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literature by InorganicHeart5

caity's world by phantom inker by mattchilly

Caity's World by phantom-inker by dominusexmachina

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Submitted on
October 16, 2007
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The mirror conveniently ended just above waist-level, and if Caitlyn squinted a little, she could almost convince herself that the rest of the woman in the mirror was actually a normal human being.  She'd tried on five shirts now, and each one didn’t look right:  This one was too “datey,” the last was too casual, and the one before that was too formal.  This.  Wasn’t.  A.  Date.  She was just meeting a guy, walking with him for a few blocks, and then going home.  Nothing more.  Even if he did have that wavy hair.

She’d already concluded that he didn’t need to know that Kat was out of town.  It was simpler to just act as if everything was normal.  Well, as normal as she could feel being stuck as a horse for a year and a half, at least.

A year and a half...  she couldn’t believe so much time had gone by already.  But the calendar confirmed it:  This was the end of April.  A year and a half ago, she’d gone to sleep as human for the last time, and woken up the next day with extra legs.  There was no rehab, of course; you woke up knowing how to use your new body like you’d always had it.  But there was plenty of therapy.  Plenty of therapy.  Which had nearly brought her to bankruptcy twice.

Her mother had suggested that she try to get a job using her new body, like construction work or maybe with the police.  And she’d pointed out that she hated physical jobs, loved her art degree, and just needed a break.  Of course, she’d just needed a break for the last six years, but any day it was around the corner.  It had to be.

The clock ticked closer to seven, and she snapped out of her reverie.  He would be waiting downstairs.  This shirt had to be good enough.  After all, this wasn’t a date.

Once more, she tossed over the thought of changing into a human, but she’d spent nearly the entire day as a human, and her body was tired of the abuse.  She had no idea why it was so straining to do it — well, actually, she had a pretty good idea, and it involved squeezing five hundred pounds of horse into half of a hundred-pound sausage, and she was often surprised that doing it didn’t violate the laws of physics entirely.  Or maybe it did:  The laws of physics weren’t as solid these days as they used to be.  There were even reports of —

The clock chimed.  Seven o’clock.  She was late.
*   *   *

There was no doubt as to which of the men outside the apartment building was him.  He was standing there in a dapper pinstripe suit, with a matching fedora and a shiny black cane, and he looked like a millionaire playboy.

“Exercising your jaw usually involves it moving both up and down,” he said, grinning at her.

She boggled, and clamped two hands around her mouth, hastily shutting it.

“Well, then, shall we?” he asked, offering an elbow.

She looked down at him.  She tried to stifle a laugh.  She laughed.  She laughed so hard that she stumbled sideways and leaned against the brick of the building, barely able to speak.

“Okay, what’s so funny?” he asked, lowering his elbow and walking over to her.

“I...  oh, man, I guess it just struck me,” she said.  “I mean...   hah, oh, wow, I mean, I’m a foot and a half taller than you are, for one thing, and I’m sturdier too.  I don’t exactly need to lean on you for support.  Heck, if anybody’s gonna do leaning, it’d be the other way around.  And this isn’t a date, anyway.”

He shrugged.  “Seemed like a gentlemanly thing to do at the time,” he said.  “And that’s right, it’s not a date, but we need to keep up appearances.”

She swallowed hard.  That’s right.  She was supposed to be acting like this was a date that wasn’t a date.  Or was it was a date...  Or...  no, wait.  It was supposed to be —

“Uh, ground control to Caitlyn?” he said.  “Are you okay?”

“Not in a long time,” she answered, standing upright.

“How long?”

“A year and a half,” she said, and started toward the park.  Well, actually, she didn’t remember being all that okay even before a year and a half ago, but at least she was normal then.  He nodded, and started walking beside her.

They passed a handful of people, and around the next block, he looked up at her.  “You don’t have to hate it, you know,” he said.  “There are a lot of successful people who’ve changed.”

“Successful, but are any of them happy?”

He shrugged.  “Beats me.  Is anybody happy?  Happy’s a pretty relative thing.  See that guy?  That hot dog’s making him full, for now.  And those two?  They’re enjoying that kiss, but they’re gonna be shouting over money later.  You’re best off just trying to enjoy what you can when you can.”

“I used to enjoy skiing,” she said.  “I haven’t done it in two years now.”

“I’m sure there’s somebody who makes centaur skis,” he said.

“Do you even know how ridiculous that sounds?”

She fell silent for another block.

After they crossed the street, she stopped, her arm out in front of him, and turned to him.  “Alright, what’s the deal?  What are you doing here?  Cheer me up?  Is this a pity party?  Did you lose a bet?  Do I just seem easy or something?  You got some kind of weird horse fetish?”

He shook his head.  “You don’t have tattoos or piercings, you weren’t visibly drunk last week, you talk like you’ve actually had an education, you’re at least somewhat conservatively dressed, you’re not hideously ugly, and you seem to have a good sense of humor.  There’s an impressive woman inside that body, and I’d like to get to know her better.”

“‘Inside that body,’” she repeated.  “So you don’t like the horse either.”

“No, I meant there’s an impressive woman inside that rock-hard suit of armor you have wrapped around yourself.  She’s smart, she’s sexy, and she’s empowered, but she’s hiding.  I’m hoping that if I hang around you long enough, you’ll let her out to play.”

Caitlyn frowned and started down the cement ramp into the park.  He followed behind her.  A jogger, floating in an oblivious musical universe of his own, darted past them and slammed into her hindquarters, knocking her aside.

“Hey, watch it!” she said, turning around, but he was gone.

“You okay?” asked Wils.

“Never better,” she grumped, and didn’t turn around and didn’t start moving again.

Wils waited.

“I don’t date,” she said, not looking at him.  “I haven’t had a date in almost two years.”

“I know.”

“I don’t want to date,” she continued.

“I know.”

“So I’m not dating you.”

“I know.”

She stopped.  “Then why the hell are you following me?”

He shrugged again.  “Hope springs eternal.”

“Damn you.”

“What did I do?”

She growled.  “You were cute and interesting,” she said.  “Isn’t that enough?  There’s an impressive man inside that body, and by God I swear I’m not going to get to know him better even if it kills me.”

He smiled, walked around in front of her, and looked deep into her soft brown eyes, which had started to tear up a little.  He took her hand, gently, and looked like he was about to say something romantic and kiss it.

He looked up at her.  “I think that’s enough, then.  I’m sure your friend has forgotten about you by now, so you can safely go home.  Adieu, Lady Caitlyn, and I shall see you next Friday at seven.”

He whirled about, his coattails flying behind him, and with an almost-comical hop, he briskly paced away from her down the sidewalk through the trees.

“Wha...  Wils!” she cried, and darted toward him.  “Hey!”

He turned a corner around a cement wall, and she reached it only a moment later, but he was gone.  A single piece of white paper fluttered in the air in his place and floated down to the ground.  She bent down and picked it up.

It had writing on it.  “Nine six two...” she began.

There was a voice from the street up beside her.  Wils’ face peered down over the metal railing.  "That’s just for your records," he said.  "Please don’t call it unless you have to."

“But —”

“See you next Friday,” he said, and disappeared.
*   *   *

It wasn’t until she’d walked all the way home in an utter daze that she realized that the jogger who’d bumped into her had actually been a thief, and her purse was gone.  By the next morning, she’d successfully torn off one of the walls of the second bedroom with her bare hands, consumed the entire remaining carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and cried herself to a restless three-hour sleep.  But the slip of paper with Wils’ phone number rested safe in a pristine little porcelain box on the mantle of the apartment’s false fireplace, and somewhere deep down, she felt like the purse was a fair trade for that.
Caity's World, Part 4: Caitlyn finally has her long-awaited "first date" with Wils...

Please, if you like it, say something. The comments keep me going, and as soon as they stop, so does the story.

Part 5 is here. Part 3 is here. The introduction and author's notes are here.
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Automan217 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
How can you store 500 pounds of horse in a human body? That doesn't seem physically possible. Confused 
chelsea-johnson Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
icecream fixes everything.
corey3441 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
im a guy, straight, and have a sense of humor. i am reading this because i like the way you wright this and i think it is really funny
minecraftbob Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
awwww. girlz store everythin in there purses. poor caitlyn.
Karloon Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010
Interesting story. well wrtiten, though where does the extra mass go?
I know, I'm a technician and think of those things, but good to read.
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For those who can change themselves back and forth, the mass is still there; they just get denser when they're smaller. This isn't really a substantive plot point, so it isn't mentioned much, but that's how it works.
gppr Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2010
This story is very interesting. Caity character is captivating so far. As is her mysterious non date. :)

I like how you set up the stage for this story. How you tell us a little bit about when and how abruptly the change happened. How people have moved on with their lives and adapted to the change.

*goes on reading*
Catgoyle Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2010
Man... I remember meeting this really neat guy at a dance club about 20 years ago. We talked most of the night, and danced some. He was stuck in a wheelchair, but I was willing to work with that. We exchanged phone numbers... and the next morning on my way to work, I lost my wallet, which still had his number in it. When my wallet was returned, his number, my bus pass and the bit of cash I'd had were gone, but my ID was still there. I was more upset over losing his number, because I knew he'd think I just blew him off after the wonderful evening we'd had together, and I'd =wanted= to see him again.

I'm certainly enjoying your story!
chelsea-johnson Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
did u eva get his number back?
Catgoyle Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014
No... and I'm pretty sure he didn't call me because he wanted to be sure I was interested enough to call him, and that I wasn't just being nice to him while we were there. I prayed for a long time that he'd take a chance and call me, giving me a chance to explain that I'd =wanted= to call him, but lost my chance in less than 12 hours after we exchanged numbers.
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