Coonier

Kyle had devised the perfect project for his biology class. His invention could restore cells to an earlier state; in effect, it would make them younger. Heíd toiled on it for months, keeping it secret from everyone.

I donít want to get anybodyís hopes up.

His parents were going away a week, Kyle had the house to himself.

This is the perfect opportunity to conduct field tests. If it works, Iíll get an A! Although what matters is that, I can use this as a perfect welcome home present for Mom and Dad.

His parents while middle-aged didnít appear to feel old. Kyle however, wanted to let them be physically his age while retaining their memories and intelligence.

I know they have to be responsible because theyíre parents and are older. Maybe if they can be young again, we can relate better. Theyíre always saying that if they knew at my age what they know now at forty-five that theyíd be doing a lot better. Iím going to make that wish come true!

Kyle believed that being younger would let his parents enjoy life more as well.

We could understand each other more, Iíll add decades to their lives and they can relive their youth.

Kyle ran has hand over his invention. To be young without having to suffer the pain of learning lifeís lessons again.

The invention allowed a person to retain their memories and intelligence. Kyle wondered what it would be like to be a kid with the perspective and wisdom of an adult. Ah To experience simpler times without having to learn lessons the hard way.

Kyle knew his invention might not work.

I canít get my hopes up. Thereís only one way to find out if this is going to work or not.

Kyle didnít want to test it on a person or animal. He decided to test it on a gown plant. He would expose it to the beam for five seconds to see what happened. As anyone who was testing a new invention that could change very nature of humanities existence, Kyle was nervous. Kyle fought back the concerns running though his mind and pushed forward to do the test.

The experiment involved Kyleís invention and a plant several meters in front of it. The device would fire a beam. The longer the targetís exposure, the younger it would become. Kyle also set up a backboard to absorb any energy that made it past the plant. Kyle set it up in his backyard. Putting on goggles and gloves as precautions, he powered up the device and set the countdown to activate it.

A raccoon perhaps fascinated by what was going on, climbed into the backyard. It jumped onto the table seconds before the device activated. The plant, knocked over by the raccoon, fell to the ground. The raccoon stood on the table sniffing where the plant was.

"NO!" Kyle said.

Kyle dashed toward the raccoon, panic coursing through Kyleís veins. The raccoon looked at Kyle with confusion. The device had no way to know there was a problem. It fired its beam. The beam encompassed both Kyle and the raccoon in warm light, holding both.

Oh God no!

The raccoon jumped off the table and ran away when the beam ceased.

Kyle stood up, shocked by what had just happened.

"How could I have been so stupid?"

A wave of dizziness that led to Kyle passing out prevented him from reacting further.

 

* * *

 

Kyle awoke; looking at his watch, he saw that heíd been out for 20 minutes. His body tinged and itched. Fortune ensured that no one had witnessed the accident.

The dark hindered Kyle examining himself.

I hope the raccoon is okay.

Kyle gathered the readings heíd taken for study before taking the machine inside. He stored everything in the basement.

The strange sensations coursing through Kyleís body worried him. He never intended to expose more then one life form to it at once. He had no idea what such as exposure (especially with ones of different species) would do.

Whatís going to happen to me? Oh God, anything could happen!

While he envisioned the beam could make someone his age a kid again, he didnít know for sure. Kyle didn't want to find out first hand!

Walking into the bathroom, Kyle removed his medical coat and goggles. As he removed his gloves, he realised that something was wrong. The gloves were larger then when heíd put them on.

Wait; Iím smaller!

Kyle looked at the mirror. While hard to notice it was indeed higher then he remembered. Indeed, he looked slightly younger.

Oh my God, oh my God.

Kyle rushed into his room. An examination of his pictures from his senior year of high school confirmed that he was at least two years younger physically.

Itís happening for real! Okay, itíll take three, maybe four hours to complete. If itís like this already, how far is it going to go?

Scratching at his face, Kyle felt hair.

Strange, seems like a lot of hair. Wasnít I clean-shaven just a moment ago? What the hell is going on now?

A look in the mirror confirmed that Kyle had facial hair. Kyle gasped when he realised the hair was grey with black mixed in.

Why would I get more body hair if I were getting younger? Why is it grey? Am I getting older or younger?

Kyle touched the hair; it was soft and pleasant to touch.

It feels more like fur then hair, Iíd better see how the rest of me looks.

Stripping, Kyle saw that the grey-black hair was coming in all over his body. A close examination showed that new hair was growing in. Kyle had heard of getting more hair during puberty. However, he should have been well beyond such changed.

A tingle over his rear end broke his concentration. He turned to see a small bulge protruding from his tailbone.

Oh no, donít tell me Iím growing a tail. I can shave or hide hair but a tail?

The bulge looked like an extension of Kyleís spine. Hair was sprouting all over it.

Kyle didnít know what to think at this point. He knew why he was getting younger. What at first seemed like more body hair to deal with had taken a horrifying turn. It seemed that he was also turning into an animal.

The raccoon! Of course! However, if its DNA is combining with mine then whatís going to happen to me or to it?

His attitude was a mix of fascination, curiosity and a little anticipation.

The scientist in him wanted to see what the final product of this was going to be. The sight of what he now knew to be fur growing on his body while disturbing was fascinating.

Kyle also worried about what would happen to him if he ended up as a full raccoon. Since there seemed no way to stop this, Kyle decided to focus on dealing with the situation rather then fighting it.

I have to make a record of this. If someone finds a raccoon in the house, they will need to know what happened to me.

Kyle decided to use the living room for his recording. He pushed aside his nervousness over being naked in front of the camera. Theyíll need to see whatís happening all over my body; I canít worry about modesty at this point.

"My name is Kyle. As you can see, I am in the initial stages of Ö I donít know. I was doing an experiment and something went wrong. An accident exposed a wild raccoon and I to my experiment. I am setting up this tape to detail how this accident effects me. If you find a wild animal in the house, please know the truth," Kyle said.

 

* * *

 

An hour after the accident.

 

The fur on Kyleís body was at least as thick as the hair on his head had been before this started. The colour was grey with some black highlights.

When Kyle took a short break to look at himself in the mirror, heíd needed a few seconds to accept that the reflection was his.

A mask was in the process of forming around his eyes. Kyle felt that it marked him as a member of what would soon be his species.

His jaw was growing out and joining with his nose. Kyle knew that heíd soon have a muzzle. His noses and nostrils still had their human appearance.

Kyleís teeth still looked human but he could detect a slight point to them.

What was before just a stub was now a furry tail a few inches long; it even has a ring around it.

"As you can see, fur has covered most of my body. I feel warmer. Iím starting to develop a muzzle. This is unbelievable. I donít know how far this is going to go. I am even developing a tail. I can feel it when I touch it," Kyle said.

While looking at the camera, Kyle touched his tail. Feeling this new appendage sent shivers up his spine. It was warm in his hands. It was alive; a part of him and it was growing.

Kyle held his hands out in front of him. Small claws had formed from his fingernails. Short black fur was growing on top of his hands.

The skin on his hands had darkened and was tougher. He ran his right hand over the arm of the couch and found that the fabric somehow felt warmer. He assumed that his sense of touch was better.

His ears still looked human but fur had covered them.

It was hard to tell his physical age, but he appeared to be about sixteen or seventeen. He was a few inches shorter; his voice sounded higher pitched. He could still see his fur slowly growing.

I feel like Iím becoming Bigfoot or something. How am I going to live like this? Will Mom and Dad accept me? Most of all, why do I have to sit here? Iíd rather play a game or something.

That thought bothered Kyle. At sixteen, heíd loved video games. He still did but his studies seemed more important.

"If whomever view this needs to know, Iím finding it more difficult to concentrate to an extent. I find that stuff that interested me more when I was sixteen is starting to be more appealing. I am not sure if this will further effect my mind or not. I can still understand concepts that I would have struggled with four years ago. However, I find that I cannot concentrate on them with the same ease," Kyle said.

Two hours after the accident

Kyle was much shorter now. He looked at hands that looked more like paws. His fingers had the shape of a raccoonís digits. There was little sign they had even been human hands. His feet were in similar shape.

"I look at these hands Ö paws. This is so cool! I have paws," Kyle said.

Kyle shook his head. No, itís not cool! Itís terrifying!

Looking at his claws, he wondered how well heíd be able to climb know, it took a fair bit of willpower to fight the urge to run outside and climb a tree.

"I Ö Iím sorry. I havenít felt this way in a long time," Kyle said. He shook his head. His voice was higher pitched.

It scares me that my voice sounds like that.

Judging by his height and the sound of his voice, he seemed to be about 13 or 14 years old physically.

"Despite sounding strange, I feel good. I remember how my invention works but it doesnít interest me as much," Kyle said.

As though to prove he still had the intelligence, Kyle thought of the schematics for his invention. He hadnít come up with a name yet. Maybe the de-ager 3000, na, not original enough, Iíll think of something.

"Now though, I find myself accepting this as it happens to me. Iím not so worried about how people will accept me or what will become of me. I know I should think of those of things but I just donít want to. If you only knew how badly I want to play some games or to play outside. I know that I need to docuÖ show you guys whatís happening to me. Iíll do my best to stay here," Kyle said.

Maybe I can tell me friends about this. Theyíll think itís so cool!

Kyle shook his head, no, he remembered that what was cool wasnít always good. His friends might panic or worse, call some other adults to take Kyle away.

I donít think of myself as an adult any more. Iíve been an adult so I know itís not as fun as we Ö kids think it is. Sure it doesnít suck but being a teen is fun too.

Kyleís fur was now a full pelt. It felt to him as though he were wearing a sweater.

Iím not naked. How can I be naked with fur?

"Okay, it seems that my fur feels normal to me. I donít feel any more naked then I did when I wore clothes," Kyle said.

Kyle had to admit it his fur was handsome. While not as soft as a chinchillaís, it was still pleasant to touch. He spent several minutes petting the fur on his arms.

No wonder cats like it when people pet them. This feels wonderful. I wish someone; maybe even a girl would pet my back or belly.

His tail was almost grown. When Kyle stood, his tail was still a fair bit off the ground. It had two rings around it. His muzzle was almost fully developed. In truth, his jaw wasnít much longer. However, he could still recognise it as a muzzle. His nose now had horizontal nostrils like a raccoonís. The texture of it was still mostly human, but it was starting to darken.

Ears that were once at the sides of Kyleís head were now at the top and had taken on the shape and relative size of a racoonís ears.

His teeth were much pointer and sharper. Kyle grinned at the camera.

"I have the teeth of a raccoon. They make me feel powerful. Eating meat should be no problem for me now," Kyle said.

Kyle looked at his image in the monitor attached to the camera he was using the record his transformation. He had to admit he was starting to look cute.

 

Three hours since the accident.

 

Kyle looked into a mirror. Looking back at him was a raccoon person. He turned and looked at his tail. A furry four-ringed appendage met his vision.

Walking back to the camera, Kyle began to record.

"Iím a raccoon. This is incredible. I have fur, a muzzle, a tail and even claws. I know that Iím younger. My voice gives it away," Kyle said.

His height had continued to decrease, he was now the same height he had been when he was ten years old. His voice sounded much more like a kidís.

"I seem to be about ten years old give or take," Kyle said.

Sniffing the air, Kyle could smell all of the food in the Kitchen. It made him hungry. He knew that candy wasnít good for him but he still felt the urge to eat it first.

"I just Ö please, let me play. I havenít been this young in so long. Iíve never been a raccoon person before. Itís just too cool to resist. I donít think Iím done yet. I wonder how young Iíll get. Iíll still want someone to pet me, but I dunno if I want a girl to do it. Maybe if I like her, I dunno," Kyle said.

While Kyle retained his memories and knowledge, things that interested him before now seemed boring. Even while he sat there, he was daydreaming of playing both outside and wondering if he could beat his records in all of his games now that he was a kid again.

Iím a kid, and Iím thinking like one. Yet, Iím not scared. It almost seems Ö cool. Why worry about it if itís fun? Yes, I know some fun things are dangerous but I still remember school stuff. It just doesnít seem as interesting right now.

 

Four hours after the accident

The changes had stopped. Kyle felt that the forces had finished working on his body.

Kyle was now physically about eight years old. Height wise he was no taller then your average eight-year-old.

He was thankful that he retained his memories and intelligence. Although he also wondered if he only thought he did.

Na, Iíd know if that thing messed up my mind.

His mentality seemed to have fit his body. He knew that while he should do some research and try to reverse this but he wasn't interested. He knew how his invention worked and how heíd built it. However, right now, having fun just seemed to take priority.

Physically, Kyle felt great. Looking at himself in the mirror, he saw how cute and handsome he was. Changing back seemed not undesirable but insane! He liked being this way and wanted to stay. That was what mattered to him. When his parents got home, he could make them raccoon people as well!

Then we can all play!

Looking at the clock, he saw it was late. The change had left him tried. Going upstairs, Kyle considered taking a bath but shook it off. Sure, he knew he had to stay clean. Right now however, clean seemed boring! Jumping onto his bed, Kyle stretched out on his back and closed his eyes. Sleep and what Kyle saw as the fun dreams that accompanied it claimed him minutes later.

* * *

 

Kyle awoke the day feeling refreshed. Getting up and looking in the mirror, he gasped it was real! Kyleís gasp soon led to a grin; Cool!

I guess I should get dressed. Kyle looked down. I shouldnít need clothes when I have fur. Okay, people might still think Iím naked.

Looking though his clothes drawer. He realised none of his clothes would fit.

But do they need to fit? I can wear a big shirt and Iíll be okay.

Kyle pulled out a black tee shirt and put it on. It covered him down to his knees and the arms went to his elbows. His tail pushed the back of it up, although Kyle didnít mind. Kyle gazed at his reflection.

I look and feel so silly. I still canít believe thatís I.

His stomach grumbled.

What does a raccoon kid eat?

Looking in the mirror at his sharp raccoon teeth, Kyle assumed that most of what heíd eat would be meat. However, he also remembered that raccoons were omnivores.

Kyle however felt a craving for something sweet. Like all kids, Kyle now had a sweet tooth. However, Kyle also knew that eating nothing but sugar-laden food was bad for him.

Mom wouldnít let me get away with it. I know itís bad for me and she doesnít want me to get sick.

A part of Kyle wanted to enjoy getting away with it while he still could. However, he also knew that doing it, especially for a while would make it harder to stop.

I can work it off if I play enough.

Maybe, but itís still not good for me.

But it tastes good!

Of course it does. However, a little bit of pleasure isnít worth paying for it the rest of your life.

Kyle wanted to forget his perspective and experience. He decided that fighting his newfound mentality was a losing battle.

Okay, sure I canít go overboard. I donít want to eat too many sweets and be sick when Iím grownup. However, if I donít at least have some fun, Iíll regret it when Iím older. I just need to know what too much is.

He had a few slices of bacon, a couple of fried eggs and bowl of cereal before eating a few chocolate chip cookies.

Theyíre better as a reward for eating well. I just gotta brush my teeth so I donít get cavities.

He made sure to have a glass of milk with his cookies. Kyle remembered his mother telling him to drink milk and eat well so he could grow up to be big and strong. Having been an adult, Kyle knew that those lessons werenít just something his mother said.

After putting the dishes into the dishwasher and washing the dishes he couldnít put there, Kyle brushed his teeth.

Kyleís improved hearing alerted him to the sound of kids playing outside. Climbing up onto the kitchen counter, he peered opened the window and looked outside. His sight wasn't quite as good as it used to be. His decreased eyesight didn't handicap him by any means. He could probably get by without having to need glasses.

His hearing more then made up for his sight not being quite as good. He could hear the conversations of each kid and could hear cars in the distance.

Wondering how good his sense of smell now was, he took a deep breath through his nose. His sense of smell while not as incredible as he thought it would be was still improved.

If something is stinky, it would suck if I smelt it too strong.

Hearing a couple of girls talking outside Kyle wondered how heíd get along with them. Boys and girls his age rarely got along. He imagined how theyíd react to a humanoid raccoon running towards them.

I remember that big girls arenít so bad. Maybe girls my age are the same.

Hearing other boys, Kyle realised his short attention span. He found that heíd rather play games with them. Sure, girls might want to pet him or something but games were better!

Locking the house up, he ran outside into the warm sun. It felt incredible on his fur. The sounds he could hear still amazed him.

Kyle could smell something that had been eating by the garden. He guessed it was a cat or maybe a squirrel. Until he could smell both, he wasnít sure what theyíd smell like to him now. He could smell each flower and even a scent that seemed familiar.

It must be other raccoons. Itís almost like my scent, but a little different.

Kyle realised that he indeed had a scent. It was there when heíd woken up. Kyle however had felt it was normal and not something on which he should dwell.

Looking at a tall tree, Kyle wanted to climb it to observe the other children. He ran over to it and climbed it. Climbing was easier Kyle's memory served.

Kyle only needed a few minutes of observation before he climbed down the tree.

He walked over to the girls who were playing. They appeared to be around 12 years old. One was a redhead, one had brown and the other black hair.

"Hi," Kyle said.

The redhead looked at Kyle as her companions screamed and ran away.

"What was that all about? I donít have cooties!" Kyle said.

"WhÖwhat are you?" The redhead asked.

"What do I look like?" Kyle asked.

The girl reached out her right hand as though wanting to pet Kyle.

"Itís okay, I wonít bite ya," Kyle said.

Kyle knew his grammar wasnít as good. However, it felt better talking this way. More formal and proper grammar was fine for school related things but casual grammar was all right here.

"Thatís a cool costume. Itís a costume right?" The girl asked.

Kyle grinned. He put his hands behind his back. "Nope."

"Come on, you canít be a real talking raccoon," the girl said.

The girl gathered the courage to touch Kyleís head right behind his ears. When he touched his fur, It felt nice. When someone else touched it, it felt wonderful.

"But, howís that possible?" The girl asked.

Kyle stood on his tip topes. "Itís a secret."

"This is too weird to be real. But I Ė youíre cute," The girl said.

Before Kyle could react, the girl reached forward and kissed Kyle on the cheek. When she finished, she smiled.

She said Iím cute.

"So, whatís your name?" She asked.

"Iím Kyle."

"Iím Melinda. I live a couple blocks away. I gotta go find my friends. Iíll see you around Kyle," Melinda said.

Kyle watched Melinda walk way. He touched the side of his face where Melinda had kissed him.

She said I was cute.

Kyle felt something touch his tail. It was an unpleasant sensation. He turned to see a group of boys regarding him.

"Thatís a very cool costume, where'd you get it?" one of them asked.

Common sense told Kyle that he shouldnít tell the boys the truth. While heíd told Melinda the truth, he felt that he could trust her. Perhaps he wondered, it was because she was older then he was (at least now anyway).

"I made it myself, my dad sells fake fur coats and got me a bunch of fake fur," Kyle said.

The boyís gasped. Kyle assumed that they didnít expect Kyle could speak.

How many raccoons walk on two legs and wear clothes?

"Go ahead, touch it," Kyle said.

The boys took turns touching Kyleís arm and head fur. They all agreed that his costume was the best theyíd ever seen.

"Arenít you hot in there?" one of them asked.

Kyle was warm. Fortunately, it was not a hot day. He knew that in hot weather, heíd have to stay indoors at least until it cooled off. Somehow, that felt all right to him.

Raccoons sleep during the day so it makes sense.

"So can I play with you guys? I want to see how this thing feels in action," he asked.

The boys agreed to let Kyle play.

 

* * *

Several games of basketball, baseball, three hotdogs and several cookies later, day was making way for evening and the temperature was cooling down.

The boys had questioned how Kyle managed to eat in his costume. When they wondered what he looked like under it, heíd said that he had a rash and didnít want to gross them out.

Kyle realised that heíd been playing all day and had lost track of time. He was getting hungry but still had energy.

After parting ways with the boys, Kyle walked home. He noticed that his shirt was dirty with dust and a yellow mustard stain on his right sleeve. The stain didnít bother Kyle at all. While he knew it might be hard to get out, a part of him didnít mind being dirty.

When Kyle arrived at his house, he walked inside and sat down on the couch. The first shows he turned on were cartoons. As an adult, he was starting to take them too seriously to enjoy them. Now however, despite knowing that the events they depicted were false, Kyle found that he accepted them at face value.

They just cartoons. Anyway, if I can become a raccoon kid then anything is possible!

While his childhood seemed far behind him only twenty-four hours before, now it was as though heíd never stopped being a child. The magic of the world around him was coming alive again. Sure, Kyle knew how things worked but heíd forgotten just how cool it was that they worked and just what people could make things do.

Perhaps, Kyle wondered, his inner child wasnít lost, just dormant.

Like meeting a friend I havenít talked to in years. I talk to them for a while and it feels like Iím back at that age and time.

Kyle craved a pizza. He had the money but was uncertain how a pizza delivery guy would react to a raccoon person answering the door.

I could make something for myself. But can I use the oven or stove safely?

What am I talking about? Of course, I can! Iím 20 years old!

No, I may have been born twenty years ago but I need to accept reality. Iím eight years old physically and Iím thinking like a kid and not a boring adult. Iíll order a pizza. They wonít know itís a raccoon kid on the telephone. If they ask, Iíll just say Iím Kyleís friend and Iím answering the door for him.

Kyle reached for the telephone and dialled his favourite pizza place. When his order came half an hour later, he answered the door.

"Hi, I have a pizza here for a Kyle," The deliveryman said.

"Hi, Iím Tyler. Kyle is watching me. Heís in the shower right now. He said I can pay for it," Kyle said.

Tyler was Kyleís middle name. Kyle looked at the delivery man, it was strange having to look up at the man rather then be face to face or close in height to him. There was also something different about the man. As an adult, Kyle knew about jobs like this and what they entailed. Now however, the man seemed almost magical. He was going to give Kyle pizza!

"Hey Tyler, you sure you um Ö Uncle Kyle is okay with this?" The man asked.

Kyle nodded.

"All right then. By the way, thatís a great costume. You going to a party or something?"

"Something like that Ė the pizza smells great," Kyle said.

"Yes, it does. So, whereíd ya you get the costume?" The deliveryman asked.

"Itís a secret," Kyle said.

The man chuckled and Kyle handed him the money, along with a nice tip. The man thanked Kyle, handed him the pizza and walked off.

Closing the door, Kyle took the pizza into the kitchen.

An hour later, Kyle had grease and pizza sauce on his face and lips. As well, it had taken up residence around the mustard on his shirt.

Stains however were the least of Kyleís concerns. It was time to play video games! Kyle went downstairs and did just that.

Kyle did his best to write a journal of his thoughts on his computer that night. He detailed his lowered attention span and increased interests in what one would consider being childish things. However, he was getting tired. He managed to get to his bed and climbed onto it before falling asleep.

 

* * *

For the following few days, Kyle tended to stay indoors when the temperature was too warm. He found that he could play video games for hours without feeling as though he was wasting his time.

Kyle knew of more important things in life. Wisdom however, could wait until he was older.

Heíd managed to break several records in racing games. Although some of the games he had were perhaps now too mature for him, Kyle didnít mind. It however, bothered him that his parents might forbid them when they returned.

When Kyle played with the kids outside, some believed him when Kyle revealed that he was a real raccoon person. Others however, thought that he was still wearing a costume and didnít want to take it off. Heíd declined meeting their parents, as he didnít want to risk them discovering him.

On his third full day as a raccoon kid, Kyle heard something at the back door. When he approached it, standing before him was another raccoon kid! He seemed a bit younger and wore only his fur.

Kyle opened the door. "Who Ė another raccoon kid. Who are you? My God, you must be that raccoon. What have IÖ"

"Please help me. I donít understand. Why am I like this?"

"You can talk?" Kyle asked.

Of course, he can talk dummy! What kind of question is that?

"That thing hit me. This human -- I got bigger and started to understand things," the raccoon said.

How does he know the words?

"I was that human. Iím sorry, I didnít mean this to happen to you. Come in, Iíll give you a place to stay," Kyle said.

Wait, this is a wild animal. He might have a disease, fleas, or anything! You canít let a wild animal into your house!

But, itís so cool. He can talk and knows stuff. Heíll be like a little brother to me!

Heís a wild animal. Mom and Dad donít need another mouth to feed!

No, Iím responsible for him being this way. His care is my responsibility. Even if I can change him back, I shouldnít.

"I live in a tree. Itís not safe in a house," the raccoon said.

"Itís okay, Iíll protect you. Thereís nothing to fear in my house," Kyle said.

When the raccoon walked in, Kyle closed the door behind him.

Be careful Kyle, you donít know what heís going to do.

"By the way, my name is Kyle."

"Name? I donít have a name. How do I know how to speak or what a name is?"

Kyle thought about it for a second.

"This is Ė you know stuff. Youíre like a Ė I made a raccoon humanoid," Kyle said.

The raccoon walked over to Kyle and started to sniff him. Okay, it's a normal reaction for an animal.

"A name is how we identity each other when we talk. I think you got knowledge from me somehow," Kyle said.

"I think I get it. Itís confusing. I know stuff now," the raccoon said.

"Donít worry, Iíll help. How about I call you Tyler. Itís my middle name and since weíre related now, it makes sense," Kyle said.

"Tyler ... Iím Tyler," Tyler said.

"I should get ya some clothes or a bath or something," Kyle said.

"I never wore clothes before. Why do I need to now?" Tyler asked.

"Weíre part human. If we live with humans, we need to do some human stuff, even if we donít wana," Kyle said.

Mom and Dad are gonna kill me.

When Kyle and Tyler walked into the living room, the telephone rang.

Oh oh.

Kyle ran over to the telephone and picked it up as he watched Tyler examining the various things in the living room.

"Hello," Kyle said.

"Kyle? Who is this?"

The voice was Kyleís mother. Kyle assumed she was calling to see how things were going.

Oh no, itís Mom. I canít tell her the truth!

Kyle looked at Tyler, whoíd discovered the candy bowl and was sniffing at a wrapped candy.

"This is Ö Steve. My brother had a date and needed someone to watch me. My Mom and Dad have stuff to do so I canít stay home. I can take care of myself but grownups are boring and make me have a baby sitter," Kyle said.

Kyle was surprised how easy those words came. He knew that things could happen when a kid had the house to himself or herself. However, Kyle wondered if his experience would help him with things that needed adult supervision or at least would know to be careful.

"Can you put Kyle on?" Kyleís mother asked.

"Kyleís taking a shower," Kyle said.

I hate lying. But, speaking of showers, maybe I need to take baths now. But if itís dangerous for me to take a bath without an adult here, then I shouldnít take Ďem. Why does that appeal to me? I know being clean is better for you. Yet, somehow going against that is almost Ö cool.

"Well, okay dear. Is Kyle doing all right?" Kyleís mother asked.

"Yep, Kyleís just fine. He told me that if someone calls to say not to worry and that heís fine," Kyle said.

Kyle watched as Tyler managed to open the candy wrapper and was now looking at the TV remote.

"Well, all right dear. Tell Kyle that weíre proud of him," Kyleís mother said.

"I will," Kyle said.

After saying their goodbyes, Kyle hung up.

"What was that?" Tyler asked.

"That was my Mom. I had to pretend I was someone else. She doesnít know what happened to us. If I told her, she might get scared," Kyle said.

The part of his mind still a scientist found it fascinating to see how a former wild animal would react to living in civilisation. The child part of his mind took Tylerís appearance a little too easy. Kyle had created in a sense, a new species. Yet, he was taking having a new brother as fun. Sure, it might mean he couldnít have as many things. However, Kyle often wondered how having a sibling would be. Being able to grow up again with one would give Kyle his answer. Kyle found it cool enough to have a talking raccoon as a brother that he didnít think much about making journals of Tylerís behaviour.

"This thing is a remote control and it works the TV," Tyler said.

"I still canít believe you know these things. Somehow, the beam must have given you my knowledge," Kyle said.

"So, what do we do?" Tyler asked.

"Looks like Iím going to need to show you how we live," Kyle said.

 

* * *

Kyle spent the following days showing Tyler the house and introducing him to concepts such as clothing and why sniffing someone you just met was not a good idea. He wasnít sure how he would explain the situation to his parents. Kyle was finding that thinking further into the future then a day or two was difficult. The novelty of having a younger brother had almost overwhelmed Kyle.

Despite knowing the cost of caring for another person and knowing theyíd run into issues with sharing and even competition, Kyle decided that having a younger brother was cool enough that the benefits outweighed the costs by a large margin.

When the day that his parents were coming home arrived. Kyle and Tyler were in the basement playing video games.

Kyleís parents called his name to see where he was. The urgency of the situation hit Kyle. He told Tyler to wait in the basement while he explained things. Running upstairs, Kyle came to a rest a few meters in front of his parents.

"Oh my God, thereís a wild animal in the house! Why is it wearing a shirt?" Kyleís mother yelled.

"Kyle, where are you? Are you all right," Kyleís father asked.

Kyleís mother held out her suitcase and swung it at Kyle. Jumping, Kyle gasped.

This isnít going as planned.

"Mom, Dad itís me," Kyle said.

"It talks?" Kyleís mother asked.

Kyleís father put his hands on his hips.

"Okay, thatís a nice ventriloquist act. But whoever you are, I donít buy it," Kyle father said.

"Guys, itís not an act, itís me! How many raccoons do you know that can talk, wear clothes and walk on two legs? I can prove itís me, I have a video that shows what happened," Kyle said.

"He has a point," Kyleís mother said.

"True but how do we know youíre not someone in a costume?" Kyleís father asked.

"Itís not a costume Dad!" Kyle said.

"You canít be Kyle. Youíre just a kid and Kyle is an adult. You sound like that Kid that answered the telephone when I called. Did something happen to Kyle?" Kyleís mother asked.

"Yes something happened to me! I got turned into Ö this!" Kyle said.

"Thatís impossible. Young man, I donít know who you are or how you made such a good costume but I want to know where Kyle is," Kyleís mother said.

"Donít make us call the police," Kyleís father said.

Why canít they just accept it?

Okay, theyíre adults. They donít just accept things because they worry about details. I guess I need to prove this to them.

"Please, just let me show you the tape," Kyle said.

"What tape?" Kyleís mother asked.

"I recorded this happening to me to prove that this is me. But, thereís also someone else you guys need to know about," Kyle said.

"What else happened?" Kyleís mother asked.

"Hey Tyler, youíd better come up," Kyle said.

Kyleís mother stared at him. "Tyler? But whoÖ"

Tyler scampering up the stairs and beside Kyle interrupted Kyleís mother.

"Who is this?" Kyleís father asked.

Tyler held his right hand out and smiled. "Hi, Iím Tyler."

Kyle chuckled. "Itís a long story. The video can explain everything."

"Well then, I think youíd better show it to us," Kyleís mother said.

"Come on Mom, think about it; weíre a couple of talking humanoid, raccoons that wear clothes. Isnít that cool enough?" Kyle said.

"Yeah. When I got like this, I was scared. I hid for a couple of days. But Kyle showed me that humans arenít scary, theyíre cool!" Tyler said.

"I want to believe you but this is just crazy. Iím not sure I can take the idea of my son and some other kid becoming a raccoon person," Kyleís mother said.

"Mom, I wonít lie to you," Kyle started. "Tyler wasnít human before. He was a raccoon. Please donít kick him out. I care about him. What happened to him is because of me. I know itís crazy but itís real! Please Mom, just believe me. When I show you the video, youíll see that itís true," Kyle said.

"I want to believe you son," Kyleís father said. "Hmmm, if youíre Kyle then answer these two questions. I doubt Kyle would have told anyone the answer to them. One, I have a birthmark on my back," Kyleís father started.

"It looks like a football and itís right over your left kidney. I got one too, but itís in the middle between my kidneys. I still got it but now its black fur. Itís kinda cool," Kyle said.

Turning around, Kyle showed his parents the birthmark turned furmark.

"My God," Kyleís mother said.

"All right, thatís pretty good. But answer this. When I was fifteen my father wanted me to work where he worked. Where was that," Kyle said.

"I donít have to get a job do I?" Tyler asked.

"Youíre too young silly! Anyway, Dad, you worked at grandpaís store for six months. They fired you because you were five minutes late a couple of days in a row; even grandpa thought that was too much of a punishment. Unfortunately, they hired the brother of one of the managers in your position a couple of days later. You and grandpa thought that was wrong but you couldnít do anything about it," Kyle said.

Kyleís father nodded. "I doubt Kyle would have told you that. All right, so far so good. But if that is you, I want to know how this happened."

"Iíll show you the video," Kyle said.

"All right, I should give you at least that," Kyleís father said.

Kyleís mother nodded. "It seems only fair."

After Kyle showed his parents the video that showed him go from himself to a raccoon kid in a matter of hours, they were convinced.

"My God, it really is you under all that fur isnít it?" Kyleís mother said.

"Yeah, it is," Kyle said.

"We have to find a way to reverse this. I mean, you canít be a raccoon!" Kyleís father said.

"I dunno if I can reverse it Dad," Kyle said.

"I have to admit, you look awfully cute. But why are you a kid?" his mother asked.

He asked them to go downstairs where he showed them his invention. He explained how it was supposed to be a welcome home present before telling his parents of the accident.

"I want you guys to use it to. If I get to be younger, you guys should too," Kyle said.

"I donít think I want to be a raccoon," Kyleís father said.

"At least we know youíre all right and that is you," Kyleís mother said "I guess it seems you have a brother now."

Kyleís mother petted Tylerís head.

"Are we gonna be okay? I can stay right?" Tyler asked.

"It would be wrong to force you back into the wild. I guess weíll just have to get used to this," Kyleís father said.

"You two are cute like this. Iím sure we can find a way to make it work," Kyleís mother said.

"Why donít you guys use my invention! You can be younger without having to be raccoons!" Kyle said.

Kyleís mother looked at Kyleís invention. "Well, if Kyle is young again and has a brother, weíre going to have to care for them. Maybe we do need some Ö help."

 

* * *

A few hours later, Kyleís Mother and Father, both now physically twenty years old stood in the living room with Kyle and Tyler.

"I feel wonderful," Kyleís mother said.

"This is an incredible gift youíve given us," Kyleís father said.

Kyleís mother couldnít resist it any more. She picked Kyle up and gave him a huge hug, with him returning the favour. It didnít take her long to notice that he didnít smell great and that his clothes weren't exactly clean.

"Um, Kyle, when was the last you took at bath and changed your clothes?"

As if someone had said a terrible curse word, Kyle covered his ears "Bath? Ewww I hate baths! Anyway, I couldnít safely bathe without you guys here."

"I remember that you always resisted taking baths as a kid," Kyleís said.

Kyleís father crossed his arms and laughed. "If it were up to you, I doubt youíd ever bathe or change your clothes. I donít blame you, sometimes itís fun to go against the rules."

"Yeah! Anyway, I like these clothes," Kyle said.

"I know honey but you need to stay clean. Itís not healthy to be dirty," Kyleís mother said.

"Yeah, I know," Kyle said.

"You too mister," Kyleís father said to Tyler.

Despite how cute Kyle knew he and Tyler looked protesting, he knew that they needed a bath.

"But Ö but I can wash myself!" Tyler said.

"Come on now, wonít it be nice to feel clean and smell nice," Kyleís mother said in a coaxing voice.

"Maybe but being dirty is kinda animal like and I am half animal," Kyle said.

"Yes Kyle, you are but you donít want to live in the wild do you?" Kyleís mother asked.

Thereís no TV, video games or computers in the wild!

"I donít," Tyler said.

"Yeah, it would suck to have to live out there," Kyle said.

Kyleís mother put him on the ground. She had a way with words. For the first time in a week, Kyle removed his clothes. When he was still an adult human, his parents seeing him naked like this would have bothered him to no end. Now it seemed far less of a problem.

Once Kyleís father had filled the tub with water, Kyle and Tyler climbed up the stairs with and walked into the bathroom. Kyle and Tyler stepped into the water. The feeling of it was somewhat strange against Kyleís fur. Laying back and relaxing with Tyler, Kyle listened to his parents talking.

"So what exactly am I supposed to clean him with? Regular soap wont work with that fur, and shampoo may sting his eyes," his mother said.

"There is always baby shampoo. I mean, itís safe for a baby so I guess it wonít harm their fur," Kyleís father said.

"Do we have any?" Kyleís mother said.

"No but I can run down to the corner store and get some," Kyleís father said.

Eventually, they had the shampoo and Kyle and Tyler fully lathered. They looked silly all covered in suds like that; silly enough that Kyleís mother couldnít resist snapping a few pictures of them.

Washing Kyleís feet was fun as he and as it turned out Tyler was ticklish.

It seemed his mother spent just as much time tickling them while he laughed as she did actually cleaning him.

Finally, they were clean and they got out of the bath to dry off.

"See, that wasnít so bad was it?" Kyleís mother asked.

That should have been humiliating. Yet, it was almost fun. Iím almost sorry itís over. Okay, maybe Mom and Dad canít see me like this for long before Iím too old again but it felt nice to experience that again.

"Guess not," Kyle responded and asked if he could go play outside, apparently forgetting he wasnít wearing anything.

"Washing like a human is fun! It takes so long to clean myself with my fur. I never smelt this clean in my life," Tyler said.

"Maybe later Kyle. I think we all need to have a talk,"

Ohoh, I hope they donít make me find a way to make Tyler or I go back.

 

* * *

All four of them sat downstairs in the living room.

"Now sweetie, I can tell you like being this way. Tyler, we wonít make you change back, that would cruel of us. Kyle, you canít be like this. You have to find a way to use your invention to make you and Tyler human," Kyleís mother said.

"But, I like being like this. Anyway, I dunno how to do that. Besides, I donít want to go back!" Kyle protested,

"But honey," his mom said.

Kyle looked at her with his raccoon eyes, using the same look a puppy would use to gain sympathy. Tyler, seeing Kyle, mimicked him.

"I guess we can think about it," she said.

Because it was getting late, she and his dad decided to sleep on it.

Putting Kyle to Tyler to bed (in a sleeping bag Kyle had beside his bed for Tyler), they watched Kyle and Tyler go to sleep.

Kyleís parents talked in bed for hours, they shifted between letting him stay a raccoon kid and convincing him to restore his humanity. Finally, they came to their final decision. Even though he was a kid and had the mentality of a kid, assuming that was even possible, it would be wrong to force him to change himself back or make Tyler a human. They were cute like this, and seemed to enjoy it.

Maybe it was fate, Kyleís mother wondered. Theyíd save lot of money on clothing, as all that fur would certainly be useful in the cold. Maybe some day they could figure change Kyle back into a human and Tyler into a human or perhaps recreate the accident and become raccoon people. For now however, they decided not to rock the boat and leave well enough alone. They did after all, have their youth back, so time wasnít as much of an issue.

The next morning came and they awoke to see Kyle and Tyler standing on their bed, near the foot of it

"Well, can I stay? Huh?" Tyler said.

"Can I keep being a raccoon kid?" Kyle asked.

"Yes boys, you can stay" his mother said.

Kyle responded by giving her a great big hug with Tyler hugging their father.

Hopping off the bed, Kyle and Tyler walked downstairs with joy.

Smiling at each other, their parents got up and walked downstairs after them. Perhaps, their vacation was going to last a bit longer then they expected.