Mark is adopted and finds out in the most shocking way that his birth parents left him with a Twisted legacy.
This story takes place in Morpheus's Twisted universe.
"Go long," I called to my friend Cody as I threw a football as hard as I could. Cody ran down the length of the long yard beside my house, missing the ball and earning a few good-natured insults. "What's the matter?" I teased him. "Wash your hands with butter again?"
"No Mark, you just need to learn how to throw better," Cody called back with a broad grin.
Cody and I were best friends, having known each other since we were both in elementary school. He even lived just across the street from me so we spent almost every day hanging out together. Lately we'd both been spending a lot of time playing football, hoping that we'd be good enough to join the school team next year. Our chances were fairly good, in large part because we lived in a small town that didn't offer a whole lot of competition.
I grinned as Cody came back to me with the ball in hand. He was fifteen, the same age as me though he was just a little taller. And where my hair was really dark, his was a sandy blonde. I was also a better athlete than him, a fact that I loved to tease him about on occasion.
"So," I grinned, "you want to try again? I can try throwing a real long pass..."
"Or I could pass to you," Cody shrugged. "That way you could show me how badly your hands are buttered."
"Maybe," I laughed. "Or maybe I'll show you how bad you really are."
"So," Cody asked after a moment, "I know your birthday is in a couple weeks. Have your folks said anything about having a big party?"
"No," I shrugged. "It's not really my birthday anyway. You know that."
"Oh yeah," Cody blushed, "I forgot about that..."
I frowned and thought about my birthday, or my unbirthday as it were. I had no idea what day I was really born or even what my real name was since my birth mom had abandoned me at an orphanage when I was only a couple months old. Fortunately, I hadn't been there for even a year before my new parents came and adopted me. I was eternally grateful to them for that since I didn't know who or where I'd be without them.
"So," Cody asked, changing the subject, "are you going to ask Lisa Cartright out? I know you've been drooling over her for months."
"Maybe," I blushed, "I'm just waiting for the right time."
"Uh huh," Cody nodded, "Sure you are." Then he grinned, "She sure has filled out over the last year. You remember a couple years ago when she was completely flat chested..."
"Yeah," I grimaced, remembering an unfortunate incident where I'd teased Lisa about never being big enough to wear a bra. I just hoped that she didn't remember it. That would surely blow my chances for a date with her to hell.
Just then, I heard a low humming sound and turned to see a sleek looking car going past on the road. The bottom of the car was a full foot above the road, which wasn't too surprising considering that it was one of those new hover cars. They weren't exactly new, having been around for nearly ten years. However, they were fairly expensive so we didn't see many of them around town.
"Damn," Cody whistled, "I'd love to drive one of those."
"Me too," I agreed, thinking about how much a car like that would impress Lisa and just about every other girl.
Then Cody looked down at his watch and grimaced, "Damn. I've gotta go."
"There's a bush you can go behind over there," I teased.
Cody just rolled his eyes, "My folks volunteered me to go over and help Reverend Jack paint his shed."
"Ouch," I winced, remembering Cody complaining about that earlier.
"You want to come and help?" Cody asked hopefully.
"No thanks," I told him with a look of mock disappointment. "My mom has some chores she wanted me to do around the house."
I said good-bye to Cody and waved to him as he hurried across the street to his house, then I grabbed my football and went back to mine. As soon as stepped in the door, I was assaulted with the smell of fresh baked bread. I was nearly drooling at that but knew that I've to be patient and wait for my mom to offer it.
Then I turned my attention to my sister Grace who was sitting in the middle of the floor and playing with her dolls. Grace wasn't my biological sister but I loved her just the same as if she was, though I'd never tell her that. She was seven years old and as my mom said, cute as a button... whatever that means.
"Hi Mark," Grace waved to me. "You wanna play dolls with me?"
I looked to her small collection of dolls, all of them those blonde Barbie's with dimensions that were impossible for real women. They were all wearing pink outfits, which happened to match the pink plastic car and the pink playhouse Grace had for them. The very sight made me feel nauseous.
"No thanks," I told Grace. "I'm a guy. I don't play dolls. I play football." I held up my ball for her to see.
"Please," Grace begged with those puppy dog eyes that made it hard to say no.
"I told you no," I snapped.
Just then my mom stepped into the room and gave me one of 'those looks'. It was the kind that said she wasn't angry but that she was about to get very insistent about something. I'd seen her use that same look a number of times, including last week right before she had me and my dad spend the whole day cleaning out the garage. It usually wasn't a good sign.
"Mark Leland Brown," she said using my full name, which was an even worse sign. "You sit down and play with your sister. You two don't spend enough quality time together."
"But mom," I protested with a sinking feeling in my gut.
"No buts," she told me with that look that brooked no arguments.
However, I did try to argue and protest for another minute, but in the end I ended up doing my mom said, just as I knew I would. I sat down on the floor beside Grace, letting out an exasperated sigh as I looked over her collection of girlie toys. She had a half dozen of the dolls with all their pink accessories.
"Don't these things come in anything other than pink?" I asked Grace as I picked up a bright pink toy boat.
"Pink's pretty," Grace said insistently, giving me a look that had hints of my mom's look in it. I had a feeling that one day her look would be fully developed and she'd terrorize her own kids with it.
"Whatever," I rolled my eyes, knowing that it was pointless to argue about something like that.
"Here," Grace said, handing me one of her dolls, "you play with this one..."
I accepted the doll with a sigh of, "Just great."
The doll was the same as all the others with the blonde hair and well developed figure. This one was also dressed in some sort of pink business suit that even included a pink briefcase. I supposed that at least it was better than the one in the pink ballerina outfit which Grace seemed to like.
"I'll be the mommy and you be the little girl," Grace told me, pointing to our dolls.
"This doesn't look like a little girl to me," I told her with a smirk.
I rolled my eyes, wondering how I could have possibly ended up playing dolls on the floor with my little sister. This was humiliating and I knew that I'd just die if Cody or anyone else found out. I grimaced as the sudden thought that my mom might take a picture of us and use it as blackmail material later on.
Fortunately, mom didn't come in with a camera, though she did come and check on us several times, or at least checked on me to make sure I was still with Grace. I was really regretting my decision not to go help Cody. Painting a shed might be work, but at least it wasn't embarrassing.
Suddenly, I felt a strange tingling rush through my body like a wave that came out of nowhere. I gasped as every hair on the back of my arms stood on end, as though I was caught in a bunch of static electricity. Then it all exploded through my at once, filling my body with fire and making me feel like I'd just been struck by lightning. The raw force of it was indescribable and I think I screamed though I wasn't sure. Everything went black a moment later.
I awoke some time later, still laying on the floor and looking up at the ceiling. My body was tingling and felt very strange but it didn't hurt. I gulped in fear, wondering what was wrong with me. Did I just have a stroke or something? I was way too young for something like that but it was the only thing I could think of unless I actually had been struck by lightning. That wasn't too likely though either since the sky had been clear.
"What...?" I blinked, finding myself too weak to move much.
"You're awake," my mom exclaimed, coming over and standing above me. She stared at me with a strange expression but didn't bent over to get any closer. "Mark...?"
"Yeah...," I responded weakly. My mom's eyes went wide and she gulped visibly.
Then both my dad and Doctor Grissom came to stand over me, making me realize that I must have been out of it for awhile. Dad had been at work while I was playing with Grace and Doctor Grissom worked on the other side of town. I suddenly felt even more terrified than before. Dad just stood there, staring down at me with an unreadable expression. He didn't say a word though which only made me more worried, which I wouldn't have thought possible.
"What's wrong with me?" I asked weakly, my voice sounding strange to my ears.
Doctor Grissom didn't answer, but he did bent over to look at me a little more closely. He put a hand on my forehead, grimacing as he did so. Then he looked me over, obviously not pleased with what he saw.
"What's wrong with me?" I asked again, this time forcing myself to sit up a bit. It was much harder than I ever would have thought and I became aware of a huge weight on my chest. I stared down at myself, gasping in shock to see my chest swelling out into two huge bumps.
"What happened to him?" my dad finally asked grimly. "What the hell happened to Mark?"
"He was just playing with Grace," mom blurted out tearfully. "Then Grace screamed and..." She shook her head and then stared at me, "He turned into this..."'
"There's only one thing it can be," Doctor Grissom said, looking down at me with a look of extreme distaste. "He's Twisted."
"Twisted?" mom gasped in horror.
"Twisted?" I repeated, feeling horrified myself.
There was no way I could be Twisted... Everyone knew that the Twisted were complete freaks, that they were unnatural mutations and monsters. Everyone knew that. And the only way you could even be Twisted was if your parents or grandparents had survived the Kinkaid Virus...the Antarctic Flu...
"No," I gasped in shock, remembering that I had absolutely no idea who my biological parents were. For all I knew, they could both be Twisted. "NO!"
I struggled to sit up more and get a better look at myself. All I could see though were the two large mounds growing from my chest. I had been covered with a blanked that hid my lower body but I didn't even want to think about moving it yet. I just stared down at my chest, slowly realizing that the two mounds looked like boobs... It looked like I had boobs like some girl. Big ones too...
"How can he be Twisted?" my dad demanded angrily.
Doctor Grissom scowled. "The way other people are Twisted. It's a side effect of a genetic mutation caused by the Kinkaid virus. I never suspected that Mark could be one of them..." He shook his head. "I've never seen a real Twisted before..."
"Is there anything we can do?" mom demanded. "Can we cure him?"
"There is no cure," Doctor Grissom stated, giving me a quick glare as though this was all my fault. "Fortunately, being Twisted isn't contagious."
I could only sit there, too shocked to say anything. In fact, I could barely even think. This was just too much. It was too shocking. It was a nightmare. That's it, I decided. I was having a nightmare. I'd wake up and everything would be back to normal. I kept willing myself to wake up but it didn't do any good.
Doctor Grissom and my parents continued to talk as though I wasn't there while I remained where I was, too stunned to join the conversation even if they did want to include me. All I could do was stare down at myself, trying to make sense of it all. I felt myself getting a little stronger and I could move more easily, but at the moment I didn't really want to move. The only movements I wanted to make was to curl up into a little ball, or maybe get up and run away from myself as fast as I could.
I held my hand up and stared at it, gulping as I did so. It looked like a girl's hand. It looked all feminine and I even had long fingernails. The very sight was enough to make me stare at my chest again, feeling a knot in my stomach. I shook for a moment, beginning to realize how I had changed and not liking it one little bit.
While Doctor Grissom and my parents were occupied with themselves, I slowly slipped one hand under the blanket, feeling my legs and finding that they were now soft and smooth. I felt sick at that and even more so when I felt my crotch. It was flat and empty. The only thing I could feel there was...was a slit. I felt as though I was going to empty my stomach.
By this time, I thought I felt well enough to stand up. I wrapped the blanket tightly around me, even lifting it up high enough to cover my chest. I blushed horribly as I did this, then I stood up. I was weak and shaky and my legs felt something like rubber, but I managed to get to my feet and stand. That action finally caused Doctor Grissom and my parents to notice me again.
"Is that really you?" mom asked me with a look of stunned disbelief, even as she stared at my face.
"I think so," I whispered, not sure what else to say. I felt so wrong and uncomfortable. Then I turned to Doctor Grissom, "Can you fix me...?" I pleaded with him. "Is there any way to put me back to normal?"
Doctor Grissom stared at me for a moment, finally showing the first look of sympathy that I'd seen from him today. "I'm afraid not," he told me. "There's no cure for the Twist. It's all genetic."
"There must be something we can do," dad insisted, giving me a strange look.
Doctor Grissom shook his head. "There's nothing more I can do except suggest you read up on the Twisted."
After this Doctor Grissom had a few more words for my parents and then he left. I turned to my parents, both of whom looked extremely uncomfortable around me. I winced at the looks on their faces, feeling horribly hurt. But I understood exactly how they felt. I sure as hell didn't want to be some kind of Twisted freak. I didn't know what to say to them or what I wanted them to say to me.
Just then, Grace came into the room, staring at me with a look of stunned disbelief and worry. "Are you really Mark?" she asked quietly.
"I told you to stay in your room," mom snapped at Grace, who only winced but continued looking at me.
"I...I don't know," I winced.
While mom was ushering Grace back to her room, I hurried to my own room and locked the door behind me. I threw myself onto my bed and just lay there, refusing to look at my transformed body. I could feel the differences. Everything was just...wrong. I wanted to scream but knew that it wouldn't do any good.
While I laid there, I eventually became aware of something else. I felt...antsy. I couldn't think of how else to describe it. It was as though I wanted something...even craved it. Unfortunately, I had no idea what this thing was. I was getting more and more uncomfortable because of this as well as my new body. It was enough to drive me insane.
"Please change back to normal," I begged my body. Unfortunately, it did no good. Nor had I really expected it would.
Eventually I sat up and looked myself over without the blanket in the way. I single look was enough to tell me that I looked completely like a girl, though I already knew that much. I had long legs, a thin waist and big boobs that seemed surprisingly firm. I didn't know what to make of my new body though I knew I wanted my old one back.
"This isn't me," I grimaced in frustration.
After looking my body over, my curiosity got too strong. I had to see what I looked like. I wrapped myself up in the blanket again and left he brief safety of my room, hurrying the short distance across the hall into the bathroom. I locked the door behind me and then turned to face myself in the mirror, gasping as I did so.
The reflection in the mirror was not me by any stretch of the imagination, or at least not anything that I associated with 'me'. It was a girl my own age but much more developed than any I'd ever seen in real life. I had long, golden blonde hair that went down to my ass. I ran my hands through it, finding it surprisingly soft and smooth. My face was gorgeous, with big blue eyes and pouty lips. I already knew from my self examination that I had a killer body, but seeing it was something else entirely.
"Holy shit," I exclaimed, suddenly reminded of Grace's Barbie dolls.
I did look a lot like one of Grace's dolls, or at least as much as a human could. I had big breasts that I knew where too firm and high for any real woman of that size to possess. I had an hourglass figure with a waist so thin it looked like I was wearing a corset. And my legs were just a bit too long to be normal. These traits weren't quite as exaggerated as they were in the dolls, but they were there enough for me to notice.
"I've become a human Barbie doll," I cried out in horror.
I continued staring at myself and examining my body with a strange sense of horrified curiosity. I dreaded what I saw but I had to look at it anyway. My body seemed completely alien to me as I looked it over but I couldn't stop.
"I'm a Twisted freak," I winced as I said it, knowing it was true. Nothing but being Twisted could possibly explain why I had changed like this. If my parents...my real parents really were Twisted, it was no wonder they got rid of me. Who'd want a kid they knew was going to be a Twisted freak?
I looked over my body, noticing a number of strange things, mostly in that it seemed a bit too perfect. I didn't have a single hair on my body below my neck. I was completely smooth, even in my nether regions. I didn't even have any flaws in my skin. I didn't have any scars, moles, or blemishes of any kind. It truly was like I had become some kind of living doll.
"I think I'm gonna be sick," I grimaced.
Unable to help myself, I forced a smile, seeing that even my teeth all looked perfect. They were all straight, even, and white. I ran my tongue inside my mouth, well aware of just how different they all felt. I missed the small gap between my front teeth that was no longer there. In its place I had a perfect smile that sent chills down my spine.
"At least I'm not the size of a doll," I told myself, trying to think of the bright side. I shuddered at the thought but it didn't really cheer me up.
I left the bathroom a minute later, still in shock from all my changes. At the same time, I was still feeling that strange craving for something. It was driving me insane, especially as it grew stronger. I wanted something... needed something. And I didn't even know what it was I wanted so bad.
When I stepped into the hallway, wrapped once again in my blanket, I saw Grace standing there. She was staring at me with a look of amazement, as well as one of concern. It was strange seeing more concern for me from my little sister than from either of my parents, but somehow more appropriate too.
However, my eyes immediately locked not on Grace but on the pink jacket she was wearing. My eyes went wide and I gasped to realize that this was what I was craving... Her jacket looked so pretty... That color was so soothing and calming. I ached to just grab it immediately. At it was, I put my hand on Grace's shoulder, having to touch that pink with my own hands.
"I'm sorry Mark," Grace said tearfully, "I didn't mean to change you..."
"It's not your fault," I said absently, thinking about that soothing pink. On an impulse, I asked, "Can I hold your jacket?"
Grace looked at me with a confused expression but took off her jacket. She handed it over to me and I sighed in relief as I clutched it tightly in my arms. If it would have fit me, I would have immediately put it on in order to be closer to the color. It was absolutely perfect...
"But it's pink," I said after a minute, confused by my own emotions. I hated pink...but not when I looked at it. In fact, the very thought of pink made me smile faintly. I knew that I hated it intellectually, or at least that I had. But my emotions said something else entirely. It was as though pink had suddenly become my favorite color. "What's happening to me...?"
I tried to give Grace her jacket back but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I just had to keep this lovely pink. I wanted...no...I NEEDED the pink. It was the perfect color. All my worries seemed to slip away as I clutched her jacket. Pink was the perfect security blanket.
"Can I borrow this for awhile?" I asked Grace, my voice shaking as I did so. I didn't know what I'd do if she said no.
"Okay," Grace responded with a look of confusion.
"Thank you," I told her with a sigh of relief.
"But you're too big to wear it silly," Grace told me.
"That's okay," I told her, hurrying back into the safety of my room.
Now that I had the comfort of Grace's pink jacket, I was able to relax a little. Things didn't seem quite as bad, though of course they were still absolutely horrible. But the pink security blanket of her jacket was comforting enough for me to at least be able take a few breaths and think things through.
I had no idea what I was going to do now. I had no idea of what was going to happen to me. Hell, I didn't even understand who I was and what had already happened to me. I had suddenly become a stranger in my own skin. But as I sat there clutching Grace's jacket, I remembered Doctor Grissom's advice about reading up in the Twisted.
"What else can I do?" I cried, wiping the tears from my cheeks though they continued to flow.
I went to my computer, thankful that my dad had decided I was responsible enough to have one in my own room last year. It had even been his birthday present to me. I sat down in front of my computer with the jacket on my lap and began to search for information on the Twisted.
"Holy Shit," I gasped as my search brought up a long list of information sources.
I spent the next hour looking through the various sources of information, finding that most of them weren't really helpful. There were a few that seemed to be written by religious leaders claiming that the Twisted were either transformed because of their sins or were possessed by some sort of devils. I did find one that suggested the opposite, that the Twisted were actually blessed by God.
"Not what I need," I said, hoping I could find something a little more practical.
Then I found a bunch of stuff from a Senator who claimed that the Twisted were actually being possessed or at least controlled by beings from another dimension. I'd heard those rumors before, especially around town. I'd even heard my dad talking about them once or twice, which made me glance to my bedroom door nervously.
Eventually though, I found a site from some guy who claimed to be a Twisted himself. He gave all sorts of information about the Twisted, giving all sorts of scientific references and quoting personal experiences. I didn't know if this was any more real than the other things I'd read, but at least this one made an attempt to be scientific about it.
The site started off telling me what I already knew, about the Antarctic Flu epidemic that swept over North America about fifty years ago. It infected a lot of people and killed 60% of those infected. However, it also did something to the DNA of those who survived so that their kids and grand kids ended up becoming Twisted.
There was all sorts of fancy scientific jargon about what the Twisted really were but I just glossed over that since it didn't make much sense to me. For the most part, it basically came down to the Twisted being like antennas that touched a quantum field...whatever that was. That was what changed them.
I soon came to the part that really caught my attention. It said that the first time someone touched this quantum field, the energy would rush through them and transform them in some way. The said this was called the Twist. But the way he described it sounded almost identical to what I'd gone through.
"So I went through a Twist," I said bitterly.
What I read next sent chills down my spine again. It said that the Twist could change people in body, mind, or even soul...though he referred to the last as personality. It seemed the same thing to me though. My body had definitely been changed but what about my other things? I didn't think my personality had been changed but I couldn't be sure.
"Then there's this," I said, looking at the pink jacket.
I'd never liked pink before but now I couldn't get enough of it. It was like I had actually become addicted to a color. It made no sense to me at first, but then I kept reading from the web site and realized what it was. The guy said that a lot of Twisted had some sort of compulsion, and this was obviously mine.
"Just great," I winced in disgust, "I've got a compulsion that makes me addicted to pink." It seemed like the most ridiculous thing in the world, especially when I said it aloud like that.
There were other things on the page too, such as it saying that most Twisted have at least one kind of power due to this connection to the quantum field. Except he didn't say power. He referred to these powers as tricks. I didn't think I had any kind of weird powers, or at least I certainly hadn't noticed any. It would have been nice though to have at least gotten something cool out of this whole situation.
The last piece of information made me clench my fists in anger, even though my nails dug painfully into my palm. It said that when you went through the Twist, what you were doing at the time usually played a large part in how you were changed. I'd been playing dolls with Grace, so I had been turned into some sort of human doll. And since the dolls all had pink accessories and clothes, that seemed to explain my new fondness for the color.
"No," I grimaced, desperately wishing that I'd been doing something else, even working with Cody. "It's not fair... It's just not fair..."
I went and curled up on my bed for several more hours, alternating between checking out my body again and completely ignoring it. I even ignored the knocking on my bedroom door and the calls to come out for dinner. Mom and dad didn't try to get my attention too hard though so I guess they didn't really want to face me like this any more than I wanted to face them. I eventually went to sleep there, still clutching Grace's pink jacket.
I didn't sleep very well which was no surprise. I had a hard time getting comfortable, especially when my new boobs kept getting on the way. I couldn't sleep on my stomach like I normally do and sleeping on my back only made me more aware of the weight on my chest. Then once I did get asleep, the dreams were far too strange to ever describe not to mention more than a little embarrassing.
When it was time to climb out of bed, I didn't know whether to be frustrated or thankful. Sleep hadn't been very rewarding to me but it still seemed better than getting up and facing reality. Of course, once I did climb out of bed I was faced with several new problems. One was that I didn't have a single piece of clothing that still fit me, leaving me stuck in my room unless I wanted to go out wrapped in a blanket.
"Just great," I grumbled as I sat up and cupped my breasts. I winced at the very sight, well aware of the irony that I'd normally kill to get my hands on a pair of boobs like this. I just never thought that I'd be the one with them. "I was hoping it was just a nightmare."
I was trying to think of what I could possibly do when there was a hesitant knock on my door. I ignored it but then Grace's voice called, "Mom said to tell you it's breakfast..."
"Breakfast," I muttered, realizing that I was feeling pretty hungry. I'd been too ashamed to come out for dinner last night though that hadn't really changed. "I don't have any clothes," I called back through the door. Hopefully mom would bring something for me to eat. Then again, I wasn't sure I wanted her to see me like this again, even if she has already.
Several minutes later there was another knock on the door. This time it was mom, saying, "Open up... I've got something you can wear..."
I hesitated a minute, then opened the door enough for her to hand the clothes in. I quickly snatched them and closed the door again. When I looked at the clothes, they were a pair of dad's sweat pants and one of his shirts. I sighed, knowing that they probably still wouldn't fit me very well but at least it would be something to wear for now.
When I put the pants on, I found that there wasn't really as much extra leg to roll up as I would have guessed. Then again, my legs were a bit longer in proportion to the rest of me than most people's. But just because the pants were long enough, that didn't mean they stayed up without a belt. The shirt wasn't much better. It was long in the sleeves but tight across my chest. It was kind of embarrassing to wear but certainly better than nothing.
It didn't take me very long to get dressed but I still didn't come out of my room for another half hour. I gulped, feeling my chest move with every step. I was so embarrassed to let anyone see me like this, even mom and Grace. But I took a deep breath and forced myself to go to the kitchen anyway. My hunger was great motivation.
"Mark," mom gasped when she saw me.
Grace had already finished her breakfast but she sat at the table with one of her dolls. I glared it with a feeling of raw hatred, as though it were the doll's fault that I'd been transformed like this. Then I looked back and mom and blushed brightly, unable to meet her eyes.
"Is that Grace's jacket?" mom asked with a confused frown.
I looked down to where I was still holding the jacket in my hand, feeling embarrassed at it. "Um...yeah," I admitted, not sure how I could tell her about my new fondness for pink. That was nearly as embarrassing as my body.
I didn't say anything about the jacket as I sat down and placed it in my lap. Mom gave me an odd look but didn't say anything either while Grace just giggled and played with her doll, pausing several times to look at me. She finally said, "You look just like my dolly..."
"I know," I responded with a grimace, trying to keep the frustration from my voice. I failed completely.
Breakfast was quiet but filled with strange looks, mostly from mom. I tried very hard not to look at her or Grace, but I knew that they were both staring at me quite a bit. Mom looked extremely uncomfortable and unsure about what to do with me. I couldn't blame her. Nor could I help but think that she probably regretted ever adopting me in the first place. After all, they didn't bargain for something like this.
"I suppose," mom said uncertainly, "that we'll need to get you some new clothes."
"I suppose," I reluctantly agreed. Then I looked around and quietly asked, "Where's dad?"
"At work," mom told me with a weak smile. I just nodded at that, not bothering to point out that it was dad's day off.
The rest of the morning was extremely awkward but I was stubborn enough not to go back into my room. I stayed out in the living room, more to shove my changes in her face than anything else. She was obviously extremely confused by the whole situation as well, but nowhere near as much as I was.
Grace was a bit confused by my transformation, but she seemed almost good natured about it. In fact, I think she was actually fascinated by how much I now resembled one of her dolls, though I tried not to take it personally. It was nice that at least she didn't look at me as though I might have suddenly become a monster.
Eventually though, mom hesitantly pointed out, "If we're going to go get you some new clothes, you might want to wash up first."
I looked down at myself, wincing at the idea of taking a shower in my new body. Unfortunately, I would have to do it sooner or later and I wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of being gross and grungy. I nodded and made my way to the bathroom, feeling nervous as I did so.
"Okay," I set Grace's jacket to the side. I was all right if I wasn't holding it as long as it was near enough to see. Just being able to see the color pink helped me relax. "It's such a nice color..."
I quickly got undressed and was about to climb into the shower when mom called through the door, "You'd better use the conditioner... With your hair you'll need a lot of it."
I grunted in response to that but made a mental note to follow her advice. I climbed into the shower and let out a gasp as the water hit my skin, especially the skin on my boobs. It all felt so sensitive now. However, I refused to dwell on that and washed myself as quickly as I could, using a pink wash cloth that I'd found in the cupboard. I hesitated a little about washing between my legs but finally braced myself and did that too. It just felt wrong there without my normal equipment.
Once I was done, I turned my attention to my hair. Now that it was wet, it was actually kind of heavy. I grimaced and reached for the flowery shampoo my mom had as well as the conditioner. Since I had so much hair, it seemed like I went through half the bottles. It was also a lot more work than I'd ever spent on my hair before, making me decide to cut it shorter at the first opportunity.
As soon as I was finished in the shower, it was time to dry off. I used an extra large pink towel to dry my skin off but found that my hair was a bit more complicated. It was so long and so wet... I tried using a towel but quickly became convinced that it would never get dry. I finally remembered the blow dryer in the cupboard and used that. It was hot on my head but seemed to do the job, especially when I grabbed a brush and ran it through my hair at the same time.
"I can't believe it takes so long," I grimaced impatiently.
When I was done, I ran a hand through my hair which was not only dry but soft, smooth and silky. I didn't seem to have a single tangle in it. In fact, it even fell right into position as though I'd intentionally brushed it to look nice. Something seemed just a little wrong with that, especially when I remembered my mom and several girls at school complaining about their hair taking a bit more work to get it right. However, I didn't waste much thought in that.
I soon came out of the bathroom dressed in dad's clothes again. It seemed kind of silly putting the same clothes on again after just taken a shower, but it wasn't like I had a lot of options at the moment. Of course, the goal was to change that in a little while.
"I guess I'm ready," I told mom, who just stood there and stared at me.
"You have such gorgeous hair," she said with a bit of envy in her voice. Then she gave me an odd look, obviously remembering exactly who I was.
We left the house a short time later with me wearing my mom's tennis shoes. As embarrassing as it was, my feet were now a little smaller than my mom's so I actually had to wear an extra pair of socks to get the shoes to fit right. It was also somewhat surprising since I was still taller than her, not having lost any height during my change.
I would have said something about feeling like a freak, but the truth was that I was a freak. I had huge breasts, long legs, a tiny waist and small feet. I was a living doll and not at all pleased by that fact. In fact, right now I'd probably even sell my soul if it would get me back to normal.
When we arrived at the store, mom took a look at me and shook her head, "Leave your sister's jacket behind... I don't know why you keep dragging it around..."
"But I need it," I whined, clutching the jacket possessively.
"What?" mom looked at me as though I were completely insane. "It's far too small to ever fit you..."
"You don't understand," I grimaced, hating myself for having to admit this. "It's pink... I need something pink to hold onto or I'll go crazy... I'm addicted to the color pink."
"That's absolutely ridiculous," mom snapped in annoyance.
"So's this," I snapped back, gesturing down at myself. "It's part of my stupid Twist. I've got some kind of compulsion where I have to have something pink around..."
Mom shook her head in disbelief, "I am not going to have you embarrass me by dragging Grace's coat around. Leave it in the car."
I started to protest, but mom gave me that look. I winced and set the coat down, reluctantly leaving it as I closed the door. As soon as it was out of sight I began to feel uncomfortable and nervous. It was like I was going through withdrawal already. Mom didn't seem to notice though and continued into the store, leaving me no choice but to follow behind her.
As uncomfortable as I was before, it grew even worse once I was inside the store. I was immediately aware of just about everyone turning and staring at me. Every guy was staring at my chest with obvious attraction while all the women were glaring at me with envious looks. I never would have imagined getting this kind of response from people.
When I walked past, I heard one man exclaim to his friend, "Did you see that rack? It looked like a pair of volleyballs..."
I blushed horribly at that, knowing that I'd be staring too if I was in his shoes. However, that didn't make me more comfortable with the attention. Not in the least. I heard a few other whispered comments though I tried hard to ignore them. It was easier to ignore them than it might have been otherwise because I kept thinking about the lovely pink jacket I'd left back in the car.
Then I saw it, a flash of pink from a shirt that was hanging on a rack. I immediately rushed to it, much to my mom's surprise. I grabbed it, not even caring if it was my size. It was pink and that was all that was important. I let out a sigh of relief while my mom stared at me as though I were completely insane.
"I need it," I insisted. "Such a lovely color..."
Mom continued to stare at me as though I were a complete and total stranger, and a crazy one at that. She finally gulped, looking a bit shaken as she suggested, "Maybe we should find one your size first..."
"It's pretty," Grace agreed from behind us.
I nodded reluctantly but kept hold of the shirt I already had. They didn't have a shirt like it in my size, but we did find another one in a bright pink color that fit me. It had kittens all over the front but I didn't care. All that mattered was that it was pink. After this, we continued looking around for clothes, finding that there were few things in my size.
"Just great," mom muttered in frustration. "They don't carry bras here in your size so we'll have to go to a real specialty shop." She shook her head and muttered something about strippers that made me blush uncomfortably.
"I don't want a bra," I grumbled, knowing full well that with knockers my size I'd probably have to have one.
We spent several hours trying to find enough to fit me and when we finally left, it was with a pair of pink tennis shoes in my size, a couple pink shirts, a few pairs of capri pants and even a skirt. There were a few other odds and ends, including some pink nail polish and lip stick. I hated the idea of wearing makeup, but if it was pink makeup it somehow seemed different. That was perfectly fine.
Mom continued to give me the odd looks all the way home, as though even more sure that there was something seriously wrong with me. I knew that there was something wrong with me but I didn't like my mom treating me that way. I knew I was a freak, but that didn't mean I wanted to be treated like one.
"What is wrong with you?" mom finally demanded once we got home. "This obsession you're getting with pink is just..."
"Twisted?" I snapped back angrily, all my frustration at my condition finally bursting out in a mass of tears. "You think I want to be this way? Do you think I want to be some kind of human Barbie doll with an addiction to pink? Well I don't. It's not my fault I'm stuck like this..." I gestured down at myself, tears running down my cheeks.
"Then whose fault is it?" mom demanded, as though I had intentionally turned into this...
I glared at mom as I furiously spat out the word, "YOURS!"
"WHAT?" she gasped.
"That Twist thing changes you by what you're doing when it hits," I nearly yelled, remembering what I'd read last night. "You made me play dolls with Grace. That's why I got stuck like THIS!" I gestured down at myself.
"It's my fault?" Grace whimpered, having come up while I was yelling at mom. She stared at me with those puppy dog eyes then burst into tears. "I'm sorry..." She turned and ran into her room as fast as she could.
"I didn't mean," I gasped, feeling a stabbing pain of guilt through my heart. I hadn't meant to hurt Grace.
Mom stared at me with a horrified look on her face, then she winced, "I...I'm sorry. I don't know what this has to be like for you..." She shook her head, looking guilty as well. "I'll try to be more understanding..."
I just nodded at that, then turned and hurried after Grace. I found her in her room, sitting on her bed crying. I put my hand on her shoulder to comfort her, not sure what I could say. "It's all right," I finally told her after a minute, "it's not really your fault. I don't blame you for this..."
Grace sniffled and looked at me with those puppy dog eyes. "I'm sorry," she told me, grabbing me and holding me tingly in a hug.
"It's not your fault," I told her again, this time even more gently.
"Yes it is," Grace admitted with a guilty expression. "I told mom I wished she'd trade in for a sister who'd play with me..."
I stared at Grace for a minute, caught between the urges to laugh and cry. I finally just hugged Grace tighter. "It usually doesn't quite work like that." I forced a smile and joked, "If it did, I would have traded you in for a brother a long time ago."
"Meanie," Grace said, sticking her tongue out at me. However she was smiling again and seemed to be over her bad mood.
"I try," I told her with as much pride as I could force into my voice. She just laughed at that, sticking her tongue out at me again.
I let Grace go after another minute and left her room, glad that I'd patched things up with her a bit but wondering how I was going to deal with mom and dad. I didn't want to face mom again after that little blow up we'd just had, so I turned and went into my room instead.
"And what am I going to tell Cody?" I gulped at the idea. I was not looking forward to showing him what had happened to me.
I remained in my room for awhile, undisturbed by my mom or anyone else. It was easier for both of us this way since neither of us really knew what to say. I felt a little guilty at snapping at my mom and blaming her for this. It wasn't her fault that my real parents must have been Twisted. Still, she had kept pushing me and the memory of that still made me a bit mad.
"At least I've got some clothes now," I told myself, trying to look on the bright side. It wasn't really much of a bright side except that most of what we'd bought was pink. Now I wouldn't have to keep dragging Grace's jacket around. "Too bad they don't have much that really fits me."
I frowned, knowing that even the shirts I could wear weren't really my size. They were more overweight women, not ones with big hooters. If I wanted clothes that would really fit me and my new body, I would have to go to a specialty store or something. Or, I realized with a faint smile, I could just go online.
Since I didn't really have anything else to do at the moment, I got on my computer and began searching the net for more information on the Twisted and for clothes that were a bit more my size. A sale woman at the store had estimated that my breast size was about a G cup, which didn't really mean much to me. All I knew was that they were huge but surprisingly firm for their size. At the very least I might be able to find some clothes that fit me and my new body a little better.
After just a little searching I found that most of the clothes out there for my size seemed to have been designed with strippers in mind. All the tops were skimpy, sexy, and designed to show off cleavage. The very idea of wearing most of that stuff was absolutely ridiculous and there was no way I would wear it.
"But that one's nice," I mused as I looked at one item that was nearly identical to one I'd completely discounted a few seconds earlier. The only difference between the two was that this one was pink. For some reason, these clothes weren't really that bad when they were pink.
I stared at the clothes for a minute, feeling a mixture of emotions. They were too revealing...but they looked so lovely in pink. I finally rationalized it with the fact that I needed clothes that would really fit my new body comfortably, even if they weren't the style I might otherwise choose. I then went ahead and ordered some of the clothes using the credit card my dad had given me 'for emergencies only'. Of course I could have just gone out and asked my mom, but I didn't feel like talking to her much at the moment and this was much easier, not to mention less embarrassing.
Once I was finished with my online shopping, I leaned back and tried to think of what I could do now. I didn't really want to do anything but keeping myself occupied like this at least distracted me from what was going on. Even shopping for new clothes kept me from thinking too much about how strange I now felt.
Since I didn't have anything else to do at the moment, I decided to search for more information on the Antarctic Flu and the Twisted. I spent several hours searching the net for everything I could find, though I was quickly learning that most of the stuff available was mixed-up and contradictory. It seemed that most of the people who posted this stuff didn't really have a lot of facts about the Twisted, just a lot of strong opinions.
"At least some of the stuff is useful," I eventually muttered to myself. Unfortunately, it wasn't easy separating the true facts from the made up ones which seemed to be all over the place. As much as I hated to admit it, I had to wonder just how much of what I previously 'knew' about the Twisted was accurate and how much was garbage.
When I got tired of doing research, I hesitantly left my room to face the rest of my family. Grace was playing with some of her dolls, the sight of which made me go pale. Mom was busy making dinner and intentionally ignoring me. And dad, who had finally come home, took one look at me, gave me a dirty look, and then ran out to the garage to 'fix something'.
"Just great," I muttered bitterly, wondering how I was ever going survive like this. After just a few minutes, I turned around and went back to the sanctuary of my room where at least I didn't have to face the looks my parents kept giving me.
It was my second morning waking up as a Barbie doll bimbo and it didn't get any better the second time. Again, I had a hard time sleeping because of my new assets though at least this time I knew better than to hope it had all been a dream.
"Another day, another nightmare," I grumbled as I made my way to the shower, once again cursing my long hair.
Before long I was all dressed up and ready to face the day, or at least as ready as I could possibly get. I even put on some of the nail polish that we'd bought at the store yesterday. I never would have imagined that I'd put nail polish on under any circumstances...but it was pink. I loved the way it made my nails look, even though I was disgusted with myself for feeling this way at the same time.
My dad was home from work today and took one long disapproving look at me before rushing off to find something to do. I winced as he left, knowing that our relationship would never be the same again. As it was, I had the feeling I was lucky he hadn't just thrown me out of the house for being a freak. Even though he hadn't actually said anything, I knew he regretted ever adopting me in the first place. That thought hurt almost as much as what I had become, though I tried hard not to show it.
I sat down in the living room, more because I was sick of the inside of my room than for any other reason. I liked being able to lock myself away and hide like I had been doing, but I was also getting a bit claustrophobic. I turned on the TV, wincing when I saw it was a movie about a Twisted plot to take over the world.
"I don't think so," I grimaced as I turned the TV back off.
"Maybe you should get out and get some fresh air," mom suggested hopefully. I glared at her and she shrugged, "Or maybe not..."
Grace came up and hesitantly asked, "You wanna play dolls with me?"
I nearly choked at that, but before I could say anything mom gently ushered her away with the comment, "I really don't think Mark wants to play dolls right now..."
"That's an understatement," I scowled, looking down at myself and my huge boobs. It was bad enough looking like a doll that I certainly had no intention of playing with them again, especially when that was what caused me to turn into this in the first place. "Why couldn't I have been playing football instead...?"
Mom came back in a short time later and cautiously told me, "You know, you can't stay in the house forever..." She gave me a strange look that seemed to wordlessly say the opposite, that I should hide and keep others from finding out about what I'd become.
"Maybe not," I responded with a scowl, "but I can certainly try."
Mom shook her head at that and left, but an hour later she came back and handed me some money. "We're out of milk and butter," she told me with an almost apologetic expression, "Go down to the store and pick some up."
I took the money but stared at her in horror, "Do I have to...?"
"It didn't kill you to go out yesterday," she sighed in exasperation, "and you have some real clothing to wear this time. Now go on... You can get yourself a snack too if you want."
I didn't bother arguing with mom though I certainly wanted to. I had a feeling that if I protested too much, she'd give me 'the look' and I'd end up going anyway. I figured that I might as well avoid the trouble since the outcome was a given, but that didn't mean I was happy with it. In fact, I imagined all the smart ass things I could have said but didn't while I walked down the street to the store.
When I reached the store, I was immediately aware of every pair of eyes on me. Guys and even the girls were all staring at my chest and I heard more than one whispered comment along the lines of "Those can't be real..." I blushed horribly and tried my best to ignore them, but it didn't do much good. The fact that I knew who half these people were only made it more embarrassing.
"Milk, butter, and a snack," I reminded myself, more as a distraction from the whispers around me than because I needed a reminder.
Then as if to make things worse, I saw Jake Bartley walk into the store. Jake was a year or two older than me and had a reputation for being a bit rowdy. Of course, the fact that his uncle Cal was the local sheriff seemed to ensure that no matter how rowdy he got, he never seemed to face any real consequences. It was a fact that I was made well aware of when he'd actually taken his neighbor's car on a joy ride and didn't face any jail time for it.
"Wow," Jake exclaimed when he saw me, making me wince. I'd been hoping that I could get out of the store before he saw me. "I've never seen you around here before. Are you visiting someone?"
"You could say that," I responded grimly, moving to step around him.
Unfortunately, Jake didn't let me get away that easily. He stepped in my way again and gave me what he probably thought of as a 'charming' smile. It just made me want to puke since I knew what he was up to and didn't like it one bit.
"What's your name?" he asked me with a cocky grin. "I'm Jake."
"Leila," I responded with a grimace, not about to tell him my real name or announce that I was a Twisted freak. Leila just happened to be the first name to come to mind.
"Leila," Jake said with the same cocky grin. "That's a nice name."
"I've got to get going," I told him, managing to move around him and to the counter. Jake didn't follow me but I was well aware of him staring at my ass. I grimaced and tried not to show my anger.
When I got to the counter, I saw old Milt standing there. He was the old guy who'd been running the store since long before I was born. I usually stopped and talked to him when I came here but I doubt he'd recognize me at the moment. He took a long look at me and then finally looked down at the things I wanted to buy.
"I don't remember seeing you around here before," Milt commented as he rang up my purchase. "Visiting someone or just passing through?"
"Visiting," I mumbled, turning bright red. Milt had known me for my entire life and he didn't recognize me. Of course I was actually grateful for that since I didn't want to be recognized like this.
"That's nice," Milt nodded, giving me a pause to say more. When it became clear that I wasn't in a talkative mood, he nodded, "Come back sometime."
I nodded at that and started to hurry out of the store, but not before I heard Jake talking to someone else. "Did you hear her voice. It was like honey... Like velvet..."
Some woman snorted, "She sounded like some kind of bimbo or porn star to me..."
"Oh great," I turned an even brighter red as I hurried away as fast as I could go. "Now I not only look like a porn star but sound like one too..."
I was not in a good mood when I got home and a single glare was enough to keep mom from asking too many questions. I silently dropped the groceries onto the kitchen table and then ran off to hide in my room for awhile. Going out in public like that was completely humiliating and I didn't want to ever do it again. Unfortunately, I knew that I probably wouldn't have that luxury, but at least I could pretend for awhile.
I stayed in my room for an hour before finally coming back out. As much as I liked being able to hide away where no one else could see me, I was still feeling claustrophobic from spending so much time in there. I made my way back out to the living room where I turned on TV and mindlessly watched some game show.
"I wish we had one of those virtual reality systems," I complained to mom. "Those new VR movies just don't transfer well to the old screens..."
"You know those things are too expensive," she told me with a shake of her head. Then she smiled faintly, "But it would be nice if we could afford one..."
"You just want to watch those VR soaps," I teased her.
After this, I relaxed a little, feeling almost like things were back to normal. I was sitting back and watching TV while Grace was coloring some pictures with her crayons on the floor. What could be more normal than that? Unfortunately, my long hair and the weights on my chest kept reminding me that things weren't exactly normal and never would be again. Still, this brief period of illusionary normalcy was nice, even if I did have the feeling that it was the calm before the storm.
Just a few hours after I'd settled down, our doorbell started to ring. Grace immediately ran for the door, giggling, "I'll get it..."
A moment after the door opened, I heard Cody's voice saying, "Hey squirt. Is Mark here?"
"Oh shit," I gasped, jumping to my feet with my heart racing.
I stared at the door in horror, wanting to turn and run to my room but finding myself unable to move. This was a moment I had been dreading since my transformation...since my Twist. I had been trying hard not to think about it, but I'd been worrying about what Cody would say.
"Mark's in here," Grace pointed into the living room and at me.
Cody stepped into the house and turned to stare at me with a look of blank confusion. His eyes immediately scanned my body, lingering for a noticeable length of time on my chest. There was a lot of obvious attraction in his face but not a single ounce of recognition.
"Um...hi," Cody said shyly, then quickly whispered to Grace, "I thought you said Mark was in here..."
"That is Mark," Grace exclaimed. "He got Twisted..."
Cody stared at me with his mouth open, looking as though he was sure Grace had to be joking. But just then, my mom stepped back into the room, saying, "Mark dear, what do you think about...?" Then she paused at the sight of Cody. "Oh, Cody..." She looked back and forth between him and me with an uncertain look in her eyes.
Cody stared at me again, this time with a look of shock and horror on his face. "Mark?"
I squirmed uncomfortably, staring at the floor. I couldn't bring myself to meet his eyes. "Yeah," I whispered in embarrassment, not what I could say. "I...I..."
"Mark got Twisted," Grace exclaimed almost cheerfully. "I've got a big sister now..."
"It seems his birth parents must have been Twisted," mom quickly explained to fill the silence.
"No way," Cody gasped.
"It happened the other day," I winced as I said it, gesturing down at myself and then looking at Cody again. "I didn't know..."
"My God," Cody exclaimed, staring at me with a look of complete and utter revulsion. I suddenly felt as though I'd grown an extra head...a vulture's head or something. He was looking at me as though I had suddenly become the most hideous and disgusting thing to walk the planet. "No way," he shook his head, stepping backwards. "You're not Mark... You can't be..." His voice was shaking as he said it and there was a look of near hysteria in his eyes.
"It is Mark," mom tried to assure him. "I was there when he suddenly changed..."
"You're NOT Mark, "Cody insisted vehemently, almost yelling.
"Cody," I pleaded, hating to see my best friend staring at me like that. "Please..."
"NO!" he screamed, turning and running out the door.
I stared to run after him, "But Cody..."
I stopped just outside the door to watch him run across the street as fast as he could. I winced and started to chase after him but was suddenly stopped by a painful jerk on my scalp. The screen door had closed behind me and trapped my long hair in it. I screamed in rage and frustration, looking at Cody running and bursting into tears.
Mom opened the door and released my hair, then hesitantly asked, "Are you all right...?"
I just stood there for a moment, turning to see Dad standing just outside the garage, staring at me with a grim expression. Then he suddenly turned and walked back into the garage, making me cry even harder. I didn't even answer mom as I rushed past her into the house.
"Mark," mom started, but I ignored her.
I was ready to burst from all the emotions that where swirling around inside me, none of them pleasant. Rage, frustration, horror, guilt, shame, and some others I couldn't even identify all threatened to explode at once. I was a freak, a horrible Twisted freak. My best friend ran away in terror and even my own dad didn't want anything to do with me. I wanted to scream. I wanted to lash out and hurt something.
After a moment, I turned around and grabbed my long hair which had been caught in the door. I glared at it with hatred, as if my hair were somehow to blame for my problems. If nothing else, it provided a convenient target for all my bottled emotions.
"What are you doing?" mom yelled at me as I rushed into the kitchen, "Mark...?"
I didn't say a word as I grabbed a knife, ignoring the look of terror in mom's eyes. I turned it on my hair and began hacking and cutting, dropping tons of long blonde hair onto the floor. I cut it all down to about shoulder length, knowing that it had to look absolutely horrible but not caring in the least. In fact, I actually found that perfect.
"Your hair," mom cried out, grabbing huge handfuls of my hair from the floor. "Your beautiful, perfect hair... No split ends at all and you destroyed it..."
I dropped the knife to the floor and stared at mom, not sure if she was more upset about my hair or how torn up I was. I couldn't bear the thought of asking her, especially after seeing the way both Cody and dad turned their backs on me. Instead, I just ran to my room and locked the door behind me before curling up on my bed to cry myself dry.
I sat in the living room with a bowl of cereal, watching TV while having a snack. At least I was trying to have a snack. My long hair kept getting into my cereal, making me curse and pull it out of the way time and time again.
"Maybe I should cut it off again," I grimaced, knowing that it wouldn't do a whole lot of good.
The impromptu haircut I'd given myself three days ago hadn't lasted for very long. In fact, I woke up the next morning with my hair back to its previous length. Even after having chopped most of my hair off, it was down to my ass again and getting in the way. Mom didn't say anything but I could tell she was sort of pleased by that since she kept staring at my hair with an envious expression.
"If I cut it off," I muttered to myself, "it'll probably just grow right back again..." That made the idea of cutting it short even more tempting. I wouldn't have to keep the bad haircut for very long at all.
However, I didn't bother thinking about my hair for long. I just leaned back and let out a long sigh of boredom. I hadn't left my house in several days, not since the incident with Cody. After that and what had happened at the store, I was in no hurry to leave the house no matter how claustrophobic and bored I was feeling.
Then I looked out to the driveway where dad's car was normally parked. The space was empty at the moment which was no surprise since he was at work. But it seemed that even when he wasn't at work the space was empty. And when he was home, I still didn't see him much. I had no doubts that he was avoiding me. He was ashamed of me and couldn't bear the thought of what I'd become. I winced at that, thankful that at least mom wasn't avoiding me.
Just then mom came into the living room with a couple boxes and a frown on her face. "Some packages just arrived for you in the mail..." She gave me a suspicious look.
"Oh yeah," I blinked, remembering the order I'd placed for clothes a few days earlier. "It's just some clothes..."
"Clothes?" mom blinked. "How'd you pay for them...?"
"With the emergency credit card you gave me," I admitted, quickly snatching up the boxes and hurrying to my room before she could say anything.
When I was in my room though, I remembered the items I'd ordered and blushed, wondering how I could possibly wear some of that stuff. But as soon as I opened the first box and saw the lovely pink color, my doubts vanished. This stuff would look great on me, especially with all that pink. It was so nice... I sighed as I dug through he boxes and pulled out everything I'd ordered.
"And I've even got bras that should fit me," I sighed, not sure whether that was a good thing or bad. So far I hadn't really seemed to need one in spite of my generous size. Because of that, I would have just ignored the bras entirely if not for the fact that they were a delicious shade of pink.
I dug through the box, pulling out several pink shirts, some of which were very revealing and a few pairs of pants that I thought should fit me more comfortably. It hadn't been easy finding some for a woman with my long legs and hip size, but I'd managed. They even had them in pink too which made me sigh in relief.
"I can't believe I'm going so crazy over the color pink," I growled at myself, knowing that I should hate the color but not feeling that way at all. It was such a pretty and soothing color that I couldn't bear to be without it.
I quickly got dressed in my new clothes, letting out a long sigh of relief at just how well they all fit. They sure fit better than the stuff mom had gotten me at the store. Then again, the store didn't exactly carry my sizes so I had to just make due with what they had. I even put on the bra, more because it was pink and I liked it next to my skin than because I actually seemed to need it.
"There," I said as I looked down at myself and my new clothes. I was wearing pink shoes, pink pants, and a pink halter top shirt with a bit of cleavage revealed. I might normally have been horrified at the idea of wearing something like this...but it was pink and I loved it.
As I went to the bathroom and looked myself over in the mirror, I suddenly felt much better. My whole mood had lighted and I actually smiled. I wasn't sure why I was in such a good mood other than the fact I was surrounded by so much pretty pink. With this much pink, it was hard being upset.
"Mark?" mom gasped when she saw me. Her eyes went wide and I could tell she wanted to say something though she couldn't quite form the words.
"You look pretty," Grace exclaimed as she came up, suddenly putting me at a loss for words too. Then she held up one of her dolls which was dressed all in pink, "You look just like she does..."
"Thanks," I grimaced, not wanting that reminder of what I looked like.
Mom finally forced a smile, "Isn't that a little...daring for you?"
"Yeah," I admitted with a blush, "but I like it anyway... Isn't this the prettiest pink?"
Mom's eyes widened and she hesitantly agreed, "Yes, it's very lovely..."
Since I was in such a good mood now, I decided to get out of the house and get some fresh air. I'd been cooped up long enough that I could certainly use it. And a nice walk around town might be just what I needed. I left the house while mom just watched me go with a nervous expression.
I walked down the street to the store where I saw Milt standing out front and smoking a cigarette. He took one look at me and then began to scowl. A moment later, he turned and hurried back into the store. Another man stuck his head out the door to stare at me with a strange expression that made me uncomfortable. I quickly decided that it might not be a good idea to go in there at the moment.
I continued walking down the street, quickly getting to the downtown section about a block later. This is where most of the local businesses tended to be set up and it was a pretty busy area. There were a lot of people walking around, many of whom I'd known for most of my life. It was strange being out in public and around so many other people in my new form, and somewhat uncomfortable.
People were staring at me, which wasn't at all unexpected considering the reactions I'd gotten the other times I was in public. However, after a few minutes I began to notice that these reactions were different. People weren't just staring at my chest and leering at me like before. This time, they were staring at me with looks of fear or disgust. Several people even crossed the street to avoid me. A cold chill went down my spine as I realized what this meant.
"They know who I am," I gulped fearfully, "they know I'm Twisted... How...?"
Then I winced, knowing that there were several people who could have spread word about what had happened to me. Cody could have blabbed to everyone, so could Doctor Grissom. In fact, for all I knew, it could have been my own dad. How they knew didn't matter nearly so much as the fact that they obviously did.
"This isn't good," I whispered to myself, my good mood broken with the increasing nervousness that I felt. I could feel the hostility in nearly every pair of eyes that looked at me. It was all I could do not to just turn around and run home as fast as I could.
For some reason though, perhaps just sheer stubbornness, I continued walking. I stepped into the video rental store I'd gone to nearly every week for the last few years, hoping that the familiarity would help. But the moment I stepped in, the middle aged woman behind the counter who'd always had a smile and a cookie handy snapped, "We don't want your kind in here."
"What?" I gasped in shock. This was Pat, the same woman who asked me for my opinion on names for her new dog. I never would have expected her to talk to me that way.
"Get out of here," Pat snarled at me, a look of fear and menace in her eyes. I winced, feeling a stab of pain go straight to my heart. "I said GET OUT!"
"But," I started to protest. Pat started to reach behind the counter for the baseball bat I knew was there and that was enough for me. I turned and hurried out the door as fast as I could.
I shook in shame at the way I'd just been treated, hardly able to believe that someone I'd known for years had done it. I couldn't believe that Pat, who'd always been so nice to me and everyone else had suddenly treated me as though I was some kind of monster. I cringed as I remembered the look in her eyes and realized that she'd actually been afraid of me.
"But I didn't do anything," I groaned in confusion.
I had barely gone twenty feet further when I felt a sudden pain in my elbow. I cried out in surprise and grabbed my arm, only to have something suddenly hit my shoulder. I looked around and saw two kids standing a short distance away with rocks in their hands. One was a boy of about eight and the other was a five year old girl. I vaguely remembered seeing them around town before though didn't really know who they were.
"Stop that," I snapped as the boy threw another rock at me, this one hitting me in my large chest with a painful impact that made me cry out again. "STOP THAT!"
Suddenly, a woman...their mother came out screaming, "DON'T YOU DARE YELL AT MY KIDS!" She glared at me with an expression that made me glad looks couldn't kill. Then she spat at me, grabbing her kids and pulling them away, "Come on," she told them forcefully, "we're gonna get you a bath so you don't get infected..."
"But they were throwing rocks at me," I called after her in my defense, though she didn't seem to hear or care. Then more quietly, I added, "And I'm not contagious..."
I stood there for several minutes, about ready to burst into tears again. This really wasn't going very well. Not in the least. I took a deep breath and started walking back home again, wishing that I'd never left the house in the first place. It seems that nearly everyone hated me now because I'm Twisted. It wasn't my fault but no one seemed to care. The tears began to come on their own, no matter how hard I fought them back.
When I reached the store where Milt worked, I thought I was home free. I only had a single block left to go to get home. However, it seemed like fate has a cruel sense of humor...as though I hadn't already been learning that. Jake stepped out of the store just as I was going past and saw me.
"YOU!" he spat out with a look of hatred. I stepped back just from the look in his eyes, "I can't believe you tricked me you freak..."
"Just leave me alone," I said fearfully, "I don't want any trouble..."
"It's too late for that," Jake snarled as he came towards me with his fist clenched. "You shouldn't be messing with normal people..."
I backed away more, growing more and more afraid. Jake had a reputation for messing with people and for occasionally getting a little carried away. He'd sent me home with a bloody nose more than once but at the moment he looked angrier than I'd ever seen him. I was actually terrified of what he might do.
"You don't belong here," he told me with a look of hatred in his eyes. "What are you trying to do, infect everyone else?" Then his eyes narrowed. "I bet that's it... You're trying to turn everyone else into freaks too..." He snarled and came at me with even more menace in his eyes though I hadn't thought it possible until then.
But right before Jake reached me, a man's voice called out, "Stop that right now."
Jake and I both turned to look at the source of the order. He was tall and thin with dark hair and a beard that was sprinkled with gray. I immediately recognized Reverend Jack. He stood there with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face as he looked at us.
"Go on now," he told Jake in a firm voice that somehow reminded me of my mom's 'look'.
"But this freak..." Jake started to argue.
"Now," Reverend Jack insisted, "I'll take care of this..."
Jake grimaced for a moment, momentarily looking as though he wasn't sure what to do. However, Reverend Jack was one of the few people he'd listen to at all, so he turned to me and snarled, "I'll see you later..." And with that he turned and walked away.
I stood there fearfully while Reverend Jack silently looked me over, afraid that he would suddenly burst out with the declaration that I was bound to Hell for being Twisted. But instead, he smiled gently, "Are you all right?"
I nodded hesitantly, "Yeah..."
Reverend Jack nodded slowly, shaking his head and carefully asking, "You are Mark Brown, aren't you?"
"Yeah," I blushed brightly, staring at the ground in embarrassment.
Reverend Jack nodded again, then said, "I heard you were going by Leila now..."
"What?" I gasped in surprise. The only one I'd used that name with was Jake, and that was only because I hadn't wanted him to know who I really was. Obviously he'd been talking, though I wasn't sure that I wanted to know what it was he'd been saying about me. I squirmed uncomfortably, "Sort of..."
Before I could explain, Reverend Jack continued, "Well...Leila...I would imagine that this hasn't been easy for you."
"No," I admitted shamefully, not sure what I could say. "I'm a freak..."
"Perhaps," Reverend Jack put a gentle hand on my shoulder, "Perhaps not. People tend to judge such things far too easily so you shouldn't listen to them. The important thing is, do you think you're a freak?"
"Obviously," I grimaced, getting upset again.
"I think you judge yourself too easily as well," Reverend Jack told me with a sad smile. "I also think that God has a reason to test you like this. You have to have faith that things will work out."
"Maybe," I said grudgingly, not about to tell him what I really thought about that. There are some things that you just don't say to preachers.
"If you want to talk," Reverend Jack told me, "I'm always ready to listen. You know where to find me."
"Yeah," I nodded.
"Good," he smiled faintly. "Now why don't you head on home for now. Hopefully people will come to their senses soon."
I nodded and went home, thankful that Reverend Jack had saved my butt from being kicked, but still not very comforted by his words. He might think that this was some kind of test that God had given me, but I had a hard time having any faith in a God that would do something like this to me. The truth was, I don't think anything could comfort me much at the moment, especially not some arbitrary God.
"Damn," I grimaced, shifting in my seat uncomfortably. My whole body was sore and achy, generally feeling like shit. I'd felt like this for the last several days and it didn't seem to be getting any better. "I hate this..."
When this extreme discomfort had started several days ago, I just thought that I was coming down with something or that my Twist had seriously messed up my health. However, mom immediately recognized the symptoms and told me exactly what she thought the problem was. I laughed her suggestion off, being too repulsed by the idea to even consider it, but then I started bleeding from between my legs and was horrified to realize mom was right. I was having my period.
"I hate being a girl," I snarled bitterly, glaring down at my boobs and then the rest of my body. I'd been in a bad enough mood before this started and the period certainly hadn't improved it any. If anything, it made my mood bad enough that even Grace didn't want to be near me.
"It's going to be all right," mom reassured me as she came into the living room with a glass of juice for me. "It should be over in just a couple days..." Then she looked at me hesitantly before adding, "If you're like a normal young woman..."
"Normal?" I grimaced, knowing that there was hardly anything normal about me anymore. "I'm a freak... I'll probably have it for a month..."
"You're not a freak," mom tried to tell me but I could see that she didn't really believe it herself. Her voice and expression gave it away.
"Come on," I snapped angrily. "I can't go out in public without getting lynched and Cody won't even talk to me anymore..."
"Maybe you should try calling him again," mom suggested hopefully. "You've been friends for so long that it would be a shame to throw it away..."
"He won't answer when I call," I snapped, staring at the floor in shame. "It's him that doesn't want to be friends anymore, not me..." Tears were coming to my eyes again but I tried to fight them back.
Mom gave me a sympathetic look, "I'm sorry..." Then she paused to exclaim, "You cut your hair off again..."
"It was getting in the way," I snapped defensively, reaching back and feeling my now shoulder length hair. "Besides, it'll grow back by tomorrow so I don't see what the big deal is..."
"It looks sloppy like that," mom scowled. "Normally it's so lovely..."
"So what?" I snarled, "It's not like I'm trying to impress anyone..."
Mom took a step back and shook her head. She continued staring at me for a moment before turning and walking away. And though she didn't say anything to me, I thought I heard her mumble something about Grace's dolls not being nearly this much trouble.
I grimaced and shifted positions again, grumbling, "Stupid girl body..."
I was still in a bad mood and grumbling over my period when dad came home, throwing open the door with a series of loud profanities. "Some bastard vandalized my car..."
"What?" mom gasped in surprise.
"They spray painted all over the damn side," dad snarled.
In spite of my discomfort, I got up and followed mom outside to take a look. Dad was right when he said the car had been vandalized, though I felt my blood turn cold when I saw it. Someone had spray painted the word freak across one side of it and the word Twisted on the other.
"But you're not the one who's Twisted," mom said in surprise.
Dad just snarled and cursed some more, careful not to even look at me. I cringed back in shame, knowing that it was my fault since I was Twisted. I knew he blamed me too, which only made me feel worse. I took another long look at his car before I hurried back into the house.
I was curled up on the couch, trying to avoid dad's attention when they came back in a minute later. Mom was shaking her head, "First all those threats and insults in the voice mail and now this..."
"It'll blow over," dad said firmly, as though his saying so made it a fact. I wasn't nearly so confident.
I winced, half expecting dad to turn and remind me that this was all my fault because I was Twisted. However, I didn't give him the chance, getting up and hurrying to my room where I promptly locked myself inside. At least in here I didn't have to worry about how everyone else saw me, only about how I saw myself.
"I hate being like this," I grimaced, thinking more about my period and the cramps that came with it than anything else. "It's so disgusting..."
Then I picked up my football which had been neglected lately. My hands had changed enough that I couldn't even hold it properly now, at least not well enough to throw a decent pass. I had the feeling that my nails would probably get in the way of catching it as well. Still, I clutched the football tight as though it were a security blanket, or at least a reminder of everything I had lost.
"Now if only it were a lovely pink," I mused quietly, absently wondering how difficult it would be to dye a football.
The rest of the day seemed to drag on forever since everyone in the house was in a bad mood. I was having my period, mom was worried about everything that was going on and dad was just mad. Even Grace got in on it by throwing a tantrum at bath time. It was a relief when the day was finally over.
Unfortunately, the next day started off just as bad. First I had to deal with my continuing period and changing my disgusting pad. Then I found out that the vandals had come back and struck our house this time. I didn't know if they were the same vandals but the results were about the same. Our yard had been TP'd, a garage window had been smashed in and there was graffiti spray painted onto the sides of the house, including the warning, "Get out of here freak."
Mom was virtually in tears, pacing back and forth across the carpet, "I can't believe someone would do this... We have to call the Sheriff..."
"Sheriff Cal won't do a damn thing," Dad exclaimed, having stayed home from work in order to deal with this. He was furious, clenching his fists angrily and looking as though he wanted someone to punch. "We've already filed complaints for the phone harassment and my car yesterday..."
Dad went off on a rant, using every profanity I knew of and some I'd never heard before. He insulted Sheriff Cal, the people who vandalized our house and even some people I'd never even heard of. But when he turned around and looked at me, there was something dark in his eyes that made me cringe in fear and shame. I knew that he blamed me, that he wished they'd never adopted me. I immediately turned and ran to my room in tears, wishing I could do something to make this all just go away.
"Why can't I just be normal?" I cried to myself, "Why did I have to be Twisted?" Of course there were no answers and I hadn't expected any.
I spent most of the day sunk into a morass of depression and selfloathing, which seemed to be a common state for me anymore. After awhile though, it slowly turned to anger instead. Who were these people to hate me like this? Weren't these the same neighbors who'd always liked me before? The more I thought about it the angrier I became. If nothing else, the anger took my mind off my own shame.
Eventually, I made the decision to stop hiding in my room...to stop hiding in my house. I was going to go out where I wanted to, regardless of what other people thought of me. The decision was based more off of spite and stubbornness than anything else. At the moment though, I had a chip on my shoulder and I wanted to dare someone to knock it off.
I was a little surprised at myself for feeling this way, from going to depression to anger so suddenly. I couldn't help wondering if it might be because of my period, which wouldn't surprise me. I'd been in a bad mood in just about every way possible since my Twist and even more so since my period started. But regardless of the reason, I left my house to go take a walk.
"I need the fresh air," I told myself with as much determination as I could muster. However, I wasn't quite determined enough to go back downtown. Instead, I planned on just staying in my own neighborhood for the moment.
Just being outside again took the edge off my anger and determination, making me a little nervous. But I continued to walk, feeling a bit more relaxed at the same time. I'd really been feeling cooped up in the house like that so it was good to get out. And when I walked past the pink house at the end of my street, I even stopped to admire it.
"I want a house that color," I said with a smile. "I want everything pink..."
That thought made me smile again, especially as I imagined a pink bedroom with pink curtains and bed spread. I hadn't been able to bring the subject up to my dad though since I knew how he felt about me and my odd love of pink. In fact, I still had a hard time believing just how much I loved that color myself now.
Of course, I immediately thought about Grace and her dolls. Everything the dolls had seemed to be pink, including the toy cars and houses that came with them. I frowned, knowing that my own life might very soon be very much like that if I had my choice. I absolutely loved the color pink, even if it did make me more like her stupid dolls.
"Stupid Twist," I grumbled to myself, knowing that no one else could possibly understand. I didn't even fully understand it myself. I only know what I felt.
After a minute, I turned away from the house, absently cursing my mercurial moods which seemed to be bouncing all over the place. I'd gone from depressed, to angry to cheerful, all in a matter of an hour. I was sure that it had to be my period and the mood swings. Now that I know what it's like, I deeply regretted ever making fun of the women for having them. This was something I never would have understood before and desperately wished I still didn't.
I had just gone a short distance when I suddenly heard an angry shout of, "Hey you!"
I quickly turned around to see Jake coming towards me with a grim look on his face. I was much more surprised to see that Cody was coming right beside him, looking just as hostile. I felt a chill of fear run down my spine as they quickly caught up to me.
"I thought I told you to get your freak ass out of town," Jake snarled, making me take a fearful step back.
I looked around fearfully, trying to find an opening to escape. I knew that I could just turn and run, but my new body wasn't as fast as my old one and I was still a bit uncoordinated from my altered center of gravity. I'd never be able to outrun them.
"Just leave me alone," I said, trying to hide my fear.
"Just leave me alone," Cody mocked me with my own words.
I stared at Cody, "Why are you doing this? We're friends..."
"We're not friends," Cody spat out bitterly, "I'd never be friends with a Twisted... You people are just plain sick..."
Cody was staring at me with an expression of anger and disgust, making me step back just from the sheer vehemence in his gaze. I'd never imagined my own best friend would look at me like that, not even after they way he'd reacted to my change. It was as though he took my Twist as some sort of personal betrayal of him, as though I had somehow stabbed him in the back by becoming Twisted.
"Let's teach her...it a lesson," Jake urged Cody on. "Let's get rid of this piece of filth..."
Cody hesitated for a moment, a faint look of doubt crossing over his face. Then he took another look at me and his expression hardened again. A moment later, he lashed out and punched me in the face.
I gasped in pain as my nose seemed to crunch and explode into a spray of blood. I felt the warm blood pouring down my face as I staggered back, grabbing at my face and crying out. It hurt so bad I was sure Cody had just broken my nose.
"Did you see that?" Jake laughed in delight. "And I thought her blood would be green..."
I grimaced at that, growing furious at the way Cody had just attacked me. I would have expected something like this from Jake, but not the guy I'd grown up with. Not the guy who'd stood by my side and refused to say a word against me when a neighbor demanded to know who'd sent the baseball through his window. This betrayal stabbed me straight through he heart, hurting far worse than the smashed nose.
With a growl that held all the rage and frustration of the betrayal, I threw my own punch at Cody, trying to hit him as hard as I could. Unfortunately, my balance was still off and this was the first time I'd gotten into a fight in my new body. My punch didn't hit quite where I intended, nor with nearly the force.
"You punch like a girl," Jake laughed again.
Then Jake came at me, shoving me back. I turned to run even though I knew it was futile. That only gave him leverage to shove me from behind, driving me ace first into the ground. My face hit with a painful impact and my boobs hurt too since they'd hit even before my face. But that wasn't all. One of them started grabbing my hair and pulling while putting a foot on my back to keep me from getting up. I screamed in pain, tears pouring down my cheeks.
"We told you to get out of here you freak," Jake yelled.
A foot stomped down on my hand and I screamed, not knowing if the bones were broken or not. I looked up to see Cody sneer just before he lashed out and kicked me in the ribs. A series of kicks followed from both of them, smashing into my sides and stomach. I cried out but that only seemed to encourage them to do more.
"Are you going to leave now?" Jake demanded, bending over to spit in my face.
I was hurt, my whole body feeling like one big bruise. But I still had enough in me to lash out with my uninjured hand, tearing several deep gouges across his cheek with my nails. Jake scrambled back with a yelp of pain, grabbing his cheek and then staring at the blood that came away on his hand. If he wasn't furious before, he certainly was now.
"I'm gonna kill this freak," Jake snarled as he launched into another series of kicks and punches, trying to hurt me as much as he possibly could. Cody just stood back and watched while I curled up into a ball and tried to protect myself as much as possible.
After what seemed like an eternity, Cody finally exclaimed, "Stop... That's enough..."
"I'm gonna kill this bitch," Jack growled while I just lay there, to hurt to even defend myself any more.
Cody stared at me, this time with a look of pity in his eyes. Then he told Jake, "You're gonna have to get that cleaned up..."
Jake reached up to his cheek again and nodded. Then he gave me one more kick in the side before he turned and walked away, calling back, "I'd better not see you around here again freak..."
I remained where I was for several minutes, hurting too badly to get up. I opened my eyes though and looked at the house across from me, seeing Mister Edwards standing outside his front door and staring at me. He'd seen the fight, if it could be called that, and hadn't done a thing to help. He saw me laying there all bloody and bruised and he still didn't do anything to help. Instead, when he saw that I noticed him, he turned and quickly went back inside. I wondered how many other neighbors had seen this... How many had seen me getting beaten up but couldn't be bothered to interfere? How many were peaking out their windows even now, watching me just lay there in pain?
"How many...?" I whimpered tearfully, feeling completely and totally abandoned. "How many...?"
It took another ten minutes before I was finally able to get back and onto my feet, though the process of doing so was extremely painful. I slowly staggered back home, wincing with every step. From the corner of my eyes, I saw several neighbors peeking out their windows. Not one of them came out to see if I was all right.
The trip home wasn't a very long distance but it was still a long, slow, and painful walk. When I stepped through the door, mom stared at me with an expression of horror then snapped to Grace, "Go to your room. NOW!" Only then did she demand, "What happened?"
I didn't answer mom which only made her more worried. She ushered me to the kitchen and had me sit down while she quickly went to work trying to clean me off. I just sat there, still in shock from the attack. How could I tell her that Cody, the same boy she'd invited over for dinner all the time had done this?
"I need to call Doctor Grissom," mom said as she tried washing my face with a wet cloth. "I need to call Sheriff Cal..." Then she demanded, "Who did this to you?"
"Nobody," I muttered in shame. Then she gave me 'that look' and I quietly admitted, "Cody... Cody and Jake Bartley..."
"Cody?" mom gasped in disbelief. "He wouldn't..."
I just grimaced and got up to go lick my wounds in my room. I came back a few minutes later to grab the rag again since my nose still hadn't quite stopped bleeding and I heard mom on the phone.
"No," she snapped angrily into the phone, "I'm telling you that your son Cody did it... WHAT?" Then she growled, "He hung up on me... I can't believe he said that..."
Mom was angry and sounded completely shocked. From the sound of it, she'd been calling Cody's dad to tell him what had happened and it hadn't gone well. I could have told her that it wouldn't. Cody's dad had always been nice to me before and he'd even taken me fishing a few times. However, I'd also heard him say some pretty nasty things about the Twisted, which was probably where Cody got his views.
I didn't bother talking to mom about it, knowing that she'd never understand what I was going through. No one could. I limped back to my room and just sat there in depressed silence, not even comforted by the fresh pink blanket I wrapped around myself. I felt hollow inside, as though I was empty of hope or had a hole through my heart.
"They hate me," I whispered tearfully, "everyone hates me..."
I'd already known this fact before but this had just removed all doubts. Everyone in town hated my guts. Who knows how many had watched me get beaten up and hadn't done a single thing to help. These were my neighbors, the people I'd grown up with and had gone to picnics with in the summer. They had all turned their backs on me, hating me for being Twisted. It wasn't my fault but that didn't matter.
Cody had always been my best friend, there whenever I needed him. We stood together whenever we got in trouble and told each other our greatest secrets. Even Cody had turned on me. Even Cody looked at me as though I was the most disgusting creature to live. He had not only turned his back on me, but had stuck a knife in mine and then twisted it. His betrayal hurt far worse than any of the bruises he'd given me. I would have taken twice that to keep his friendship and it hadn't meant a thing to him.
"Cody hates me," I whispered, slipping further into a dark depression.
My birth parents had thrown me away, probably because they didn't want to raise a Twisted kid either. The fact that at least one of them had to have been Twisted themselves only made it all the worse. Even other Twisted didn't want me...
Then there was my family, the one I'd always thought of as my real one. Mom and dad had adopted me, had given me a home and made me one of them. They'd always treated me with love and I loved them more than I could possibly say because of it. But even they couldn't handle me like this. I'd seen the look in dad's eyes when he stared at me. It was shame and disappointment. Now he wished he'd never adopted me. And mom... Even though mom was trying to be supportive, I knew that she had to wish the same thing. No one could want someone like me around.
"I'm only making things worse for them," I said softly.
Ever since I'd become Twisted, the house and car had been vandalized, our answering machine had been loaded with horrible messages and threats, and mom and dad had both been insulted constantly. Their friends wouldn't talk to them anymore and dad may be about to lose out on a promotion at work.
"They'd be better off without me," I grimaced, knowing it was true. They would be better off without me. If I wasn't around, there wouldn't be any more vandalism or harassment.
Then it came to me. I could run away. That would solve their problems. But after a minute, I realized that this wasn't a very good solution either. It would solve my family's problems but not mine. I'd still be a freak girl living in a world where everyone hated me. I had no idea where I'd go or what I'd do. I didn't even have any money I could use. I'd probably end up living on the streets as a prostitute or something.
"Maybe that's all I deserve," I spat out bitterly.
I sank down into a dark morass of depression and self-loathing, thinking about how everything had been torn away from me since my Twist. It was like a quicksand which only drew me in further and further. I felt as though I was going to suffocate under it all and knew that I couldn't live like this.
"I wish I'd never been born," I whispered darkly.
I remained where I was for the rest of the day, nursing all my pain, both the physical and emotional. Dinner came and went and I made no move to leave. Mom pounded on the door, wanting to know if I was ready to talk and I ignored her. I wasn't in any mood to face anyone at the moment.
Eventually, I got up and left my room, but that was only because I had to go to the bathroom. I was just leaving it when I suddenly heard the sound of glass shattering, followed by dad yelling profanities. When I went to the living room to see what was causing this, I saw the main window was shattered with glass scattered all over the inside.
Dad was standing there with a brick in his hand, furiously yelling through the destroyed window. "Fucking bastards," he snarled, "I'm calling Sheriff Cal again... This is going too far..."
"It hasn't helped so far," mom admitted.
Dad just dropped the brick to the floor, "I swear to God that I've had enough of this. This has got to stop..."
I stared at dad for a moment before slowly turning and going back to my room without either of them seeing me. I collapsed back into my depression, staring into the dark hole inside myself and surrendering. All I did was bring pain and misery to everyone...including myself. I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't keep living like this. With that, I silently surrendered to the only option I had left.
Once my decision was made, it was hard to wait, but wait I did. I sat there for two more hours, feeling a mixture of fear and anticipation. Then once my parents went to bed, I started to act. I would finally end this... I would end it for good.
I went to the bathroom and locked the door behind me, then I began filling the sink with water. I wasn't exactly sure that I was doing this right since I'd never done anything like this before, but I didn't have to get it perfect. I only had to get it done. Then I reached into the cabinet for a razor blade and stood there staring at it for a minute, my heart pounding loudly in my chest.
I had a hard time holding the razor blade in one hand since it wasn't working quite right, not since it had been stomped on. I couldn't close it at all which made me think the bones might even be broken. But that didn't matter much now. I could. still do this with my good hand.
"I can do this," I insisted, tears beginning to run down my cheeks again, "I have to do this..."
With that, I bit my lip and slashed the razor blade across my wrist. I cut deep, nearly to the bone. It only stung a little at first, then the pain began to come. I closed my eyes and stuck my arm into the water filled sink, having heard somewhere that this will help the blood flow easier.
I stood there for a minute, feeling sick and weak. It was hard to stand, but I wasn't sure how much was from blood loss and how much was from all my previous injuries. I was terrified but forced myself to remain where I was, knowing that it would soon be over.
Just then, there was a knocking on the bathroom door and mom's voice came through, "Mark? Are you almost done?"
I was so startled that I jumped a little, splashing the bloody water on the floor. I blinked, trying to ignore mom and looking at my wrist. Maybe I hadn't thought it would take so long. Maybe I need to make another cut on the other wrist... I was scared...terrified, but I was also stubborn enough to go through with my decision in spite of that.
I turned to shift position and grab the razor again when suddenly my feet came out from underneath me and I hit the bathroom floor with a painful thud. Mom immediately called, "Mark? Are you okay in there...?" When I didn't answer, she started to pound on the door and scream my name louder.
I just lay on the floor, completely dazed and not sure that I could respond if I wanted too. I'd hit my head while falling and now my entire body felt completely numb. I couldn't move at all, nor did I feel any real urge to do so. Instead, I just stared at the bloody water on the white tiles, noticing that at all looked sort of pink. Pretty...pretty...pink...
A strange humming sound filled my world, slipping into my dreams and infecting everything there. I dreamed of old prop airplanes, flying saucers and giant weed wackers that jumped over fences. Eventually though, the humming drew me out of these dreams and back to the waking world.
I opened my eyes and slowly looked around, discovering that I was in a small but clean looking room that somehow looked familiar. I couldn't place it at the moment though and had no desire to think overly much about it. There was a fan beside my bed, obviously the source of the humming.
"I'm alive," I whispered, not sure if I was relieved or disappointed by this.
Strangely though, I felt weak and tired...but I didn't hurt at all. I'd been covered in bruises and probably even had a few broken bones, but I didn't feel any of that. Nor did I feel any of the cramps or discomfort from my period. I opened and closed the hand that had been stomped on, doing so easily and painlessly. This was definitely strange.
When I finally tried moving, I discovered that I my arms were strapped down to the sides of a bed. I was a narrow hospital bed with rails, which finally reminded me of where I was. I was in Doctor Grissom's clinic. I'd only been in the back room with the hospital bed once before, and that was back when I'd broken my leg as a kid.
I slowly sat up as much as the straps on my arms would allow me. I felt strangely numb as I looked down at myself, seeing that I was wearing one of those blue hospital gowns but nothing else. I felt a surge of anxiety as I realized I didn't have anything pink on me. In fact, I didn't see anything pink in the entire room... I tried to ignore that for the moment and looked at my wrist. To my surprise, there wasn't a bandage on it, nor was there a scar or any sign at all that I'd slashed it open.
I grimaced, tying to decide if I was happy to be here or not. I was definitely in a better mood now that I was no longer hurting, but I still felt that big knot of darkness inside me and didn't see much hope for my future. Mostly though, I just felt numb. I was still thinking about it when Doctor Grissom came in a few minutes later.
"You're awake," Doctor Grissom said, sounding relieved. But when he looked at me, there was obvious disapproval in his eyes. "Good."
"Why am I tied up?" I asked suspiciously, thinking about movies where mad scientists and evil doctors experimented on people against their will.
"So you don't try to hurt yourself again," he told me with a deep scowl. "If you promise not to try anything, I can take them off."
I stared at him for a moment before finally saying, "I won't hurt myself." I silently added a, "right now," to the end of that.
Doctor Grissom nodded and undid the straps on my arms. Then he asked me, "How do you feel?"
"Why did you save me?" I demanded, ignoring his question.
Doctor Grissom scowled even more deeply. "Because your father frantically called me in the middle of the night and begged me to save you."
I snorted at that, more than a little doubtful dad would ever get frantic or beg for anything. "But you hate the Twisted," I said bitterly, "Everyone does... No one wants to even touch me now..."
"Well you're not contagious," Doctor Grissom responded, staring me straight in the eyes. "And I'm a doctor. It's my job to help people, regardless of whether I like them or not." Then he stood up and crossed his arms, glaring at me, "And for the record, I don't hate the Twisted. I'm just well aware of how dangerous and unpredictable some of you can be."
I just stared at Doctor Grissom and stubbornly insisted, "I'm not dangerous or unpredictable."
Doctor Grissom snorted at that and pointed to my wrist, "Your actions tell a different story. How could you do that to your parents?"
"They'd be better off without me," I whispered bitterly, trying to fight back the tears that were forming. "They don't want me anymore..."
"Bullshit," Doctor Grissom snapped. "Is that why they've been sitting outside that door crying all night?"
I stared at him in surprise, "What?"
"They've been worried sick," Doctor Grissom growled. "How could you do that to them?"
I just stared at Doctor Grissom, sure that he had to be making it up or exaggerating. But he opened the door and my mom came in, her eyes red and teary. Dad came in right behind her, and to my surprise, he looked as though he'd been crying too. Dad NEVER cried.
"Mark!" mom exclaimed, running to me and throwing her arms around me tightly, "Thank God you're all right... I can't believe you... I was so worried..." She was crying as she hugged me with an iron grip, as though afraid I was going to get away.
Dad just came over and stood beside me, staring at me with a teary eyed look of sadness. He reached out and grabbed my hand, holding it tightly and revealing that his hand was shaky. "Why...?" he finally asked, his voice as shaky as his hands. "Why did you do it...?" He stared at me, his eyes begging for an answer.
I suddenly felt so guilty that I couldn't look mom or dad in the eyes. I just tried to wipe my tears away but it didn't do much good. "I'm a freak," I whispered, "everyone hates me... No one wants me..." My voice was shaking just as much as dad's was if not worse.
"But we want you," mom insisted in an almost pleading tone.
I still couldn't believe it though and bitterly argued, "You never would have adopted me if you knew I was Twisted..."
"Don't you EVER say that," dad growled, clenching my hand tightly. I looked at him in surprise, seeing a firm look in his eyes. "We love you and have NEVER regretted adopting you. I'd never had a single regret about adopting you... Not once!"
"But," I started to argue, cringing with shame at the look in dad's eyes.
"I know I haven't been here for you," he told me quietly, suddenly looking ashamed. "I was so shocked... I just didn't know what to do... I've always hated the Twisted, and then..." He shook his head sadly, then looked me in the eyes, staring for a long moment, "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..."
Tears began flowing down dad's cheeks and I could only stare in stunned silence. I'd never seen dad cry before, ever. He'd always been the strong silent type, the guy who'd told me that men didn't cry. But here he was, crying right in front of me and not seeming bothered by that at all.
"You're my son... my child," dad told me insistently, choking up a bit. "I'm sorry I ever made you think I didn't love you anymore. And I'm even more sorry it took something like this to remind me..." With that, dad grabbed me into a firm hug that made mom's seem like a brief touch in comparison.
I didn't know what to say to this so just burst out crying and hugged both my parents as hard as I could, relieved beyond description that they still loved me. Even dad who'd been avoiding me still loved me. This meant more to me than I could ever describe.
"I'm sorry," I said tearfully, feeling horribly guilty for scaring them like that. I hadn't been thinking much about how they'd feel, just that I wanted to end my own misery. "I'm sorry..."
We all remained locked in a group hug, drawing what comfort we could for awhile. But when Doctor Grissom came back in, dad stood up and quickly wiped away the tears, trying to regain some sense of his usual dignity. Mom looked a bit self-conscious as well, but she gave me a comforting smile and gently squeezed my hand.
"What did you do?" dad asked Doctor Grissom, sounding quite impressed. "How did you do this...?" He gestured to me. "He...she had black eyes and bruises all over last night..."
"And my wrist," I pointed out quietly, gesturing to the smooth skin that didn't even have a scar.
"I didn't do anything," Doctor Grissom admitted with a scowl. "She healed on her own."
"What?" mom exclaimed in surprise.
"Some Twisted have strange powers," Doctor Grissom suggested cautiously.
"They're called tricks," I corrected him quietly, remembering what I'd read about the Twisted.
"Tricks," the doctor nodded agreement. "I think that this might be hers." He looked at me. "She must have some kind of rapid healing ability..."
"But her bruises," mom exclaimed. "She was hurt all day yesterday without getting better, then it all goes away overnight..."
"My hair grows back when I'm sleeping too," I pointed out, thinking that it was strange that did all that growing while I was asleep but didn't seem to grow at all during the day.
Doctor Grissom stared at me thoughtfully for a moment before saying, "Perhaps that's it... Maybe it only happens when you're asleep..."
"That doesn't make much sense," dad scowled.
"Actually," Doctor Grissom mused, "I think it does. Sleep is all about letting the body and mind rest and recover." He looked at me again. "It seems to me that sleep just lets her recover much better than normal." He seemed a bit impressed by that. "Imagine what that could do for the health care industry... It could put me out of business entirely..." He didn't seem all that horrified by the thought though.
"Then you should be grateful that not everyone can heal like that," dad pointed out.
"Yes," Doctor Grissom nodded, "of course... But while you're hear, we should do a full examination..."
After this, Doctor Grissom had mom and dad fill out a bunch of paperwork while he gave me a medical exam. It was humiliating to have him look at my tits, and even more so when he peeked between my legs. Only the fact that mom was there reassuring me that it was all right kept me from punching him as hard as I could.
"You certainly seem to be entirely female now," Doctor Grissom announced once he was finished.
"Of course she's female now," mom snapped in annoyance, "she's having per period..."
"Really?" Doctor Grissom stared at her in surprise. "I didn't see any sign of it." Then he stared at me for a moment, making me squirm uncomfortably, "Have you noticed any of the symptoms?"
"Um...no," I blushed brightly, realizing that I hadn't felt any of the cramps or discomfort since before I... "I was having it yesterday though... Maybe it's just over..."
"Perhaps," Doctor Grissom said cautiously. "But it might be that when your body was healing all your injuries, it went ahead and took care of that as well. It makes a strange sort of sense when you realize that your body was already restoring itself to its most healthy state. Something like completing your menses should be very easy compared to everything else."
"But it will return next month?" mom asked carefully.
"I would expect so since she had one this month," Doctor Grissom answered. "But I don't know enough about Twisted biology to be certain, especially not without more thorough tests. I have noticed several anomalies though, besides her unusual proportions."
I gulped, not sure that I liked the sound of that. But mom held my hand comfortingly while I sat there, squirming as I looked around for something pink. I was getting quite uncomfortable without anything pink in sight though I tried to force myself to be patient for a little longer and to pay attention to what Doctor Grissom was saying.
"She has a slightly odd and strong musculature in her back and supporting her breasts," Doctor Grissom said thoughtfully. "I think it's an adaptation to her large breast size."
"And what does that mean?" dad asked, looking uncomfortable with the subject but giving me a protective look.
"I can't be certain," Doctor Grissom answered slowly, "but I think that between that and her sleep healing, she should be well protected from the back pains and sagging someone of that size would normally have to contend with. It's as though her Twist took her...proportions into account and designed her body to be perfectly natural and comfortable like this."
"Joy," I sighed, not feeling too enthusiastic. Of course, I knew that in the long term, heavy back pain and bad sagging could be a real problem for a woman with breasts like mine, but at the moment I was more concerned with the short term of just surviving like this and getting used to it. I also had one more short term need that was even more urgent, "Do you have anything pink around here?"
"Pink?" Doctor Grissom blinked in surprise.
"She's addicted to the color pink," mom shook her head. "She has to have something pink around her at all times..."
I nodded at that and stared at him hopefully, "Do you have anything?"
"No," Doctor Grissom shook his head, "I'm afraid not."
"We'll be home soon and you have plenty of pink clothes there," mom pointed out. "I just wish I'd thought to bring some clothes along..."
"Me too," I grimaced as I looked down at my ugly hospital gown.
Just as we were getting ready to leave, Doctor Grissom put a hand on my shoulder. "One more thing," he told me with a grim expression. "Promise me you won't try anything like that again."
I stared at him for a moment before nodding, "I promise."
Doctor Grissom let out a faint sigh of relief, as did both of my parents. "Come on," dad said as he urged us towards the door. "Maybe we'll stop off and find you something pink on the way." I smiled self-consciously at that but somewhat eagerly as well.
"They have pink ice cream at the ice cream shop across the street," my mom pointed out with a forced smile as she tried to lighten the mood.
"Why don't you go get us some," dad told her, "we'll wait here."
"Okay," mom responded, giving dad a strange look before she turned and left.
Once mom was gone, dad turned to me and put a hand on my shoulder. "I know things have been hard on you lately...harder than I could even imagine." I nodded at that. "And God knows, I haven't helped any..." He looked ashamed at that, but gave me a steady look. "But no matter how hard things get, you can't give up. You have to keep fighting. From now on, I'll do everything I can to help. Just don't give up." He looked as though he was about to get teary eyed again.
"I won't," I promised him, feeling ashamed I'd ever doubted that he loved me.
Mom came back with three ice cream cones a minute later and handed me a pink one. I had no idea if it was strawberry, cherry, bubble gum or something else, nor did I really care. At the moment, it was the prettiest ice cream in the world because it was pink. I just hoped it tasted half as good as it looked.
Just then, someone exclaimed, "There you are." I looked up to see Reverend Jack coming towards us.
"Reverend," dad greeted him cautiously.
Reverend Jack stared at me for a moment, looking both relieved and confused at the same time. "I'd heard Leila attacked yesterday..." Then he looked over my hospital gown, becoming even more confused.
"Leila?" dad blinked in confusion, then looked at me, "Oh. Why didn't you tell me you started using a new name?"
"But," I started to protest that I hadn't chosen that name...not really.
However, mom blurted out angrily, "Those two punks should be locked up. And Cody..."
"Then the stories are true," Reverend Jack gasped in horror. Then he looked at me, "But you don't look injured..."
"Doc Grissom says she has some sort of healing power that kicks in when she's asleep," Dad told him cautiously, carefully not mentioning my suicide attempt. "We found out when she woke up all healed."
"Those monsters broke her nose," mom exclaimed.
Reverend Jack stared at me with wide eyes and gulped, "I'm truly sorry to hear about this." Then he glanced around nervously before saying, "I'm afraid it's only going to get worse. I heard some talking from some of the adults that they're thinking of doing the same thing."
"WHAT?" dad exclaimed angrily. "Who?"
"Mostly just talk for now," Reverend Jack said quickly. "But I don't know how long before someone gets drunk or just decides to go ahead with it. I'm afraid for Leila."
"Those bastards," dad snarled, looking as though he wanted to attack someone right now. "Give me some names Reverend. I want to know whose after my son...daughter."
Reverend Jack shook his head sadly. "There are a lot of people upset by Leila. These are good people, but their fear is getting the best of them. I've been trying to calm everyone down but I don't know how much good I can do."
"Everyone's been so rude since Mark became Twisted," mom exclaimed. "But this... I mean, kids attacking her is one thing..."
"I'm afraid," Reverend Jack said quietly, "it might be a good idea to find someplace safe for awhile." He hesitated for a moment before asking, "Have you heard of a place called Spiral?"
"It's a town for Twisted," I said. "I read about it after I changed..."
"I've never heard of it," mom said.
"I have," dad nodded grimly. "They say everyone in town is Twisted."
"Not quite," Reverend Jack said with a forced smile, "but there are a lot. I've actually been to Spiral myself a few times and it's actually a very nice town with a lot of open minded people. It's a little strange, but that's to be expected. It was founded by a group of Twisted and their families, so the people there are very tolerant of Twisted."
"And you think we should go to Spiral?" dad asked suspiciously.
"It's just an idea," Reverend Jack told us with a frown. "Just in case things become too hostile around here." Then he shook his head sadly, "I never thought the people around here could act like this to one of their own... Hopefully they'll calm down soon."
"People do surprising things," dad told him grimly. "I haven't been handling his...her change very well myself, but I'll be damned if I let someone else lay another finger on her."
Reverend Jack nodded. "Just let me know if there's anything I can do to help." Then he turned to me and smiled, "God bless," before he turned and left.
"Let's get going," dad said, looking around and making me notice that several people were watching us. I grew even more self-conscious of this fact when I remembered that I was wearing nothing more the hospital gown.
We hurried to the car and were just climbing in when the air was suddenly filled with the loud yell of police sirens. Flashing lights in the corner of my eye caught my attention and I snapped around to see the police car that had just pulled in behind our car, blocking us from leaving.
"What the hell is going on?" dad demanded angrily as he climbed back out of the car.
Sheriff Cal Bartley stepped out of his cop car and stepped towards us with a deep scowl. He was a big man, several inches taller than my dad and quite broad shouldered. His hand rested on his gun holster as he looked us over, his eyes locking on me. His expression turned even darker and I felt as though he was dissecting me with his eyes.
A moment later, Deputy Porky climbed out of the passenger side of the cop car and stood beside Sheriff Cal. Deputy Porky hadn't earned his name from being overweight, which he wasn't, but from the fact he had a bad stuttering problem. Because of that, he tended not to speak much which seemed to suit Sheriff Cal just fine.
"You're under arrest," Sheriff Cal snarled at me, his hand on his holster as though waiting for me to make the slightest move. Deputy Porky mimicked his actions, looking as though he was ready to shoot as well. "For assault, battery, and attempted murder," Sheriff Cal continued with a sneer.
"What's the meaning of this?" my dad demanded furiously. He probably would have punched Sheriff Cal if it wasn't for the fact that the sheriff was armed.
"This little freak of yours attacked my nephew Jake and tore up his face pretty good," Sheriff Cal growled. "He had to go get stitches and will probably be scarred for life."
"Your nephew attacked her," mom nearly yelled at Sheriff Cal.
"Jake and Cody jumped my girl and beat the crap out of her," dad snarled menacingly, "All she did was try defending herself, for what little good it did."
"She looks just fine to me," Sheriff Cal sneered as he looked at me, not seeing all the injuries I'd suffered yesterday.
"You can't do this," dad insisted, "your boy attacked her without reason..."
"Shut up," Sheriff Cal snarled at him, his hand tapping the gun in his holster, "If you say one more word, I'll arrest you for obstructing justice..."
"Justice?" mom gasped in horror. "If there was any justice, you'd lock that monster nephew of yours up..."
Sheriff Cal just glared at her, then snarled at me, "Turn around and put your hands behind your back. NOW!"
"But," I started to protest, staring at the sheriff in horror.
But before another word could come out of my mouth, Deputy Porky grabbed me and slammed me up against the car so hard I was sure it would leave bruises. He grabbed my arms, pulling them painfully as he handcuffed them behind my back. Dad started to move but Sheriff Cal drew his gun and pointed it straight at dad.
"This is a nice little town," Sheriff Cal snarled, "and we're not gonna let little freaks like this run loose and ruining it."
"You can't do this," mom screamed at him in near panic, "you know she didn't do anything..."
"We'll see what my good friend Judge Bennet says about that," Sheriff Cal smirked.
Dad just stood there glaring at Sheriff Cal, giving me the feeling that if the Sheriff hadn't been holding that gun dad would have jumped him. But as it was, dad stood still, hate filling his eyes. He looked to me, his eyes filled with apology for not being able to prevent this.
"We'll get you out," dad promised me as Deputy Porky pushed me to the cop car and shoved me into the back seat.
Deputy Porky had twisted my arm and left several bruises on me, but I still hadn't fought him. Still, Deputy Porky said, "I...I...I...I....I think w...w...w...we got her for resisting arrest too...."
"You bastard," mom screamed, about to charge them herself if dad hadn't held her back.
"You won't get away with this," dad snarled.
Sheriff Cal pointed his gun straight at dad and demanded, "Was that a threat?" When dad didn't respond, he snorted, "I didn't think so."
A minute later the sheriff and deputy climbed back into the cop car while I was stuck in the back, scared and angry. I couldn't believe that I was being arrested... I was the victim... I was the one who'd been attacked and hurt...but I was the one going to jail. I grimaced, burning with resentment at just how unfair this was. But that was the way everything seemed to be in my life anymore.
Then as we drove off to the jail, Sheriff Cal told me, "You're mine now you little freak..."
I sat on the hard and uncomfortable cot, shivering a bit though not from the cold. I was stuck in a small jail cell with ugly gray walls and an open toilet that gave no privacy, not to mention the fact that I was still wearing the hospital gown. But as bad as all that was, the worst thing was that there wasn't anything pink in sight.
"I need pink," I whimpered, feeling as though I was going to jump out of my own skin. My heart raced and I looked around, desperate to find something pink. I wanted....needed it. I was going through withdrawal, but unlike any other addict, I knew I wouldn't eventually get over it. My addiction was something else entirely. "I need it..."
It had only been three or four hours since they'd thrown me in jail for the crime of being beaten up and I was already going crazy. A large part of it was the fact there was nothing pink around, but I was also scared. I'd never imagined I would be locked up in jail or that I'd be facing prison time or worse. I had a growing fear that I might not make it to trial, especially not with the way Sheriff Cal looked at me every time he came in.
"Damn," I grimaced, looking down at my arms which were bruised. Deputy Porky had been pretty rough while arresting me and Sheriff Cal had been even worse while throwing me into the cell. They seemed to take some kind of delight in hurting me, which only made me more fearful of my position.
My cell was in the back of the jail along with several others. There were only three other prisoners besides myself, and they were in separate cells since the sheriff said even they didn't deserve to have me locked in with them. One was a woman who'd been accused of breaking into a house to burglarize it, one was a guy accused of selling drugs, and the last was a guy who'd gotten drunk and pissed off Sheriff Cal. None of the other three would talk to me but they all took turns staring.
After awhile, I tried distracting myself by getting up and going to the bars. It wasn't much, but there wasn't much I could do being stuck in this small cell. I could faintly hear Sheriff Cal talking to Deputy Porky in the next room and it seemed to be about the Twisted. I struggled to make out what they were saying.
"I'll be the big hero once everyone finds out I got that freak off the streets," Sheriff Cal was saying. "Everyone knows those Twisted are controlled by aliens in another dimension. They're dangerous..."
"Hey you," one of the other prisoners called out to me. It was the dug dealer.
"Yeah," I responded cautiously.
"I heard you Twisted all have freak powers," he said, staring at me with a look that made me cringe.
"I wish," I grimaced. Of course, I had that weird trick where I could grow my hair back and heal from injuries when I was unconscious, but he didn't need to know that.
"C'mon," the drunk laughed. "Surely you can blow a hole in the wall, or maybe shoot death rays from your eyes."
"Do you think I'd still be here if I could do something like that?" I asked bitterly.
"Damn," the drunk exclaimed.
"It was worth a shot," the drug dealer shrugged, then turned to the drunk. "Pay up. I told you the freak wouldn't be able to do anything cool..."
The drunk grumbled at that, "I never shoulda bet you..."
I scowled and turned away from the prisoners, not sure I liked being the target of some bet. I'd already looked them over and none of them were wearing pink, not even the woman, so they had nothing to interest me. Instead, I tried listening in on Sheriff Cal again.
"You heard about that Twisted guy in the news last year?" Sheriff Cal was going on. "Yeah, that kid who went on a rape spree... They say he got thirty women and two dogs before they caught him... Those Twisted fuckers are all sick and should just be put down..."
"Just great," I winced, feeling even more sick to my stomach than I already did. Maybe listening to Sheriff Cal's rants wasn't the best idea.
I frowned and sat back down on the hard cot that served as a bed. The thin mattress barely did anything to make it more comfortable, though I was too focused on my other comfort to care much about something like this. I needed something pink soon... I needed it now... I closed my eyes, trying to imagine the color pink to see if it might help. It didn't help much.
I spent the next several hours squirming in misery and discomfort. My need for something pink only seemed to grow stronger with time. I curled up on my cot, shaking with that need and feeling as though I was going to die. I alternated between silently cursing my Twist and praying that I'd get something pink soon.
Sheriff Cal came in several times to check on the prisoners and to gloat. I begged him to get me something pink. "Please," I pleaded tearfully, "I need something pink...anything..."
"Shut up you freak," he snapped in response each time.
I was shaking with my need for something pink, growing more and more desperate. I was starting to wish that my attempted suicide had succeeded so at least I wouldn't be suffering like this. I was nearly going insane from this need.
"She's on something," the drug dealer prisoner whispered to the others as they all watched me nervously.
Eventually Deputy Porky came with dinner, though I didn't care anything about that. I wasn't hungry, at least not enough to eat. There was only one thing I wanted and food wasn't it. "Here you go you f...f...f...f...f...freak," Deputy Porky said, spitting into my tray of food before shoving it into my cell.
"Pink," I gasped, staring at him with a wild eyed desperation that caused him to step back, "I need...pink... Please..."
Deputy Porky stared at me nervously, then glanced to the front office where Sheriff Cal was probably waiting. I was making him nervous, which wasn't any surprise considering the way I was acting. I was getting to the point that I'd do ANYTHING for something pink, including things I'd normally never consider.
"Sh...sh...shut up," Deputy Porky snapped.
At that moment, I suddenly felt a pressure build up inside of me, created by all the desperation and need. It flowed and burned all at once, making me feel very much like I had at the moment of my Twist. However, that pressure only lasted a few seconds before it suddenly exploded, sending waves of pink light out from my body.
The pink glow washed over everything around me, transforming everything it touched to the color pink. The horrible gray walls of my cell be came a soft and comforting pink. My uncomfortable cot and the hospital gown I was wearing became pink as well. But the effects spread out beyond my cell, changing the paint color on the cells beside me and even the color of Deputy Porky's uniform. His uniform was now a bright neon pink.
"PINK," I exclaimed, feeling deliriously giddy from all the pink that now surrounded me. I grinned stupidly, loving that lovely color. I soaked it all up, laughing with delight.
"Sh...sh..sh...CAL," Deputy Porky yelled with a look of shock and horror on his face.
Sheriff Cal came rushing into the room, exclaiming, "What the hell...?" Then he froze, staring at the now pink walls and clothes in shock. His eyes immediately went to me and he snarled, "YOU!"
"Pretty pink," I giggled, still a bit dazed by all the lovely color.
My stupid grin only infuriated Sheriff Cal, who unlocked my cell and stepped inside, backhanding me across the face and sending me sprawling backwards. My nose exploded in pain and blood, feeling almost exactly like it had yesterday when Cody had hit me. The pain sobered me up immediately and I cried out, grabbing my broken nose.
"You dirty freak," Sheriff Cal snarled, pulling out his baton and then hitting me with it. "I'll teach you what happens when you mess with real people..."
Sheriff Cal hit me with the baton several more times, taking great delight in doing so. I screamed as he beat me, then began kicking me. This was far too much like what Cody and Jake had done to me yesterday, except that this time it was a cop doing it to me. Sheriff Cal stopped after just a minute, then turned and stepped out of the cell, gesturing for Deputy Porky to lock it again.
"Go and change your uniform," Sheriff Cal ordered Deputy Porky with disgust. Then he glared at me before he turned and stormed out of the room.
"Holy shit," the female burglar exclaimed, staring at me with a look of sympathy. The drug dealer seemed to have enjoyed the show while the drunk just looked a bit sick to his stomach. I ignored them as I slowly climbed back onto the cot, wincing at all my new bruises and blood. I hurt like hell but that was nothing new. I'd felt the same way yesterday. But this time, I comforted myself with the knowledge that I'd feel better in the morning. And at least now, I had all this lovely pink to help me feel better.
"I have a new trick," I stared at the pink wall and whispered in realization. I smiled as I realized I might never have to go without pink again. If I could learn to control this, I could make my own pink whenever I wanted... That thought made me smile more and almost forget about how much I hurt. Almost.
After this the prisoners watched me with a new expression in their eyes... fear. They'd seen me use a power that none of them possessed, had seen me do something completely unnatural. The fact that all it did was to change the colors of thins to pink seemed to be irrelevant. They were really afraid of me now.
A short time later, Deputy Porky came in wearing a new uniform which disappointed me a bit. I thought the neon pink one was so much nicer. He only glared at me but didn't say a word as he went and led the drunk out. Apparently the drunk was being let loose. I just wished the same could be said for me since I had no idea how long I was going to be locked up.
When Deputy Porky came in the next time after this, I was a little startled to see that he had Reverend Jack with him. Reverend Jack took one look at me and paled. "What did you do to her?" he demanded of Deputy Porky.
"I...I...I...I...," Deputy Porky shook his head in annoyance at his stuttering. "She tried using some weird power to escape."
"Dear God," Reverend Jack whispered in horror. His eyes went over the pink walls and then settled on me. They were filled with both anger and pity. "Are you all right?"
"No," I grimaced, fighting back the urge to demand if he thought I looked all right. Reverend Jack scowled, then turned to Deputy Jack, "May I have some privacy with her..."
"I...I...I...I can't do that," Deputy Porky scowled back.
But Reverend Jack narrowed his eyes and calmly said, "You've heard of the sanctity of confession... How would you feel if everything between me and my people became public?"
Deputy Porky went pale for a moment before snapping, "All right. Just a couple minutes..."
After Deputy Porky had left the room, I said, "I thought confessions were a Catholic thing..."
"It is," Reverend Jack smiled. "If he came to church more he might know that." He turned to look at the two remaining prisoners, frowning as he did so. Even without Deputy Porky we didn't have much privacy.
"Where...where are my mom and dad?" I asked him quietly, worried since I hadn't heard from them since I was arrested. I'd expected them to come see me but they hadn't.
"They've been trying to get in with a lawyer," Reverend Jack told me with an angry scowl, "but Sheriff Cal won't let them or the lawyer in. They tried going to the judge, but Judge Bennet is suddenly unreachable."
"Shit," I winced, then realized to whom I was talking to, I quickly said, "Sorry..."
"Perfectly understandable," Reverend Jack told me. "We can probably get you out legally, but it will take awhile to get to the right people." Then he looked around carefully and whispered, "But I'm afraid you might not have that time."
"What?" I gasped.
"Shhh," Reverend Jack cautioned me, then continued quietly. "I fear Sheriff Cal may be intending to have you shot while escaping. He thinks he's saving the normal people this way..." Reverend Jack shook his head sadly to let me know what he thought of that.
"But..." I gulped.
"I've already talked to your parents and they agree we have to get you out of here before then," Reverend Jack told me, looking to the door again to make sure Deputy Porky or Sheriff Cal weren't coming in. "I've already called a friend of mine for help. We'll get you out of here as soon as we can."
Before I could ask Reverend Jack for more details, Sheriff Porky came back in and he didn't look happy. "Time's up," he said simply.
Reverend Jack nodded, then told me, "I'll pray for you," before he turned and followed the deputy out.
I slowly sat back down on the cot and frowned thoughtfully. I couldn't help thinking about Reverend Jack's warning about Sheriff Cal's plans to shoot me. Normally, I would have laughed that away as complete paranoia, but after what I'd been through lately at the Sheriff's hands...I no longer doubted it. In fact, I only wondered why I hadn't thought of it myself.
"I'm in deep shit," I grimaced, clenching my fists tight enough for my nails to dig into my flesh and draw blood. And though Reverend Jack had assured me he was doing everything he could, I didn't have a lot of hope. What could a preacher do against an armed sheriff and deputy? Still, I remembered my promise to dad and refused to give up again. It might not be a lot of hope, but it was all I had.
I stared at my newly pink breakfast tray, smiling in satisfaction. Since I didn't have anything else to do, I'd been trying to figure out how my new trick worked. It had taken a bit of effort but I was sure that I'd finally figured out how to use it. The tray was proof of that.
Then I turned my attention to the toilet in my cell which had remained untouched by my trick yesterday. I took a deep breath and focused on the color pink and how much I wanted it. The strange pressure quickly built up inside me along with the energies that all Twisted tap into. After a brief moment, I pushed it towards the toilet. A wave of pink light came out of my hand and hit the toilet which quickly transformed into a brilliant pink color.
"Yes," I grinned, taking pleasure where I could find it. I didn't exactly have a lot to be thankful for but this was something. "I never have to be without pink again..."
With that, I remembered something else I was thankful for...my other trick. When I'd woken up a few hours ago after a night of poor sleep, I had been quite pleased to find all my injuries gone again. My bruises had all faded away and my nose didn't show any sign of having been broken twice. It was nice to be free of the pain from being beaten, especially since it was happening so often lately.
When Sheriff Cal came in with breakfast and saw me healed, he'd been pretty upset. In fact, I thought he was going to charge into my cell to beat me again. Fortunately for me, he seemed to decide against it and left without a word. For some reason though, that just made me more worried. Maybe he was waiting for the chance to do more than just beat me.
"God, I hope dad can get me out," I grimaced fearfully. I couldn't stop thinking about Reverend Jack's warnings and his promise of help, though I'd been trying hard not to. Every time I remembered his words or saw Sheriff Cal, I worried about what he was going to do. "I didn't even do anything wrong..."
Deputy Jackson came in after awhile, making sure not to even look at me. I hadn't seen him around much since I'd been arrested but wished that he'd replace Porky. After Deputy Jackson only refused to acknowledge my existence, which was a far cry from the looks of hatred and the stuttered insults I got from Deputy Porky or the sheriff.
"Come on," Deputy Jackson told the burglar woman as he unlocked her cell, "Your bail's been posted." He turned and led her out of the room, leaving me with just the drug dealer for company.
"Oh shit," I whispered, suddenly having a bad feeling about this.
If Sheriff Cal really did want to kill me while 'escaping' like Reverend Jack thought, then he'd probably wait until there weren't any witnesses. Or at least, he'd probably wait until there weren't any that he couldn't control. At the moment, the only witness left was the drug dealer. The moment he was gone, I'd be left alone with Sheriff Cal and his deputies, and they'd be able to claim whatever they wanted.
I waited impatiently, hoping from a visit from my dad or Reverend Jack. Unfortunately, there were no visitors and I was left wondering if they'd ever be able to get me out. So far I hadn't been given a chance to talk to a lawyer or even the one phone call I was supposedly allowed. When I'd mentioned getting either to Sheriff Cal yesterday, he'd only snapped at me to shut up. I had a feeling that asking again wouldn't be any more effective.
Eventually, Sheriff Cal came in again and paused in front of my cell to glare at me. He smirked, "Don't worry freak, you won't be in here for much longer." His tone was more than a little sarcastic and sent a chill up my spine.
I glared back at him, more than a little tempted to turn his uniform pink the same way I'd accidentally done to Deputy Porky. The only thing that stopped me was fear and the realization that it would be a bad idea to antagonize him further. My only chance was to drag things out until dad and Reverend Jack could find a way to free me.
Sheriff Cal turned to the drug dealer and said, "Come on. You've got an appointment with Judge Bennet."
"And I thought no one could reach him," I grimaced, remembering Reverend Jack's words. I gulped and watched silently as the sheriff started leading the drug dealer from the room.
"We'll have a talk when I get back," Sheriff Cal sneered at me before leaving with his prisoner.
"Shit," I gulped, shaking with fear. Now I didn't have anyone here to keep Sheriff Cal from just getting rid of me. "Please don't let me die," I prayed, amazed at how much I wanted to live when I'd been so determined to kill myself just two days earlier.
I sat in my jail cell for another hour, shaking with fear that slowly turned to anger. Who the hell did these people think they were? These were supposed to be the law enforcement people, and they sure as hell weren't following the laws themselves.
"I was never read any rights," I reminded myself angrily, "never given a phone call, a lawyer, or anything... Shit, I didn't even do anything and he knows it..."
I clenched my fists at Sheriff Cal's hypocrisy. And if he killed me like I thought he was going to, than that just proved he was nothing more than a kidnapper and murderer. His deputies were certainly no better. I was hard thinking this about the people that I'd always thought of as the 'good guys', but I now realized they were anything but.
"Those bastards," I grimaced, deciding that if Sheriff Cal was going to murder me like that, I was at least going to fight him any way I could. I might not be able to do much, but I wouldn't go down without at least some kind of fight. "I'm not gonna give up again..."
About an hour after Sheriff Cal left with the drug dealer, the door began to open as someone came in. I jumped to my feet, prepared to yell, scream, use every profanity I knew, and even turn Sheriff Cal's uniform pink. I prepared myself to be shot, terrified but braced up by my anger fueled courage.
To my surprise, it wasn't Sheriff Cal or even one of the deputies who came in but my dad, followed by Reverend Jack and some guy I'd never seen before. All of them looked grim and serious, though I couldn't be quite certain about the stranger. He looked half asleep and even yawned loudly.
"Mark," Dad exclaimed in relief as he saw me, "or Leila..."
"Dad," I gasped, feeling both relieved and confused.
"We don't have much time," Reverend Jack said firmly, glancing to the still yawning guy with him. Then I noticed the keys in his hand, "Where's the lock...?"
"Oh my God," I blurted out as I realized that this was a break out. Then I blinked and pointed to the control unit on the wall that unlocked and opened various cells. "There..."
"Good," Reverend Jack nodded and rushed to the control unit, sticking the key in it to unlock it then using the electronic controls to open the door to my cell.
"C'mon," dad said, grabbing me and pulling me out of my cell. He clenched me in a tight hug for a moment gasping, "I'm glad you're all right..." Then he pulled away and looked at all the pink in my cell with a look of surprise.
"We have to hurry," Reverend Jack said firmly.
I nodded but asked, "Who's he?" I pointed to the half asleep stranger.
"I'm," the stranger yawned, "Greg." Then he smiled at me with a sleepy look. "I'm Twisted too..."
"You're Twisted?" I asked in surprise, fighting my old urge to immediately step back. I knew I didn't like that kind of treatment and it would be extremely hypocritical to treat others the same way. "I've never met another one," I told him feeling a little uncertain. Then I asked dad, "Why's he here?"
"I've got a trick," Greg yawned loudly. "I put people to sleep."
"So can my teacher," I joked weakly, earning a faint chuckle from Greg.
Reverend Jack looked a bit impatient but sighed, "Now isn't the time for explanations but I see you have a lot of questions..."
"Yeah," I nodded, glancing around nervously as I expected Deputy Porky or Sheriff Cal to rush in at any moment.
"Have you heard of the underground railroad?" Reverend Jack asked me with a frown.
I blinked in surprise, "The subway?"
"No," he shook his head impatiently. "Don't they teach you anything in history?"
"Schools aren't what they used to be," dad said.
"Back before the Civil War," Reverend Jack told me, "there were people who helped slaves escape to where they'd be safe. Nowadays, there's a different kind of underground railroad that helps Twisted who are in trouble. I'm one of the stops on it. I help Twisted like you get away to places were they'll be safe." He gestured to Greg. "I helped Greg some years back and I asked him to come help me get you out of here."
"Glad to help," Greg yawned again.
"Oh," I blushed in embarrassment, "that underground railroad. I remember hearing about that..." Then I looked at Reverend Jack in surprise, never having imagined that he'd be involved in something like that.
"No time for more explanations," he told me crossly. "We have to go before they wake up..."
"Before who wakes up?" I asked in surprise.
Reverend Jack didn't answer as he led the way out of the cell block and into the main jail. Deputy Porky and Deputy Jackson were both sound asleep at their desks, much to my surprise. I glanced at Greg and realized that he must have done this. This was why Reverend Jack had asked him to come.
Suddenly there was a loud crashing sound as a rock flew through the front window. The sound caused both deputies to suddenly jump and wake up. "What the hell?" Deputy Jackson exclaimed while Deputy Porky looked around in confusion, then gasped as he saw us.
"Damn," dad exclaimed, throwing open the door and rushing out of the jail.
As soon as I stepped outside, I was shocked to see about a dozen protesters standing around with signs, yelling to the jail. The signs all said things like, "Twisted aren't human," and worse. It was damn near a lynch mob that seemed to angry that normal people had been locked up with me. They were all angry and were even throwing things at the jail.
"Oh God," I gasped in horror, suddenly noticing both Jake and Cody among the group. I saw one sign on the ground that had been trampled all over and was a bit torn, saying, "Twisted are God's creatures too," but there was no sign of whomever had been holding that one. I suspected that the other protesters had chased the ones like that away.
"Ignore them," dad said grim. "Let's just get out of here...."
Unfortunately, the group of protesters had all seen me come right out of the jail and they seemed angry about it. Loud yells and insults started to be aimed towards me, along with a few thrown objects.
"Stop this," Reverend Jack exclaimed, trying to calm down the protesters. "There is no call for this kind of behavior..."
Deputies Porky and Jackson burst out of the jail just a moment later with guns drawn, "She's trying to escape!" Deputy Jackson yelled, which only got the protesters angrier. They looked as though they were about to charge straight at is, though Reverend Jack was holding them back...barely.
"Is this the kind of behavior that you want your children to see?" Reverend Jack yelled at the crowd angrily. "Go home and think about this..."
Deputy Porky was trying to talk but no one could hear what he was saying. He angrily fired a warning shot into the air, then pointed his gun at me with a furious look in his eyes. Deputy Jackson had his gun in hand too, though he was pointing it at the ground rather than at me. He had a slightly haunted expression on his face, as though he realized what they were doing to me wasn't right.
"What are we going to do?" dad demanded of Reverend Jack, stepping between me and the deputies as though to block me from any shots they might make. He glared at them dangerously, as though silently threatening them with horrible things if they laid a single finger on me. I suddenly felt a surge of pride for my dad and wondered how I ever could have doubted him.
Then, as though God himself were determined to make things even more difficult for us, Sheriff Cal ran up, "What the bloody hell is going on?"
Sheriff Cal stopped to stare at me with a look of pure rage. Then as he reached for his gun, I saw a gleam of satisfaction in his eyes. He was going to shoot me while escaping and he'd have a bunch of witnesses that I was trying to do just that.
"Don't you dare!" Reverend Jack exclaimed, stepping between me and Sheriff Cal. "She's unarmed... Are you a murderer now as well as a kidnapper?"
"Kidnapper?" Sheriff Cal snarled furiously. "She's under arrest..."
"When she didn't do anything illegal," Reverend Jack yelled back, "you didn't read her rights and you didn't fill out the paperwork either... You know good and well that means her arrest was completely illegal... What you've gone is nothing short of kidnapping..."
"I don't need freak loving preacher to tell me about the law," Sheriff Cal spat out angrily.
"Well someone should," Reverend Cal glared back at him. "You're breaking enough of them as it is..."
Sheriff Cal snarled, looking as though he was about though he was going go shoot me right through Reverend Jack. However, he glanced at the protesters and realized that it wouldn't be a good idea to shoot an unarmed reverend in front of them. He might be able to get away with killing a Twisted freak, but he'd never get away with that.
"You're under arrest," Sheriff Cal growled at him, stepping closer.
"You bastard," dad snarled, clutching my hand protectively and glaring at the sheriff. "I thought you were a law man, not a monster... Obviously I was wrong..."
"You're under arrest too," Sheriff Cal smirked as he turned the gun on my dad.
"NO!" I exclaimed, terrified that he'd shoot my dad. "Just leave my dad alone..."
Sheriff Cal grinned evilly and quickly pointed his gun at me now that I'd stepped out from behind my dad. Now was his chance... I was terrified, but I'd rather it was me than my dad.
Suddenly, the sheriff's gun tore right out of his grip and went flying through the air. Curses from the deputies caused me to turn and see that they'd lost their guns the same way. Then I looked and saw another man I didn't know standing in the street with a ski mask over his face. He had bits and pieces of metal clinging to his body, including the guns.
"My friend Edward is somewhat magnetic when he wishes," Reverend Jack whispered to me with a smirk.
Just then all the bits and pieces of metal that were attached the man with the ski mask....to Edward, all fell off of him to the ground around him. Sheriff Cal was about to charge straight at him, until Edward bent over and calmly picked up one of the guns. He didn't aim it anyone, but he didn't need to either.
"Let's get out of here," Reverend Jack said grimly, glaring Sheriff Cal and the protesters with a look of disgust on his face.
"You can't go," Sheriff Cal snarled furiously. "You're all under arrest..."
"And you're an asshole," I snapped back, sick and tired of him and people like him.
Then on a sudden impulse, I lashed out with my new trick, sending waves of pink energy out towards Sheriff Cal. My first impulse had just been to turn his uniform pink, but I was pissed off and decided to go one step more. The pink light washed over his skin and hair, turning that all neon pink along with his costume.
"What the hell?" Sheriff Cal screamed in panic as he looked down at himself.
The protesters all began to scream and run away in a panic but I hardly paid attention to that. Instead, I reached out with my power and hit Jake with it, turning his skin and hair bright pink. Right after him, I hit Sheriff Porky as well. I damn well remembered what all three of them had done to me, but there was someone else who'd hurt me even more.
"Cody," I whispered, staring at my former friend with tears in my eyes.
Cody stood there with a look of horror and shame on his face, though whether it was because he was ashamed of what he'd done to me or because he'd once been my friend, I didn't know. All I knew was that his betrayal had hurt far worse than all the bruises and broken bones. His betrayal had cut me to my very soul.
"Mark, no..." he gasped with a pleading look in his eyes.
I glared at Cody, wanting to lash out at him the same way that I had Jake, Sheriff Cal and Deputy Porky. The only thing that held me back was the memory of the friendship we'd once shared. That friendship was obviously dead and gone, but the last gift I had for my old friend was to just let him go.
"But remember," I spat at him angrily, "I'm not Mark... Not anymore." Then I turned my back to him and started to walk away with my dad, "I'm Leila now..."
"I'll take care of them," Greg yawned loudly, waving his hand towards the few people who remained. Suddenly, everyone who was still there collapsed to the ground, completely asleep. I even heard snoring coming from Deputy Porky.
"Is... Is that pink permanent?" dad asked me a moment later.
I turned to look back at Sheriff Cal and admire his beautiful new skin color. I had no idea if my color changes were permanent or if they'd wear off, but they showed no signs of doing so yet in the jail cell. Truthfully, I hoped it didn't wear off. But even if it did, I thought those three bastards would all get a very good taste of what it's like being a freak. They deserved far worse than that.
"I have no idea," I finally told dad with a grin.
Dad shook his head, then said, "Come on..."
Just then I noticed dad was pointing at an RV that was parked just down the street. Dad and Reverend Jack were going straight towards it while Greg kept gesturing at everyone else he saw and putting them to sleep.
As soon as I climbed inside the RV, mom suddenly threw her arms around me. Tears were pouring down her cheeks as she exclaimed, "You're all right... Thank God you're all right..."
"Hi mom," I smiled weakly as I hugged her back.
Then I looked over and saw Grace, looking nervous but relieved at the same time. As soon as I let go of mom, Grace rushed over and gave me a hug. "I missed you," Grace told me wide eyed. "I was worried..."
"Me too," I told her honestly, deciding that she didn't need to know just how worried I'd been.
Once everyone else was on board, Greg climbed inside while Edward hopped behind the wheel. The RV pulled out and started driving before I'd even realized it. Then Edward pulled off his ski mask, revealing that his face was gray and looked a bit metallic. It was no wonder he wore the mask in town. In this town, it's better to be thought a burglar an a Twisted.
"I'm glad you're all right," mom told me again. "When Reverend Jack told us of how they'd been treating you..." She shook her head then clutched me tight again.
"Thank you," I said, not sure who I should be thanking for my rescue. Everyone had come and saved me from Sheriff Cal and his plans.
"So what next?" dad asked Reverend Jack while giving me a reassuring smile.
"We'll switch vehicles in a short while," Reverend Jack said, "then we'll head somewhere safe...."
"Like Spiral?" I asked, remembering that town for Twisted.
Reverend Jack nodded. "That is where we send most of the Twisted who are in trouble. It's probably the best place in the whole country to be Twisted. We've got some friends there who can help you all get set up." Then he sighed, "I'll have to come with for now. It seems that it may no longer be safe for me here either."
"I don't think Sheriff Cal will let that go," mom agreed with a furious expression.
"He's gonna have troubles of his own soon," Greg yawned loudly. "Besides just being pink."
"What do you mean?" dad asked.
"We'll be having a few lawyers coming down on this police department," Edward called back with a chuckle. "Trust me, they've violated enough civil rights to be tied up for a long time."
"The most important thing now," Reverend Jack told us with a smile, "is to get you all safely to Spiral. Trust me though when I tell you it won't be any problem. We have enough friends helping us that we'll all be there safe and sound within two days."
"That'll be good," dad said, smiling at me though I could tell he was a little nervous as well.
"Spiral," I whispered, not sure how I felt about going to a town with so many Twisted.
The idea of being in a place where I was surrounded by Twisted once would have filled me with terror. I'd always heard such bad things about them, about how they lost their humanity and went insane. I know that I'd been changed pretty drastically, not just in my body but in my mind, or at least with the strange way I now craved pink. I could only imagine how much worse it had to be for others.
However, I now had a much different view on the Twisted. I still thought that they...that we were freaks, but I was okay with that. We were different, but we were still human and wanted to be treated as such. We wanted to be left alone to live our lives and be who we were. At least that was what I wanted and I suspected that most other Twisted were the same way.
"Spiral," I whispered again, deciding that maybe it would be a good idea to live in a place like that. I couldn't be considered a freak but just another girl. It would be strange, but at least it would be better than the living hell I'd had to endure here with the self-righteous normals. The more I thought about it, the more I was beginning to look forward to Spiral.
After awhile though, I realized something. "Isn't it going to be hard just leaving the house and everything?" I asked dad, thinking about everything my parents were giving up by coming with me like this.
"We packed as much as we could," mom said, gesturing to some boxes in the back of the RV. Then she shrugged, "But we did have to leave so much..."
"Don't worry about it," Dad reassured her, looking to Grace and me and adding, "we have everything important. Everything else can be replaced...."
It was a touching moment and we all gathered together for a family group hug. I smiled, feeling quite happy. I might have just lost everything I owned and been run out of town, but I was with my family and I no longer had any doubts at all that they loved me. I only wished that they didn't have to give up so much because of me.
"Don't worry too much about it," Reverend Jack chuckled. "Once you're all settled into Spiral, we've got people who can help retrieve the rest of your belongings and even sell your house. Our little network has had some experience in these kinds of situations before."
"That's good to know," dad told him. "And if there's anything I can do to help..."
"If there is," Reverend Jack told him, "we'll let you now. For now though, getting your family safe and settled is the important thing."
I just sat there and listened as dad and Reverend Jack continued to talk about how we were going to get to Spiral and get settled in, though it was fairly boring. I looked over at Grace and saw that she was even more bored than I was. And since she didn't have any dolls with her at the moment to play with, I thought she could use a little distraction.
"You want to see something cool?" I whispered to Grace.
"Yeah," Grace grinned eagerly.
I grinned at her, then pointed to her shirt which suddenly transformed from white to pink. She gasped in delight then giggled, "It's really pretty..."
For a moment I just sat there, admiring the beautiful color of her shirt and then her wide open smile. I suddenly felt extremely proud to be her big sister and decided that I'd do the best job I could. I'd even play dolls with her on occasion if it would make her happy, in spite of how bad things had gone the last time. After all, I was a girl now and girls could play with pink things and dolls.
"I'm glad you like it," I told her with a grin of my own. Then I leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, "Pink is such a pretty color, don't you think?"
"Yeah," Grace exclaimed with a broad grin, "Pink's pretty... It's my favorite color."
"Mine too," I winked at her as I quietly turned dad's shoes pink and making her giggle even louder, "Mine too..."
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