|NOTE||Written for Indagare on the occaison of Christmas, 2010|
|This story is Copyright by David Ihnen ||-- Back to universe Index Page --||Previous Story: Care Bear||Next Story: Daydreaming|
"And this is the time for walking." He could feel the ghost of fatigue from the day before in his calves, his gaze looked up the trail sloping away from the campsight up the mountain.
He shifted his weight, felt a knee start to twinge, adjusted his stride on his short legs the best he could, and started waddling up the trail. Left right, left right. His body wasn't made for walking. The sun rose over the horizon, and he blinked the tears out of his eyes as the brightness slipped beneath his thick brows. He pulled his hat lower to provide some shade, shrugged thick shoulders in his t-shirt, and kept walking.
This was just one more day like the last sixty. Or was it sixty five? He had been sick for a few days, back in Tulsa. He had lost track.
Pilgrimage, you see. You believe, right? First you believe, and you live your life that way. Joe, he was a helper. Help his momma, may she rest in peace. Help anybody who ask. Always something for Joe the freak to help with. But sometime, sometime during your life you hear of something you're supposed to go to. Somewhere in this case. Shrine? Guru? Prophet? Not everybody got the call, he knew that. Not everybody was an ape freak either. But when it happened, boy, you knew it.
He had risen just like any other day, rolling out of his pallet, pulling on a clean shirt that'd be soaked with sweat and caked with dirt by the end of the day. He had been up in the peach tree, hanging from his big strong arms and swinging his feet to gently pick the peaches and hand them to Jose when the sun came out.
Well, the sun had been out all day, thats why they were both dripping in sweat. The hot humid georgia air was hard to escape, the late summer sun relentless. He was a picker, a human freak with the body and good looks of a great ape, three hundred pounds of ugly. It was his mother's fault, she rest in peace. His mother told him time and again how she prayed and prayed, prayed to anything, anybody that would listen or wouldn't that he would be made inside her just so that he would always be a help for her, for everybody. Her husband had struggled to keep work all his life, died broke of an accident before he was born. And his mother hadn't fared much better herself, never rising above the field work that stained her hands brown, same as her parent's hands. His sainted mother fell dead in the fields, her deep craggy face showing the eighty years of sun and weather. He had set down his rack of strawberries, lifted her frail, lean form in his strong arms. He had carried her ever so gently from the strawberry fields to the shade of the tree where they sat sweating in the evnings. His strong hands dug into the earth. He dug until the dark came, then he lay her there in her grave beneath the full moon, surrounded in the end by the soil she spent her life toiling on.
What happend was, the sun rose in his head. It had happened just a couple weeks after she died. As I said, he had been picking a peach, like the thousands of others when a brilliant shaft of light shown from the west. And he knew that he had to go to it. The peach crushed in his foot-hand, and Jose had yelped. The farmer was there, and yelled at him angrilly for destroying the merchandise.
But he had known. It was time to go. The time for help from Joe the freak was past for them. He dropped down out of the tree heavily. He didn't even go back to his campsite. He waddled to the west.
Pilgrimage is almost unheard of these days, especially amongst freaks. But Joe was friendly, and as his mother had prayed, he was always helpful if not a bit lucky. He would walk into town, and somebody would need help. They would be falling off a ladder, and he'd be there. They would need somebody to push their car into the gas station, and he'd be there. Always helping, always. He had been taught the rules of pilgramage by his sainted mother. You took what you had and waht was given you, and you let the grace of God provide. And provide he had, so it seemed. The people he helped gave him food, shelter for the night, sometimes longer when he was sick. And he had walked in his way, on, and on, and on, now he was almost there. The bright light of the sun was nothing to the emanation that drew him from the side of the mountain a day's walk away. He had thought it was a day's walk away three days ago, but it was hard to tell. It was so very close, the brightness, its relative location to him a familiar and constant awareness.
It turned out it wasn't a whole day's walk. He came around the shoulder of the mountain, looking down at his boots. His hand-feet were never terribly comfortable in any boots, and they were currently getting a bit itchy. He paused and looked up when he realized there as nothing between him and the light any more.
There on the side of the mountain, in a little hollow beneath a tree, sat an ageless man in a robe. Joe blinked in suprize, forgetting his feet. The man seemed to sparkle - to emanate the brightness that had been drawing him this whole distance. He was seated cross-legged, his eyes closed, posture straight, hands folded in his lap.
It seemed almost anti-climactic after his journey.
"Hello." he said in his raspy voice.
One hand lifted to the man's lips in the symbol of quiet.
"Be still." he said.
Joe considered the man, shrugged, and looked around for somewhere to sit. There was a spot of thick pine needles beneath a nearby pine tree, so he shucked off his hat, boots, and eventually composed himself sitting in a comfortable ape-crouch. He regarded the man.
He really was unremarkable in every way except his glow. But it wasn't a glow he could see with his eyes. It was a glow he could see with somthing else. That was strange, he hadn't recalled having experienced that kind of sensation before. Maybe it was kind of like radiation, but people never said you could see that directly...
"Be still." the man said again.
Joe started and looked at the man, feeling a flash of anger. He HAD been still.
The man tapped his head gently, and calmly said, "Be still."
"Look, who do you think you are?" he demanded, feeling a flare of anger. He startled, clapping his hand over his mouth. That was for the inside voice, and he had spoken it!
The man's eyes snapped open, brilliant blue orbs that stared straight into Joe's soul.
Joe felt naked, and ashamed. He blushed, shifting a bit on his foot-hands.
"The question you need to answer is, who are you?" the man said. His voice was calm and clear, resonant without being deep or high.
"I'm Joe!" he said immediately, "Joe Picker!"
The man had closed his eyes once again. His voice had a singsong lilt to it.
"Your name is not who you are."
"I... i pick fruit, farm work mostly." Joe elaborated.
"What you do is not who you are." the man said again, his lilt starting to irritate Joe a bit.
Joe huffed, and the man calmly said "Be still." again.
Joe squinted at the man and took a deep breath. He let the air run out of his lungs, and the tension out of his now knotted muscles. He was the one who had come here after all.
"I am one who helps." he finally managed.
The man nodded. "Indeed you have been. You have traveled far." the man said evenly.
Joe sighed a bit. It had been very far.
"Why?" the man asked.
Joe blinked. "I saw a light. I don't know."
The man smiled crookedly. "That is a very long way, for no reason."
Joe grimaced. "I had reason. It was time to pilgrimage to... here. I just don't know why."
"Your mother is dead." the man stated.
Joe nodded sadly.
"Your body was for her." the man said.
Joe tilted his head, scratching at a hairy shoulder.
"She said she prayed." He squinted at the man. "Are you God?"
A smile played on the man's lips. "Neither am I am what I am called."
He was God, Joe decided. Or close enough at any rate. "So you know why I am here." Joe said. God was omnicient.
The man inclined his head. "Indeed. I called you, that is why you are here. Yet you do not know why I called."
Joe squeezed at the pine needles on the ground. This bore a question. "Why did you call me?"
"The purpose for this body of yours is past. I present you a choice; a body you would like instead."
Joe stared at the man for long time. There didn't seem to be any rush. Even the sun's shadow didn't seem to be moving across the clearing. The birds were distant, the shade cool and comfortable. He hated being a freak like all the freaks he had ever met. Yes, it was convenient to be so strong, it was nice to have a community of other freaks. But even they only kept together out of selfishness, lack of options. And people always looked at you, you were never normal. He had an image in his head, one that had stuck with him for as long as he could recall. Blonde, young. Fourteen or so, body smooth and lanky with youth. Able to run and jump easily. Squirm into interesting caves and work tiny things with deft fingers.
"It is decided." the man said.
Joe jumped. "What, wait! I didn't decide anything!" he said.
The plants seemed to grow, to envelop the robed man, his voice fading.
"You will provide one final help for me. You will know what to do."
Joe blinked and shook his head, and all that was there was a bush vaguely in the shape of a man, and some fern fronds shaped a bit like robes. Then his vision went white, and slowly faded back. The light was shining out of him? He held up and blinked at his big hand, trying to understand this.
His feet started to slip and feel strange. He sat back with a thump on the pine needles. His boots were suddenly very loose, he pulled them off without even having to touch the laces.
He sat staring at his feet. Sticking out of his big hairy calves were feet.
Normal feet! No long fingers with thick nails any more. They were pink, and flat, and *normal*. He wiggled his toes, it felt good. He reached for them, enveloping them in his large calloused hand. His fingers wrapped around and touched the bottoms. They tickled! He giggled, a deep hur-hur-hur.
His hand brushed up his thigh, and the hair came out. Well, it just fell out, leaving smooth, pink flesh - not the black skin he had always had. He stroked his hands up and down his calves excitedly, feeling the hair shed.
The muscles seemed to be melting away with the hair, his calf lengthening as he stretched and rubbed them, still wiggling his toes. Then there was a twinge of pain from his knees, his leg muscles spasming for a moment as something pinched, then snapped free. He straightened his leg without discomfort, the gently tanned skin covering his kneecap smooth and unmarred by the calouses and scars of years of kneeling in the fields. He stared in wonder.
His shorts fell loose around his waist, he pulled them off, gobs of hair coming with. His lower half nude he stared in suprize at the growing erection he was sporting. He brushed the hair away from his crotch, gasping at the tickle of a clear drop of precum forming on its tip, even as it grew from the three slim inches of his freakishly tiny adulthood peak to a very respectable thick seven.
He pulled off his shirt which was rapidly becoming something more like a tent as his chest slimmed, the movement pulling hair from his back. He brushed at himself with his hands, breathing easier. He could feel the ripple of ribs under his thick fingers, the beautiful, smooth pink skin sliding over the structure beneath. The feeling of calous and hand against his skin without the hair interference was electric, novel.
His shoulders ached deeply then popped, he cried out, afraid to move for fear of pain and at the same time he felt... he felt wonderful. His shoulders were slim, they moved easily as he shrugged. He stared as his arms, his forearms - the thick hairy limbs that he'd known all his life. He knew them like the back of his hand. They were the back of his hand.
The changes seemed to accelerate as they shrank, his huge powerful hands once likened to ham hocks slimming, the fingers becoming almost delicate. He held them up turning them over, staring at the narrow fingers, the delicate white nails, the smooth skin, the thick ring that dangled like a tiny bracelet on his finger. The ring fell unheeded as his smooth, unfamiliar hand found his arousal, and he fell back on the pine needles.
They were startingly uncomfortable on his skin, poking him and making him itch in a new way. He rubbed his head back against the ground, realizing he had hair! He ran his left hand through it, hair had never grown on his head before. He stroked and tugged at its unfamiliar length, quickly it was long enough for him to pull a lock into view. Blonde, light, almost platinum blonde. And his body was full of the energy, the lust, the power of youth, he could feel it humming through his veins. He scrubbed at his face with his hands, feeling the new flatness of his jaw and roundness of chin, the elegant straight line of his nose with downturned nostrils.
He knew what he had to do though, it filled him like a need to scratch an itch. He rolled to his new feet and walked a little unsteadily over to the bush that had been the man, brushing stray hairs and pine needles from his backside. He found he moved lightly, after a step or two relaxing into the unfamiliar upright stance that felt so right. He stood there amongst the ferns beneath the tree, tears running down his face in joy, his member standing proud. He did know what to do, what was right and helpful here for this god. He had to give back the light, to grow it by sharing it, and that essence was somehow tied with the culmination of the reproductive power of his now young body.
His hand went to his penis finding copious precum lubricating him already he smeared it, stroked, closing his eyes. The light was right there pulsing in his chest, brilliant and trapped inside him. He directed it to the being, thrust the light in giving, and with startling pleasure, the light streamed out of him, seed and pleasure and giving one and the same, gouting from his body as only young ecstacy can provide. The light seemed to supernova inside him, growing brighter with with every giving convulsion, feeding its power into the being that helped him seemed to only make it more intense. He bucked eight, nine, ten times, swaying unsteadily as his body finally gave out, panting as he dropped his hands to his side. The light flared in him for long moments before, not so much fading, as absorbing and being a part of him. The bush in front of him pulsed and swirled with light, it was so beautiful he stared at it for long moments. Then, it looked elsewhere. It was still there, kind of, if you looked closely, just right. In a way that it was there and not there, like a distracted friend nearby that you cannot see, but you are comforted in knowing is there.
He opened his eyes and looked around. Forest. A bush, with... splatters on it. He grinned and opened his mouth.
"Radical." he said. "That was Awesome!" It just felt right.
He looked down at his pink feet, and his pink hands, and his unexpectedly large still gently throbbing dick. He felt young, powerful, and there was a world of possibility. He needed to go see the sea, he had never seen it. The undulating waves seemed to call him from afar, strongest to the west.
He considered the sad heap of clothing that couldn't begin to fit him. He ripped two strips from the t-shirt. one he tied around his waist, the other he formed a makeshift loincloth with. It would do to keep things from flopping around. He turned and headed down the down the mountain, his young bare feet lightly running down the trail. "EEEYAH!" he yelled, just to hear it echo off the mountains, "I'm Alive!".
"I'm alive." the mountain echoed back, "Alive."
And for the first time he was alive, for him - not for his mother, or for the people he helped. And he had his whole life ahead of him to learn about other things.
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