Fierce 1. Self Discoveries

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the first in what I hope to become a weekly series of chapters. Transformation, romance, this story has something for everyone.

                         Self discoveries    It was a cool, winter evening, and my girlfriend of six months was cuddled up on my shoulder, and I could feel her soft, warm breath on my chin. A cheap television blared in front of us, but I don't think either of us were paying any attention to it. I thought about her, as her beautiful red hair emitted a lovely aroma of almonds. It made perfect sense why she and I ended up together. I mean, I was a big weight-lifter, and my perfectly handsome face demanded everyone's attention. She had enough of the television, and pressed the power button. I bent around and looked into her perfect blue eyes, with an expecting look on my face. She smiled a cute and "come and get me" smile. I did exactly that. As she closed her eyes and pursed her perfect lips, I moved in. Our lips came closer and closer, and I closed my eyes. She put the tips of her fingers to my mouth and looked around as if she heard someone calling her name. Gradually, I heard it too. Continuous, loud beeps interrupted us. The sound continued to blast in our ears, almost like an-     And that's when I woke up. I took a deep breath and tried to face reality. I dragged myself out of bed, not because of the alarm, but because I couldn't stand the taste of my own breath anymore. The alarm eventually cut itself off, and I trudged to the bathroom. An ugly, heavily sagging face with tired, green eyes and dark circles around them greeted me in the mirror, assuring all my dreams were shattered beyond any hope of repair. My body was obviously not ready for another school day, regardless of it being Friday. I washed my mouth out, aware that any dream of mine wouldn't break my daily routine of getting ready for a long day at school. My name is Markus Swift. I am really just a wimpy sixteen-year-old kid, and I have no big ambitions or dreams for life. After my parents had left me nine years ago, I haven't been the same, and I've been responsible for my own raising and education. I do not really feel too enthusiastic about school, but it was my parents' will, for me to graduate from college, even though that seems like a very long way off. I am not entirely sure how I got away without any guardians, but I think it was something to do with how secretive my parents used to be. For some reason, the government must have forgotten about me, like the rest of the world. Well, that's for another time. I'm not too popular in my school, but I have those kind souls that don't judge as friends. Earlier, I said that I didn't have any major ambitions. I guess I was wrong. More than anything, I want to become my animal, a fox. My only regret is that my parents didn't know before they died how strong my feelings were, and where they came from. So, I got out of bed and waited at the bus stop. The thing you need to know about me is that I think about a million times more than I speak out loud. That's usually what I do whenever I have to wait for the bus, or for when dinner is cooking. I imagined myself as a cunning fox, hunting down vermin as prey, bringing it back to my mate. Boy, that sounded like the life for me. My mind snapped back to reality with a squeaking sound and gas rushing as a bus opened its doors to me reluctantly. The old woman with a gravelly voice gave me a sneer and closed the door behind me. Loud yells and insults were hurled at me, but I tried to keep my head held high, and stepped over every foot trying to trip me. The expression on my face changed to kind of a dumbfounded one when I passed the girl of my dreams. She had brown, flaxen hair, with a heavenly scent of almonds. Her beautiful blue eyes were surrounded with dark eye shadow, engulfed in a perfect face with no blemishes or zits, but just plain milk-colored skin.  She was reading some book assigned for school with an empty smile on her face.  What I really liked about her is that she was always so mysterious, and she wouldn't tell anyone about her. As far as I know, she never had a boyfriend, most think because her standards are too high. I guess it's already obvious she's way out of my- One of the feet sticking out finally tripped me. I thought to myself "Great job world, you finally got a cheap laugh out of me, and it only cost my dignity." Of all the faces crying with bitter laughter, one in the crowd stood out. Wait no, she was laughing at me too. Man, I wish, just for one gleaming moment, I could impress her. So I headed towards the back of the bus, and sat myself down on an empty seat. I know not if it was hours, or only a few minutes I sat and contemplated that girl in front of me. As strange as it may sound, that was the first time I realized I didn't know her name. I was so deep in my own thoughts, I didn't even notice the spitball flying for my head; I just naturally moved around it, as if the spit-ball's path had curved around me. I like to think of this as my "spider-sense". I think half of the enjoyment bullies get out of hurling things at me is just to see if they can actually hit me. To this day, I haven't been touched. It's a little something I've been pretty proud of, seeing as I don't have much else to be proud of. My social status, and definitely my love life can be a bit embarrassing, but at least my grades were at the top of every class. Now I am not a particularly good student, but I do have fair teachers. With my strategy for test-taking, I can even afford a few missing assignments. Today being a regular, run-of-the-mill school day, the bus lady screamed at our group to shut up and "Get off the damn bus!" I was still contemplating, but the rest of the students upped and left. She grunted, left her seat with considerable effort, and caused my ears to ring. "GET OFF THE BUS BEFORE I TAKE A TRIP TO THE CITY DUMP!". Luckily for me, no one was left on the bus to hear her regular explosion. The rest of that school day was like any other. Ace a test here, get detention there, and of course, receive the empty threat of "Telling my parents". I always laughed at that one, since it always looked like the school was desperate for punishments to give me, but they had nothing on me. Finally, lunch came, and I nonchalantly walked over to the few others in the world like me. I guess I can consider myself pretty lucky to be in a school with any other furries, let alone three. We spend lunch in the unvisited corner of school just to avoid being interrupted every five seconds with an "original" insult.     "Hey Irene," as I had always said each morning.     "Hey Markus. What's up?"    "Well, not too much. Got up, got ready, got laughed at on the bus, got threatened by the bus driver. You know, the usual." She cracked a relaxed smile.    "Yeah, today doesn't look like it's going to be very exciting. Where are Herman and Donald?"     I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Dunno, Donald's probably smoking something, and Herman's probably barking out a window." Let me pause here to explain something about Donald and Herman. Donald is always getting high or drunk, and he tries to be like some kind of a rebel, practically the epitome of a "badass" furry. His animal is a snow fox. Now Herman is completely obsessed with being a wolf, and tries to act like one whenever he gets the chance. It's a mystery to me why Herman can't just try to keep a little reserve or dignity, but I guess he's just happy because of his recently becoming a furry.    "Yeah, I guess that just about sums those two up right there!" Irene laughed a little. I just smiled. Out of the blue, when no one was expecting it, the bell rang.     "What the hell?" I was just as surprised as anyone would be.     "Don't you remember Markus? The school decided to make the school day 30 minutes longer-and it's is tacked on to the morning." We both grimaced unpleasantly.     "Alright. And I've got detention, so I can't see you at lunch."    "But... but... That means you'll leave me... ALONE???"     "God, what a drama queen!" We both chuckled, and I walked the slow death march to my first period.      I'm assuming you don't want to read about my school day, and obviously, I don't want to write about it. Besides, why would even click this link which gives the impression of excitement, drama, and furries if you just wanted to know how my day was? So if you don't mind, I'm just going to skip ahead.         My eyes were glued shut, but with a little prying, I was able to open them. In the dark of the night, I found myself in the middle of a forest. I heard rustling in a nearby bush. Somehow, I knew this must be the end-        Oops! Too far. Damn button on the remote got stuck. Let's just go back to the end of this school day.    The last bell rang, a sound as holy as the gods, and as joyful as life itself. Everyone in the room, even the teachers, were rejuvenated by the idea of no more work for another 8 hours. My walk was brisker and brighter than in the morning, and I arrived soon at our corner. But no one was there. I looked around the corner, and under a bench. But not a soul could be found. I was becoming a little worried, because Irene always beats me to this spot, Herman is everywhere at once, and this is Donald's favorite weed-smoking spot, so something must have been up. I decided to put some of my books away into my locker and wait a while longer. I shoved my books into my locker and slammed the door shut, but the thing decided not to close. My particular locker has only one functional hinge, and that means that every so often, it just gives up, and considers early retirement. This was definitely one of those times. I flung the door at my locker an uncountable number of times before a small sheet of paper flew off the inside of my locker door. It was worn and crumpled, as if the thing had been in someone's pocket for a very long time. I unfolded it, and it said-Congratulations.    You have been chosen as a test subject. I have kidnapped your other friends, and I am keeping them at the abandoned observatory. Don't try to call the cops. I am keeping a constant surveillance on you. If you try to communicate to anyone, you will be shot.That was enough to make me sit down and just reel for a few minutes. I didn't know what to do. My friends needed me, but I probably wouldn't be able to do anything, I couldn't ask for help, and I couldn't just do nothing. The words of that note echoed for what must have been an hour before I summed up all of my courage, and did the only honorable thing. I started running to the old observatory. Luckily for me, there were no friends left to talk to me, so I had no danger of being shot. Now this observatory was only a mile away from my school, so I knew I could make it in time before any real trouble had accumulated there. During every mile run in PE, I have always come in first, with a school record time of 4 minutes 30 seconds. This certainly came in useful here. I could run to the observatory with my backpack in five minutes, and arrive ready to do it again. After an eternity of suspense and worry, I finally spotted the rounded rooftop peeking its head out of some tall nearby trees. The building looked much more ominous and malicious than it does normally when I pass it to buy groceries. I walked up to the front door, and grasped the knob. I thought this whole thing through as much as I could, and at last realized that they, whoever they were, would be expecting me to come through this door. I quietly snuck into some shrubbery surrounding the building, and searched for another way in. I started sliding quietly along the circumference of the building, and found no doors. I covered my face with my palm.     "God, what am I going to do?" I mumbled to myself. There were no openings in sight, except for that front door. That was when I noticed a window ten feet above the ground. Boy, did I feel stupid. Now this was a problem. The only other way in was too high for me to reach. However, I did have a knack for jumping too. First, I gathered all of the large rocks I could find, and made a crude staircase leading up to the window. Still, the opening was seven feet away. I backed up to about 15 feet away. I sprinted up the rocks, and leapt at the window. I could feel the sill at my fingertips, but came crashing down into the dirt instead. I picked myself up, now determined to reach. This time, i took three deep breaths, and I started at the wall. My legs were pushing as hard as I could make them, and I flew at that building. This time my fingers latched onto a thin windowsill. Kicking at the wall and tugging at the windowsill, I slowly lifted my chin up to the window. The room was pitch black, except for an eerie light shining down on three rag-doll-like figures tied to chairs in the center of a room. They must have been Herman, Donald, and Irene. I unlatched the window and slowly creaked the thing open as quietly as the loud thing would allow. I slipped inside, shut the window, and fell onto a wooden floor. That fall must have been at least as tall as ten feet, because I had sprained my ankle. Still no one else in sight, I limped over to the three chairs. I pulled up Donald's head, and he- he had button eyes and a stitched mouth. I felt my other two friends. They were rag-dolls too. It was a trap.     A bright white light appeared first in front of me, and then a second one to my left. Soon, I was flooded by light. I felt a sharp sting in my neck, and I grew dizzy. The white lights grew dimmer and dimmer, until the room was once again dark. I had fainted.     My eyes opened to an unfamiliar face, and my arms would not budge against the ropes that tied them down. I don't know why, but I don't remember the conversation that took place after I saw him. After this conversation, I remember smashing the chair over his head. It must have been something he said. The professor uttered not a sound, and fell to the ground, passed out. I knew I was unsafe where I was, so I started hopping about the room, looking for that front door. After several minutes searching, I settled for the window, but it was still too high to reach. I limped back over to a shelf full of vials and tubes, dragged it slowly over to the wall below the window, and started to climb. With only one working leg, I had to half-step half-climb to the top. With each pull and lift, I was getting closer to my freedom. But  right as the windowsill was within my grasp, I felt the shelves start to tilt. The wooden floor creaked under the enormous weight of the contents on that shelf as it slowly shifted back and forth. When I made one last reach for the outside, the shelf knocked down, with me on it. If I were just a little smaller, I may have been able to slip under the shelf and escape. I vaguely remember hundreds of shards of glass inserting themselves into my skin, and the crushing weight of the shelf on my chest. That was when I passed out.                        ***    My eyes were glued shut, but with a little prying, I was able to open them. In the dark of the night, I found myself in the middle of a forest. I heard rustling in a nearby bush. Somehow, I knew this would be the end... A fox came out of that bush. We do see foxes in this town every few weeks, but they are always shy, and skitter away once they notice a human anywhere near them. But this one walked right up to me, almost to where I could touch him. Once he was in close range with me, I could see that he had been battling with another animal, because part of his coat was discolored with his blood. I reached out with my bloodied hand to comfort him. My hand, despite some of the cuts and gouges still burning, felt soft and relaxed against the beautiful fox's fur. I started to stroke him with the back of my hand, but I didn't realize that it still had a glass shard protruding from it. I accidentally jammed the shard into the poor fox's skin- it yelped and ran off. A few seconds after the fox left, I my heart began to beat irregularly. It then started speeding up. *THUMP-THUMP THUMP-THUMP It just kept going faster: THUMPITY THUMPITY THUMPITY Until it suddenly stopped. I couldn't breathe, my chest felt like lead, and I couldn't move a muscle. Black circles formed around the edges of my vision. I saw a fox in the bushes- tunnel vision, that's what it was called- the black circles left only a small hole left... it was gone. My eyes were completely enveloped by the dark.  Even though I only saw it for a second, I can still recall every detail about that fox. I knew it was a fox, but it didn't look like the one I just interacted with. This fox was different... it had a red-orange coat like all red foxes, but it's fur was so spotless and clean that it shone and reflected light everywhere. I saw it right in front of my eyes, but it was as if it weren't really there. Something in my mind rejected the idea of this creature for some unknown reason.                         *    I awoke with a start. I was fairly sure the ordeal was not a dream, but I could not remember anything other than a fox and a lot of pain. And I just knew I had to find the site where I encountered that fox again. I looked at my hand- yup. Not even a scratch, and there's no way anyone could heal from such deep wounds overnight. This whole thing definitely must have been a dream. I swung myself up, thinking, Huh. It isn't usually this easy to get out of bed. But I started feeling like I didn't even want to sleep in anymore. I stumbled across the floor; my feet carried me to my bedroom window. I peeked through the slit of an opening in my blinds.     "What the hell?" I was thoroughly confused. I was completely awake. I couldn't go to sleep if I used chloroform. And yet, the sky was pitch black. I couldn't think of a single reason why this was happening. "Maybe a shower could clear this up." I walked over to the bathroom, still appalled at how I didn't have to drag myself to my chores. I stripped my clothes off until I was bare, and twisted the shower's knobs. I took a short glance at myself in the window. Was that FUR? I hadn't seen the stuff without a mirror, but now that I saw myself in the reflection, I noticed a thin coat of little fibers covering my entire body! They weren't attached to me, but they were integrated like a suit of fur. I started ripping it off. "FUUUCK!!" They were attached. So now I had a film of hairs covering my body, except for one blaring hole, staring at me from my chest. Great. I wrenched the shower door open (it doesn't like to work), and I slid into my sanctuary of calm and peace. I usually like to spend a long time in here. Cool, refreshing water rained down on me. I felt like I really needed it today (or tonight), as I just lay against the shower wall. As I was about to shut my eyes and relax, I heard a voice.     "Markus..." I jumped a foot in the air. Strangely, I couldn't tell where the sound was coming from.    "Wh- What do you want?" No answer. I was a little scared, but wouldn't you be too? An unfamiliar voice calling your name at midnight while you're in the shower? Yeah, pretty scary. Stepping out of the shower, I searched around the room, then opened the door a creak. Still, no one in sight. Maybe I really do need some sleep. Telling myself it must have been due to my lack of sleep, I decided to go back to bed. I shut off the shower, and went to bed. No matter how much I twisted and turned in my covers, I just couldn't seem to close my eyes for more than a minute. But suddenly, I just fell asleep, as if I were knocked out.                             I awoke again upon a warm, lazy afternoon. "Okay, NOW the whole thing must have been a dream." I was quite turned around after this crazy dream. I yawned as my feet carried me towards the window once more. I drew back the blinds, peered outside and finished waking up in front of a beautiful 70 degree morning. But something caught my eye-I noticed my skin was darker than before. I felt frantically all over my body... No, this time, everything seemed normal. Okay, this is definitely NOT a dream. " Now let's find out what time it is." I knew I couldn't rely on any clock in the house, because battery fluid leaked into them years before. Since then, they haven't been reliable at all, but my parents loved those antique clocks, and I don't think it would be right if I got rid of them. I slapped the power button on my '06 computer and it produced that classic Mac boot-up sound. I sauntered about the house and ate a few bites while I waited for the Mac to boot up. Finally, I heard a lack of humming and ticking, indicating the computer was ready to function. 10:00, okay. But next to the time, a piece of text informed me: "Thursday". And the last day I was awake was Friday. Shit. I already lost a lot of points in school due to missing assignments, I couldn't afford to miss school. I rushed to throw my backpack together and dashed to the closet. An old red shirt and a pair of ripped jeans were all that was available, so I walked out the door fixing my shirt and tightening my pants. I ran as fast as my legs and my circulatory system would allow me, which seemed to be considerably faster than I used to be able to. I was practically flying across the concrete! A blur of white sped towards me from the left as I was speeding over the street. Everything stopped. I noticed everything within my field of vision like the three red, two blue and seven white cars paused in the middle of the street, a passing dragonfly, and a homeowner bending down to pick up his paper, but especially this white car inching towards me slowly and it's driver with a frozen expression of boredom pasted on his face. My legs pushed me with tremendous strength up into the air while my head started to move where my feet were, and my feet moved to my head's place. Upside-down in the air, I stared into the eyes of the driver who still had not appeared to reacted to my presence. My body moved through the air with my feet gradually returning to their original position. I felt my shoes hit the gravel with tremendous force- so much I had to support my landing with a hand on the ground. I turned around to the driver to give him a "HOLY FUCK!" glance before I continued speeding to high school. I can only guess at the viewer's expressions.    I knew that, being so late, I would need a late pass from the office, so I just cut up an old test to about a 3" by 4" card, and wrote on it:    Please excuse Markus Swift from the school activity he may have missed. 10:00signed,    Mr. Smile    This obviously was not the first time I had forged a signature, but it really doesn't matter how much I practice this skill, the secretary, Phyllis, seems to treat students as if they were still in 3rd grade or so. Plus, she never assumes anything negative of anyone, which many of the students and I often abuse.     "Hello, Mr. Swift!" She always greeted her clients with charisma and a grin.    "Hi, I just came from the dentist's. Can I get a late pass, please?" Keep in mind I am usually not so polite and cordial, but this trait always distracts her from whatever I need her to sign. Besides, a good reputation with people in high places can prove very useful. And no, she didn't notice a big A+ on the opposite side of the card.    "Alright, let me just fill this out," Phyllis recorded the current time under necessary reason. "And you're good to go!" she handed me the slip and smiled again.    "Thank you very much," I grinned back at her and left the office. As I walked briskly past the classroom windows, I kept a forward stare to make sure I wouldn't be stopped by any teachers on the way to my class. For some reason, the adults in my school really like to get all of us students in to trouble whenever possible. I guess I chose a really cheap and small school to attend, but it was a very cheap yearly bill. I reached my destination classroom and, as usual, everyone in the room stopped and stared as I awkwardly strode to the teacher's desk.     "Markus, do you have a late pass?" Mr. Greene the geometry teacher inquired of me.    "Sure, it's right here," I handed him the piece of paper as he adjusted his glasses and read under his breath. He gave me an unsure and intimidating glance and checked the note again. Mr. Greene was much smarter than the rest of the faculty, so he saw right through my every attempt to get on his good side, despite my convincing many other teachers and administrators. I respected him for this.    "You may take your seat now, Markus." He was a little steamed by the legitimacy of my pass. I walked just barely slower than normal to my seat to make my point of yeah, I just got excused. I took my usual seat between Herman and Irene all the way in the back. However smart Mr. Greene is, he never notices us pass notes in the very back of the room. I guess his glasses aren't very effective. Herman was the first to speak. Or whisper, in this case.    "Dude where the hell have you been?" both Herman and Irene leaned forward and towards me to hear my response. I started to speak and tell them that I was asleep for almost a whole week, but something told me to say nothing about it.     "Sorry man, I just came down with something. I think I'm all better now."     Irene closed her eyes and smiled. "Good! I'm glad you're back."    "Well I'm glad to be back." Feeling uplifted and content, I smiled genuinely at them both. "Hey guys, quick question-"    "Shoot."    "Overall, how often do you really physically feel like your animal? I mean, we all feel special spiritual or mental connections to our animals, but how often does your body really tell you that you feel like a wolf or a cat?" They both pondered the question for about 30 seconds. Herman broke the silence with his answer.    "Well, when I do something similar to a wolf's actions, I feel a stronger connection to wolves, but I never really feel like I physically am a wolf." He tilted his head towards me and looked back at me at the end of his sentence. Irene looked up at Herman and me to say something.    "I guess I feel that way too, but sometimes I kinda feel like I am physically half cat. Maybe once in a month I might physically feel like that." I crossed my arms and looked down.    "Well today is one of those days for me when I really feel like a fox. Really, all morning I've been running around and I physically feel like my animal." That was the truth. "Maybe it's just in contrast to being sick," or being asleep for 6 days.    "Hey guess what you missed?" Irene's face lit up with joy.    "What would that be?" I was less than excited to know what I had missed out on while I was suffering (I think).    "We know about a super big party! I think everyone but the teachers are going to be there!" Most of the time, we furries are not invited to parties like these, so one of us must overhear where and when these things happen. Besides, anyone who hosts a party in which most of the school will be there is not going to notice a few extra people.     "So it hasn't happened yet?"    "Nah, but you probably have a lot of make-up work to do cause of how long you were gone!"     "Oh, believe me, that can definitely wait."                          ***    At ten o'clock Friday night, the house exploding with pop music was just starting a party. Many "High Social Class" kids strolled in, already bobbing their heads to the blasting music. Personally, I hated most pop artists. They just add in a few new beats that must take fifteen minutes at the most to invent, throw in a few lyrics about sex, and they're done. I sauntered through the door, already hanging on a single hinge due to the party. I wasn't really feeling my best at that time, but these kinds of parties don't come very often. I decided it was best to just endure the frequent jabbing pains. I slowly strolled in through the decaying doorway to be sure no one would bring too much attention to me. Unfortunately, any attention that is thrown upon me, Irene, Herman or Donald is almost always negative. I scoped out the majority of the house, looking past the common kinds of people that come to parties- the introvert who stays in the corner, the extrovert who is always the center of attention, the fat kid who gravitates towards the fridge, the stud who always misses the middle hour of the party, and the alcoholic who is always drunk, even before the beginning of the party. Of course, we furries have to form our own group for the most part until everyone is too drunk to care. I spotted fat kids, studs, introverts and extroverts, but there was one person who stood out. Amongst all of the ugliness that is high school parties, there was one face that I would never deem ugly. It was her. And the God had smiled upon me that day, she was sitting on a couch, all alone, and no one was even near her. Now many months ago, this exact situation occurred, but I had waited too long to talk to her, and a big weightlifter caught her attention before I even tried. I decided this was it. I was done being a child, pretending to be weak, and letting other stronger guys push me out of life. I was going to take a stand. I moved my left leg in front of me, keeping a constant view of her. Though my legs continued to weaken, adrenaline rushed through me, providing enough energy to face my fears. She looked up from the ground she was previously eying and gave a questioning look to me. I guess that adrenaline wasn't quite enough to fuel my legs. I stumbled onto my right leg, very nearly lost my balance. She covered her mouth and smiled a little, which was not really a good sign for me. I tried my hardest to regain some of my dignity by suavely walking the rest of the distance to the couch, but I felt it would take quite a lot to recover from that. After what must have been hours, I carefully took a seat next to her. I could smell her hair, that intoxicating smell of almonds, and her incredible blue eyes were especially vibrant. I had never come close enough to her to tell before, but near the center, her eyes shift into a kind of green, as if she had created a new color. I stared into her eyes for about five seconds until I remembered myself. "Uh, hi. My name is Markus."     She licks her lips. "Now aren't you one of those people that wear a tail?" My heart sank. It was all over, there was no chance with this girl, and these next few sentences are really going to hurt.     "Y-yeah, that's right." No one would accept me in this world, I'm going to die all alone, totally alone.    "You know, I've always admired the courage you people have! I mean, you must be ridiculed what, ten times every day?" From this point on, I was not really experiencing anything. Some voice at the back of my head spoke for me as I watched in awe.    "Yeah, at least ten. But it's worth it just to express myself. I've always held close to my heart the idea that if we don't express ourselves, we never live a day in our lives, someone else is living them for us." That didn't sound like me. Where the hell did that come from?    "That's a very beautiful quote. Did you come up with that yourself?" She appeared to be very interested, assuming she wasn't just humoring me and waiting for someone else to come along.    "Yes I did, and-" an intense pain interrupted my conversation. "Ugghhhh..." I grimaced and clutched my stomach.    "Are you alright?" She bent over and wore a concerned look. I tried to speak, but no words escaped my insides. "Markus?" I escaped the couch and ran as fast as I could outside. Luckily for me, no one had ventured out to the backyard yet. I keeled over on the grass, behind some thick bushes, where no one would find me. I heard that girl calling my name, but I couldn't reply, not in the shape I was in. Of all the goddamn times to choose, my body thinks that now would be appropriate. Suddenly, the pain intensified, much greater than before. I crushed my teeth together to the pain, and broke the skin on my hand with my fingernails. Soon, the crippling pain traveled slowly from the core of my body to my skin. I then felt a pain unimaginable to common man. It was like acupuncture through every pore in my body. And on top of all that, in the dim light, I noticed my arms were thickening somehow. Through all of the intense pain, I uttered a tough,    "What- the hell is happening- to me?!" And my mind fell into a cruel darkness as my head hit the dirt.  END OF CHAPTER ONE