Horn Bills

a short story by Dan Standing

 

Evelyn tapped her checkbook on the desk a few times before casting it aside in frustration. She stood and paced, running her hands up through her shoulder-length brown hair and stretching her fit arms out and over herself. Both hands flexed and she dropped them to her sides, the palms slapping the light fabric of the pajama bottoms she was wearing. A white tank top covered her modest chest, the nipples of her slight breasts gently tenting the cotton. She flopped back into the desk chair and resumed playing with her checkbook.

Twenty-four hours… she thought, forcing herself to put down the pack of paper and go over to her camera. She fidgeted with the battery and lens, making sure everything was in order. She had intended to come home and sleep, rest up so she could go out and find something to photograph that could sell for what she needed to pay her rent, but since it was nearly 3:30 in the morning Evelyn figured she probably wasn’t getting much – or any – shuteye at this point. She had just about decided to get dressed and go out hunting when there was a tap at her window.

Since she lived on the third floor of the apartment building Evelyn didn’t have any reason to think the sound was from anything more than a bird. Carrying the camera with her as she walked to the sill the brunette pulled aside the curtain.

She nearly dropped the expensive devise in her hand.

“Hello,” came the muffled greeting from the small fairy floating on the other side of the pane. The little woman was only about six inches tall, with a set of dragonfly wings growing from behind her shoulders that were fluttering at high speed. She carried what seemed to be a clipboard with many papers, and a small quill in her other hand, both of which matched her scale. The hovering being’s skin was a light blue, and was uncovered by any stitch of clothing. Had Evelyn not been completely shocked she would have been jealous of the hourglass figure flying in front of her.

“May I come in? I believe I’m already late for our appointment, my apologies.”

The human woman just stood for a moment, then as she slowly accepted what she was seeing was real remembered she had a camera in her hand. Swinging it up she began snapping shots like crazy. The fairy didn’t seem to care, and instead of fleeing rolled her eyes.

“Honey, you might as well…really dear, you can’t…fairies can’t be photographed!

It was a few more clicks of the digital shutter button before Evelyn really processed what the little blue woman had said. Pulling up the view function the photographer saw that every picture just had a strange glint of light, as if there was some odd glare. The images were useless to her. Another small tap on the glass took Evelyn’s attention back to the window.

“Now that you’re done, mind opening the window so I can get started? I’m already quite behind schedule.”

Slowly the sleep-deprived woman made her way to the window, placing down the camera on a coffee table as she went. Pausing a moment Evelyn considered what she was doing, then seeing no harm in it forced up the creaking paint-covered pain with all her might. She only got it up about half a foot or so, but the little being was able to swoop inside with no issue. Sore from her struggles and finding the wood jammed in place Evelyn left the window open and turned to her visitor. Seeing her without glass between them she started reaching for her camera, but the little woman noticed and spoke up, “I don’t photograph any better inside, sweetie.”

“And you are…” Evelyn asked, as she stilled her hand.

“Calliandropea, from the Balance and Acts Commission,” the petite creature replied, settling down on the human’s desk.

“Who from the what?”

“Most of you call us ‘fairy godmothers’ but that’s a complete misnomer. I’m here to provide the balance for your blessing.”

“My what?”

“Wow…we need to get a better marketing department…” Calliandropea sighed, tilting the clipboard to her head in frustration, “Basically, women can create life. That was considered a blessing on you, but then after the biological complications were completely rolled out there was a decree that when a woman gets her first period someone like me shows up and grants a request, which is sort of a ‘sorry for the inconvenience, here’s something to make up for it’ kind of deal.”

“But I had my first period way back in-”

“Yes, yes, I know…” the tiny blue woman sighed, pacing back and forth on her miniature toes. Her wings twitched from frustration, “We downsized during the Black Plague and then you humans multiplied way faster than our infrastructure could handle, so we’re still playing catch up. Anyway, here I am now. Requests are limited to yourself or immediate surroundings, and I am not capable of creating things of value. Now if you’ll please make this snappy I have many more assignments to catch up on.”

“Uh, well, I guess that means I can’t request money or anything?” Evelyn inquired.

“No, if I created it from nothing for everyone who asked I’d risk upsetting the economic balance, and if I stole it from someone and gave it to you…well, that’d be stealing.”

“Okay…” Evelyn replied, thinking hard about what she’d want. The rent rested on her mind more heavily than anything else, and her exhausted brain was having issues concentrating on much more. Her eyes wandered the room and saw her camera. If only she could photograph the fairy, her issues would be solved. Then an idea came to her.

“If there was something else fantastic around, say, like, a unicorn, would I be able to photograph that?” Evelyn asked.

“Well, yes, I suppose,” Calliandropea replied, “Why do you-”

“Well then, I want you to make it so that I can see a unicorn A.S.A.P. – that’s my request.”

“Now, look, honey, what I offer is a binding contract which cannot be broken by any power. I’m sure there’s something else I can grant you. Maybe you find your body-”

“Look, Callianferwhatever, I need money, and photographing a real unicorn without any detectable image trickery would get me some good cash at a few places I know, so that’s what I want – to see a unicorn. And in a way so that my camera is within reach so I can photograph it. That’s my official request.”

Calliandropea sighed, and wrote something down on a piece of parchment on her clipboard. As she finished writing the paper sprung away from the clinched pile and flew out the window, leaving a trail of sparkles momentarily hanging in the air.

“Very well, I don’t really have much time to argue with you, so I’ve submitted the request. The TF-21 Form usually processes pretty quick, especially when undoing an extinction, so you should see results shortly. Best of luck.”

With that the little fairy’s wings fluttered to life and she flew back out the window.

“Extinct?” Evelyn repeated, her brow furrows, “What does she mean by – ow!”

A pinching pain in her forehead broke the woman’s concentration, and she reached up to put pressure on the ache. As her hand neared her skin she felt a small point in the center of her usually smooth skull.

Slightly scared Evelyn ran to her wall mirror. Lowering her arm she moved both hands to her mouth with a gasp – a small ivory nob, sporting a twisted design like a narwhal’s tusk, was growing out of her forehead. As it grew it turned clockwise, like a corkscrew extending out.

“What the fuck?” the brunette shouted, stepping back. As she did so her legs faltered, and she fell into her desk chair. She was far from comfortable while seated, as her hips and femurs were shifting into new shapes and positions. She could feel – and practically hear – her pelvis stretching and widening, causing her to lean further back in the chair. Over top of this was the sound of her pajama pants starting to stretch to their limits.

“Why am I…” Evelyn ceased asking her rhetorical question when the sight of her hands shocked her. She watched as her fingers pressed together against her will. Her skin and flesh sealed over the gaps that had indicated her individual digits, and the keratin of her nails started to stretch and join together. The process was accompanied by a warm, dull feeling, as if her hands were asleep. It was the same sensation that seemed to be emanating from her much wider lower torso, and as the feeling began to swell in her toes Evelyn leaned forward as far as she could and saw her feet were also forming into hooves.

“Fuck!” the transmogrifying women yelled, falling forward after leaning too far. As she tipped off the chair she threw her hands forward and landed hard on the floor. Collecting her thoughts Evelyn tried to stand but found she couldn’t; the warm fuzz of transformation was spreading up her spine and she no longer had the musculature to get up on her hind limbs.

The fall had caused much of her brunette hair to fall in front of her face, its motion hindered only by the single horn that was now about six inches long and still growing. Evelyn lifted her arm, which was starting stretch, and tried to push the locks out of her eyes, and screamed again when she saw the proto-hoof that was still transitioning from the shape of her hand. As her balance wavered with her changing form she placed the forward limb back flat on the floor and tried to blow the hair out of her face.

It was then that the warm feeling of change rose up into her jaw.

Like extending the accordion part of a bendy-straw Evelyn felt her skull start to stretch out. In a succession of dull cracks and pops her human face grew out to form the muzzle of a horse, the cartilage of her nose spreading and shifting to match the scale of her growing body.

Her upper body had also been altering during this time. Her already small breasts had started to flatten into the barrel-shape of her crackling ribs. Evelyn thought she could almost feel her nipples sliding down her body to take their more equine position. As the fine hairs across her skin began to turn to a course white coat the former woman began to realize her new scale; the fabric that had previously covered her human anatomy was tearing and falling from her. Evelyn’s ass had blown up five times her original size, and as she tried to stand in the small space her flank and neck kept bumping into the furniture.

As Evelyn watched her hands complete their transformation into hooves, and her limbs finally creaked into their final form, the sensation of something tickling her rump finally put the poor creature over the edge. She tried to scream, but the only thing she could form in her thick throat was a pathetic sounding whinny.

Forcing her body to turn around, the sound of her clopping hooves echoing through the apartment, Evelyn’s big brown eyes finally saw her reflection.

It was, indeed, a unicorn that stared back at her. Starting with the horn, just now twisting into its final length of about two-and-a-half feet, Evelyn saw her horse-like head, stretched out and covered in short bristly white hairs, save for the big wet pink snout hanging over her enormous horse lips.

She didn’t remember feeling her ears lengthen and warp, but in all the sensations she had experience she wasn’t surprised she had missed one or two. She watched them twitch – it was a reaction to the slight draft in her apartment, and while she could hold them still when she concentrated it was otherwise an automatic activity. Her brunette hair still hung off her head, but now stretched down the back – top now? – of her long neck to her broad shoulders.

From there her former arms stretched down to the floor, her useless hooves frustratingly inarticulate. She tried to “flex” the solid mass that had once been her hands but of course found nothing responsive.

Her solid chest and stomach hung over the open space between her front and back legs, and it was completely devoid of any human elements. Even with the draft Evelyn couldn’t detect any vestigial sensations from whatever had happened to her breasts – she didn’t even know how horses/unicorns fed their young – but the slight cool breeze was helping pinpoint exactly where her other lower anatomy had shifted too. Evelyn wasn’t sure if unicorns had sex for pleasure, but she was becoming certain she could if she ever desired.

Of course, the cold draft had to slip under her freshly grown tail, which was brunette like her mane. Unlike her ears Evelyn had to consciously clench the muscles over her coccyx to swish it back and forth, and quickly discovered that it tickled her broad rear and exposed sex. Evelyn began to wonder if a long horn was not the only anatomical differentiation between a horse and unicorn.

Shifting a little to get a better view of her new – and very permanent – form in the mirror Evelyn sadly realized she had gotten her request; she could see a unicorn and her camera was indeed still in reach. She just couldn’t use it any more.

God, I wish I was human! ran through Evelyn’s mind as the shock of the transformation began to transition into the shock of existing in this form. She was practically trapped in the tiny living space. How would she ever open the- knock knock knock!

“Hello? This is Mr. Roja, I was asked to come up and ask about some noise…”

Evelyn suddenly realized the ruckus her falling and screaming/whinnying had made; every tenant within a three apartment range must have called down to the land lord. Evelyn was about to panic; what could she do? She couldn’t ask for help, and she had no hands to write with and explain!

Turning as another set of banging – this time with more force – caught her attention, the the desperate unicorn’s horn scratched against the wall, leaving a small gouge in the paint.

Ow, that – that’s it! I’ll carve a message with my horn! Evelyn exclaimed to herself, both brown eyes seeming to sparkle at the thought. Putting herself square with the wall she pushed and pulled her head from side to side trying to make the first letter, but found the process to be extremely difficult.

“Are you alright in there? I’m coming in to check if you’re alive,” rang the voice through the door; her land lord had ignored basic apartment standards of practice before and Evelyn could hear keys being flipped through. She started to panic more, which made the wall scratches even more unintelligible.

Oh shit, no, one more moment! Evelyn practically neighed as she heard metal push into the lock, They’ll think I’m a dumb animal! I’ll go to the zoo! No, worse, I’ll be cut open in a lab! I can’t let him see me! Fuck, I can’t even move to defend myself in here, I wish I was safe in a big field somewhere!

As Evelyn completed her thought the door to her apartment opened just in time for Mr. Roja to see a large mass of sparkles slowly drift to the floor and snuff out. The only evidence of the transformation was some destroyed pajama bottoms and tank top.

It took a few moments for Evelyn’s eyes to adjust. She had gone from being inside her apartment to standing in the middle of a huge field. The sun was bright and hanging high above her, and the unicorn could only blink for a few moments.

What happened? Evelyn wondered, looking around at the nearly endless sea of grass surrounding her. In the distance she could just barely see a tree line. All I did was wish that – holy shit I can grant wishes!

The realization had not been a jump in logic. Evelyn was slowly being fed all sorts of information, as her mind was updated on the abilities of her new form.

She could grant a single wish once every five years.

She’d never have to worry about having her hooves cared for.

She could indeed have sex for pleasure.

And it was again noted that her transformation into a unicorn was irreversible – which was why her first wish hadn’t returned her humanity.

After all of her “instincts” had finally downloaded into her brain Evelyn let out a soft whinny. With all of her knew knowledge, and being no longer trapped in the small space of her apartment, her mind calmed. She thought about exploring wherever she had brought herself, but the transformation had taken a toll on her, and she heard her stomach rumble. Exploring would have to wait until certain basic life requirements had been met.

Evelyn’s new teeth sheered off a mouthful of the grass growing beneath her, and she found it tasted like sweet raw spinach. After a few bites of leafy greens her exhaustion finally caught up with her. Looking around and seeing no other being nearby – she had specified a safe field, after all – Evelyn lowered her head, let her legs lock and place, and slowly drifted off to sleep.

At least the field was rent free.

FIN