I wrote this story as part of the SSExchange which was a story exchange between some of the authors who have a bias towards transformational type stories. We each presented something brief along the lines of what we'd like to see written then got someone else's brief back and had to base a story on that.
This is my story based on Dragon's request. I think I'll just
call it The White Rabbit
Datric muttered, cursing the cold for the hundredth time that night. "Sol," he scolded to the apprentice huddled in the corner. "Throw another log on that fire." Sol looked up, blinking a few times to rid his eyes of the dozing state his brain remained in. "There is none," he said after his brain finally registered the wood-box was empty. The wizard looked up from his work bench and rolled his eyes. "Well, go to the store and get some more then," he sighed. "Then you can have the rest of the night off." The boy nodded. "Thank you Master" he said as he grabbed the wicker basket and scampered down the stairs, closing the large wooden door behind him. Datric watched him go, stifling a smile, still not willing to admit he was fond for the lad despite the aptitude he had shown for the art. He pulled his clock around him and peered at the archaic writing in the book before him. It outlined one of the more dangerous spells he had ever attempted. The caster had to summon a being from another world, then siphon off part of their power and trap it in a vessel. This power could then be harnessed by whoever used the vessel correctly. He had read the summoning spell and was sure the foul weather outside was being caused by the spirit trapped within the small tower room. The mage reached across the table, placing the ring he had chosen as a vessel, onto a bedding of soft rabbit fur marking the centre of a chalk outline that had been sketched on the thick oak boards. He began to recite the last words of the spell while making the correct hand gestures. Unfortunately he had his eyes closed and did not notice the back of one hand strike the flask of clear liquid. He opened his eyes just in time to see the ring glow for a brief instant before the thin oil struck the stone floor. The accepted story of the castle's distrustion was Datric had somehow summoned a demon which vented it's rage on the poor wizard. This fitted with the tales told by survivors pulled from the rubble. The deafening boom of an explosion, followed by the ominous rumble of the stones being shaken from within, punctuated by the frightening sounds of walls falling. Unfortunately, the truth is less entertaining. The flask that Datric managed to knock off the table contained what would be known as nitroglycerine. When it hit the floor it promptly exploded, this caused a chain reaction where most of the mage's highly volatile chemical store ignited. Having such a large concentration in such a small area lead to a devastating explosion. This, in itself, was tragic, but coupled by the poorly designed castle, which had the tower as a load point for two walls, lead to almost complete structural failure for the entire building. For the survivors who emerged from the rubble, it looked as if the demon's wrath had been absolute. Many centuries later the ruins of the castle became the site of an archaeological dig, run by the University of Edinburgh archaeological department. Alice was one of the lucky students to be dragged out to the dig site. Even though it was summer, the isolated highlands were still cold, but she could not help admiring the enchanting scenery. There was not much left of the castle itself, mainly various large piles of stone scattered amount the grass and rocks. Alice had her own section to dig away at. It was not the most challenging of digs, so far she had excavated down two feet and found a few pieces of bone, two shards of clay and some rusted piece of metal all of which were duly tagged, bagged and sent away for examination. She was lying on her stomach, gently chipping away the bottom of her grid with a tiny hand pick and brush when her eye caught the gleam of silver. Taking a gasp of surprise she carefully began to brush away the area around the metal object. It took her a while, but eventually she uncovered what appeared to be a silver ring lying on the ground. She took the required photographs, then pulled out a dental pick and eased it around the loop of metal. Delicately picking it up and looking at it closely. The dirt fell away almost immediately, leaving the polished ring on her palm. She gave a gasp of surprise at it, noticing the ornate Celtic pattern. At last she had found something worth finding. Alice stood and looked up to where the professor was cataloguing the items. Slowly she began to walk over, still studying the ring. It looked pretty and would be almost the ideal size for her. Without thinking she slid her finger through the loop, admiring it for a second before realising what she had done. She gave a panicked gasp and tried to pull it off, but it appeared stuck. "No," she moaned, reaching the table. "What was that Alice?" asked the professor, looking up from her work. "Ummm, I'm just after a small trowel," bluffed the stressed girl. "Got any around here?" The professor nodded and reached into her bag of tools, handing her one before going back to her work. Alice took it and moved back to her dig, a plan already forming in her mind. There was three days until the bus would take them into the town. When they got there, she'd visit the doctor and have him remove the ring, it probably just needed some coaxing, after all it went on easily enough. Alice spent the remainder of the day attempting to look busy while also trying to pull the ring off her finger. Neither worked very successfully. That night she tried to hide her hands as much as possible from the rest of the group. This turned out to be harder than she expected mainly because she had forgotten about the communal dining tent and that night they were having hamburgers. Alice lined up with the rest of the crowd, taking her bun, then moving to the line behind the grill. Strangely the scent of cooking meat made her stomach turn and she found herself refusing it and filled up the bun with just the salad. That caused a few stares and there were a few more when she joined the queue for seconds and then thirds and she was quite relieved when she managed to sneak away from the usual evening shenanigans to the safe haven of her tent. Her sleep that night was restless, she found herself waking up at the slightest noise. Often jumping in the confines of her sleeping bag only to find it was the snapping of a tent flap or a loosely tied rope. When dawn finally broke she felt as if she had not slept a wink. Somehow she managed to climb out of her tent and stumble down to the makeshift bathroom. The tent village was still silent and she had the luxury of a hot shower all to herself. It was not until she began lathering the soap onto her skin that she became aware of strange feeling on her arms. Blinking the last of the sleep from her eyes she turned off the shower and dried herself off, tilting her body to examine her reflection in the small mirror. Her first response was she looked pink. Not normal pink, but too pink. Then, when she looked closer she found it was because all the hairs on her body seemed to have turned white. Not only were they white, they were also thicker and longer. Like most people in the morning, Alice did not fully comprehend what her eyes were telling her. She simple dismissed it, put it down to some weird medical condition and made a mental note to see her doctor, probably at the same time she got the ring removed. She dressed slowly, then wandered over to raid the kitchen, tucking into the stash of fresh fruit before moving up the dig site. The rest of the crew were just beginning to stir, by the time they joined her at the excavation she was already covered in a healthy layer of dust and dirt. If any of them noticed anything, they did not say it to her. For Alice the day passed much like any other. She dig at her hole, diligently sifting through the soil before discarding it. She did not notice how she slowly stopped using the pick, trowel and brush. Ending up instead crouching in the hole, clawing at the soil with long dark nails. That night she did not join the test of the crew in the mess tent. Instead Alice raided the kitchen again and moved to her tent with a large pile of fruit, vegetables and bread which she made short work of. As she was undressing she noticed how long the hair covering on her body had grown. It had passed the point of being hair and was now thick enough to resemble fur. A pleasant white fur she decided, her mind not appreciating the gravity of the situation. She wrapped herself in her sleeping bag and prepared herself for the night's rest. Like the previous night, she did not get much. Instead Alice spent most of it in a strange crouched position. At first it was uncomfortable, but then as the night progressed, it seemed to become more bearable until it was almost natural. Dawn broke slowly, the orange glow easing into the eastern sky. Alice noticed it and moved out of her tent before the day had truly broken. She scampered down to the bathroom, balked at the idea of a shower and decided instead just to was her face. It took her a little fumbling with the taps before the water flowed, the cold liquid seeming to cling strangely to her face. She looked up at the mirror and gave a squeal of surprise. What looked back was not her. It was large, white, furry and ranked incredibly high on the cute scale. She moved a hand over her face, exploring slowly, watching the figure in the mirror move what could only be described as a paw in exactly the same actions. Her ears had grown longer. Much longer. They now arched over her head, pivoting around to face the slightest noise. Her face had been pushed out slightly, a pink nose, punctuating the white fur. She lifted her lip, exposing a lagomorph's mouth. Two long incisors and a decidedly cute pink tongue. Long whiskers picked up the sensations of her paw-pads as she craned her neck to look at herself. Her body had grown in size, her legs changing their shape, her feet now the same length as her calves. She pushed herself off the sink, suddenly aware how uncomfortable it was to remain on her hind legs. All fours felt much more natural and she wrinkled her nose as she examined the small button tail, her short claws easily digging into the earth floor. There was noise form outside and she tensed. Her head slowly turning to look at the door. A few moments later she relaxed and hopped slowly to the opening, poking her head out slowly. The maze of tents and trampled paths greeted her. Cautiously she nosed forward, nibbling occasionally at a crumbled piece of grasp. Another noise and she turned, recognising a human. The woman let out a gasp of surprise at the huge beast and stepped backwards. That was too much for Alice and she leapt forwards, knocking over tents as she weaved her way to freedom. Once in the open Alice's mad scamper slowed to a gradual hop which eventually eased into a leisurely graze. Her life as a human only a distant dream, her life as a rabbit only just beginning. Back at the camp many blurry faces were grumbling at the professor who spent most of the morning mumbling something incoherent about a rabbit the size of a person with a small silver band around one paw...