Flanked

a story by Dan Standing

Part II

Lydia’s alarm stirred both women just before dawn. Slowly they arose, dried substances from the previous night cracking and crumbling under their motion. Their skin separated as Lydia rolled over to silence the alarm. Each hoped for a second that their alterations from Epona had been part of crazy dream.

The sound of Hillary’s horseshoes knocking against her lover’s crushed that possibility. They raised their naked bodies from the mattress and practiced standing once more. Lydia’s balance was much improved from the night before, and she assured Hillary that she would be able to shower and dress without issue. They shared one final kiss before Hillary threw on her robe and left, while Lydia prepared her shower.

Hillary brought her cleaned clothing into her own room and immediately dropped the crop into the waste bin. Although she had a long streak of being defiant in the face of authority, the steel rims around her feet were a reminder that in this case she was in over her head. She’d never think that Epona’s actions were fair, but she wouldn’t risk receiving anything worse.

The horseshoes clomped harshly across the tile of the bathroom, and Hillary fully believed that they would crack the tub basin as she stepped in. They afforded her absolutely no grip or traction within the shower. She hoped that Lydia had opted to sit instead of stand while she bathed.

With the souvenirs of the night’s pleasures washed away Hillary started dressing. She passed over the clothing from the day prior and selected an entirely new outfit, although it was only marginally different from the other.

Then came time for the socks and boots.

The socks slipped on without issue. Hillary was expecting that her flat-held feet would give her an issue pushing all the way down to the toe of her boot, and she was shocked by how easily they went in. She retained full control of her ankles, which was really what she needed to properly angle her foot into her gear. The second foot was dressed just as smoothly.

It was quickly clear that walking wasn’t going to be any easier with the boots on, although it was certainly more comfortable. She stomped her way down to the breakfast buffet, ate quickly, and went out to the field. Still concerned about the horseshoes in the tub, Hillary looked around to see if Lydia had already come down. She spotted her across the field, crossing towards her mount. For a moment Hillary was jealous of her lover’s ridiculous boots; she was capable of a much more normal looking stride than Hillary was.

Satisfied with Lydia’s safety Hillary mounted up and began her runs on the course. In the beginning she felt powerless. Her hand felt empty, and she could feel her arm twitching and aching to pull back and swing when she reached certain portions of the course. She avoided the final jump with each pass. If the beast hadn’t been able to make it before, what good would it do to try now?

Slowly, with each subsequent loop, Hillary began to notice a pattern. While her times had started out lower than normal, she was gradually shaving off more and more time. Knowing this she began paying closer attention to the horse, which was growing bolder and bolder with each circuit. Hillary began to gently spur it on at the slower points as she continued to practice.

Soon they’d met her best time, and were holding it strong. But they hadn’t tried the jump yet. Without knowing her possibility of success there, Hillary wasn’t any better off than she’d been the day before. She decided that on the next round she’d make sure the horse knew she wanted to jump.

Of course, that didn’t mean her steed was going to do it. They’d curved around the cross-beamed wood with each run of the course, and now Hillary began to pull the reigns over and aim for the jump. The horse had other ideas, though, and kept going around. The defiance was starting to make Hillary fume. She did notice that they kept getting closer and closer each time before the animal deviated from course. It was enough that Hillary held her temper.

But Hillary’s patience for such things started out at the Thin setting, and there weren’t many settings to select from below that. Spectators could hear the leather reigns looping and straining under her tightening grip.

Seven times she’d aimed for the jump, and Hillary was not going to let it be eight passes. The horse stayed straight on course past the first time it defied her, past the second…the third…

As they got closer an exhilaration rose up Hillary’s spine. She was certain this was their fastest time so far, and if they made the jump tomorrow’s tournament could easily be hers! Hooves thundered beneath her, and her breathing stilled as they past the last point at which the horse had turned away, and…it started to veer!

“Stupid beast!” Hillary shouted out. Her frustration broke to anger. Her right hand left the reign, rose up, and swung down swiftly. Her glove connected with the horse’s neck, a harsh sound snapping through the air. Hillary had slapped her mount harder than she’d intended to.

But not as hard as she had wanted to.

The horse whinnied, the heat of pain rushing over it. It was disoriented, not quite heading straight at the cross beam, but not far enough over to avoid the supporting post. It reared up on two legs, momentum carrying it forward. One hoof clipped the top of the wood, but the rest of the animal cleared the obstruction.

Unprepared for this reaction, Hillary felt herself slip back and away from the saddle. She’d already lifted off the seat too far to use her legs for grip. Her left hand tried to hold onto the reigns, but as the beast felt her weight pull its head backward it threw its neck forward. Hillary’s fingers uncurled from the strap as if loosing an arrow.

The ground was soft and moist, and she fell flat on her back with a thud. Her body ached from the impact, but she thought it gentle enough that she’d not broken any bones.

Not yet, at least. Her mount was freaking out, jumping and bucking in circles. Circles that were moving closer to where Hillary had landed. Other riders, handlers, and spectators had immediately moved to try to calm her animal, but it was too dangerous to getting too close. As heavy hooves pounded flat the ground in front of her, Hillary tried to scuttle away. On her back as she was she could not make good distance with her elbows and feet in the trodden earth, and she was certain she was only moments away from an ironic and deserved death.

Suddenly the legs of another horse were between her and the panicking animal. A living wall had been put between Hillary and her gruesome end. She looked up to see that Lydia had ridden over and put herself and her ride in the middle of the chaos.

“Don’t just lie there, get the Hell out of the of course!” Lydia shouted. Not one who needed to be told twice Hillary flipped herself over and finally got on her legs. Stumbling flat-footed as fast as she could she made it to the other side of the fence in short time.

It took another five minutes before Hillary’s horse finally calmed down, and the handler lead it back to the stable which all the competitors had their animals in. Lydia dismounted and let her own horse be taken back as well. She trudged through the dirt of the course and jumped the fence, making her way over to where a doctor a nurse were checking over her lover.

“Is she going to be okay?”

“I’m fine, I just-” A look from Lydia stopped Hillary’s voice cold.

“I didn’t ask you.”

“She is, in fact, fine,” the doctor replied, putting away her gear, “I would have expected at least some bruising, if not worse, but I can’t even tell she had such a fall.”

“It’s as if some higher power had a larger plan for her,” the nurse added.

“Well, I wouldn’t go that far…” replied the doctor, snapping closed the case and starting back towards the club house, “I just wouldn’t risk it again.”

“What happened out there?” Lydia asked, her voice stern. Hillary didn’t look her in the eyes as she stood up.

“Nothing, my crop is in the room, I didn’t do-”

“We promised each other ‘no lies.’ Remember?”

Hillary paused. She recalled back to the few moments right after coming down from their first fling. In that closet, in the old Statlington Farm House. They both knew then they wanted more. The big question, which neither knew the answer to at the time, was “How much more?” Thus the pledge made to each other, so they’d both always know how the other felt.

“I slapped the horse on the neck.”

“Hillary!” Lydia gasped. Using the crop was one thing; a tradition of riding. But directly striking the horse?

“I know, I’m sorry, I was angry. I won’t do it again.”

“That’s true, you won’t.”

If ever there was the definition of a slow burning about-face, Hillary and Lydia met it. They’d never know if the nurse had always been Epona and they’d failed to notice, or if the goddess had assumed a similar and independent form. But there was no question that they were in Epona’s presence once more.

“What are you going to do to us, now?” Lydia hissed, stepping in front of Hillary.

“Not to you both, just her,” Epona smiled, pointing a finger past the defiant woman. Lydia stood straighter and puffed out her chest, but it was quickly clear that her posturing was not going to make any difference.

“Ow, my legs!”

Hillary’s gasp spun the other rider around, who looked on in silence as her lover pawed at her pants. But the fabric wasn’t there for long. Lydia watched Hillary grit her teeth and stretch her back up as the sound of stretching fabric and popping stitches filled the air. Swiftly Hillary’s garment, and the panties beneath it, was nothing more than scraps and string on the ground. Soon after her boots burst apart, her socks stretching to their limit and ripping.

The entire lower half of Hillary’s body was changing. Her legs had already split down the middle, forming a set of four. The rear two were moving backwards as Hillary’s ass and hips stretched out. For a few moments all her legs appeared to be human, but that was swiftly changing. Her toes were sucking in on themselves, the keratin of the toenails growing wide and thick. Her feet were being pulled up and back. The joints of her legs were changing, the rear ones bending differently than the front. Some of the alterations were obscured as a coat of brown hair began to push out of her skin.

Something that wasn’t obscured was the sheer size of Hillary’s growing ass.

It was immediately clear to Lydia that Hillary’s lower body was transforming into a copy of her own horse. As the transforming woman floundered about on her legs, trying to adjust to what was happening to her, the half-brown/half-sand colored hair of her mount’s tale was bursting forth from above her butt crack.

Hillary wasn’t just transforming, she was scaling up. Her human legs were nowhere near the length and thickness of an actual horse’s, but that was being fixed. Her entire unnatural form was growing, but her horse half and her original human torso were growing at different rates. The human portion was expanding slower than the horse half, but Hillary’s blouse and bra were quickly too tight for her. She’d have ripped the constricting outfit off with her own hands if the stitching hadn’t undone itself and the fabric fluttered from her form. Epona was clearly responsible for the assistance.

Soon the process was complete. From her hips up Hillary was nude and looked like herself. With nothing to scale her against no one would have ever known she’d increased in size by about twenty-five percent.

Below her waist she was the classical centauride; a female centaur. Her horse half was seventy-five percent the size of her actual mount. This allowed her human half to be a reasonable size where it merged human hips to horse shoulders, while her equine parts were still large enough to support someone on her extended horizontal back.

Even with the changes done Hillary didn’t quite know what to do, and all four of her legs – complete with permanent horseshoes reshaped for her hooves – were clomping about like a newborn colt. Then she realized that a four-legged being merely needed to not move to stay up right, and she managed to steady herself. The shock of what had just transpired lingered on both she and Lydia for a moment, and then both women looked to Epona.

“You’ve turned me into a real freak!” Hillary exclaimed. Looking around she recalled she was in public, and clasped her hands over her slight-but-still-bare chest.

“Oh, don’t bother with modesty, for now everyone only sees you as that poor horse you’ve been beating.”

“I said I was sorry for smacking it!” Hillary shouted, hands not moving.

“And I think I made my rules quite clear.”

“When you said ‘for now’ what did you mean?” Lydia asked, reaching up and placing her own hand to the side of Hillary’s human abdomen to calm her.

“Well, you did immediately voice sorrow and apologize for what you had done,” Epona espoused, slowly walking around the pair in an arch, turning back around when she neared Hillary’s twitching rear legs, “So I’ve decided to, as you mortals say, ‘cut you a break.’ Not because I’m getting soft, but I think it will be extremely entertaining.”

“What…what did you have in mind?” Hillary asked, caution and dread dragging down her words.

“Well, as I said, for the moment everyone sees you as your steed – who, by the way, has been moved to a very nice field far far away from anyone who can cause any more harm. You share all the stamina and strength that you’ve been abusing. My proposition to you, and the only way to get those hairless little legs back, is that your lover must ride you in tomorrow’s competition. If the two of you manage to win, I make everything human again…although you’ll retain the horseshoes. If you come in second I remove the glamour spell and everyone will see you for as you are now. Depending on what you do during the race I may yet have more adjustments to make. Any places less than second and I guarantee your upper half will become more and more horse, and less and less human. Any questions?”

Hillary and Lydia stood silent. That was all rediculous…but straight-forward. Neither really dared to ask anything more of Epona.

“I take it you are dumbfounded, but I know you are not dumb. Therefore I’ll assume my terms are clear, and take me leave. See you at the finish line, my dears!”

And with that Epona vanished.

to be continued…