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Aberrant: In the Beginning - Eruptions - Knockout


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Daniel Cray had time between wretched, shivering dry heaves over the toilet in the weirdly not-too-stinky bathroom at WingDings...the local university all-night bar...to wonder exactly how it was he'd come to this point. He was sick, and he was drunk, and worst of all his hangover had apparently decided not to wait for the morning, and instead was merrily splitting his skull right now. And she'd left him. For her girlfriend.

If there was an edge, Daniel was huddling on it at this very moment, trying to determine if his stomach was going to violently expel what he'd recklessly put into it, or if it was going to stay down and keep making him miserable. And on top of that, on top of all of that, the REASON he'd been drinking smelly drinks with salt rims and weird things floating at the bottoms for was still chewing away inside him. Nothing short of fatal dosage of alcohol would erase her from his mind, from his heart. And it was alarming how reasonable that extreme was starting to sound.

She'd left him. No, be honest. Dumped him. For a girl.

"What are you talking about?" he'd asked witlessly. The look she'd given him confirmed he was being not just dense, but willfully, irrationally dense. The sort of mass to volume ratio that black holes could only envy.

"All right, Daniel, I'll spell it out for you," Michelle said, not without a trace of gentle regret. "I'm breaking up with you. This relationship...it just has no future."

"We're in college," he'd blurted...in hindsight probably unwisely. "We're not getting married. The future'll handle itself, why can't we just concentrate on the now?"

Shelly looked away and folded her arms over her chest. Bountiful chest. Even at a time like this, Daniel couldn't quite not notice. "Okay, there's no 'now' in this relationship either."

Ouch. That had been cold. Daniel was finally reduced to, "Come on, we have fun! We go out...we do things..." He was still just new enough to the dating scene to be embarrassed to mention what those specific 'things' were. But that line of thought led him to a horrifying conclusion. "Is...is it the sex?"

"Oh god...Daniel...no. Well...sort of. It's complicated!" She still wasn't looking at him.

Daniel had felt his nuts shrivel and die. He'd been sure he felt the burning pain of a brand on his forehead; one that proclaimed: BAD IN BED. "Shelly...I can be better...I'll read some books, I'll...whatever it takes."

"You don't understand, Daniel!" she flared, and now she was looking at him...embarrassed and flustered and angry. She was gorgeous like that. "The sex wasn't bad because it was YOU. The sex was bad because...because you're a guy. It wouldn't matter WHAT guy. Any guy's sex would be bad for me!"

The shame boiling in Daniel's scrotum had seemed mystified by her confession, and actually let up a bit. He'd frowned in confusion as he parsed the grammatically complex phrases. Suddenly his eyes widened. It went back to a little fantasy he'd nursed a long time back, before they'd started dating when he'd just been staring at her in class.

"Wait...you're saying that a girl's sex would be good?"

The anger had faded from her face, and she'd looked away again. "I'm saying it was good."

Daniel was SURE he could hear an 'OH SNAP' from behind him. And then he was left with yet another piece of emotional arithmetic. "You're leaving me...for a girl," he heard himself say. "When we started dating, you were straight. And now you're lesbian."

"It's not like that, Daniel!" she'd protested. "I didn't know then!"

It was for naught. Another brand joined the first on his forehead: REDUCED BREEDING STOCK OF HUMANITY. He'd literally driven his girlfriend into the arms of...another girlfriend.

"So what you're saying," he'd said numbly, "is that I am such a failure as a man, that a girl is actually an improvement."

Michelle slapped her forehead. "Shit, Daniel, this isn't all about YOU! I have needs too! All right?"

"Of course it's all right, but...I want to be the one to fill those needs!" That was heartfelt. He'd been rather fleetingly proud of how unforced those words had been.

"Well you can't!" she'd snapped. "I'm sorry, it's nothing personal but you CAN'T!" Instantly she'd softened a bit, seeing his face fall like London Bridge. "Look, you're a nice guy, Daniel. You're a great guy."

Daniel had taken a deep breath, and thus managed to avoid fainting at this critical juncture in his life. "Not great enough, I guess."

She'd managed a smile. "Yeah, well...the day you grow shapely breasts, and swap your penis for a vagina...we'll talk. That's really all it is."

Bleak humor. He'd snorted, "Right," and walked unsteadily out. She'd been kidding of course. That hadn't helped the headache that had blossomed at that very instant though.

But that night when Dan's roommate found him online looking up sex change websites, he'd known action had to be taken.

Action, according to Conrad, generically involved alcohol. The type of action was irrelevant, with the minor exception of driving after a near-accident that he refused to speak of. Anything else was fair game though. Test coming up? Have some JD. Party? At the very LEAST some wine coolers or domestic brews. Getting laid? There were a wide array of fruity drinks that tasted good but would speed the imbiber towards tipsiness well suited to that task. Mourning the loss of getting laid? Something stiff and colorless...potentially involving Russian words, or worms.

Conrad also didn't take 'no' for an answer. At least not from Daniel.

So that's what Daniel was doing there, shivering and trying to vomit up whatever vile brew he'd drunk to slaughter his broken heart, as his head pounded like a continent full of Indians on the warpath and his mind kept going back to Shelly...her legs, her boobs, her butt...the delicate beauty of her face, the toned, sleek roundness of her arms and legs. She'd been the ideal woman.

Well, okay, as long as it was fantasy time, he could probably do better. Maybe that'd help.

Surprisingly, despite the headache and the muzziness of way too much to drink, Daniel found a mental image of the most gorgeous woman he could imagine forming. And it helped. He could 'look' on that and think, Now if I could just be her...I could get Michelle back just like that...

He didn't have time to think much else. The bathroom door opened as he was flopping to the sink to wash his face. In through the door came a pair of laughing people, clearly a bit toasted.

Sorry, people? No no. Women. Girls.

Several details suddenly exploded in Daniel's head. Things he'd noticed subliminally, but had been in too much pain to really put together.

The bathroom didn't stink. It was in fact perfumed. The stalls were pink. There were no stand up urinals.

Elemental panic seized him, and the headache somehow grew in his head until he was alone with agony, and the searing realization that he was in the girl's bathroom!

The pain was like light. White light exploding like the beginning of the universe. Then the pain was gone, but the light remained...Daniel was dimly aware that time had stopped, and he had no idea of what time even meant here, suspended in the fires of creation. What was an instant in the instant before time started? Then the light was in him, and he was in the light, and the light was taking him apart.

But at least the headache stopped.


Daniel Cray awoke with his face in a little puddle of drool, on a tile floor. He smelled perfume in the air. He felt...pretty good, actually. He vaguely remembered coming into the bathroom, drunk and heartbroken and with a mother of a headache. Then...things got fuzzy. Had someone shined a flashlight into his eyes? Wait! Girls! The girls room!

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Daniel's eyes shut. His mind was a jigsaw puzzle that had just had a shotgun emptied into it. Slowly he reassembled a piece here from torn cardboard confetti to a workable piece, and then fit it in place.

Drink Zero: "I dunno. The whole bottle? I hear this stuff's nasty."

Drink One: "Jesus that was rough. Why's it so sour?"

Drink Two: "It's... actually, it's a good kind of sour. It's not bad."

Drink Three: "Well, yeah, admitting it: law wasn't my first choice. I tried doing card tricks for money but they kept beating me up."

Drink Four: "I wish total strangers would hold the door open for me all the fucking time. They got it so easy."

Drink Five: "See, no, if he did lift up a battleship it'd break in half, but it stays together for the same reason he can fly, because he can manipulate gravity and stuff. It's why he's so tough too. See, there's a scientific explanation for everything, even Superman."

Drink Six: "My favorite super-guy? One of the real ones, right? I like the guy who fights all the dinosaurs and stuff, he's pretty cool. What's up with all of those anyways?"

Drink 6.5: "Ohhh, Jesus, I gotta go to the bathroom. No, I really have to go - "

And that was that. "Hh." Daniel muttered something. Aright. Get up. Feel weird. Hh.

Slowly Daniel struggled to stand up. He felt fine, actually - how long had he been asleep? He was still the stall, so it couldn't have been that long...

Daniel listened. He could hear a faucet running, in the sink right in front of the stall. He looked at the mirror just above the faucet, and frowned. Why am I looking at a stall door?

He squinted, and felt the strangest sensation, as if he was focusing not just at something, but through something - and the mirror disappeared. He was looking at the stall door, free of graffiti - not a sight he was used to in the men's.

I just saw through a door. How did -

Daniel pushed the door open, and stopped, staring at the mirror. The only recognizable feature in the reflection was the suddenly ill-fitting clothing - the old worn-in jeans, the flannel shirt over the suddenly stretched out T-shirt that read "Bikini Inspector." In every other sense it was like looking at someone else. The most gorgeous 'someone else' he'd ever seen in his life, the only imperfection being the drool down her mouth.

Her hair, even dented from lying on the floor, was like spun gold. Her face was note-perfect, with dazzling blue eyes. Even through the flannel shirt and the jeans that were hanging on to a much thinner waist, he could make out the woman's perfect curves. Most striking was Daniel's favorite feature on a woman, which was stretching out the shirt to the point that one deep breath might split the stitching. If the woman in the mirror was real he would be awkwardly trying to flirt with her right now.

Except he'd be flirting with himself.

He (she?) raised a hand to her face. "Uh..." She blinked at the sound of her voice, which was higher and softer. "Oh, my... my God."

Daniel's favorite feature on a woman started to drift upwards. She blinked, and then looked down at the running faucet, where the water was drifting out of the sink and detaching into floating blobs. Daniel's hair started to stand up as well, and she grabbed at it and tried to pull it down.

"Ahhh, stay down there stay down shit shit shit - "

Obediently, the water rediscovered gravity, and splashed all over Daniel. "Ah ah dammit ow shit that's cold - " Daniel tried to button up the flannel shirt, and tried to ignore what was underneath it, and hoped and prayed that no one would choose that moment to come bursting in.

What the hell just happened? Why am I female? Why was that water floating? How'd I see through that door?

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Daniel discovered that life, apart from anything else, had a definite sense of the ironic. No sooner had he completed his desperate prayer that no one burst in...people burst in.

He recognized the two slightly wasted girls that had come in before...and they were with a large, burly looking man who did NOT look happy.

"There he is!" squealed one of the girls. The other one nodded and pointed at Daniel.

And then they both paused and stopped to stare.

The burly bouncer man stared too, but not so much with the shock of the two girls, but an entirely different 'I'm rather enjoying the show' kind of stare that Daniel had some experience doling out, but not so much in receiving.

"You know," the bouncer said with a lurid grin, "We don't have a wet t-shirt contest here, but I'm starting to see the advantages in changing that."

"But...there was a guy..." one of the girls complains breathily, and turns to start looking under the stalls in quick, wobbly motions.

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"Uh..." She spoke carefully - not because she was drunk, whatever had just happened seemed to chase all the booze away - but because she was unused to the sound of her own voice. "No, didn't see a guy." She kept buttoning up her shirt.

Oh God, he won't look me in the eye.

"Just freshening up. See?" She bent over, and splashed a little water in her face. "Now I gotta go - jeez - " She grabbed at her belt, hoisting it up, and made for the door.

The bar was busy, as it usually was after finals. Daniel had thought, irrationally, that he could just sit down at the table with Conrad and forget the whole thing happened, except hell, obviously Conrad's first question would be "who the hell are you?" No, thinking on it, Conrad's first question would involve phone numbers at best and heavy petting at worst...

Daniel realized, with a thunderbolt of realization, that she'd been staring at Conrad - and that she'd just caught his eye.

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Daniel could tell Conrad had spied him. His eyes widened, and his mouth fell open. He stared at him for a second, then got up out of his chair, moving a little jerkily and too fast for how much he'd had to drink. As Daniel watched, he went to the bar, got a pair of drinks and started bringing them towards him!

"You know, there's a rule," Conrad assured him as he came sidling up, one drink held out. "Little known, but very important. When a drop-dead gorgeous lady looks at an eligible man for more than ten seconds, he is obligated to buy that lady a drink...and possibly converse for awhile. And as I am a law-abiding young genter...gental...man. Here you are."

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"Aww come on!" Conrad whined...then a peculiar look came over his face.

Then he pointed at Daniel and touched the side of his nose. "Ohhh kay, I get it. One of my exes 'warned' you about me, right? Well, you know, you can't judge a book...you should try and get your own experimental...data. Verification."

To his credit through, Conrad didn't get physical or try to restrain him as he made for the door. Probably a good thing too, since Daniel, in his distracted, upset state of mind when he reached for the doorknob, he didn't notice the brass crumpling in his hand as he turned it.

But when he let go it looked like a wad of brass-colored foil that had been crushed in a strong man's palm.

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"Ah! Crap!" She poked at the doorknob, pulling at the side a bit and trying to straighten it out. After a few seconds, the urge to run overwhelmed her again, and she threw open the door, ripping the knob out of its setting and landing it clear across the bar in someone's pint of beer.

Said someone was about seven foot four, and got up to register his protest. He chased Daniel out the door, walking at a hurried pace, and stopped, looking around.

"Where's the bitch go...?" He scratched his head. With a heavy, frustrated sigh, he went back inside.

Directly over the door frame, Daniel hovered, standing on nothing and staring, wide-eyed at her feet... or at least, as much of them as she could see with certain things in the way.

Floating? I'm FLOATING? How - is that even - She waved her feet. And I crushed a doorknob like it was foil, and I made all that stuff float, and... that's...

The word novus popped into her head. She wasn't ready to believe it, just yet... but there it was, regardless.

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A moment later the bar door opened again and Conrad came out, looking forlorn.

"Hey!" he called. "He's sat back down! It's...at least tell me your name!"

Finally, even inebriated, he accepted the inevitable. "Hell." With a sigh Conrad muttered, "Guess I'd better mop Danny up off the floor..." as he headed back into the pub.

He never looked up, so he never got that look at Daniel.

However, he...she?...could see more people coming towards the pub from the parking lot. It'd only be a second before they saw her...though whether or not they believed what they saw might be another matter.

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Crap, I gotta hide. I gotta stop floating. I gotta stop floating right NOW -

Without warning, she plummeted. She felt a painful sensation throughout her body, and when she hit she felt a shock all the way up her body. "Aaaaooooowwwwww.... wwwwwuh?"

Daniel stood - shakily, because one leg felt a bit funny since he landed on it wrong. His hands were bigger. He could see his feet again. He patted himself down in all the relevant areas and grinned, dancing an improvised jig in a circle. "Ha ha, woo. All back to normal! All back to ow ow ow. Leg hurts."

Wincing, Daniel limped back inside, blinking. His head felt clearer now... though not as clear as it did before, for some reason. He looked around for Conrad. Shit, what do I tell him if he asks me anything? I mean - novus. Holy shit. I think I need more booze.

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After a few seconds to frantically scan the pub, he spied Conrad starting to sit down at the bar. Abruptly his friend looked unsteadily at his watch, then looked towards the men's room. He put his beer on the counter and said something to the bartender that Daniel couldn't hear, but he'd bet pesos to pounds went something like, 'remove the pancreas of anyone who tries to touch this but me.'

By the time Daniel was pushing through the pub, dodging around the crowd gathered around the billiards table, Conrad was already going into the mens room.

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  • 2 weeks later...

When Daniel pushed his way into the men's room for the second time that night, he heard Conrad calling, "Dan? Daniel! You in here? Jesus fuck, what did you do, climb out the fucking window?"

Then there's a sharp rattling noise, like a stall door being shaken.

There's Conrad, rattling a door.

"Shit, musta missed..." He turns away and spies Daniel there. Instantly he breaks into a wide drunken smile.

"Dan the man! How'd you get past me? Shit, you're sneaky when you want to be! Dan, you will never guess what I saw while you were in here puking up your confidence. I saw a mother goddess. The perfect woman...I swear you could literally use her tits as foundation for a house. You could LIVE on her TITS. Dan, you shoulda been there!"

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That question brings Conrad down a bit. He sighs and bats at his bangs.

"Yeah, she flew. Right out the front door. Man, I felt like a schoolboy talking to her. Total weak in the knees, worms in the stomach type of thing."

He then seems to remember he's not just talking to his reflection, and focuses on Daniel. "Hey, how're you doing? You ran in here in a big hurry. Look okay now though. You about ready to head back?"

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Daniel was distracted as he reached to open the door. Live on my tits? That's creepy. God, I swear, I am never going to do whatever the hell I just did ever again -

The door flew open. The man who'd opened it was big - not Titan Omega big or even Hulk Hogan big, but big enough. That wasn't what caught Daniel's eye. What caught his eye was the small knife he had in his hand.

"Jesus - "

The man punched Daniel in the stomach. Daniel deflated like a balloon, sinking to the floor. He groaned. Behind him, he heard Conrad. "Danny! Jesus - Pete - "

"Hi, Connie."

"I - look, if this is about the money - I swear, I had a tip! The Oilers were gonna throw the game! How was I supposed to know the Flames would flip the puck in their own net?"

Daniel heard footsteps and a thump. He wiggled himself around, still prone, and peered through a wall of tears at Conrad and 'Pete.' Pete had Conrad up against the wall, a hand over his mouth.

"I slipped the bouncer a little something, Conrad, so don't expect any help. Now here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna get my money. And before I do that I'm gonna carve my initials into your forehead. You twitch too much and I might not stop at the skin. Your buddy there gets any bright ideas and I'll do worse to him. This sound good to you?"

"Juhsus Duhnuh ruhn - "

Daniel couldn't breathe. He saw the glint of the blade. God, get up, Daniel - I gotta - ow - Jesus - everything hurts -

Daniel felt a throbbing in his forehead, disconnected from the rest of the pain. It wasn't even painful - it was just there. It felt like a box, waiting to be opened... or a flower, waiting to bloom. It was waiting to be. He'd started feeling it just after his second metamorphosis of the night, and he put two and two together.

He opened the box. He felt the pain vanish instantly and his vision focus to perfect clarity - better than ever before. In a flash, he figured it out. It was where the power went where he wasn't using it. Now it was back and he (she?) stood, steady on her feet, locking eyes with Conrad, who was staring in shock.

"Now hold still, dude, or - wait." Pete looked at Conrad in horror. "Oh Jesus, you're into this? Do you actually have a bo - "

Daniel reached for the knife, trying to grab at it. Jake waved it slightly so she misjudged her grip, grabbing it between thumb and forefinger, the blade resting on her thumb. It twisted in her fingers, like it was made of tin. Her thumb wasn't cut at all.

Jake whirled around, and stared - going from angry to befuddled in a second flat. She cleared her throat. "Uh. Leave him alone?"

"Who the hell are you?" He stared at his knife. "What the hell?"

"Listen, leave him alone, okay? Don't - "

Jake stabbed her in the chest. Or tried to. He succeeded in cutting a small hole instead. Daniel blinked, looking down. "Did - you just stab me in the - oh, fuck this - "

Daniel grabbed Jake by the scruff of his shirt. She hoisted him up effortlessly. "Holy shit," blurted Conrad as he scrambled out of the way.

"Listen, I'm really having a shitty day. I mean, really shitty. My girlfriend broke up with me and I threw up in the bathroom and - never mind what else happened, the point is I don't wanna take it out on you but, you know, I will. So just take off, eh?"

She sent Jake down. He scrambled for the door, bouncing off it before opening it and running outside. Daniel sighed, and turned to Conrad. "You okay?"

"Holy shit. Danny boy?"

"Uh - " She blushed. "Yeah. Uh, gimmie a sec, I did it before - " She breathed out, trying to focus - to close the box. She felt her proportions change, as things grew and other things withdrew, and the pain of being gut-punched returned, albeit much subdued. "Ow... jeez..."

"How the hell - it was you! How'd you do that? You weren't even hurt! You broke his knife! You had tits out to France! How's that even possible?"

"I think - gimmie a minute here, it was really clear a second ago. I think... you know those guys on TV who can fly and lift stuff? I think I can too. I just did this like five minutes ago."

"Like Superman? Well, Supergirl in your case - ow!" Conrad recoiled from Daniel clipping him upside the ear. "You coulda taken my head off, dude."

"No, when I'm... like this, I'm not strong or tough or able to fly at all." Daniel started doing up his flannel shirt to cover the hole. "That's fine by me. Let's go home. I wanna forget this ever happened."

"Forget it? Dude, you have fuckin' superpowers! You know how much Aeon is paying people with superpowers? You could pay off my student loan! Yours also!"

"Yeah, no."

"Come on, dude, you'd be set for life - "

"Conrad, my 'superpower' is I turn into a girl. That's a really, really, really, really, really, really dumb superpower. That beats out being able to talk to fish. Forget it. I'm not calling Aeon and that's final. Now I'm heading home and you are too. C'mon."

Daniel exited the washroom. Conrad followed, a thought forming in his head. Okay, so he turns into a hot chick. Big deal. Why's he so embarassed? If I had tits like that I'd never leave the house. Hell, I'd never leave the shower. No, I'm gonna call Aeon first thing tomorrow. He'll thank me for it later. Probably with money.

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