"Iím gonna take a shower; just watch TV or something while Iím in there and stay out of trouble!" David yelled down to his brother.
"Uh huh," his brother Steve answered.
Steve was sitting in the living room watching TV but something else had his attention. He was holding a book heíd acquired from a friend at school. The book had a list of various magic spells; Steve was focusing on one that claimed to be able to turn a human into an animal.
Since David had started college, Steve seldom saw Dave because he was always busy with assignments or homework.
Animals donít go to school. If I turn Dave into one, we'll be able to play all of the time!
It didnít occur to Steve that David might not have wanted to be an animal. Steve wanted to play with his brother and that was all that mattered. Besides, Steve doubted the spell would work.
Steve pointed to the spell and licked his lips; this was going to be fun.
Thisíll never work but itíll be fun to try. He needs a break from all that boring homework and studying!
He considered which species of which to change David. He missed our vacation last year because of school! Itís not fair they made him take those summer classes when he wasnít even failing anything! Steve had decided a few moments later, if he canít go there, Iíll bring it him in a way no class can! Steve began chanting the words to the spell. Heís gonna love this!
* * *
The hot water of the shower felt good on Davidís muscles. It released some of the tension heíd built up over the preceding months.
College was supposed to be the best years of my life. If Iíd known it was going to be nothing but unfulfilling work that went nowhere, Iíd never have applied.
Rather then growing closer to his ultimate goal of graduating, David felt caught in an endless loop of unfulfilling classes and assignments. The previous summer, the administrators had decided his major needed two more credits in history, a class that David saw as fruitless. Heíd considering switched majors but he didnít want to disappoint everyone.
Itís easy for them to make those sorts of decisions when they arenít the ones spending their summer in a classroom.
Memories of the day theyíd informed him of that decision angered him enough that he ignored the itching on his chest.
Whoever said, "stay in school" mustnít have had to deal with this workload!
The itching spread from the centre of his chest up to his shoulders and down to his groin. He had his eyes closed as he was lathering soap into his hair. The itching broke his train of thought; he hated it when that happened.
Now, whatís wrong?
With a deep sigh, he turned and washed the soap from his hair. By now, the itching had spread to his arms and legs and was working its way around his torso.
Whoa, whatís going on?
Washing the soap from his hair, he lowered his head so the water could reach the back of his head. He felt more hair on his neck, impossible as he had a buzz-cut.
When heíd rinsed his hair out, he opened his eyes and looked at his arms. He gasped when he saw a thick coat of dark orange fur on them. He looked at his chest and saw the same fur there, albeit lighter. The same orange fur from his arms was working its way down his legs and already covered everything from his hips to his knees.
"What Ö whatís happening to me?" he cried out.
He reached the facet to turn the shower off only to for a sudden sharp stinging pain in his stomach and arms to stop him. The pain made him crouch onto the shower floor, grimacing. He could feel his organs move and change shape inside of him. He saw flashes of light, yellows, blues, red and greens.
The muscles in his arms seemed to lose their strength and it felt as though someone or something was pushing on both appendages. He looked back and forth, seeing both arms shrinking as lighter fur developed on his lower arms.
No, itís impossible; this canít be happening!
He managed to stand up and again tried to turn off the shower. Unfortunately, with his short and weaker arms, the facet required quite a reach and he didnít quite make it before both his face and legs began to sting. He fell onto his side with a thud, hoping somehow that his brother would hear the thud and wondered what was wrong.
In a fetal position, he watched as his jaw changed, growing longer. His teeth and tongue felt odd, he felt the teeth with his tongue, even as its shape seemed to change. His felt different, more suited to chewing grass then eating a variety of foods. His jaw kept on growing, taking his nose with it.
Meanwhile, his hips were growing larger and moving to the sides of his torso. Muscles in his legs were developing; the spray of the shower felt different on his body as the fur completely enveloped his skin. He breathed deep from the pain as tears poured down his cheeks. He felt something burn in his tailbone before something else touched the side of the shower. He turned his head just enough to see a bald and large tail growing out from him; orange fur covering it even before it had finished growing. His hips were huge and his legs felt powerful.
The pain in his head ceased a minute later and the pain in his legs dulled to a mild roar before vanishing. He managed to stand up, trembling from the horror of what was happening to him. He felt his tail touching the shower floor, and soon became aware of its effect on his centre of gravity when he fell back, only to land on the tail. Oddly enough, it supported him, like another limb.
Great how am I gonna stand like this?
He tried to push himself back to his feet only to feel a sharp pain in both. Looking down at them, he tried to ignore the site of his muzzle in his vision, damn that thingís distracting! He felt it with his hands, if one could call them hands. He no longer had thumbs, a fifth finger was in place of both and he had black claws. He felt around the rest of his head, his human hair was gone and his ears were at the top of his head. They were larger; in fact, he did seem able to hear more.
A surge in the pain in his feet reminded him that whatever force was doing this to his body wasnít done with him. He gazed at his feet with both curiosity and horror. They were now thinner but nearly 50 percent longer. His five toes merged before his eyes into three toed clawed feet. He felt a sharp pain in his spine and the world seemed to spin.
As though by instinct, he leaned forward off his tail. He felt his centre of gravity shifting, punishing him forward so standing upright was all but impossible. Soon, he was standing in such a way that his torso was almost parallel to his legs.
The pain in his body faded and this felt done. Trembling from fear, he managed to turn off the facet and push the curtain aside. He looked down at his body. The posture, the tail, fur and face, there was no doubt about it, he was a kangaroo.
This is not happening, this is not happening!
Dave wanted to see his reflection in a mirror. His changed legs made walking difficult. Understandable as nature intended them for hopping. With great effort, David manoeuvred himself over to the mirror by the shower.
Once the steam cleared from the mirror, he saw his reflection, which confirmed the impossible. He gasped and tried to say something, only for his apparent lack of vocal chords to stop it. All he could manage was a grunt produced from a quick breath or a clicking of his tongue.
Okay, calm down, everything is going to be all right. David again looked at his body. Whom am I kidding? Out of nowhere, Iíve turned into a kangaroo! Things are not fine!
David tried to rationalise this. Had he somehow brought this on himself? School had stressed him out. He had wished for a way out. Could he have willed himself into this form? When he considered that this form would bar him from school (and activities such as homework and studying), he became a little excited. Was this exactly what he wanted?
No, I canít think like that! I have to find a cure for this!
He opened the bathroom door and cool air from outside of the bathroom hit him. He looked back at the rack of towels; he hated the idea of walking about without clothes. He doubted towels would be able to cover a kangaroo body that well. Despite there still being some suds on him, he left the bathroom. His wet fur made him feel miserable but he needed to ignore that.
Gazing into his room, he considered putting on a least a shirt, but realised how silly that was.
Did I just think that? Damn, I have to get a grip. I can get help; Iím going to be fine!
He needed to find Steve before this started to affect his mind; assuming it already hadnít. Unfortunately, there was the matter of getting down the stairs when about all he could do was hop.
* * *
Steve relaxed on the couch, the closed book beside him. When he heard the thud from upstairs, heíd been worried something had happened to David. Heíd hoped the spell had worked.
He heard another thud, this time from the stairs. He arose and ran over, wondering what was going on. He looked up the stairs, only to see a dripping wet kangaroo standing on the landing, looking at him.
"It worked! This is so cool!" he yelled.
David looked at him, his black eyes seeming to gaze into Steveís soul. Steve looked his brother up and down.
"Man bro, you couldíve at least put on some clothes!" he said.
He stood back as David stepped towards the end of the landing. He watched his kangaroo brother look down the stairs and leap over them, landing on the ground beside Steve with a thud, his tail hitting the bottom step. He clicked at Steve with his tongue before stamping his right foot.
"What? You canít talk?" he asked. David shook his head. This is so cool, my brotherís a kangaroo; just wait until I tell Jody that it worked. "Donít worry bro, you donít need to talk now. So, what do you think? Now youíll get your break from school. Course, I might have to convince Mom and Dad to let me keep you!"
David clicked and put his hands on his hips after standing up as straight as he could.
"What? Donít tell me you want me to change you back? I just wanted to give you a vacation, I didnít think, that," Steve started. David was now clicking and grunting at him as well as flailing his arms about like a madman. "Oh all right! Geeze, I was just trying to help!"
Steve walked back over to the couch and picked up the book. He turned to the page heíd been at before. It had entries for the changing spell but the reversal spell was much harder to pronounce.
"I just wanted you to have some fun for a couple of weeks to make up for the vacation you missed. I thought itíd be cool for you to be a kangaroo! Come on, you know you want to go to the outback for a couple of weeks to have fun!"
He looked back down at the book and gasped in shock. Apparently, part of the changing spell included what to do with the person after theyíd changed. All he had to do was to say it. He looked up at David only to see his brother glowing white and vanishing.
"Mom and Dad are so gonna ground me for this one!" he said
* * *
David saw his entire world go white before he felt like he was floating. It didnít last long before everything came back into focus and slam; his feet hit the warm ground! He was standing somewhere bright and hot.
Dammit Steve! Great, Iím a kangaroo. Iím the outback, alone, without any clothes or technology. You could have asked me if I wanted this.
He looked around, if anything at least the sun would dry his fur. It seemed that he had little choice other then to wait this thing out. He realised that unless this spell sent him back at the exact time it made him leave he'd have to catch up on two weeks worth of work once he came back.
While heíd heard of these sorts of spells before, he never believed stories of their existence. Now he knew first hand that they were real. Whether or not he liked he liked his situation was irrelevant; there was nothing he could do about it. For the time being at least, school seemed distant.
Hmmm, all alone, no one looking over my shoulder, no clothes and Iím an animal. I donít have to follow rules! Maybe this wonít be so bad after all. Crap, what about predators; one might eat me! What if I get sick? Dammit Steve, why didnít you ask me if I wanted this?
He tried to think about what heíd read about kangaroos in textbooks and what heíd seen on documentaries. Perhaps he didnít need to. Kangaroos after all didnít read textbooks about their species. He also felt like, somehow he had the instincts necessary to get by. Unfortunately, predators still got natural members of this species who had those instincts and lived out here!
Okay, get a hold of yourself Dave, itís only two weeks, you can survive. At least itíll be a vacation from school, if nothing else.
He looked at his body; heíd never had much body hair as a human. Now fur covered almost his entire body. There were no razors out here, and no way to get rid of it. A lack of clothing left everything on his body exposed for the world to see. What to him were private parts were now open for the whole world to see! While humiliating for him, he had no choice other then to deal with it.
All right, so everything is exposed, sure you have no privacy but at least you donít have to worry about what youíre going to wear tomorrow. If you have an itch, scratch it, if you get a little dirty, thatís okay, youíre an animal now, so itís not as if anyone expects you to be all clean and graceful.
He looked out into the horizon; there seemed endless plains for him to hop. While he was exposed and at natureís mercy, he was free from having to do homework or assignments for a while. Those assignments now felt far away given how basic survival was his concern now. Indeed, he needed this.
He wanted to see what his legs could do. With a grunt, he leaped as far as he could and landed a good distance away on the ground with grace.
Wow I just thought about and did it. That was cool too!
He wanted to experience that again. He took off, hopping several dozen times, covering an impressive distance. He wasnít even tried, and felt some of his tension release. To think something so basic would impress would feel so liberating. Just acting on impulse, free to do as he pleased was an exciting concept.
Itís been so long, maybe this wonít be so bad after all.
In a life of study and technology, it had been a long time since he allowed himself to do something so basic. He couldnít remember when he last took a walk, or ventured into the woods, not to mention slept under the stars.
He felt his stomach grumble and in the distance he could smell something appealing, it was a sweet scent and it appealed to him. He didnít know what it was but hopped towards it anyway, it was potentially food and it could fulfil his hunger.
Acting on impulse, he hopped a short distance to a field of grass and bushes. Without even thinking about it, he found himself stopping in the field, lowering his mouth to the grass and eating it. It was an intense sweet taste and he repeated the process until he was full.
It was then that heíd realised what heíd done.
What if it had pesticide on it? I donít know who or whatís been around it or what theyíve done on it.
Heíd just eaten the grass, he was hungry and the grass was there, it could and did fulfil his needs, he hadnít even of considered it could be dangerous in any way. This was a strange way of thinking and behaving; he just had a need and acted on it. In the wild, he couldnít afford to be picky as he had no idea when heíd have a chance at something else to eat; in effect there was no choice in the matter.
So, what do I do now?
He soon realised a simple fact as an animal; besides looking for food, staying away from predators and sleeping, there wasnít a whole lot else to do. It wasnít as though he could go to a game, play a game on the computer or watch TV; these things didnít exist in the world of his temporary new species. Games didnít contribute to survival so he didn't need them. He soon found thoughts of those games fading from his mind.
No sense thinking about something that I wonít need to survive.
His ears perked up at a sound in the distance; something was approaching him. He never gave what it could be any thought, he started hopping in the opposite direction as fast as he could. After several minutes of hopping, he felt as though heíd escaped whatever it was.
I didnít even think about what it was Ö I just ran. This is scary.
Of course you didnít think about what was approaching, that could have could cost you your life!
What if it was just a person? Maybe they could have helped me!
On the other hand, hurt you, a human might see a roo as food or something to hunt. Youíd have just made yourself an easy target!
But Iím not a kangaroo; Iím a person!
Look at yourself, do you look like a human? Youíre furry, hopping and have a tail! Heck, you donít even have any clothes on! You donít seem too human to me! When a man sees you, heíll see a kangaroo, not another man that magic turned into one!
Bit I wasnít born this way, why should I act this way?
Youíre a kangaroo now thatís what matters!
He was thinking to himself, his kangaroo side, (something growing in strength) was making an argument hard to resist.
But, I wonít be two weeks from now!
You need to survive those two weeks donít you? If you try acting like a human, youíll never survive.
All right then; I guess itíll be a break from humanity. Inside Iím a human being and Iím not going to forget that.
He looked around again. This time however, he didnít think about what he wanted to do; he just hopped off. Staying still in one area for too long was only asking for predators or hunters to attack. Unless there was food, water or other kangaroos around, he had nothing to gain from remaining.
Why did it have to be so hot out? He was sweating as he hopped randomly. He had no destination in mind, for he had nowhere to go. He felt dirty, although heíd just taken a shower, or more so had been taking one when this happened to him. As a human, sweating a lot was not a nice sensation and after working or running, it was no wonder many people liked to have a shower. Now, his feet and legs were dirty and dusty and his fur was damp from sweat.
He had to stop; he still felt hot. When he stopped, he seemed to stop sweating and found himself licking his lower arms without a second thought. Somehow, that seemed to cool him off.
I feel so dirty, I need a shower or at least I need to find some water and wash off.
Shower, are you kidding? This is the wild, not a hotel!
But, Iím filthy and I feel dirty!
Youíre an animal, what do you expect, a shave and shampoo? Get with the program, a brushing and shampooing is not necessary for survival and you need to sweat to cool off. There isnít any air conditioning out here! Being clean and smelling nice are human concepts, stop trying to think like a human!
David looked down at the ground; he indeed had no options. He may have been free from his homework and assignments for now but he seemed one with nature. How was it freedom when there was nothing to do and he couldnít even have what he saw as the basic dignity of soap and water?
Why are you standing still, you need to keep moving!
He tried to shake it off but the instinct inside of him to stay on the move was too strong. There wasnít time for thinking or getting upset about a lack of hygiene products. Those things didnít exist in the world of a kangaroo. To complain about not having them was pointless. It didnít feed him, protect him from predators or give him shelter and sustenance. He wanted to shake the feelings off but the ever-increasing presence inside of him was too strong. There wasnít a choice; he started hopping almost automatically. It wasnít a conscious decision he just did it.
* * *
How long heíd hopped for Ö he didnít know. Without a watch and especially without schedules or appointments to keep, David found himself losing concept of time. The sun was setting, he knew that meant it'd soon be dark. He felt as though, when tried enough, heíd find some place secure to sleep or lay down, although the entire time, heíd be keeping an alert ear out for danger.
How is it resting when Iím going to be on edge the entire time?
What do you expect a pillow and mint?
How can I function if I barley get any sleep or canít relax?
Thatís life my friend, youíre a wild animal; life is tough, deal with it.
He spotted a group of kangaroos laying on a grassy hill with a few trees on it. David hopped up to them and tried to greet them only for his kangaroo vocabulary to betray him. All he managed was a few clicks and a grunt.
How can I communicate if all I can do is click and grunt? What kind of language is that?
What do you expect Ö Shakespeare? Kangaroos donít need a huge vocabulary.
What do you need to tell them? Youíre not a predator they can see that. Unless you want to try to challenge a male for one of his females, they probably donít think youíre after a mate. Unless you want to tell them a threat is nearby, what else are you going to tell them?
But, whatís the point in just laying here staring at each other blankly?
No sense is wasting energy with talk if it wonít accomplish anything.
But, thatís the point of chatting, just small talk to pass the time and to keep your mind going.
Theyíre animals; they donít care about chatting, just surviving, stop trying to think like a human.
Dejected, David slumped into the ground and spread his legs. It was nice to relax and the grass felt nice against his body. As well, its scent was pleasant. There wasnít much to do besides watch to the other kangaroos, inhale their scent and listen to the wind blow.
How could anyone find this entertaining? Whereís the games? Come on guys, do something?
David, they donít have the intelligence for fun and games. Why waste energy on something that wonít contribute to their survival?
But, itís so boring! We can get away with so much. Weíre all naked and no one is watching! Now it just seems like boredom, a vacation with nothing to do. Thatís even worse then having too much to do!
Welcome to life as a kangaroo David.
Davidís focus waned. He tried to concentrate. However, it was as though the day's activities had burnt him out. He soon found himself falling asleep.
When he awoke the next day, there were only a few other kangaroos standing around him. Two of them were munching on the grass while the other seemed to be listening for sounds of threats in the distance. David arose. A quick look at his body confirmed the reality of his situation.
He felt hungry and looked down at the grass.
Isnít this the same as yesterday? Whereís the bacon and eggs?
Are you kidding? Itís food; you canít afford to get fussy. Youíre a herbivore now; meat is not part of your diet.
David bent down and ate a few mouthfuls of grass, finding that it still tasted sweet and did seem to full him up. He realised in a moment of fear that he had thought of those kangaroos around him as other kangaroos. No longer were they a different species he never expected to see in person; he was one of them! He also didnít even think of trying to speak with them; unless there was danger or he wanted to mate with one of them, there wasnít much else to say.
Having had his fill, he hopped off into the distance, staying there only increased his chance of a predator attacking him.
Thoughts of his classes and associated work were distant; they just didnít seem to matter now. Such thoughts could distract him from listening for predators, so he pushed them out of his mind. He knew he was starting to think more like a wild animal yet something inside of him was saying this was normal. As long as he was an animal, he couldnít afford to think human thoughts.
Perhaps however, that calmed him. Although heíd only been a kangaroo for a day or two, (he couldnít be sure how long it was without a clock or watch), he felt the weight of human responsibility fading. School and jobs didnít exist in the world of his new species.
His job was surviving long enough to propagate the species. Without speech, he couldnít say the wrong thing to someone. Without clothes, he didnít have to worry about dress code or decency. For one reason or another, that didnít embarrass him.
He could spend hours hopping randomly without worrying of what others wanted him to do and when. Instincts guided him for everything; he didnít need to think about what to do. He was free, but also vulnerable.
There was also another problem. Without anything do to, he feared heíd go mad. Was this an issue now? A human mind needed stimulation. A kangarooís mind was much simpler. If he ended up thinking like a natural kangaroo, heíd need far less to entertain him.
I canít let that happen!
Unfortunately, he didnít seem to have an option in that matter. Perhaps, he wondered he could find a town; maybe they could do something for him.
I can still write with these paws, theyíll understand that!
He didnít know where any towns were, so he decided to hop off in a random direction to find one. If he found a road, he felt heíd just have to follow it and heíd be fine. Even if he didnít, in less then two weeks, heíd be human again. Somehow, that comforted him.
* * *
After what felt like an eternity of hopping, David arrived at a small town. He was filthy, tired and he smelled terrible.
Unfortunately, there was little way for him to tell how long heíd be hopping for since finding a road and following it. While he was aware of the passage of day and night, each day was almost exactly like the previous day and they tended to blend. What was even more bizarre was how it excited Dave. He felt free. No one would expect anything out of an ignorant animal!
David however knew that he needed to get help. He couldnít stay like this!
There were a few humans milling about; none of them seemed to take an interest in David. He hopped up to one of them and looked at him. David noticed that while the man wore clothes, David just saw them as something of varying patterns and colours. There were words on the manís shirt but David didnít recognise them as such.
The man said something but to David, the words held no meaning, they were just a collection of sounds that didnít register as anything to him. David knew that a kangaroo didnít need to speak any human language. Knowing so many words wasnít necessary to his survival.
Panic started to hit him; not only was he stuck in the body of a kangaroo, he was losing his human knowledge! Instinct had all but replaced thought for his journey of what seemed to be a few days.
David turned around to hop away, he felt nervous around these humans. He didnít know what they might do to him; he had to get out of there! He started to hop, but with human shelter all around, there were far less avenues of escape. Instincts were gripping his mind and despite knowing he used to be human, he current form controlled his mindset. He wasnít thinking of himself as a human in the body of a kangaroo Ö he was a kangaroo and had to get out of there as soon as possible!
Panic unlike anything heíd ever felt was consuming him; he had nowhere to go, it was just a mad rush to escape but to where? He managed to make his way down a street before he saw something drive up beside him. Two humans jumped out of it. They said something but David's situation had him too panicked to care that he didnít understand them. He tried to get away but didnít get far before he felt something hit his left thigh. His entire world became fuzzy and he found himself feeling tired and passing out before he had any idea what was going on.
* * *
The world came into focus, David found himself in the back of a vehicle that was moving. It was hot inside and he appeared to be in a large cage. He could smell something on the cage; thereíd been other animals in it before. Some of the smells made him nervous, others interested, and yet others excited him. The ones that excited him also disturbed him the most.
Being in a cage had him feeling trapped. He wanted to get out of there; he didnít care where he would go, he just wanted out. He rolled back onto his tail and hit the side of the cage as hard as he could with his powerful hind feet. It clanged and banged but remained closed. He banged on it repeatedly and while he did dent it, he didnít get it open.
He heard someone saying something. He didnít need to understand them; their tone gave their upset away. David stopped for a few minutes to think of how to get out but found no way. He saw the latch but wasnít sure how to operate it. That alarmed him; if he couldnít even figure out a simple latch, he was truly losing his mind!
Not wanting to ponder that, he tried his best to lay down. Despite the small size of the cage, there was just enough room for David to sprawl out. He decided to focus on the smells in the cage. He could smell other kangaroos, he didnít know why he recognised that scent, he just did. Of those smells, the ones he knew to be female interested him the most. He shook his head to try to rid himself of those thoughts; female kangaroos didnít interest him, he was a human male, not a kangaroo male! Or was he? His fur, tail and hopping werenít human things; how could he think of himself as a human? He wondered what that meant. Did physically being a kangaroo mean he should think and behave as one? Everything inside of him said yes. He tried to shake that feeling off, but those smells were filling his mind and making it hard to think, as if it wasnít already hard enough.
He stood up and looked down at himself, yes, this was a kangaroo body not a human one. How could he think of himself as human when he was barley thinking like one anymore?
The vehicle stopped; David heard doors opening and then a bright light filled his vision followed by a burst of fresh air. There were two humans there. David banged on the side of the cage, wanting out. The humans said something to him in soothing tones. One of the humans finally undid the latch and opened the cage door. David hopped out of the cage and onto the ground outside.
It was a relief, he felt as though he belonged out there. A gust of air brought the scent of other kangaroos! The smell was welcoming to him! He wanted to be with them! He tried to fight it but found that he couldnít justify his struggle. No one here had any expectations of him. He didnít have to worry about disappointing anyone. He could just be himself without having to worry about what other people wanted him to do and when. If Ďbeing himselfí meant something different for his kangaroo self then it did for his human self, David didnít care.
He looked around to find himself in a habitat of some sort. There were other kangaroos milling about, different types by the looks of them. David looked at the humans and tried to think of himself as one of them, just in an odd looking package. He watched the roos, some hopped while others lay around looking relaxed and happy with whom they were. Some groomed each other while others scratched themselves, in some cases in embarrassing ways even as he watched. That disgusted a part of David while another part was almost envious of them in that they go get away with this.
You can get away with it Dave, youíre a kangaroo!
Look at them, theyíre doing everything right in front of everyone! They have no privacy or anything! Isnít that gross?
Gross is a human concept as is privacy! Think of it this way. Look how little the humans expect out of those kangaroos Ö out of you! Mellow out, relax, and enjoy this while you still can.
The conflicting human and kangaroo thoughts drove David to the brink of madness and he took off in a fast hop in the direction he was facing.
No, I have to escape it! It isnít appealing, it just isnít!
Look at yourself David; you are one of them, stop fighting it! You know you want to relax and enjoy this. Itís not a crime.
He kept hopping, reaching a fence at the far end of the habitat and turned around. He didnít pay attention to the fact he couldnít remember what humans called the thing. He just knew it was a barrier. He hoped halfway back before stopping. Hoping felt great, a wonderful release of tension. Hoping nude felt even better. David enjoyed it but he didnít want to admit it. He worried that such an admission would be dishonouring his humanity.
There was no way for him to tell anyone the truth. At the rate he was going, there wouldnít be a human inside of the kangaroo body he had inhabited for long, soon heíd be all kangaroo, body and mind.
Is that a bad thing? Letting go isnít wrong if you have no choice.
Maybe, I guess I can let go. So, just what do the heck do I do then?
When he had a goal in mind before, at least there was something for which to strive. Now, it was just a matter of waiting around for this spell to finish so he could become human again (assuming that would ever happen).
Relax David, itís a vacation. Allow yourself to have fun. Do what you want to do, not what you think others want you to do.
David had seen kangaroos in zoos before. Sometimes, heíd wondered if life as one would be easier then worrying about work or school related issues. Heíd thought they could just sit there and enjoy the sun all day, have free food, wouldnít have to worry about predators and had no stress over human silliness like clothing. Of course, when one could daydream about that sort of life before going back to their computers, showers, TV and other aspects of their human lives it was much easier. There was no desire for improvement, not from the other kangaroos he saw. They seemed blissfully ignorant. However, David wondered if that was so bad, no one expected anything of him or her. People expected so much of the human version of him. Heíd longed for something like this. Perhaps, David realised; he could finally let go. He could be what at least a part of him always was inside.
David lay down on the grass and relaxed. It was a wonderful sensation. Human worries felt distant. It was such a simple existence yet; there were no deadlines or other peopleís expectations to worry about. If he wanted to spend days at a time just sniffing grass and laying there relaxing, that was okay. He was just an animal now, one people would see as a dumb one; it wasnít as though anyone would ever expect him to accomplish anyone or do much beyond just laying there, hoping around and eating.
David moved his nose ever so closer to the grass and inhaled its scent. The grass smelt wonderful. Donít stop; you have all the time in the world. Keep smelling it David. He smelt it again, allowing it to permeate his nostrils. Images of eating it flooded his mind, visions of its sweet taste. David closed his eyes, allowing those visions to fill his thoughts. Thatís it, focus on the scent.
Another scent filled his nostrils; it was the scent of another kangaroo. It was far from the clean smell a human might have but neither he nor it was human so it was okay. David opened his eyes and watched the other kangaroo hop up to him. David stood up and regarded the beast as it sniffed him.
Go ahead Dave, sniff him back, and touch his fur.
What if someoneís looking?
So, theyíll just see a couple of kangaroos getting to know each other. If some human that knew you sees you, theyíll never know. Think about it, you can do all the things youíd never do in front of them and its all okay because youíre just a dumb animal. Itís not as if you know any better.
David sniffed the other kangaroo, taking in its scent. The kangaroo apparently grew tired of this activity and eventually hoped away. David stood there with mixed emotions. Heíd allowed his animal side to take over but it felt good.
Man that sun feels good on my back. Heh, Iím naked, and itís okay.
He shook his head, trying not to lose himself in this. Unfortunately, that was becoming rather hard. He didnít want to fight it as much anymore. He wanted to let the kangaroo part of him take over, to embrace this while it lasted. With a feeling of adventure, he pursued the other kangaroo.
David spent the next few hours playing with that and the other kangaroos. He felt welcome with them, totally at peace to enjoy the simple pleasure of fun and playing without a care in the world. Besides, it was only for two weeks. David knew heíd earned the vacation.
* * *
He wasnít sure how long he was in the habitat before it happened. By then, David had totally relaxed. He was at peace with himself. Heíd accepted other possibilities in life and knew that his needs were important. When he had scratched or even licked himself, the world hadnít of come to an end. When heíd hopped just because he felt like it, countries hadnít of fallen. David had come to accept that it was okay for him to assert himself. If someone didnít like it, David would deal with it; he knew he could deal with it.
One day while relaxing, David felt a tingle.
In a change that was much the opposite of what heíd experienced in the shower before all of this began, his body reformed and kangaroo fur fell off, only to vanish once it hit the ground.
When the process was finished, Davidís body was again human. He stood, naked and feeling a little confused before his human knowledge began to flow from the recesses of his mind.
He looked back at the kangaroos, all of them asleep. For few seconds, David wished he could go back to being one of them. However, he also felt a sense that it was time to move on. Heíd had his vacation and indeed, he felt relaxed. He also knew there were changes he had to make in his life. He would miss these kangaroos, but he knew heíd miss his friends and family even more if he stayed.
For so long, heíd been living up to others expectations. Heíd taken a harder major out of a desire to live up to the expectation of others. As the world went white, David knew what he had to do.
He re-appeared in his living room. Steve was standing there as Dave had left him. Dave almost hopped but remembered that he could move about like a human now. He ran to the couch and grabbed a pillow to cover himself.
"Huh Dave, you just left like a minute ago!" Steve said.
"Steve, do you realize what you did to me. Itís been a couple of weeks for me. I spent two weeks as a kangaroo!" Dave said.
"That is so cool! What was it like?" Steve asked.
"It was," Dave started. He couldnít help but smile. Sure, itís been scary at first but in the end, it had been an interesting vacation. "Okay, it was relaxing. I almost wish I could have stayed that way Ö almost."
"Maybe ya can. It sucks that they give you so much homework and stuff."
"No Steve, I Ö it was fun being that way and itís tempting to stay but I know I canít live out my life like that. Thereís so much Iíd miss out on."
"But youíre missing out on stuff cause of school anyway!"
"I know and itís time I did something about it. But first, let me take a shower and put on some clothes," David responded.
Later, after David had showered and dressed, he felt relaxed. It was a nice feeling to be clean. David walked downstairs and talked to Steve.
"As a kangaroo, I was free to do what I wanted. No one expected anything of me. It felt Ö great. Now I know why," David said.
"All this homework and studying is me trying to meet the expectations of other people. I took this major because everyone wanted me to take it. It was all a part of the plan. Now, I know that I have to do what I want. I feel relaxed now but if I go back, Iíll end up with the same problem as before. There are other options for me; itís okay for me to look into them. As a kangaroo, I started learning to do things without thinking about them. I canít do that as easily now but itís helped to silence the doubt in my mind. It is my life; there are other ways, other solutions. Going back to being a kangaroo may be fun for me but then Iíd just be denying who I am."
"Sort of like you canít play video games as kangaroo?" Steve asked. David nodded. "So um, you can take easier classes instead?"
"Yes. There are people at my college that I can talk to about that."
"What if Mom and Dad get mad about that?" Steve asked.
"They Iíll explain my point of view to them. As a kangaroo, I was a free spirit who did what I wanted to. I had forgotten how wonderful that felt. In life, you need to do what you think is right for you; not what others think is right. Sometimes you make the right decisions; sometimes you make the wrong decisions. Now, that doesnít mean you ignore Mom and Dad when they warn you about something. However, if thereís a class you want to take then go for it. If it doesnít work out, it doesnít work out. If it does, then thatís great."
Steve nodded. "So, I guess it was worth it then, making you a roo?"
"I guess it was. Just ask next time. Oh yes, donít tell Mom and Dad about it okay?"
Steve nodded. David left the room to go upstairs. He planned to talk to people starting the next day. He was going to make changes to his life. He now had the confidence to know that it was okay to do what he wanted. Sitting down before his computer, he turned the monitor on. It was a relief to have access to technology again. Being a kangaroo for those weeks had David appreciating human conveniences much more. Sure, his classes didnít seem as bad now, but he knew that he had to find something else before his stress came back.
Cracking his knuckles, David began a search for kangaroo pictures for his desktop wallpaper. Heíd developed an understanding a greater respect for the creatures. Perhaps, he thought, from now on, pictures of one would help to remind him of that way of thinking and could calm him.
With a happy sigh, David knew heíd taken something away from this. Heíd had his vacation but had also learned something in the process. Perhaps, things would work out after all.