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Old 05-02-2011, 05:30 PM   #1   [permalink]
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Zippy Zipperdale: The Tenth Expeiment

Okay, after a lot of work, here finally is the tenth chapter of Zippy Zipperdale. In this section, Zippy and the group are trying to figure out how to save Miss Piranha as well as help out Charity, Megan finally gives birth to her pups and Krystal get a visit she's been dreading. This chapter ended up being way cornier and sappier then I'd originally intended, sorry about that. Also sorry for the pseudo science, I barely get time to write let alone do any series research.

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The Tenth Experiment

By Hardcover

Megan, the sixty foot megalodon shark and resident of Madam Petri’s aquatic area, thrashed her head in pain. Her whole body shuddered and twisted as the spasms shook her body. She clamped her six inch teeth together and expelled sea water out of her mouth.

It was the day after the revelations of Miss Piranha’s illness. In the early hours of the morning, Megan had surprised everyone, including herself, by going into labor. Like most large sharks it turned out, megs gave birth to live young. Megan was now in a shallow birthing chamber, while Mr. Carcharias and his staff ran around making sure everything went smoothly. Many of the other teachers were there, including, Megan was glad to see, Miss Piranha. Also present were every member of Megan’s friends The Shark Tank Guild.

Morgan swam in circles agitated and panicky, rising up next to the chamber to look at her, then twisting around as nervous as any new father could be. Feeling helpless and useless as there was nothing he could do to assist his mate. All other male sharks, and real megs probably as well, didn’t do anything for their offspring other then fertilize the eggs. But with Morgan’s genetically upgraded intelligence, he was every bit as keen to take care of his pups as any Orca or other dolphin.

Her muscles contracting, Megan gave one more spastic twist and thrust of her massive muscular tail, and she could feel the shape of her first pup almost out of her birth canal. The agonizing spasms wracked her body and she gave another powerful push. Her muscles contracted and with a squirt of placental fluid, Abbey was born.

She flew out of her mother and down towards the bottom of the birthing chamber. At first, she seemed not to know what to do. She floated there, and then her gills moved and she began to breath. Colored a grayish green coat like her parents, and striped down her back as well, the infant megalodon was the size of a large Great White at twenty feet, her mouth already full of razor sharp two inch teeth.

“Oh, she’s beautiful!” Megan cried out in joy.

Morgan had moved over to the tank and was eyeing his daughter, his tail flipping with glee, “She is, she is beautiful. I’m a dad!”

The observers were cheering, and Megan held her head with pride. At least as long as it took for the contractions to start again, announcing that Brittney was now on her way. Megan slammed her huge teeth together as the pain started anew. But it was all worth it, she knew. She was now the mother of the most unique set of twins in the world, the new generation of a new species. As she so often did at the thought of her pups, she swelled with pride.

Their names, Abbey and Brittney, were taken from a pair of conjoined twins that were apparently slightly famous within the human world. Being that her daughters were one of the most unique twins on the planet, the names had seemed appropriate. Actually, the original names had been Mary Kate and Ashley, but some human writer name Steve Alten had already beaten them to the punch with that one.

Within an hour, the second pup was finally born, and Megan and Morgan were just the proudest parents in the world.

In the dark circular office of the Vice Principle, Archibald Innsmouth looked at the collection of teachers before him levelly, and impassively. As always there was a stern, no nonsense air about him, to say nothing of a sinister aura, but there was also a frustrating lack of concern on his face as the teachers tried to bring the problem to his attention.

The teachers were lined up in front of him, a regular line up of the usual suspects: Miss Piranha, Mr. DeSade, Mr. Carcharias, Miss Gojira and Mrs. Variola all stood their ground. As so many times before, the Vice Principle seemed to resent their presence. Despite his harsh glare which usually had most of them avoiding him whenever possible, the teachers this time held their stance.

Mr. DeSade spoke again, “I’m telling you, several of the students have disappeared without a trace. They’re not just skipping class, they’re missing, and no one has seen or heard from them.”

Mrs. Variola spoke up, her stern Scottish accent seeming ineffectual against Mr. Innsmouth’s heated gaze, “No one has seen Felicia for weeks. Her parents haven’t heard from her, her roommate hasn’t seen her. Mr. Innsmouth, we need to do something about this.”

With no discernable change in his voice, Mr. Innsmouth said, “Calm yourselves, all of you. There is no need to summon the cavalry. You’ll be pleased to note that the students in question have been summoned to assist Madame Petri in a rather important project, which is of top secret and the highest standard of discretion. I’m sorry if it alarmed you, but I’m afraid I can’t say anymore.”

The teachers looked at each other, incredulous.

“Why are we just hearing about this now?” Miss Piranha demanded.

“Madame Petri is under no obligation to explain her business to any of you, Miss Piranha.” He said coolly, “Now if you don’t mind, I believe the time is nearing that you might want to look after the students who aren’t quite so busy.”

Realizing they had been dismissed, the teachers silently made their way out of the classroom. After following them for a few seconds, Miss Piranha turned around and looked at Mr. Innsmouth.

“What is Madame Petri working on?” She demanded.

The Vice Principle narrowed his eyes at her, “I beg your pardon?”

There was a tense silence from the other teachers, but Miss Piranha kept going, feeling a little bolder. Bitterly, she thought of how much bolder she had gotten since finding out about her cancer.

“What is taking up so much of her time? Why does she need so many students to help her and to experiment with? Why don’t we ever see her any more?” She asked, “Why aren’t we being informed when our students are being used as her personal lab assistants, if that’s what they’re really doing?”

“It would do you well not to question either of us.” Mr. Innmouth said darkly.

“’Either of us’” Miss Piranha repeated sarcastically, “There’s only you. No one has seen Madame Petri in a very long time. What is going on, Archibald? And don’t tell me it’s Madame Petri’s secret experiment, because Madame Petri would never have allowed this to happen!”

Rising to his feet, Mr. Innsmouth slammed his hands down on the desk, his face contorted with rage, “Miss Piranha! You would do well not to forget your place! If you continue to question my methods . . .”

“You’ll what?” Miss Piranha leaned over the desk, almost daring him to do something.

The other teachers looked at on another with fear as Miss Piranha egged the dangerous Vice Principle on.

“That is something you wouldn’t want to find out.” Innsmouth said, regaining his composure.

He sat back down, and refused to say more. Eventually, the teachers left the office, filing off in uncertainty. A dark pallor seemed to have settled over the group as the walked away. Miss Piranha was the last one out, turning around and stalking off to the clacking sounds of her six inch heels. As she walked back down the hallway towards her classroom, Miss Variola fell in next to her.

“You are going too far.” Miss Variola told her.

“No, Valerie,” Miss Piranha sighed, “I’m not going far enough.”

Between her cancer and the disappearing students, Miss Piranha felt the icy touch of fear running down her spine. For the first time in her life, the future; once so bright and full of promise, was now a very scary place.

“This is Charity?” Krystal asked in amazement.

They were in Examination Room 12. The Examination Rooms were located in The Dungeon one floor up from where the Operating Rooms were placed. Unlike the ORs, which were square rooms with low ceilings, the Examinations rooms were oval in their construction and had high raised ceilings. This was because the walls were linked with a raised metal platform that ran all the way around the room so observers could watch proceedings without having to peer over someone’s shoulders. A large moveable light apparatus hung down from the center of the roof, illuminating a long metal examination table in the dead center of the floor.

Zippy, Lizzy, Krystal and The Twins all stared down at Charity’s new form as she sat despondently on the exam table, her knees pulled up to her chest, her tail swishing back and forth dejectedly. After discovering her, Zippy had wanted to take Charity to a teacher, but Charity had begged her not to, fearing that she’d end up the subject of lots of experiments. She also didn’t want any of the other students to see her like this, so in the end Zippy had ended up hiding her in one of the lower level store rooms and coming back the next morning to get her.

Zippy had returned back to her dorm to find all three of her roommates crying still over the news of Miss Piranha’s cancer. She had joined them, and the four of them had practically cried themselves to sleep. It had been one of the worst nights of Zippy’s life, and she now had the deep sunken dark circled eyes to prove it.
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:31 PM   #2   [permalink]
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Charity had begged Zippy not to involve anyone else, but Zippy had felt she’d need some assistance and had talked her into letting her get Lizzy and Krystal. The Twins had gotten involved by accident, running into them as they went to the exam room while they were chasing Sharon’s artificial robot cat around, much to Charity’s dismay. Intrigued, they had invited themselves along to help. Less enthusiastic was Krystal, who was still bitter about the way Charity had treated her after her own transformation.
Zippy hadn’t told Stitchy about this, unsure of her enthusiastic “daughter’s” ability to keep a secret.

Looking her over, with her gray skin, long tail and altered body shape, Zippy had to admit that she didn’t know where to start. Rubbing her hands over her chin, she sighed heavily. Charity was looking at her hopefully, although Zippy somewhat wished she’d stop: Those blank gray orbs she had for eyes were creepy in the way that, with no visible iris and pupil, you couldn’t always tell where they were pointed.

Zippy said, “I don’t want to get your hopes up; it’s going to be a long time before we even know what was done to you, let alone if there’s anything we can do to reverse it.”

Looking back at her knees, Charity sighed despondently, “I . . . I was afraid of that.”

“I’m not so sure we should be bothering with her at all.” Krystal muttered darkly, causing Charity to gasp.

“Krystal . . .” Zippy began.

“You weren’t there, I went to this bitch and her friends for help after my transformation and they just cut me down and left me there.” Krystal spat derisively, “Believe me, if any of us were in this situation, she wouldn’t do a thing to help.”

Charity’s eyes widened and brimmed with tears. She dropped her head on her knees and started to cry again, muttering something that might have been “I’m sorry” over and over but Zippy couldn’t tell for sure.

Taking a deep breath, Zippy said, “Cristobel wouldn’t have helped out either, but when you became Krystal, we were there for you despite that.”

Krystal seemed to soften a bit, “Touché.”

There was a long pause punctuated only by Charity’s sobs, finally Krystal threw her hands up.

“Alright, alright, I’ll help.” Krystal relented, “I don’t know what to do, but I’ll help.”

Katjia leaned over Charity’s shoulder, sniffing her curiously, her nostrils flaring as she did so.

“Umm . . . could you stop that?” Charity mumbled weakly to her.

Putting one hand on the table, Lizzy suggested, “Maybe we should get help from Mr. DeSade? After all, genetic manipulation is his area of expertise.”

That made sense to Zippy, but Charity reacted with horror at the suggestion.

“No!” She cried, almost desperate, “You can’t tell a teacher, they’ll turn me into an experiment! They’d poke and prod me, maybe even mutate me even more! Or they . . . they might d-dissect me! Please, don’t tell a teacher! Please!”

“Some teachers might,” Lizzy opinioned, “But Mr. DeSade’s pretty safe. And he’s not adverse to keeping things secret between him and his students.”

Zippy pursed her lips, “I suppose we could try ourselves first before going to Mr. DeSade.”

Charity breathed a sigh of relief. Katjia stood on her toes and sniffed the tips of her long pointed ears, intrigued by the changes in her.

“Please I wish you’d stop that.” Charity mumbled again.

There was a long moment of silence as everyone retreated deep into thought. Zippy pressed her hand on her chin, thinking it over. What had happened here? The changes were not surgical, of that she was sure, so someone had radically altered her genetic structure to create these changes. But why, what the hell could be accomplished by turning a stuck up rich bitch into a human mercat? There were other problems, such as how they could hide Charity while they worked on this; it would be easy to find a hiding place in the labyrinthine halls of the school, but that would make her some kind of prisoner. She wasn’t sure Charity, as fragile as she seemed, could deal with that.

Her fragility was another concern: Charity was not Krystal and didn’t seem to be made of the same stern stuff that allowed the later to adapt to the gender switch. Her mental state could easily deteriorate, especially without someone to help her through it. Zippy knew that someone should probably be Rick, but she was sure Charity would cringe at the idea of her boyfriend seeing her like this. And there was the problem of how Rick would react: Would he still love her or would he reject her and make the situation worse.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of pattering feet, and she realized with some bemusement that the Twins were playfully chasing Charity’s tail back and forth as it swished behind her.

Getting irritated, Charity yanked it back and pulled it away from them, “Will you two knock it off! It’s . . . its very sensitive.”

Nadjia straitened up, “Sorry, it’s just so cute. It looks fairly dexterous, can you grasp with it?”

“Er . . . I haven’t tried.” Charity said, running her hand over her tail, a little bit of curiosity pushing through the despair, “You really think it’s cute?”

“It’s going to be close to impossible to keep Charity hidden,” Lizzy said thoughtfully in her monotone voice, “The equipment we’re going to have to use can’t be moved, we’d have to sneak her up to various rooms without her being seen, and that’s not easy in this place.”

“Yeah, and Petri’s is gossip central.” Krystal said, “For all the advance I.Q.s, this place is worse then a sewing circle. One person spots her and everyone will know. They’ll sure as hell notice that she hasn’t been to class.”

Zippy nodded, “And I’m not even sure where to start here. I’m sorry, Charity, we’re going to need Mr. DeSade.”

Charity groaned in misery, her tail drooping with the emotion.

“Don’t worry; I’ll make sure he keeps it quiet.” Zippy assured her.

“How are you gonna do that?” Charity asked her.

“I’ll sleep with him.” Zippy joked.

“Mr. DeSade only likes chubby girls.” Charity said, looking back at the floor.

“Really?” Zippy asked, surprised. How did she know that?

Lizzy said, “And sooner or later, someone’s going to see you. Sorry, Charity, but our best bet here is to come clean about what happened to you. Look, it’s not like this school doesn’t have plenty or strangely altered students running around. You’re in luck; you’re in the one place where you’re more likely to be accepted.”

“Amber won’t accept me like this . . .” Charity began.

“---- Amber.” Krystal said, rolling her eyes.

“. . . neither will Tiffany . . .” she continued.

“---- Tiffany.” Lizzy interjected, getting in on the theme.

“ . . . Rick will leave me.” Charity finished up.

This time, everyone was silent.

“You don’t know that, Charity.” Krystal told her evenly, “The guy carried a torch for you for years and never gave up. I don’t think he’s going to just drop you like a sack of potatoes.”

“Of course he will!” Charity spat bitterly, “Look at me, I’m ugly!”

“Not really.” Zippy replied, looking her over.

Odd traits aside, Zippy had noticed that Charity still retained much of her former good looks. It had been fairly easy to recognize her when she’d first seen her. After a bit more debating, they decided to take Charity directly to Mr. DeSade. Charity resigned herself but insisted that they at least try to get there without anyone seeing her. Zippy gathered up the papers she had been carrying and then made their way out.

As they left the room with Charity moving behind them in her permanent stooped position, Lizzy spoke up again.

“You know, Zippy,” She opinioned, “It’s going to hard to divide time between Charity and Miss Piranha.”

Without hesitation, Zippy answered, “We should concentrate on Miss Piranha.”

Lizzy nodded, “That goes without saying.”

As they turned a corner, Zippy noticed something and brightened up: At the far end of the hall, Stitchy was walking the opposite direction with two other girls. They were all laughing and chatting and having a good time, teasing each other as girls do. The other two girls weren’t member of the Guild, however.

Zippy smiled: She’s being accepted. Stitchy was branching out and making friends of her own. It was probably inevitable, with Stitchy’s infectious personality, but it made Zippy feel good that her creation was able to overcome her strange appearance and giant size and still interact socially.

Good for you, girl, Zippy thought. This school, unlike many others, tended to thrive on the unusual. If a giant girl covered in stitches could make friends, Zippy was sure Charity could bounce back.

Then again, considering who her friends used to be, it would probably be a lot more difficult for her. Zippy would be lying if she said she hadn’t had the same thought Krystal did of abandoning Charity to let her soak in her fate, the girl had never been anything other then rude to Zippy and everyone else. To say nothing of the fact that she’d tried to help Cristobel in his plan to switch her head with Lizzy’s. And to tell the truth, her motivation for helping Charity wasn’t all that pure: She was relishing the chance to prove she was better then her and put a good old guilt trip on her.
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:32 PM   #3   [permalink]
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“What is that that you’re carrying?” Lizzy asked her, eyeing the papers in her hand.

Zippy grinned mischievously, “I thought you’d never ask. It’s something I’ve been working on for Miss Gojira’s class.

Zippy handed some of the diagrams to Lizzy who took them, looking them over curiously.

“’Sonic Grenade Launcher’.” Lizzy read aloud.

“It’s a small handheld device,” Zippy explained, adjusting her glasses in a scholarly fashion, “it can easily be mounted on a robot. It holds 12 ‘bullets’, which are really the sonic grenades. It should be pretty accurate, and once the grenades hit, they sent out a blast of low frequency sonic pulses that will destroy the target by sending out outward blast of sonic force.”

“Cool.” Lizzy nodded.

“The only problem,” Zippy admitted, “is that I don’t know how to adjust the blast radius. I don’t want to blow up the school demonstrating this.”

“No, that would be bad.” Lizzy agreed.

They turned a corner, and to Charity’s horror, ran into another student. Charity held her head down, letting her hair hide her as much as possible as they almost knocked over Rina as she was coming. After a several apologies on both sides, Rina looked down at Charity; she crouched behind Lizzy hopelessly attempting to hide.

Rina cocked her head the side, “What is that? Is that a new experiment?”

At the words, Charity dropped her head lower and began to sob again in loud pitiful sounds. Very quickly, Zippy filled Rina in on the situation while Lizzy made a vague attempt to console Charity, though her icy bland demeanor predictably got in the way.

As soon as Rina found out what was going on, she covered her mouth with a gasp and knelt down in front of Charity. For a second, Zippy thought Rina was going to start crying too.

“Omigosh! Charity, I had no idea.” Rina said earnestly, “I am so sorry. Please forgive me.”

Charity said nothing and continued to cry. Rina looked her over with compassion. A compassion; Zippy noted smugly, that Charity would never have shown any of them had the situations been reversed.

Lizzy said matter of factly, “Someone was bound to see her sooner or later. It’s not like she could just hide in her room.”

Charity lifted her head and hissed bitterly through the tears, “Of course not! Tiffany will throw me out the minute she sees me.”

Dropping her head again and crying, Charity moaned, “No one will want me like this. No one will want to take me in.”

“You can stay with me.” Rina said firmly.

“Seriously?” Zippy asked her, one eyebrow raised.

“Sure,” Rina nodded, putting both hands on Charity’s shoulders, “There’s plenty of room. I live with Buttercup, so I’ve already got an oddly shaped roommate. And with Madoka in my head, you could hardly call me normal. It’ll be fine.”

That was true, Zippy noted. Like most of the dorms, the one Rina occupied had only two people living it (although Rina/Madoka basically brought it up to three), despite being built to accommodate four. Zippy’s dorm was one of the few that was filled to capacity. Zippy forced down a snicker at Rina’s constant good girl act, no one polished their halo as much as her. It would be interesting to see what Madoka thought of the arrangement.

Looking up at Rina, her huge grey eyes filled with tears, Charity stared at her in amazement.

“Really?” She sniffed.

“Really.” Rina told her, “We’ll go to the school office and set it up right as soon as possible.”

Charity cried, “Why are you being so nice to me? It’s creepy!”

A few hours later, after Charity had been taken to Mr. DeSade who promised to take a look at her, and Rina had taken her off to set up their new dorm room assignment, Lizzy Malaria was back at the grav ball court, sitting in the back as always with a large book in her lap, watching the practice game. While she still had no particular enthusiasm for the game, she had begun to understand it more, and now found herself getting a little exhilarated during the matches. Especially when concerned with one particular player: Flash Driver, who she was watching now.

She held the book up, absurdly pretending to read while watching him play over the top of the book. She hadn’t told any of her friends that she came here, although she was sure someone had told them by now, as she felt more then a little embarrassed by it. Often she kicked herself about this minor obsession: It was stupid, she was paying attention to the same guy all the other, more popular girls did. Roughly Madame Petri’s version of the star quarterback (although Petri’s did have a football team). She kept telling herself over and over that it was ridiculous, but she couldn’t shake this insane fascination she had with him.

He was gorgeous and in great shape, but he was also really smart and very talented academically. He had a passion for science like anyone else, and it all conspired to hold Lizzy under his sway. At this point, she was now feeling a little guilty at all the teasing she’d given Zippy about her crush on Kyle.

Looking over the edge of her book, she saw that Flash was talking to Caleb as he usually did after the match. Was it her imagination or did he keep glancing over in this direction? She dropped her eyes to her book’s pages, irrationally worrying that he might notice her looking at him.

Again she kicked herself for the weird fixation. She had never been into sports or athletes before. When others had been at the big game in junior high, she hung out with a few friends having a picnic at Edgar Allen Poe’s grave in Baltimore, Maryland. The mainstream had never been a her cup of blood, so why was she so fascinated with the campus idol.

Again she peered over the edge of her book, and saw that while Caleb was going back to the lockers rooms, Flash was walking towards the bleachers. With a sudden start, Lizzy realized that he was headed in her direction. The bleachers had mostly cleared out and all the girls who had surrounded him to fawn over him had left already. She shot her eyes back to the pages, her heart hammering in her chest. What would she do?

He must have seen someone come in through the doors; they were just to her right. She ran her eyes up and down the pages of the book, not bothering to actually read. She mimed her reading, holding up The History Of Cannibalism Vol 4 as if it were a shield. She waiting to hear him walk past her, but didn’t hear the footsteps.

When she looked over the top of her book again, it was almost like that scene from the Nightmare At 20000 Feet episode of The Twilight Zone where Shatner opened up the airplane window to see the gremlin staring right at him, or even worse the same scene from the original story by Richard Matheson, which had always scared the ---- out of her when she was a little girl. She looked up and instead of seeing him walking away or past her, he was right there looking directly at her.

She almost screamed and resisted the urge to hide her face in the book. And then, to her utter astonishment, Flash Driver smiled at her.

“Hi.” He said pleasantly.

“Hah-hah-hello.” Lizzy babbled helplessly.

He was talking to her! He was talking to her! Why was he doing that?

“You’re name’s Lizzy, right?” He asked her, “Lizzy Malaria?”

“Yes, my parents gave it to me.” She said.

She made a mental note to never make fun of Zippy ever again for some of the stupid things she’d said around Kyle. She kicked herself wondering why she’d said something so retarded.

Flash laughed, “Yeah, my parents gave me mine too. It’s Flash.”

He thought she was joking, thank the pagan gods. Lizzy almost breathed a sigh of relief although she was still tensed up and flustered. Unlike Zippy, Lizzy had not had that much experience with guys. Sure, she’d had boyfriends in the past, but not a lot. Lizzy accepted that she was different, and that her strangeness kept most guys at arm’s length. She felt like she was strapped down in the pit with the pendulum swinging back and forth above her, getting every closer with its blade.

“Um . . . did you want something?” She asked.

“Well, I’ve just been noticing you showing up recently at the matches.” He told her, “You seemed kinda interesting, so I thought I’d say hello.”

Lizzy was fairly sure she was blushing, and with her pale skin, it was fairly obvious when she did. She didn’t know how to respond at first. What did he mean by ‘interesting’? Did he mean interesting as in interested in her? Or did he mean interesting in the way a freak show or a road accident is interesting. Or was he thinking of performing an experiment on her?

She simply said, “Why thank you, and hello.”

“Besides, I notice your reading about my favorite subject.” He told her.

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Old 05-02-2011, 05:33 PM   #4   [permalink]
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He laughed again, “You’re funny. I like you.”

Lizzy forced herself to laugh a little. Not easy, Lizzy Malaria was anything but funny

He tapped the other book that was sitting in her lap: Radical Molecular Biology—Risks And Benefits by the late John Twistenbody, “No, actually, I mean molecular biology. It’s a passion of mine.

And just like that, they were talking. Easy, relaxed, and fun talk. All of a sudden, Lizzy realized that she had just made a new friend.

Krystal was on her way to her next class, feeling somewhat confounded by all the recent problems. Between all her classes, Miss Piranha’s illness, and Charity’s new transformation, she felt like she couldn’t have more on her plate. More and more, things at Petri’s seemed to be getting complicated, or a least more complicated then usual, and somehow she and the rest of the Shark Tank Guild tended to be right in the middle of it. The question was: What could possibly happen next. Krystal had a nagging feeling that something else was just around the corner. It could just be nerves, the anxiety brought on by extensive stress, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something else just wasn’t right at the school. As she continued walking, however, her thoughts turned to something a little more positive.

She had been noticing, lately, at first not sure if it was her imagination or not, that boys had started to take an interest in her. Not walking up to her and asking her out or anything bold like that, but she’d been noticing that she was attracting their attention. Eyes stealthily seeking her out, taking looks at her that were more then just polite interest. For the obvious reason, very few of the male students had paid that sort of attention to her (Zippy’s brother Zach not withstanding). She was, after all, basically a transgendered female, albeit a much more complete and accurately female one.

She knew she was pretty, and she’d noticed a few more open minded guys that had seemed to like her right off the bat. But it seemed that the more everyone got used to and accepted her as a girl, the more her male past seemed to be less of an issue to her classmates.

She couldn’t help but smile; she had long since accepted her new gender. She would never tell her, but she had actually become rather grateful to Zippy for what she had done. For the first time, she felt she was really living her own life for once, although she feared the eventual confrontation with her father.

And she’d be lying if she said she didn’t like the attention. She was actually hoping one of them would man up and ask her out. In the privacy of her own thoughts, she had been thinking of boys romantically and sexually for a long while. She was, without a doubt, a woman now.

The only problem was that the guy she was most interested in, Kevin, didn’t seem to be showing that sort of interest. She had considered asking Zippy or one of the other girls for help in gaining his favor, but she hadn’t found herself ready to admit her infatuation with her best friend. One more problem she wasn’t sure how to solve.

Suddenly, Miss Piranha was standing in front of her. She was dressed in a black vinyl strapless dress with a red latex sash abound her waist. The dress billowed out around her supported by several petticoats underneath, and made a crinkling sound as she moved. She wore black nylon stocking and her usual high stiletto heels on her feet. Krystal jumped, startled, as the teacher had seemed to appear out of nowhere. She was dressed in navy blue leather strapless dress that hugged her body like a glove and seemed to strain to contain her voluptuous curves within its confines. As she had often of late, Krystal wondered if she could pull off wearing something like that.

“Krystal, there you are.” Miss Piranha said, her usual cheerful self.

“Ah, Miss Piranha, you scared me.” Krystal complained.

“Sorry.” Miss Piranha shrugged.

Krystal was silent for a second and then spoke, “Um, listen, Miss Piranha . . . you didn’t tell me not so, so I might have told some of the others about your cancer.”

Miss Piranha nodded, “I know. Stitchy ran up to me first thing in the morning and grabbed me and hugged me so tight I thought my ribs were going to break. Wailing on and on about how she wouldn’t let me die.”

She made a sad half smile, “She said you guys are working on a cure. Is that true?”

Suddenly feeling numb, all Krystal could do was nod.

“I appreciate it, but no one here has ever been able to cure cancer. What makes you think you can do it?”

“No one here was ever been able to create something like Stitchy, but we did it.”

Miss Piranha’s mouth tuned up in a smile, “That’s so true. If I can’t believe in my little Frankensteins, then who can I believe in?”

“Did you want something?” Krystal asked after a pause.

“Oh, I almost forgot!” Miss Piranha snapped her fingers, “Mr. Innsmouth wanted to see you in his office.”

Krystal made a face: If Mr. Innsmouth wanted to see you, it was never anything good. The Vice Principle was certainly not in the habit of praising students for a job well done.

“What’s it about?” Krystal asked.

The teacher shrugged, “I don’t know, he just asked me to come get you.”

Wordlessly Krystal followed Miss Piranha as the teacher led her to the administration area of the school. As they walked, Miss Piranha gleefully made conversation, mostly dealing with how well Krystal was adjusting to her new gender. She asked a lot of questions, like what kind of clothes did Krystal like, what kind of skirts or dresses she preferred and the like. She even began probing her romantic inclinations, asking what sort of boys Krystal liked. Krystal found she had very little trouble responding, citing the various traits she had begun to find attractive in boys of late. She stopped short of admitting who she was attracted to.

They arrived at Mr. Innsmouth’s office and Miss Piranha opened the door and went in first. As the entered, Krystal could hear voices on the other side. As soon as she went in, her heart leapt into her mouth and her blood turned to ice in her veins.

Her parents were here.

Her mother, Constance Bell, sat primly in a chair in front of Mr. Innsmouth’s desk. She was dressed immaculately in an expensive dark navy blue suit dress, and designer high heeled shoes. She had her hands folded neatly in her lap, her fingers decorated with diamond and silver rings, each one more spectacular then the last. She was a beautiful woman, as pretty as expensive plastic surgery could buy, with long brown hair that was tied behind her head in a French braid, its streaks of grey carefully colored out. Her long thin face was taunt and her lips pursed seriously.

Her father, Artemis Bell, however was on his feet. He was dressed in a luxurious Armani suit, a fine silk handkerchief in his breast pocket. On his feet wore a highly polished pair of Berluti shoes, gleaming slightly in the low light of Innsmouth’s office. Her father had chiseled, distinguished features, being possessed of a long face and strait hair brushed back and immaculately moussed in place. His hair was streaked through out with grey but retained a little of its original brown color. Unlike his wife, Artemis Bell had never bothered coloring his hair, nor his goatee style beard that was also heavily streaked with grey. His face was slightly pink as he angrily shouted at the seated Vice Principle.

For his part, Mr. Innsmouth sat at his desk, his hand in front of him with his fingers interlocked. In a stark contrast to Mr. Bell’s hot headed anger, Innsmouth regarded them both with a cold icy detachment. You couldn’t miss the fact that he felt this whole meeting was a waste of his time. He looked over his hands eyeing Krystal’s father with barely disguised contempt as he ranted at him.

“This is preposterous and absolutely unforgivable!” Mr. Bell shouted, “I did not pay you to have my son stripped of his masculinity!”

“Calm yourself, Mr. Bell.” Mr. Innsmouth said smoothly, “You were notified of the transgender transformation of you son months ago. I wonder why it is only now that you have decided to show up and complain.”

“I have had important business to attend to!” Mr. Bell snapped.

“More important then your child, apparently.” Innsmouth said.

“That’s not the point! The point is he was sent here to receive and education so he could take over the family eventually. I can’t give that honor to a daughter; it is a man’s task! You had no right to let this happen to him.”

“You were apprised of the nature of our school, Mr. Bell, were you not? I believe you attended here yourself, as did most of your forbearers. Radical changes can occur to the students here, it’s the nature of unrestrained science. If you were afraid of that happening, you shouldn’t have enrolled your son.”

“’Radical changes’? You emasculated him! This is the sort of thing that should happen to OTHER students here, not the scion of the Bell family.”

Viewing him incredulously, Mr. Innsmouth simply sighed. Miss Piranha took advantage of the break in the conversation to speak. Krystal, for her part, would have been happy to go on unnoticed. She even felt to urge to hide behind Miss Piranha like a little girl.

“Mr. Innsmouth, I’ve brought Krystal like you asked.” Miss Piranha announced.

Krystal’s mother turned her head first and gasped when she saw Krystal, putting one hand to her mouth in surprise. Hey eyes were wide, but there was something unreadable in her expression that Krystal couldn’t quite interpret. The shock in seeing the girl who was once her son was obvious, but Krystal couldn’t quite see how she really felt about it on the face of her mother.
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:34 PM   #5   [permalink]
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There was no mistaking the expression on her father’s face, however. His face turned from pink to red, and he glared at her in fury and contempt. The Bell family was old in its traditions, and still held the rule that only males could inherit title and estate. In his eyes, Cristobel’s transformation in Krystal was the most miserable failure imaginable.

“What the hell is this?” Mr. Bell roared, pointing a shaking finger in Krystal’s direction, “This is what you’d hand me in place of my son. A weak female? I demand that she be removed from this school. My wife and I will produce a new male heir. This woman is nothing to me! I reject any association with her, my son is dead! And that’s it.”

It felt, in a very real way, like Krystal had been stabbed through the heart. She had been dreading this moment for months. And it hurt just a badly as she had feared. Her father had dominated her life for as long as she could remember. She had always sought his approval and sanction in everything she had done as Cristobel. His rejection of her, though expected, seared at her like scalding water. Her mouth dried up and she felt like a yawning abyss was opening up beneath her. She could say nothing as he screamed at her.

Behind her, she heard Miss Piranha gasp in shock. Krystal realized that Miss Piranha was unfamiliar with her home life drama and the situation with her family.

Levelly, Mr. Innsmouth told him, “Mr. Bell, I believe you are familiar with the contract you signed. You’re offspring is enrolled at this school until she graduates, you cannot simply pull her out and send her to some charm school. Also, you have been informed by post that Cristobel Bell has had his identity legally reassigned as Krystal Bell, your daughter. You cannot simply declare her dead just because it is convenient for you.”

There was a small pause as her father digested this, and then he replied with a huff, “Alright, fine. If I’m stuck with another daughter, I’ll just disown her. Simple as that. No point in anything else, she can’t inherit my title, and I can’t marry her off to increase the strength of the family, no one would take a wife who used to be a man. In any event, I will not let this girl back into my house; the shame would be too much. Maybe you can hire her as a janitor after she graduates so she’ll have free room and board.”

Pain beginning to give way to anger, Krystal felt herself begin to tremble. Her mother, ever docile and obedient, clapped her hand over her mouth but made no other sound or movement. Suddenly, Krystal felt Miss Piranha’s hands on her shoulders.

“She can stay with me!” Miss Piranha declared, “If Krystal needs a roof over her head she can come live with me, I’ll take her in.”

Of course, with the patents in her name for the various inventions she’d been a part of, Krystal actually had quite a bit of her own money that was not connected to the Bell family fortune. The tissue regenerator alone probably generated enough funds for her to buy her own place. Just the same, she wanted to kiss her teacher at that moment.

“How very generous of you, Miss Piranha.” Mr. Innsmouth said drolly.

“Fine, as long I don’t have to deal with her.” Her father snorted, “Let’s see how far she gets without the Bell family to hold her up. It’s what she deserves for letting this happen to her.”

Shaking now with rage, Krystal felt torn apart, like she had been shredded from the inside out. But she held her ground, furious and determined.

For the first time in her life, she raised her voice to her father.

“I don’t care about your money!” She said sharply.

“What are you babbling about, woman?” Mr. Bell asked, clearly finding the idea absurd.

“You heard me!” Krystal said icily, “I don’t care about your lousy money! I don’t care about your worthless title, either. All I really ever wanted was my father. I guess I shouldn’t have cared about him either!”

Angrily, Krystal turned on her heels and stormed out of the room, not noticing that her father looked like he’d been slapped. He hadn’t expected that. Miss Piranha glared at him fiercely and then turned and followed Krystal.

“Wretched excuse for a man.” She muttered as she left.

With a certain amount of bemusement, Mr. Innsmouth regarded Artemis Bell.

“I believe you know the way out, Mr. Bell?”

Krystal stalked down the hallway putting on a brave face. She still had a problem with people seeing her cry. Although it was more acceptable as a girl, she still didn’t like to show too much weakness. She didn’t like to seem vulnerable. She kept her head up and kept walking, trying her damndest to look like nothing was wrong. Inside, she was in complete turmoil.

At first, anger flared in her at Zippy for the first time in a while. If Zippy hadn’t turned her into a chick, then she’d still have her father’s support. But no, that dissipated right away: If Zippy hadn’t done this, she’d still be a slave to her father’s will. She was better off the way she was now, she knew that deep down in her bones, as strange as it might sound. Her anger then turned more appropriately to her father. Her father whose archaic notions and prejudice had practically ruined her as a guy, and continued to grind at her now. She had accomplished great things here at Petri’s, many of them after her transformation. And all he could see was that she had breasts now.

It was true, loosing her title and fortune had hurt, but it had also freed her up to be her own person for the first time ever. When she thought about it, as Cristobel her life had been nothing but stress and anger, and fear. Fear of her father, fear of disappointing him in even the slightest way and tarnishing the Bell family name and all the well laid plans his father had made for him. As Krystal, she felt calmer, more focused, and more at peace. And happier, she admitted, much happier. It had been his complete rejection of her, completely disowning her entirely that had really hurt the most.

She’d been expecting this, but it hurt just the same. She’d been disowned, and now she no longer had any claim to her family title. She had no father.

The black pit of despair, illogical in its way, that came with that last thought was almost too much for her. She broke down and started crying. By the time she got back to her dorm, she was completely in tears. She got to the dorm room and opened the door, hoping to be alone with her misery.

Instead she found Zippy and Stitchy sitting around tossing ideas back and forth for the cancer cure. From the looks on their faces, it wasn’t going very well. There were also a lot of notes and references to something Stitchy had come up with involving ball lightening for Miss Gojira’s class. The both looked up as Krystal entered. She must have looked pretty bad because Zippy instantly stood up. Stitchy actually gasped.

“Oh no, Krystal, what happen?” Stitchy asked concern.

Krystal opened her mouth to say something, and then just fell onto the bed between the two of them, sobbing uncontrollably. Stitchy put a massive arm around her and Krystal found herself falling against the giant girl’s shoulder. In an instant it all came flooding out of her and she told them both what had happened, the words gushing out of her mouth as fast as the tears from her eyes. When she and finished she felt Zippy squeeze her hand. It was a simple gesture, but Krystal felt grateful for it just the same.

She looked at Zippy’s face and saw that it was aghast, her mouth open and her eyes wide. And there was that trace guilt that Krystal always noticed whenever Zippy was reminded that her actions had cost Krystal more then just her previous gender. The funny thing was, Cristobel would never have understood that feeling. Krystal did all too well.

“I knew he was going to remove your title and claim, but to cut you off entirely?” Zippy almost whispered, “That’s insane! I can’t believe he’d do that.”

“Yeah, well, he did.” Krystal sobbed glumly.

Zippy put her arms around her and hugged Krystal tight, “Oh, Krystal, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.”

Krystal hugged her back, happy for the affection and concern of her friends. No, even were it possible to change back, she knew she would never take it. Her life was so much better now that she was Krystal. She would have to go on without her family. She had the best friends in the world, the realized.

Stitchy stood up, angry and irritated, her face tinged with indignation.

“Nasty, mean Mr. Bell! He make Krystal cry!” She declared in fury, “Stitchy mad!!!!”

“No, Stitchy will not smash.” Zippy admonished her.

“That not what Stitchy meant, mom.” Stitchy rolled her eyes, “Stitchy think he no good father. Mean Mr. Bell no deserve Krystal.”

After a while, Krystal managed to calm down. The pain was still raw, but she was managing. She bit her lip; first Miss Piranha, now this. What a horrible two days this had been. Glancing over at Stitchy, she invariably began to think of Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein, loosely based on the experiments of the real scientist, whom Shelly had met at some point. She’d read the book several times, but always had the notion that something about it eluded her. Thinking about it, she realized she had never quite realized that the true horror of the story wasn’t the monster himself, but rather Frankenstein’s treatment of it. Everyone knew the monster wasn’t evil, just misunderstood, but she had never quite pinpointed the truth of it. She sighed heavily as she realized that the true monster of the novel was Frankenstein’s rejection of his ‘child’ when it didn’t turn out to be what he’d expected. Now, sitting here without a family, even surrounded by friends, Krystal felt she now finally knew how the monster felt.

Hatred brewed in her for her father, for everything he constantly put her through. She began to think of changing her name. If she was going to be disowned, then why not? Maybe she should move in with Miss Piranha? Hell, maybe she should change her name Krystal Piranha? No, that sounded like a song from the 60s.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. Stitchy bounded over and opened the door. The door swung open to reveal the well dressed form of Constance Bell, standing with her purse held in front of her. She began greet politely, but flinched when she saw Stitchy.

“Hello . . . Ah!” She gasped, before composing herself, “You must be Stitchy.”

“I Stitchy.” Stitchy nodded, proudly as always.

Krystal stood up, surprised, “Mother?”

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Old 05-02-2011, 05:34 PM   #6   [permalink]
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“Hello Cris . . . Krystal.” Her mother said curtly, “I managed to sneak away from your father; while he’s here he’s still trying to conduct business with the school board members. May I come in?”

There was a bit of a pause where Krystal contemplated telling her to go to hell. When she saw that her father was not with her, she got curious, and nodded. Stitchy stepped aside, but eyed Mrs. Bell with suspicion, as if she was ready to pick the woman up and physically toss her out of the room at the slightest hint she’d hurt Krystal, which probably wasn’t far from the truth. Mrs. Bell entered the room giving a polite greeting to Zippy and then reached into her pricey hand bag and removed something, handing it to Krystal.

“These are for you.” She told her.

Krystal turned the two objects over in her hand. They were hair barrettes, expensive and high quality but really not that different from any other pair that Krystal had bought since she’d become a girl. That is, until she noticed the unmistakable lion and serpent crest of the Machevilli family.

“This is your family crest, isn’t it?” Krystal asked her mother.

Constance Bell nodded, “I have a pair just like it. So does your grandmother, and so does your sister. And now, I’d like you to have some.”

Not quite knowing how to react to that, Krystal just stared at her mother. Constance turned her head and peered out the doorway into the hall, as if looking for someone.

She’s looking for father, Krystal realized, making sure he’s not following her.

Her mother turned back to her and then let out a high pitched excited squeal that shocked everyone in the room. She grabbed Krystal and gave her a huge tight hug that knocked the wind out of her daughter.

“Oh, Krystal!” She squealed, “You’re so pretty and so cute! You’re just adorable! I always wanted another daughter!”

Krystal was struck speechless; she’d never hear her mother get so excited about anything. For fifteen minutes strait, Constance Bell gushed on and on about her daughter’s hair and face and make up and clothes, punctuated with excited compliments about how beautiful she was. All Krystal could do was endlessly mutter ‘thank you’.

Stitchy leaned over to Zippy and whispered, “She seem nice. Why she married to mean Mr. Bell?”

Calming herself a bit, Mrs. Bell put her hands on her daughter’s shoulders, “I want you to know, I love you no matter what. Son or daughter, that will always be true.”

It slipped out of Krystal’s mouth, “Father doesn’t.”

Constance’s face darkened and her eyes saddened, “I know he said some horrible things to you. But deep down inside, he loves you. One day, you’ll realize that. One day, he will too.”

Krystal didn’t believe that for a second, “I think you’re giving him too much credit. I know your marriage to him was arranged by your families to strengthen political ties. Are you trying to say that you really love him?”

Bluntly, Constance answered, “I don’t know. But I don’t think he’s completely unredeemable. You’ll see, I’ll talk him out of disowning you entirely. I don’t think I can get him to put you back in the will and restore your title, but I can talk him out of kicking you out of the house and family entirely.”

“I don’t know about that.” Krystal said doubtfully.

“You’ll see.” Constance smiled, “I’ll bet I can even get him to come to the Atom Smasher’s Ball.”

“What?” Krystal exclaimed incredulous, “No way would he come to that for me.”

Zippy was confused, “Wait, I’m sorry, what is this Atom Smasher’s Ball?”

Krystal told her, “It’s this big formal ball they throw every year at Petri’s for the students and their parents. It’s a really big thing, all done up in splendor. Kind of like a prom, sort of.”

Stitchy raised her eyebrows, “Stitchy surprised you no know about it, Mom. Everyone talk about it. Even though it a long way off towards end of semester.”

Zippy rubbed her chin, “I didn’t know they had something like that here. Wow, I’m going to need to get a dress for this.”

A wide grin appeared on Mrs. Bell’s face, “Krystal, you don’t have to worry about a dress, I’ve more then taken care of that.”

She then leaned over conspiratorially to her daughter, “I had my assistant buy you a whole a lot of new outfits and had them brought up here without your father knowing about it. I’m sure you’ll find something appropriate. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my husband.”

She turned with one more loving look at Krystal; she tuned and walked towards the door. As she did she stopped to look at Stitchy, who now looked at her with less suspicion.

She looked her up and down, and then said, “Amazing. What a fantastic achievement. And what an amazing woman you are, Stitchy.”

Stitchy blushed a little, “Thank you.”

And with that, she left the room with another glance back at her stunned daughter. Krystal said nothing for a long moment. Her mind was racing; she’d always seen her mother as a dutiful slave to her father, probably because that what she’d been told all women should be. It was surprising to see her sneaking around his back, and manipulating his will. Plus her heart was pounding, maybe all was not lost. So, her father had rejected her; but her mother hadn’t. Well, it was something. All of a sudden she remembered the comment about the clothes.

Frowning, she walked over to the large wardrobe closed that flanked her bed. She flung open the doors and was astonished to find it STUFFED with expensive new clothes. So much so that it looked like the wood might crack at any moment.


Having finished up his business, Artemis Bell was irritated when it was difficult to find his wife. She was, after all, his, and should be making herself available to him whenever he needed her. When he finally found her she gave him some womanish story about walking around in the gardens. He was irritated and angry still, so he silently took her along with him as they left the school. They were walking now down the hallway that led to the main entrance

He was livid at this new administrator’s treatment of him. Really, first they take his only son from him, the only one who could become his heir and take over the family, and then they try to force him to accept that . . . girl as his son. How dare they, didn’t they realize who he was? How much he supported this school? And they’d try to make him take that girl who had replaced his son. Well, she sure wasn’t his son any more, he told himself.

And he kept telling himself that. Over and over, repeatedly. Because for all his resolve and belief in the family tradition of male only leadership, that girl’s out burst had stung him. Deeper then he would like to admit or had even expected. As much as he tried not to, his mind kept drifting back to her anguished but determined face as she stared him down. Cristobel had never stood up to him like that, and he had frankly worried that because of that, maybe he didn’t have the metal to continue the family.

But when that Krystal girl had stood up to him and delivered her brief but fiery statement, well, a nagging thought kept popping up in the back of his mind that maybe she was still capable, maybe even more so now then before, of fulfilling his legacy.

Ridiculous, he chided himself. She was a female and women were not suited to play in men’s arenas. This was not his son anymore; she was just another female in dire need of taming by a strong man.
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:35 PM   #7   [permalink]
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But her words continued to haunt him: ‘I just wanted my father. I guess I shouldn’t have cared about him either!’. Delivered with Cristobel’s all too familiar patterns of speech. For all her long hair and curvy body, he could still see him in there, though he consistently tried to deny it. He shook it off, no, that was not right. It’s just an illusion, and that was not his son. You shouldn’t care so much about what she said to you.

But you do care, a nagging voice spoke up in the back of his head. You do care because she’s still your child and you love her.

He tried to quiet it, but it continued to speak. The specter of her and what she’d said should have simply irked him in its brazenness, but it wounded him in ways that he couldn’t quite conceive. That nagging thought that she was still his, that she was still his offspring continued to play itself out. He wondered what might happen to her now that he’d disowned her. He found himself worrying: Would she be able to make it, would she fail and end up on the street. Suddenly, the image of that girl who used to be his son, destitute and alone, sputtered into his mind. It was silly, of course, to worry about some woman, but he kept doing it. He tried telling himself that Miss Piranha would take her in, and then wondered why it was so important to him. And still, he found this nagging worry as to her fate.

Whatever happened, she would hate him for doing this to her, he realized. A nagging pit of despair opened up in his stomach which he couldn’t fight off. Guilt, a feeling usually alien to him, rose its tormenting head in his mind. It hurt, he realized, more then he thought possible, that she would hate him; that his own flesh and blood would resent him now. And it was his fault; he had made her do so. The tiny voice rose up in his mind again.

What have I done?

“You unimaginable bastard!”

The voice, which seemed for a moment to be responding to his own thoughts, had come from Miss Piranha, who stood in front of him with her arms folded over her ample chest. She glared at him with a cold fury. He had been so wrapped up in his thoughts that he hadn’t even noticed her standing there. She was dressed as she had been before with the black strapless vinyl dress and red sash. Her eyes were filled with contempt and her mouth was curled into a snarl.

“I beg your pardon,” Mr. Bell recovered and faked indignation, “Do you know who I am?”

“Yes, you’re the arrogant bastard who just disowned your child just because she didn’t turn out exactly the way you wanted.” She snorted, pointing a finger at his chest and pushing in there, “Let me tell you something, you son of a bitch; you don’t deserve Krystal. Yeah, that’s right. Krystal has accomplished more and done better work then she ever did as Cristobel. She was part of the creation of the first composite reanimate since the days of Frankenstein. She is one of my most promising students, and you don’t want her. Why not? For lack of a Y chromosome? That’s preposterous. You hurt her, you bastard; you hurt her quite a bit. Despite how you always treated him, she still respects you. And all you could do was toss her away like a bag of garbage.”

“W-we have certain standards in the Bell family . . .” He began.

“Yeah, so I hear. And suddenly nothing Krystal ever accomplishes will be good enough for you, just because she’s a girl?” Miss Piranha glowered, “I guess it’s not like it ever was before. Krystal is better now then she was. When she was Cristobel, I think he lacked compassion entirely. As Krystal, she’s developed a keen sense of friendship and camaraderie. She values people now, for the first time ever.”

Mr. Bell sneered, “So she’s getting weak and soft? Just like a woman.”

“Compassion is not weakness.” Miss Piranha declared, “And ignoring it is not strength.”

“Whatever.” Mr. Bell shrugged, “Apparently she’s your problem now.”

“I gladly accept that,” She paused as if considering her words carefully, and then said, “Recently, I was at my lowest point. A personal crises brought me as far down as I’d ever been. Do you know what Krystal did? She blew off something that was very important to her, something she’d been looking forward to, and spent the whole night with me.”

Behind him, Mrs. Bell’s eyes widened and a smile appeared on her face. A look of pride came over her at hearing of her daughter’s actions.

Mr. Bell paused and then said, “Did you have a point, Miss Piranha.”

She stared at him with disbelief in her eyes, and then turned and walked away, shaking her head in disgust.

“Wretched excuse for a man.” She muttered as she left.

He continued towards the main entrance, pretending it hadn’t affected him and making like he was blowing her off. But his insides were still in torment, and the well of guilt and remorse was threatening to widen into a chasm that could swallow him up. Why was he still so concerned about this girl that had replaced his son? All attempts to dismiss his feelings were failing.

Behind him, a small smile appeared on Constance Bell’s face. She could tell that chinks were appearing in her husband’s armor. Maybe for the first time ever.

Suddenly the Bell’s inner thoughts were once again interrupted by the sudden appearance of a gigantic girl in a school uniform appearing in front of them. She held both hands on her hips angrily and glared down at Mr. Bell with anger and fury on her face. Mr. Bell’s eyes widened: This girl was like something out of a horror show, almost seven feet tall; her skin was covered with an intricate network of stitches like she had been pieced to together. Huge metal bolts stuck out of her neck, and she glared down at him with two mismatched green and blue eyes. Everything about her huge massive form radiated power.

Oh my god, it’s her! It’s Stitchy, that massive Franken girl that everyone’s was talking about.

The one your daughter helped create, the voice in his head said.

He backed up, his heart hammering in fear as all the blood drained out of his face. She could easily crush him in one blow, and she looked absolutely furious.

“Mean Mr. Bell make Krystal cry.” Stitchy sneered down at him contemptuously.

Unconsciously, Mr. Bell was putting himself between Stitchy and his wife, a rare display of chivalry on his part that more came out of instinct then any real rational thought. His thoughts were simply fearful as he braced himself for the blow. Instead, Stitchy leaned in close, her fuming stitched together face inches from his.

“Stitchy no like you.” She said simply.

Sticking out her chin with a ‘humph’, she then turned on her heels and walked away, leaving Mr. Bell to do nothing except listen to the sound of his heart and breathe and long sigh of relief. After getting himself together while students around him giggled and chortled at his expense, he led his wife out of the school.

It was almost an hour before his heart finally stopped hammering in his chest.

Back in the spa, Krystal had taken a break to get some much needed relaxation. Between Charity and her father, this day had been taxing, both mentally and emotionally, and it was only halfway done. She shuddered to think what could happen next. But for now, she just needed to take it easy. She sat naked on the edge of the hot tub, letting her feet dangle into steadily warming water. She felt like she was bubbling up on the inside as well, feelings of depression swirled with feelings of anger and loss after the events of the last two days. It was hard to put it all together in her mind, harder still to reconcile it all in the future.

She looked down at her nude body and smiled a little. There was no way of getting around it, she liked her new body. She was absolutely sure that if given the chance, she’d never go back to being the way she was. Despite getting disowned by her family, she realized that things were better now, that she was much happier as Krystal then she ever had been. Kevin was right, getting out from under her father’s thumb was the best thing that could ever have happened to her. But that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt, hurt in ways that were almost impossible to describe.

So what now? She had plenty of money of her own, she’d be alright. Miss Piranha was offering her a place to live when she wasn’t at the school, so there was that. She could easily buy her own place, that wasn’t a problem. But Miss Piranha was dying, and Krystal was not confident at all in their ability to save her. A dark cloud seemed to settle over her as her thoughts turned towards her teacher. It was almost impossible to imagine Miss Piranha, always so vibrant and full of life, being eaten away by something like cancer. The full horror of it gnawed at her stomach.

She bit her lip in determination: No, she couldn’t let that happen. To hell with her father, this was more important.

Krystal looked up as a figure entered the room. She was surprised to see Miss Piranha strolling into the spa. She was naked, like Krystal, with her rounded voluptuous curves well displayed. Krystal felt herself blush a little; despite being familiar with her own woman’s body, the sight of a naked woman still embarrassed and excited her. And Miss Piranha was stunningly beautiful, and wore her nudity as well as she wore those fetish dresses she always had on. Krystal was pretty sure she was swinging both ways in her new form.

“Hi,” Miss Piranha waved as she approached, “Mind if I join you, Krystal.”

Krystal shrugged, “Go ahead.”

Coming over right next to her, Miss Piranha sat down on her left and slipped her feet into the hot tub. She closed her eyes for a second, enjoying the soothing feelings and then turned to look at her student.

“How’re you holding up?” She asked her, concerned.
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Krystal sighed, hunching her shoulders, “Alright, I guess. I mean, I was expecting this but it still hurt. Worse then I thought it would. Guess I’m not as tough as I thought.”

“Miserable bastard, I can’t believe he did that to you.” Miss Piranha scoffed.

“Believe me, I can.” Krystal replied darkly.

After a pause, she added, “Were you serious when you said you want me to come live with you?”

Miss Piranha nodded, “Absolutely. You’ve been there for me, I should do the same. I know you don’t need it, it’s not like you’re in danger of being homeless. But I guess what I mean is you won’t be alone. If you want to come stay at my place, your more then welcome. We can party, and play clue, whatever you want.”

Somehow, Krystal had never pegged Miss Piranha as board game enthusiast, “That does sound like fun. My family . . . I was raised to think that men were always the leaders, that women couldn’t accomplish anything on their own. Daughters were only good for marrying off to strengthen family ties. That’s the way my family has been for ever. Now, suddenly I found myself as a girl, and I realized everything I’ve ever been brought up to believe is a lie. I wanted to hate my parents for that, but, I guess I can’t entirely. Everyone has been saying, and their right, that getting out from under my father’s thumb was the best thing that could have happened to me. Zippy’s surgery basically cut the cord and let me live for myself for a change. I just wish my father could accept me like this.”

Pausing a bit, a warm smile appeared on Miss Piranha’s face.

“You like being a girl, don’t you?” She declared.

“I do. I really do. I love being a girl, actually.” Krystal nodded.

It was the first time she had openly admitted that, although she really didn’t have to.

Krystal went on, “I love all the pretty clothes, and the girl talk, and all my friends, and all the attention from boys. I’m sure it’s all the hormones, but I really love boys now.”

Miss Piranha laughed heartily, “Were on the same page with all of that.”

They both laughed and then they were quiet for a second.

Krystal turned to her a little guardedly, “How are you holding up?”

Sighing and turning her eyes to frothing bubbling water, Miss Piranha replied, “I’ll tell you, I’ve never been so scared in my whole life. Sometimes, it’s just horrible. But, I have hope now. Thanks to you everyone else. Thank you for everything, Krystal, you were really there for me when I needed you.”

“I’ll still be if you need me again.” Krystal said without hesitation.

“Thank you so much.” Miss Piranha replied, and then gave her one of her patented bear hugs.

She wrapped her arms around Krystal and pulled her tight, squeezing her hard like so always did. This time, however, since they were both naked, it was even more uncomfortable then usual. Krystal felt her face grow hot as Miss Piranha squeezed her head into her ample bosom, laying her head on top of hers with her usual over affectionate charm.

She finally let her go and then slid into the bubbling water of the hot tub, “Oh, this feels so good. It’s been a while since I took a dip.”

Krystal slid into the tub next to her, letting the warm water bubble around her. As before the swirling bubbles seemed to wash away all her problems for a bit, relaxing her and soothing her body. She glanced over at Miss Piranha, who sat with the water all the way to her neck, her eyes closed blissfully. Looking at her, Krystal felt a strong determination to save her. But she had no idea how they would do that.

Again despair threatened to swallow her up. Would she go stay with Miss Piranha, only to watch her whither away and die? The thought was almost too painful to bear.

The future, once a clear pre planned path laid out in front of her in a strait line, was now filled with uncertainty and doubt, endless potential rubbing shoulders with the haunting specter of tragedy and failure.

The school library was as quiet as ever as the group sat at a long table in the middle. There was no talking; only the quiet turning of pages as they sat around the large stack of books and papers stacked up haphazardly on table. Present were Zippy, Lizzy, Stitchy, The Farrell Twins, Kyle, and Kevin. Eve was also there, hanging upside down from column next to the table. They were all working on the same project, a cure for Miss Piranha’s cancer. To anyone looking at their long drawn faces and bloodshot eyes, it was obvious that they hadn’t had much luck in even finding a place to start.

Not that there were many people to see them, the only other people in the library at this hour were the school librarian Mrs. Lovecraft, who sat at her desk near the entrance going through some computer files. She was dressed in a plain grey dress with a bow at the collar and round hat on her head like something out of the 1920s. She had a long face and narrow dark eyes that peered out behind small rectangular glasses. There were also her two assistants; the Poe Twins, Lenore and Annabel Lee, who were bringing over more books that the group had asked for. They dressed all in old fashioned gothic clothes with the long black lace covered billowing dresses. Both sisters had fair skin and black hair that they tied behind their head in a bun that matched their wide dark brown eyes.

Lenore dropped a few more books off and then scurried off to help her sister, her long dress crinkling as she moved away. The group looked exhausted and glum as they stared down at the material. Some of the books were from the hidden library (although most of the group didn’t know that as Zippy had still kept its existence a secret), but even that didn’t seem to be helping. Zippy sat next to Kyle, comfortably and familiarly, their chairs pushed close together and his and around her shoulders. Across from them, Krystal sat with Kevin, but casually. As Annabel Lee dropped off another few books, Kyle furrowed his brow.

He leaned forward, “Maybe we’re looking to the past too much here. Maybe we should be looking at something more recent?”

“What do you mean?” Zippy asked.

“Well, our biggest problem is how much time Miss Piranha has,” He said, “I think we could modify Krystal’s tissue regenerator to repair the damage done by the cancer. Keep the malignancy from getting too much of a foothold. That would give us a little more time to look for a way to eradicate the cancers cells themselves.”

Krystal straitened up, “You know, I think we can modify it that way.”

She grabbed a piece of paper and began writing down a few notes before adding, “But a lot of the cells are going to be too far gone to repair.”

Zippy suggested, “Well, while were thinking of Krystal; we could used the gene splicing techniques that Lizzy and I used on her to fix even more of the cells. That would slow the progress of the cancer, at least for a bit. I think we can come up with a way to use the tissue regenerator to deliver it, so both would be used at the same time. I’m pretty sure I know how we can do that, though we’re gonna have to build a new tissue regenerator from the ground up.”

“It doesn’t sound like it would be very much.” Nadjia speculated.

Zippy slowly shook her head, “No, it wouldn’t be by very much.”

Again the gloom cloud seemed to settle over the students. Stitchy had been uncharacteristically silent the whole time, but she was hardly idle; she was deep in thought, her large hand rubbing her chin as she turned over possibilities within her purloined brain. A book lay open in front of her, and a sheet of paper lay to her left on which her other hand tapped a pencil without writing. Her hand slipped from her chin and down to her neck and she began to idly finger the bolts in her neck as she was prone to do whenever concentrating. Everything was going on in her brain as she listened to the other suggestions.

Finally she spoke, “If necrosis of cells is problem. Perhaps we just bring them back to life?”

Everyone looked at her, questioningly.
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Stitchy went on, “Stitchy been looking at Mom’s notes about how Stitchy was created. Reagent that help create Stitchy is perfectly bondable with gene splicing techniques Mom talking about. We could reverse damage in many of Miss Piranha’s cells, so we fight back cancer until we can find permanent solution.”

When she saw that not everyone was getting what she meant, she explained, “We build new tissue regenerator like Mom and Krystal say. But we also equip it deliver reagent to cells that are beyond repair. It no be perfect, many cells be still too dead to bring back, but it severely retard cancer’s progress. If we give Miss Piranha regular treatment, cancer find it hard to get foothold. Keep her alive longer; give us better chance of finding solution.”

Everyone looked at one another, it seemed plausible.

Kevin said, “You know, I think that just might work.”

Lizzy replied, “It’s no cure, but it’s a starting point. We’ll need to commandeer a lab to ourselves for the duration of the project. I can’t see Miss Piranha giving us any reason not to. This is the best idea we have, so I say we run with it.”

Lizzy looked over to Zippy for approval, as every so often did now, only to find their de facto leader grinning from ear to ear as she looked at Stitchy.

“Oh, Stitchy!” She gushed, “I’m so proud of you!”

Stitchy blushed and looked down at her book, pleased and smiling a little. Kyle couldn’t help but glance at Zippy and chuckle a little at how his girlfriend was beaming with motherly like pride. Given the effort, he felt Zippy had every right to be proud, Stitchy had not turned out just functional, but exemplary in every way, and had exhibited a dependable, loving personality at every turn. Everyone who took the time to know her, those who could see past her huge size and rag doll like appearance, liked Stitchy. He certainly felt good for Zippy at that achievement.

The amusing moment was interrupted by the sound of a commotion outside the door. Raised voices fill the air and a steady thumb and pound of a plethora of feet hitting the floor flowed through the library’s huge main doors and something had a large mass of students in an uproar. Looking at each other everyone, including the Poe Twins and Miss Lovecraft, ran to the entrance to see what was happening.

When the doors were opened, they found a large group of students heading down the hall in a hurry, breathlessly chasing after something. They all looked panicked, excited, and every other emotion prevalent when something unexpected was going on, even though the unexpected was the norm here at Petri’s.

“What’s going on?” Eve called to them.

“She’s gonna jump!” One male student said over his shoulder.

Zippy looked at Kyle, and then they both took off after the crowd, the rest of the group following close behind. Zippy followed the mob all the way up the North West staircase, leading to the tallest spire in the school. As she ran she became worried; she had a sickening feeling in her gut that she knew who would be up there: Miss Piranha. Had she given up? Had she lost her faith in the Shark Tank Guild’s ability to save her? Zippy bit her lip in frustration, they were on to something, and she knew it. She couldn’t bear the thought of Miss Piranha committing suicide before they had a chance to try. She hoped and prayed they could talk her out of it in time.

She tore up the steps taking two at time, wishing she’d had some of her speed gel on her. Her heart screamed in her chest as she mounted each flight, pulling in front of the other students in her haste.

When they got to the top balcony of the spire, Miss Piranha was indeed, there. But she was not near the ledge, instead it seemed like she was trying to stop someone else from jumping. Zippy almost breathed a sigh of relief until she realized who was on the ledge ready to end her life: Charity.

Mrs. Variola and Mr. DeSade were also both on the balcony, and so was Rina and Buttercup. As Zippy entered, Rina turned to her, frightened and frantic.

“Oh, Zippy!” Rina cried, “I’m so sorry, she got away from me!”

Charity was crouched on the banister of the balcony, her three toed feet gripping it precariously. Her tail hung despondently behind her and her body shook with sobs her face turned down and away from everyone. Her arms were splayed out in eight side as she moaned and cried, teetering on the edge of the drop. All too obviously ready to throw herself off and end her life.

“Go away!” Charity screamed at Miss Piranha, “Don’t look at me. Just go away and let me die.”

“Please, Charity, come off of there.” Miss Piranha was coaxing, “You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes! I do!” Charity hissed, “I’m ugly! I’m horrible! I need to end this, I can’t live like this!”

Mr. DeSade leaned in, “Listen to reason, Charity. I promised I’d help find out what happened to you, you don’t want to end it all before I have the chance to fix it do you?”

Katjia turned to Zippy, “I’ll get Rick!”

Without another word, Katjia threw herself down on all fours and took off running back down the stairs, sprinting out of sight fast like a racing dog.

Looking back a Charity, Zippy’s mind raced a mile a minute along with her heart. Charity wasn’t completely ready to die, or she would have already jumped, so there was still a chance to talk her out of it. Part of Zippy still rebelled at helping Charity in any way after all the horrible things she’d done to her, but there was no way Zippy could let her go and kill herself. Besides, she’d given her word to help her, so she would do that.

Again, the chance to prove herself better then Charity reared its empty head.

People were clamoring at the entrance for a view; some had come in and were trying to talk her out of jumping. All that is, Zippy noticed, except for Amber, who sat at the back of the balcony, viewing Charity with barely disguised contempt and disgust. It was hard to tell whether it was because of her actions or her new form, but Zippy glared at her hard.

Buttercup had approached the banister, leaning her long neck over and looking up at Charity.

“Charity, you don’t need to do this.” She told her, “It’s not the end of the world.”

“It is for me!” Charity cried, “I can’t live like this! I can’t go on. Look at me, I’m a freak!”

“How do you think I felt?” Buttercup countered, “I’ve been where you are when this first happened to me. But you know what? I’ve not only learned to live with it, I’ve learned to embrace it, to own it. People like you and me, we’re unique. That’s a good thing. Imagine going through life with no one ever noticing you? Come down, I can help you. I was looking forward to being roommates.”

“No! I’m not like you!” Charity wailed, “I was born for better things. I’m meant to be beautiful, to be a leader a true scion of the Milquetoast family. I can’t be a freak like you, and can’t be ugly.”

Amber snorted, “Go ahead and jump, no one cares.”

Nadjia turned and growled at her furiously. When Amber scoffed at her, Nadjia leapt forward and bit her out the arm. Amber yelped in pain and turned and ran. Nadjia chased after her a bit on all fours, growling at her and baring her teeth.

With all the attention on Charity, no one hardly even noticed the incident.

“But you’re not ugly . . .” Buttercup started.

Charity inched towards the edge, “Yes I am! People are staring at me everywhere!”

At that one, Stitchy stepped forward, “People stare at Stitchy all the time. Mommy explain all to Stitchy: People stare at Stitchy because Stitchy unique, there only one of Stitchy. Charity unique too. If Charity were the same as everyone else, no one would notice her. She’d bee just one more bland face in endless crowd. Come down and let us give world something different to experience.”

Not responding, Charity continued to cry. She looked away from them, staring down at the long drop that would end her life. She gripped her hands together, her body trembling.

“You don’t understand.” She moaned, “I’m not like the rest of you. I’m a Milquetoast; I was born for better things. This ugly body is not becoming of my station. I can’t live like this, what would my family think if they saw me? Oh . . . god, I’m going to disappoint them. I’ll be such a failure to them.”

She started to cry even more, and on those words, Krystal suddenly stepped forward.

“Charity, listen to me.” She said trying her best to sound calm and soothing, “The rest of them might not be like you, but I am. You know that, I was the hope for the next generation of the Bell family. When I was changed, I thought that was it, it was all over for me. I’ve been where you are right now.”

She paused looking around warily before continuing, “I haven’t told anyone this, but the day of my surgery . . . I put a gun to my head.”

Zippy’s mouth dropped open, she hadn’t known about this. Again that horrible bone crushing guilt rose up in the pit of her stomach. Part of it was just the fact that Krystal had become a good friend. Sure, Cristobel had tried to do things much worse to her, but all the pain she had inadvertently caused the perfectly likeable and friendly girl Krystal had become frequently stabbed Zippy through the heart. She didn’t know if she wanted to hear this.

Krystal sniffed a little as some tears rolled down her cheek, “I was there, in a room, with a plasma gun I’d made for a project. I had the thing right under my chin. You see, I was horrified that I was going to disappoint my parents. I knew I’d never be the son they wanted, ever. I was going to end it there, so I’d never have to live with that.”

Again she paused, her fingers touching her mouth. It was obviously hard for her to talk about this, but she did it, to save Charity’s life. Again Zippy was impressed with the mount of compassion Krystal was now capable of.
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“And you know what happened?” She said, “I thought of something Kevin had said to me before. He said, ‘What you probably need to do, what everyone else who’s been altered here has probably done, is look forward instead of looking back: Find how to make this new body work for you.’ I mean, I was seconds away from oblivion, and that one sentence stuck to me. And it was then I knew I had to get on with my life, and I knew who to go to. Right after that I went to Zippy and asked her for help. And now . . . Zippy and Lizzy, and all my new friends are the most important thing in the world to me. Now I can be my own person, and not dependant on the approval of my parents. They don’t define who you are, Charity, you do. Please, come down, Charity, and I’ll help you make this adjustment.”

For a few seconds, Charity stared at her. She seemed to contemplate her words, and it looked like she was about to come down. Then, something in her face changed, and she abruptly turned back toward the edge.

“No!” She cried, “It’s not the same! You’re still human!”

“Not to my father!” Krystal protested, “He just disowned me!”

There was a gasp and mummer from the crowd. Charity’s eyes widened even more then they were.

“I . . . I didn’t know that.” She said.

Krystal cast her eyes down at the ground, “It happened this morning. He doesn’t want anything to do with me. Charity, your parents have always been supportive of you, at least they’ve been better then mine.”

Again, there was a moment of indecision, as Charity seemed to contemplate Krystal’s words. Again, she reverted to her suicidal intentions.

“I’m sorry, Krystal, I have to do this.” She moaned.

“Charity!” Rick Millhouse’s voice suddenly cut through the noise.

He ran out onto the balcony, followed shortly by Katjia, a desperate frightened look on his face. He stopped short when he saw Charity’s new form, unable to keep the shock from his face.

“Oh my god.” He said, and instantly a look of shame crossed his face at his exclamation.

Turning to see him, Charity’s face filled with horror. She turned away from him, covering up her face with her hands.

“Oh god, Rick!” She sobbed, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me, go away! I don’t want you to see me like this!”

But Rick had already recovered form the initial shock and was coming forward desperately, “Charity, please don’t do this. Come back down, I love you. Don’t leave me alone again, I couldn’t bear it.”

“I have to do this, it’s the only way.” Charity insisted.

“No, it’s not.” Rick told her, “Please, I don’t care about this, I want to be with you, and I’ll still be with you. Just don’t leave me like this. Please come down, everything will be fine.”

For a split second, it seemed as if Charity would come down. But then, she turned her head, tears gushing from her eyes, and threw herself towards the edge.

“I’m sorry, Rick.” She cried, and threw herself over the banister.

“NO!” Rick shrieked.

Rick screamed in horror and despair and ran forward, trying to grab her. Zippy had to grab and hold him to keep him from going over the side with her. Rick struggled against her, trying desperately to get to his girlfriend. Charity pitched over the edge, turning over and beginning to fall towards the ground head first.

But then she suddenly stopped and was suspended upside down in mid air in front of the balcony . . .

. . . because as she had jumped, Stitchy had calmly reached over and snagged Charity’s tail with one massive hand.

“Silly Charity.” Stitchy admonished her as she held her, “If you go splat, everyone get sad.”

Hanging upside down, Charity swung back and forth a little like a pendulum. It might have been comical had it not been for the situation, her legs were splayed in either direction, her arms and hair hanging down, her skirt hanging over her chest exposing her underwear. But on her face, things were anything but funny, she sobbed and trembled despondently.

“I . . . I changed my mind as soon as I jumped.” She mumbled weakly.

Stithcy brought her back over the banister and onto the balcony, but didn’t let go of her for fear she might jump again. Rick ran to her throwing his arms around her, in a way that looked absurd since she was still hanging upside down. He knelt down and kissed her, tears forming in his eyes.

“Oh, Charity, please don’t ever do that again.” He begged her, “I love you, I love you so much. I’ve loved you since the first time I ever saw you.”

“We were seven.” Charity said.

Rick nodded, “I know. You moved in across the street. I remember seeing the moving van, and I knew the new neighbors were here. So I ran to the window, and there you were, standing on the porch, dressed in a blue dress and holding a large stuffed white bunny. I though you were the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. I spent so many long years loving you from afar, but you never seemed to notice me. And then, when we both went to the same school, I thought I had a chance, but you were always pining after Cristobel. When that ended, and we finally got together, I was so happy, happier then I’ve ever been. I can’t loose you now, not again, not like this.”

“I’m not pretty anymore.” Charity moaned.

Rick kissed her again, “You’re still pretty. Hell, you still look like yourself. I don’t care about your changes. I love you, and I’m not going to let a silly thing like a tail get in the way of that.”

Through her tears, Charity finally began to smile. They kissed, deeply this time, again looking slightly absurd with Charity hanging upside down. As they wrapped their arms around each other, and a collective “awe” came up from the crowd, Stitchy finally let her drop and she threw herself into Rick’s arms, kissing him passionately, crying and laughing at the same time. Everyone started clapping as the couple kissed.

Zippy let out a long sigh of relief, one she’d been holding since this had started. To tell the truth, her heart had leapt into her throat when Charity had jumped and Rick had almost jumped after her. For a second there she’d thought she was going to witness a romantic double suicide. She was glad it had turned out the way it did, and glad for Stitchy’s quick thinking and fast reflexes. She allowed herself a pat on the back for that one, as she’d been the one to give them too her. Once more she felt proud of Stitchy, that motherly pride that also made her feel like she was aging before her time.

Mrs. Variola clapped her hands authoritatively, “Alright! Alright! Everyone please disperse, there’s nothing more to see here.”

Reluctantly, people began to leave, still shooting glances back as Rick and Rina took Charity back to their dorm room. She’d have to undergo some psychiatric therapy with the school psychiatrist, Dr. Freudstein after this, but Zippy hoped she’d be okay. What worried her the most is Charity’s reaction now that her secrete was completely blown.

Krystal stepped up next to Zippy and mimed wiping her brow in a sign of relief. Zippy nodded in agreement.

After a pause, Zippy said, “Krystal, I’m sorry. I didn’t know about . . . why you almost did after the surgery.”

With a slightly embarrassed look on
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With a slightly embarrassed look on her face, Krystal admitted, “That . . . wasn’t entirely true.”

Zippy started, “What?”

Krystal shrugged, “I was desperate to get Charity off that ledge; so I exaggerated it a little. I never actually went and got a gun. I certainly didn’t put one to my head. I . . . let’s just say I sat somewhere contemplating it.”

She smiled but a bit of a tear still ran down her cheek. Zippy stared at her friend; maybe the gun part had been a lie, but Zippy suspected the bulk of that story had been true.

“And Kevin’s words . . .?” She asked.

Krystal smiled, “All true, every letter.”

Zippy put an arm around Krystal and squeezed her shoulder, feeling a warm outpouring of affection for her. Whatever Krystal had been, she was one of Zippy’s best friends now.

Stitchy stepped up next to her, and Zippy patted her arm.

“Good work, Stitchy. Good work.” She said.

She then reached over and hugged her creation around the waist. So much had happened, so much still to come, she was grateful enough for the reassuring feel of her gargantuan daughter next to her.

But, come to think of it, there was someone else she’d like to be feeling right at this moment.

Several hours later, with the moon high in the night sky; on a smaller, different balcony, in an entirely different spire on the opposite side of the school, Zippy pressed her lips deep on Kyle’s mouth, melting into his arms as he leaned her back and kissed her. Her hands ran over his back, rising up and tracing the length of his neck, feeling his warm skin under her fingers. His hands ran up and down her back, running over her lower waist, dancing ever so close to the border but never quite exceeding it. A teasing sensation the flowed through Zippy’s body as she seeped into her passion, the warm almost insane feelings of love pulsing in her racing heart as she made out with boyfriend.

Her eyes were closed, and the world had seemed to cease around her. All there was left was the sensations on intimacy with the man she loved. Their lips moved deep against each other, almost exploratory in the way that they glided over each other. Zippy felt safe, secure, and very happy.

She was glad for this time alone with Kyle, after everything that had gone on in the last few days. Not just glad, but she had really needed this. She abandoned herself to her passion, kissing him deeply and warmly.

It seemed like it went on for hours. After a while, they finally broke the kiss.

Kyle brushed the hair out of her eyes, “God I love you.”

Zippy smiled, it was the first time he’d said it. She had no problem returning it.

“I love you too.” She said, nuzzling his shoulder.

The held each other for a long time before they began to speak again.

“Do you think Charity will be all right?’ Kyle asked her.

“I don’t know.” Zippy answered honestly, “I don’t even know what was done to her. We’re getting Mr. DeSade to help us out. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. But I’m sure she’ll be seeing Dr. Freudstein, and he’ll be helping her out too. I’m hoping she’ll be okay.”

Kyle grinned a little, “It seems you might be taking in another stray.”

“Huh?” Zippy asked intelligently.

“Like with Krystal, if Charity gets rejected by Amber, which she most certainly will, I think you’ll eventually take her into The Shark Tank Guild.” He said.

Zippy nodded, she had considered that, “I suppose so. I mean, it could happen. It all depends on Charity. Do you really think Amber will reject her? It’s not like she’s no longer rich or anything.”

“I’m sure of it.” Kyle said, his face darkening, “You don’t know what she’s like, Zippy. You don’t know how . . . cold and calculating she is.”

An icy pallor seemed to fall over him, as it so often did when the subject of Amber Tiffendorf came up. Zippy knew he was hiding something, and often she wondered what Amber had done to him to cause him to regard her with such venom. The list of possibilities was damn near endless, Zippy was sure. She hadn’t ever pressed him about the details. In fact, he wasn’t very forthcoming about his past before the school, and Zippy wasn’t willing to pry.

Zippy sighed and Kyle put his arm around her shoulder.

“Things are just getting so cockeyed.” She mused, “Miss Piranha’s cancer, Charity, everything’s just getting complicated.”

“I think it’s more complicated then that.” Kyle said.

“What do you mean?”

“People have been talking. They’ve been saying that a lot of students have been disappearing. Officially, they all supposedly are helping Madame Petri with some project. But nobody can even find out what part of the school they’re in. Like Felicia and Roger, they just upped and left.”

“I’ve thought of that too, that something else might have happened to them.” Zippy sighed again, “And what’s also been nagging me is Madame Petri. Don’t you think it’s strange that no one ever sees her?”

Kyle’s face darkened, “I’ve had the same suspicion. You think it might all be related?”

“I don’t know, but it’s safe to assume . . . hey, what’s that?”

Zippy pointed down to the moat, far away, mostly obscured by shadows, several odd looking shapes could be see crawling, almost slithering, across the ground. One by one they slipped into the moat and disappeared. They were too far away to make any visual impression of, and it was too dark, but whatever they were, they seemed strange in their movements.

“I . . . can’t tell.” Kyle replied, leaning over and squinting into the darkness.

Soon, all the mysterious creatures had disappeared. Kyle and Zippy looked at one another, each one asking the same silent questions. There was a sudden feeling on unease, and of nagging fear. They turned around and head back towards the doors, arms around each other; taking comfort in each other’s presence.

Suddenly, some THING appeared out of the shadows in front of them. Zippy’s blood ran cold as the frightening visage melted out of the shadows. Red eyes stared at them unblinking through a pale gaunt face that was surrounded by falling white hair on all sides. Fear gripped Zippy’s stomach and icy fingers clawed at her spine. They both screamed in shock and jumped back, as the frightening creature came forward towards them.

“Damnit, Eve!” Zippy admonished her as she realized who it was, “Don’t do that!”

The pseudo vampire smiled a little, “Sorry, it’s in my nature.”

Catching his breath, Kyle complained, “I think I almost had a coronary.”

“Wait a second,” Zippy exclaimed, “Were you there watching us the whole time?”

Eve blushed a little and nodded, “Yes, I was.”

“You little perv!” Zippy chuckled, “When did you turn into a peeping tom?”

“I needed to talk to you, and I didn’t want to disturb you.” Eve insisted.

Kyle looked at her suspiciously, “You didn’t want to join did you.”

Ignoring him, Eve said seriously, “I think Mr. Innsmouth may have had something to do with Charity.”

Kyle and Zippy exchanged a glance.

“What do you mean?” Zippy asked.

Taking deep breath, Eve said, “I saw him, in a window in one of the other spires while Charity was on the ledge. He could clearly see her from where he was, and he was looking right at the whole thing.”

Pausing again for effect, Eve went told them, “He turned his back on her and walked away, like he didn’t even care. Or like he’d been expecting it.”

All right ya’ little maggots, listen up! This here is Gortcha, Madame Petri’s best guard, and I’m here to let ya’ know what’s going on next chapter, so ya’ better listen up! Next time, everyone tries to work on a cure for Miss Piranha, and to find out what happened to Charity and even manage to find time for a karaoke party while new things develop at the school that could spell doom for one of them in the next chapter of Zippy Zipperdale: Moderately Mad Scientist, “The Eleventh Experiment”.

Eureka! I’ve got it!

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