(Pie TF, Cheetah TF, pumpkin/jack-o'lantern TF, bush TF, fruit TF, clay TF, bubble TF, glass TF)
Walking into Gena Fellowes' lab was always a treat for Jim Marks. He never knew what strange sight he might encounter there. Today he entered to view Gena positioned in front of a cage, observing it closely. But its contents were not moving, nor would they. All this cage contained was a block of cheese.
“Um, Gena, that cheese isn't going anywhere,” he coughed.
She looked up, startled. “Oh, oh, Jim!” she cried, running over and grabbing his arm. She pulled him closer to the cage. “This is no ordinary block of cheese!”
Jim could feel her shaking in excitement, and he could only imagine what she was up to. “Meanwhile there's a mouse somewhere who's feeling very deprived.”
She shook her head in surprise. “No, Jim. That is the mouse!”
She was pointing right at the cheese, and Jim awkwardly stood by, trying to understand what she meant. Then suddenly, it dawned on him. “No!”
She smiled. “Yes!”
“The transformation thing? You're still working on that?”
With a doubtful gulp, he pushed out, “How do I know you're not playing tricks on me?”
She plunked a glass jar down in front of him and removed some netting from the top. “Watch this.” With the help of a medicine dropper, she deposited some clear liquid near the mouthparts of a sleepy-looking bee inhabiting the jar. The insect gave a lurch, dropped to its side, and started shaking violently.
“Gena! You're killing it!”
She batted at him in amusement. “No, quite the opposite. Watch! I'm giving him the time of his life.” And suddenly the bee began to enlarge. Its body lengthened, losing its black and yellow stripes and taking on a greenish cast. Its head grew much larger in relation to its body, and it sprouted purple petals...
“It's turning into a flower!” Jim yelled in amazement. “Holy...God, you really did it, Gena!”
Gena extracted the perfect flower from the jar and handed it to him. He studied it carefully, then gently placed it on the counter. “Can I hurt it like this? Does it know it's a flower? Does the mouse know it's cheese?”
Worriedly, Gena regarded the lone piece of cheese in the nearby cage. “I don't know. But if it is sentient, hopefully it's not too horrible for it. I have no way of knowing... It lasts for a week, so my poor little Mickey...”
Mickey was the mouse. That much Jim knew. And, with Gena being such an animal lover, it was almost unheard of for her to conduct experiments on any in her lab. So she had to have been pretty sure of her new formula's innocuousness. Nonetheless, he had to ask. “Did it hurt them?”
“No. I think Mickey enjoyed it, honestly.”
Jim was not sure he wanted to know how she came to ascertain that. “Why is he cheese?”
“See, if this formula works as planned, you become what you're thinking about. Makes sense – Mickey wanted cheese so badly that he turned into it. And the bee wanted a flower...”
“So he turned into one.”
Jim was beside himself. Alongside of her regular work, Gena had been tinkering with transformation research for years. But it was kind of like his friend who was building a time machine – he never thought she would be successful in her endeavors.
Yet she had proven him wrong. Greatly wrong.
“Does Gary know?” But Jim already knew the answer. Gena had been doing this for fun, thus she would not deem it necessary to report to her boss. “Will you tell him?”
“He doesn't know, but I will tell him. But first I need to test it. And I'm doing it on me.”
Jim tried to talk Gena out of experimenting on herself for the rest of the day, but she would not hear of trying her invention on anyone else. She was convinced it was harmless, and deep down, she wanted to be the first person ever to be transformed. Desperately.
She had always been fascinated with the idea of a human changing their form, and when she came to work for Gary at his company lab, she knew it was her chance to fabricate some of the formulas she had theorized through the years. She had not shared her early successes with a soul, and now that Jim knew of them, she almost felt relieved.
“I'm trying it tonight,” she insisted.
“Then I'm coming over there to watch you,” he announced.
The phone rang, and Gena picked it up with annoyance. “What, Jeremy?”
“Who's Jeremy?” Jim asked. They stood in Gena's spotless kitchen, which looked like it had never seen a single meal prepared in it. Gena literally lived in her lab for the most part, so it was possible this was true.
The young scientist cupped her hand over the receiver. “Jeremy's my brother.” She resumed her conversation. “Yes, I know. I'll get you a pumpkin from the farmstand. I might not be around to see you, though.” She paused. “Where will I be? I'm very...busy, Jeremy.” She blushed at Jim as she uttered these words. He merely clasped his hands together nervously.
“You have the key. If I'm not here, come on in, work your magic. Surprise me with a good one. Talk to you soon.”
Jim drummed his fingers against the counter as she hung up. “What's that all about?” he queried.
“Oh, Jeremy's really into Halloween. Every year he carves a pumpkin for me. It's kind of a tradition.”
“Uh-huh. And you won't be around because...?”
“Well, I'll be around somewhere. But it's possible I won't be human...” She winked at him. “Now come on, let's get going. You want anything to eat or drink before I do this?”
Jim swallowed. “Um, no.” He watched her take off her shoes. “What are you thinking of becoming?”
Gena's mind dredged up all her fantasies at once, and she wanted to share them with Jim, but she could not bring herself to do it. “Well, to be on the safe side, I figured I'd do something pretty close to human. That way if I can't turn back, it won't be so bad. I could function.”
“So, what? A monkey? A chimpanzee?”
Gena sighed. “I know that makes the most sense, but I really have no wish to be one. I was thinking more like...I don't know, a cheetah?”
“Well, I don't think you can continue your life as a scientist in a lab if you're a cheetah.”
Smirking, she retorted, “Well, I don't think that would work even if I were a monkey, Jim.”
“I wouldn't mind having you around as a monkey lab assistant.”
“Ha, ha.” Gena lifted up a test tube and uncorked it. She held it to her lips, hesitating slightly.
“You sure you want to be a cheetah for a week?”
Placing the cork on the counter, Gena explained, “No, I can turn back to myself during the week. See, for the last trial, I used a worm. It turned into dirt for about a day, then went back into worm form.”
“So worms think of dirt?”
Gena was not sure if Jim was being serious with this question or not, but she answered as if he were. “I don't know. All I know is something prompted the worm to change back, and it did. That's why I'm doing this on myself first. I don't think I'll ever find a willing test subject.”
“Experimenting on yourself – that's not scientifically sound,” Jim reminded her.
She rolled her eyes. “I'm turning myself into a cheetah, Jim. To hell with science.”
The formula burned slightly as she swallowed it down. “I'll have to add something to make it a bit more palatable,” she coughed. “Oh!” She gasped as her skin yellowed.
“Are you okay?” Jim exclaimed.
“OH!” Something compelled Gena to crouch down on all fours, despite the fact that she was still completely human. “I'm fine...just...pressure...I feel better in this position...OH!” The changes were starting to become apparent, and a smile grew on Gena's increasingly furry face. She shed off her pants and shirt. Spots were darkening on her skin, and her arms were growing longer while her legs were shortening. “Paws forming!” she announced gleefully as her fingers fused and pads grew on her palms.
“Gena, does it hurt?” Jim cried in concern.
“No...strangely...no. It's stretchy-feeling, tingly, like my nerves are all being stimulated at once...Oh, speaking of stimulation...” She bent to look between her legs and tittered. “Not that you can see with the panties still on, but...things are changing down there too...”
“Look at your claws!” Jim was fascinated as what once were nails now lengthened into pointy hooks.
“Yes! Oh, my teeth are...oh, my face...oh!” Her very skull was changing, elongating into a snout with very sharp teeth... “Whiskers...”
“Ears...tongue...Jim, I...can't ….ROWRRRR!!”
Gena bowed down on her front legs, bracing for the last few changes to work through her shuddering body. Then she bounded up in delight, walking carefully on all fours. “Rowr?” she shook her head back and forth, her beautiful eyes sparkling with mirth.
Jim let out his breath. “Guess you can't talk, huh?”
While awkwardly backing out of her bra and panties, Gena shook her head no.
“But if you turn into whatever you think, can't you become a talking cheetah?”
The animal shrugged.
“You'll have to try it next.” Jim observed the impressive big cat as it tested out its new body. “My God,” he whispered. “You're beautiful. It's truly amazing.” He pulled out his phone and snapped a picture of her. “Go look at yourself in the mirror.”
Gena obeyed, and Jim followed her over. “I guess it's all you in there, then, Gena? You're just a person in a cheetah's body?”
She nodded her head, turning back to the mirror. What she saw there was beyond a miracle. The majestic feline that stared back at her was herself! It really was!
She held up her paw and waved it at her reflection. Then she flipped her tail back and forth. I've done it! I can be everything I ever wanted to be! It's real! Real! Real!
She felt the urge to hunt, but she knew she could not easily escape into the suburban neighborhood in this form. Instead, she stalked around the house, sniffing at smells she had never imagined, every sound crisper than ever...And her sight was so amazingly sharp and distinct...!
Jim regarded her for a time, trailing her silently. He was almost jealous of the new creature, yet at the same time, the idea of becoming an animal struck him as frightening. Would she turn back? Would the change affect her mind?
Presently, he checked his watch. “Gena?”
She perked her ears up and paused.
“It's getting late. Are you going to change back?”
The animal studied itself for a moment, then glanced up at him and shook its head.
Gena shook her head again and bolted into her bedroom where she deftly leaped onto her bed.
As she kneaded at the blanket like a cat would, Jim gasped, “You're going to sleep like that?”
The animal nodded, a crafty look in its eyes.
Jim settled down on a corner chair. “Then I'm staying here with you.”
Jim worried that the animal would get up and maul or eat him during the night, and this kept him very much awake. Yet he could not leave the slumbering female cat. As content as she appeared, he worried that something would go wrong. He couldn't leave his old friend alone in this state.
At some point, the animal must have started to dream. It let out a growl, and then a whimper, and suddenly, it was turning back into a woman.
Gena did not wake up, and Jim ogled her body in awe. She always was in a lab coat, and she always wore her dark hair back in a ponytail...It never occurred to him that Gena was actually quite attractive.
Carefully, he covered her nakedness with a blanket, and we went back to his chair, falling asleep almost instantly.
“Jim! I'm a person again!”
Jim was awakened in the morning by Gena's shout. She pulled the blanket over herself in order to cover every bit of her body that was exposed. “And I have no clothes on. I forgot,” she added sheepishly. “You didn't have to stay here, you know.”
Jim stretched and rose. “I was worried about you.” He tossed her a bathrobe that hung on the door, and sat down on the bed. “And now I want to know what it was like.”
She donned the robe and hopped to the floor, taking a moment to get used to being bipedal once more. “Oh, it was just so lovely. I can't tell you...and I felt so content as an animal. It was like none of the human stuff mattered. Who cared about jobs and taxes and the world? I just wanted to run, and leap, and...hunt...” her words trailed off.
“Did you want to rip me to pieces?” Jim asked.
“Thanks for not. What's next?”
“Next is work. Let me take a shower and get over to the lab. I'm going to have to find a way to tell Gary at some point.”
“Well, you said the formula lasts a week. Can't you just turn into something in front of him?”
“Well, I'm not sure of the details yet. I thought of a cheetah and I did turn into it. But I apparently changed back in my sleep. I have to look into that first. Let me get all the info before I present it to him.”
Mickey was still a block of cheese. As Gena studied him, she wondered how it would feel to be inanimate. Was he aware? Was he feeling anything?
“Hey, Gena, I wanted to check on the fruits of your labor!” Gary had entered the lab without her noticing. He stared down at the cheese. “So you have a pet cheddar now?” he asked, genuinely puzzled.
Fruits...What if I was fruit? Gena's mind fell to a story she had read online about a woman who had turned into a...fruit-woman...
She felt a strange twinge. “Oh!” she grabbed at her stomach, and her boss viewed her with alarm.
“Are you okay, Gena?”
Her skin was taking on blotchy tones, which were growing into splotches of color, and she realized what was happening. I'm turning into a fruit-woman... just like the story... I can't...Oh, God, how do I stop this? Her fingers were drawing back into her hands, which were becoming orange and spherical...
“Gary! I have to go...” she sprinted out of the lab without waiting for an answer from her confused boss. Racing down the hall to the bathroom, her body began to rapidly transform. She was all colors now, and somehow her body was forming into fruits...grapes, plums, peaches... “This is impossible! How can I turn into a bunch of fruit and still walk and talk and have it all stay together...” Her clothes hang limply off a figure that was truly organic in every sense of the word. She threw open the bathroom door just in time for all of her to collapse to the floor. She was now nothing but a pile of fruit and clothing.
Yet she could see...! How? She watched, fascinated, as parts of her scuttled across the tiles. The apple over there was part of her arm, the peach that had rolled under one of the stalls was her right knee, the cherry under the sink was her belly button...
She giggled. “How weird is this?” she said, momentarily enjoying the other-worldliness of the experience. But quickly her anxiety worked its way back in, and she tried to draw herself together. Slowly the escaped fruits came back to her, and they merged with her, melding into her form... “That had to have done something,” she murmured, but looking to her side, she could see that, unfortunately, she was still made of fruit. Only now, she had no body. She was simply a face atop a pile of clothes.
“A talking fruit-face. Awesome,” she mumbled. “God help anyone who walks in here.”
Taking another second, she tried to focus on turning human again. She thought of her body, and what it was like to walk. “Hmm, forget walking. It is kind of relaxing to be like this...as long as someone doesn't bake me into a pie.”
And then she was rounding out, her outsides getting soft but almost...crispy?
“Mmm...” she uttered, allowing herself to get lost in the pleasantness of the transformation. “This does feel good...”
The changes stopped, and then she realized in horror that she was not becoming human.
“Oh my God! I'm a pie!”
Astounded and horrified at the same time, she inexplicably let out her breath. Was there anything this formula couldn't do? Now she was no longer even a living being! She was baked goods!
As she sat there, reluctantly allowing herself to bask in the sensations of this new form, the bathroom door creaked open, and Lainie, one of the lab assistants, walked in.
Lainie bent down in front of her. “Why the hell is there a pie on the floor? Was this one of Jim Marks' stupid jokes?” Gena felt herself being hoisted up.
The girl sniffed at the pie. “Mm. Smells delicious. Fruity. Too bad it's sitting on the bathroom floor. I'd love a slice. But I know who could use a special dessert delivery!”
Being small and round was quite interesting for Gena. As Lainie carried her, having no idea that the dessert was really a person, Gena found herself enjoying her predicament. Yet at the same time, there was a nagging fear. What if someone actually did dare to eat the pie that had been found on the bathroom floor?
My God, I could die!
When Lainie placed her on Jim's desk, Gena attempted to change back as soon as the assistant left. Yet the more she tried, the more her fear compounded until the little pie was awash in trepidation.
And then Jim entered.
“Jim! Don't eat me!” Gena immediately shrieked.
Jim dashed over to his desk, staring at the fruit pie. “What the hell... Gena? Is that really–”
Now that the danger had passed and Jim was aware that it was her, she relaxed a bit. “I'm a talking pie,” she giggled.
He collapsed into the desk chair. “Holy...hell...But...why are you giggling like that? Aren't you scared? Someone could have eaten you!”
“I kind of like it. I like being a dessert. As long as I know no one will indulge in a little Gena pie.”
Snorting, Jim pulled her closer to him. “Gena, however nice this is, you really can't stay like this. You'll...well, get moldy?”
“You could put me in the refrigerator.”
“Are you serious? Come on, try to turn back.”
“So far, I can't.”
“Well, you better work on it. Stay here with me and try.”
“But I like it too much!”
“Fine, but stay here so I can protect you.” This sounded quite funny to Gena; a pie that needed protection, but Jim was dead serious. So she remained on his desk all day, contentedly experiencing her pie-form. He had to turn away many disappointed people who were quite willing to sample the delicious-smelling dessert. At the end of the day, he wiped his brow, tired from fighting off a very hungry and insulted Gary. “Gena, I'm going home. Make yourself into a person.”
Gena could not. “Why can't I turn back?” she moaned a bit worriedly.
“I don't know. But I can't leave you as here as a pastry. I'm taking you home with me.”
He brought her home and went into the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator door, he murmured, “Let's cool you down a bit.”
“Don't put me in the refrigerator! I didn't mean that! What if I turn back!” Gena cried indignantly as Jim slid her next to a carton of eggs.
“Hmm. You're right.” He carted her into the living room. “Stay on the couch here and be a good pie.”
He placed some clothes beside her, and went off into his bedroom to sleep.
Gena enjoyed the slumber of a pie. It was more peaceful than one would expect.
The next morning found Gena in human form, already awake and dressed on the couch. “Good morning, Jim. Miss me?” she joked.
“I miss the sweet smell of baked goods...” he countered, then grew serious. “Thank God you're back, Gena. You have to figure out how to reverse your changes, though. Sleeping seems to work. I think you also need to want to turn back. Maybe you were enjoying being a pie a bit too much.”
“It felt good, I have to admit.”
“You were very nice and fruity. I was dying for a slice of you.”
“Thanks, Jim,” Gena blushed.
At work, Gena did her best to focus on the experiment she was working on. Nonetheless, she eventually found herself fixating on the graduated cylinder she held in her hand. Immediately, she lost hold, and it fell to the floor and shattered.
“Oh, no,” she moaned.
The hand she had been gripping the glassware with had taken on the transparent tone of the glass. It was hardening and shrinking back into her arm, which itself was disappearing into her shortening body. Her clothes slipped off her as she swiftly turned into a hollow glass...
Jim walked in hours later to find a pile of clothes on the floor, and a very shapely looking piece of lab equipment in the middle of it. He picked it up and felt it shudder slightly. “Oh, no, Gena. Really? A graduated cylinder?” he almost laughed. “Can you talk like this?”
He received no answer.
“Great. And I was looking forward to having conversations with my lab equipment. Oh, well. Come on into my lab and we'll see if you can turn yourself back. You're lucky Gary doesn't check in on you as much as he does to me. But he still might wonder where you are.”
He could have sworn he felt the glassware quiver happily.
“Gena, change back!!” Jim yelled frustratingly at the graduated cylinder on his desk. It had been relaxing there for hours. “Damn, couldn't you have given yourself a mouth or a face so we can talk?”
Once again, he received no answer.
“I know you probably are happy the way you are,” he said mournfully. “But you have to learn how to change back so you can talk to Gary.”
The glass wobbled slightly, and Jim sat up hopefully. “Yes, Gena! You moved! I saw that! Keep going!”
The object moved again, bulging in and out in several places, then growing still.
Jim ended up leaving work with an attractive graduated cylinder in tow.
Jim got out of his car in front of Gena's house. Cradling her breakable figure in his hands, he walked up the front path to the door. Suddenly she began to shudder violently, growing heavy. Jim gripped her tightly, afraid she might still break, but she was swiftly becoming a naked ...sleeping ...woman.
“Oh, God! The neighbors will see!” Jim gasped, pulling his shirt over her and bringing her around to the back yard.
Her eyes fluttered open. “Oh, hi Jim! The car lulled me to sleep.”
“You're naked again, Gena.”
“Yes, I noticed.”
After extracting several promises from her to be careful, Jim left, and Gena was alone to enjoy the night. She was heartened by the fact that she had started to turn back to herself when transformed, but, at the same time, she was ashamed to admit that Jim was obviously right – the transformed subject had to want to become human again. And being hard, transparent glass had proven to be too much fun for her. She had half-heartedly tried to change back, but she had given up quickly. For truly, she wanted to remain an object. At least falling asleep seemed to make one drift back into their real form – since in this mind state, there was nothing holding the person back from reverting.
After a quick dinner, Gena drew herself a bubble bath, planning to indulge and celebrate her invention's victory. All her dreams had come true, and one day she would bring her transformation formula to the world so everyone else could partake in it as well!
She disrobed, looking forward to becoming one with her bubble bath...
“Becoming one...Ooo!” Too late she realized her slip of the tongue, but she did not care. She was getting lighter and lighter, and soapy...
“I'm becoming...bubbles!” she gasped with delight. The fruit-woman sensations were on the forefront of her mind, combined with the love of a good bubble bath... “Now I'm a bubble bath...woman!” As she strode across the bathroom, bubbles fell from her every which way. Each pop sent tickles through her evanescent figure. Being so light, she floated more than walked. When stepped into the tub, her bubbling form met up with the bubble bath, and they merged. She could feel herself blending with the soapy water, and it was incredibly calming. “I'm the bubble bath queen!” she chuckled, and lay there for hours until her bubbles had subsided and popped, leaving her as a thin film on the surface of the water.
“I'm drowning!” she sputtered. She had changed back in the tub, but luckily the transformation had jarred her awake before she went completely under. Her alarm shrilled in the other room, and the morning sun glared in. “Okay, I really need to work on the reverting part,” she admitted to herself.
After a relatively uneventful day at work, Gena's home phone shrilled. “Hey, Gena, I'm sorry it's last minute, but can I drop Max off over there for a few hours? Nat and I need to run out, and Max is working on his film project for school.”
Gena grew worried as she listened to her sister speak. Trish was always asking for help with her kids, and, Gena was always willing to do what she could. But this week wasn't the best of times...“Well, I'm working on an experiment, so weird things might happen, Trish.”
“Oh, there's always weird things with you, Gena. I'll warn him. It'll be really good though if you can. He's doing this claymation project, and he could use your help. You're good with that stuff.”
“Uh, okay. Just warn him...”
“Thanks, Gena. See ya soon!”
Gena was shrinking and softening, and the phone fell from her grip. “Wait! Don't come!I'm...turning into...clay...” But she knew it was too late. Trish would be here, but Gena would not be very available...
Gena liked being clay so much, however, she had not bothered to attempt to change back. She lay there happily until she heard the front door burst open.
“Aunt Gena? Where are you?” The high school-aged Max walked into the kitchen, almost stumbling over her.
“Don't get scared, Max,” she said. “I'm right here.”
Max knelt down. “No way! It talks!” he gathered up the slimy substance in his hands. “And it has a face! I can use it for my claymation movie. Cool! Where are you really, Aunt Gena?”
“Here, Max. I turned myself into clay...accidentally. With one of my experiments.”
Max gaped at the creature. “Your face is moving and talking...”
He poked his finger into her.
“Oof! Stop it, Max!”
“You feel that?”
“Yes! And don't ask me how. I don't know how it works.”
Max's mind went to work. “Well, Mom warned me about weird stuff, and she was right. But you can totally help me with my movie now! It'll be amazing!”
“Sculpt me into whatever you want. I'm game.”
And Gena secretly loved every moment of it, even if it was her nephew that was doing the sculpting. But she chose to go past this, because, after all, she was not a woman. She was merely clay.
And he made her all sorts of things- often she was a 'Gumby'-like creature, but he pulled her apart and made props and scenery with her too- part of her was a chair, another part was a tree, and another part was a dog. He moved each part of her around, posing her, and taking shots every so often with the camera.
She looked forward to watching his video. She hoped her clay form was sufficiently photogenic.
The next day, Jim took her outside the lab where he was growing a new species of bush. “It's an oak tree that never loses its leaves.”
“Well, it's more like a shrub.”
“I call it an 'oak bush'. It's like an evergreen, but it's an oak tree.” He eyed her for a moment. “Now, Gena, wouldn't you like to turn yourself into one?” He pulled out his phone.
“Well...” becoming a tree or bush sounded very nice, actually.
“We could tape you changing, and then record you changing back so you can show it to Gary. Might work easier than just telling him.”
“Aah.” But Gena had already started to transform. She watched in fascination as her legs melded together and plunged into the ground. “I'm trying to turn into a bush, not a tree. Let me see if I can focus on that.”
“Go for it!” Jim recorded the changing woman in awe. She still retained much of her face, but her skin was darkening and getting rough. She gave a delighted cry as branches began to pop from her on all sides.
“I seriously feel my head...dissolving into my...well, what was my shoulders!” she chuckled. Her features began to run together and leaves popped from her branches. The bush gave one final shudder, and then grew still.
“Oh, Gena! You're perfect!” Jim jumped towards her and patted her greenery. “Can you talk like this?”
He received no response whatsoever.
With a sigh, he stopped recording. “Oh, Gena, you were so intent on getting that form that you forgot to keep your mouth. Can you try to get it still?”
But no mouth formed on the bush, and Jim shrugged. “Oh well. I'm going to go inside and work a bit so you can enjoy. Then I'll come back out and we'll try to get you to turn back.”
Only seconds seemed to go by until Jim returned and started to film her. She was loath to become human again; this wonderful, compact form was impossible to explain to anyone who had not been a plant. Nonetheless, she knew it was imperative that she learn control. They had to know all about her formula before sharing it with others. Gradually, she pulled her branches and roots back into herself and forced herself into human form. Jim threw a blanket over her, and they went inside.
“Nice job!” he said excitedly. “I knew you could change back!”
“You really need to want to with every bit of your, well, soul. I mean,” she paused, searching for words. “I was a bush, not a person. And I wanted to remain what I was. Every part of me wanted to stay that way, and it's almost like the whole form was fighting my push to change it...”
“It's that nice?” Jim was dubious.
“Oh, Jim,” she raised her eyebrows. “You have to try this. It's just...indescribable.”
He clicked his tongue. “Well, now I guess you're all set to talk to Gary.”
“Not until the week is over. I need to describe everything from beginning to end to him. Right now I'm going home.”
“I'll check on you later.”
“You don't have to.”
“I sure as hell do.”
Jeremy was on the phone yet again. “I'll be by later, Gena. Got that pumpkin for me to carve?”
“Oh, not yet, Jeremy. I'll go to the farmstand right now and grab one for you.”
“Sounds good. See you later.”
“Maybe,” Gena said wisely. She truly had no idea if she would be human later.
She closed the front door behind her and set off down the street. Her neighbors down the block had a small farm, and the pumpkins were laid out, fresh and ready to be bought.
I want to turn into a pumpkin...
“Ooops!” Gena breathed as her skin started turning orange. “No, no...not yet...I can't...I'm outside!” She fanned at her skin in a fruitless effort to stop the inevitable metamorphosis. “I gotta get home...” Tripping back down the street and up her front lawn, it was all she could do to open the front door with her orange, globular fingers. She ran inside and fell to the floor as her legs and arms quickly fused to her body.
She really desired this transformation, and because of this, she realized, and it was proceeding very rapidly.
Of its own accord, her body curled into a ball. She was becoming spherical, and she could feel lines inscribing around her round, hardening figure...
She let out a last blissful breath as all of her was reduced to a gourd.
Damn, I forgot a mouth again, she thought, and then dozed off, reveling in her handsome new form.
“Gena! You're not here? You could have waited for me! I'm coming to help you, after all!”
Jeremy's calls roused the sleeping pumpkin, and it took a moment for Gena to place where and what she was.
“Oh, you picked out a nice one! It's perfect, and it's huge! How the hell did you lug it home?”
Jeremy whacked her side, and she started to panic. He was here to carve her pumpkin...
He went into the kitchen, and she could hear him searching through the drawers. “Where's your damned carving knife?”
What will happen to me if he cuts me? She wondered in fear. Part of her told her to change back, yet the other part... She was a pumpkin, after all, and she desperately wanted to be made into a jack-o'-lantern! She could sit on the window and watch the kids go by...
But if he cuts me up, won't that kill me?
“Here it is!” Jeremy's loud footsteps approached, and Gena's fright started to overwhelm her. She attempted to push her round figure into a more womanly one, but the worry was impeding her, and deep down, the craving was overcoming her logic...
The knife plunged through her tough skin into her spongy middle, and she would have gasped joyfully if she could have. Why did having a knife plunged into her in pumpkin form feel good? Jeremy cut her stem and top off for easier access, and it felt like she was merely getting a hair cut. As he scooped out her gooey insides, she was laughing to herself, and perhaps Jeremy felt this, because he paused momentarily. Holding a handful of seeds and pith, he tossed it into a bowl with her stem. “That was weird. It almost felt like the pumpkin moved. Maybe we had an earthquake or something?”
But he set back to his task, cleaning her out completely. Then he moved on to create her face. Eyes and a large grin were cut into her, and then he studied his handiwork. “Nice job as usual.” He tossed the knife into the sink without cleaning up. “Would have been nice if you were here, Gena. Hope you like this,” he said, and walked out.
“I do,” Gena giggled through her new mouth.
Banging at the front door heralded the arrival of Jim. “Gena! Open up or I'm coming in!”
“Come on in! I think Jeremy left it open!” Gena called.
Jim burst in, looking around wildly. “What are you?”
“I'm in the kitchen!” she sang merrily.
“Oh, God, you sound weird...” He raced into the kitchen to find a smiling jack-o'-lantern, its innards littering the counter.
“Hi, Jimmy-boy!” it giggled.
Dashing to the counter, Jim grabbed up the smiling pumpkin in horror. “Oh, no! Oh, my God! He...carved you!! Oh, my God!” he kissed her, his eyes moist. “Did it hurt you? Oh, God, how will you turn back?”
“Jim! Put me down. I'm fine! I loved it!”
Jim slowly set her down and backed off. “But...half of you is in that bowl...”
“I know. I still feel me in there.”
“Does your brother know he just carved his sister into a jack-o'-lantern?”
“No. I didn't have a mouth then.”
“When he carved me a mouth, then I was able to use it.”
In the ultimate delayed reaction, Jim's legs finally gave way under him, and he fell to the floor. “Gena...I don't know...I...It's just...” He rose and steadied himself, staring at her ghoulish face. “You turn into a pumpkin. You still see and feel...”
“And you're fine after someone cut the hell out of you...This isn't science. It's magic!”
The pumpkin smiled craftily. “So I've discovered magic, then.”
Jim gulped, and gathered up the contents of the bowl. “You need to change back. We have to make sure you'll be okay.” He started stuffing her innards back inside her.
“Hey! Stop it! Why are you doing that?”
“I'm afraid if we don't have all of you together, then you'll turn back missing an arm or something.”
This gave Gena pause. “Well, I don't want to turn back.”
“Well, you will eventually.”
“Listen, leave me like this. I change back to myself on Halloween night. Come back then and you can stick me back together before I do.”
For the rest of the formula's duration, the happy jack-o'-lantern remained on the windowsill watching the world go by. And as Halloween day progressed, she could start to feel the tell-tale signs of the formula wearing off. When Jim came in, he could see she was becoming more bulbous and was beginning to shake. “Let's get you off the counter, Gena.” He picked her up and placed her on the floor.
“Thanks, Jim, I seriously was trying to hold the changes back until you got here...”
Jim stuffed her remaining seeds and cut-out parts back into place, and suddenly the pumpkin literally exploded into Gena. She lay panting and naked on the floor. “That...was...amazing!” she cried.
He examined her closely. “You feel okay? You're all there?”
She looked down at herself, not caring about her nudity in the least. In her mind, she was still a gourd. “Yes, I'm there.”
He retrieved her her robe, helping her put it on while seating her on the couch. He cooked up some tea, and she drank it gratefully. “Funny, I haven't been human for a bit. I guess I do miss eating,” she uttered.
Several children came to the door to trick-or-treat, and Jim gave them the candy that Gena had prepared days before. Then he settled down next to her as she finished her drink.
“Hey, Jim,” she placed her mug down on a side table. “Want to trick-or-treat?”
“Aren't we a bit old for that?”
Gena reached into the drawer of the side table and pulled out several test tubes. “Not if we don't want to be!” She winked and tossed him the formula.