you still touching it?"
"Because it's formed some kind of link, I can't go too far away from it."
"We'll see about that."
She left the room, heading to her bedroom, and I quickly followed behind "No, you don't understand, it's like withdrawals, I'm dependant on it."
She just ignored me, dumping it into a bag, wrapping it around it tightly, and then heading back to the front door. I had no choice, I barred her path, and demanded "If you get rid of it, I could die!"
She pushed me out of the way, with that strength only a parent can get when their child is in danger, and then I watched helplessly as she threw it into the dumpster outside. I couldn't go out after it, she'd stop me, and plus going outside would mean people seeing me like this, I was trapped.
She came back inside and hugged me tightly "I'm gonna help you get through this, baby." I cuouldn't help be grumble. She didn't know what was going to happen, I did, and only letting it happen would show her.
"Mom, you have no idea what you just did."
She released her hug, and replied coldly, "I know very well what I did. You were getting drawn into it. I don't care how hard the withdrawals are, I can't let it take control of you like that, not my son."
I walked over to the couch and sat down "I give it about ten minutes before it starts happening again, I already tried isolating myself from it, the illness is hellish, I just wanted you to know that." She seemed hurt, something in what I just said must have struck a nerve, but I didn't have time to dwell on it, I was already getting lightheaded.
I just sat on the couch, trying to keep my cool. Mom called Dad to get him and David to come home quickly, and then turned on the TV, trying to distract herself. By the time David and Dad arrived, I was nauseous and disoriented. My vision was blurred, and the room was spinning. I wasn't really very alert when they came in, and I couldn't make out what they were saying, though I distinctly remember doing a faceplant off the couch.
I woke up in a daze with David slapping me, keeping me awake. I could barely understand what they were saying, but I managed to say, "Crystal, I need…the crystal." Before falling back down onto the floor. I woke up again, and I felt a pull. I looked in the direction it was coming from, and saw a blurry figure holding a glowing bag. I struggled to a crawl, and went over to them, grabbing at the bag. They dropped it onto the floor, and in an attempt to keep from falling, I grabbed onto their arm, flipping over as I fell. The small of my back landed on the bag, sending the crystal grinding into my back as it tore through the flimsy plastic around it, and even went through my shirt.
I instantly felt a great relief as the now familiar spark of electricity hit me. I knew pain was on it's way, but for the moment, I could breathe and move normally. I slowly rolled over, and picked up the bag, pulling the crystal out, I didn't want to let it out of my grip again, the withdrawals were too severe.
I looked up to See Dad, David, and Mom, all looking worried. I just gulped, and said, "I don't want it to happen, but without this crystal, I could die."
David just knelt down in front of me, and said, "Don't worry, you're turning into a dragon, it's not like it's the end of the world, I'm not going anywhere."
I just nodded, "Right" and wobbled over to the couch, "The change is going to continue in a moment, I felt a spark from the crystal when I landed on it, you don't have to watch if you don't want to."
Mom sat down on the couch next to me, and replied "I'll be right here, I'm not going anywhere."
Dad sucked up his pride, and he sat down on the other side of me, "Might as well, how soon is it going to happen?"
"Any moment, the last two times were quick, but pain-AGH!" searing heat and burning pain rolled across my back, down my thighs, and along another phantom limb, a tail. I felt a tight grip on both hands, my parents were holding them, they were right by my side through this.
The pain was agonizing, and it just cascaded out, stopping along the lines where scales had grown before, finding new patches of unchanged flesh, digging into it like a vicious parasite. It took slightly less time than before, or so I thought, as the pain was reducing, a second wave hit, and I suddenly felt sensation in a tail coming from my hips, and growing in size, painfully. It felt like it was inflating faster then the skin and scales could grow, and was being stretched and drawn tight.
The sensation of stretching finally stopped as the pain reduced to a mild fullbody itch. I gasped for breath and I looked around seeing that both Mom and Dad were still holding my hands. A loud, bloodcurdling crack, and I could now feel my new tail and move it. I twisted around, trying to look at it, and Mom and Dad let go. I just took hold of it and felt it. I had to admit, it felt kind of nice having the new appendage.
I looked at the rest of my body. My whole torso was now covered in metallic green scales, with lighter colored scutes across my chest and gut, and even on the front of my neck, coming to a stop just under my chin. The Scales even spread down onto my thighs, stopping just above my knees. A sudden realization sent me to my feet, and hurrying to the bathroom.
My pants were already torn from the change, and fell off easily, and underneath, between my legs, was nothing but scutes, one of them with a split in the middle, any genius could figure out what that was for. "Well, I should have expected as much." I sighed, and looked through the bathroom door to see my Dad, who stepped into the bathroom, and closed the door behind him, I knew a speech was coming.