Hot coals in my teeth where the soft nerves should be. They feel rigged to explode, digging enamel shrapnel into my taut cheeks and swelling tongue. Each little white grinder repelled the others torturing their pink foundations. Face creaks from expanding bone. Every cell suffers, and I itch. I couldn’t tell you exactly how the hair comes up. Not with agony clamping my sight, threatening me with unconsciousness. Fistfuls of morphine help, but not much. My skin is inflated with hard tumors. Each foot is a flesh zeppelin warping slow inside. There is no way to scratch with hands of stretching ligaments, filled purple with blood.
I cut it a little too close in the diner. Should’ve got the steaks to go. Barely made it to this little shack despite the fact I scouted it days before. When I feel the first twinges of change I take the next few days planning the feeding. The change starts in my digestion. I eat a full meal and get hungry again two hours later. This is about a week prior to the big day. Usually my skin has just finished healing.
Back in the shack the dark blue carpet rubs my skin so thin it splits, and I mash pus into the fibers with my writhing. Imagine being burned from your feet upwards, lashed to a pole by the people you go to church with. Once my fur is thick enough, it gets pushed into the cuts and sticks. I force a short peek and my nose is black and wet capping off four inches of upper mandible. The pain abates slightly. But this pain will never truly be gone. Imagine your lover smashing all your bones with a hammer, then twisting your body into an S shaped cast.
Vision, blurry. Wooden plank walls just a chocolaty mass. Dark rectangle is the door. Bones aren’t sturdy yet, more like peanut brittle. I wait. Sudden relaxing makes me urinate. Something in my throat changed, only rumbling hurt, growling in breaths. They become solid slowly. I stand. Joints seem to be a series of sharp rocks on nerves.
After that first spike in hunger the bones start to itch near the joints. Not all the time, and not all at once, but with increasing frequency. Most of my money is spent on healing salves, bills, and enough food for a family of four. I eat to sustain the transformation. All I can do during the transformation is eat. When it’s over I’ve learned to force myself to eat even though I’m not hungry. This cuts days from the healing process. I’m caught in a cycle of violence with no point other than to sustain itself. When I’m able to stop and think, all life seems to follow this same pattern. A violence that begets more violence. During the times of healing all I want to do is sleep.
Right now, I want to kill. My muscles clench like a seizure that hits and doesn’t go away, but I still move. The cracks between the wall boards fade in, pinstripes. Past trails of ants innumerable, they radiate a horrid pine-vomit odor.
Prickling restlessness in my core, the same place that creates life telling me to shred it. Natural, organic impulses. Cool, smooth night air only gets through on my nose, and palms. A field of yellow halogen flowers, below me, down the hill. Then it hits and I’m angry, and hungry. If I don’t want to move again, there can’t be any survivors.