Birthday Wish

By Wolphin

I'm not sure who started it or when it started, it just seemed to 
appear one day.  Someone mailed the list saying the next day was 
their birthday and what their birthday wish was.  Naturally, it 
involved some form of change, I can't remember what sort exactly.  
Two days later, they sent an enthusiastic message telling everyone 
that their wish came true and they spent their birthday living out 
their particular change.  

This idea took off with the list, and soon everyone was sending 
messages detailing what they wished for then later, how it happened.  
For a while, everyone was posting, then they slowly faded away, but 
every now and then someone would post a message entitled "My Birthday 
Wish" which was almost always followed two days later by a detailed 
description.

I was thinking about this as my birthday approached, thinking how 
great it would be to be able to do something like this.  Anyway, the 
day before my birthday found me at the computer with a bit of spare 
time, so after a few minutes of thinking I crafted my wish.  I didn't 
think anything would come of it, the next day just happened to be my 
birthday so I'd thought I'd follow the trend. 

This is where I seriously stuffed up.  Most of the other people 
wanted the standard things, horses always seemed popular, as did 
felines and eternal youth.  This was followed by the usual gaggle of 
assorted creatures - werewolves, dragons, minotaurs, racoons, birds, 
things like that.  So what did I go for?  Did I decide to play it 
safe and go for something which I ever wanted be, like a centaur, 
dragon or dolphin?  No, I had to show off.  I was actually quite 
proud of what I came up with.  My wish was to be a lobster.  

Well, a lobster morph actually.  I thought I'd be different.  I 
hadn't seen anyone else do it before.  I decided a quick tale about 
spending a day as a six foot lobster should get their attention.

Like I said, I quickly typed out my wish, posted it out and logged 
off.

Later that day, I went out for dinner with a bunch of friends to 
celebrate my birthday early.  I didn't get home until after eleven.  
The next day was Saturday so I didn't need to go to work and I was 
looking forward to sleeping in.  As I prepared for bed, I thought 
about what I'd write on the list about my experiences, trying to 
imagine exactly how a lobster would get around and what it would do.

I noticed it was exactly midnight as I hoped into bed.  Wishing 
myself a happy birthday I settled down for the night.  

A few minutes later, my right hand cramped painfully.  I reached over 
and massaged it with my left, but the pain persisted.  In fact, it 
got worse.  Then my left hand began to cramp as well.  Alarmed, I 
fumbled with the bedside light, eventually turning it on and the same 
time throwing back the sheets to have a close look at my hand.

The sudden brightness caused me to squint, but I could easily see 
something was wrong.  For one thing, they were red.  Not pinkish, 
red.  The other thing was my fingers had fused into a solid lump and 
both they, and my thumb, were growing.  I stared in fascinated horror 
as my hands distorted and lengthened.  Suddenly, I recognised my 
hands as growing into claws, large single claws, just like a crab... 
or a lobster.  

I instantly thought back to my wish.  No, that was just something I 
typed in, it was only something to dream about.  It didn't happen in 
real life, it COULDN'T happen in real life.  I risked another glance 
at my hands.  Any semblance to human hands had completely 
disappeared.  At the end of my arms were two lobster claws.  As I 
stared, the skin hardened into a thick shell.  Then the change 
started up my arms.

My arms stayed relatively normal.  Well, except for the fact my skin 
solidified into a shell.  It wasn't until the change reached my 
shoulders that the next major change began.  I could feel my back 
reshaping and forming into a carapace.  This extended down to make a 
tail, I watched it emerge behind my legs.  Speaking about legs, I 
gained a couple, well a lot really.  From up near where my stomach 
use to be, eight small appendages sprouted.  Each one grew until it 
was about three foot long and tipped with its own small claw.  

The change then seemed to wrap around from behind me, hardening my 
new shell and making pleopods on the inside of my tail.  (I confess, 
I did not know what these were at the time, but I have done some 
research into lobsters since.  To the layman, these are the small 
feathery things on the underside of the tail).  My human legs, except 
for growing an armour-like shell, remained remarkably intact.

However, it was my upper torso and head which were most affected.  
From about my waist, up to about my neck a hard shell formed, leaving 
small gaps from which my new legs protruded.  With some alarm, I 
found my head forced back as the change progressed.  To be honest, it 
felt like I was slowly exploding, my mouth was pulled down.  My nose, 
now pointing into the air, hardened into a beak-like point and my 
eyes were pulled out onto stalks.  From where my nose use to be, two 
long feelers and four short ones sprung out into the air.  I can't 
really describe what happened to my mouth.  I felt bits grow, other 
bits shrink, I didn't know what was happening.  Then my shell 
hardened over my ears and all was still.

I waited a few more moments to see if anything else would happen, but 
it appeared to be complete.  For about the next ten minutes I lay 
there, not moving, trying to determine if I was awake or asleep.  If 
I was asleep, this was the most realistic dream I had ever had and if 
I was awake I was going insane.

Eventually, I couldn't stand it any longer.  I had to know for 
myself, I had to have a look in the mirror.  Slowly and cautiously I 
started to get out of bed.  Left me tell you, trying to get out of 
bed when you are a seven foot tall lobster, with a total of twelve 
legs or arms or whatever they are called, a tail and not being able 
to bend is very, very difficult.  It took me four attempts and on the 
final attempt I knocked over the lamp.  It hit the ground just as I 
made it to my feet.  

I felt the globe smash.  I didn't hear it smash, I felt it, through 
my antenna.  Somehow I knew that the glass had smashed.  That was a 
bit of a shock.  I stood there in the darkness for a while, feeling 
around me.  There was a slight breeze flowing through my room.  
Somewhere in front of me was the door, don't ask me how I knew, I 
just did.  Then, one of my longer feelers brushed my back.  I knew it 
was my back.  I was transfixed.  Don't ask me how long I spent there, 
standing in the dark running my feelers all over my new body.  I 
didn't need a mirror, I could tell from feel alone.

With the tip of my shell, I stood about seven foot high, my main 
feelers were longer than that though, as they touched the ground 
behind me.  When they weren't needed they folded neatly behind me.  
My arms had now become my dominant set on pincers, but my legs had 
stayed pretty much human, giving me better mobility I realised.  I 
could individually control each of the smaller legs protruding from 
my chest - a very weird feeling.  My tail was something else, It 
extended down my back, fanning out at the end, just like a normal 
lobster, but was slightly shorter than my legs meaning it didn't drag 
on the ground.  My mouth was surrounded by small hairs, like combs, 
which could be used to direct food towards my mouth.

It was about 3am by the time I stopped marvelling at myself.  By that 
stage I had figured out how to walk around and keep my balance.  I 
had also learnt my eyes had no eyelids, so I almost blinded myself 
when I finally managed to turn on a light.  My eyesight was not that 
good anyway, I preferred to rely on my feelers.  By this stage I had 
decided to get out and do something more interesting.

Luckily, I only live a five minute walk from the beach.  The only 
problem was there was an awful lot of open ground between me and the 
sea, I didn't want to know how other people would react when they saw 
me, but that was a risk I had to take.  I wanted to go swimming!

I kept to the shadows as I wandered down the road, wondering what the 
neighbours would say if they looked outside.  I was almost there and 
was starting to relax when a police car came around the bend.  I was 
silhouetted in the headlights against a white wall, there was no way 
they could of missed me.  However, they just continued as if I wasn't 
there.

At this, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Maybe it was something about 
the change which made me invisible or something.  No one else on the 
mailing list had ever complained about being spotted or maybe my new 
shell came with 'Stealth Technology'. :-)

After my close shave with the law, I hurried on to the beach.  The 
sand felt wonderful beneath my feet, er claws, umm things.  I quickly 
waded into the water.  The water was almost dead calm and I 
automatically sunk down onto my other legs, using them to move me 
over the sea floor.  With some surprise I noticed I was filtering the 
water through the combs by my mouth gaining both oxygen and small 
bits of food.  My human legs were neatly folded out of the way, 
leaving my tail unencumbered.  Using some unknown instinct, I snapped 
my tail and propelled myself backwards into the deeper water.

I do not know how long I spent like that.  I remember wandering 
around the sea floor scavenging.  I don't think I ate anything 
particularly horrid, but if I did I don't want to know.  I remember 
noticing the sea lighten as the day dawned and spending a long time 
sheltering under a large rocky ledge, waiting for it to get dark 
again.

Eventually, the sun went down and I resumed my wanderings.  Somehow I 
found myself in shallow water and knew it was time to return.  I 
slowly emerged from the water, moving from eight legs onto two.  I 
then started to walk home.  Luckily, I didn't see another soul on the 
way there.

Entering through the side door, I somehow knew it was all over.  It 
was a shame really, being a lobster was a considerably different to 
what I thought it would be like.  I couldn't wait to get on the list 
and tell everyone about it, but they probably wouldn't believe me, 
what I needed was some proof.  

Proof, of course!  A photograph! I kept a camera on my desk.  I 
reached out in the darkness and felt for it with a feeler.  There it 
was!  Deftly, I reached out with a claw and tried to grab it.  
Unfortunately, I still wasn't very good at gauging my own strength, 
I'm afraid to say the camera shattered, so the photos will have to 
wait.

Just then, the reverse change started.  I felt my tail, legs and 
feelers being sucked back inside my body (very weird) and my shell 
begin to soften and dissolve.  Soon my claws had separated back into 
individual fingers.  Inside, I could feel my skeleton reforming, 
suddenly I could bend and flex again, but my bones were still soft 
and I collapsed in a heap on the floor.  My head slowly shrunk back 
to a rounded shape.  My eyes were pulled in and over the top of my 
skull.  The remains of the combs by my mouth were absorbed by my skin 
and teeth grew from my gums.  Finally, my ears re-emerged from the 
side of my head and I could head again.

For a moment, I lay in a heap on the floor, waiting to ensure 
everything was completely finished.  Then I slowly got to my feet and 
looked around.  The clock opposite flipped over to 12:00, marking the 
end of my birthday.

I thought about the previous day.  I had never had a birthday like 
it, but already I was planning what I'd wish for next year...