By : Socks the Catt
© Socks Furrotica, 2005
Then the food bowl stopped being taken, and he was left without anything. He managed to get some water through a few ship tricks he learned, but it was barely enough. Then for some reason the rats didn't come anymore. He shook his head when he thought of it, and figured what it meant to him. Either they were waiting for him to die, or they were all dead now. But few things remained constant. Eleven steps long, six steps wide. And the door was still locked. Not that it would help him if it were open. He hadn't heard even crew sounds from above him in a long time. Not that time had a definition anymore.
He found himself on the ground, hunger driving him mad and thirst driving his willpower to nothing. He felt along his rib cage weakly, slowly, then his stomach. Surely, this would be his death. Alone, unknown, perhaps someone would discover his rat-eaten corpse? As he lay there, he faced what he thought was the heavens. "I am ready for you." He said hoarsely. He felt a cold air wash over his mostly naked form. "Are you the bringer of death?" he asked, unable to move. He heard no response. "Please come quickly. I have waited long enough for you. I only ask that you make it swift."
He felt calmness wash over him. He said nothing as he surrendered to it, happy it was over.
"CAPTAIN!!!! We have a survivor!"
He tilted his head to the side, and felt himself in a comfortable position. Not a hard floor, but something soft. He tried to move his hands, but he felt too weak to even do that. "This is what heaven is?" he asked weakly.
"Heaven?" A voice rumbled. He couldn't move to respond to it. "It depends on your ideal of what it should be."
The man opened his eyes, and sighed once looking into space. "This can not be heaven." He said sadly. "There's only darkness."
He heard a slight grunt, and felt hot air rush over his face. A larger man's warm breath washed over his face. "You can not see?"
"Your grasp of the obvious is exemplary." The man said weakly, forcing it out. "I was promised in heaven I would be able to."
He heard the other man get up, and walk around a smaller room, gathering items. Glass clinked and things rustled. "Do you feel well enough to sit?"
"I don't feel much of anything." He said. "Too weak to move."
"Here, try to drink this." He felt the other man place something to his lips. "The taste should be tolerable, it will help you." He drank small sips, and felt the man's hands touch his chin. They must be in a cold climate, he wore animal furs indoors, but his own body had no such sensation of cold or warm. He only felt the coarseness of the mitten cradling his head as he drank slowly. As he sipped, he felt a little tired. "I have the unenviable task to welcome you aboard the Maria." The voice said. The man nodded, not understanding what was in his surroundings. "Sleep all you can, I will be at your side until you are well enough to stand."
He nodded as exhaustion washed over him.
"Are you sure these are helping?" a higher voice asked.
"I believe so." The deeper one said. "He is getting stronger, Maria is working her way for him."
"I still have some more herbs we can try." The higher voice said. "My work space is small up front but I seem to be able to keep a small variety going."
The deeper voice huffed once. "We should see how this works first, and stay the course we are taking." There was some silence as a door opened and closed.
"What are you?" he asked.
He heard the boards creak as the larger man lumbered to him. "A philosopher. A healer. A teacher. A dangerous man. All have been used to describe me."
"You're not a pirate?" he asked.
"No." the large man said, "I am simply a traveler now."
He felt the bed he was in shift, as the larger man sat next to him. "What happened to the pirates? How did you find the ship?"
He heard the large man sigh. "Duke found you barely alive on the ship you were on. Our choice was to leave you there to die, or curse you with being here. I like to think we made the right decision." He felt the gloves of the man on his chin. He opened his mouth as the warm liquid was poured into his mouth. "My name is Tzo, I have taken you into my care until you are better."
"Alex." The man said. "Is that a nickname? 'zo'?" He didn't hear an answer. "I'm only thankful I was rescued by the English." Alex swore he heard snickering as he felt tired suddenly. He fell back into restful sleep.
He woke up again, hearing lighter footsteps. He tried to get up, but still felt weak. "Hey! Wait up there!" Alex fell back into the bed as the footsteps rushed towards him. "You're not ready yet!" the voice insisted.
"Where's zo?" Alex asked, in a slight haze.
"I relieved him for the moment so he could eat. I'm Robert. I'm helping Tzo." Alex felt a hand pat his chest, and he found it somewhat reassuring. "I have some medicines that are helping. Maria can do wonders but you need more than her help for now. I thought we had lost you for sure when you were brought on board."
"Who is Maria?" Alex asked.
"She's the ship." Robert said, walking around the room. "She's all around us. She said she's met you already, when we found your ship."
"That wasn't my ship." Alex said, letting his head fall back into a pillow. "The pirates that raided my ship took me aboard theirs before the scuttled the one I was on."
"So that's why you were down in the brig?" Alex tried to put his hand on his forehead, and he found with some patience he could. "That's good." Robert said. "You can move your arm. That's better than the last time."
"I can't move it back yet." Alex said.
"Let me help you." Robert walked back, and placed his hand on Alex's arm. Alex made a strange face, feeling the fur-lined glove on his still tender arm. "Did I hurt you?"
"Where are we sailing?" Alex asked. "Why do you and Tzo both wear fur lined gloves?"
There was silence, and Robert walked away from the bed. "You haven't been awake enough to tell you more about the ship you're on. I'm not really good at talking about it. No offense meant, I'd like to let Tzo tell you about it?" Alex could hear a twinge of nervousness in Robert's voice, tell tale cracks.
"I'm not going anywhere, it seems." Alex said.
"I should get you more tea." Robert said. "It helps with your healing process."
Alex heard the liquid pouring, and listened for the ship sounds. They were very muffled, almost inaudible. "Are we in the midship?"
"Yes." Robert said. Something in his voice told Alex he wasn't telling the truth. "Please, drink this? It will help you get stronger."
Alex did, and soon after he felt the wave of sleepy feeling go through him. "Is there some…" He fell back asleep.
Alex woke up again, and heard the deep breathing of Tzo. He tried to sit up, and was getting closer to succeeding. "You are better." Tzo said.
"No thank you to your sleeping potion." Alex said, straining his muscles to sit up.
"If you'd rather be awake for the process, I can arrange that." Tzo rumbled out. Alex could hear the large man get to his feet, and slowly walk to him. "But we both think you'd rather sleep through the worst of it."
"You and Robert?" Alex got no answer, then a guttural affirmation. "How bad can it be?"
"You've been sleeping on and off for a month." Tzo said. Alex almost lost his arms under him. "In that time Maria has been doing all she can for you, but the process is slow."
"A month?" Alex asked aloud. "A whole month asleep?"
"Short of the times you're awake, yes." Tzo replied with some amusement in his voice. If you'd rather be awake, but unable to get out of bed, I certainly can do that for you. But while your strength is weak, it might be better to sleep through it."
Alex let himself down, and back into the bed. "How much longer until I can get up again?"
"We don't know." Tzo said. He could hear Tzo turn away from him, and go back to the other side of the room and clink the glasses again. "It may be two weeks, or a month, or more."
Alex sighed once. "I'll take the sleep then."
"I had hoped you would." Tzo said.
There was a brief silence. "Robert said you would tell me about this ship."
"If you like, I can." Tzo said. "Or we can wait until you're ready to walk on deck, and I can show you…" Tzo stopped. "I'm sorry, I forgot."
"I'm used to that." Alex said. "Please, tell me what you can now. When will we return to port? My family must be worried about me."
Tzo let out a long, shallow breath. "I'm afraid that's not possible anymore. You are on a ship some consider cursed, none may leave her."
"The captain won't dock her?" Alex asked, in some shock.
He heard Tzo put the glass wear down on a table, and his deliberate footfalls as he approached his bed. Tzo took Alex's hands into his own. "These gloves, as you call them, are not gloves. These sharp points are not left from an animal, these are my claws. I am not wearing a skin, this is my flesh and blood." He brought Alex's hands around his body, and let him feel the fur that enveloped him. "I wear only my robes, and not an animal hide." He took Alex's hands and put them on his own face. "This is no mask, but my face."
Alex explored the rounded chin and wet nose, not repulsed but fascinated. He could feel the warm breath come from the man's nose, and explored the sensations of fur across the muzzle. He let his hands move around to the top of his head, feeling the rounded ears that perked up from a round head. He touched around the eyes of the creature, then to the fur on his chin. "What kind of madness is this?"
"It is the way of our ship." Tzo said. "It isn't that we can not dock, but we can not leave this ship. Our captain, Robert, all our crew, we are all like this."
"Is Robert like you? His hands didn't feel as coarse." Alex asked.
"He is a cat." Tzo said. "I am a bear of my country."
Alex let his hands go to his sides. He thought for a few moments, and let out a long breath. "Am I going to be like you? Covered in fur?"
"Yes." Tzo said. "But I can not tell you the beast you will become. Normally, the change takes months."
Alex remained motionless in the bed. "I'm here forever?"
"Or until you die." Tzo said. "Not that it is easy to do here. Maria has a way to keep her crew alive. If you plunged a knife in your heart you'd survive to tell the tale. Later I will tell you all of her ways, or the ones we've come to know." Tzo got up and walked across the room. "Including the ways to speed up the change, if you desire. But you are not strong enough for that yet."
Alex thought about that for a moment as he heard Tzo walk back across the room, and felt the bed cant to one side as the weight of Tzo was added to it. "I understand that this is a lot to take in. If you'd like some time before I give you the tea, I will."
Alex put his hand out. "No, I think I'll sleep on it." With a smirk he drank it. "Why are you helping me? What do you get out of this?"
"A friend." Tzo said. Alex felt the familiar feeling wash over him, and soon he was asleep.
He awoke to a warm feeling, the sun. He hadn't experienced it for a long time, and its warmth was filling to him. He slowly sat up in the bed, and felt it dance across his naked body, tingling in ways he hadn't felt in a long time. He heard a chair shuffle across the floor, and light footsteps came towards him. "You're awake!"
"I'm awake." Alex said, stretching himself. "How long was I sleeping?"
"Three or so weeks" Robert said. "I was beginning to worry about you."
"Why don't I dream?" Alex asked.
"It's the herbs." Robert said. "I didn't want to let you have nightmares, so I put something extra into it."
Alex smiled, feeling the sun on his face. "Is it morning?"
"Evening." Robert said. Alex reached over to Robert slowly, and he heard a backwards step being taken. "What are you doing?"
"Tzo said you were a cat." Alex said. "I want to be sure." Robert took a tentative step forward, and Alex explored his face and shoulders with his hand. Robert giggled when Alex felt his whiskers. "Why is this one shorter than the others?"
"I chew on it." Robert said, with a little guilt. "It's a bad habit that Abacus is trying to cure me of."
"Abacus?" Alex asked.
"My Ma..." Robert stopped. "My cabinmate." He said nervously. "We share a cabin on board." Alex brought his hand back down to the bed, and tried to move his legs. They responded, but slowly. "You might want to take it one at a time." Robert said. "You haven't moved in almost two months."
Working together they managed to get him sitting up on the side of the bed. "Were you a doctor before you were trapped on the ship?" Alex asked.
"Yes and no." Robert said. "I helped my father on his veterinary trips, and learned herbalisim from my mother. I was never trained in a college, but I learned a lot of things." Alex made a move to stand, and Robert stopped him. "We should wait for Tzo first. He's bigger and can probably hold you up if you fall."
A few nights later, Alex was walking on the deck of the ship using Tzo's arm to hold him up. "We must be very high over the water, I can barely hear it."
"Maria is a large ship." Tzo said. "I only hope you can learn to navigate within her. It can be quite confusing."
"I learned my way around
"Is it hard? Not seeing to walk?" Tzo asked.
"I have learned to notice things, so it's less dangerous to me." Alex said. "I've memorized many things, like buildings, and where doors are. So I can find them later." Alex snickered to himself. "I've won many mugs of ale for being able to walk around a room and find a specific thing."
Tzo patted Alex's forearm. "Some time when you're comfortable on the ship, I'd like to ask you more about that."
Alex stopped, and felt for the railing with his hand. Tzo let him find it. He then pushed his arm over the railing, and stopped a foot or so out. "Is this the other part of being trapped? Is that some strange barrier?"
"In a sense, yes." Tzo said. "Nobody on the ship knows what does it, or how, but that's the force that keeps us in. How did you know it was there?"
"Can't you hear that?" Alex asked. He got no answer, but tapped the barrier with his finger. "It's very low in volume, and it almost sounds like a wave of very small bees, but it's there. It sounds like it goes to the waterline as the waves delay from when the boat rocks to when I hear the sound."
He felt Tzo join him on the rail, and move around next to him. "I've never noticed that before." He said whimsically. "When your strength is fully recovered I would really like to talk to you about these things."
Alex smiled, feeling the wind go across his body. "I've been meaning to ask you this. But what are the other ways to speed up the process of change? I can tell that I'm making some of the crew uneasy."
He heard Tzo shift next to him. "That might be better explained when your strength is fully recovered."
Alex was walking along the rail some days later, touching it with his hand. "Careful there!" he heard. "You're about to hit a coil!"
Alex stopped, and tested with his foot. He tapped the coil, but didn't move his head. "Is it always there?"
"Usually." The voice said between pants. "Sometimes it's more to starboard, but tonight it's on the rail."
"Thank you." Alex said. "I'm still learning the layout of the ship here. I have to get used to it sooner or later."
"No problem." He heard a motion, then he felt a furred hand touch his arm. "I’m Duke. I'm the one who found you on that ship."
Alex reached out to touch it. "Alex. I suppose I should thank you, for saving my life."
"It's a pleasure." Duke said. Alex ran his hand up Duke's arm, and past his shoulder to feel his head. Duke let out a soft murring noise as Alex felt around his floppy ears, then to the front of his snout. He felt Duke's nose, and smiled.
"You're a dog?" Alex asked
"Yes!" Duke said happily. "A Dalmatian, I'm proud to say!" Alex could hear the pride in his voice.
"You know they go deaf." Alex said.
"What?" Duke asked
"I said, you…" Alex stopped, and smiled. He tapped Duke on the nose. "Bad dog, no treat."
Duke laughed. "You'll fit right in." He snickered. "Can I ask you something that might be personal?"
"Yes?" Alex asked.
"Rumor has it that you're looking to be brought into the crew." Alex reeled his head back a little. "Small crew, word travels fast." Alex sighed. "Have you given any thought as to who you'd like to ask?"
Alex snickered to himself. "Are you offering?"
"I'd be honored." Duke said. "But we have a standing order to not to be so forward."
"Orders?" Alex asked.
"The Captain." Duke said. "And I'm willing to abide by her word."
"There's a female Captain?" Alex asked, somewhat amused. "Oh, what would the navy think?"
Duke snickered. "I'm quite happy with her."
"Let me think about it." Alex said. "The whole idea of… buggery... It's all so new to me."
"If I can help, just let me know." Alex said.
A few weeks later Alex was in a private room with Duke, stroking his chest gently. "If you're sure you're ready." Duke said.
"I think I am." Alex said. "If I'm going to change, then I may as well now. And the idea has grown on me."
"I'm surprised it wasn't Tzo." Duke said.
"We talked about that," Alex said. "And I think he's a little, well large. I don't think for my first I can take it. He was very understanding and encouraged me to find someone I could take. And Robert is with Abacus, so I wanted to find someone who I knew."
"So I'm the leftover, am I?" Duke asked jokingly.
"Not as much as you're someone that I think deserves to complete my journey. Without you I wouldn't be here."
Duke ran his paw along Alex's face. "I hope that you can see. Maria can work wonders, you know."
"She already has." Alex buried his face into Duke's neck, and nibbled along the fur there. Duke whined softly as he felt the pressure in his sheath. The two of them licked, kissed, and explored each other learning each other's bodies. Duke licked gently down Alex's body, and arrived to his semi-erect shaft. He licked around the tip, pulling Alex's foreskin back with his tongue as his teeth gently pulled it back to expose the true tip. Alex moaned louder as Duke's lowered his muzzle into Alex.
Alex shivered, arching his back at the sensation of such a long, smooth tongue over him. He dug his fingers into the bed, and let his head fall back into the pillow. Duke inhaled the sweet scents he was licking up, and enjoyed the feeling of a long, hard shaft in his muzzle. He lowered his whole head into Alex's lap, careful not to press his nose into him. After a long suck, he heard Alex moan louder. He felt the shaft in his muzzle get harder, then firmer. He brought his paw up to cup Alex's sac and adjusted his head angle as the loose skin at the base of the shaft pulled up into Alex's belly. Duke let himself drool into the sheath, helping Alex's shaft stay moist as the flesh got softer, more sensitive. He could feel the foreskin pull back, leaving a long tip on the end of Alex's new shaft.
Duke pulled off it slowly, agonizingly slow for Alex. Duke rubbed his muzzle into Alex's leg. "It's black." He said. "It's started."
"For the love of Pete don't stop then!" Alex panted out. "That was incredible!"
"Well in that case..." Duke slurped along Alex's sac, and all the way up to the tip. Alex groaned louder, feeling a tingle that ran from his crotch all the way up to his head. Duke swallowed the shaft in his muzzle, and began to work it as hard as he could. Alex pressed his head back, and felt his ears shift from the sides of his head to the top, sharp pointed tips pushing into the bed as he rocked his head back and forth.
Alex pulled up on Duke's muzzle. "Not yet!" he gasped out. "I want to finish as you do." He panted once, and took in a deep smell. "And you smell almost ready yourself."
"More than you know." Duke said, climbing up Alex's body. As he reached his cheek, Alex raised his legs and spread them slightly. "You're ready?"
"Take me sea dog!" Alex said. Duke pushed into Alex, and his tip pushed into him. Alex's cries got higher in pitch as he brought his hands down to Duke's thighs. Alex pulled him in, but Duke took his time with his sweet torture. He licked Alex's neck, feeling the rough fur grow in around the neck and chin. Alex's mouth and nose had flattened out, and he rested his expanding muzzle on Duke's shoulder to hold him down.
Alex could feel so much happening, it was impossible to take it in. He brought both arms down to hold Duke's legs, gripping the fur as tight as he could. He felt Duke's warm breath on his newly forming muzzle. He grunted as he felt duke's knot push against him. Duke pushed a few times, trying to fight his way. Finally, Duke pushed all the way into Alex's hole. Alex let out a shrill cry, and his eyes shot wide open.
Suddenly his senses were bombarded with information. His cry was so high in pitch it surprised him, but not as much as the sudden sensation of hearing it again, and again, and again in the room, At once he knew the layout of the ceiling, the beam placement, how many boards were over his head. He could sense the size of the room, down to the inch. He could hear Duke's tail wagging. His eyes were still darkened, but he suddenly knew the environment. And he knew Duke was smiling.
Duke rocked back and forth on his knot, trying to hold himself back. He looked down into the brown and black fur of the man under him, how his triangular muzzle was so beautiful, triangular ears, the ship had another fox, and it was wonderful! He could see into Alex's black eyes, darker than night. Duke smiled, almost losing himself into the moment.
Alex could feel Duke's body tensing up. Without warning, Duke bent himself over, and sucked hard on Alex's shaft while burying himself into his hips. Alex's eyes opened wide, and he came hard into Duke's muzzle. Duke felt it, and pushed his thighs together hard to shoot into Alex's hole. Duke swallowed on reflex as Alex's body shook under him. Alex squealed in sheer pleasure, feeling himself completely spent into the dog.
Duke licked the black fur around Alex's sheath quickly, and then lay down on top of Alex. Alex was panting, and tears began to come down his muzzle. "I didn't hurt you did I?"
"No." Alex said between hard breaths. "No you didn't." Alex reached up to Duke, and hugged him as hard as he could "Thank you! Thank you thank you thank you!" The two of them cuddled as they drifted into sleep.
Alex woke up feeling sore. He didn't feel Duke inside him anymore, but they were still cuddled together. He could feel Duke's heavy breathing, and he smiled and listened to it, letting the time drift as he did.
Duke woke up draped in a blanket, a very warm one. He wagged his tail happily, and opened his eyes. He kissed Alex on the muzzle. They cuddled together for a few minutes. Duke ran his paw-finger along Alex's black-furred chest.. "You do look good this way." He said softly.
Alex brought a hand up to Duke's face, and studied it by feel. "I could say the same about you too."
"Can you see?" Duke asked,
"I... I don't know." Alex said. "There's too much going on, I can't concentrate on any one thing. What am I?"
"I'd say a fox." Duke said. "Except you're mostly black with some brown around..." Duke stopped, and backed up a little. "Raise your arm? A little?" Alex did so, and Duke felt the blanket move over him, then off. He could see a furry extension under Alex's arm, going to his waist and almost to his wrist. His arm was also bent at strange angles, but he still had his hands at the ends of what should have been his wrists. Duke traced a line along it, and felt some kind of bone structure.
Alex giggled. "That tickles!"
"You have wings. Just under your arms" Duke said, more than a little astonished. "I'd say you're a bat." He looked at Alex nervously. "You don't have a sudden urge for blood, do you?"
Alex laughed, and hugged Duke as tight as he could. "I don't think blood is what I'm going to find myself craving." Duke smiled, and cuddled with Alex. Alex buried his nose into Duke's fur, feeling more comfortable than he ever had in his life.
Tzo walked along the deck later that night, and came across a bat with his arms crossed, folding his wings around his body. Tzo joined him along the rail, looking out at the horizon. "I wish I could see the sunset." Alex said.
"It is quite beautiful." Tzo said. "You've never seen one?"
"I'm afraid not." Alex said. "I was born this way. I did the best with what I had."
"If I may, what did you do?" Tzo asked.
"Carpentry." Alex said. He brought a paw up to his head "I build things in here, and then I build them in the shop. I'm quite good at it." Tzo nodded. "I don't suppose Maria needs a carpenter for upkeep."
"No," Tzo said. "she repairs herself mostly."
"Ahh, too bad. I'll miss that kind of work." Alex said. He faced the horizon, and opened his mouth. His ears twitched moments later. "Is there... Something over there?" He pointed over the sunset.
"Clouds." Tzo said. "A lot of them. It should rain tonight."
Alex smiled, and a tear went down from his black eyes. "I can hear clouds." He said softly. "That's unbelievable."
Tzo looked out to the sunset. "I don't believe Maria is trying to be our jailor, but I believe that she tries to ease our pain of being trapped with her on board. She gives us all a gift."
Alex smiled, and turned to face the ship. He moved his jaw a little more, and then looked to Tzo and did the same. "There's a crows next up there, isn't there?" Tzo grunted to affirm. "Hmm, an no Belfry for the bat to live in." He shook his head with a smile. "I've been told there's a tradition to rename yourself after your change?"
"Some do." Tzo said.
"Then I guess I'll be the Belfry, and the bat." He snickered to himself at his own joke.
Tzo looked at him quizzically. "I'm not sure I follow your meaning."
"I thought you were English?" the bat asked.
Tzo shook his head. "There are many things left to learn about Maria, I see."