A quick glance at the clock suddenly showed that several hours had passed by and that, with a glance out the window, Arianna realized the day had given over to the far reach of night. One a.m. had arrived without warning. At least she had gotten a good start on her spreadsheets, and presentation seeing as how it was due soon.With a faint sigh she closed the laptop with a soft click. Rubbing her eyes until spots of color showed from her pressed fingers, she looked away from the computer to have her tired eyes rest on the dog. He had been a quite house guest so far. The only thing she had noticed was that, despite having slept for the most part, whenever she had gotten up or made sharp noises, he had been on his feet, following her with those pale eyes of his. Quite a pretty blue, actually. They almost seemed too...sharp, too knowing for a mere dog. More than once she had looked over and felt...like there was something she should know about him. A quiet sort of unsuspecting fact about him that she was overlooking, that she should catch on to and recognize. She looked quickly away and closed her eyes for a moment. Maybe it was just the fact that she was tired and if she were honest, missed having a dog lay quietly and companionably at her feet. Or that sleep had not been as easy as it used to be lately. She had been telling herself it was the stress of starting a new business project that had been keeping her up at night and out on the patio instead of warn and snug in bed.
With soft inhale, she rose to her feet, pausing to stretch her arms overhead, moving her torso left and right slowly, breasts and hips pushing through her loose t-shirt and leggings ever so slightly. She hadn't moved from the couch in a few hours. Eyeing the dog once more, "It's time for bed. Don't have any more chicken and rice for you, sorry. But we'll take care of you in the morning, alright?" She gave him a quick scratch behind the ears before rising. Her hand came away with a definitive coating of dust and a dark line of grime under her fingernails. To the front door she went, and firmly slid the locking bolt in place, and making her way over to the sliding glass door to the patio, made sure it was locked as well, unlocking and locking it with a solid snap. Pulled the curtain across the view and with a last look at the shepherd back on his blanket, she padded away towards her room.
The number switched from 03:59 to 04:00 silently. The whole house had been quiet for the last hour, cooled down enough to keep the light blanket covering her body, mostly empty but for its two inhabitants, and...lonely feeling. It was a rather insidious feeling, creeping in as she had struggled to fall asleep for minutes at a time, only to wake with a furious need to get up and move. But there was something else she found hard to describe. Almost a yearning. It was like remembering walking through along a forest path, the leaves overhead changing from their steady green to brilliant ambers and golds and fiery oranges, the sky overhead inevitably being overtaken by the coming of the deep hues of night...laughing with joy as you went, you couldn't remember if it was with or without a friend...yet, you hadn't actually walked down that path or laughed at the friend following after you.
It was strange and new from the last few nights she had not been able to sleep, prowling about the room in a restless energy. With an exasperated exhale she clambered out of bed, sliding her feet into her slippers and headed for the kitchen, holding her now empty glass of water.
What met her eyes was nothing short of a shock. An extreme rush of fear flooded her senses, followed by the zing of adrenaline to fuel her body into an all out fight or flight mode. She had no idea what the hell was happening in from of her, she had never seen anything like it before. It appeared as those epic transformations she had read in all the thick fantasy novels crammed onto her bookshelf, describing them as awe-inspiring or a horrifically disgusting twisting and cracking of the human body into another form entirely. All she did understand, somehow, was that the glass slipped, as if in slow motion from her hand to the tile floor and with the loudest crack she could imagine, shattered. Jagged, broken bits of glass spread out in a wave around her. And there was suddenly something else too that followed the alarm. A swift coursing of......she clutched her chest as she felt a sharp flash of desire and..."What....what are you!? What is happening to me!?" The words left her mouth in a scream as she fell to the floor, feeling herself writhe against the tile.
She felt....no...noooo..noo... Terrified blue eyes rested on...long growths of claws sprouting from her fingers and as she continued to watch, astonished, her hand began to twist the bone and tendon and muscle with excruciatingly fascinating detail into a paw. It....hurt in a very faint, distant way. Even as the humerus and ulna began to twist into the shape of the animal. As if she were on the same painkillers she'd taken as a teen when her arm was broken in a softball match. Black patches of fur began to sprout along the length of her arm, at first slowly, as if hesitant to grow through her skin. In a second it spread, knowing its true course now and determined to traverse it fully. Painless but she felt her terror rise, the beginnings of a scream rising in her throat, only to be released with the unmistakable tinge of pain. It was no longer painless as she felt....her spine, her ribs, she could feel every attempted snap and twist and elongation, shortening... Every nerve burned in white hot fire. Every strand of that dark fur, stabbed through her skin like ice sharpened knives.