Chapter 11:

sCene 11 - ᴄan'ᴛ sᴛomaCʜ iᴛ

ᴋraCᴋeᴅ ᴍooN / Kracked Moon

Getting to Jason’s show in a timely manner wasn’t exactly something I ever planned to do. For a few years Jason had been putting on a show for kids in the park and regularly asked me to come. I refused every time, finding some video uploads of the show instead. The videos did not sell me on them very well either, so I continued to refuse. But now that sneaky bastard had a new trick up his sleeve: he knew I wouldn’t tell Nai-bu no. After he invited me, before I could even respond, Nai-bu had messaged me asking to go with her. He got me this time, but he better be ready to never see me at that show again.

The idea was to arrive around 10:30am for the 11am performance. Nai-bu seemed convinced that we needed to show up earlier to “find a seat”, despite me telling her that we’ll be the tallest members of the audience. I wasn’t going to spoil the surprise that it wasn’t really meant for adults, mostly because Nai-bu sounded way too excited about it. My idea was to be ready a bit before 10:30, get dressed, do my makeup, and eat before heading out. Suffice to say I was able to check off the first two items, and had to put some jerky in my bag and try to eat it once we were there. Nai-bu picked me up in her car, and we drove the like five minutes to the park. We honestly could have walked.

The venue was a raised outdoor stage that was a little out of the way for the park. It was deliberately placed as a small events stage, with rows of backless benches as seating. Nai-bu noticed Jason’s merch table upon arriving, which I had to snicker about. Before she thought about buying something, I convinced her to take a seat in the back. She wasn’t exactly thrilled about the spot, but as the families showed up, Nai-bu started to connect some of the dots.

“So his show is family friendly…” She said, looking like she was counting heads. “Does he sing?”

I laughed. “No, he doesn’t sing. He fights for justice.”

The whole shtick to Jason’s show was the inspiration it took from Japanese superheroes. Growing up that’s all he and his dad would watch together, and what he always wanted to be as a kid. By high school he understood how dorky he was being, but once he had some income he thought he should at least try to share his enthusiasm with a new generation. It was cute, but definitely unique. His newest persona was a cyborg man, I think. He kinda looked like Robocop honestly.

As the show began, I started to make jokes to Nai-bu, but she seemed really engrossed in what was going on. Normally a woman, likely a kid’s parent who volunteered, would come out to demonstrate an exercise for the kids. This was how Jason convinced the park he should be allowed to do his show. The kids would then be asked to repeat part of the exercise to cheer on the hero, Silver Justice. From what I saw, they’d mix up how often he might monologue or fight some generic looking bad guys in black spandex with obnoxious masks. Nai-bu was following along like she was one of the kids. She was actually being pretty adorable.

About halfway into the show they do an intermission, normally to encourage families to buy snacks or hydrate their kids. When Nai-bu finally stopped to look at me, she paused.

“Something wrong?” I asked, confused.

“Did you need sunscreen or something? You’re looking a little pink.” She asked, pointing toward my hands and thighs.

This was bad. I could feel my eyes widening as I realized what was going on. Without a word I ran toward the woods, pushing my way through some brush until I could reach a clearing. As I looked down at my hands, my skin was getting patchy, and my nails looked like they were taking over my fingers. I was transforming.

I quickly kicked off my sandals and loosened my pants, trying to expose as much of the small of my back as possible without showing my whole ass. I was beginning to actually feel the effects shortly after. My arms, legs, and most of my body transforming didn’t really create a bad sensation, but when my tail starts to form and my mouth starts to extend into a snout with even larger, sharper teeth, there’s a sort of skin-tugging that happens that can be agonizing. I try to use the pain to keep myself focused, and keep my human brain in command, but the more I transform, the more alien my brain becomes, making choices for me before I can even decide. It was probably a sort of instinct, but it felt like I wasn’t in control of my own body.

I began mapping out how I believed the woods connected home. When was the last time I tried this? Eight years ago maybe? I’m sure I could make it back home without seeing anyone. Can’t hurt anyone if I can’t see them, right? And claws will be good for ripping through foliage. It’ll be a nice time. I’ll just have to apologize to Nai-bu after. That was the idea, at least.

As soon as I heard a rustling my body turned toward it. The scales had fully formed on most of my body, my hands and feet were definitely sharper than before, and my tail and snout were about half their potential length. Once my appearance changed, then my body began trying to grow bigger, which mostly felt like my clothes were getting tighter. My eyes locked onto the rustling, which turned out to be Nai-bu having chased after me.

“Oh no!” She shouted. I knew she didn’t mean it, but her reaction made me feel disgusting.

She began to approach and I shouted, “Stay back!” My voice was much deeper and raspier. I probably sounded like a man.

Thankfully she stood still, but that wasn’t much help. As my body was still trying to change, I could feel the alien parts of my brain calculating about Nai-bu. Imagine if your brain was using quantum physics to decide whether something was worth eating. Now imagine it’s your childhood friend, who unlike a stranger, you have a decent amount of knowledge about the quality of life she had. The more I already know about someone's life, the more appetizing they would seem. Even if I didn’t understand it, I knew it was deciding to go after her.

Trying to find a solution, I noticed she brought my bag. The jerky! If I could convince her to give me the jerky, that should stop the transformation! But I couldn’t use my mouth anymore. My body was refusing. Using all of my willpower, I managed to move my arm to point toward the bag, only to realize I had given the instinctual part of my mind full control. My now absolutely monstrous legs bent at the knees, mouth open wide, ready to pounce.

As I felt my feet lift off the ground, and I begged my body to stop, it did. But not by its own force. Looking down in front of me, I saw Jason, completely out of his costume, holding a metal bat horizontally in my mouth. If my body wasn’t crouching, I likely would have been standing too tall for him to reach my mouth.

“If you have perfume or anything! Spray her face now!” Jason shouted to Nai-bu, struggling to keep me back.

Thinking fast, Nai-bu reached into my bag and found the perfume I usually wear. While my jaw began to crush the bat, Nai-bu sprayed my face, and I began to regain control. I sat down, causing a small shake in the ground.

Jason looked at me, leaving the bat in my mouth. “You really showed up and didn’t even make sure to eat before coming out.” He then looked at Nai-bu. “Did you know she was out here on an empty stomach?”

“We didn’t talk about it.” Nai-bu said. “I didn’t know this would happen. I thought not eating made it harder for her to move.”

“No. Not eating means she’ll transform, and her body will find food.” Jason said, disappointed. “Neither of you apparently take this seriously. Is there at least food in your bag?”

I nodded, with a grunt.

“Good. Eat it and try to get out of the woods discreetly. I’ll see if I can turn up the volume so you can at least HEAR my show.” He said this walking off, back to the stage. Nai-bu tried to apologize, but he didn’t react.

I sat in the clearing for a moment as Nai-bu stared at me, before she realized to check my bag. She found the jerky, and tried to hand it to me.

I crushed the bat in my mouth with my jaw, breaking it, and spitting up its mangled up parts. When I tried to take the jerky, my hands, or really claws now, were too big. Thankfully my body wasn’t growing enough to rip my clothes, but it didn’t care about growing my hands and feet, or even my head. They felt stupidly big, and made it impossible to grab the jerky. I had to be at least twice my regular mass, and likely to keep growing.

Nai-bu slowly walked closer and tried putting bigger pieces of jerky in my mouth. After I ate a few pieces, my body stopped growing, and by the time I finished the bag, my body was reverting back, pretty quickly getting back to the right size.

“It’s different from when you were a kid.” Nai-bu said, taking a few more glances at my body. “When would you have stopped growing?”

“No idea.” I said, finally taking back my mouth. “When I was younger I nearly reached eight feet tall, double my height. This is the furthest I’ve gone since.”

“Before Jason showed up, were you trying to get the jerky from me?” She asked, referring to when my body was going to attack her.

“Y-yeah! It was like instinct! My brain just really wanted to eat!” I laughed, hoping she wouldn’t question it further.

“This is the kind of thing I want to know!” She shouted. I didn’t really understand what she meant, and she could see that on my face. “ should let me hang out with I can know when you’re okay or not.”

It was hard to say no when she put it like that. She genuinely cared. We agreed she could come over sometime the following week, even if I was streaming in-between hanging out.

Once my body was back to normal, maybe a little splotchy under my clothes, we just barely missed the end of Jason’s performance. At the end he always took photos with the kids. First a big group shot, then if any of the kids wanted photos with the hero there would be a chance. As the kids slowly took their turns, Nai-bu wanted us to take a photo too. To her, it would be a nice memory of our time trying to see our friend. To me, it would be a reminder of the danger I was putting her in. I may have eaten, and reverted back to normal, but it wasn’t over. I was still hungry, and I couldn’t get Nai-bu off my mind.