Here is the pic this story is based on. My thanks go out to Ian Williams' for letting me put it up.

http://www.lanceradvanced.com/XForm
The rest of his artwork can be found here. Go, have a look. Its really good :)


Maybe its the Water

by Wolphin
I never saw the signs.  Probably because I did not come in via 
the road.  I hiked in over the headland from a bay across the 
way.  It was a long hike, hard going and by the time I arrived 
I was feeling bushed.

Actually saying I never saw the signs was a lie.  I did see them, 
but I never read them.  I was too glad to reach the pristine 
sands, nothing clicked about the neatly posted white signs and the 
hazard tape criss-crossed over the walkway.  

I walked over to the shade of a nearby tree and flopped down under 
it, gathering my strength.  After a while, I sat up and noticed 
the sea looked very inviting.  Throwing caution to the wind I 
stripped off to my birthday suit, ran across the sand and dived 
into the small surf.  

The waves were small and slow, just the way I like them.  Enough 
to make you move, but containing no risk of an unexpected dunking.  
I am not sure how long I fooled about in the shallows.  It was a 
while, possibly an hour, maybe more.  It was not until I noticed 
my fingertips wrinkling I decided I had been in for too long.

Catching a minute break into the shore, I stood up and decided to 
wander along the edge for a while.  The risk of being caught naked 
flickered briefly across my mind, but I dismissed it almost as 
quickly.  I had not seen another person the entire time I had been 
here and did not expect to see any in the middle of the week, 
during the off season.

The beach was small and it took me barely five minutes to stroll 
from one end to the other.  As I stood knee deep in the waves, 
surveying my surroundings I suddenly became aware of the signs I 
had dismissed before.  Growing curious I walked over to one and 
looked at it.

                          "WARNING!  
                         BEACH CLOSED
      Possible contamination of biological waste product. 
 For more information contact the Aquology Biogenetics Research 
          Department on 555-3982 during office hours"

My blood froze.  

Contamination?  Aquology Biogenetics?

What the hell was Aquology Biogenetics?  

I had been swimming there!  What was going to happen to me?

Growing nervous I rushed over to my bag and sat down.  Forcing 
myself to remain calm I considered my options.

I was at least a ten mile hike from my car, through thick bush.  
No one knew I was here and I had just been swimming in some gunk 
from some research mob.  Any moment now I expected my hair to fall 
out and my skin to turn blue.  

Aquology?  What was that?  And biogenetics?  That was DNA and all 
that stuff.  What was it doing here?  I mean, there was nothing 
here but fish, if you wanted to dump some waste stuff there were 
easier places to get to.  

Hang on.  Biogenetics?  I bet they had bred some special fish 
thing.  You know, one of those things with genes from another 
animal so it would grow faster or something.  Yes, I bet that was 
it.  I bet they created some special fish thing, probably brought 
it here for trials, away from the general population and it 
probably escaped.  Rather than telling everyone there was a 
genetically engineered fish, better to say we spilled a barrel of 
fish food, stay away, it smells and everyone would be happy.

Smiling to myself I relaxed.  That must be it.  If there was any 
danger, they would not rely on such little signs.  

I folded my arms behind my head and leaned back.  Absolutely 
nothing to worry about.

It was about then when I noticed the strange sensation in my feet.  
Not a pain as such, more like an uncomfortable feeling, similar to 
a strained muscle, but different somehow.  Sitting up I peered at 
my foot, but the fine sand stuck to it obscured it completely.  I 
tried brushing it off, but not with much success.

Standing up I gingerly put my weight on it.  It supported me ok, 
but still felt strange.  Tentatively walking down to the waters 
edge I became aware of a similar feeling in my other foot.  
Washing them in the surf I backtracked to the damp sand and peered 
down at them.  

There was definitely something wrong.  

They seemed bigger.  Yes definitely larger than before, in both 
length and width.  They also had strange yellow sheen to them.

Scared, I lifted one and reached forward with my hand.  As soon as 
it entered my vision I let out a yelp of surprise.  It was similar 
to my foot.  Larger than normal and yellowish in colour.  I 
flicked my gaze of to my left hand.  It too had changed, matching 
the right.

Sinking to my knees I peered at my hands.  As I watched they 
changed, my fingers elongated, pulling webbing from my palm, 
shrinking the size of my palm.  Their colour also changed.  The 
webbing part turned an almost iridescent yellow, but the fingers 
themselves faded to a brilliant green.  Towards the base of my 
palm the colour deepened from human pink to a light red.  

Looking once again to my feet, I let out a moan of anguish.  They 
too had changed in a similar way to my hands.  I realised they 
were not feet anymore, but flippers.  I was kneeling at this point 
and suddenly found myself being pushed forwards.  Letting out 
another yelp, I looked behind me to see what was pushing and was 
just in time to see the fins on my new tail unfurl.  As I watched 
my tail continued to grow, ending up a good two metres long.  At 
first it seemed insubstantial, but somehow solidified, quickly 
covering itself with deep blue scales, fading to yellow on the 
underside.

I felt it firming up as my waist shrunk, the scales growing fast, 
sort of sliding up between my legs.  Before I knew it, my manhood 
had disappeared, replaced by a covering of fine yellow scales.  
Somehow I knew it had not gone as such, it had just, well... 
changed.

The change seemed to pause at my waist for a moment and I realised 
my legs were shrinking.  As they diminished in size, familiar blue 
scales covered my human flesh, leaving large, powerful fins on 
small but very manoeuvrable appendages.  As my waist shrunk, a 
second pair of fins grew from my hips, quickly fanning out in a 
familiar display of green and gold.  The scales then resumed their 
march up my chest.

I looked down and watched them.  They did not actually grow as 
such, instead the skin seemed to split along lines, the gap 
widened, the skin turned yellow and suddenly it was not skin, it 
was a scale.  I reached around with one of the flippers which had 
been my hand and poked tentatively at my chest.  Surprisingly, 
what remained of my hand was very sensitive.  I could feel the 
smoothness of each scale, the gentle bump of where one overlapped 
another and ever some very fine vertical ridges.

As the scales progressed towards my neck I became aware of my ears 
changing.  I could not see them, but I could feel them growing 
longer, somehow stretching.  I reached up and instead of feeling 
skin, felt webbing and I guessed they were now similar to what my 
hands had become.

The change rippled along my back.  I felt new appendages sprout 
from my new tail and further up my back.  I could not be sure, but 
I guessed they were similar to a fish's dorsal fin.  As it reached 
my head I felt my skull changing inside my skin.  My eyes were 
pushed towards the sides and my nose shrunk.  My mouth pushed out 
slightly, forming a smooth line from between my eyes, right down 
over my chin and onto my neck.  

I blinked and everything went blurry.  Then something happened 
inside my neck and I began to feel weak.  Gasping I realised I was 
not getting enough air and I realised the strange things in my 
neck must be gills.

Twisting on the sand I half crawled, half dragged myself into the 
shallows.  The water felt good against my scales and instinctively 
I ducked my open mouth into the gentle break.  The water slid down 
my neck and through my gillslits.  Oxygen coursed into my 
bloodstream and I found myself snaking into deeper water.

Once fully submerged and at a comfortable depth I started swimming 
in a lazy figure eight.  My new tail effortlessly slicing myself 
through they water.  My body reacted instinctively to commands, a 
fin tilting slightly to send me deeper, a dorsal ridge curving to 
help me stay upright.  My new eyes gazed at my new world and 
suddenly I realised I never wanted to go back.

Many months have passed since then.  I have explored many miles of 
coast, but still find myself returning to the bay where it all 
started.  It is still closed, but I seem to like it here.  I am 
not sure why, maybe its the water.