(femdom, omnipotence, various physical transformations, mind control, corruption)
This story is about someone who, upon gaining her power, loses the ability to empathize with others and becomes controlling and cruel. If that doesn't sound good to you, I don't recommend that you read it.)
“Do you have an ibuprofen?”
“Sure, hang on.”
Pat fumbled in her purse, pulled out a small bottle of pills and handed it to Charlotte.
“Thanks.” Charlotte took two and swallowed them without water. They were sitting at a picnic table in the park near their apartment, studying.
“You ok?” Pat asked
“Yeah. I’ve just been getting headaches lately.”
“No. Maybe? I dunno.” She shook her head. “I’m pretty on top of the coursework. It’s not that. It just feels like…” she paused, searching for words. Pat waited. Eventually she put her hands up. “I don’t know, I… can’t describe it. I just feel weird.”
“Everything ok between you and Rich?”
“Yeah! Oh yeah, Rich is great. He’s… I mean, there’re little things, sure…”
“Yeah, there’s always little things.”
“Like, we went on a date last week and he was late because his basketball practice went long. I mean, there’re clocks in the damn gym, aren’t there?”
“Right. Thank you. But anyway, yeah, there’s little stuff like that, sure, but no, things are good between us.”
“Alright, well, hope you feel better.”
They continued studying in silence, but Charlotte couldn’t concentrate. Her mind kept wandering off to bizarre thoughts, strange ideas that she couldn’t quite articulate, that seemed to hover just past the edge of her comprehension. When she pursued these thoughts, they would slip away teasingly. Charlotte closed her book in frustration.
Pat looked up. “You done?”
“Yeah. I can’t focus.”
“Wanna go home?”
“No, I’m…” she waved her hand. “…just going to go lie down in the sun. I’ll be right over there.”
Part 1 – Awakening
It was when Charlotte was 25 years old that she discovered that she had unlimited power. She didn’t know how or why – though she had the oddest sensation of having previously known how and why, and of then having forgotten – but when she woke up in her bed on an otherwise unremarkable day in April, she knew that something had changed inside of her. She knew that the most enormous potential had been unlocked.
She lay in her bed, observing the world around her. Pat had gone to her work early in the morning, and Charlotte was not disturbed. For several hours after she awoke, she remained almost motionless, simply looking around the room, listening to the ambient noise that came from outside her window, smelling the food being cooked in the neighboring apartment, feeling the faint vibrations of people walking on the floor above her.
All of these sensations were the same as they had been on the previous day, but on that morning, she found that she was able to perceive them not simply with her eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin, but in ways she had no vocabulary to express. When the sound of a car reached her ears, she perceived not only the sound of the car, but the invisible vibrations in the air, the movement of each individual atom that worked together to create the noise. With each breath she took, she was acutely aware of the expansion of her lungs to accommodate the air, as well as of the movement of the air, the oxygen and nitrogen entering her body, and the process her body went through to consume some of it and expel the rest. When she moved her leg, she mentally followed the electric signals generated by her brain that travelled through her nervous system to trigger the contraction and flex of her muscles, and understood them completely. Every particle of matter that was close to her was perceptible and comprehensible to her in a way that would have been impossible to any other entity.
And she knew that she could control it.
She picked an atom at random floating in the air, on the far side of the room. It was being pushed and pulled by the trillions of atoms around it, but she was able keep track of it effortlessly as it moved. She then drew it to her.
There was no exertion that would have been visible to anyone observing her. She didn’t move, or even try to look at it, as it wasn’t perceptible to her eyes in any case. But mentally, she was able to force that one, lone atom to move directly toward her until it was floating directly in front of her face, resisting the bustle of the matter surrounding it. She then let it go, and it was once again affected by the physical world.
Charlotte knew that she could move, bind, separate, or transform each and every individual atom that was perceptible to her, but didn’t yet know how to do anything complex. She felt like someone sitting down for the first time at an infinitely expansive and complex piano, being able to play any individual note she wished, but not having even the most basic understanding of musical theory. How could she compose a symphony without first knowing what a chord is?
And so, through observation and experimentation, she began educating herself.
Charlotte picked up a bag of candy that she had opened the previous day, and took out two at random – a green and a purple one. She placed them both on the table and sat down in front of them, observing them, perceiving their chemical makeup, memorizing their atomic structure. She took a deep breath and began carefully, painstakingly, making modifications to the green one, copying the purple one exactly. She closed her eyes to help her concentrate and relied only on her new senses.
It took her several minutes, but once she was confident she had copied it exactly, she opened her eyes.
Before her were two purple candies.
She smiled and ate them.
She took several more out of the bag and placed them on the table. With some experimentation and practice, she was able to change the colour of a candy without changing the flavor, and vice versa. She was able to merge two candies together to create one large candy, and to split one candy into several smaller-scale versions of itself.
She found a pencil and snapped it into two. She inspected the broken ends, then fit them back together, and concentrated on fusing them. It wasn’t difficult. It took her several minutes, because it was an unfamiliar process, and she wanted to be thorough, but when she let go, the pencil was whole. There was not so much as a crack in the wood; it seemed like a brand-new pencil. She broke it again, and saw with satisfaction that it didn’t break in the same place as it had before. She fixed it again. Then again. By the ninth time, she was able to fuse it in less than a second.
Each new experiment she attempted gave her greater confidence, skill, and accuracy in her material manipulation. Each new ability she developed opened her mind to greater possibilities. Each object she observed expanded her mental library of atomic blueprints. Once she understood how something was formed, she didn’t forget it. She became ravenously hungry for knowledge. She had always understood, in an abstract way, that there was a lot that she didn’t know. But now, she could actually perceive, viscerally, all of the information that had surrounded her all of her life, but that she had never been aware of. Now, she wanted it. All of it. She wanted to understand everything, because as far as she could tell, her abilities were limited only by her ignorance, so the more she understood, the more powerful she would become.
And the more powerful she became, well… power was an end unto itself.
Pat came home after an eight-hour shift at the restaurant. She walked in and put her wallet and keys on the table. She heard noises coming from the kitchen. “Hello?” she called. No answer. She walked in and saw Charlotte, still wearing her pyjamas, staring intently at a pot of boiling water on the stove, her face almost directly in the steam. “Hey,” she greeted her. Charlotte jerked back in surprise. She stared at Pat for a moment, as though she had forgotten who she was.
“Oh! Hey!” Charlottle smiled.
“What are you making?” Pat asked.
“Um…” Charlotte seemed caught off-guard by the question. Pat peered into the pot and saw that there was no food in it, just boiling water. Charlotte looked back at her sheepishly. “I was… just about to put some pasta in.” She wandered over to the pantry and got a bag of dried macaroni and dumped some in. Pat watched her for a moment, but eventually went off to her room to get changed.
Charlotte sat alone on the couch in her living room. “Hello.” She said again. She repeated it, more loudly, more slowly, in a whisper, facing the wall, facing the doorway.
She did the same thing, now with the word “thimble.” She repeated it, over and over, talking seemingly to herself.
Pat watched her from the front door. She hadn’t yet taken off her shoes. Charlotte seemed not to notice her. Finally, after Pat had been there for a few minutes, and Charlotte had started repeating the word “sinking,” enunciating clearly, Pat interrupted her.
“What are you doing?”
Charlotte jumped slightly and looked at Pat, embarrassed. “Oh! Uh… just…” she seemed not to know how to answer. Finally she shrugged. “…testing the acoustics in here.”
“Testing the acoustics?” Pat looked at her incredulously.
“Have you showered?”
“Charlotte, are you okay?”
“Because I’m pretty sure you haven’t showered in days, or left the apartment even, and… you’re talking to yourself in the living room.”
“No, I’m just… um… making noise. I’m… studying. I’m testing the acoustics.”
“Yeah I heard you. What the hell has gotten into you?”
Charlotte smiled. “I… I’ll tell you later, I promise. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you now.”
Pat looked at her with concern. “Ok well… Jamal’s coming over. Can you… uh… please shower?”
Charlotte nodded. “Uh, yeah. Sure.”
Charlotte spent almost an hour in the shower. She would have spent longer if Pat hadn’t banged on the door. “We only have one bathroom, Charlotte!”
Charlotte shut off the water and came out, wrapped in a towel. Jamal was there already. Charlotte hastily got dressed and sat in the kitchen with them. Pat was cooking supper and Jamal was sipping on a beer. Charlotte, with an effort, made small talk. She was distracted, however, by Jamal. She would stare intently at him, but when he finished whatever he was saying, she would just continue to stare at him, not realizing that he’d finished talking. He looked at Pat, who raised her hands in an “I-don’t-know” gesture.
“Charlotte?” he asked. “You okay?”
“Hey,” Charlotte responded. “Want to see a magic trick?” She looked eagerly at him. Pat turned around.
“Uhm,” Jamal started. “Sure.”
Charlotte broke into a grin. “Hello,” she said.
Only the sound didn’t come from her mouth. Her lips didn’t move at all. Jamal and Pat turned around to look behind them, at the space from which the noise had clearly come. There was nothing there, just empty space.
Jamal turned back to Charlotte. “Did you learn ventriloquism?”
“Nope.” Charlotte grinned. “This is something different.”
“It’s mostly just vibrating the air. See…” she opened her mouth to start to explain, but thought better of it. “You know what, I’ll explain later. I don’t think I could do it very well right now.”
“Huh? Vibrating the air?”
“Yeah! I mean, that’s what sound always is, it’s just vibrating air, but I can…” she caught herself. “Uhm. No, not yet. I really, really don’t want to start explaining yet. I’m not ready.”
“Look, I’m going to go for a walk. I, uh, haven’t been outside in a few days.”
“Oh. Well, uh, good to see you.”
“Yeah, you too.”
Abruptly, she walked to the door and left.
Jamal turned to Pat. “Is she okay?”
Pat shook her head. “I don’t know.”
It was on the seventh day that Charlotte told someone else about her newfound powers. It was mid-afternoon. Charlotte was at her apartment, attempting to create something from nothing.
Not literally – that was impossible. At least, if it was possible, Charlotte hadn’t yet figured out how to do it. But she was doing the next best thing, drawing the nitrogen and oxygen atoms from the air around her, and reconfiguring them to create solid matter. She had already created several drops of water, which had seemed a simple enough practice; she had isolated nitrogen atoms and, carefully, painstakingly, re-arranged electrons and protons until she had transformed them into hydrogen, then simply combined them with the oxygen that was already present in the air. As the miniscule amount of water had grown and become perceptible to her eyes, her excitement had increased. The potential of what she could do, with practice, was staggering.
For her next experiment, she had decided to try to create a grain of sand. She was concentrating, making mental preparations, when her doorbell rang. She ignored it, focusing instead on the task at hand.
The doorbell rang again. From through the open window, she heard Rich call up to her.
“Charlotte! Babe! Are you in there?”
Charlotte stopped concentrating on her manifestation. She turned to face the window. Rich’s voice came up again. “Charlotte!”
Charlotte, alarmed, quickly put some clothes on and rushed to the front door of her apartment and buzzed Rich in.
“What’s wrong, Rich?” she asked as he approached the door.
He stopped, looking at her. “Are you alright?” he asked.
“Yeah… why wouldn’t I be?”
“Because… you haven’t answered your phone in a week?”
Charlotte paused and thought. Has it really been a week since I saw Rich?
“I rang your buzzer before, but you didn’t answer. I even went over to the store to see if you were working, but one of your co-workers said you’d stopped showing up to work.”
Charlotte gasped. I was supposed to work, wasn’t I? She vaguely recollected hearing her phone ring several times and ignoring it, focusing instead on more important things. Her phone had rung a lot for several days, and then stopped abruptly. She realized the battery was probably dead.
Now that she was reminded of her job, she was embarrassed by her lack of responsibility. But at the same time, it now seemed so completely unimportant. How could she possibly care about something so trivial as her job stocking shelves at a grocery store?
“Babe… what’s going on?”
Charlotte didn’t answer right away. She immediately started thinking of lies, but when she looked at his face, she realized how much her behavior had frightened Rich. He wasn’t going to be satisfied with a weak lie.
There was a tense moment in which neither one spoke. The seconds ticked by.
“Come on in,” she said finally. “I’ll show you.”
He entered in an awkward silence. Another shout, and a series of thumps came from the ceiling. Rich nodded upward. “Are they at it again?”
“Yeah, it’s been going on a while. Maybe he cheated on her again, I don’t know.”
The two of them sat down on the couch. Pat, walking out of the kitchen, walked in and leaned against the doorframe.
“Hey Pat,” said Rich. “How are you doing?”
“Yeah? Everything’s been ok here?”
“Uhm…” she glanced at Charlottle. “It’s been kind of weird.”
“Well, uh… Charlotte hasn’t said two words to me for like a week. And I don’t think she’s left the apartment more than once or twice. And… I’m not sure she’s slept.” She paused, then looked at Charlotte. “Have you?”
“Uh, it hasn’t been a week, but I haven’t slept for… a few days now.”
“Right. Well. There it is. Do you need us to take you to a hospital?”
“No. I don’t need to sleep anymore.” Charlotte hesitated. “Yeah, I guess I should explain what’s going on to you two.”
She did. It didn’t take that long, because there was a lot that Charlotte herself didn’t understand. But she did her best to convey what had happened, and was still happening. When she’d finished, Rich and Pat looked at her with clear worry on their faces.
“So…” Pat started. “You can do magic.”
“No! Well…” Charlotte began to protest, but caught herself, and laughed. “Yeah, I guess you may as well call it… look, I know there’s no reason for you to believe me. So… I’ll just show you.” She got up and went into the next room.
Pat looked at Rich and whispered, “Do you have your car? I think we’re going to need to take her to the hospital after all.”
Before he answered, Charlotte came back with a box of dried linguine. She dumped it on the table and set a few pieces aside. She pointed. “Watch that one.” She sat at the table and closed her eyes. Almost instantly, the pasta lightened in colour slightly and seemed to soften. She gestured to it. “Pick it up.”
Rich did. It was cooked. It wasn’t even hot.
“You can go ahead and eat it,” she said.
Rich did. He shrugged. “Tastes like pain cooked pasta. Okay… how did you do that?”
“Wait,” she ignored his question. “Now eat that one,” and she gestured to another.
He did. Pat watched, saying nothing. His eyes widened. “It’s… it’s got sauce on it now.”
Charlotte smiled. “No, I just made it taste like it does.”
“This doesn’t make any fucking sense!” Pat shouted abruptly. “This doesn’t happen!” Charlotte looked at her intently. Pat paused, flustered, then continued: “Charlotte, what happened? How are you not freaking the fuck out? This is terrifying! It’s like you aren’t…” she stopped.
Charlotte waited a moment for her to finish, but when she didn’t, she prompted her. “It’s like I’m not what?”
Pat looked down and shook her head. “Nothing. I… I need to go.” She grabbed her shoes and opened the front door.
Charlotte called after her. “Pat! Don’t tell anyone. Right?”
Pat hesitated, then nodded curtly and left the building.
Rich turned back to Charlotte. “Babe… this is amazing. Don’t worry about her. She’s just kinda freaked out.”
“I don’t know what she was going to say, but, I mean, it doesn’t matter does it?”
“I know what she was going to say.” She paused. “She was going to say I’m not human anymore.”
Rich laughed nervously. “That’s crazy.”
Charlotte didn’t answer him.
Pat came home one day from Jamal’s house to find a black squirrel happily munching on nuts in the middle of her living room floor. It looked up at her as she entered, but didn’t seem alarmed. It continued calmly eating.
Pat continued warily into her home until she found Charlotte, sitting at the kitchen table. The first thing she noticed was that Charlotte’s hair was bright red, whereas before it had been a light brown. Immediately after, she realized that there was a crow on the table.
The bird was hopping around, a few inches this way and that, but never taking flight. Charlotte was very still. Pat watched for a moment, then cleared her throat.
Charlotte abruptly held up a finger to indicate “wait.”
Pat continued watching, then, before her eyes, the crow’s plumage started to change. The feathers on its wings, black when Pat entered the room, lightened into a dark blue, then a vibrant azure, then moved through the spectrum slowly, shifting into purple, then red, orange, yellow, green, and back to blue, then continued lightening until its wings were a pristine white. The rest of the bird’s feathers changed not at all. It took about ten seconds, and the bird continued hopping about on the table, as though nothing were happening.
When it finished, Charlotte gasped, as though she’d been holding her breath. Pat did the same thing- she hadn’t even realised that she hadn’t been breathing.
Charlotte smiled at her. “Hey Pat, what’s up?”
Pat was speechless. “Uh… what are you doing?”
Charlotte shook her head and shrugged. “Just experimenting. Learning. Practicing. Bodies are complicated. I mean, I already knew that, but… there’s just so much going on in each of us. Changing one part affects every other part. I mean… feathers and fur… and hair,” she smiled, indicating her own newly red hair, “are easy, because it’s just dead tissue. But modifying living tissue, that’s part of a complex system of movement and nerves and sensation… here, watch.”
She closed her eyes for a few moments and concentrated in silence. The crow continued to hop. She opened them, and then indicated the open window behind her.
“Ok, so… this is something I’ve been practicing. I’m trying to strengthen the muscles it uses for flying. If I’ve done it right this time, it should be able to fly out the window way faster than it’d normally be able to. Here, I’ll release it.”
She blinked, and the bird hopped to and fro a few more times, then hopped into the air and began to beat its white wings. Immediately it shot forward and up into the air, smashing with a huge force into the wall above the window. It fell down to the ground, unmoving.
“Shit,” muttered Charlotte. “See… modifying the muscles is easy enough. But now its body doesn’t move at all the way it expects to. Birds fly by instinct, so if the body’s muscles suddenly respond differently to a mental command, it loses complete control. And that’s no good. The nervous system has to be recalibrated. And that’s… a delicate operation.” She bent down and picked up the bird. She cursed again. “It’s dead. Ah well.” She tossed it out the window, then closed her eyes again. Within just a few moments, a different bird, a finch, flew in through the open window and landed on the table. Charlotte sat down in the same chair.
“Alright,” she said. “Let’s try again.”
Pat moved slowly out of the room.
It was on the fifteenth day after Charlotte’s awakening that she began to conduct experiments on humans.
In only a few short weeks, Charlotte’s power had grown by orders of magnitude. She was, after a very small amount of practice, more perceptive, more intelligent, and more powerful than any living being had ever been.
But still, there was so much to learn. Still, there was so much she wasn’t yet able to do. Her thirst for knowledge had not been sated, even a little; if anything, it had intensified. But Charlotte was patient, and she was careful, and she understood the importance of learning before acting. She had performed some experiments on animals, altering their brain chemistry slightly and observing how their behavior changed. The information she’d gleaned had been invaluable, but frustratingly incomplete. She knew that she would need to experiment on humans. She turned several pieces of paper into a small stack of twenty-dollar bills, and went out to eat at a restaurant.
Once she had sat down, she ordered a fish plate and observed the people around her. She began to focus her attention on their brains. As with any other complex system, she was able to understand the production of chemicals, the flow of blood and the firing of synapses, but she still didn’t understand exactly how all of that movement resulted in thoughts, feelings or behaviours. She took advantage of the opportunity to watch them.
As people ate, drank, and spoke, she began to recognize certain patterns. A certain signal to the brain was produced when someone’s bladder was full. A series of events was triggered when someone became sexually aroused. When alcohol was absorbed into the blood, and that blood was pumped to the brain by the heart, it interfered with the functioning of the nervous system in predictable and recognizable ways. Someone at the next table bit his tongue, and Charlotte read and memorized his spike of pain. The brain performed one function when something tasty was eaten and something different when something unpleasant was eaten.
For an hour, Charlotte picked at her food, eating slowly, learning about the people around her. She soon felt confident enough in her understanding to perform a few tests.
A middle-aged woman, out for dinner with her husband, was served a large plate of lasagna. She licked her lips and grasped her knife and fork eagerly. Charlotte blinked, and the woman suddenly, and with great confusion, looked at her plate and realized that she didn’t want it. She wasn’t hungry. Her husband, after eating a few bites of his own meal, asked her what was wrong. She simply shook her head, unable to answer.
Charlotte, very pleased with the success of her first experiment, performed another. She made a particular series of synapses fire in the same woman’s brain, and gave her a sudden and urgent need to pee. Her bladder wasn’t near full, but she had no way of knowing that. She excused herself to go to the bathroom.
I wonder if I could get her to just walk back and forth… A few moments after she entered the bathroom, Charlotte made another tweak.
Seconds later, the door was pushed open abruptly and she came charging back out into the restaurant, her pants falling to her ankles. The entire restaurant turned to stare at her, and she tripped over them. On the floor, she fumbled to take her pants off, and left them in the middle of the dining room, running back to her table, with her underwear visible to everyone. She grabbed her lasagna by the fistful and jammed it into her mouth, standing next to her horrified husband. Tomato sauce was smeared all over her face and shirt, and still she shoveled the pasta into her mouth even faster than she could chew it.
The restaurant erupted in activity. The other patrons reacted variously with disgust, laughter, or morbid fascination. Several people took out their phones and began taking pictures and video of the spectacle. Charlotte, caught off-guard by the intensity of the woman’s reaction to her returned hunger, laughed uproariously in her chair. She laughed until tears trickled from her eyes. The people at the table next to her stared at her for a moment, before returning their attention to the woman eating like an animal.
She made a mental note, for next time, of how powerful a hunger signal could be.
The woman’s husband, meanwhile, hadn’t moved from his chair. He had no idea what to make of the spectacle in front of him. I wonder, thought Charlotte, if I could give him an erection right now .She decided to perform one more experiment.
The man unexpectedly found himself horny – more than he had been in years. His dick suddenly swelled with blood, becoming painfully hard, and he stood up in confusion. He frantically undid the zipper on his pants, pulled them down, and began pumping his fist over his erection as his wife continued to jam food into her mouth.
It took a few moments for the staff of the restaurant to act, but the manager, along with several employees, soon approached the couple to demand that they leave.
“Sir!” the manager said, loudly.
The man turned to face him just as he came. He cried out as his jizz shot out and landed on the manager’s pant leg. The manager looked down in horror. The man, suddenly self-aware again, did the same. After a moment of stillness, he pulled up his pants and ran out of the restaurant.
His wife was still eating, She hadn’t even noticed what had just happened right in front of her. One of the waiters, thinking quickly, picked up her plate of food and carried it out of the front door of the restaurant. She protested, chunks of half-chewed food flying from her mouth as she did so, but she followed him.
Well, thought Charlotte, turning back to her own meal. That was… clumsy. I certainly still have a lot to learn. But that was a very successful first series of experiments.
“I’m sure. I’m been practicing this for almost a week.”
Rich was sitting on the kitchen table, wearing only his underwear. Charlotte was standing next to him with a bucket of water and a cloth on the floor. Pat, who had been spending almost all of her time studying in her room lately, opened a beer. She didn’t know how to process the changes that were happening to her friend in the past month, so she generally avoided thinking about it. She buried herself in her books, telling herself that she needed to prepare for her exams. But today, she’d come out in kind of a morbid fascination. She wanted to see this. She motioned to the bucket. “What’s that for?”
“It’s for extra mass.”
“Muscle is dense tissue. Rich isn’t going to get much bigger, but he is going to get heavier, because it’s so dense. So I need to get the extra mass from somewhere. Water is easy to find, and, conveniently, easy to turn into human tissue, because tissue is mostly made up of water anyway.”
“I just…” Rich interjected.
“Hon, relax.” She smiled at him and rubbed has bare back gently. “Just lie down.”
Hesitantly, Rich did.
Charlotte dipped the cloth into the bucket and placed it, sopping and dripping, onto his chest. Almost immediately, Rich’s breathing quickened. The cloth lightened in colour as the water was drawn out from it.
“Oh, man, that… that feels so weird…”
Pat took a pull of her beer. As she watched, Rich’s chest began to subtly change shape, then his shoulders and arms. Charlotte dipped the cloth into the bucket again and again, supplying more water to Rich’s body. His muscles became gradually more defined, and swelled larger and larger with each passing second. He began laughing, than gritting his teeth.
“Are you ok, hon?” Charlotte asked, not stopping.
“Yeah, I’m… just… I’ve never felt anything… like this.” His abdomen seemed to sink inward slowly as the fat disppeared, revealing taut muscles underneath his skin. Pat took another pull from her beer. She couldn’t pull her eyes away. This is grotesque, she thought.
After about a minute and a half, Charlotte gasped suddenly and laughed. She dropped the cloth into the bucket, which was now half as full as it had been before she’d started. She smiled at Rich, who looked back at her with wonder on his face. He looked down at himself.
He had a body like Adonis.
He ran his hand over his abs, feeling them gently, as though they might disappear if he touched them, then again, more firmly. He then touched the muscles on his arms and legs. They bulged out slightly when he flexed them. His underwear started to tent as he started to get an erection. “Babe… this is incredible!” He started to laugh.
Pat rolled her eyes and had another swig of beer.
“I’ve gotta…” he hopped down off the table. “I’ve gotta test this out! What can I…” he looked at Charlotte and, without a second thought, placed his hands under her arms and lifted her off the ground. She whooped in surprise and pleasure, and he gasped at how little effort he had to expend to do it. He let her down, gently. “So… I don’t just look stronger…”
“Nope,” grinned Charlotte. “You’ve also got better endurance, better breath control, and a few other little improvements I think you’ll enjoy.”
“And also,” Charlotte continued, “A few things I’m going to enjoy as well.” She smiled suggestively and ran her hands over his abs. Pat started to choke on her beer.
“Oh, fucking great,” she said between coughs.
Both the others looked at her. Rich spoke up. “What’s wrong, Pat?”
Pat started at him for a moment as though he were stupid. “What the fuck do you think is wrong?” She shouted at him. Her anger erupted suddenly, surprising everyone in the room, including her. “Something impossible is happening! This is impossible! This doesn’t fucking happen! And here you are, ‘oh, transform me, oh, make me strong and sexy,’ why not? What could possibly go wrong with this fucking situation?” She slammed her bottle of beer down on the counter. “And you!” she shouted, pointing at Charlotte. Charlotte’s eyes narrowed. Pat had the vague sensation that this might not be a very wise thing to do, but she found herself unable to stop. “You are acting like a fucking idiot! You don’t have any more idea what’s happening to you than we do, but you don’t fucking care, do you? You’re just… just…” she fumbled, “killing animals with your experiments and creating water and… whatever else you can do, and you’re just… not asking why, or if you should, or…”
Charlotte scanned Pat’s brain activity. Her adrenaline level was very high, and this wasn’t the first beer she’d had today, so her judgment was clearly impaired, as were her inhibitions. But what Charlotte found most interesting was that the chemicals pumping through Pat’s brain weren’t those she’d most associate with anger. Yes, those were there, but there was something not right about it.
Pat was afraid.
Charlotte concentrated and performed a small operation in Pat’s brain. It took less than a second for her to inhibit the activity of certain neurotransmitters. The effects were obvious; Pat almost immediately began to calm down. She stopped shouting, took a deep breath and looked down at the floor.
For a few moments, no one spoke. Pat, without looking at either one of them, left the room and locked herself in her bedroom.
Rich looked at Charlotte. “What the hell was that?”
Charlotte shook her head. “She’s just… she doesn’t know what to make of…” she waved her hand, “…all this. She’ll be ok. I’ll talk to her later, once she’s calmed down a bit.
“But for now, though…” she smiled and pulled Rich closer to her, “we need to inspect this body. In the bedroom.”
“Babe, why is there a skunk on your bed?”
Charlotte was running a bath. She called out, over the sound of the running water, “More demonstrations!”
Rich walked in to the bathroom and saw what she was doing. His gait had changed, subtly, since Charlotte has transformed his body; he walked more confidently, he seemed to have a permanent smile on his face, and he never wore a shirt if it was socially acceptable not to. Charlotte wasn’t complaining about that. She shot a glance at her work – at his uncovered body – admiring its shape, and appreciating how well she’d sculpted him, and smiled, then turned back to check the water level.
“That’s… a lot of water.”
”Yup. Watch this.”
Rich heard a shuffling and the skunk came wandering down the hallway.
“How the hell do you do that?”
The skunk stopped right outside the bathroom door and sat down, waiting patiently. It scratched itself behind its ear with its hind leg.
“Can you control its mind?”
“No. Well… yes.”
Rich stared at her.
“I mean… I can affect the synapses and neurotransmitters in its brain, right? So if I know which ones do what, I can… make it want to do things.”
“Here, I’ll show you.”
She looked at Rich for a moment. He looked back at her. Then, he turned and walked into the kitchen. He opened the fridge, took out a jar of pickles, removed one, and took a bite out of it. He paused, slowly chewing and swallowing it. He then put the jar back in the fridge and returned to the bathroom.
“I hate pickles.”
“I know.” She laughed.
“You just made me eat something I hate for the hell of it?”
“I’m pretty happy with how that went, actually. Last week I wasn’t nearly that accurate. I had a few… unexpected results. Anyway, try it again.”
He looked down at the half-eaten pickle still in his hand. “Why?”
“Just do it.”
He did. He stared at it. “That…” he looked up at Charlotte. “That’s amazing.”
“Yeah, now not only do you want to eat it, but you actually enjoy it too, right?”
“Oh good. That’s exactly what I was trying to do. I could do other things, too. I could make you drunk, or horny, or I could even make you forget things. Theoretically, I should be able to implant memories in your brain, too – I have an idea of how do to that, though I don’t think I could do it very well. Yet.” She smiled. “I should practice on you more often! It’s really neat to be able to talk to someone about what they’re experiencing.”
Rich thought about that for a moment, and opened his mouth to speak a concern, when she shut off the tap. The skunk moved past Rich and jumped into the tub. It squeaked and struggled to keep its head above the water, but didn’t try to get out.
Charlotte closed her eyes and seemed to stop breathing. The skunk paddled around in the tub with its front paws, its feet just barely on the bottom. Slowly, very slowly, the skunk began to get larger, and the water level started to drop. It didn’t seem particularly alarmed, though it did squeak from time to time. Rich watched in silent fascination. No one spoke for nearly half an hour, but at the end of it, the skunk filled the entire bathtub, completely dry. It shook itself happily. It climbed out of the tub and shuffled toward the kitchen.
“Oh, shit, I should make it not hungry.” Charlotte laughed.
Rich looked back at her. “How big can you make it?”
She looked back at him and shrugged. “Should I do it again?”
Charlotte paused for a moment, then started filling up the tub.
“Hey, so…” Jason started. “Could you, like… make me… taller, then?”
Charlotte looked up, thinking. “Not exactly… The skunk still has all of the same proportions as it did before. I could make you bigger.” she paused, and her eyes got wide. “Or smaller.”
Rich hurried to say, “Yeah... I’m… not so keen on that idea.”
Charlotte paused to think about it, then smiled at him again. “But, I mean, it doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to make you taller. I’ll do some experiments. And I’ll let you know.”
Some time later, a key turned in the lock and Pat walked in through the door, carrying a bag of groceries. She kicked off her shoes and walked into the living room, where she saw a skunk the size of a rhinoceros, which had curled up on the floor, taking up almost the entire room. She dropped the bag and started screaming. The skunk immediately jumped up, facing away from her. Charlotte’s and Rich’s heads snapped up at the sound, and Charlotte was just slightly too slow to stop the skunk from spraying the entire room.
The smell was overpowering. Pat covered her face with her arm, but it didn’t do any good; the foul liquid had been sprayed all over her. She choked on the air and yelled at the burning sensation in her eyes.
“Shit!” yelled Charlotte as she leaped up and ran to the living room. In an instant, the skunk was asleep; its body hit the floor and made it shake slightly. Charlotte turned to Pat and put her hands on her shoulders. “Pat! Are you okay?”
“Fuck you!” Pat yelled. Charlotte stepped backwards, shocked. Pat continued. “What the fuck have you done?”
“Pat… just calm down.”
“Oh, calm down? Why do you even bother to say that? Why don’t you just calm me down again?”
“Maybe I should,” Charlotte responded.
“Good! What the fuck does anything even matter anymore? Every time I…” she stumbled, gasped, and collapsed on the floor, snoring gently.
Rich stared at Charlotte from the doorway, his mouth open. “You just… knocked her out.”
Charlotte spun around. “I don’t want to hear another fucking word,” she snapped. Rich immediately closed his mouth and raised his palms.
Charlotte looked down, where her roommate and a giant skunk both lay unconscious on her living room floor. The apartment reeked and the air started to irritate her eyes. “Shit,” she muttered.
Pat woke up in the morning when her alarm went off. She yawned and got up out of bed, walking to the kitchen. She felt surprisingly well-rested. Charlotte was there, sitting at the kitchen table. Hovering in the air, about nine inches above the surface of the table, was a sleeping puppy. Its legs and arms were splayed out in all directions, but it slept contentedly, resting on nothing, spinning slowly.
“Morning,” said Charlotte, not looking up.
“Where did you get that?”
Pat reached up to get a bowl and some cereal from the cupboard. There was none there. I’d meant to pick some up on my way home last night. Why didn’t I? What happened on my way home?
“What happened last night?” Pat asked.
Charlotte paused for a moment. “What do you mean?” she asked, still not looking up.
“I mean, I can’t remember anything that happened last night. Why can’t I remember anything?” She glared at Charlotte.
Charlotte now lowered the puppy, slowly, gently, onto the table. She returned Pat’s stare. “Well, you were pretty hammered when you came home. Then you went right to bed. I don’t know what happened to you before that, but you probably can’t remember because you were drunk.”
Pat blinked. Suddenly, she felt like she could remember vague impressions of having been at a bar the night before. The memories flickered unreliably, and she couldn’t make out any faces or details, but she did feel like she remembered… something.
Embarrassed, she turned back to the fridge and opened it, looking for something else to eat. “Sorry,” she muttered.
Charlotte turned back to the puppy and it slowly started to float in the air again.
Rich left basketball practice in a good mood. He strolled down the street, eating a pickle, smirking down at the other people, many of whom stopped in their tracks as he passed them by, men and women alike. He was now 6’11”, and his bare chest and rock-solid abdominal muscles were proudly exposed for everyone to see. If it had been legal for him to be naked, he would have been.
This skin on his chest was smooth, all trace of hair having disappeared completely. He’d been mildly disappointed by that; he’d liked his chest hair. But Charlotte preferred him hairless, so he was.
His teammates hadn’t quite known what to make of his new, enlarged, toned, muscular body, and he didn’t have a lot to say about it. Charlotte had made him promise not to tell anyone yet what had happened to him, and so he hadn’t. Some of his friends were kind of frightened by the sight of him, and he felt bad about that. He didn’t want them to be worried, but the alternative was to disobey Charlotte. And that was out of the question. His mind flickered briefly to what might happen if she became angry with him, but only briefly. Don’t really wanna imagine that, Rich thought. He tried to focus his attention on something else.
Charlotte had done even more than the visually obvious transformations to his body. His reflexes were lightning fast, his visual acuity was sharper, and his breath control was incredible. Needless to say, his basketball game had improved. It wasn’t even a contest; whichever team Rich was on would win the game. It was only a question by how much. It was good to be the boyfriend of a goddess.
Rich stopped walking. Did I just think that? Charlotte’s not a goddess… he paused. Is she?
He realized that he didn’t have a better word for what she had become.
These thoughts were making him uncomfortable, so he pushed them out of his mind and started humming a tune to himself instead. He managed to get all the way to Charlotte’s apartment without thinking any more about these distressing ideas.
He looked up at her door. He paused. Is this where I was going? He thought. I thought I was going back to my place… He shook his head, realizing what had happened. Oh well, he thought. I’ll just go get changed later. Obviously, Charlotte wanted to see him, so he climbed the steps and let himself in.
As he walked in the door, he had to duck to avoid knocking his head on the top of the doorframe. He straightened up, and then ducked again suddenly as, out of the corner of his eye, a winged shape came toward him, fast. “The fuck?” he exclaimed. He looked up to see what had just practically attacked him, and saw a small furry shape fly down the hallway into the kitchen, out of his sight. He followed, and saw a hamster resting on top of the cupboard, a huge pair of membranous wings folded neatly behind it. It twitched its nose at him, then extended its wings and took off again, beating them hard as it flew back down the hall, the way it came. He shook his head.
“In here, Babe,” came Charlotte’s voice from her bedroom. Rich walked over. Charlotte was lying on her bed, petting a black-and white cat with a prominent neon purple stripe running down its back. The cat purred happily. Charlotte smiled at him as he walked in. “Hey Ri-i-ich,” she spoke in a sing-song, which she only did when she wanted something.
“Hey babe. Your hamster dive-bombed me when I walked in.”
She sat up. “Oh really? That’s amazing! It’s actually got really great flight control. Oddly enough, way better with membranous wings than with feathered ones. That’s so cool.” The cat, annoyed that its snuggling partner was no longer paying attention to it, got up and moved away, and Rich noticed that it was long – about three feet long – and it had six pairs of legs. It slunk down off the bed, more like a centipede than a cat, and started making its way down the hallway. Rich watched it go, padding along on its dozen paws.
“I’m glad you’re here,” said Charlotte. “I’m horny…” she took on her sing-song tone again, “and I’ve got something I want to try-y-y…”
Rich felt a jolt of apprehension, but took a deep breath. Everything she’s wanted to try so far has been fun, he reminded himself. “Sure babe, what’s that?”
She smiled, and Rich almost immediately felt a tingling sensation in his mouth. He cried out in surprise. The feeling of being transformed was something so utterly alien, so bizarre, so invasive, that he couldn’t get used to it. “Wha… wha are oo…”
“Sh!” Charlotte interrupted him. “Don’t talk.”
“Aaaahhhh…” Rich couldn’t help but moan, but Charlotte didn’t tell him to stop. After a moment, it was done and the feelings abruptly ended.
Rich took a moment to catch his breath. “Okay…” he moved his jaw back and forth. “What did you do?” he winced at the unfamiliar sensations he got from speaking.
Charlotte grinned at him. “Stick out your tongue.”
Hesitantly, Rich did. His eyes widened as his tongue extended well into his field of vision, unrolling easily and freely until it was a good eight inches out of his mouth. He quickly brought it back in. “…The hell,” he said. His tongue flopped around heavily in his mouth.
“Uh huh…” Charlotte added, suggestively.
“Hang on,” said Rich, and ran to the bathroom mirror. He watched himself unroll his tongue again. He extended it as far as he could, and let it hang down to his chest. He tried to move it around, and was surprised to see that he had complete control over its movement. It moved more like a tentacle than a tongue, able to twist and bend with ease. He licked his chest and tasted his own sweat.
Charlotte cleared her throat. Rich looked at her. She was standing in the doorway and pointing down at herself. Rich stared at her for a moment. She raised her eyebrows. “I didn’t give you a long tongue so you could lick yourself, Rich,” she smiled. “Come on.” She walked back to the living room and sat on the couch, pulling down the zipper on her pants.
Rich followed her and knelt down on the ground in front of her. She lifted her bum up off the couch so he could pull her shorts and underwear off. He gaped at what he saw; there, just above her vagina, were five clitorises arranged in a neat little pentagon.
He looked up at her face. “They feel pretty good when I’m masturbating,” she giggled, “but I can’t wait to see how they feel when you’re working on them.” She smiled down at him, waiting.
Rich looked back at Charlotte’s modified genitalia, and got to work. Charlotte gasped as his tongue slid over her clitorises, and she lifted her feet into the air and grabbed on to his hair with her hands. She started to laugh. “Oh my god, that’s so good! Oh, I’m keeping this.”
Rich wondered whether she meant the modifications to her body or to his, but didn’t dare interrupt his cunnilingus to ask. He jerked his new tongue around clumsily at first, but soon developed a rhythm and a motion that Charlotte seemed to like a lot. She came quickly, shouting at the top of her lungs. Rich started to pull back, and Charlotte pulled his hair, directing his head back toward her crotch. “Nuh-uh! That was great, but I’m not done. Make me come again.”
Obediently, Rich did. He tried several other motions and brought her to orgasm several more times. He didn’t stop; he knew she’d tell him when it was going to be his turn.
He was starting to feel pretty at ease in his ability to control his tongue, and was getting comfortable on the floor, when the front door opened and he heard Pat’s voice.
“What the fuck, Charlotte! You have a goddamn bedroom!”
He and Charlotte both turned their heads to look at her. Pat caught a glimpse of Rich’s tongue as he withdrew it back into his mouth. She looked at him in horror, then back at Charlotte, who was standing up. “What have you done to him?”
Charlotte looked at Rich, then back at Pat. “Nothing he isn’t enjoying.”
Pat stared, dumbfounded, for a few moments. No one spoke anything. Pat turned to Rich. “Rich… are you okay?”
Rich looked nervously to Charlotte. “I’m fine, Pat. Really.” His tongue impeded his speech a little bit when he tried to pronounce the L in “really.” “Just calm down, okay?”
“Did she even ask you if she could do that to you?”
Rich reeled at the question. He didn’t answer. Pat turned back to Charlotte. She opened and closed her fists as she yelled.
“Why are you even still here? Why are you still living in our two-bedroom place? Can’t you just, like, magic yourself up a fucking mansion or something?”
“Pat,” started Charlotte coldly, “I’m getting really sick of this. You can’t keep just walking in and screaming at me whenever you see something you don’t like.”
“Are you kidding? I’m overreacting? You think I’m overreacting?”
“Okay then. Obviously I need to do something to help you chill out.” Charlotte looked at her and seemed to stop breathing.
Pat’s eyes opened wide. “What- wait, what are you-” she stopped talking and winced, as if in pain, and gasped. She put out a hand against the wall to steady herself. She looked down at the floor, then up at Charlotte. In a small voice, she asked, “What did you do?”
“Not nearly as much as I could have,” Charlotte returned.
Pat calmly looked at Charlotte, then at Rich, then back at Charlotte. Her eyes glazed over for a moment. She looked at her hands. “What… was I… I was just really angry about something. What was it?”
Rich looked at Charlotte in surprise.
Pat looked with some confusion over at her bedroom. “Well, I have an exam tomorrow, so I’m going to get studying. Have a good one, you two.”
She walked into her room and closed the door. Rich looked at it. “What did you do to her?” he asked. His penis hung limply between his legs.
“Oh don’t you fucking start,” she snapped. Rich took a step back. Charlotte looked at him and sighed sadly. She sat back down on the couch. “She’ll be fine. I just…” she paused, searching for the words. “…modified the part of her brain that made her so afraid of things transforming. You don’t get freaked out by it at all. Well. Maybe a little. I just… made her a bit more like you, in that way.”
Rich said nothing.
“I’m not erasing anything in her brain, I just… turned a switch. I can turn it back. But for a while, I think this is going to be better for all of us. At least until I can think of something else to do that’ll make things easier.”
Rich knocked on the door and entered Charlotte’s apartment, ducking under the door again. She had called him on his phone and asked him to come over when he could, and he had come over immediately. She’d insisted he didn’t have to, but he did.
She was in the living room, meditating – or, at least, it seemed as though she were meditating – wearing a thick coat, despite the summer heat. She got up and hugged him around his waist as he entered. “How are you?”
“Good.” He looked down at her. “What’s up? I haven’t heard from you for a few days.”
“Yeah, I… I think I just needed some time to think about what happened last time you were over.”
Rich nodded. “It was pretty intense.”
“Well… I mean, a lot of things have happened lately that were pretty intense.”
“Well, I just want you to know that… you’ve been great. Really just awesome. This past month must have been so weird for you.”
Rich started laughing. “Uh, yeah! Just a little.” He rolled his tongue around in his mouth. Charlotte had modified it slightly so that it wasn’t cumbersome anymore, but it was still elongated.
Charlotte laughed back. “I think a lot of people might have freaked out and… I dunno, run away, or… even tried to put me in a hospital, or called the cops maybe. And that would have just been so… inconvenient.
“But you’ve just been so… steady, and supportive, and I’m really blown away by how amazing you’ve been.”
A shout came from their upstairs neighbours. Charlotte felt a brief flare of anger, but managed to ignore it.
“And I just want to show you how appreciative I am. So I… did a little something to myself that I think you’ll like.”
“Oh?” Rich took a step back. He looked at the coat she was wearing. It seemed awfully bulky. He looked at her expectantly. She smiled back and pulled the coat off over her shoulders.
She had four arms.
Just below her first pair protruded from her sides a second pair of arms. She lifted them all up in a “ta-da!” gesture and posed for him. “Okay,” she giggled, “I did it because I like it too.”
Rich was speechless. Charlotte grinned at him as he inspected her arms, how at the space they joined her body, she seemed to have created secondary shoulder muscles. He walked around her in a circle, crouching down to get a better look at her. She raised her arms up in the air, her upper pair straight up and her lower pair at an angle, so that he could see them clearly. He touched her new, lower pair, and ran his hands along them. When he got to the point where they joined her torso, she flinched. “Careful,” she laughed, “I have four armpits now, it’s really ticklish!”
He stood up in front of her, and finally managed to get out a few words. “This is… unreal.”
“No, it’s very real.”
“No, but… how… did you know I’d… like this? I’ve never even thought about something like this before.”
“Lucky guess.” She grinned. She placed her upper two hands on his chest and her lower two hands around his waist. She leaned forward and kissed his pectoral muscles, them being directly at her face level, massaging him gently with all of her hands.
While she continued, with her upper hands, to massage and rub his bare chest, with her lower hands she undid the button on his pants and pulled them down. His dick was already fully erect, and she began to stroke it with her lower two hands. With her upper hand, she held him gently on the back of his head and pulled his face down to kiss him on the mouth.
She broke off the kiss and led him to the bedroom, where she had him lie down on his back. With two hands, she rubbed his abs, and with the other two, she began to pump gently up & down on his dick. Rich closed his eyes and enjoyed the feeling, letting himself be pleasured for a change.
It wasn’t long before Rich could feel the beginnings of an orgasm approaching. “I’m gonna-” he started, but Charlotte cut him off.
“Nope.” And suddenly, his orgasm disappeared. “We’re not done yet.” She continued pumping, but didn’t allow him to climax. She kissed the head of his dick and looked at him in the eyes.
Charlotte climbed forward on her four hands and two knees until she was resting on his chest. She positioned herself and lowered herself onto his dick. She places two hands on the bed, one on either side of his chest, and used them to steady herself. One hand she placed on his chest, feeling the contours of his muscles and rubbing his nipples, and her last hand went between her legs, rubbing her five clitorises as she moved her body up and down on his cock.
Rich was barely aware of the passage of time. He lay back, stunned and ecstatic, and allowed Charlotte’s fucking to happen to him. He felt as though there was no way he could continue without coming, but he did. The feelings built up in him, stronger and stronger, while Charlotte came again, then twice, three times, six times before she finally looked into Rich’s eyes and, grinning, said, “Now. Come.”
Rich gasped, then screamed as the orgasm which had been coming for twenty minutes finally manifested. He arched his back, lifting Charlotte right off the bed. She laughed and held out all of her arms to keep her balance, and Rich dropped back down onto her mattress.
He breathed deeply, waiting for his heart rate to drop, as Charlotte rested her head on his chest and ran the fingers of both her right hands idly along his skin. “How was that?’ she asked.
“Uh…” he laughed in response.
An hour later, Pat came home and walked into the kitchen with a bag of groceries. Charlotte and Rich were in the living room, playing a video game. Pat walked in to join them. She saw that there were three players on the screen, and when she looked down to see who was controlling them, she noticed that Charlotte was actually playing with two controllers, one in each pair of hands.
Pat thought about that for a moment.
Charlotte spoke up. “Hey Pat.”
“You want to play?”
“Sure.” She picked up a fourth controller, and Charlotte stopped the game so she could join in.
She played for about five minutes, then abruptly put the controller down and walked into her bedroom.
Charlotte frowned. “What’s wrong, Pat?” she called.
Still no answer. Charlotte paused the game, then followed her.
Pat looked up at Charlotte as she entered the room. “What did you do to me?”
Charlotte folded both sets of arms. She hesitated for a long moment, then answered, “I made you… not afraid of my powers.”
Pat didn’t answer.
Charlotte continued. “I just… need to keep learning. I need to keep trying new things. And you were so afraid, and you were lashing out at me all the time. I just wanted you to be able to calm down.”
“So you rewired my fucking brain?”
“How did you know? You weren’t even supposed to remember.”
“I don’t! I don’t remember it at all! But you have four arms, Charlotte, and I just sat down and played video games with you! I don’t think it’s weird that you have four arms! Why don’t I think it’s weird that you have four arms?”
“Pat… I just wanted you to be happy.”
“Excuse me? You wanted me to be happy? You rewired my fucking brain because my anger was inconvenient to you, and you think the solution is to get rid of my goddamn anger? And then you tell me it’s because you wanted me to be happy?”
“I don’t even understand why you’re so angry right now. You shouldn’t have this kind of reaction to my powers. I definitely did that, and I know it worked.”
Pat took a deep breath. “I’m angry because changing my brain to suit your needs is stepping just a bit over my fucking boundaries!”
“Right. Right. Shit. Of course. I’m sorry, Pat. I think I need to try something else.”
“Don’t you fucking dare!” Pat jumped to her feet , pointing a finger at Charlotte.
“Pat… just, please-”
Pat grabbed a snow globe off her shelf, the heaviest thing within reach, and brought it down hard toward Charlotte’s head. Charlotte brought up both of her left arms to deflect it, and it fell out of Pat’s grasp. She flexed a mental muscle, and Pat suddenly crumpled to the ground, unconscious. The snow globe hit the floorboards and shattered, spilling water and glitter everywhere.
Rich called from the next room, “Babe? What’s going on, are you ok?”
“It’s fine, babe, just keep playing video games.” She issued him a small mental command. He sat back down and continued playing video games.
Charlotte sat down on Pat’s bed and gently brushed Pat’s hair away from her face. “I’m sorry, Pat. Let’s try something else.” She closed her eyes and concentrated.
Charlotte lay in bed as the sun rose, her two right arms draped over Rich’s chest. Rich snored peacefully. It had been weeks since Charlotte, not needing to sleep, had simply lay in bed, but she was enjoying the physical contact with Rich. She lay and listened to his breathing. He twitched. She observed his brain activity and analysed it. She wondered what he was dreaming about. She wondered whether it was possible to read his brain activity accurately enough to know what he was thinking. She made a mental note to investigate that later.
She had spent several hours tinkering with and modifying Pat. She had modified certain connections, severed others, and forged new ones. She had gotten frustrated and undone her work, and restarted. She had erased certain carefully chosen memories, and slightly modified others. She had been trying to do something far more nuanced and complex than she had attempted up until that point, and it was extremely important that she get it right. Then, finally, she had let Pat sleep, and she and Rich had gone to bed. Rich had been horny, but Charlotte hadn’t been in the mood, so she had put him to sleep as well. They had gone to bed together, and Charlotte had simply been lying there, touching him gently, and observing.
Pat woke up. Charlotte could detect it from her own bedroom, and she started to get up herself. She put on some shorts and a tank top – modified, with enlarged arm holes – and walked into the kitchen, leaving Rich asleep in her bed.
“You sleep okay?” Charlotte asked.
“Yeah. Weird dreams though.”
Charlotte started making herself a coffee, measuring the grounds with one pair of hands and pouring the water with the other. Pat sat at the kitchen table and gazed at Charlotte’s lower arms. “Do you even still need caffeine?”
“No, but I like the taste.”
Pat nodded. There was a pause.
“Your arms are really cool. I don’t think I told you that before. They look awesome.”
Charlotte smiled, both at the compliment and at the confirmation that her work had been successful. “Thanks.” She touched her own arms self-consciously. “They took me a while. But I think they turned out great. There’s just… so much to learn, so much to try. I want to do… everything.”
Pat nodded. She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it. She started to walk out of the room, then suddenly turned around. “Could-” she stopped.
Charlotte looked at her, waiting for her to finish.
Pat gave an embarrassed laugh. “Rich looks awesome too.”
Charlotte grinned. “Oh, yeah, I’m very happy with how Rich looks.”
There was another awkward silence. Pat took a deep breath. Charlotte detected Pat’s heart rate accelerate slightly. “I was wondering… could- could you do something for me? Please?”
A sudden confusing and conflicting mass of emotions welled up in Charlotte. Outwardly, she shrugged. “Sure. What do you have in mind?”
Pat looked at the floor bashfully. “I was thinking, maybe… could I have pointy ears?”
Charlotte grinned. “No problem. That’s it?”
“Well…” she laughed again. “for now, anyway! I want to start small.”
“Uhm… I want to be able to hide them under a hat.”
Pat got a wet cloth, and the two of them sat down across from each other at the kitchen table. Charlotte got to work sculpting Pat’s ears. It took only a few minutes. Charlotte’s mind was wandering while she worked. This is exactly what I was trying for, she thought to herself. This is going to make life much easier – and happier – for everyone. I’m clearly getting better at reading and writing mental functions.
So why do I feel sad about this?