"But you canít cut me off! Iíve got almost no money left in the bank! What am I supposed to do?" Jordan exclaimed to the clerk at the unemployment office. "Please, there must be some way of extending payments! I have maybe a couple months worth of money left in the bank! After that, Iím basically screwed!"
"Iím sorry Mr. Rite, but rules are rules. Weíve had a lot of cutbacks recently and we can only afford to give everyone six months of coverage. If I made an exception for you, Iíd have to make an exception for everyone and we cannot afford to do that," the clerk responded.
"I Ö understand," the twenty eight year old sighed, "and Iím sorry for losing my temper. Itís just so frustrating knowing Iím qualified for so many jobs and to be turned down so much."
"Apology accepted. Believe me, I wish I could help you more. I hate having to cut off support to people, especially with how hard the market is."
They both got up as the clerk printed out his last cheque. She handed it to him and he thanked her before leaving the office.
Eight months ago he lost his job of three years. He had been promoted two times and things had really been looking up when a new manager that he was unable to establish a working relationship with was hired. Over the course of two months, the workplace had become hostile and nearly fifty percent of its employees had quit. One day he found himself called in and being handed his final cheque and two months severance before being escorted out of the building.
As he walked to his car, he wondered what he was going to do. He had exhausted all of his contacts and none of them were able to help. It was very depressing for him, feeling like his career was over before it had a chance to really get off of the ground. Before he could think more of it, he was approached by a man wearing a navy blue suit and pants with black shoes. Fearing he was going to be mugged or car jacked, he went into a defensive posture. This was the last thing he needed.
"I apologize for startling you. My name is Jamie and I work for James Enterprises. We are currently recruiting new employees and are wondering if you are interested," the man said.
Jordan was naturally suspicious. After enduring plenty of rejection over the past six months, suddenly being accosted by two men in a parking lot apparently offering him a job was rather strange.
"Well, considering I just picked up my last unemployment cheque, of course Iím interested in a job."
"Excellent, here is my card," Jamie responded, handing Jordan a business card. "It has my e-mail address on it as well as the URL of our company. If you are interested, please e-mail me a copy of your resume as soon as possible. If your qualifications match what we require, we can arrange an interview."
"What kind of work is this?" Jordan asked.
"In short, we are a company that specializes in software solutions for everything from individual users to international companies. We create, distribute and support dozens of different packages," Jamie responded.
"To completely explain what we do and how we can fit you without our organization, we need to set up an interview. So, please e-mail us your resume as soon as you can. Thank you for your time," Jamie concluded. He shook Jordanís hand before continuing on his way.
Jordan got into his car, putting the card into his wallet. He planned on looking up the companies URL and querying other sources of information about them before applying to them. He was fearful that this was a scam or con of some sort and didnít want to submit any document containing personal and somewhat sensitive information until he knew these people could be trusted.
Arriving home twenty minutes later, he removed his shoes and jacket before walking to his living room computer. Pulling the card out of his pocket, he placed it on the desk to the left of the keyboard.
He looked around the companies website site before checking it out with the Better Business Bureau and found it to have a clean record. Confident it was safe, he submitted his resume.
While he felt guilty for being so suspicious, his caution was not without warrant. Three months ago he had nearly fallen victim to a scam. Responding to a promising ad in the newspaper looking for entrepreneurs, he had arranged an interview. When he arrived, there were several other candidates waiting. They were taken into a room shortly before the police raided the office. Apparently, they had received a great deal of complaints about the company. He soon discovered there was no real job; every one of the candidates would keep paying for packages to get into increasingly bigger deals and once they ran out of money, theyíd never hear from the company again. He counted himself very lucky that he was saved from potentially losing all of his money.
He decided to go to the mall to deposit his unemployment cheque and get supper while he waited for a call. His resume had his cell phone number on it so they could contact him that way.
He got the call at ten the next morning asking to come in for an interview at three that afternoon. The caller happily provided directions to the company before giving him the name of the man that would be interviewing him; Barry Walker. Jordan thanked the caller before ending the call. Something in the back of his mind warned him that all was not what it seemed. He brushed aside the feeling, assuring himself that heíd keep a sharp eye out for anything suspicious. He decided to use the interim to prepare himself for the interview.
When it was time to get ready, Jordan got dressed in his best white shirt, black tie, black suit, pants and good shoes. He made sure to neatly brush his short black hair. He printed out several copies of his resume with his computer and put them neatly into a folder in his briefcase along with his portfolio. With everything set, he locked the house up and drove to the companies location.
The company was located in a twenty story building in an upscale part of the city. Turning towards its parking lot, he stopped at a booth in the median with a barrier across the road. He told the attendant that he was there for an interview, which the attendant confirmed before signing him in, handing him a visitors clip on tag and allowing him to pass.
After parking in a space a short walk from the front doors of the building, he got out of his car and walked to it. He was uncomfortable in the suit and hopeful the company had a casual dress code.
Entering the building, he found the lobby expansive. At least three of the buildings twenty floors were accessible via a staircase. The second and third floor had balconies that looked over the lobby. Several large plants hung from the high ceiling. Admiring the building, Jordan walked up to the reception desk (which backed onto a hallway with several elevators on either side).
A young woman with short red hair and glasses wearing a pretty blue dress attended the reception desk was. She smiled when she saw Jordan, offering her right hand. Jordan gladly shook it.
"Welcome to James Enterprises. How can I help you today?"
"Hi, my name is Jordan and Iím here for an interview with Barry Walker at 3pm."
"Ah," the receptionist cheerfully said, looking at a schedule she had on the desk. "Yes, our security officer Michael can escort you up right away. We just need you to sign in on this form."
Jordan nodded and signed the form with his name and the time he arrived when the secretary presented it for him. With that, she took it back and summoned the security officer. A minute later, a door behind and to her left opened and a tall man with short brown hair dressed in a black security uniform wearing sunglasses walked out. Walking up to Jordan, he smiled and offered his right hand. Jordan shook it as they introduced themselves to each other.
"Welcome to our company Mr. Rite. I hope this is the beginning of a long and prosperous career with us."
Jordan grinned widely and thanked the man before being escorted to the hallway with the elevators where they boarded an elevator and took it to the 13th floor.
Once they arrived at the floor, Michael lead Jordan into a hallway, turning right towards an open lobby like room with two leather sofas separated by potted plants to the right and a wooden desk to the left. In front of them was a set of double wooden doors. Michael introduced Jordan to the secretary, a young man no older then 21 by the looks of him. The young man informed Barry Walker via his telephone that Jordan had arrived before asking Jordan to wait on one of the sofas. Jordan thanked him and sat down as Michael departed.
Jordan didnít have much time to collect his thoughts before a door behind the receptionists desk opened and Barry Walker walked out carrying a suitcase. Barry had long wavy brown hair and was wearing a sports blazer with brown pants and black shoes. He walked over to Jordan, who stood up before they shook hands as they introduced themselves. Barry walked over to the double doors and opened them, leading Jordan into a board room with a long wooden desk, a row of windows with shades drawn and a TV. The walls were lined with pictures of various clients. Barry instructed Jordan to sit across from him on the side of the table facing the windows. Jordan complied and Barry sat across from him. Jordan put his suitcase on the ground and pulled out his portfolio and resumes.
Barry gladly took them, looking over the portfolio for several minutes before going through one of the resumes as Jordan anxiously watched him with his arms folded on the desk. Barry smiled and nodded his head before finally addressing Jordan.
"This is a very impressive portfolio and I see from your resume that your skills are very well up to date and varied."
"Thank you" Jordan answered.
Barry proceeded to ask standard interview questions. Jordan was careful to use tactful when questioned about his last job. Barry response was of understanding, telling Jordan that something similar had happened to him a few years ago and that it was not a problem. He commented that Jordan seemed like a strong willed person that took pride in his work and from the sound of his story, his new manager took little pride in the work and cared more about having an impressive title then anything.
Once the questioning was over, Barry walked over to a desk at the side of the room and picked out a few pieces of paper from it. He walked back over to Jordan and handed them to him.
"Okay Jordan, this is a physiological test that will better help us determine which position will be suitable for you within our organization." Jordan gave the first page a quick look over, very surprised that such a test would be included as part of a job interview. "Please answer each question as truthful as you can as honesty is very important for this test to properly decide which position will be most suitable for you."
"Okay; how long do I have to complete it?" Jordan asked.
"Take as long as you need. Iíll be in the hallway outside, knock on the door when youíre finished," Barry answered as he walked towards and out of the doors, closing them behind him.
Jordan looked down at the test and began reading the first question. He steadily went through the questions, finding them all very intriguing. Some asked him how he would react in hypothetical situations, others asked emotional type questions. While he felt a bit awkward answering some of the questions, a disclaimer assured him that the results would be held in the strictest of confidence. As instructed, he signed where indicated before getting up, walking over to the doors and knocking on them.
Barry quickly opened them and happily took the test, instructing Jordan to wait as they would feed his answers into a computer and soon know what his ideal position would be. Jordan nodded and walked back over to the table, sitting down as Barry closed the doors.
The following twenty minutes of waiting were very nerve racking. The results of the interview and quite possibly the test were going to determine his future. He knew that even if this didnít work out that there were other possibilities but this company seemed like a very nice place and this was somewhere he wanted to work, especially after he heard about what they did.
When the double doors opened and Barry walked back in carrying two full champagne glasses, Jordan stood up. Judging from the manís expression the news was good and when he opened his mouth to speak, Jordan found out.
"The test results are in and I have discussed your interview with three managers and the news is good Mr. Rite, we are prepared to make you an offer!" Jordan thanked him and breathed a sigh of relief. "Now, would you care for a toast to celebrate?"
Jordan ran though the news quickly in his head. Salvation from unemployment appeared at hand. However, this all seemed very fishy, they hadnít of really even discussed what role he would be playing in this company and he was being offered champagne. He had never seen anything like this in previous jobs he had been offered. Normally, the interview would be for a specific position and upon its conclusion, he would go home and wait for a call for either a job offer or to come back for a second interview. he was ecstatic about this apparent job offer but he was also confused about the way it was being delivered. The company appeared legit and certainly, they would have to be to afford such an upscale office. He looked at the champagne and then at Barry, quickly thinking of his reply.
"Thatís great, I was starting to get really worried. Although, Iím going to have to decline the champagne as I donít drink. Thanks anyway though."
Barry almost seemed upset, as if he desperately wanted Jordan to drink the champagne. Jordan did note that Barry planned on drinking some himself, so he doubted it could have been poisoned and couldnít think of any reason the man would want to harm him. Barry appeared to think of his reply for a minute before nodding.
"Thatís perfectly all right Mr. Rite. Would you care to meet one of our other new employees? She just had a successful interview and is in the other room signing some papers. You two actually scored very close on the personality test, Iím sure youíd get along great."
Jordan thought about and quickly responded that he would love to meet what could be one of his new co-workers. Barry smiled and walked out of the room with the glasses in hand. A few minutes later he came back with a young woman Jordanís. She was wearing a blue dress and was a bit shorter then Jordan with light red shoulder length hair. He immediately recognized her. She was a friend and co-worker of his from the company that fired him. She had been fired a day before he was for trying to speak on behalf of the remaining employees.
"Sandra?" he asked.
"Hi Jordan," she responded, smiling obviously happy to see him.
"Oh, I see you two already know each other, well, Iíll let you two to get caught up" Barry said as he left the room and closed the doors.
The young woman walked up to Jordan and hugged him. Jordan felt a bit awkward but returned the gesture, knowing she was happy to see him.
"So, what have you been up to?"
Jordan told her about his difficulties in finding a new job and they talked for several minutes, discussing how they were contacted by the company. It turned out that like Jordan, Sandra was unemployed and they had found her at the unemployment office. Her interview had concluded a few minutes before his began and had pretty much gone the same. It was around then that they both noticed a strange smell in the air.
"Do you smell something?" Jordan asked.
"Yes," Sandra replied, sniffing the air "itís a musky odor, I wonder where itís coming from?"
Jordan also noticed that the room appeared to be getting very warm and he suddenly felt very itchy. Looking towards Sandra, he noticed something terrifying, what appeared to be golden beige fur was growing on her face! As if that werenít enough, his ears seemed almost higher on her head and looked rounder!
It was now so hot that he had to take off his jacket. Placing it on the table, he was shocked when he saw what looked like orange fur growing on his arms. He ran his right hand down his left arm. Under his hand, he could feel the fur pressing against it, as if it were growing!
Suddenly, hearing Sandra scream, he directed his attention to her. She was cupping her jaw with both of her hands and appeared to be in considerable distress. Beads of sweat poured down her face, although with the golden beige fur now almost a pelt, it was difficult to see. Her human hair was falling out in clumps and her ears were near the top sides of her head and were furry and rounded. Here formally blue eyes were now golden brown. All of that wasnít what was most shocking however, he could see something pressing against her hands; her jaw and nose bones were getting longer!
"Whatís happening to me?" she cried, her voice conveying her emotional state rather well.
"I donít know but weíre getting out of here!" Jordan said as he ran toward the door. Unfortunately, upon trying to open it, he found it locked tight. He wasnít about to let that stop him and took a few steps back before running at the doors to try to ram them open. Unfortunately, they didnít budge and all he ended doing was knocking himself to the ground.
"Are you okay?" Sandra asked, her speech sounding lower pitched.
"Yeah, I think so," Jordan responded as he picked himself up.
He turned to see that Sandra was quickly developing a muzzle. He ran to her side in an attempt to comfort her. He was quickly reminded of the fur on his arms and he realized that his chest felt itchy as well. Holding his arms in front of his face, he saw that they were now covered in an orange pelt of fur, worst of yet, the fur appeared to be spreading to his hands!
He wanted to keep a strong front for Sandraís sake, knowing that if he panicked that she would likely completely freak out. His hair was feeling itchy and he felt it brushing against his ears and shoulders! He knew this couldnít be possible as his hair was short. He felt around his head and discovered that his hair was indeed growing! It had already spread down much of the back of his head and was getting very thick, almost like a mane! He managed to grab a lock of it and held it in front of his eyes, it was a deep orange color, a little darker then the fur on his arms.
"You Ö youíre Ö growing a mane!" Sandra yelled, obviously terrified by what was happening. Jordan noticed that she seemed to be having trouble talking. When he looked at her and saw she now had a blunt muzzle complete with whiskers and black nose, he had his answer as to why. He could also see that the rest of her human hair was gone and her head was complete covered in fur! It was no longer a human head, and looked like the head of a large cat. It quickly dawned on him, he was growing a mane and she had the head of a feline, they were becoming lions! "Why Ö are they Ö doing this Ö to us Ö" she tried to say, her voice becoming increasingly low and growling like until she completely lost the ability to speak!
She started to panic and darted her head back and forth, obviously looked for a means of escape. Jordan ran up to her, his chest feeling warm and hands feeling strange as he put them on her shoulders.
"We need to stay calm, whatever is happening, we need to keep our cool. Looking at his hands, he saw that the fingers were getting much thicker, almost paw like. He looked at his coat and then back at Sandra. "I have a cellphone in my jacket, my hands arenít going to be useful like this, I need you to call for help.
Sandra sadly nodded and ran over to his coat, quickly reaching into the inner pocket. Pulling out the cellphone, she turned it on, unfortunately, it could not find a signal. Shaking her head, she ran it over to him and showed him the display. He could only guess that the signal was somehow being blocked. Right there and then it became painful obvious that this was the companies doing. He didnít know why or why they were being turned into animals but at this point, it seemed moot.
His mane now completely developed, his face began to itch and ache as orange fur started growing on it and the bones began changing from human to feline. By now, his hands were more or less paws, compete with pads and vicious looking claws. His chest was incredibly itchy and his shirt felt tight. Sandra could see orange fur poking out from under it and could sense his discomfort. She quickly walked over to him and unbuttoned the shirt. Jordan quickly threw it off, letting it fall to the ground.
With it off, he was able to see the extent of the changes to his torso. Much of his chest was covered in a thick orange pelt and his mane merged into a tuft of dark orange fur that ran down his chest and stomach towards his groin.
Sandra ran a thickening nail down his chest with her right index finger. Jordan could see that fur was growing on her arms and that her fingers and hands were thickening. Suddenly broken from her trance, she started itching her chest furiously.
Jordanís jaw was already well on itís way to growing into a muzzle and he could feel his tongue thickening as his teeth grew into vicious sharp fangs. While he couldnít see it, a quick feel of his head revealed his ears were like Sandraís, round and near the top of his head. Sandra wanted to tell him about his eyes turning from green to brown but unable to speak, she could only watch.
Jordanís pants felt very constrictive as his waist and hips began expanding. He however, was distracted by the fact that Sandra was in the process of ripping her dress off with what were now sharp claws on paws. As the remains of her dress fell to the ground, he could see that her chest was covered in a pelt of white fur with golden beige on the rest of her torso. Her breasts were getting smaller, but she didnít seem to mind. She gently touched her belly fur, growling apparently in enjoyment until she produced an almost purring like sound.
"SandraÖ noÖ donít let theÖ instincts get youÖ fight it.. you have toÖ,"unfortunately, Jordan was unable to finish that sentence before his jaw had completed changing into a muzzle, his vocal cords becoming those of a lion, making human speech impossible.
To say that Jordan was afraid at this point would have been an understatement. He was terrified beyond belief. What made matters far worse was that he could feel instincts forming, he could feel a desire to roar building. He knew he had to fight it but it was becoming more difficult by the minute. This wasnít what he wanted, he wanted to be human, not an animal! Even if the species he was becoming was a Ďcoolí one, this wasnít what he wanted! He tried to think of his friends and family, how was he going to let them know of what was happening to him? Would they even know?
Unfortunately, he couldnít complete that thought before his belt finally buckled under the strain his expanding hips were putting it through. His pants now much more free fell down his legs along with his boxers. At this point, nudity didnít seem to be an issue, so he kicked them aside. He was able to see that his legs were getting furry and that his feet were getting thicker and longer.
Looking at Sandra, he saw she had done away with her undergarments and that the fur had covered much of the rest of her body. Her could see her chest starting to barrel out as her feet began shifting into a digitigrade stance. Her legs were getting shorter but thicker and she seemed to be losing her balance.
Jordan on the other hand was watching his feet grow thicker as his toes widened. He could feel pads developing on the bottom of his feet. He felt oddly strong, as if his muscle mass were doubling and then tripling. His legs were getting shorter but also thicker and much stronger as his own feet slowly made their way from plantigrade to digitigrade.
He heard a snapping like sound as Sandra suddenly fell onto all fours, her hips reforming onto a shape and position for such a posture. As she landed on the ground with a light thud, the bones in her neck were already re-aligning. Jordan could see a stub developing from her tailbone. She seemed to be in pain, so he walked over to her, a process that proved rather difficulty with his changing feet and legs.
Sandra was growling, not just from pain but also from frustration. As her head turned to face him, Jacob could see the frustration in her eyes. This was a completely unbelievable thing that was happening to her and worst of all, he could see her struggling with instinct and animal emotion in a desperate attempt to stay in control.
As he stood to her left petting her back to try to comfort her, her felt his own balance wavering. Her tail was nearly fully formed and was quite long, nearly a meter with a tuft of black fur at the tip. She started waving it back and forth as she gained control of it.
Jordan felt a tingling at the base of his spine and right away knew what was coming. He was starting to breathe deeply in terror. Before him, Sandra had become a lioness and he could see that she was fighting a losing battle with the instincts. If that werenít bad enough, he was becoming a lion as well and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Although it was difficult, he managed to reach his right paw around and touched his growing tail. He couldnít yet control it but could feel the paw touching it. The sensation was both terrifying and fascinating at the same time.
Staying on two feet was becoming increasingly difficult, and it soon became impossible when he felt his hips snapping and shifting. He was soon forced onto all fours, first looking down towards the ground. That was quickly fixed when the bones in his neck changed and his head quickly aligned to be looking forward when on four feet. He felt his tail brushing against his legs and seconds later gained full control over it. As he swished it back and forth, he became aware of another scent in the room, the scent was coming from Sandra.
The musky odor that had apparently caused their changes disappeared but neither of them seemed to care, they were both fixated on each other.
Jordan slowly walked over to Sandra, at first he walked awkwardly as he needed to learn how to walk as a quadruped. He would have expected this learning to take place over several days or even weeks. Somehow and someway however, he learned it almost instantly and soon found himself walking naturally this way.
A million thoughts were rushing through his mind. Why had they done this to Sandra and himself? What would become of them? Could they ever be human again? When the doors to the room opened, they stood beside each other with trepidation and anticipation.
Three men walked into the room, Sandra and Jordan recognized the lead man, it was Jamie Shipley, the man that approached them in the first place. They both growled and were ready to rip him to bits. This man had set them up and now they had lost their humanity. Sandra slowly walked towards him, growling loudly.
Both she and Jordan saw Jamie was flanked by two burley looking men in security uniforms brandishing rifles. While both Jordan and Sandra were struggling with instincts, both of their minds were still intact enough to recognize the guns and knew the men meant business. Sandra stopped her approach and sat down as Jordan walked up beside her.
"Iím glad to see you two are finished, I see that youíve turned out quite well," he said as he walked up to the duo. He first petted Sandraís back, she growled at him but knowing biting him would invite being shot, held her ground. "Yes, youíre a very beautiful specimen," waking over to Jordan he did the same, gently stroking the fur on his back. "A very handsome specimen."
He finally walked back and stood in front of them, getting ready to explain himself.
"Well, Iím sure you both want to know what is going on and why we have done this to you." Well, that was an understatement from Jordanís point of view. He most definitely wanted to know what was going on. This was supposed to be an interview for a new job, not an interview for becoming a new species! "I can tell you two are very upset, I donít blame you or hold any violent thoughts you are no doubt experiencing against you. You see, this company is merely a facade for what we are really doing. We are in actuality, operating a soon to be opened zoo about a hundred kilometers from here. Animals are not always the easiest things to come by, so we are acquiring our specimens by turning people into them. Those tests you did were used to determine the best species for both of you. Should you have turned out to be species we already had, you would have been sent on your way and told that we couldnít find a suitable position for you."
Jordan was furious, after all his education, his experience and everything in life, he was going to live out his life as a lion in a zoo? This was not what he wanted. He may have wanted a job with a company with a casual dress code but he wanted to wear more then just his fur!
"Now, before you get too upset, please look at it differently. You were both struggling to find jobs and were facing financial disaster in a tough job market. You wonít have to worry about getting jobs or paying bills anymore nor will you have to worry about what youíre going to wear tomorrow. All of your food and medical needs will be taken care of and I assure you that we have a very large habitat ready. You are a part of our family now and will be well treated."
While Jordan found a certain appeal to not having to worry about paying bills and other human responsibilities, this didnít mean he was willing to give up his humanity. He had no idea how he would ever take himself seriously as an animal? He didnít really want to find out. He started darting his head back forth, trying to figure out a means of escape. He looked at Sandra and could tell she was thinking of similar concerns and was thinking the same thing.
"Donít concern yourself with records of where you went, we will take care of that all. As far as anyone is concerned, this is what you always were. Let go of human concerns and responsibility, allow yourselves to exist and enjoy lifeís simpler pleasures. Believe me when I say there are a lot of ways to enjoy life when you donít need to worry about work or money. Your homes will both be sold, the money donated to charities, so donít concern yourself with that either."
The reality of this was quickly sinking in, they really were about to become zoo animals and were going to live their lives out as such. Jordan couldnít accept this. He looked Sandra and she looked at him. They both nodded and bolted for the door. With his immense strength, it was easy for Jordan to knock Jamie over as Sandra ran ahead of him.
Seeing Jamie knocked onto his back and into the guards, Jordan grunted at him before running out into the hallway. Sandra was already at the elevators and jumping at the button in a desperate attempt to press it. Jordan could hear Jamie and the guards getting up as Jamie barked orders to them.
At that moment, Sandra managed to press the button. They waited for the doors to open as Jamie and the guards were getting closer. Just as the doors opened, one of the guards fired, a tranquilizer dart striking Jordan in the side. As he fell to the ground, he struggled to stay conscious. Sandra knelt down and kicked him in the muzzle. Jordan, shook his head, pointing into the elevator for her to go without him.
Just as Jordan passed out, Sandra stood up. She was not about to leave Jordan there by himself and leaped at Jamie. Unfortunately, the other guard shot her, the dart striking her just above the belly. Although she landed on her feet, she was already getting dizzy. As the world grew fuzzier by the second, she fell to the ground, struggling to stay awake.
"A valiant effort, but you have no choice but to stay with us. I assure you that in time you will grow accustomed to being this way and soon, you wonít want to go back. Now, stop fighting it and go to sleep, weíll take good care of you."
Just before she passed out, she heard someone call her and Jordan a cute couple.
The world slowly came back into focus as Jordan opened his eyes. He wasnít sure where he was, but he could see a female lion sleeping in front of him. The realization that he was waking up next to a lion, quickly brought him to his senses and he soon bolted up. He was still feeling a bit dizzy and was going to run away from her when he realized he was standing on all fours. He looked himself over as best as he could, quickly realizing what had happened was real. He wasnít just standing beside a lion, he was a lion!
He did a quick mental check, he was a lion standing beside a female lion. A quick look confirmed he was still male, at least he still had that. He appeared to be in a Savannah type environment.
The dizziness was quickly fading so his first thoughts were escape. He had to find a way out of there and tell the world what these people were doing. To acclimate to walking on all fours, he slowly walked around the enclosure as a gently breeze blew across it. Getting used to walking on all fours was surprisingly easy; it was as if his brain was already adjusted to it. He tried not to dwell on that fact and walked around the enclosure. The air felt strange against his fur, and for a few seconds he felt a bit embarrassed at his complete lack of clothing. He walked for a short while, admiring how well this enclosure was built. For a time, he thought he was in the wild; that was until he saw a wall in the distance; it seemed he was in a zoo or wildlife refuge. Oddly enough, those words didnít seem to hold as much meaning for him as he expected they would. It was as if he knew what they meant but the words didnít matter to him anymore.
He tried to shake those feelings off, he knew they meant he was already starting to think more like the animal he now was. He tried to remind himself that it didnít matter what his body looked like, he was still himself and he needed to escape and find a cure for this before he lost himself in it.
Walking up to the tall concrete walls, he quickly discovered that they were too tall to jump over and he could never climb them. He ran back in frustration to where Sandra was laying. There was a large metal door where it seemed people would use to give them food. He considered using it to escape when they entered to feed him or clean the enclosure. However, even if he did what would he do? A quick test of his voice confirmed it was the voice of a lion and not of a human. Even if he did manage to escape and find a human not in on the plan, he wouldnít be able to speak and tell them who he really was! He was also sure the guards were prepared for any escape attempt.
A feeling of sadness began to run through him, for this arrangement was starting to look permanent. Could he ever be human again? Would he live out his life in this zoo? Would he be able to adapt to that life? Did he want to live out his life as an lion in a zoo? He knew he had little choice either way and it seemed he had two choice; either go insane thinking of himself as human trapped in the body of a beast and forever trying to escape or accept his new role in life. But, could he really so casually accept being a lion? Could he really accept losing his humanity? His human life? His human hopes and dreams? As a human, an important part of his happiness came from the hope of bettering himself in life, there was always something more he could achieve, some way he could become a better person. As a lion, the way he was now would be it, this would always be his existence, there would be little hope for more.
He plopped down in front of the female lion that was Sandra (his sense of them told him who she was) and started whimpering. It seemed the option of slowly going insane was the one he had chosen for how he could keep his sanity like this? While the enclosure was large and beautiful and idyllic, this was not the life he wanted. Without a reliable means of escape, it seemed this would be his existence whether he wanted it or not, so he pictured it. After a few minutes he noticed his thoughts were growing foggy. Lion Instinct was starting to overcome him and human worries seemed increasingly distant. He got up, desperate to try to think of something human and concentrate on it. It seemed like the more he thought of his lion existence, the stronger and more compelling his instincts grew.
No matter how hard he tried to think of something human, he found himself losing interest in it. Human concerns didnít matter to him anymore now that he was a lion. He soon realized that this life wouldnít be so bad. While it was true his life would be static like this, there was a certain pace that came from that. Without human concerns and responsibilities, he could focus more on simply enjoying existing and being alive. While the instincts were scary, He was still himself, and his memories were intact. While they would take time to get used to, he realized they would be a helpful guide for his new existence. Looking into the distance he let out a mighty roar.
His roar woke up Sandra and she started to stir. While Jordan still knew her name, somehow, it didnít seem to mean as much, for that was a human means of identification. He gently licked the side of her muzzle as she slowly opened her eyes and started to stand up. Knowing he was with a female of his new species made him realize they could build a family together. Perhaps what they had lost could be regained in a new form.
He stood back and watched as Sandra slowly arose, gasping when she realized she was on all fours. She started frantically looking around before wobbly walking towards Jordan. When she reached him, she sniffed him and looked him in the eyes. He nodded towards her to indicate that yes this was real, they really were lions. She shook her head and growled before backing off. She was getting a little more comfortable on her feet and walked towards the walls of the enclosure. Jordan followed as her walking quickened into a running.
When they reached the walls surrounding the large enclosure, Sandra pawed at the walls, growling out of anger in a desperate attempt to escape. She ceased the activity after several minutes when she realized it was pointless. She looked at Jordan, he could see the fear and upset in her eyes. While he was starting to accept this, it was clear she had not. He could sense her struggling with instincts and wished he could talk to her to help her calm down. She lay down, looking dejected and starting whimpering.
He gently rubbed up against her, hoping to comfort her. She looked him in the eyes, seeing that he was calmer helped her somewhat but knowing she was stuck like this and he was as well was very hard to accept. He felt really bad seeing her like this. Thinking of a plan, he ran up to the wall and stood on his hind legs on it. He growled at her, trying to tell her to climb on him and use him to propel herself over the wall and to freedom.
She got up and walked over to him. Climbing on top of him, she stood on her own hind legs. Unfortunately, the wall was still too high for her to reach. Climbing off of him, she walked away from it as she followed. She nuzzled his face to thank him for trying. Her touch was warm and pleasant.
Looking up at the wall, she made a sound that sounded very much like a sigh. She was starting to realize that even if she did escape, using the method they had tried would mean leaving him behind and she didnít want that. She went through much the same realization that Jordan had; even if they did escape, without the ability to speak, telling anyone the truth of their identities was highly unlikely.
Walking back deeper into the enclosure as Jordan followed, she stopped and looked him over. Jordan wished he could tell her he was there for her and that they could adjust to this new existence together. Perhaps she could sense it from him, or perhaps she herself was starting to slowly accept this. When she looked less pained and more relaxed, Jordan felt better. He knew that she wouldnít instantly accept to being a lion and start acting like a natural one; this was going to take time for them both. But, what was important was that they had each other, so even if in the most difficult stages of their adjustment to their new life, they could take comfort that neither was alone.
Being alone with a female of his new species suddenly had him feeling rather frisky. With a growl that sounded remarkably like human chuckling, he rolled onto his back and playfully looked at Sandra. She looked at him curiously, at first afraid to touch his belly or lay on top of him. Jordan nodded, indicating it was indeed all right. She, after all was a lion, as was he. Playing with each other was hardly improper.
She at first batted at his chest and suddenly feeling playful herself, pounced on him before they started wrestling. Playing was incredibly fun, giving both a sense of freedom that neither had experienced since childhood. Despite all of both had lost, it seemed they had gained just as much.
In the distance, Jamie watched as they wrestled and played. These two would make fine additions to their family.