26,061 / 50,000
Woooooo! Halfway there! And we reach the point in the story I'd been wanting to reach to kick things off.
Yes, that's my idea of what to do at the halfway mark. =)
With the glow faded away, it was clear that something drastic had happened. Something that could only be attributed to the strange energy Doctor McKenzie had discovered.
Laying there on the bed, where Brendan's body should be laying - Alive? Dead? Alphonse couldn't tell - was the figure of a young woman.
Alphonse did not know what to make of the situation. There was no way she could have snuck into the room, the window's were unable to be opened. Even if she had, how could she have known to do it at the precise moment the room was bathed in a light that reduced visibility to zero? No one knew that was coming, not even Alphonse himself, and this was his project.
The project. Could this have somehow been caused by the emitter, he wondered. Could it have somehow, as absurd as it may seem, have transformed Brendan into the woman before him? Alphonse ran that concept through his mind a few times, not wanting to believe it. It strained even his mind, which often times would believe in ridiculous propositions like the one he was currently faced with.
It was one thing to believe in UFOs, and bigfoot, but another to be confronted with such a clear cut thing as what lay before him now. Even with the evidence, it was astounding.
He ascribed to the great phrase by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, though. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
Since Alphonse was unable to find any means for this woman to have removed Brendan and substituted herself for him, she simply must somehow be him, unexplainably transformed.
She - He? Alphonse was unsure what he should refer to the person as - was dressed in the hospital gown the medical staff had changed Brendan into, but it bulged in odd places, and did not do so in others, clearly female underneath the barely suitable clothing.
Unlike Brendan, which Alphonse found odd to think, as the person laying there was Brendan, this woman's hair was long, and a golden blonde, no longer his normal shaggy brown.
There was quite an abundance of it, as well. The hair still had Brendan's scraggly quality to it, and was in need of a good brushing out. Once that was done, however, Alphonse estimated that it would reach down past Brendan's shoulders easily, and likely down to his middle of the back. It appeared to be quite thick, as well.
The face of the woman looked nothing like Brendan at all. His constant five o'clock shadow, made even worse by his several days of unconciousness in this very bed, was gone, and replaced with smooth, soft cheeks and chin, without a trace of facial hair at all.
She had a small nose, and soft features, starkly contrasting Brendan's sharp, almost angular features, and distinct nose as well. Her lashes were quite longer, and she had full soft lips that would surely draw the attention of anyone who saw her.
If those didn't get a person's attention, then the rest of her body surely would. Even laying down, her breasts were quite noticeable beneath the gown, jutting out of Brendan's once-flat chest. The curves continued downwards as one would expect them to do. It was hard to tell exactly, underneath the voluminous garment, but he could see that Brendan's hips were now wider, and fuller, and they also appeared to sit higher on the bed, indicating a newly reformed posterior sitting atop it.
By the sight of Brendan's chest, it was much much more readily clear that it was rising up and down with the added depth to it. Alphonse was relieved and hopeful that his friend, however different now, was still alive. If this did prove to be his old friend.
Brendan still appeared to be his same height of 5'9", but the new proportions of this sudden change of gender had given him a long pair of legs, smooth and with their own share of curves to them, as far as Alphonse could see of them.
This newly created girl also had smaller feet than Brendan, as well as hands. Her wrists were slender and soft, and almost seemed like they could easily be broken like a branch off a tree, if someone barely even tried.
Nary a blemish could be seen upon her flesh, from what little of it Alphonse could see, even somehow clearing away the scars that Brendan had inflicted upon himself throughout the years.
There was one in particular on his left hand that Alphonse was always able to see, that he had been told Brendan had received accidentally while doing some whittling on a camping trip. It looked like an inverted J on his index finger, but now it was completely gone.
In every respect he could think of, this woman was almost the complete opposite of Brendan Conrad. Where he had dark hair, she had light, and much longer. He was a lean, slightly muscular man covered in marks of all kinds, where she was a soft, slender woman with every curve filled out, and no marks at all. The only linking factor was that they were the same height.
Alphonse finally tore his eyes away from his possibly transformed friend. He was ashamed to have been staring as much as he was, because he knew his interest was not purely scientific, as much as that may have indeed been his primary goal. Staring at a prone woman was creepy enough, but when he took the circumstances of just who and what this woman could turn out to be, he had to call a halt upon his own behaviour, despite his fascination with what had occurred.
He could feel his cheeks flushing with colour as blood raced through them. He turned away from the young woman - from Brendan, he reminded himself - and composed himself. He was a doctor, a professional. There was no reason this should be getting to him so much, even if he was a man, and the body was apparently that of a woman. From everything he could see, and he certainly was not going to investigate any further than he had without permission, that was undisputably a woman.
With his composure returned, Alphonse took a deep breath, calmed his mind, and turned back towards his transformed friend. She/he still lay there, unmoving aside from her breathing.
Alphonse reached out a shaking hand, part of him hoping this was some weird dream, and he was suffering from brain damage, either from the experiment gone awry that had caused all this, or from being flung out the door just a half hour ago.
Or maybe it was some form of waking delerium, and touching this foreign body in front of him, would bring him back to reality, and the delusion would fade away, and everything would be normal.
But none of that was why he was shaking. While he may not have had the best luck with girls, and was very shy around them - which certainly contributed to the jittering hand - that wasn't it either.
Alphonse could not help thinking this was real. He was a scientist after all, and everything showed him how real it was. Would it even still be Brendan inside there? What if he didn't wake up, and just remained in some sort of coma, but trapped as this beautiful, young woman?
Even worse, what if Brendan was in there, and did wake up? What if he blamed McKenzie for everything that had happened to him? He would certainly be entitled, as Alphonse certainly blamed himself for it all. That was at the heart of his fear.
He would be greatful to have his friend alive and well, no matter the form he now took. However, if he wanted nothing more to do with Alphonse, that would destroy him. He would gladly shoulder the blame for everything that had happened, but Brendan was such an important part of his life. To lose him due to an accident was one thing, but to have him live, and sever all ties would be another matter entirely.
All these thoughts raced through the aging doctor's mind when all he intended to do was try and wake his transformed friend up from what he hoped was meerly a state of rest after the sudden glow, pain, and changes he had been through.
He steeled himself for whatever his actions could bring, knowing, no hoping, that Brendan would wake up anyways and discover what had happened. It would be better if he had a friend here, a friendly face, to ground himself after the shock. At least, that was what Alphonse hoped would be the case.
He took one last pause, with his hand hovering in the air, as if he was reaching out to grab something just out of reach. Grabbing the shoulder of what was once a young man, he could feel how different it was. He had often found occasion to place his hand there, before this. As a show of support, or one of encouragement, or after a job well done, for starters.
While the shape was generally the same, it was still a shoulder after all, it was different from Brendan's usual shoulder. The shape was slightly changed, in no way that Alphonse could put a finger on, not to mention softer, and fleshier.
He didn't grip too hard, and gave the young woman a gentle shake. Her hair tossed around on the pillow where it had piled on top. The pillow was almost entirely consumed by the golden waves of hair, as if it had sprouted forth from the head as it lay there on the pillow, which would not have surprised Alphonse to learn that is exactly what had occurred.
The woman let out a small noise. A mutter, a moan, and shook her head beyond what Alphonse's own shaking of her should have caused. He ceased his attempts to rouse her, and took a step back, waiting for her to finish awakening herself.
Her long lashes fluttered open, blinking back the light from the windows, much as Brendan had done not that long before. Brendan's once-hazel eyes were now a bright, shimmering blue, as blue as a perfectly clear sky, and even that felt somehow inadequate to describe them.
Something in those eyes still gave off a definite feeling of Brendan within that form. The eyes were the window to the soul, and while the house may be different, there was still something undeniably the same in those eyes that darted around the room.
The eyes fell upon Alphonse, who stood there, waiting to find out who would speak, hoping it truly was Brendan laying there, as much as his mind refused to believe the possibility.
"Tell me I wasn't out for another couple days, Al." The voice that flowed past those lips was as different from Brendan's as the rest of his transformation. It came out soft, with less gruffness to it than he was used to hearing from Brendan. And naturally, it was considerably higher than his usual rich, bass tone as well. It was in a lower register for a female, but definitely the voice of a woman that came out of that mouth. And yet, it still held that eerie calmness that Brendan always had, even in the worst of situations.
Alphonse wondered how long that calm would remain once Brendan realised what had happened to his body while he was unconcious this time.