Gary grumbled while he swung his arms to get out most of the water. ‘Da-amn it a-all.’ he said, walking back to the edge of the park. ‘Why-y me-ee? A-and why-y thi-is horri-ible a-acce-ent?’ He decided to keep his mouth shut for the rest of the night and other nights, sticking to grumbling instead.
He had nearly reached the street when he heard a rustle in the thick bushes ahead of him, shifting his heart into overdrive. He held his breath, cursing himself for forgetting about the night before. He peered at the shadows around the bushes, then saw two yellow lights appear, stopping his heart.
A few punches to his chest made Gary’s heart beat fast again and he swallowed a big lump down his throat. ‘Goo-ood do-oggy..’ he said, stepping back carefully. ‘Ni-ice do-oggy..’ A snarl made him jump. ‘O-okay.. Ma-aybe no-ot so ni-ice.’
He only saw what he thought was the biggest frigging dog he had ever seen for a split second while turning around before running away again. “Where the hell did that thing come from!?” he thought, kicking up a cloud of grass and ground after him. “Shitshitshitshitshit.” He heard the growl and breathing of the dog getting closer to his left and ran to the right. It caught up with him to his right and he ran to the left, then left again, right, left again and nearly tripped trying to brake, tumbling into the thick hedge in front of him.
Gary pulled himself out of the branches, turning quickly to see he had been herded into a part of the park with a hedge enclosing it on three sides and the dog sitting at the open side with a wide grin on its face. ‘Shit!’ he said, distracted by the lack of accent for a moment, then focused on the situation again. There was enough light for him to see this was no ordinary dog. It looked a lot more like a huge wolf he once saw in a nature documentary. “You got to be kidding me..” he thought. “Not only do I turn into a sheep at night, but I also have to deal with a wolf now!? Did I skip dimensions and fell into a twisted cartoon reality!?”
The wolf stood up on all fours and Gary looked around quickly for a way to escape. His panic grew as it came closer and he saw no other way out but the one behind the wolf. “Imgoingtobekebabandtheresnotevengarlicsaucetoeatmewith.” he thought, hopping from one foot onto the other, clutching his hands together in front of his chest when he saw a stick lying on the ground next to him. He froze in his place looking at it, then at the wolf, then back at the stick. “Nooo.” he thought and groaned at the idea forming in his head. “This can’t be happening.” The wolf moved closer and he sighed deep. “To hell with it then.” he thought and grabbed the stick, waving it in front of him.
The wolf stopped and started wagging its tail slowly. ‘Wa-ant to pla-ay?’ Gary called out. ‘Wa-ant to fe-etch?’ The wolf started following the stick and growled playfully. ‘Ca-atch it the-en.’ he said and threw the stick as far as he could behind the wolf. It jumped up and ran after it. It took a moment for the realisation to sink in that his idiotic plan actually worked, then started the sprint to the other side when the wolf suddenly stopped, looked back at him and growled. “Oh crap!” he thought as the wolf ran towards him.
Desperate to get away he kept on running while the wolf came rapidly closer. “Makeitmakeitmakeit!” he thought, his vision narrowing toward the end of the hedge. He got close when he saw the wolf jump at him and instinctively put his head down and ducked towards the wolf. The next moment he felt the impact of the wolf’s body against his horns and saw how it tumbled over his head with a loud yelp, landing and rolling on the ground behind him.
Panic kept him going and he ran all the way out of the park, reaching the entrance to his apartment building in the blink of an eye and panted hard, leaning against the wall. He looked up and down the street but saw no sign of the wolf, nor heard anything but the usual silence of the town at night. “Made it.” he thought, the adrenalin shaking his body while he tried to breath deep and calm down. When his legs felt strong enough to carry him upstairs he climbed up the stairs, too tired to care about the noise from his hooves. He walked down the hallway to his apartment when one of the neighbours opened the door, curious to see what made a noise in the middle of the night.
‘What the..?’ the balding, middle aged man in dressing gown said and stared at Gary from his doorway.
Gary looked at the man for a moment. ‘I’m no-ot rea-eally he-ere.’ he said. ‘You shou-ould get ba-ack to be-ed and sleep.’
‘U-huh.’ the man said, and backed away.
‘A-also, stop dri-inking so mu-uch.’
The man nodded and closed the door slowly.
Gary let out a sigh and went into his own apartment, finding the cypher lock on the floor. Where it had been screwed against the door were now a couple of imprints of hooves. “Okay then.” he thought and went to bed.
His neck felt stiff and sore as did his upper back when Gary woke up the next morning. He massaged it while showering with hot water but it didn’t bring much relief. Putting on his shirt took some effort and moving his head was something he avoided. He wanted to take the day off but with two appointments he had to go to the office and would have to just bare with it.
The whole adventure from the night replayed in his mind again while he walked out the door and locked it.
‘Good morning Gary.’ said Suzy behind him.
‘Goo-.’ started Gary then winced from the pain when he turning his head.
‘Gary, what’s wrong?’ she asked, moving quickly closer.
He groaned, trying not to move his arms. ‘I must have slept in a bad position or something and now my neck’s sore as hell.’
Suzy held up her hands. ‘Shall I give you a quick massage?’ she asked. ‘I have some experience because Johan has an issue with his shoulders and I give him a shoulder massage on occasion to loosen him up.’
‘That would be great.’ said Gary, already feeling better from her suggestion. ‘Thank you.’
She let her bag down on the floor and the touch of her hands, gently moving along his neck muscles, made him smile wide for a moment before her got a grip on himself.
‘If I didn’t have appointments today I would have stayed at home to rest.’ he said. ‘Luckily I have the last one after lunch so I can take off early and lie down for the rest of the afternoon.’
‘That’s good then.’ she said. ‘If you don’t give it enough rest it’ll just get worse.’
Gary closed his eyes, wondering if he dared to ask her to do this again tonight. Or maybe that would be too quick and he shouldn’t ask before tomorrow. She pressed her hands a little firmer and he forgot about all his worries.
‘There.’ she said and pulled back. ‘Can’t massage too firm or long if it’s really sore. The muscles need to recover slowly.’
He turned around. ‘Thanks. My neck feels better already.’
‘No problem.’ she said, bend to pick up her bag and winced.
‘What’s wrong?’ asked Gary, taking her by her shoulders. ‘Did you hurt yourself?’
‘Ah, I guess we both have a sore spot.’ she said, rubbing her stomach gently. ‘I, eh, accidentally tripped and hit my chest on the drawer.’
‘You didn’t break anything, did you?’ he asked, picking up her bag.
She shook her head. ‘No, but I’ll feel the bruise for a while whenever I bend.’ she said, taking the bag from him. ‘Thanks.’
He gave her a gentle smile. ‘Okay. If you need any help until you’re healed, just knock on my door.’
She smiled back at him. ‘Thanks. And if you need help, knock on mine.’
‘Deal.’ he said.
They stood for a moment when Gary’s mobile chimed. He quickly took it out of his pocket and silenced it. ‘Reminder of my first appointment. I’d better be going.’
‘Yeah.’ she said and they walked down to the street.
‘Oh, by the way.’ she said. ‘I asked but I didn’t hear anyone about a wolf roaming around.’
‘Wolf?’ he said. ‘I thought I said wild dog?’
‘Oh right!’ she said, clutching her bag. ‘That’s what I meant. I was just thinking about wolves because of a documentary I saw last night.’ She looked around. ‘Wolves wouldn’t come here anyway, so there’s nothing like that going around at night.’
‘Okay.’ he said, pondering about a valid excuse to tell her he did met a wolf last night but didn’t find one. ‘Okay then. Maybe it was just a dog that got lost for a night.’
‘Yeah, that could have been it.’ she said. ‘I wouldn’t worry about it.’
‘I guess I’ll see you later then.’ Gary said. ‘Take care you don’t strain yourself.’
‘You too.’ Suzy said and they exchanged a quick wave before going their separate ways.
Gary did manage to go home early and took a long nap on his couch. By the time he woke up his body started to grow his wool coat and he groaned. ‘There we go again.’ he said and took off his clothes unconsciously. He became vaguely aware of the transformation of his body, a sensation like popping muscles and joints while tensing the whole body.
He held up his hands, watching through a haze as the wool grew thicker and his nails turned hard and black. His upper and lower legs became shorter and thicker with muscle while his feet elongated, his toes changing into cloven hooves. A strange itch at his temples was caused by his curved horns growing.
During all this the smell of grass and leaves became stronger, filling his nose and making his stomach growl. He liked the smell of grass when it was mowed or after rain, but he never felt hungry from it before. Swaying a little on his feet, he moved to the window and smelled the air outside, getting a notion of why he woke up in the park each time.
Still as if he was watching it all from a distance, he walked out the door, cautiously looking around while going down to the street and heading to the park. He was glad his sheep conscious didn’t bolt out the door thoughtlessly but actually took care to not be seen.
The park was quiet as usual and he choose a patch close to the pond to go down on hands and knees and sniff the grass. Dread for what would happen next grew in the back of his mind.
“Nooo!” he thought. “Stop it!”
He chewed the grass with a frown. “Damn.”
He couldn’t fight the hunger instinct and tried to ignore the taste of grass while he still had no control over his sheep alter ego. Instead he tried to keep an eye out for any sign of the wolf, expecting to see it again at any moment.
After some time, Gary finally regained control over his body and stood up, spitting out the grass he was chewing on. “Bah!” he thought. “Need to buy more mouthwash tomorrow.”
He didn’t wait another second before hurrying back to the edge of the park, looking left and right for the wolf. Close to the street he slowed down, turning around to make sure he wasn’t followed, walking backwards slowly. With the park still empty he dared to let out a sigh of relief, turned around again and bleated when the wolf jumped at him from behind the low bushes at the sidewalk.
The wolf threw Gary on his back as it pounced him. He shut his eyes in fear and tried to push it away. When it suddenly stopped moving his fear made place for curiosity.
He opened one eye carefully to see the wolf staring at him in shock. He wondered what happened when he noticed the soft sensation in his hands. His eye moved from the wolf’s blue eyes down to where his hands were, seeing his hands were filled what could only be a pair of furry breasts.
He bleated in shock at the same time as the wolf yelped and jumped back, clutching its chest with its arms. ‘So-orry!’ he said, crawling back. ‘I didn’t mea-ean to!’
The wolf didn’t stay to listen and ran off, leaving a confused Gary behind. He stood up and walked home, wondering what exactly had happened and went to bed.
He looked at his hands, remembering the soft sensation. ‘Wow.’ he said and fell asleep with a smile on his face.