I was happy. That's what I remember of the farm. It wasn't the sex, even though that's fun too. It wasn't the farm itself, even though those mornings that I woke up to a nice sun in the hayloft were so relaxing. It wasn't the other animals either, now that I think of it.
It was that I was being myself.
For once in my life I wasn't putting on a facade, I wasn't wearing the mask of the human being that I lived in. I was free. Not too free physically, but mentally. I had escaped into my truest self. I was happy.
Snowflake came for me at night, before I went to sleep. She was in her human incarnation. She snapped the leash onto my collar. "Follow." I did. She took me to the van again. She seemed lethargic, sad. I brushed her leg with my muzzle. She knelt down.
"Oh Tawny...." She hugged me by the neck. "You seem so happy... I don't want to do this to you." She let the embrace escape between us. "I shouldn't have the right. But, I must." She slowly got up, and nudged me into the van. I went slowly, glancing over my shoulder. I don't know why I did, but something in me told me to.
I knew it would be an image that would burn in my psyche permanently.
The cage that I remembered was gone. She got into the drivers seat and silently turned over the engine. She drove without saying a word. The radio was singing something, I think it was Janis Joplin. It's gotten so hard to remember things like that. I fell asleep sometime during "Bobby McGee".
I woke up on my back on something softer than what I was used to. There was a sheet over me. It didn't feel right somehow, but it felt familiar. I opened my eyes. All a blur. Damn, I had gotten to like clear vision every morning. I pawed at the sheet, and saw my human hand. There were impressions in it, like the ones you get when you sleep on a tennis racket. But these were more complex than that.
Lines zigging and zagging, concentrated and scattered. It's my hand, I know it. I just wish it weren't. I looked up my arm, and the same thing. More impressions. I heard a floorboard creak outside the door. It opened gently, all I saw was an outline.
"Good morning, my precious!" It was Snowflake. I smiled. "So you are feeling better then?" I nodded. She snickered. "You can speak again, the box is removed."
Almost in reflex, I put my hand to my neck. Sure enough there felt to be more impressions. By my vocal chords, they hurt somewhat to the touch. I look to her, she's approached closer now. She hands me my glasses. I put them on, and see her. She's human again, wearing a bathrobe. "Thank you." is all I have the energy to say.
She puts a finger to my lips, they feel a bit swollen as well. "I know. I suppose I have some explaining to do to you, my pet." I relax when she calls me that. "About me, the company, how you got into it all..." Her voice fades, she reaches over to something on the table and hands it to me, a glass of milk. I smile.
"It's good for you right now, you're going to need the calcium." I drink it slowly, it feels good to have something cold and smooth in my throat. "Where should I begin?" she says, mostly to herself.
"The beginning?" I say, weakly.
"That's as good as any, my pet." She settles onto the bed. "At least my beginning with the company.
"I can't tell you our name, it's a private affair. I fell into the company a few years ago. I was down on my luck. But what actress isn't? That's not important. What's important is that the man who you met the first day at the farm was so kind to me.
"And, no, he doesn't 'own' me nor am I a 'slave'. We call him the Master because it was his brainchild. As such, we give him some authority on the grounds as far os scenes go. But all major decisions are made with all the partners present. That's where I come in. I took what was left of my savings and helped him make his fantasy a reality. He wanted to make a farm for people to try anything they wanted that was vaguely bestial in nature. It's grown since then.
"We got some good costumers and some design engineers together and made a feasible suit that could hide the human form well enough to be useful. So we made costumes for large dogs, big cats, ponies, pigs, sheep, cows, and so on. It's not cheap either. It takes some doing."
She lifts my arm and traces down the impression, it's an interesting feeling like the 'pins and needles' of a sleeping arm and the sensitivity of flesh not being touched for a long time. "These sweat channels were made so your sweat would come out your paws on this side. That's why you have the marks. They should go away in a few days, I hope.
"The rest of the costume was engineered like that. So it would mimic as well as possible the animal you became. From experience I know you may have to re-learn how to walk, or at least become better aquatinted with the idea." She looked away, lost in thought. I sipped slowly on the milk.
"Anyway, the farm. We became partners in the business and it's taken off fairly well. As well as what we do can, anyway. It's a limited market, you know. And our prices aren't cheap either." She mindlessly played with my hair as she spoke. She didn't look at me. I couldn't tell if it was shame or thought.
"Originally, I took you on as a charity case, my pet. I knew you couldn't afford the program. But our e-mail chats and our phone conversation was enough to convince me that you were genuine... sincere... you truly wished for it to be.
"So, I talked to my partner about it. He agreed to let you in for two weeks. We both agreed it was what we could afford to be flamboyant for the quarter. So I invited you over for the trial, you were all I expected, and I took you under my wing as my cub.
"As it turns out, you ended up paying for yourself. That woman in the cave? Her husband arranged for the scene. He told us of her wishes to become the centerpiece of a ritualistic ceremony that was somewhat bestial in nature. And, well, you were the only male cat that was either comfortable with the scene or available.
"For what it's worth, you performed excellently. He complimented you, you know." I let a grin escape. She ruffled my hair and looked me in the eye. "So I should be thanking you, Tawny."
I took in a deep breath. "Your hospitality was thanks enough, M'Lady." I nurtured the glass in my hands. I was almost done.
"You looked so content last night in the loft." Her voice got softer. "I didn't want to take you back. But I had to." She searched for words slowly, deliberately.
"I understand." I put my hand on hers. She took my glass and set it on the table.
We made love. It wasn't sex, it was love. For a little less than two weeks I had sex with all sorts of people, animals, whatever. But this wasn't like that. It wasn't raw. It wasn't fast. It was the true meaning of love, of caring. It was real.
What little strength I was saving it was gone now. I slept again. I awoke some time later. The marks on my body were slowly disappearing. She was there, next to me.
The next day she spent with me, reteaching my muscles how to do many of the mundane things that I had chosen to forget. Walking, speaking, the basics. It wasn't hard, but it was easier with another person there to show me again.
Between sessions we talked about her company. I was intrigued with the whole idea of how it got started. She said all potential customers were screened heavily for everything from std's to emotional baggage. Once they met to standards, they were invited in.
I confessed to her about the horse incident. She laughed, she knew we were up there. She saw us go inside. "I decided you should see, my pet." She said. "I thought you should know what else we do on our property." I asked how much they spent on that fantasy. The figure was higher than my combined total of paychecks in the past five years!
Also I asked her how much what had been done to me cost as well. "Oh, you silly cat." she said. "I wouldn't want to tell you. Don't lose sleep over it. You shouldn't need to know. All you should really care about is that we did it for you. And, we would do it again."
Almost instinctually, I tried to twitch my ears forward, bring my whiskers up... then I realized I couldn't. She laughed. "Don't strain yourself, my pet. Yes, I would like to have you again. But permanently."
My jaw dropped somewhat. I hadn't thought of it before. My penis shot straight up at the thought of it, but realistically, I knew I couldn't. I had things I had to do, and stories to write, places to see... My life was too short lived to think that long term yet.
I started to speak. "M'Lady, I..."
"Tawny? Hear me out." I stopped and did. "Perhaps not now, but in the future when you know it's right I would like to take you from your life here. Take you as my own. I can't really go into details right now, but we are talking to a man who does reconstructive surgery. I guess you could say it's cutting edge technology.
"He thinks he has a way to take a body and change it's DNA structure to match that of an animal, while keeping the human qualities we wish to have. We don't know how much he can do yet, but we know that with time we can alter a human body to become animal like. An experimental subject was Spike.
"But, that didn't work as well as we thought it could. It gave the physical appearance, but it gave most of the mental capacity of the dog too. We know Spike is happy, but we still feel terrible about what happened. He knew what could happen as well as us, and he truly wanted it anyhow. He got it, but the price was high to him.
"We can't reverse it." She got distant again, and she seemed to be holding back tears. "We all knew... We did..." I gave her a hug, she seemed to need it. But, I don't want to discuss that publicly. That's between us and us alone.
Just before I left her apartment the next day I made a promise to her. That when I felt ready that I would get in touch with her. And I would throw aside everything to become her cub again. Regardless of when. And I also knew that I would become her cub, someday. Perhaps after I see more of the real world and decide it wasn't meant for me.
In return she gave me a collar. A black nylon webbing collar, very much larger than my neck. It's got a tag on the D-ring. It's a gray mouse-shaped one that says on front in gothic-stylized letters "Tawny". On the back it has engraved "If the spirit is willing, the body able, and the passion real, let nothing stand in the way of a cat's fantasy."
This is (unfortunately) a work of fiction. It depicts sex. Lots of quite graphic sex between several genders and arguably a few species. Af any of this offends you, or anything vaguely pornographic bothers you, don't read this, and don't send me your nasty e-mail (I may enjoy it, you know...)
Being a work of fiction, none of the characters herin are based on a real person (Save the narrator and one other person...) And similarity to any person alive, dead, undead or unalive is coincidental, totally. However, if you see yourself or someone you know in a character be honored. You've been immortalised.