Chapter 1

Life was good, it was June, and the weather was finally sunny and warm instead of grey and wet like it was most of the year. I was doing well at school, exams were still a blip on the horizon so no need to worry about them yet, or so I told myself. I had some great friends and to top it all, a beautiful girl friend.

Just thinking of her made me smile. Lisa was a petite red head with a pale freckled complexion and green eyes hinting at her Irish ancestry. Her face always seemed to have a hint of amusement on it like she was just on the brink of laughing. Her smile just made me melt. She had curves but nothing was exaggerated, she was just cute and sexy and to go along with her physical appeal, she was funny and smart.

How an average height not particularly handsome brown haired brown eyed chap like me could get so lucky was a source of constant amazement to me.

Lisa was also sneaky; she would slide up next to me before I noticed she was there and press herself against me. Sort of like how she was doing now as I walked in the school gate. "Hey handsome," she grinned up at me.

We kissed and then arm in arm, made our way up to our classroom for morning registration.

"How was your weekend?" I asked.

"Oh it was a drag. We went to my aunt's to help her move some stuff out of her attic. I missed you." That earned her another kiss, "How about you?"

"You know me, video games till the wee hours."

"You boys and your toys," she smirked.

"I did miss you though." She gave me a half hug as we made our way up to the second floor where our classroom was.

When we walked in the room and were met by our small group of friends. Vicky gave us a sour look, "Oh, the love birds are at it again!" she said then broke into a smirk.

Vicky was tall with raven black hair in a very short spiky feminine cut. She had pointed ears and people used to call her pixie till she grew tall. She was somewhat mischievous so the nickname Pixie still popped up now and again. She was very pretty with dark brown eyes and a fabulous figure, all curves and legs that went on forever. We'd had a thing for each other a while back, but she'd broken it off before it really started. She'd felt a romantic relationship would ruin our friendship. We were still very good friends and had been for years. I sometimes caught her looking at me and Lisa when she didn't think I was looking and she looked almost jealous, though it might have just been me reading into things too much.

"Aren't you too tired of all that kissing and hugging after a whole weekend of it?" asked Dave, a short boy with thick glasses. He was a dog hybrid though it was more hidden than anything else. His eyesight had become poor but his sense of smell and hearing had increased dramatically. Other than that, he looked normal.

"We haven't seen each other all weekend!" I replied.

"Damn they're going to be worse than usual!" exclaimed the last of our group, Charlie, who was a frog hybrid. His skin was slightly odd looking, as it was adapted to being underwater, where he could absorb oxygen through it. He could also shoot his tongue out and grab things, which was really cool to see. He also had slightly webbed feet and hands which made him an excellent swimmer. He was also a really low power electrical elemental, he could shock you a bit like one of those Van de Graff generators they had in the science labs. He was a bit disappointed with the low strength of his ability but it was more than the rest of us had.

As took our seats we chatted about our weekend. Vicky had been to a lan party (a networked PC gaming session) with some clan she was in. She was a real hardcore gamer, so good she had won a few local competitions and wanted to try out for the cybergames. The thought of her making a living as a professional gamer was interesting. She was good enough that's for sure. Last time I played her at something she won 100 to 3 which didn't do my ego much good. What made it worse was I was pretty sure she threw the last few games just so I wouldn't feel too bad, because it had been 95-0 before I finally won one.

Charlie had gone to a lake with his family for some water sports. they were big into their sailing and swimming. Charlie reckons that's why He'd turned into a frog hybrid, he spent most of his life in the water and MORFS just made it more practical.

Dave had just lounged around, enjoying the time off, which I could certainly understand. Sometimes it was nice to have some time to just do nothing. I'd enjoyed my own leisurely weekend, except that Lisa hadn't been with me.

Pretty soon Miss Adams, our house teacher rushed in. She was an intense woman called who was also a P.E. teacher, and always wore a track suit. She seemed to have little time to mess around and never seemed to smile, only scowl. After a swift run through the register and a few announcements, we were dismissed and sent off to our next lessons.

I gave Lisa a kiss good bye and headed off for science class with Vicky, Dave, and Charlie. Lisa was in a different set than the rest of us, which meant we were in different classrooms at the moment. I would get to see her at break though, and besides, sometimes having her there with me was distracting.

We muddled through learning about the Haber process, then headed for our classroom to hang out till our next lessons I chatted with Vicky while we waited for Lisa to show up. When it got to be about half way through break and she still hadn't showed, I began to get a little worried. I wandered over to one of the people in her class. "Hey Betty, did Lisa get held back after class or something?"

The girl's face fell, a sort of shocked terror like she knew something and didn't want to be the one to tell me, "You haven't heard!"

I gave her a blank look and she stutteringly continued, "She collapsed in the middle of lesson. They hauled her off to hospital," she said wide eyed.

It was like the floor had given way and I was in free-fall. I barely heard the rest of what she said.

I staggered back over to my friends. "Lisa collapsed in science," I said.

"What?" exclaimed Vicky.

"Is she okay?" asked Charlie.

"I don't know, they took her to hospital," I replied.

The rest of the day was a blur. At lunch we tried to find out what was wrong, but had no luck. I sleepwalked through the day in a haze of worry, not sure what had happened to Lisa, wondering if she was okay.

When I got home from school I tried calling her on her mobile. After a few rings it was answered. The person on the other end wasn't Lisa, but it sounded like her mother. "Hello who is this?" she asked, sounding weak and frightened.

"Hello this is Bert., Is this Mrs Brown? I'm trying to find out what happened to Lisa."

"Oh yes, hello Bert. I'm sorry I meant to call you, but it just slipped my mind

"Is Lisa OK?" I asked fearfully.

"For now. They put her on some intravenous drugs and are observing her overnight, but we should be able to take her home tomorrow to ride out the rest of it."

"What's wrong with her?"

"Well, she's come down with MORFS. Something to do with the onset drained her body of energy, causing her to lose consciousness. Assuming she is stable over night the doctors say she should be good to go through the rest of it at home."

"MORFS ... Oh, is she awake can I speak to her?"

"No I'm sorry they sedated her already."

"OK, wish her get well soon for me."

"I will, Bert. I'll try and have her call you when she comes round."

"Thanks Mrs Brown. Bye."

I was still a bit shocked but at least I now knew what was wrong. I still worried about the MORFS. People still died from it even now, though it was rare. It also changed people, and I wasn't sure if that was worse than killing them. Still, there was nothing I could do to change things. I just had to deal with what was.

I decided I need to put my own worries to the side and think about how to make Lisa feel better. I went online and ordered her some flowers and a teddy bear with a get well card attached. She wouldn't get them till she got home but I was sure it would brighten her mood.

Next day at school was tough I couldn't stop thinking about Lisa. Was she going to be alright, was she changing into someone else, would I still like her afterwards if she did?The questions kept bouncing around in my head, making me distracted. I couldn't focus on lessons and I was distant with my friends not really listening to them or paying attention. I guess I was pretty lousy company and it wasn't like they weren't worried either. Lisa was their friend too.

I muddled through the day in a fog. It was like I was somewhere else most of the time. It wasn't till I got a call from Lisa in the evening that I was awake and alert.

"Hey handsome," She sounded frail.

"Hey yourself, Beautiful. How are you feeling?" I asked.

"Horrible, sick, tired, and achy," she said.

"Nasty. Did you get my flowers?"

"Yes, thank you, they cheered me up. The bear was cute."

"So do you want me to come visit?"

She paused for a while, "No I'm going to be mostly asleep and I don't want you to see me like this."

"OK," I said, trying to mask my disappointment.

"I'll see you when I'm better, promise. Well, I've got to go sleepy time again, see you in a week or so."

"Okay, Lisa, love you."

"Love you too, Bert."

She rang off. I could understand her wanting to go through this thing on her own. It was no fun to have someone else see you when you were ill and vulnerable like that. Not to mention the change aspect. If she did change, then she didn't want me to see it till she was ready. Still, it would be a tough week waiting, like I was awaiting an execution or something.

I spent the week in a state similar to the day after she went into hospital. It got me in trouble with some teachers who didn't want to cut me any slack. My friends understood and tried to keep my spirits up.

A week passed and Lisa phoned me again. "I'm finished," she said. Her voice sounded different.

"How are you feeling?" I asked worried.

"Odd, I'm ... different."

"OK. How so?"

"I ... I... ," she paused and the phone went silent for a while, then she said rapidly, "You'll see when I come back to school tomorrow. I already have the all clear to return."

"If that's what you want."

"I'll see you tomorrow," she said. I thought I heard an edge of anxiety in her voice. She didn't want to face me yet, I wondered what had changed in her that made her afraid.

"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow. Love you."

She hesitated, "Love you too," followed by a click.

I spent most of the night worrying about Lisa and what had happened to her. I didn't get much sleep.

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Story tagged with:
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