[Vfw-times] Story: the two sided town (2/2)

Oren Otter bevary at atcjet.net
Wed Apr 19 07:59:23 CDT 2000

Hours of searching turned up nothing more. Finally, the two agents made the
decision to return to town for
some dinner. Tomorrow, they would continue their investigation by searching
the caves where one of the
campers was said to have been exploring the night he disappeared. After a
quick meal of sub sandwiches, the
two men searched the town for a hotel. None was to be found however. It was
Craig who made the decision
to drop in on Kelly and ask him where accommodations might be found. If all
else failed, Kelly himself might
have room for a weary comrade or two. As dusk was approaching, they found
the former agent locking up his

"Kelly!" Craig greeted. 

"Wilder? Wilder, what are you doing here?" 

"My partner and I are on a case in the area, concerning the recent

"And you need my smarts, is that it?" said Kelly facetiously. 

"No, old friend. I'm content to let you stay retired. I was just wondering
if you could tell me where we might be
able to find a bed for tonight." 

"A bed?" 

"Yes, a bed." Craig echoed. 

"Oh, you don't know then!" 

"Don't know what?" 

"Oh, you fellers are in for a surprise! Come on! We need to get to the

"The woods? What for?" 

Kelly looked westward toward the distant mountains, and the sun setting
behind the peaks. "Better hurry! The
sun's almost set!" He bounded off toward the trees with a speed and
sprightliness belying his age. 

"Why, Kelly? What's going to... Oh my word!" Craig held his hand up to his
face, only it was ceasing to
resemble a hand. The fingers were shrinking, becoming stubby and stiff as
his whole hand disappeared into his
coat sleeve. "Watson?" he called. Looking up, he noticed that he had
stopped running while his partner had
not. Craig was alone. 

"What's going on?" Agent Wilder asked the air. His clothes here becoming
very loose. Baggy, in fact. It was as
if... Yes, he WAS shrinking! Craig tore open his shirt to look at himself,
and was amazed and horrified to find
his chest covered in gold and brown hair so thick that it could easily have
been fur. He touched the fur with his
hand, only to discover that his hand was no longer a hand, but a paw.
Immediately, his paws shot to his face,
discovering what he feared the most. His fingers felt the flesh of his face
stretching forward, turning his wrinkled
human face into that of a beast. "HELP ME!" he screamed. "Someone help me!" 

Struggling free of his clothes, Craig suppressed screams of terror at the
changes taking place in his now small,
elongated body. The screams came out at last when he witnessed a huge furry
serpent emerging from his back
to form his tail. 

Agent Craig Wilder blacked out. 

* * * 

"I think he's coming to." 

"Stand back. Give him some air." 

Craig opened his eyes to see a horrifying face looming over him. He
screamed and cringed. 

"Easy, Wilder! It's me, Adam Kelly." 



"You look awful." 

"I'm a possum." 

Craig looked his friend up and down, taking in every feature; the course,
grey fur, the rat- like tail, the squinty
little eyes... Kelly was indeed a possum. He looked around the room,
noticing that the walls and ceiling seemed
to have an uninterrupted wood grain. In the corner stood an otter with a
white coat and a black bag in one

"That's Doctor Phillips." said the possum. "I called him when I found you
passed out on top of your clothes." 

"You're a possum." said Craig, just beginning to take it all in. "He's an
otter. I'm... what am I?" 

"You're a weasel, Wilder, and a rather handsome one at that." 

Craig looked down to see his long, furry body stretched out on what would
have been a pillow for someone of
human proportions. There were a few other pieces of furniture in the room,
including a desk lamp, which on
this scale had become a floor lamp, as well as a bedside table fashioned
from a shoebox and covered with a
table napkin. In one corner of the room, looking like a folded tent, sat
two neatly folded sets of clothes- his and
Luke's. The room itself seemed to be carved from a single chunk of wood.
Craig realized that he was probably
in a tree. 

"How do you feel?" asked the otter. 

"I feel... I feel great, strangely enough, like I just woke up from eight
hours of restful sleep. How long was I

"Only about half an hour." replied Dr. Phillips. "It's the transformation
that's made you feel rested. It has a
rejuvenating effect. It effectively replaces sleep." 

"That explains so much." said Craig. "That's why there were no hotels, and
so few houses. You folks don't

"Oh, we sleep." Kelly corrected. "We still need a few hours a week to
dream. The reason you didn't see any
houses was because you weren't looking in the right place." 


Kelly beckoned Craig to the door- a round portal in the side of the wooden
wall. Looking out, Craig could see
a whole city of lights in the trees, as well as in burrows below them.
Hundreds of animals filled the forest
pathways below. Craig marveled at the sight. There was everything from
zebras to chipmunks down there,
most of them wearing some article of clothing or other. Voices, human
voices, drifted up through the night. 

"Fascinating, isn't it?" asked Kelly. Craig could only nod his weasel head
in response. "Then the legend is true?"
he said at last. 

"One hundred percent. Every last person in the greater Lunacorpora area,
including you, turns into an animal
when the sun goes down. Look over there. See the poodle in the leather
jacket? That's Rhonda from the
service station. That raccoon is Roy Canaber from the grocery store. The
fox and the ferret are Mr. and Mrs.
Snelling. They run the clothing store." 

"The one with the doll clothes?" 

"Yep. They sell undersized clothing for undersized critters. Most of us
folks like to wear a shirt or a bandana or
maybe just a hat, for the sake of feeling a little more human. 

"This is impossible." said Craig. 

"That's what I thought at first, but it actually happens. Impossible is
trying to get a date with Widow Beasley
when your face turns into this every twenty-four hours. 

"The weirdest part of all? I'm a weasel... I'm standing here talking to a
possum... and yet for some reason... I'm
okay with all of this." 

"Uh huh. Admit it. You kind of like it, don't you?" 

"Well I..." 


"Well... yeah, okay." said Craig, feeling embarrassed. "I like feeling
fluffy." He laughed at himself. 

"Most people enjoy the transformation. That's why I retired and moved back
here as soon as I could. Ugly
though I am, I enjoy being a possum." 

"You're not ugly." 

"You're not honest, but thank you. Anyway, that's one of the things that
makes camp Zoascota so popular.
Kids come and they get a taste of the wild life. They want to come back
year after year and do it again." 

Craig put his paw to his head in sudden realization. "The name 'Zoascota'
means 'Animals in the dark'!" 

"You catch on quick." 

Through the door came a grey rat wearing a blue necktie. "Wilder! You're


"Yeah. It's me. I have something to show you that you will not believe." 

"I'm already having a hard time believing any of this." 

"It's going to get a lot harder. And Kelly, I have news for you too. That
case you worked on so long ago at the
nuclear plant?" 


"I've reason to believe that it wasn't a case of mismanagement. There
actually was a missing canister of

"That can't be. That case was solved and closed. It was an error in record

"I don't believe that's true, because I think I found the canister." 


"Come with me!" 

-Oren the Otter
tlhaQ biQ Ha'DIbaH
The Changing Workplace: http://www.geocities.com/ottercomics

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