You Are What You Eat: The Spread (Various to horses)
“I wonder if Sam would want to have Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks?” Marissa thought to herself while she pushed her cart down the grocery aisle. Everything seemed like a normal Saturday afternoon, until she heard a woman cry out across the store. The calm atmosphere was broken immediately. Marissa saw handfuls of people running towards the scream and a somewhat animalistic cry break out through the store. All the commotion draws Marissa towards the end of the aisle. It was hard to make out but she could see what appeared to be a woman with horse like features in a panic as the changes spread. This looked like something straight out of a sci-fi movie or those cheesy werewolf movies. The crowd slowly grew larger and the woman fell out of Marissa’s sight. Not knowing how to respond she retreated to her car without any groceries and started to call her husband, Nick. Voicemail.
“Nick please call me as soon as you. Something incredibly weird happened at the grocery store and I’m not sure if I am going crazy. Something about all this feels off. I’m heading home now, see you there”. She ended the call and tossed her phone to the side, unable to shake the thought of the woman changing. What caused that if it was real? Could it be real? People don’t just change like that. It’s impossible. Back and forth her inner monologue clashed as she tried to find an explanation. She had to divert her mind from the events at the store. Turning the radio on, she soon began to flip through the various channels. As she moved through the music channels, she seemed to land on a radio station reporting a supposed state of emergency in the local area. “Ladies and gentlemen, it is with a heavy heart that we report a biochemical attack in Rockville. We are seeing numerous victims suffer the same fate as they slowly become affected by the attack. Through various videos, pictures, and eyewitness accounts, we can safely assume that people are slowly turning into animals. The victims are said to show signs of change mere moments from the exposure. Please stay indoors and do not come into contact with any foreign object until further noteiigh….oh god no…”. The radio station then cut to static as the signal was cut. Marissa started to feel panic sink into her chest. A biochemical attack making people become animals. This really was some science fiction nightmare, with the inability to wake up. She had newly developed determination to return home and safely be with her family.
The streets seemed normal after she left the grocery store, but the more she drove through the city she saw signs of the attack. Places would be abandoned, unnatural cries for help could be heard in the distance and Marissa even saw the effects of the change. One woman in particular could be seen from across the street, she was shaking her head and trembling. Marissa could see the fur slowly growing upwards from her ankles, a mane already reaching down her back. This woman was silently staring in horror as her hands shifted into hardened hoofs. Her fingers began to curl in to form a fist, as the skin merged together and a dark material covered around her knuckles. Marissa continued to stare at this woman. Fear rising in her chest as she watched this woman be hit with change after change. The woman’s jeans strained as muscle bulked around her thighs and calves. The extension of her spine straining against the jeans and her panties. As the young woman looked up into the car, she made eye contact with Marissa, causing Marissa to step on the gas and avoid contamination. The closer she got to her home, the more fully or half changed humans she came into contact with. The car swerved into the driveway, her home looking like a safe haven from this nightmare. Everything seemed normal except for one thing. Her home’s front door was left open. The visible crack could be seen from the driveway. Marissa exited the vehicle and slowly approached the house.
The door creaked open as she entered her house. She shakily called out to her child and husband, “Nick...Sam? Are you home?”. Nothing. The fear of something happening to her family was unimaginable. The silence was maddening, what was she going to do? “Marissa...is that you?”, the soft voice of her husband came from behind the basement door. “Yes! Oh my god, I am so glad that you guys are safe”, she exclaimed with relief. She reached for the door but upon turning the knob, she found it to be locked. Her husband could be heard softly sobbing to himself on the other side of the door. “Baby, it’s too late. I can’t let you see me like this. It started with Sam playing outside...I wasn’t fast enough. I’m sorry…”, finally breaking down at the thought of losing his child. Marissa felt like she had her heart ripped out. Her little girl...reduced to an animal. Her husband, becoming just like her Sammy. Tears rolled down Marissa’s face. “Nick...I need you right now. I...I don’t care about this fucking contamination. I’m scared. Honey please…”. The lock on the door clicked after a moment of silence. She took a deep breath, knowing that there would be no coming back from this. She would rather be cursed with her husband and child then live in a world without them.
Nick slowly opened the door and meet Marissa’s gaze. She could only gasp at how the attack had gotten a hold on her husband. His ears had slowly grown into a point as a dusting of brown fur grew over them. His looked taller than usual, mostly due to his changing feet. His toes were becoming more pointed and fusing together. Also becoming overtaken by the dark fingernail like material. His feet also had the brown fur slowly growing over top them and spreading outward. His red, teary eyes looked at his wife. “Why do you want this? You should have gone somewhere safe.” Marissa was unable to find a logistical reason as to why she wanted to be next to her husband and willingly contaminate herself, but she knew she had to. Nick continued, “the change seems to act quickly. I only started to become affected when you pulled up. I had to run to the basement just to avoid being seen by you…”. Marissa could tell the changes were working quickly on her husband. His ears were slowly moving upwards on his head, and his chest hair was growing thicker and spreading outwards to cover his entire chest. She even felt a shift in her own body. Her leg muscles twitching for brief periods, she could feel her muscles expanding. Nick noticed too and began to tear up once more. He was causing this to happen to his wife. Marissa felt her feet pulse and her toes curl. She kicked off her flats and watched in amazement as her foot elongated, straining her stockings. Her toes growing closer together as the top of her toes started to form a thick, dark layer over them. As her feet narrowed and finished growing longer, she felt something strange. It was comfort. Acceptance. She was going to be with her husband whether they were humans or horses. Nick was following with his own changes, his hands changing almost exactly like his wife’s feet. His neck was even stretching and he could feel his hair grow downward along his spine, forming a mane. Marissa’s hair also grew along her spine. Even the end of her spine elongated, surprising her. She quickly stripped off her clothing, helping her husband with his. Their spines elongating and growing long hair to form the tails of two horses. Nick was still feeling guilty but as he looked into his wife's changing eyes, he knew she didn’t blame him. Their bodies, soon being forced to be on all fours, were now completely covered in the fur of a horse. Their faces being the only thing human left. Marissa heard a young horse in the backyard and knew exactly where to find her Sammy. She was okay and ready for this. No use in fighting it now. Both her and Nick could feel their lower jaw and nose push forward as they became the muzzles of a horse. The two, now fully changed, horses walked awkwardly outside. They were still getting a feel for their new legs. As the two emerged into the sunlight and spotted their daughter, their minds started to grow more and more fuzzy. Losing human memories, human emotions, and human thoughts. Marissa, Nick, and Danny woke up this morning not expecting an attack to change the world as they knew it. Sometimes you just understand that you aren't in control and try to survive with the ones that you love. Sometimes others will fight and cling to the past. For this family, they were happy knowing that they could still be together and remain as one no matter what.
The Equine Spread, as officials were calling it. Spread throughout the entire country. No one knows where they struck first or what organization planned the attack, but they were able to conclude that ground zero started in little old Rockville, with a contaminated meat source. Anyone affected by the events was rounded up and kept at government testing facilities in hope of someday undoing the damage. The world is slowly working towards a cure, but after many failed attempts to reverse the genetic damage, the victims may never return to a normal life.