literature

Parallels: A healthier alternative

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“Not good, not good…”

A lean young man walked in a quite hurried pace in the middle of a slightly crowded downtown, despite the haste on his walking he did not disturb the other pedestrians, quite the contrary, he had a clean aura of professionalism and courtesy, emphasized by his impeccable white work shirt and the always elegant pair of formal black pants; His reddish fox tail danced behind him as he advanced, careful to no bother anybody else and his foxy ears flicked above his short reddish “mane”.

“My schedule is too tight…why did this had to happen?” the young fox asked himself as he looked at his watch trying to keep his cool, his fair complexion flushing slightly due to frustration, “I hate surprises…” he sighed.

At the young age of nineteen Marc was already working his way through the “rat race”, he had previously scored an internship in a prestigious marketing firm and he quickly rose ranks becoming the assistant to the head director of campaigns, all due to his strict no-nonsense and professionalism policy: Marc had to be in complete control of his time, being a proficient planner himself.

And that’s precisely why he hated surprises so much, he had his day neatly planned, every minute had been carefully thought in advance and when the place he had scheduled for his “power lunch break” suddenly and without warning closed for the day he found himself panicking over his precious perfect schedule.

“All right, no need to stress out!” Marc thought as he caught his breath to calm down, “This is downtown, surely there is a good place to have a decent, quick meal,” he looked around, certainly there seemed to be a few choices, but his eyes locked into the first place they met, “like this place…’A Happier You: healthy meals and juice bar’, sounds like a fine, quick place to grab a bite, right?”

Marc didn’t hesitate and he just entered the place to save time, a chiming bell announced his arrival. Overall it wasn’t the neatest place he had been to, but it was clean to acceptable levels and the ambience was nice, a minimalistic style using primarily green, orange and (mostly) white, with floral patterns and actual plants prepped around the place, it gave him a nice break from the rigid, meticulously designed environment he was used to, it would be the perfect place to lunch.

The young fox took seat, taking a table meant for one, “coming!” he heard a melodious voice from beyond the counter (the kitchen, maybe?), he looked around while waiting to be attended, something that jumped to his attention was how he was the only person in the small restaurant, though it didn’t surprise him: for that day he had cleverly set his lunch break earlier than the usual lunch rush, so everybody else was most likely on their day-jobs.

A waitress emerged, a fantastically tall rabbit lady (probably in her 30s) walked toward his table swaying her notably wide hips from side to side, Marc couldn’t help but admire her quite voluptuous physique (he couldn’t help himself, she hit all the right spots for him) he just hoped she didn’t notice the shine on his dark brown eyes as he admired her. She wore a white apron on top of a long sleeveless shirt with small straps that let her show her shoulders and a short cyan skirt, a nametag on her quite ample bosom introduced her a “Poppy”; the clacking sound her heeled shoes made as she came closer echoed in the whole place and her strut made her long flowing golden hair swish from side to side, she had to be careful to not step onto its nearly ankle level length.

“Hi there sweetie!” Poppy cheerfully greeted Marc, although he hadn’t ordered anything yet Poppy already came bearing goodies, she placed a tall glass with a refreshing looking greenish drink on it, “Welcome to ‘A Happier You’!, my name is Poppy,” after saying this she made a gentle curtsy (which Marc thought was perhaps a bit too much) “here is a little something we give all our customers, our special Lemon tea, just with a touch of celery and our super-secret herbs” she explained with a big smile, her long pink hued rabbit ears twitching a bit as she spoke.

“Super-secret” Marc groaned under his breath, when something is secret, there is a surprise underneath and thus, it was unacceptable for Marc, he doubted of what good the drink could do him; yet, he stared into Poppy’s bright pink eyes, he saw no ill intend on them, in hindsight, there couldn’t possibly be anything bad in that drink, surely if there were the place would have been closed in no time.

“Thank you!” Marc said politely and took a cautious sip of his drink, he was pleased to find out it tasted very sweet and it pleased his tongue. Poppy handed him a big menu card, the selection was not very splendid, basically having a list of all the ‘safe’ dishes, subs, salads, burgers and such. He decided to go for something that shouldn’t take much of his valuable and scarce time, “I’ll take a burger please,” he said and took another sip of his sweet, refreshing drink, “Oh and bring another one of these when it is ready, please!” he added.

“Good choice!” Poppy said while gently taking the card from Marc’s almost lady like hands, “It’ll be ready in a jiffy!” she added and then headed back into the kitchen, Marc could not help but stare at the way her posterior swung as she strutted, her cotton like rabbit tail peeking through the curtain of golden hair.

Marc took the moment to restructure his schedule, yes there had been a minor adjustment, but making quick calculation he realized he hadn’t lost as much time in getting to a different restaurant to have lunch, so he still was right on schedule, “I got exactly Forty-Seven minutes to finish lunch and going back to pick up the mock ups,” he took another sip of tea, “shouldn’t be much problem” he told himself, relieved.

He had built such a monotonous life for himself, mind you, this was not a bad thing (not for him) because as repetitive and rigid his routine was, this had been the life he had chosen for himself, the one he built, the one he loved; Most people thought he didn’t know how to have fun, how to live, but just because he had achieved perfect control of his little monotonous life it didn’t mean he didn’t find joy in it, after all, he did what he loved to live, and he did it on his own terms.

He kept going thru his schedule, mentally, while frequently sipping his drink, just what was it about it that was so delightful? So sweet and tasty? Almost addictive.

“Ten minutes” Marc said to nobody in particular, it was how long it had been since Poppy took his order, but his burger was nowhere to be found, this made Marc began to worry slightly, he was still on time, but he expected the burger to be ready faster. Things were beginning to get out of his control. He tried to take another sip of tea, but he was empty.

Not a minute too long, Poppy came by Marc’s table, but to his surprise there was no burger to be found, “Im sorry sir, I can see you’re eager to get your meal,” (was it so obvious?) Marc was getting nervous and in a hurry, but he didn’t think he was being that obvious, he after all knew how to act under pressure, maybe she was just being kind?, “Your meal will be ready soon enough sweetie” she assured gently.

“Thank you,” Marc replied feeling like a well-cared customer, it was nice of her to give him such personalized attention (but then again, he was the only one there), “by the way, may I have another glass of tea please? The same tea I mean!”

“Of course!” Poppy replied with a courteous smile, “one refill coming up!” she declared as she took the empty glass with care and took it back with her with her bubbly strut.

In the blink of an eye, Poppy was already back with the new drink, “Thanks” Marc said whispering  with a subtle nod, Poppy just smiled and walked back to the kitchen. Marc quickly took a sip of tea and felt a bit more relaxed.

As the fifteen minutes mark hit on Marc’s clock he began to grow impatient again, he sipped constantly his tea as to try to calm down his impatience, to moderate success as he began to feel a little hot as he grew impatient.

Two minutes later (he timed them!) and half a glass of tea later Poppy finally came to deliver his burger, Marc’s mouth was already watering, he was so eager to sink his teeth on that delicious, juicy meat, “Thanks for waiting sweetie, here’s your order,” Poppy carefully placed the particularly veggie heavy burger in front of Marc, “I hope you enjoy your meal!” she added.

“Thanks!” Marc exclaimed as he analyzed his dish, the lack of fries surprised him, but then again, the menu didn’t list it coming with fries, “Oh, can you bring me another glass of tea, please?” he politely asked, “This one is nearly done.”

Poppy giggled subtly, “Can do sweetie!” she said and went back to fetch it.

Marc took another taste of his tea before finally taking a bite out of his burger, it was a quiet unexpected taste, it excited his taste buds and he felt a pleasant rush over his entire body as he got his much needed nourishment. Yet, despite the delicious taste there was something odd about it, it was a pleasant surprise, but not what he quite expected.

He took another bite to better inspect the taste, it sent that same pleasant chill over his body, but still tasted odd. He took yet another one, it was like his entire body was enjoying the burger a bit too much, and he could still not shake off that feeling. He opened the burger to inspect it closely: Lettuce, pickles, onion, tomato, avocado and the patty, everything was pretty standard, well, except for the patty, didn’t look like any meat he had eaten. He shrugged and continued eating the burger, his body craved for it so badly.

Poppy showed up with the new glass of tea, radiant as ever, she put it by the table, “I’m happy to see you’re enjoying so much our special tea!” she commented very pleased with her service, Marc took a big gulp to finish off the glass he already had so Poppy could take it away.

“Thank you Poppy!” Marc exclaimed as he handed the empty glass to her, “By the way, may I ask what kind of beef this is?” Marc took another bit, his body shivering with pleasure.

Poppy was really surprised by this question, nearly shocked judging by her expression, she cleared her throat before explaining, “Oh dear, that’s not beef, that is Soy Curd, we don’t serve meat in here,” she paused briefly, “this is a vegan restaurant” she stated.

Marc stared at her dumbfounded, still chewing bits of burger a muffled “oh” coming from his food filled mouth.

“Are you usually a carnivore sir?” Poppy asked concerned, Marc just nodded.

“However,” he said as he passed down his food, “This is pretty good!” he was a hundred percent honest, “I am not one to try new thing,” Poppy smiled when she heard him say that, “But I love this very much! I could see myself coming back very soon!” he added.

Poppy smirked very noticeably (but Marc was busy chowing down to actually see it), “I’m very glad to hear that, sweetie” she added with curious delight.

Marc glanced over his watch, he had already used twenty-eight of his forty-seven minutes, as he finished down his burger (his skin getting hotter, but still shivering with pleasure) he considered ordering another, “I…I probably shouldn’t” he thought, but his body desired more. He quickly also finished off his tea and then turned to Poppy, “P-please bring me another burger” he said uncharacteristically eager, “A-and more T-tea too, please!” He added clumsily.

“With pleasure sweetie!” Poppy replied taking away the plate and glass and going back to the kitchen.

Marc’s body became hotter, he even began to sweat slightly, it was like his body was going wild with anticipation of more of that delicious and strange vegan food, well, strange to his hot blooded carnivore body.

In less than five minutes (that seemed like an eternity to the young fox) Poppy came back with a new burger (“how did she make this one so fast?” Marc wondered) and a new glass full of tea and put them gently on the table, Marc silently thanked her with a nod and she replied with a smile.

He took a sip of tea first and his body grew hotter, sweating intensified, and his breathing got a bit agitated; He grabbed the new burger and took a big bite, his hands shaking as he held it from the intense pleasure the fantastic taste brought him. Poppy stood there for a moment, seemed very pleased with what she was witnessing.

As Marc continued his meal his body was going wild with a flurry of sensations, yet, his mind was not focused, not only was he running out of time (and running out of time meant losing his absolute control over his day), but his body also began to change, completely unknown to him.

His fluffy foxy tail began shrinking back into his body, all the fur falling off, as if it was withering, while the ears atop his head began to elongate and lose their reddish tint into a pure white one, likewise his prodigious red hair began changing tone into a more brownish one, cinnamon even. How were these changes going over his head? The explosion of taste in his mouth was that good.

The clock had hit thirty-eight, Marc was sweating profoundly and his heart was racing like crazy; what was this feeling? He had never doubted his carnivore ways, but this food, it brought strange new sensation, pleasures even, to his body and he was loving every bit. Was this new kind of diet that good? He wasn’t sure, he grew lightheaded, but his body craved more, so much more.

Like clockwork, Poppy swung by again by Marc’s table, “Are you enjoying your meal sweetie?” it was so nice of her to call him sweetie, but at that point he might as well be “sweaty”.
“Y-yes!” Marc said after a heavy breath with a voice that was sounding curiously squeakier and with a higher pitch, “I w-would like another,” he added, “And more-t-tea, pwease!”
“Can do!” Poppy chirped with a big grin on her face.

At this point Marc wasn’t even keeping track of time, even after his cellphone sounded an alarm he had set (“Pick up mockups” the blurb read) he ignored it, something he had never done with any scheduled appointment he ever had, he was unrecognizable both mentally and almost physically too, the changes still going unnoticed by him. Shortly enough, Poppy was back with a new burger and more tea.

“Thankies thankies thankies!” he exclaimed in a squeaky, giddy squeal, Poppy just left the meal there smiling and said no word, quickly strutting back to the kitchen, leaving Marc to chow down.

His heart beat grew faster, dangerously thumping, his body sweating waterfalls (“why is it so hot in here?” he thought while furiously gulping his tea), as he continued to eat his burger his body kept changing; the little stump left of his former tail sprout pretty, fluffy white fur; his body hair disappeared and his skin grew softer; he Shrunk in size, and so did his manhood until it was absorbed into his body, turning inside out and changing in ways he’d never have comprehended (as did his entire internal organs, unknowingly Marc had become a full female); Marc’s hips swelled slightly (but not too much) and his now cinnamon mane began to grow dramatically in length, turning bouncy, voluminous and very curly.

“I feel this natural, healthy diet,” she sighed delighted, “I can feel it cleanse my body and my soul” she exclaimed.

What was going on? Marc usually didn’t speak like that, “he” would NEVER even say something like that, “he” was a serious man, of serious business, all day, every day, but now, she felt… she felt…what did she feel?

“Oh dear!” She exclaimed as she finished her last burger, now reduced to a petite girl, with an almost (ALMOST!) preteen like body, “There was something I had to do…” she tried to remember gently knocking her forehead with her right hand, “It was very important…” she mused, “…as if my job depended on it…” she looked at her cellphone, but the note in it did not make any sense, in fact, was that even her cellphone? Did she even own a cellphone?
“Marceline!” Poppy exclaimed coming back to the table, “dessert is here!” she chirped as she put a piece of delicious looking carrot cake in front of who once was a young fox boy, but now was a pretty bunny girl.

“T-that’s not my name” the small girl replied.

“Oh don’t be a silly little girl, of course it is!” Poppy giggled as she handed the little one a small fork for the cake.

“I’m not a g-girl” she meekly told Poppy, sounding insecure and not even thinking about how she was submissively already prepping to eat the cake.

“Oh Marceline, you might have strange ideas of who you were before you entered here,” as Poppy said this she reached for a chair to sit in front of ‘Marceline’, seeing her face to face, “whether you knew it or not, you wanted a change on your life, I know it because you found this restaurant!” Poppy giggled and pointed to a nearby sign that read “A Happier You”.

“B-but…” the gears in ‘Marceline’s’ head could barely turn, like she suddenly had lost a sizeable chunk of her mind, “I-I was happy before…” she took a taste of the carrot cake and her eyes became bright pink, “wasn’t I?” she asked herself trying hard to remember how things were before she began her meal.

But it was all entirely empty.

Poppy smiled, “Maybe, it’s highly likely, but this isn’t called ‘A Happy You’, it’s a HAPPIER you, and believe me, if you found your way here, my little Marceline, you’ll be happier and healthier as you purge the toxicity of the horrible world out there” she explained.

“Yes” Marceline mumbled and continued to eat the cake, “I’ll be…” Her mind filling quickly with new memories and new cheerful, carefree ideas.

And just like that, it all made sense in Marceline’s head, she had come to visit her dear aunt Poppy and help her working on the restaurant, it was so clear now.
“Thank you for the cake, auntie!” Marceline chirped in glee, “It was-“ she was interrupted by an awful melody and a vibrating sound.

A Cellphone sitting by itself in the table was making a most annoying racket, polluting the harmony in the air of the restaurant, Marceline picked it up, “Mrs. Minabelle” it read on the screen.

“Some costumer must have forgotten it” Poppy groaned grumpily, frowning.

“Don’t worry sweetie” Poppy took the cellphone, “I’ll dispose of this despicable thing” she said as she strutted over to a trash bin and angrily threw it down, the unmistakable sound of shattering glass and plastic gracing her ears as the ‘infernal’ music died.

Poppy walked back to Marceline and caressed her beautiful curly hair, “Now now, little one, don’t you want to take off those ridiculous clothes?” it was then that Marceline realized she was wearing icky oversized boy clothes.

“Eew! Yes! And I need a bath too!” she playfully exclaimed.

“Then come with me my dear, I got an outfit just for you!” Poppy cheered almost like a song and took her niece’s hand, to guide her straight to the bathtub.

---------------

A bell chimed, announcing that a new costumer had entered “A Happier You”, it was a tall dark skinned tiger man, dressed in what could only be described as the most elegant, expensive business suit in the world, barely ending a call on his phone as he set a foot into the shop.

He was received by an adorable petite rabbit girl, clad in a one piece dress with long, loose sleeves and a nearly knee length skirt, oddly enough, it also showed the young girl’s shoulders (one could wonder how it stayed in place); on her head there was a band, which just like the dress, had all the colors of the rainbow (splattered all over in unpredictable patterns) and held not only a cute small sunflower, but also her beautiful cinnamon curly hair, which cascaded beautifully, seemingly endlessly near her feet, clad with brown traditional made sandals.

“Welcome to ‘A Happier You’!” Marceline politely and cheerfully greeted the handsome tiger man with a curtsy (making her flowing mane bounce around cutely), “Please take a seat, we’ll bring you a welcome drink, completely free of charge!” she giggled with a big smile on her face.
First off i want to mention something quickly since i think it might not be entirely clear in the story (sorry) the animal folk in this story are not completely furred people, rather they're humans with animal tails and ears, to put it some way.

This is my half of an experiment im doing with Adomortume, he was the one who suggested using animal folk and came up with Marc and Marceline.

Edit: DA fumbled and decided my story should be called "1" rather than tha name i gave it properly, hopefully it's fixed now.
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Vert-Exis's avatar

How I would love to lock up that wretched restaurant and torch it with a flamethrower with all of those abominations still inside!

 

So your last story is a slight retool of The Hideout: Marc=Nameless Protagonist / Poppy=Lisa / A Happier You=The Hideout.

 

The story was nice, but it has the same typical tragically-enslaved ending. Still, I like the change from humans (they’re generic and kinda’ boring to me) to anthro characters.