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The Spring Festival of Worms
Every few months, Sheriff Pardy and his business partner, Dr. Nils Skagen, would get a half-cocked idea, a get-rich-quick scheme based on a single premise.
"This town needs a kick in the ass, or it's going to die." Sheriff Pardy said while staring out the window of his office into the empty street.
"What constitutes a kick in the ass this brilliant Wednesday: a factory hiding in your pocket, another vaporous idea from those six hyperactive brain cells you use for thinking are exploding with blood sugar thanks to those candy bars and caffeine thanks to a pot of coffee?" Deputy Gus Snowcloud asked. Sheriff Pardy turned and scowled.
Three years before, the Country Council forced Sheriff Pardy to hire Gus Snowcloud as his deputy chief. Gus was a champion track star in college and graduated the Police Academy with honors. He was the latest broadside in the battle between the County Council to modernize and educate the bureaucracy of the County and a not so subtle attempt to push Sheriff Pardy out of office.
"A festival, we need a spring festival good enough to attract tourists that lingers through the fall and summer," Sheriff Pardy said pouring his eighth cup of coffee that morning. Doc Skagen glared at him, but Pardy didn't pour the coffee back into the pot.
"Everybody loves a spring festival," Doc Skagen reinforced the idea.
"Everybody has a spring festival. What would make ours so different?" Deputy Gus had orders from the County Council to downplay the too many and too numerous ideas from Pardy and Skagen.
"Worms from a worm farm," Doc Skagen said.
"A great spring revival of worms? That's better than your scentless skunk breeding, or the do-it-yourself mink coat kit, or the dyed ferrets." Deputy Gus scoffed at the ideas. Pardy threw a sheaf of papers in the air, frustrated and angry.
"Now listen to me, young man! Remember we are your elders and we are always right. We need to create a Spring Festival of Worms because we have the worm farm. Something as unique as that will put the town on the map." Chief Pardy stamped his feet and waved both fists in the air. Doc Skagen put a hand on Pardy's shoulder to calm him. He took over convincing the deputy of the unlimited prospects for this idea.
"Remember last fall when that big rock fell out of the sky? I've been researching that thing and discovered it contained some alien device. It can turn a man into a critter and back again. I say we get a dozen or so volunteers and turn them into giant worms. That would attract a crowd and put the worm farm on the map," Doc Skagen said.
"Man-size worms for a worm festival would be unique and with an ambitious marketing program, attractive. Ain't nothing like it, anywhere," Pardy said, folding his arms, defiant.
"The question for our deputy sheriff here is 'Are you going to kiss the Council's ass and crap all over these ideas?' How about trying to make this county a better place?" Doc Skagen demanded.
Gus leaned against the side of his desk and thought about the idea. Any unique festival would require housing and restaurants. At least one homebuilder in town wanted to develop acreage that used to be farmland for the new workers. The idea had possibilities. It would bring crowds to see man-sized worms. He wondered what living as a worm for a week might feel like? What would being able to move through the earth at will feel like?
He decided to humor the two old men and see how far they could take this charade.
"I need proof that you can create man-sized worms," Deputy Gus said directly to Doc Skagen.
"I can change men into worms. I'll show you tonight."
"I'll believe it when I see it. The worm candidates have to be sworn to secrecy, or the festival will fail."
"Can't you use that Twitter thing or Craig's List thing to get volunteers?" Doc Skagen asked.
"How about using those drunken frat boys from the next state? The ones I arrested last week for D&D?" Sheriff Pardy blurted not thinking. The frat boys insulted Pardy, and for Pardy, that was a death sentence. Pardy's ability to be petty and venal kept getting the better of his temper. Skagen dragged him to one side and calmed him down.
Gus let Skagen handle Sheriff Pardy. He didn't want to explain to Sheriff Pardy that anytime after the fact, when the drunken frat boys got drunk again, which seemed to be their primary aim in life, they would boast about being worms and spoil the Festival.
"You two handle the physical location to house the worms. Let me handle the internet and recruiting. I'll find volunteers who want to be vermiform and wormy for a week to ten days," Deputy Gus said.
Late that night, Doc Skagen showed Gus how the transformation device worked by turning a bunny into a goat and back again. When Gus held his hand in front of the device, it changed his arm into soft, flexible worminess. The transform thrilled him enough to believe the Festival of the Worm would work.
Deputy Gus advertised on internet fetish boards and sought out runaway kids and the homeless. He carefully screened the applicants. He wasn't much older than the volunteers. The County agreed to free meals and a modest paycheck. Local farmers offered work when the festival ended, thinking the volunteers were merely booth attendants and amusement ride operators.
Worm volunteers wandered into the city. The first came a month in advance. The last volunteer arrived two days before the festival. The Worm Squad, as he called them, were tall, wiry and in their twenties.
Gus explained that they would transform into worms two days before the festival, the festivities were three days, and the organizers wanted two days after the festival for publicity. That was seven days total. He obtained housing and some meaningful work for all of them.
Doc Skagen located the venue: the County's eyesore, a massive concrete pit left over from the Mountain-Top-Mine, five hundred foot deep and one thousand feet square. The Mining Company used it for water purification then abandoned it when the coal seam was mined out. The pit was filled with soft, loamy soil. A local builder installed a stone deck around the perimeter and planted grasses and low shrubbery. They erected billboards announcing the pit to be a Worm Farm and installed grandstand and bleachers. Sheriff Pardy and the County Council spruced up the town. A nearby farm offered an adjacent field as a musical performance venue.
Two days before the opening of the first Spring Festival of Worms, Deputy Gus assembled the volunteers in a tent on the soft, loamy grass of the pit. It was a chilly March night.
Doc Skagen explained the necessity of the worm suits.
"Shape counts with this device. Worms are long and thin. Humans aren't. These latex suits will shape your bodies. Remember, your new tail will extend beyond your feet. The tightness will let you move through faster the earth. You will want to dive into the dirt when the transform is complete. Don't resist."
It wasn't much of a pep talk, but it did arouse Gus. Pardy and Skagen counted on his reaction.
The volunteers stripped and took latex worm suits in hand. The exterior of the suits was already slimy, textured and ridged like worm skin. The interiors of the suits felt slick, lubricated to slide over human skin. The volunteers required help getting the suits around their torso because their hands and arms had to be pressed against the sides of their bodies. Gus helped each volunteer. He tightened the bindings, so their hands and arms were pressed tight to their sides and their bound legs together. The volunteers talked sparingly, nervous about being so helpless. Gus' hands pressed against each volunteer's body just to reassure each that they would be safe. He sealed each latex suit into a tubular shape, pulling hoods over the volunteer's heads and leaving only their faces exposed.
Eleven men lay in a circle, helpless. Only their human faces watched and waited. Each volunteer resembled some unearthly tubular creature with a vaguely human shape. Their beige-pink, latex-encased bodies looked less like mummies than giant chrysalis. As they wiggled and squirmed, the latex tightened and the obviously throbbing erections throbbed at their midsections.
Sheriff Pardy stood in their line of sight and gave them his final order: "When you hear the grunters come to the surface. Got that?" He went back to his car and waited inside it, leaving only Doc Skagen and Gus in the middle of the volunteers. Skagen put a hand on Deputy Gus' shoulder.
"Since we started, you've had that look of 'I want to.' This is your opportunity," Doc Skagen said. The volunteers heard and wiggled in delight.
"I have too much to do," Gus replied, smiling, sounding boyish, guilty at being caught.
"It's your chance to be a worm for a few days. No questions asked." Skagen put his arm around Gus and patted his shoulder.
"Law and Order will survive without you," one of the volunteers said.
"I don't know," Gus tried to brush the suggestion away, but he was visibly excited about the transformation and couldn't hide the proof. He blushed. Doc Skagen turned up the persuasion to hard.
"I caught you more than once staring these suits and getting a hard-on. This is your opportunity. There's a security contractor for the Festival. You won't be missed."
"You'll tell my wife and square this with the Chief. She'll worry." Gus took a deep breath and yanked his shirt over his head.
"I'll tell her business requires you be out of town for a week and assure here that you'll return," Doc Skagen said.
"I'll do it," Gus said, taking the last latex worm suit and laying it on the ground in the middle of the Worm Squad for them to see. He made a big deal of undressing and standing naked before pulling the worm suit past his thighs and over his torso. He struggled to get his arms in position and stay standing. Doc Skagen helped.
"I'm thicker than the Worm Squad." He said nervous, anxious, trying to stay in control of his emotions.
"The Early Bird gets the fat worm," a volunteer yelled.
"Fat worm gets the hook for the fish," a second volunteer added.
"Then I'm lucky we don't have trout the size of whales," Gus yelled. Chuckles and snorts filled the night. Skagen laughed as he fastened the suit around Gus' arms and shoulders. Gus grunted at the tightness. He stood like a latex post. Skagen lowered to the grass, pulled Gus' head back, and slipped the worm-shaped mask over his face.
Inside the suit, Gus waited, his breathing hard, his mind wavering between delight and claustrophobia. He could feel the vibrations of Skagen's footsteps but couldn't see or move. He heard the Worm Squad grunt as Skagen masked them. Another set of steps suggested Sheriff Pardy's return.
"They look different from what I imagined," Sheriff Pardy said.
"I have one more thing to do," Skagen said as he rubbed the erection of the nearest worm until the latex-bound man reached a gasping, groaning orgasm. While the man inside spasmed in orgasm, Skagen turned him on his stomach, triggered the alien device. The latex-encased man transformed into a worm.
"What's that about?" Sheriff Pardy asked, continuing to masturbate the volunteers and transform them as they reached orgasm.
"It facilitates the transformation."
"Neat tricking Deputy Gus, my County Council hemorrhoid, into a worm suit," Sheriff Pardy said. "Damn idiot has been a grand nuisance ever since The Council hired him. If I fired him, then I'd have to answer to the County Council. This way, no one will miss him."
"You should learn a little self-control. He just heard you, fool. The Council hates you because you're big-mouthed, petty and ignorant like. Don't worry. Gus Snowcloud can't take. It's our secret as long as you can keep your mouth shut."
With that admonition, Doc Skagen stroked Deputy Gus' manhood. Gus didn't want this but was helpless to stop. In the white fire of orgasm, he became a worm. He felt every organ in his body change. His head stretched out with his mouth pointing forward. His eyes ceased to be. His bones dissolved. He felt thick round muscles circle his torso and more powerful muscles grow along his length. Nothing felt the same. Thoughts wandered from his consciousness as his brain dissolved into distributed ganglia. His heart ceased beating, and his blood whooshed through five chambers. He felt his body constrict, lengthen, constrict again. He was free from the binding and could move. He wanted the soft soil and pushed into the ground to satisfy his existence.
Time lost meaning. Day and night ceased to exist. The concerns of hot and cold vanished except for freezing and dryness. Gus felt massively and epically hungry. Listening to the vibrations and sounds of the earth, he could hear them eating their way deeper into the soil of the giant pit. All of the Worm Squad must be digging. The dirt didn't taste good or bad. It filled his new body. Eventually, he found the others worms, and they touched, shared enzymes and bacteria, became familiar with each other.
A grunting noise vibrating through the ground signaled the start of the Spring Festival. The giant worms surfaced and cavorted. Gus knew the original schedule and number of performances, but he lost count after the first two. The earth and the worms around him were more important than performance for people he couldn't feel, or see, or hear. If the grunters made noise, he surfaced. If not, he crawled through the fertile soil as satisfied as any other worm.
Deep in the back of Gus' worm-like mind, he thought that one day he would be human again but as long as the dirt was rich and the ground soft, being a worm was all he desired.
Skagen and Pardy never intended to restore the Worm Squad to human form. Their plan was a permanent worm farm with giant, man-sized worms on display throughout the year.
*** *** *** *** ***
Twenty Spring Festivals passed with the town growing and prospering as predicted. Each year the Worms appeared when the worm grunters called and did their thing. The festival crowds loved it and grew in size. A few months after the Festival of Worms, on a warm midsummer night, a reckoning occurred.
Nils Skagen Junior, son of Doc Skagen, stood under the bleachers next to a worm grunter. His best friend Rocco Tarquinio, nicknamed Tarq because he was a gymnast, hung two battery-operated camping lanterns from the framework of the bleachers.
"Are you sure this is the right way to find out what happened?" Nils Junior asked.
"This was the first thing you told me a dozen years ago when we met. 'My father's messed up talking some crazy delusion about worms and alien devices. Ignore it,'" Tarq said. He set his backpack on the ground Nils Jr paced.
"I need to know the truth." He pounded one fist into the palm of the other hand. "Everyone said it was some form of dementia. I dismissed the old creep for years. Now that he's dead, I find the alien device." Nils Jr pulled the device his pocket, waved it around, and put it back.
"Point that thing at yourself and pull the trigger. If you turn into a worm, it works. That would end your ego's ennui and mental malaise. Chill dude."
"Too much drama? What if instead, I rip your testicles from your body?" Nils Jr wasn't that strong, but he was that fixated on his father's purported senility. Tarq rolled his eyes, pulled his jeans open, and pretended to talk to his testicles.
"You hear that boys. He's threatening you. Should I beat him now or beat him later?"
Both young men gave themselves a ten count. One from guilt, the other from silliness.
"We shouldn't joke. Either my father was senile or lied to a dozen men. The thought that he celebrated that deed with my conception haunts me." Nils hung his head in guilt. Tarq shoved the grunter in the ground and activated it.
"You overthink everything. We'll know soon."
They waited under the bleachers for the worms to surface. Rain soaked Tarq's muscle shirt. Uncomfortable, he pulled it off and stood sat on the ground wearing only his jeans opened to the crotch. On his left pectoral muscle was a port wine birthmark. He had the over-muscled and chiseled body of a gymnast.
When the worms surfaced, Nils Jr fired the alien device at them, and the worms partially reverted to human shapes. Hybrids of human-male forms stared at the two young men; Atrocities with one long leg, baby-like arms, holes instead of mouths; true nightmares and horrors. The hybrid creatures squirmed around Nils Jr and Tarq.
The only worm-human hybrid with a hole that made a noise resembling human speech was Deputy Gus. His neck remained thick and wouldn't let him look down at his body. He had arms, but he couldn't do more than wave spastically. Internally, nothing in his torso felt remotely human. His legs remained fused into a tail and made moving spastic. He didn't want to think about eating or elimination or discovering where his man-parts were and how they might function as a human-worm hybrid. He wanted information.
After five incoherent minutes, he managed to belch a semblance of human speech.
"Who are you?" Gus asked in a rough voice.
"You're not Skagen."
"I'm his son. Which volunteer are you?"
"Gus Snowcloud. Where's Doc Skagen?" The half-human thing asked. Nils Jr sank into remorse and tried to stifle his emotions.
"It's my fault," Nils Jr said with tears welling up in his eyes, his voice cracking. After several weeks of guilt-ridden remorse, he wasn't prepared to face a human-worm hybrid without contrition on hips lips. He didn't have words to excuse his father's actions. His persistent inability to get beyond guilt and self-recrimination bored Tarq. Tarq rolled his eyes and with a loud sigh.
"There were always rumors the worms being created but no one knew the truth until Doc Skagen died a couple of weeks ago of a massive stroke," Tarq explained, answering for Nils.
"Who are you?" Gus gestured at Tarq.
"A friend, both of us were born several months after the first Worm Festival."
The three stared at each other, silence speaking too much about the sins of the father and the responsibility of the sons. The human portion of Gus the hybrid creature tried to shake its head back and forth, but its anatomy was restricted.
"I don't understand," Gus said.
"His father kept the secret for twenty years," Nils Jr said.
"Twenty years? Has it been that long?"
"It's as terrible as I thought. It's my shame," Nils Jr chocked back tears. "Twenty years ago, My father tricked you guys into becoming worms, cheated a dozen human beings out of their human lives. His crimes are going to destroy the family legacy. I'm left to pay for that."
"This was Sheriff Pardy's doing, not Doc Skagen's. The last words I remember hearing were Pardy insisting that the Worms be stranded in the Worm Farm."
Tarq slapped Nils Jr's back, provoking more near weeping.
"Your Dad didn't do it after all. The newspaper accounts say that Sheriff Pardy died of a heart attack while screaming at some drunken frat boys. He couldn't control that temper, ate idiotically, drank too much-caffeinated soda and coffee, and didn't exercise. He was a bitter old man with an agenda."
Nils stared at Tarq not desirous of deciphering his guilt. His face remained rigid in self-loathing and anger. His mind still fixated on his guilt-driven doubts. His nightmares, human-worm hybrids betrayed and abandoned as lower lifeforms arrayed, stood before his eyes.
"My father was his willing stooge," Nils spoke soft and low, pulling away from Tarq, deep in thought, trying to rationalize his guilt.
"What you going to do? Carry that guilt to your grave?" Tarq said. He got no answer. He turned from Nils Jr, putting on an astoundingly faked happy-face to talk to Gus.
"How's life as a worm?" Tarq asked. Nils swatted him as if to silence the question. "It's a fair question," Tarq whined. Gus was beyond his theatrics.
"Simple, eat dirt, move through dirt, sleep in the dirt, and play on the surface when the grunters call." A simple-minded, rude answer to a rather obviously ignorant question. It didn't deter Tarq.
"Good! I'm glad," Tarq said, pausing. Gus couldn't tell if the remark was as sarcastic and he was as ignorant as he sounded or was treating his friend in some joking manner. Tarq did, to Gus' surprise, brandish the alien transformation device and continue talking: "I don't think the alien transformer works as well in reverse. It does a great job on the original transformation and a lousy job on the reversal. Maybe it was meant to create hybrids. I mean, look at you guys," Tarq said. Gus looked around the small circle of light. None of the original Worm Squad reverted to human bodies. Their heads remained elongated. Their arms were short with vestigial hands. Their legs remained fused into tails. Their bodies remained tubular and retained muscle flaps for stretching and contracting.
"We'll be worms the rest of our lives," Gus said.
"Glad you agree," Tarq aimed the transformation device and retransformed all the worms except Gus.
"But," Nils Jr said.
"But my ass," Tarq answered sarcastically.
"Now what," Nils Jr said.
Gus grew impatient. He wanted to return to being a worm and be done with these two children. However, Tarq wasn't finished. He had a naughty twinkle in his eye, a particular purpose to his persistent squabbling with Nils Jr.
"Well, the only question left for you, Nils Junior is what are going to do about your father's legacy." He poked at Nils who brushed him away, stood up and faced Gus squarely, looking him in the eyes.
"You didn't even give me a chance. How do I make amends to worms in the ground? How do I live with the knowledge that my father is responsible for the atrocity of turning a dozen men into giant worms? How do I right my Father's wrongs?" His demeanor was in every way guilt-ridden and submissive.
"Don't beat yourself up that bad, kid. Life as a worm isn't terrible. We all knew the risks going into this," Gus said.
"Do you have any regrets?" Nils asked.
"I never think about my life before. I think the transformation alters the mind. Only wormy things matter. It's logical. The aliens who created the device wanted their creatures to enjoy being creatures." Gus wanted to shrug, but his shoulders wouldn't move. Tarq pushed Nils' shoulder, encouraging him toward some greater decision.
"Makes sense, Doesn't it Nils?" Tarq tried to push Nils' should again but was brushed away. Nils turned his back on Tarq, took a deep breath, and sighed long and hard.
"I thought maybe a press release explaining my Father's sins would suffice, but that doesn't seem sufficient when the evidence of my Father's wrongs looks me in the eye." Nils' guilt and indecision played out across his face. Without saying another word, he ripped his shirt off his body.
"When will it be enough? When will justice be satisfied?" he cried out in anguish. Tarq rolled his eyes at the drama.
"You know what will satisfy the scales of justice. You know what you need to do. That's why packed your own, personal worm suit, isn't it? You want to make reparations for your father's sins. You know what you have to do." He tossed the backpack at Nils' feet and continued to pressure him: "Ever since you found out what your father did, you decreed your punishment. It's time."
Tarq took a rubbery worm suit from the backpack and laid it on the wet grass for Nils to use.
"You're right. I have no other choice," Nils whimpered. He stripped. Muscle on muscle rippled. He rubbed the worm suit over his body. Gus could see that Nils' manhood was erect and throbbing. Tarq saw it, too. He drove the guilt message deeper.
"You can't stand that other men dared to take the risk of transformation and your father rather traitorously left them to stay worms. His sins are your burden. Make reparations. Become the worm. Live out your life as a worm. Accept a future created by your father and his vengeful leader, Pardy," Tarq put words to Nils' guilt. Gus didn't want to be involved in this psycho-sexual manipulation. He didn't want to know what drove the kid - - remorse, guilt or suppressed sexual desires. Doc Skagen had raised his son with near-psychotic angst. What sort of a parent uses mental abuse this severe? Gus didn't know and didn't care to know.
"If I do this, no one will know," Nils said.
"No one cares. You can go through life as a consummate turd like your father or you can live the life he gave to other men. How many times this past week did you have me tie you up and roll you in a rubber sheet. Don't wimp out now. Be a man, do it." Tarq spoke non-stop and was out of breath when he finished this little speech. Nils pulled the suit over his bare feet and up his legs past the knees. He had trouble getting his hands in place and getting the suit above his hips.
"How can you put this thing on all by yourself?" Nils asked.
"I bend bones with my mind," Tarq teased.He knelt next to Nils and yanked and tugged the torso of the suit over Nils' shoulders, up his neck, and positioned the hood. Only Nil's face remained exposed. Tarq sneered as he covered Nils Jr's head with the worm mask.
"Skagen masturbated us after he put the masks on us and triggered the transform during our orgasms. I think it helped the transformation," Gus said. He decided that Nils Jr deserved to get the same cheap and tawdry sexual thrill that Doc Skagen gave him and the other volunteers. It was a petty, vindictive and shameful, but the last threads of humanity in Gus felt satisfied with it.
"You going to enjoy my hands on your manhood," Tarq said, stroking Nils' erection through the rubber. Nils' thrashed and twisted, tightening the suit, gasping for air as the suit squeezed his body. When he stiffened and jerked in orgasmic pleasure, Tarq stepped back and fired the alien device. Nils' transformation into a worm during the white-hot blinding spasms of his orgasm. He slithered into the earth to join the other worms. Tarq's cruelty and revenge both revolted and impressed Gus. None of this happened by chance. The kid had planned this night.
"That takes care of Nils and his guilt. Score one for the good guys."
"It was cruel," Gus said. These actions weren't an act of kindness.
"Mom said you were too kind for your good," Tarq answered cryptically. He mounted the alien device on a strut of the bleachers and aimed it with a pocket laser pointer. He turned off the electric lanterns. Yanked his t-shirt over his head and stood bare-chested. The only blemish on his porcelain skin and fine muscles was the port wine stain on the left side of his chest.
"I have a question. Did you ever wonder why none of the Worm Squad had offspring? I mean regular worms reproduce why not big worms?" Tarq asked.
"I never felt the urge, didn't think we could," Gus said.
"The old bastard was a deliberate bastard. He set the alien device to make you guys mule worms. He taught his son that it his actions, like the aliens, were a societal cleansing of undesirables. The old man had ignorant ideals and attitudes." Tarq's words flustered and puzzled Gus. Gus gestured with his barely functional arms.
"I didn't know that," Gus said, surprised.
"I changed the setting on the transformation device. From now on you will be able to mate with Nils."
"Why?" Gus asked, and Tarq shrugged.
"Because I can. According to Skagen's notes, the aliens only let their hybrids breed once a year. I calculated that birth rate and a pair of mating worms are sufficient to maintain the worm population for the Spring Festival to continue. If there were a dozen giant breeding worms, then we'd be overrun with man-sized worms and the military would kill Y'all."
Gus reached a limit with this kid's arrogance.
"You think that you are the brightest and most resourceful, don't you?" Gus didn't intend that as a compliment.
"I truly am. But I got more to do." Tarq answered smug and proud. He pulled his socks and shoes off and dropped his jeans. Muscles piled on muscle and a stud to match. He posed for Gus, showing off the fine human male that he was. "Like what you see?" he asked.
"I can't help but think that you got the worm fever too, don't you. You're planning on becoming a worm, just like Nils, just like me?"
"Only for a few hours. Not permanent like. I have other aspirations." Tarq smiled an insufferable smile.
"I will retain some memory of my this conversation. You'll have put the alien device on a timer. What if I knock it down? You'll be forced to live like a worm," he paused. Breathing and talking required effort and he was tiring out. Tarq sat next to him on the grass and wrapped a strong arm around his body.
"You won't do that. First, it's mounted above ground where you can't reach. Second, you're my father. I am your son." He hugged him to his chest. "I've waited a lifetime to meet you." The kid's body felt hot and strong. Gus could hear him choking back tears. He pushed away in horror.
"How can I believe anything you say?"
Tarq showed Gus pictures of his mother when he was a baby. The baby had an identical port wine stain on its left chest.
"Mother remarried after I was born. However, a few years ago, she told me that her first husband, my father was an American Indian named Augustus Snowcloud. I investigated you. Nils didn't know. I took advantage of his father's mental abuse of him. Crime doesn't pay and, what did the Bard say, 'Murder will out?'"
Stunned, flabbergasted, staggered, Gus blurted out anything that might make this nightmarish return to humanity end: "You're willing to take a chance on being a worm?"
Tarq wasn't about to stop. He continued to reveal Skagen's dread family secrets.
"Doc Skagen cheated me out of a father and brothers. I need to what your life is, feel the physical changes, experience the mentality, live like a worm." His face softened, and he smiled. Gus agreed.
"It's too dangerous! Return me to the earth where I belong," Gus said.
"I'll see you below," Tarq said, triggering the alien device and re-transforming Gus. The last of the original giant worms crawled beneath the surface.
Determined to continue with his plan, Gus fastened the worm suit tight up to his waist and put on the mask. This was his secret method to what appeared impossible for others. He worked the rest of the suit with his hands from the inside and waited for the alien device to trigger his transformation.
The ray hit and the transformation jolted his body. He felt his muscles grow stronger, thicker, massive in a way no weight or exercise could build. He writhed and twisted feeling bones disappear and be replaced by thick skin with plates surrounding his body. His legs fused together and stretched. His body pulsed from head to newly formed tail. Skin grew over his face and head, and he ceased to see. Internally, his organs adjusted to his new existence. His heart elongated into five chambers. His body constricted again, and his mind drifted, forming ganglia down its length. This was an odd sense of self. No concerns other than his mouth. It existed to swallow dirt. He pushed into the dirt and ate his way underground.
The soil was soft and friendly, comforting. He moved through it with ease. It filled the hunger in his body. He sensed other worms moving around him, pushed against him, talking to them using enzymes and bacteria. He found Nils the worm crawling through the soil. He touched Nils and felt him radiate happiness and contentment with his change.
Tarq brushed against his father, Gus. It was electric and in human form, impossible. Their worm bodies wrapped together and writhed in pleasure. Tarq knew what to do with his twos sets of odd sex organs and how to accomplish this mating. A broad band of muscle and skin on his body exuded mucus and moved it toward his head. This would be the receptacle of Gus the worm's eggs and sperm. He would deposit his sperm and eggs in the mucus. A dual orgasm, a dual mind-breaker.
The alien device used sex and orgasm to guarantee that its hybrids never regretted being transformed. Tarq's distributed mind wanted to remain in the dirt forever, give into the pleasure. In opposition, parts of his centralized identity remained. He disengaged, forcing his way to the surface.
When the alien device fired for his retransformation, his human body - - bones, mind, heart, legs, and arms returned. He ripped the worm suit open and yanked it from his body. He lay naked on the soft ground, feeling stronger, more robust, no longer alone in the world. He had the answer to his life's question - - what happened to his father. He got to know his father for in a most intimate way. Being a worm gave him insight. His father didn't regret his life as a worm and Tarq was at peace.
The sky lightened. The summer tourists would be coming to the Festival soon. He stretched and found his body retained the worm's flexibility and a significant amount of new muscle. His jeans didn't fit. In the early morning light, he walked home naked. All-in-all, it was a good day.
5800 words more or less
FUTURES YET UNKNOWN
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
*An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas.
*Murder on a world with altered humans.
*Disturbing apocalyptic visions *Monstrous dystopian societies.
*A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots.
*Devils, demons and ghosts.
*Survivors of a plague war.
*Cyborgs trying to be human.
*Six friends in a strange sinkhole.
*The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope.
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