Survival: Chapter 4 of 9

Whateley: “Survival”

[A Whately Universe FanFic]

By Zapper

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Chapter Four

***

Even with her night vision, Kate was lost. The trees were thick and she had no idea which way she was going. Her dad had taught her enough to know how to walk a straight line in the forest. She did this by putting her back to a tree and spotting a tree a dozen feet away and then walking to it. Then she picked another and another and another. But she’d forgotten to do a pace count and then it occurred to her that even if she had it would have been pointless, since she didn’t know what her pace count was in this body.

Her elation at escaping had turned into worry, because she had no way to warn her parents. After a little while she dismissed this thought to focus on walking. Sooner or later she was bound to find a road or some type of land mark. As she walked she couldn’t help noticing how her new body was different from her normal body. The sausage between her legs was annoying. It moved from side to side with each step in a steady reminder of her new status. She could also see her breath, in the silvery moonlight, but the air didn’t feel the least bit cold. It then occurred to her that she was walking barefoot through the forest, stepping on stones and twigs and they didn’t bother her. This made Kate wonder if her skin was now tougher, or if she was an Exemplar and this was just a side effect.

At one point Kate paused to watch a mosquito land on her arm. Mosquitos had always loved to bite her but now she was curious. After several seconds of trying to draw blood the Mosquito gave up and flew away. ‘Wow, I’ll never need to buy bug spray again!’ she thought. If it wasn’t for the sex changed she knew she’d be marveling at her new body.

After a time Kate noticed that the moon had set, but it was a little lighter. At this she paused to look around. Yes, it was definitely lighter, the sun was rising. Then off to her right Kate saw a shimmer through the trees. Since this was the first landmark that wasn’t more trees Kate headed toward it. After a few minutes Kate saw that she was walking toward a small lake. It was farther away than she’d estimated and the sun was well above the horizon by the time she reached the edge. For the first time Kate had a clear view for more than a couple of dozen feet and she looked around. To her left she saw a mountain range. “The Cascades,” she wondered, turning to look in the opposite direction. If they were then that way was east. So she should be able to figure out north and south.

Feeling desperately thirsty Kate dropped her blanket, improvised skirt, and bundle on the shore and stepped into the lake. She knew that drinking unpurified water might be a bad idea but she’d been walking for hours and knew she was dehydrated. The feeling of cool lake water moving up her thighs was refreshing until it reached her new organ. The sensation of cool water caused her to gasp and look down. Then Kate couldn’t resist a booming laugh.

“So that’s what they mean by shrinkage!”

Kate looked into the water and noticed that her vision sharpened. It was like she could see into the water. There! She’d spotted a fish. Without thinking her hand darted out, even though the talons she’d used to get out of her cell had retracted, she managed to catch the struggling lake trout. At first she was too surprised by her instinctive move to know what to do and her grip on the struggling fish slipped. The fish dropped back into the water with a splash and Kate let out a chuckle.

“I guess I know what’s on the menu for breakfast.”

Cupping her hands Kate lifted a small mouthful of water to her lips. The liquid was cool and tasted clean. After one experimental swallow Kate took another mouthful and then another. After her third scoop of lake water Kate thought she saw something from the corner of her eye. She glanced around, searching, and spotted it. At an angle across the lake there was a small cabin with an even smaller dock. Civilization!

If they had a phone she might be able to contact her parents. Rather than rush over to the cabin Kate slowly scanned the shoreline. She wanted to know if there were any other signs of civilization. Not spotting any Kate let out a sigh. If this was someone’s fishing cabin then there was a good chance no one would be home and there wouldn’t be a way to contact anyone. Still this was the best chance at finding help she’d had so far. She needed to check it out.

With this goal in mind Kate quickly returned to the place where she’d left her meager belongings. She once again wrapping the blanket around her shoulders like a cloak, tied her shirt around her hips, and picked up her crude tools. Then she started working her way around the lake. It took more than an hour to come up on the cabin and when she did Kate paused to examine what she’d found.

It had been made of rough logs and couldn’t have more than a couple of rooms. To one side of the cabin through the trees Kate saw that someone had planted a garden. It looked like a vegetable garden and from what Kate could see, it was doing quite well. Slowly, Kate circled the cabin trying to get a better idea for who the owner might be and more importantly what they’d be like. At what Kate assumed was the front of the cabin, based on the porch and rocking chair, she saw a small track that must serve, from time to time, as a driveway. It was one of those seldom used tracks with grass and weeds growing up between the ruts made by the vehicle’s wheels.

The cabin didn’t have a garage and there was no sign of a car. Feeling a little discouraged Kate continued around the house and saw that it had an old fashioned well, complete with a bucket and rope. The well was on the same side as the garden so Kate assumed it served the dual purpose of providing the cabin and the garden with clean water. Now Kate saw that the cabin had a back porch that was almost as big as the one on the front.

From here Kate could see the dock and a small wooden canoe that had been turned upside down and left leaning against the dock. As she continued around Kate saw what looked like an empty clothes line and then she caught the scent of a wood smoke. At this she glanced at the roof and saw a faint plume of smoke drifting lazily out of the chimney.

Having circled the cabin Kate moved toward what she was still assuming was the front porch. There hadn’t been any sign of movement within the cabin, but the well-tended garden and the smoke made Kate believe that someone was home. They’d probably feel a lot more comfortable with her if she introduced herself by knocking on the door. As Kate moved toward the porch a sixth sense made her dive forward into a front roll, dropping her bundle and losing the blanket and t-shirt along the way. Kate came to her feet her hands up ready to fight, and stopped.

A robed and hooded figure stood a few feet behind where Kate had been. It held a thin looking staff in one hand and even though the light green robe was bulky Kate somehow sensed that this person was a woman.

“You startled me, Ma’am.”

“I’m amazed that you were able to sense me, young man.” Came the musical reply.

Abruptly, Kate remembered that she was naked, and that guys aren’t supposed to be naked in front of girls. She felt her face flush, but made no move toward her dropped blanket or t-shirt.

“You have the advantage, madam.” Kate said and wondered why she was speaking so strangely.

“I do, but it is only fitting, since this is my home. Tell me your name.”

Kate opened her mouth, but instead of saying Kathrine Henderson, she said, “I am named Dux’Primus.”

There was a hiss from the hooded woman and for a second she didn’t move. Then with her free hand she slowly pushed back her hood. Her midnight hair was pulled back in a tight braid giving Kate a full view of her slightly too big green eyes, pointed ears, and delicate chin. The similarity to an elf from the Lord of the Rings was shocking.

“You’re a mutant?”

“Surprised at seeing another of us, so far from civilization?”

“Uhm, well, honestly, yes.” Kate stumbled.

“Stranger things have happened. My name is . . . well, for now you can call me Molly.” The woman said, and when she did she grinned showing off perfectly white teeth. “Please come inside and have breakfast with me. You can tell me what you’re doing out here and why you’re doing it naked.”

Kate felt her face turn bright red and quickly scooped up her blanket wrapping it around her body. “Tssk . . . a shame, to cover up such a fine body.” The woman said with a lascivious look toward Kate. Then as if knowing Kate would follow she moved toward the cabin. Kate picked up her dropped bundle and turned to follow Molly.

Then Molly looked over her shoulder at Kate, “Are you carrying iron?” The surprise was evident in her voice, but she covered it quickly, “Please leave it outside. It distresses me.”

Sheepishly Kate dropped the bundle next to the porch and followed Molly inside.

***

“Try these on.”

Kate managed to catch a bundle of clothes Molly tossed at her. Kate had followed the mutant into her cabin and had been surprised at how large it turned out to be. The front door had opened to a sitting room with a large stone fireplace. Molly had disappeared around a corner by the time Kate had entered, rubbing her head from where she’d accidently hit the doorframe.

“I wonder why she made the door so small.” Kate muttered. Then she looked around expecting to see Molly and instead found an empty room. The room had a hardwood floor and a rustic feel. There was a rocking chair in one corner with a nice view out the front window and a large built in bookshelf to one side. Kate moved over to the books to see what her hostess was reading when Molly returned.

“Do you have a place where I can change?”

Molly raised one eyebrow, “If you’re feeling shy, you can change on the porch.”

“At least turn around.” Kate replied grumpily feeling her face turn bright red, again.

With a sigh Molly turned her back to Kate. As soon as she turned around Kate dropped the blank and looked at the bundle. There was a pair of men’s sweat paints and large tee-shirt. ‘These are going to be way to big,’ Kate thought. When she pulled on the sweat pants she was shocked that they weren’t quite long enough, although there was some room around the waist. Kate noticed there was a draw string so she pulled it tight and knotted it. When she did she glanced up to find Molly had turned back around.

“Hey!”

Molly shrugged, “I wasn’t sure if they’d be big enough.” Molly’s smirk made Kate doubt her sincerity. “Besides I’ve already seen you naked.”

Kate turned away from the small woman and pulled on the tee-shirt, again surprised at how tight it was. The fabric was stretched nearly to the breaking point across her chest and she felt like if she flexed she’d shredded it.

“So how did you know I’m a mutant?” Kate asked.

Molly looked at Kate curiously, “It wasn’t hard . . . you don’t really look like a normal human. But you know that.”

“Uhm . . . actually I’ve not seen what I look like since my mutation.” Kate admitted reluctantly.

“What! How is that possible?!”

“I . . . uhm . . . changed just a day or two ago . . . and the men who were holding me didn’t offer me a mirror.”

Kate felt a shift in the atmosphere of the room and looked up from where she’d been staring at the floor to see that Molly was looking at her with a strange intensity.

“Holding you?”

“Do you have a mirror?” Kate said, reluctant to talk about what happened. After all what did she know about this woman? She might be working with the brothers, she was an unknown mutant after all.

For a second Kate thought she was going to argue, but then she nodded, “Wait right here.”

Kate had to squish the urge to follow Molly deeper into the house, but she knew it would have been rude and, something told her, potentially dangerous. So to distract herself Kate returned to the bookshelf. The books were an eclectic mix, and half were in a language that Kate couldn’t identify. Those she could read ranged from things like “Herb Lore in the Modern World” to “101 Wards” and “Loki’s Guide to Glamors.”

“Here we go.”

Kate spun around once again startled that she’d been snuck up on. She’d known that Molly would be back and had been listening for her, yet she hadn’t heard her. Kate reigned in the flash of frustration to move toward the spot where Molly had placed a large standing mirror. The mirror was set in an ornate wooden frame and was oval in shape. Molly had placed it at a slight angle so Kate had to walk around to get a view of herself in it. When she did she froze.

The image of the man looking back at her left Kate feeling stunned. Her first impression was that this guy was big, not just tall, but ripped! Even standing still, he oozed masculine vitality. He had pale skin that sort of sparkled in the sunlight. Not like those awful vampire movies, but enough to notice if someone looked closely. The next most striking feature was his hair, short and spiky it was an odd metallic silver color and as Kate looked more closely the tips of his hair and been frosted to a light blue. His face was handsome with a strong chin and his eyes seemed slightly large. They were a brilliant blue that seemed to draw attention and hold it.

Kate slowly reached up to touch this strange new face and watched as the stud in the mirror copied her movement. Fascinated as she was with her new reflection Kate could feel Molly watching her. A part of her mind warned her to be careful but she ignored it. Slowly Kate turned her head to get a look at her face from the side and saw her ears for the first time. They were slightly larger than normal and pointed. ‘Am I an elf,’ Kate wondered. From somewhere in the back of her mind a sleepy voice replied with a chuckle.

*No.*

*Dux’Tueor?*

Kate felt a drowsy affirmation and then the presence in her mind faded.

“How old are you?”

The question startled Kate, “Why?”

“If I had to guess, I’d have said early to mid-twenties, but with our kind looks can be deceptive.”

Kate glanced at Molly. ‘Our kind? Does she mean Mutant or Elf?’ Kate wondered. She also couldn’t help noticing, first time, how pretty this woman was. In fact two days ago Kate would have been insanely jealous of Molly’s figure and beauty. As Kate looked at Molly she felt a stirring of emotions, Molly was trustworthy, kind, and very attractive. There was an alien twitch in her groin as her new appendage started to respond to Kate’s thoughts in a way that caught Kate completely off guard.

She took a small involuntary step toward Molly. Kate felt drawn to her, and noticed that while tiny the Elven woman was incredibly sexy. Then as Kate took a second step she saw that Molly was wearing a necklace with a large green gem. She was casually holding it in one hand and something in Kate found the neckless very interesting. When she focused on it she detected a glowing green aura around it and Molly. Without knowing why Kate reached inside and felt that cold knot of power and drew on it, wrapping it around her in a protective cocoon. As soon as she did there was a sense of release and Kate stumbled back.

“What were you trying to do to me?”

“How did you do that?” Molly said, looking shocked.

Molly boldly met Kate’s astonished look with a curious one. After a second Molly let the gem drop to hang mysteriously in the cleft between her breasts.

“I was using a charm to help calm you and to encourage you trust me. You must understand I don’t get many visitors, and you’re the first Elf I’ve met in over a fifty years.”

“I’m not an Elf, I’m a mutant, and just two days ago I was . . . human!” Kate replied, she’d almost said, a girl, but something had caused her to change it to human at the last second.

Molly let out a sigh, “Not just a mutant, but you are young. Tell me your age child.”

“I’m . . . I’m sixteen.” Kate said.

Molly nodded, “Do you drink coffee or tea?”

“Coffee.”

“Alright, come with me.” With that Molly led Kate down a short hall and then through an arched doorway into an old fashioned looking kitchen. It had a stone hearth and lots of counter space along with several sets of cupboards. Molly gestured toward a table and Kate sat down to watch.

Molly bent over and retrieved a large clay jar filled with water and spoke a word that Kate couldn’t hear, she noticed Molly’s hands glow green for a second and then steam drifted up from the jar. Molly then went to a cupboard and pulled out a wooden container. Kate’s keen eyes picked out some kind of symbol etched on the side that she didn’t recognize. Then when Molly opened it Kate caught the scent of fresh ground coffee. Molly put two scoops of coffee into a modern looking French press made of glass and wood. Then she added the boiling water. A minute later Molly sat a pair of steaming mugs of coffee on the table along with fresh bread and butter. After taking a sip of coffee Molly looked over at Kate and nodded as if having come to a decision.

“My social skills are a bit rusty, and I think I’ve gone about this badly. Let’s start over, my name was once Molly Elisabeth Murphy. I was born in Ireland in 1890.”

Kate couldn’t resist blurting out, “You’re telling me that you’re over a hundred years old?!”

At this Molly arched an eyebrow, “If you want to hear my story then you need to stop interrupting me so I can finish.” Kate nodded and settled in to listen.

TO BE CONTINUED IN CHAPTER FIVE



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