Trying to fix that, I turned my latest story, which was supposed to be just three short captions, into a longer one. Hope you enjoy it.
RIDING THE BUS
You’ve probably heard all about it. After all, I imagine something like this would be huge news. I can’t be sure about the media coverage it’s receiving, though, because we’ve been completely excommunicated from the outside world.
Three months ago, something fell from the sky over a small Italian village. We still don’t know what. Some say it’s a spaceship, and others think it’s an asteroid. I certainly haven’t seen it, so I can’t be sure, and everything ought to be treated as a rumor these days. In any case, most seem to believe it only killed half a dozen people when it crashed, but apparently it’s been changing the townspeople in strange ways ever since it came.
No, I don’t live in that village, thankfully. Me, my parents and my older sister live in a nearby (and even smaller) town, though my dad was travelling to England when it happened. We haven’t heard from him since, because the event killed the communications in the entire region. Even worse, or only access point to the rest of the country is through the crash site, which means we’ve been completely cut out.
Resources are starting to wane, and only a few helicopters loaded with food have managed to get through the mountains in all these months. Their reports are scarse and not very encouraging. The authorities are still trying to remove the object, but they’ve apparently been unable to do so. Most of the pilots look very afraid and don’t want to explain too much about the supposed human transformations that have ensued.
My 15-year-old sister, Martina, is my best friend and protector. We love each other a lot, and she’s been my support during these difficult days. She brings the most news to the house since she knows a lot of people in the town, though she acknowledges her sources are sometimes contradictory. Her biggest piece of information came one night, when she told us a few bus drivers would attempt to get people out of the village.
This seemed like a great idea. We would be able to contact dad, who probably was waiting for us with his family at Rome. Then we would only return home once the crisis was over.
My mother, Viola, wasn’t so convinced. She was 45 and somewhat faint-hearted. She was afraid because driving out of town meant going very near the crash, and she for one believed all the bizarre rumors about what that thing could do to a person.
“What do you think, Arianna?” she asked me.
We’ve always been a very close family, and that means even the opinion of a 11-years-old counts.
“I think we should go with them. We don’t have enough to live for many more months, and the situation at the markets is worse every day. It’s risky, but so is staying.”
So it was decided that we would try to escape.
The buses departed two days later, carrying much less people than we thought. It seemed that a great deal of our neighbors were very scared to get so close to the spaceship, or whatever it was, while others firmly believed the crisis would sort itself out sooner rather than later.
We boarded one of the largest buses, and yet there were only about 10 other people inside. The empty seats at least meant we could change spots whenever we wanted, which would come useful since the journey would last over ten hours.
But it was only two hours later when we passed near The Zone.
The driver had the good sense not to warn us when we approached the place, so that people wouldn’t panic. In any case, we all did notice we were there, because something happened right away.
Since my mother didn’t know where we were, she had just gone to the back of the bus to talk with some neighbors who were sitting there. I was sitting silently and a bit sleepy in front of Martina. My sister was quiet and abstracted, looking beyond the windows.
I was just watching her when something occurred in the blink of an eye. I felt a shift in my position and Martina wasn’t in front of me anymore. In her place, there was an unknown girl, doing exactly what my sister had been doing.
With a start, I realized the wildest rumors about the crash site were true, and that the girl was Martina. Apparently, she hadn’t noticed anything, and I was too shocked to say anything.
I just looked at my changed sister for a few seconds, trying to compare her new appearance to the one I was used to. She didn’t look much older than her original 15 years. She was in her late teens, maybe 18 or so, and she was very pretty. Martina had been a bit plump, but now she was extremely thin, which was showcased because her conservative clothes had been exchanged by a revealing attire. Her hair was longer and had gone from chestnut to very black. Her eyes had likewise changed from brown to bright green, and were bigger and expressive. Black polish covered her nails and I could see a tattoo on one of her bare thighs. She looked like a completely different person.
That mental catalogue must have happened in a split second, because just then I heard screams all over the bus and I realized other people were becoming aware of their own changes. I also remembered I had felt a shift myself and I was sure I had changed too. I was looking at my surroundings from a higher vantage point, which definitely meant I was taller.
Martina heard the screams and turned away from the window. She looked at me and she yelled too, then she finally must have noticed something was amiss with her too. She looked down at her new body and outfit, and then she started touching her face wildly, feeling the differences.
I imitated her and I decided to finally look down too. I felt faint. I was suddenly aware that my chest was pushing out very far, and my eyes confirmed it. I had breasts now. Very big ones too, it seemed. I could see a huge amount of cleavage under the see-through fabric. Also, like my sister’s, my legs were uncovered below the hem of the short and tight dress I was now wearing.
Martina and I looked at each other in amazement for a second.
“Arianna? Is that you?” she asked. I could recognize neither her voice nor her accent.
I nodded violently, and I felt my larger body wobbling.
I wanted to further discover how much I had changed, but someone was worriedly calling for our names behind us. I turned around, because even though I couldn’t recognize that voice either, there was only one person who could be screaming for us.
My mother was absolute unrecognizable. She was now an attractive young woman in her early twenties, and I thought I could see a certain family likeness to the new Martina. Like her, Mom was now slim and sexy-looking, with black hair and green eyes. She was also dressed revealingly, with leather pants and a translucent blouse which allowed a good view of her black bra, which obviously encased much bigger breasts.
She would have never dressed like that in her life, yet at the moment she wasn’t very preoccupied about her attire. She was trying to get to us as quickly as possible, but she was struggling. Maybe it was because of her unfamiliar longer legs or maybe it was because, like Martina and me, she was now wearing very high heels.
“Girls? Is that you?” she asked in shock when she got to our seats. She also had a sultry voice and the same Slavic accent Martina had.
“MOM?!”, my sister said, while I nodded silently.
“Which one…?” my mother cleared her throat. “Sorry, I don’t know why I’m speaking like this. “Which one is Martina and which one is Arianna?”
“I’m Arianna, Mom,” I said, and I wasn’t that surprised when the same accent came out of my mouth, not to mention the very different adult voice.
”Arianna? But, dearie, you are so big!”
“I know…” I said, and I couldn’t help but cupping my large breasts.
“I knew something like this would happen,” Mom whispered.
She sat at Martina’s side while I looked around. The other passengers were similarly shocked, and much different from how they had been a minute earlier. An old man and woman sitting close by had been changed into a younger and attractive couple, and they were now Asian too. The pretty Japanese woman was looking at her new shapely legs and smooth hands with a shocked expression on her large eyes.
Close by, a boy who had been a little younger than me was now sitting in the body of a very large black man. He touched his short beard and flexed his muscular arms with a delighted expression.
My mother and sister had both new purses instead of their regular ones, and they were both searching for a mirror. I looked to the seat directly beside me and also saw a large leather purse instead of my green backpack.
The mirror I found was small, but it sufficed to give me an idea of how I looked now.
I was indeed a grown woman, older than my sister. I thought I was in my twenties, and maybe around the same age as my mother, if not a bit older than her too. This realization dazed me. I used to wear my thick hair up to my chin, but it had grown longer and silkier. I passed my very long, red fingernails through it, surprised at the feel, and then I dropped it and let it cascade over my breasts.
They were really quite large, at least for a flat 11-years-old as I had been. As I’d noticed before, my deep cleavage could be fully seen through my transparent clothes. Like my mother and sister, I too was dressed rather provocatively. I was wearing a tiny animal print dress and a tan jacket. The jewelry on my hands and ears was large, and I had lots of makeup in my face. Despite that, I thought my new features were attractive. I had fleshy lips and large blue eyes, and like my family, I didn’t look anything like I used to. I was a new woman.
I tried to stand and walk around. Being tall and curvy, I felt completely off-balance, and I instantly fell back on my round butt. Struggling with my heels and proportions, I managed to get back on my feet by grabbing the poles firmly. I strode towards the front of the bus.
The chauffeur was crying and saying he couldn’t drive any more. He had been turned into a cute little girl with blonde pigtails and a flowery dress. She was so small now that she couldn’t reach the pedals.
After a short discussion with other passengers, the driver left her seat to the boy who had turned into a beefy black man, who assured us he knew how to drive now. He also seemed clumsy when moving with his bigger body, but he looked sure enough in front of the wheel. Indeed, he resumed the journey and he drove perfectly until the end.
As for the three of us, were still too shocked to talk much for the duration of the trip. When we did, though, we were equally surprised. We could still speak Italian, though it was heavily accented and we had to think a lot to do it. Instead, we discovered we all felt much more comfortable speaking Ukrainian, a language we had never been familiar with.
After her initial shock, my mother was looking much more relaxed, even pleased. After all, becoming a beautiful young woman had been as much of an upgrade to her as my transformation had been to me. The much prettier Martina also seemed satisfied with her outcome, even if she kept stealing jealous glances to our much curvier bodies. Whenever she did that, my mother smiled at me.
The weirdest thing was that it didn’t feel right thinking about her as “Mom” any more, but rather as Viola. I reasoned that considering our new ages, there was no way she could be our mother any longer. Instead, we were more like three sisters now, and I guessed our new relationship was going to take that direction from now on.
I still felt strange, yet increasingly more comfortable and in control of my new form. I wanted to explore more of what had happened to me, but the privacy that the bus offered was very limited. As I reflected on everything that happened, I dozed off and fell asleep for about two hours.
When I woke up, the new driver was informing us that the journey was almost over. I stretched my long legs and I wiggled my toenails, still amazed at the size of my feet and the red polish. My high platform shoes were almost familiar to me by now, though. I got up to stretch my limbs and I was surprised to see how much easier was to move now. I had adapted a lot in just a few hours.
“How are you feeling, Arianna?” Viola asked me in fluent Ukrainian. We weren’t the only ones who had gone through such changes. The formerly old couple near us had talked in Japanese during the whole journey, and they were now kissing romantically. A little girl who had transformed into a teenage beauty was speaking with a heavy Australian accent.
“I’ll be all right,” I replied with a smile, which my new sisters answered back.
I wondered what my father would say when he saw that we had been turned into three young Eastern European women with a liking for risqué outfits. I shrugged. He’d probably be much relived to know we were safe as a priority.
As for me, I too was glad we were unharmed, but I was also excited about this new body and life that had been given to me.