Did you know that the word “cynanthropy” means the ability to shape shift into a dog? A second definition of it was the condition of having the delusion of being transformed into a dog. Thomas would know.
Once upon a time, there was a little party.
The music was loud. The city apartment was filled with writhing bodies trying to synchronise their movements to the beat of dance music. Outside of their grubby blue overalls, these plumbers could jive as good as anyone. At least they thought they could.
Thomas worked his way through the crowd to get closer to Silvia. His attraction to her was instant, instinctive and primal. This reaction was most unusual for Thomas for he was the most unflappable guy you could meet.
He had never seen her before. He had no idea where she came from and what she was doing here. All he knew was that he had to move closer to her to get a better look. Glamourous women did not exist, appear, or even come near his circle. His heart fluttered and he felt his chest and back tingle.
Stealthily, he moved along the wall while fixing his gaze on her. His eyes were opened as wide as they could to make sure that he didn’t lose sight of her in the dim lighting. She was beautiful. The most beautiful woman in the room. No, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life. He stopped a few feet away from her and stood next to a pot plant to watch her from behind.
She was perfect. Her skin was so fair that it looked like snow. Her eyelashes were long and dark. He could see them when she turned her face. They flickered playfully when she laughed. Her dress hugged her curves alluringly. Her slender arms and shoulders were exquisite. She was like a painting that had just jumped out of an artist’s easel. She was unreal and sexy. She was a vixen.
Vixen. Could she really be one?
Just the thought of it sent a strong tingle through his spine and he shivered involuntarily. Then an itch came from deep inside his ears. He opened and closed his jaws a few times to try to pacify it. His limbs started to get restless and his breathing became fast and shallow. His heart started to race and unless he found a way to stop it, he would start to transform. The signs were clear.
Transformation was not a problem for Thomas. He wound transform into a dog when he felt strong emotions or when he felt threatened. Even though it was natural for him to transform, he tried to keep these episodes to a minimum. Much of his wages went to yoga classes for that purpose. He also chose yoga over other forms of meditations because he found it justifiable to claim a tax deduction. Yoga gives him the flexibility required to get into tight and awkward spaces for his work. When he was young, his psychiatrist used to tell him that he suffered from cynathrophy, a condition where he had delusions of being a dog. Only that his doctor was wrong. They were not delusions. They were real to him.
As long as he was alone when the transformation happened, it was a non-event. There were so many dogs around that nobody would notice one more. Humans loved dogs as well, sometimes even more than themselves. He often felt that he was treated better when he had a tail.
The question was why he was reacting to her so strongly. He had long given up on chasing, dating or being with a woman because of his condition. He would roll his eyes and move to another place when his mates started to talk about girls. He had accepted his fate so fully that he never even felt jealous when his friends showed off their new girl friends. He did wonder however why any girls would fall for boys who spent the majority of their time with their heads near, over sewerage pipes though.
For Thomas, he simply couldn’t bear the humiliation of turning into a dog every time he got into a heated argument with his girlfriend. Oh My God! You’re so cute! might seem like a lovely way to end an argument but it was hardly satisfying when it was supposed to be his turn to speak. He was also sure that most girls would probably prefer him to remain in his canine form. Thomas didn’t see it as a level playing field. He chose dignity.
Tonight however, he became a different person. His felt like a teenager, excitable, unpredictable and extremely horny. He widened his nostrils to have a better sniff. The scent was irresistible. All his hair stood on end and butterflies filled his chest. It was driving him wild. No one has an effect like this on him. He dug his fingers into his own thighs.
Dear God, I want her.
Standing next to Silvia were two men who were trying to impress her. Thomas shifted his attention to these men. He wanted to kill them. A running push into his chest followed by a bite straight into the jugular should do it. That’s one down. Then spin around and attack the groin of the other. It’ll send him packing.
Jesus, did I just think that?
Thomas shook his head to clear his thoughts. He had many questions. Why was he having such a strong reaction to her? He had seen many beautiful women before but his go to reaction was contempt, not desire. Her scent was too musky to be human. Could she be a shape shifter like himself? How many shape shifters were there in this world? Realistically, what were the chances of meeting one in the same city, let alone the same party?
Well unless…unless she is looking for another shape shifter? Oh baby, I’m here. Can you feel me?
As if she could sense his thought, the beautiful woman turned to look behind her. She scanned the room and she stopped when she spotted Thomas. Her blue piecing eyes were mesmerising. They were blue like at the shimmering sea in the Maldives. Thomas was transfixed. He wanted to yelp.
Whoa, hold on. Not now. Calm. Calm.
Thomas took a deep breath and closed his eyes to shed off the transformation energy. He kept at it until the tingles disappeared. When he opened his eyes again, she was still looking at his direction. Then she sniffed the air for a second and turned back to her male companions. She excused herself and walked towards Thomas.
Here she comes.
Thomas quickly checked his hands to see if he was still in human form. He was relieved to see wrists and fingers instead of furry paws. Just to be sure, he placed his hands behind his bum to feel for a tail. When he found nothing, he stepped out of the pedestal to meet her.
‘Hi,’ Thomas greeted her with a smile.
‘Hi,’ she smiled back at him.
‘My name is Thomas.’
Up close, she was majestic. There was an air of confidence about her. Thomas could smell her delicious scent. She was a powerful being. He was desperate to know more about her. He leaned closer to have a better sniff.
‘Hey Thomas, whatcha doin?’ A deep voice came from behind Thomas followed by a slap on his shoulder from a hand the size of a dinner plate.
Thomas spun around to see Hamish, his good mate from work. Thomas liked Hamish. He was reliable, competent and loyal. They were often sent to the same job and they spent a lot of time together in the car, digging holes at work and having lunch together.
‘Hey bro! Nothing. I’m not doing anything,’ Thomas responded awkwardly.
‘I see you’ve met my girl Silvia,’ Hamish smiled broadly.
‘Your girl?’ Thomas’s voice creaked.
‘Yes, my girl indeed. Hello Silvia darling, you look incredible tonight.’
‘Since when did you have a girl friend?’ Thomas stammered.
‘Not long. I was going to tell you tonight when you could meet her,’ Hamish smiled shyly.
Thomas felt like someone had just slapped his face and then ripped his heart out. But he didn’t want to show his disappointment. Hamish was his buddy and he should be happy for him. Only that he wasn’t. He was in fact furious. They were always together. How on earth did Hamish meet someone like this without him knowing about it. How did he miss Silvia? Silvia belonged to him, not Hamish.
‘Oh..hmm…very well. So how did you two meet?’
‘Of all the places, we met at the Laundromat. Actually, you were there too, come to think of it.’
‘Yes, we’re always together. How did I miss this moment?’
‘Mate, remember the day when the Laundromat was pretty busy? There was only one machine free. You asked me to do mine first while you pop down the road to pick up some ice cream. So I sat down next to your bag of stinky laundry while I waited for mine to finish. That’s when Silvia walked in. There were plenty of empty benches but she made a bee line for me. She sat down and we talked and talked with you stinky laundry in between us. She didn’t seem to mind,’ Hamish laughed as he recalled the event.
Seriously, why the fuck do I have to have ice cream?
‘Oh, so those were not your laundry?’ Silvia looked wide eyed at Hamish.
‘No, those were Thomas’s. I don’t smell that bad,’ Hamish laughed.
Silvia took a sniff at Hamish and then Thomas.
‘Hmm…how come I can still smell that scent on you?’ Silvia scratched her head.
‘I suppose it’s cross contamination from spending so much time tougher. We’re good mates, you see,’ Hamish threw his big arm around Thomas’ shoulder and squeezed him tight. Thomas just felt depressed. There was no way that he would fight Hamish for a girl. Friendship was important to Thomas. And Hamish got there first. Fair is fair.
But the way she uses her nose…no girls do that.
Thomas figured that if Silvia was what he thought she was, Hamish’s life could be at risk. Hamish wouldn’t be saying Oh, you’re so cute, when she turned into a wolf. Their arguments could end in bloodshed.
I need to find out. I’m not stealing his girl. I’m saving his life. That’s a wonderful idea Thomas. Well done me!!
Thomas hung out with Hamish and Silvia, rocking his body back and forth with the music trying to look natural. He waited for the moment when Hamish went off to socialise with others to make his move.
‘Hmm…would you like to go somewhere quieter?’ Thomas looked around the room scanning for the exit.
‘What did you say?’
‘Oh, never mind. Come, follow me.’
Thomas took Silvia’s hand and led her out of the apartment. They walked along the corridor and took the elevator to the top floor. They walked to the end of the corridor to the stairwell door. It was unlocked. Thomas opened the door and they took the stairs to the roof top. A cool breeze hit their faces and they both smiled from the pleasure of the cool fresh air. The rooftop was spacious with a lovely view of the city. They found a little ledge to sit on. It was a world away from the thumping music and stuffy apartment.
‘I wish I didn’t have a sweet tooth,’ Thomas looked adoringly at Silvia.
‘I’m sorry?’ Silvia looked puzzled.
‘I would’ve met you earlier if I had stayed in the laundromat.’
‘Oh, I see.’
‘You are so beautiful,’ Thomas sighed.
‘Thank you! You’re not too bad yourself,’ Silvia smiled.
‘Me? Oh no. I’m weird. Totally not a normal guy,’ he shook his head.
‘What kind of weird?’ Silvia asked playfully.
This is the moment of truth. If I show her mine, would she show me hers? What if I was totally wrong and she’s just a regular human? And then words got out that my shape was a dog, there will be no end to dog jokes being thrown at me. Thomas can lick his own balls would be the first, for sure!
Thomas decided to answer her question by asking her first. He smiled and looked up into the sky. The dark space above was covered by thin slivers of clouds and coloured stars twinkling in the distance. As the wind pushed the grey clouds along, it revealed the bright white glow of a crescent moon. With a smile, Thomas nodded his head to the moon and then cocked his head to Silvia.
Silvia followed Thomas’s nod and turned her gaze to the moon. Then she looked back at Thomas who started to gesture with his hands different types of animals. Rabbits, kangaroos, cows etc. She understood the question. She nodded and pointed a finger at Thomas indicating for him to go first. Thomas stuck his tongue out and panted.
‘Cynanthrope?’ Silvia asked.
‘Lycanthrope,’ she pointed to herself.
‘I always knew that I’m not alone. I could not be the only one,’ Silvia continued.
‘I had assumed that I was the only one and had planned to live alone.’
‘Not me. I often wondered where I could find my kind. I traveled and searched, looking for and leaving my own scent wherever I went. Then I caught a whiff of it at the laundromat. I thought the scent belonged to Hamish.’
‘He smells like a hamburger. Not sure how you can get it mixed up.’
‘Well, he was sitting next to your laundry. By the way, you also have a hit of that aroma in your scent profile,’ Silvia pushed back.
‘Right, it’s probably sausages. Love sausages.’
‘What are we going to do now?’
‘If you come with me, I’ll lose a best friend. If you go to Hamish, I’ll lose you. But you can’t really stay with Hamish because you’ll kill him when you shape shift. So, you’ll have to stay with me and Hamish will have to deal with the cruel reality of life.’
‘Poor Hamish. It’s my fault.’
‘Don’t worry. Hamish is a plumber. He deals with shit all the time.’
‘Come on, you can do better than that. I didn’t travel this far to be with someone who doesn’t care about his friend.’
‘Hey, but I’m saving his life here.’
‘But he doesn’t know that. He’ll think that you’re stealing his girl.’
‘Or you can tell him that you’re abandoning him for me.’
‘Oh, you’re mean.’
‘And you’re unreasonable.’
With neither of them backing down, Silvia ‘s dress started to flick side to side. Her face narrowed and long fangs emerged. With a howl, she prostrated to the ground and her hands and feet turned into paws. Furs shot out from all over her body and when she lifted her head, she was a wolf.
She shook her body to straightened out the fur that weren’t in place by licking them. She was a beautiful animal. A vixen. She was even more alluring than she was as a human. She stared at the border collie sitting in front of her with his tongue out. She cocked her head and then gave his face a little lick. He responded by wagging his tail and jumping up and down pawing at her. They chased each other and wrestled. They ran from one end of the rooftop to the other. Even though they were vixen and dog, they were a pack. They looked out for each other and they were in sync with the other’s intentions. They were good together. After an hour or so of animal time, they shifted back to human form.
‘Hey, I’m so sorry for what I said earlier. I got stuck and I became defensive,’ Thomas apologised.
‘I’m sorry too. It was my mistake but I made it to you that it was your problem to solve,’ Silvia confessed also.
‘You know, for all the problems that we shape shifters have as humans, they disappear the moment we are in our animal forms, don’t they?’ Thomas smiled.
‘They sure do. Animals don’t overthnk like humans do. They live in the moment. I must say I like you more in your animal form,’ Silvia ventured.
‘Well, dogs are very likeable,’ Thomas smirked.
‘No, I mean we were better together in animal form. It took us no time to get into a fight when we were in human form. But we had a great time together in animal form. We got each other more.’
‘You’re right. Hey, I wonder if this could work?’ Thomas jumped up.
‘What is it?’
‘What if I share you with Hamish? You can spend your human time with him and your animal time with me?’
‘Oh, that’s brilliant. Why not? ‘
‘You can always count on a plumber to find a solution. In plumbing, we call this a splitter. We tap into a water source and then create a new channel from it. This method…’
‘Thanks Thomas. I should get back to Hamish. See you at the next full moon?’