Gromet's PlazaTransformation Stories

Reunion Awry

by Eido

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© Copyright 2017 - Eido - Used by permission

Storycodes: Alien/f+; M/f; flight; crash; jungle; capture; bond; vines; transform; mc; encase; enwrap; susp; webs; mutations; plants; insert; tendriles; impregnate; sex; climax; bodymod; M2f; cons/nc; XX

"You're in number 12. All the way at the end." The uniformed man on the flight line waved Jim toward a waiting aircraft at the far end of the row. Jim made his way toward number 12, winding through knots of people and individuals, all as lost as he was. Half remembered faces smiled or frowned at him, maybe struggling to remember his name.

A line of VTOL aircraft, stinking pavement, barked orders, and vaguely familiar people were not part of his ideal tenth high school reunion. Of course, nothing was normal where Colliersburg was concerned.

He ducked through the hatchway into a mostly transparent compartment, meant for sight seeing passengers.

"Great! Good to see you, Jim!" The helmeted figure dressed in a tightly knit mesh coverall greeted him from the pilot's seat. Jim turned to view the other passengers and froze. A new item climbed to the top of his list of how not to spend his tenth high school reunion.

Judi, Laurel, Karen, and Hannah sat together on his right, in a row, backs to the bulkhead. He looked them over, surprised at first, then with more deliberation. Judi and Hannah nodded. The other two glanced at him before returning to their quiet conversation. He had known he might run into them, the four girls who made sophomore year a living hell, but not all together, not just like fifth period.

Jim forced his gaze left, where Bob and Shelby sat close together, holding hands and looking nervous.

"Hey, Jim." Bob stuck out his hand, though without rising from his seat. Shelby just smiled. They both looked a little queasy. Jim sat next to Shelby, resisting the urge to leave an empty seat between them.

"Hey, guys. Only Colliersburg, right?"

"Only," Bob replied over the increasing noise of the engines.

Jim couldn't resist sneaking glances at the four women. Either they hadn't changed their appearance, right down to their clothes, or they had made a pact to return as they had left. Hannah sat at the forward end of the row, light brown hair in a tousled shag. A white CH Bulldogs t-shirt stretched tightly over her chest and a short denim skirt with a ragged hem revealed a generous amount of tan leg. She wore nice leather sandals now, a step or two up from the cheap flip flops Jim recalled.

When he looked up again, Karen and Laurel were practically kissing, faces close, conspiring as they always had. Karen wore a short tan dress. Her glossy chestnut hair fell in a shiny sheet over her shoulder. Over the knee socks or stockings marked a crisp line on her thigh, black against her not as tan as Hannah's skin. Plain black pumps, fitted perfectly and no doubt expensive, completed Karen's outfit. Jim took in Laurel with one quick glance, verifying that she wore the same uniform she had worn nearly ever day in high school. A white blouse, khaki pants, and black lace up flats. Her hair was longer, a mass of blonde curls falling below her shoulders. The same spray of freckles still decorated her face, and her warm brown eyes promised far more kindness than they could deliver.

Last in the row, and directly across from him, sat Judi. At first glance, she was the most conventionally dressed. Her pleated black skirt ended just below her knees and the red short sleeve blouse showcased her raven dark hair and olive complexion. Despite the summer warmth, sheer black nylons encased her legs. Jim smiled at the black low heeled Mary Janes that completed Judi's look. When he glanced up, she was staring right at him, just as she had always caught him looking in days past. She winked, and he looked away.

Before Jim could really embarrass himself, the pilot climbed up into the viewing section. He took off his helmet and Jim thought he recognized him.

"I'm Greg Farley, licensed pilot, certified researcher, and tour guide extraordinaire. I have been working in the zone since the government allowed civilians access almost five years ago. We are excited to offer even this short tour, we'll be over the exclusion zone for less than 10 minutes, and over the quarantine zone for barely 5. Buckle your seat belts now and get ready for some rare sights." Greg checked their seat belts with a quick touch and returned to the controls. Minutes later, the small craft climbed into the air.

"If you look out the right side of the aircraft, you can see five, six, and seven on the return leg. Go ahead and wave."

They did wave. The two planes passed close enough that Jim could see various expressions of excitement and relief on the passenger's faces.

"Look down through the center view panel in the floor. That's the exclusion zone below us." The aircraft slowed and everyone looked down. Barren ground stretched out below them, devoid of any life that they could see from their high vantage point. "The army sterilizes a two mile wide strip around the QZ every week. We evacuate our facilities just in case they get a little carried away."

Jim looked up, away from the barren rocks below and into the riot of turquoise jungle less than two miles away. Even at this distance, he could see the colors were all wrong, not resembling anything else he had seen or likely ever would see again.

The plane accelerated, gaining altitude as it approached the quarantine zone, what used to be Colliersburg, the home town of all the passengers. Again he glanced at the four women across the aisle, and a flash of the old hate suffused him. He wondered if it was possible to push three of them out of the aircraft.

Judi turned away from the transparent bulkhead and eyed him, almost shyly. A furtive smile graced her face for a moment, and Jim almost smiled back. Hannah turned then and looked across the aisle.

"Is this crazy or what? Do you think anyone we knew is still down there, somewhere in all that crap?" She looked at each of them in turn as she spoke, oblivious to the possibility that other passengers might have lost loved ones on the day the Seed tumbled out of space and smashed into their town.

Greg continued his tour guide monologue. "The original scar of the Seed's landing is long gone, covered up by the altered growth. The high school remained visible for three years, and as it was on the hill on the edge of town, was the last building to be covered."

They were over the QZ now, looking down, around, and out. Below them, an alien jungle ran wild over a small slice of Kentucky. The Seed might have been an accident, or a ship, or a weapon. No one knew, and they doubted they ever would. The results were all the same though. In less than twelve hours, something contaminated the area around the impact crater. In less than a day a combination of alien and mutated terrestrial plants spread out from the impact site. Only, they were mobile, plant animal hybrids. And they were hungry.

"A stable ecosystem, albeit an alien one, has formed, despite our early efforts to destroy the organisms comprising it. Some of the samples currently under study show promise -" Farley's recitation was interrupted by shouts and a scream. Something green slammed into the underside of the VTOL, splattering globs of goop all over the body of the craft. They banked hard and the engines strained as two more impacts shook them. The plane spun and angled down. Jim felt his lunch press up against his throat.

The plane struck something, and then something else. Green and blue flashed by the bulkheads as their descent slowed.

"No no no no no no..." Shelby moaned beside him. Finally they thudded to a stop, bruised and shaken, but otherwise undamaged.

Except for the sheer mind numbing terror of being stuck in the alien jungle.

Something was broken aft of their seats, and damp, stinking air began to circulate inside the compartment.

"Stay calm," Greg said. "I can get us out of here. The research stations set up shelters on the boundary between the QZ and the EZ. We just need to stay calm, orient on a beacon, and walk out of here. Just a minute and I'll pass out some emergency packs." He opened a door overhead and several cloth bags dropped out, shaken loose by their crash landing.

The flurry of activity inside the downed aircraft halted, stopped by a sound everyone knew from countless movies and TV shows. Someone had worked the slide on a gun.

"What the fuck, Bob! Put that thing down before someone gets hurt," Jim said as Bob pulled his wife into a tight embrace.

"Listen," Bob said, voice calm and nearly conversational. "We do this of our own free will." Before Jim could move, before anyone could move, Bob pressed the muzzle of the .45 to Shelby's back and fired. Blood and tissue splattered the inside wall of the cabin. The bullet had passed through them both, right through their hearts as they surely knew it would. Bob's mouth worked silently as they slumped down onto the seats.

The screaming started.

Greg leaped into the cabin, scattering supplies as he landed. "No! Oh shit, no!" His hand felt Shelby's neck, a pointless gesture. "Jim! Grab that gun. We might need it. Everyone out. The blood will attract things we don't want to meet."

Greg scrambled out onto the squishy ground. A riot of plants, vines, and flowers grew in every direction. A narrow winding track that might have been a path wound away to the east. Jim exited last, pistol tucked behind his belt in the small of his back.

"Laurel. Let me out." She moved without looking back, and without the acid comment he half-expected. His shoes sank into the spongy, moss covered ground. He looked up just as Greg looked away from something on his wrist.

"This way," Greg said, pointing along the path. "I'll go first. Jim, bring up the rear. Do not stop. Do not touch anything, no matter how pretty or inviting. We need to move fast, but deliberately. Four hours, tops." He turned and strode into the knee high blue leaved growth.

Overhead, a vast canopy seethed with motion. The air stirred some of the smaller boughs and leaves. Vines clambered like slow motion snakes, and occasionally something with wings or legs darted through the leaves. The path curved along the base of a hill, leading them through a grove of towering trunks shaped like upside down U's. Greg stopped, looking at the device again.

The path had simply ended at the edge of a small clearing. A few rays of sunshine streamed down through a gap overhead. Jim looked around and found a fall of dead branches halfway up the hill. The ground ahead was grassy, and looked less soggy. Large three petaled flowers grew flat to the ground.

"We'll cross this flat bit, and then start up the hill away from the deadfall. I'm not sure of these flowers. I recommend not stepping on them." He started out, following his own advice and avoiding the numerous blooms. By some mutual instinctive agreement, no one spoke.

Jim kept looking behind them as well as at Laurel's back, so he didn't see Hannah slip, one sandal strap breaking suddenly. Her bare foot landed squarely within a three petaled bloom and the flower closed on her foot like a trap. She jerked it free with a scream, and started to bolt. When she realized she was free, she grinned, holding her foot up and letting the clear slime from the flower drip off.

Thick turquoise vines shot up from the ground below Hannah and whipped quickly around her shoeless foot, pulling her leg down. Other vines emerged, wrapping her other leg at the ankle and knee, and around her waist.

"Shit!" Greg shouted. "Don't do that!" He barked at Judi, who looked ready to grab Hannah. "Back away, up the grade."

Hannah found her voice then, and began screaming incoherently, curses and pleas for help and appeals to heaven tumbled out of her mouth until a vine wrapped around her face, not quite gagging her.

Jim drew the gun, uncertain of what to shoot.

"NO!" Greg shouted. "I recognize the vines. It won't kill her, but we need to get her out of there." Greg motioned for Jim to join him, but told the women to stay back. The vines had flattened against Hannah's legs, more like wraps than tentacles now.

"This one doesn't like men. Wrong biochemistry." Greg pried under the gripping mass and pulled. The vines squirmed away from his touch, but he was outnumbered. Jim shoved the gun back behind his belt, and stepped into the mess of writhing blue green fronds and vines.

"We'll get you out of there, Hannah," he repeated the words like a mantra, pulling vines away from her waist. He got a handful of denim in the mix and her skirt disintegrated into bits of rotten blue fibers falling to the ground. "What the fuck?"

"It's the air in here." Greg wheezed with exertion as he spoke. "Doesn't like.... outside materials..."

The ground shook and humped up beneath them, a waist high ridge forming right where they struggled with Hannah's captors. A new flurry of vines joined the attack, some grasping the still struggling Hannah, others pushing Jim and Greg away, despite the obvious pain they endured at touching the men. Jim fell to the ground, hand landing firmly on a trigger flower. One of the women screamed, and he flinched, expecting something unpleasant. The flower remained open and he quickly pulled his hand away.

When he turned, Jim saw Greg sprawled on the ground and Hannah firmly enmeshed in blue green flora. She was bent over the mossy hump that had pushed up from the ground. Her feet still touched the ground, but her legs were spread uncomfortably wide, pinned by vines at the ankles, knees, and thighs. Her arms were held out away from her body, spread wide and twined with vines at the wrists and elbows.

Jim pushed himself to his feet, bracing for another assault. His belt buckled cracked in several places as he rose. The gun fell to the ground, covered in spots of corrosion. As he turned to face Hannah, her shirt slid from her body, taking her bra with it as the metal hooks had already disintegrated. She screamed with renewed vigor as the vines explored her exposed skin.

"Don't bother," Greg said, hand to Jim's shoulder. "If we couldn't get her out before..."

"Do something!" Laurel shouted from relative safety outside the little meadow. The three women held each other, crying, cursing, and yelling.

"I recognize those vines, though they're using a new triggering mechanism. There's one other thing we can try." Hannah's voice cut out entirely as a new set of fronds emerged from the ground and wrapped around her head. The flat, green stems, more like sea weed than forest vines, covered her eyes and nose, and infiltrated her mouth. Tubes like straws slid into the corners of her mouth and her body jerked for a moment as they slid deeper into her.

"What the fuck is that thing?"

"It's a harvester. It stimulates certain endocrine production and forces the body to sweat the molecules out. It collects them and uses them for its own cells. She'll be released when the quality of her chemistry degrades, but by then she'll have lost her mind. The harvester will feed her and hydrate her, dispose of her wastes, but it will do nothing for her senses. She'll endure years of captivity, exactly as you see her now." Greg shook his head.

"The gun? I think it's ruined," Jim said.

"No. Have sex with her," Greg said. At the uncomprehending look on Jim's face, Greg reiterated. "Screw her. Fuck her. If she gets pregnant, her biochemistry changes so much that the harvester rejects her."

"I... I can't do that," he said, looking at Laurel, Karen, and Judi, then at Hannah's still wriggling body. "You do it!" Jim said.

"I can't right now. All the zone workers take drugs to suppress libido. It's a safety thing. Look. I'll go up with the others and make sure no one is watching. It's the only hope she has now." Greg turned and walked away.

Jim stood next to Hannah. "Umm, Hannah..." he started, but it seemed pointless. His cock, already stimulated, hardened completely at the sight of her pussy. Sweat glistened on the tan cheeks of her ass. He wanted to fuck her. Visions of fucking his former tormentor filled his entire being. Jim stepped forward, then stopped, shaking his head.

"No. I can't..." His pants fell off, the button at his waist disintegrating. He reached down and tore the boxers from his hips and stepped forward. In a single smooth motion, he pushed his hard cock down with one hand so the head slid into Hannah as he stepped between her legs. Jim grunted as he buried himself in her wet pussy, feeling his balls slap against her thighs.

"Uhn! 'im? 'im?" Hannah's struggles increased, and if anything, the alien creature restraining her tightened its grasp. "'im! 'eee! 'op!"

The sounds penetrated only so far into Jim's fogged mind. He grasped her waist with both hands, reveling in the feel of her warm skin. He continued the rhythmic plowing of Hannah's sopping wet pussy. Her cries ceased to have any meaning to him, blocked by the flood of rage and desire.

Without warning, his cock and balls twitched, then spasmed, flooding her with cum. He barely noticed and continued thrusting. Three thrusts later his erection had returned, and four thrusts after that he felt the stirrings of another orgasm in his gut. His world had shrunk to the sight of Hannah's tan skin and her wet, gripping, pussy.

A scream shattered Jim's isolation. He stopped, body fully forward, cock buried inside the heat of the captive woman. Hannah sobbed and despite the alien creature's invasion of her mouth and throat, she drew a ragged breath and screamed again.

Jim fell backwards, suddenly aware of what he had done.

"Oh shit! Fuck! Hannah! I'm so sorry... Please... The pilot said..." Jim babbled, but Hannah was beyond hearing him. Shudders wracked her body and the fronds and vines writhed and tightened, trapping her more thoroughly.

Jim scrambled back, crablike on all fours, before turning and running back to the waiting group. His pants disintegrated and his shirt clung to his shoulders in tatters. Three faces stared at him, only the pilot had turned away.

Judi looked intently at him, almost a sympathetic grimace, then turned to follow Greg.

"If some monster decides to eat me, or fuck me, or whatever these fucking things do, do me a favor, Jim, and keep your fucking dick to yourself. Cocksucker," Karen said, turning away as she did.

"And by the way, you stupid motherfucker, Hannah can't get pregnant, so I hope you enjoyed your little freebie, you piece of shit." A chunk of her skirt fell to the ground, slightly dampening the effect, but she continued walking as though nothing happened.

Laurel reached down, grazing his cock with her finger tips. "Mmm, nice," she said. "If I had known you were so well hung back in high school, I wouldn't have been such a bitch all the time." Her mouth turned up in a rare smile and she stepped after the others.

The implied invitation reverberated in Jim's head. He stepped forward, cock jutting up and eyes intent on the fraying seam of Laurel's khakis.

He stopped, distracted by a sudden noise intruding on his single focused thoughts. Hannah's crying reached new intensity, though no one considered returning to her to learn why. Laurel looked over her shoulder, and jumped slightly at Jim's proximity.

"You have something on the back of your neck," Jim said, pointing with the hand that had been ready to grab the woman.

Laurel brushed at her neck, fingers coming away with a few gossamer strands.

"I hate spiders," she said, continuing to rub her skin until satisfied that all the cobwebs were gone.

Silently, Jim muttered a short prayer for Hannah, and for himself.

The small group trudged up the hill, walking at an angle to the grade rather than charging straight up the incline. Greg constantly checked the device at his wrist. The rest of the group continued to lose bits of clothing, shoes, or jewelry as they walked. Except Greg and Judi. Her shoes were gone, and her feet had worn through her nylons, but her skirt and blouse showed limited signs of decay.

"It's the silk," she said after Karen asked again why she was still covered. Karen was now as naked as Jim, and Laurel had only tatters of her pants covering her hips.

"At least, that's my best guess. Why don't you ask Greg why his flight suit isn't turning to mush?" Judi said, obviously tired of the conversation.

Greg had just stopped, again consulting a readout from the instrument on his wrist. They had nearly reached the top of the hill, and Greg pointed, noting the red glow from the beacons only a half mile away.

Karen stood, hands on hips, her question ignored. Jim felt the now familiar hardening of his cock. The sight of her naked body, her firm and high breasts, and the shaved pubis she had tried to hide unsuccessfully from everyone else, set his blood running hot.

He still hated her, though not as much as he hated Laurel, whose cruelty had been for amusement and not just self-absorption. Karen turned, and her perfect ass filled his view, prompting one and only one thought. Jim squeezed his eyes shut and recited a list of all the cars he had ever owned, trying to distract himself.

The swish of something cutting through the air overhead disrupted his mantra. He dropped to the ground and looked up just in time to see the mass of green ooze strike Karen in the back with a wet splat.

She screamed and tried to run, but a rope of green tethered her to a heavy brown tree limb vibrating overhead. She managed two steps before the green strand contracted, thickening visibly and lifted her about five feet off the ground.

Every instinct told Jim to run. In the back of his mind, a howling laugh began at the sight of Karen's imminent demise. Instead, he grabbed her legs and pulled. He had barely budged her when Greg slammed into him, a full body tackle that hurled them both to the ground.

"What the fuck!" Jim saw red and kicked hard at the pilot still atop him.

"Run!" Greg locked stares with Jim, then rose, pulling Jim up. "Everyone RUN!"

They ran. Laurel had only traveled fifty or sixty feet when she tripped over a vine. Judi, close on her heels, collided with the falling woman and fell herself, sprawling on a mossy patch of ground. Greg and Jim were only a few strides back, and stopped, each pulling a woman up by the hand. Greg looked back as he did.

"Hold up. We should be safe here." The pilot scanned a quick circle around them, and pointed at a large, short tree near where Karen had been taken.

"There it is," he said. "It's a young one. Only one horizontal branch."

"What the fuck does that mean?" Jim snarled, still angry and hurting from the tackle.

"That means it can only hold one person," Greg said.

Karen started screaming again, as the tree limb lifted her higher. Tendrils sprang out of the green mass of ooze still firmly locked to her back. They ran along her limbs like fast moving creepers, reaching her wrists and ankles in seconds. In a few more seconds, Karen's limbs folded behind her, wrapped in a green cocoon.

"It's like she's hogtied hanging up," Judi said in a whisper. This drew sharp looks from Laurel and Greg, but Judi didn't even notice.

"What?" Laurel said. "This isn't one of your kinky games, Judi!" Laurel screamed as she took a step toward the other woman. "My friend is going to die, you pervy bitch!" She drew back her hand in a fist. Judi didn't even notice the imminent assault, so focused was she on Karen's predicament. Her arms and legs were tightly enmeshed in a living sheath, though not quite a hogtie. Karen's arms had been pulled back and down, but her legs were still spread, even though they were bent at the knees and tightly sealed. She looked like an upside down Y. Unlike Hannah, her chest and head were unencumbered by the binding greenery.

Greg intervened, grabbing Laurel's arm. "She won't die."

"Great!" Laurel screamed in Greg's face as she turned. "She's only going to be what? Fucked into insanity?"

"Yes," Greg answered. Laurel stood facing him, fist still raised, mouth agape.

As Greg spoke, Karen's screams turned into pleas for help. "Come back! Laurel! Please, cut me down!"

When no one answered she continued. "C'mon Jim! I know you want me. You can fuck me senseless any way you like. You can fuck Laurel senseless, too! She loves it up the ass!"

"You don't want to watch this," Greg said, but no one moved. Karen's begging took on a different note as her captor swung her through the air toward the waiting branch.

"No! Please! Anyone! I'll do anything. Nooooooooo!" The word turned into a scream as the limb held her over the branch, which had started moving and changing as they watched. The green surface of the branch flowed and undulated, forming two thick appendages pointing up from the limb.

"Oh shit," Laurel whispered.

They watched, unable to look away or even move, as the long branch swung Karen over the waiting green organs. The tether slowly lengthened, lowering Karen with incongruous gentleness onto the two stiff pseudo-cocks. Her pleas cut off as the tether seated her on the flexible green members and she slid onto them until her crotch met the rubbery surface of the branch. Green ooze flowed up from the branch, gripping her hips. More green flowed down, encasing her thighs and cementing them below the branch.

The tether released then, leaving the glob of goo on Karen's back.

"What's happening?" Laurel said, looking at Greg.

"She's being impregnated now."

As if on cue, Karen bucked against the branch, back arching. Her head tilted back and she grunted up at the sky. An inarticulate scream followed, a desolate sound. All around the little group, the jungle quieted. Laurel fell to her knees and vomited.

"Laurel?" Karen's questioning call sounded clearly in the sudden silence. "It's inside me, Laurel. I can feel it. It's doing things to me. Please don't leave me here alone."

Laurel buried her head in her hands and wept, but did not answer her friend.

"What's that? She looks different," Jim said to Greg, pointing at the doomed woman.

"Her belly has grown a little to make room for the seedling. In a couple weeks, it will slide out of her womb and the tree will carry it away. Then she'll be impregnated again. It will go on and on until her reproductive system is worn out," their guide answered.

"And then?" Jim said.

"By then the tree will have many more branches, many more seats to fill. The tether limb will pluck her back up and use her as bait, dangling her to attract the attention of other jungle dwellers," Greg paused. "Eventually she'll be discarded, left naked and insane on the ground. As soon as she moves from the area protected by the tree, something else will get her."

"Jim! I can hear you whispering out there. Come back, please! I'll bet you'd like to see me now, wouldn't you?"

Greg frowned. "I don't know whether that's her talking or the tree using her to talk somehow. I've never heard of this behavior before. Either way, we need to get out of here."

He helped Laurel up and pointed out the path. "We're almost there. I promise."

Jim followed, still bringing up the rear. He looked away from the sight of Laurel's naked ass and Judi's bare legs. His cock stirred, but for the moment his ardor had dampened. They made their way through knee high stalks of bright blue grass.

"Get off me," Laurel hissed, slapping at something on her legs. Jim saw specks of black on her legs and back, and in her hair. She twisted, slapping again.

Greg turned, and his eyes widened. "Grab her!" he shouted, pointing at Laurel and stepping toward her.

The black specks, tiny insects or spiders, exploded away from Laurel, propelled by drag lines and the sudden breeze that had sprung up in the clearing. Judi reacted faster than Jim, diving for Laurel's legs. Her move took her under the flash of silver that enveloped Laurel. Every one of the thousands of tiny black creatures had left a strand of web attached to Laurel, and now all those strands thickened into ropes.

The ground bucked, ruining Jim's attempt to grab Laurel. Four black spikes forced their way through the earth and into the air. They quickly grew into long appendages, twenty feet separating them corner to corner. The tiny black web weavers divided into four flying masses, and each group headed for a different appendage, which now resembled the legs of a giant upside down spider.

Jim could feel the blasts of air that moved the web weavers were coming from the legs. The tiny creatures landed, joining their webs to the legs, which then flexed. Laurel rose into the air, a puppet on silver wires. Judi still clung to Laurel's legs, her own bare feet flailing and kicking, reaching for the ground. The webs ignored Judi, instead oozing and flowing along Laurel's thrashing body until they pooled at her wrists and ankles. The legs twitched and Laurel was spreadeagled into a pale, naked blonde X suspended by silver hawsers binding her to the spider legs. Unable to hold her grip, Judi slid off as the creature spread Laurel's legs wide. Judi's blouse ripped when she tumbled to the soft ground.

The legs curled in, lowering Laurel closer to the ground. Her struggles had stopped, though the thick silver strands had enough slack in them to allow movement.

"I think it's done something to her mind," Jim said. "She quit fighting."

"We need to get out of here," Judi said. "There's no way we can fight that thing. We'll be lucky if we don't end up like her."

Again, no one moved. The weird tableau played out as they crouched, trying to be inconspicuous. A line of silver flowed like mercury up Laurel's left arm from her wrist. The line turned up at the shoulder and flowed onto her neck and finally spread out to cover her eyes, which were staring up at the dappled canopy overhead. The caring, nearly tender gesture of protection was totally at odds with her situation.

Unlike Hannah, Laurel was entirely exposed and very much accessible. As the three remaining members of the group stared, still not comprehending what had happened, small flying creatures like hummingbirds, maybe that had once been hummingbirds, flitted around the suspended body before darting off at high speed.

"I think this is a new version of the exchanger. It buys and sells biochemistry, basically. It will allow access to her and to her chemical manufacturing ability," Greg said, watching Laurel's body. "If you knew how to pay the creature holding her, it would let you do anything to her, at least anything not permanently damaging."

"You sound like you admire it," Judi said.

"From a distance. It is superbly evolved or designed, working in conjunction with many of the other organisms in its environment. The army tried very hard to destroy this jungle, but it always grew back. A nuke might do it. Maybe," Jim said. "Wait. Something's happening."

The legs twitched again, lowering Laurel to within three feet of the ground. Their eyes were all on her, so they missed the small orifices opening in the tips of the legs. With a whoosh of compressed gas, a fine powder billowed from the leg's openings, shooting into the heavy jungle air and dispersing over them.

Greg blanched. He grabbed at Jim's arm, but it was too late. The powerful aphrodisiac contained in the dust had entered Jim's bloodstream. Cock fully erect, Jim strode toward the captive Laurel.

Judi ran, her skirt disintegrating as she moved, and stepped in front of Jim.

"No. No, Jim! NO!" She twined her fingers in the hair on his chest and pushed back. Jim's hands came up to her neck, but stopped. Jim shook his head, whipping it side to side.

"That's it, Jim. Hold me. Take me," Judi cried.

Jim was not a big guy, but Judi was a petite woman. When he reached down to grab her ass, she jumped, wrapping her legs around his waist as her arms encircled the back of his neck. Her panties and the remains of her hose fell away at the touch of his fingers.

They paused. The moment stretched. Judi, keenly aware of Jim's touch, the head of his cock pressing against her, the smell of him mixed with the stench of the Exclusion Zone. She looked at his face, expecting unthinking desire.

He looked back at her, something more than chemically induced lust in his expression. Gently, and slowly, he relaxed his grip on her firm, well curved ass.

She slid down onto his cock with a soft inhalation and leaned forward to kiss him. He thrust, strong but not with unmindful frenzy, and she met him with thrusts of her own, flexing at the waist to push her hips against him. Higher up, their lips met and pressed together, tongues immediately probing and flicking, seeking to give and receive pleasure.

Five thrusts later, Jim's orgasm surged into Judi, adding wetness to her already drenched pussy. He didn't even slow down. Judi came on the very next thrust, the orgasm vibrating through her body like an earthquake. Neither of them slowed down, as they both began working toward their next orgasm.

Judi felt the hand in her hair, a hand that couldn't be Jim's, but she was past caring. The hand tugged, her hair acting like a leash as Greg urged Jim to follow him to relative safety.

"Are you two awake?" Greg's voice eventually cut through the orgasmic haze that clouded the minds of both Jim and Judi.

She recovered first, looking around at what might have been any oak grove in Kentucky, except for the glowing red melons hanging from a few bushes she did not recognize. Then she realized she remained impaled on Jim's erection. Gingerly, she raised herself, and Jim's cock slipped from her with a wet sucking sound.

Jim started coming around as Judi tried to unwrap her legs from his waist. He wrapped his arms around her, supporting her as she tried to stand. Her legs buckled, and for a moment, he supported her entirely. The moment passed and Judi managed standing on her own, slowly and shakily.

"Wow," she said.

"You saved my life," Jim said.

"For another few minutes, anyway," Judi answered.

Greg cleared his throat, reminding them of matters at hand.

"We have a problem," he said. "These are not beacons, though my navigator directed us here. That by itself is not a good sign."

"So, we're fucked," Judi said. "Well, it was a good run. Do you guys just want to stay here and make like bunnies or is there a preferred monster to get eaten or ravished by?"

"I'm not giving up. Can't you just orient on a compass direction and follow that? This place isn't all that big," Jim asked.

"That was my next thought, though if the zone can mess with my wrist comm, then I'm sure it can mess with my compass," Greg said. "And to answer your second question, there are a few organisms here that can be relatively gentle."

"No. No fucking way," Jim said. "I had one of those things in my head, I think, and it was not something I ever want to do again." He paused, sniffing the air. "Does anyone else feel that? There's a current of cool air here," he said waving his hands around down by his knees.

"I feel it too," Judi said. Then she pointed to a hole at the edge of the oak trees, a hole that widened as they watched.

"Oh shit," Greg said.

One of the melons burst, spraying red tipped needles in every direction. Two of those missiles stuck in Judi's shoulder. Her eyes rolled up and her knees wobbled, but she took a long breath and started toward the ragged, damp tear in the ground.

"Oh, fuck no," Jim said, running to her. He bent and grabbed, throwing Judi across his shoulders and ran for the edge of the grove, away from the red melon, and away from the ominous hole in the ground.

Another one burst, two more darts struck Judi. Jim felt one sink home in his calf, but it did not affect him as it had Judi and he ignored it. Judi squirmed ineffectually. Jim's hold was tight. Another volley of red needles, this one with better aim. Numerous red splinters struck Judi and she started pounding her fists against Jim's back and scratching at his skin. He sped up, desperate to clear the range of the red melons.

Judi's fist connected hard against his ribs and he staggered, but didn't quit. Another fist pounded into his low back, sapping his strength, slowing him to a walk. A blue vine at the edge of the trees whipped back and forth. Something like a blue piece of glass whizzed by his head and struck Judi in the calf, sinking into the muscle in her leg.

"Fucking...monsters..." Jim wheezed. Judi tightened her body around Jim's shoulders, squeezing him and slowing down the flow of air. "No, Judi! Stop it."

With another pair of blows from her suddenly strengthened fists, she drove Jim to the ground.

"Stop, Jim Norris." The voice was not Judi's.

"What the fuck?"

Greg walked up, calmly. "I think it's the Zone, trying to talk to us."

"Yes. I am part of this place you call the Zone." Judi's mouth moved, and her lungs provided the air, but the voice that come from her body was not her own.

"Great. Let my friend go and let us all out of here," Jim said, getting up to his feet.

"Yes. You are all free to go. I understand you far better now. Your companions will be brought here and you will be given a path to the scorched land."

"What? No! We had a deal!" Greg shouted.

"What?" Jim said.

Greg came closer. "I used to watch them hurt you, Jim. Those girls. You wanted them, like most all teenage boys did, and they hurt you. All I ever wanted was you."

"What? You're a guy. I mean, you're an okay guy, but I don't want a guy like that," Jim said.

"The deal will be honored, Greg Seaver. The transformation will be completed," the Zone said.

Greg continued as if he hadn't heard the voice of the jungle. "I know that, Jim. I used to lie awake at night, trying to figure out how to make you love me, even if I was a boy. Even then, I started practicing being a girl. I made myself soft, and pretty, but I couldn't transform enough. I couldn't be a real girl, not without a fortune to spend on it. Then the Seed fell, and weird shit started happening."

"I cut a deal with the alien before the last aftershock had died away," Greg said.

"See?" Greg pulled the helmet off and shook his head. A mop of long wheat colored hair fell to his shoulders, having somehow grown long in the last few hours. Greg ripped the still intact coveralls off. The exposed skin was hairless, and instead of defined pectorals, two small breasts quivered in the air. Even as Jim stared, they grew slightly.

Greg stepped out of the coverall and stood. Jim's mouth fell open when he noticed the pilot's crotch. A tiny stub of flesh was all that he saw. As he watched, the flesh shrunk and was pulled inside Greg's body. The tiny split in his flesh lengthened and thickened, forming a perfect pussy. Greg's hands snapped to his belly, and his face twisted.

"This part's going to hurt," he said.

Jim and Judi watched as the bones and tissue beneath Greg's skin quivered and spasmed. The pilot's shape changed, hips widening slightly, waist shrinking, breasts expanding to their full size.

Greg sank to his knees, moaning. Purple sweat oozed from his pores and he fell forward on his face, writhing on the ground. The moans took on a new urgency, and the writhing no longer seemed to be the result of agony. Greg's hips bucked up and down and his feet dug furrows in the soft earth.

"Jim. Please, take me. I'm ready for you now," Greg said.

Jim looked down at his classmate. Greg had become the most perfect woman he could imagine. An amalgam of the women he despised, and whose lives were now being siphoned away by this alien jungle. Despite the stiffening of his cock, Jim shook his head.

"No, Greg. I have everything I need now," he said, wrapping his arm around Judi.

"NO!" Greg shouted, jumping to his feet in an impossibly athletic movement. "He's mine! You promised!" Greg shouted in Judi's face.

"I promised to transform you in exchange for live humans, allowing you to pursue your desire. Both sides of the bargain have been fulfilled." Judi turned to Jim. "I am bringing your companions here. Their memories will be suppressed. I release this woman back to you. I only begin to understand the process of human thought, but I will tell you this woman has a powerful desire for you that is in no way a result of this use of her. From now on, I will speak through the pilot when needed."

"What?" Greg said.

"Not in the clumsy way as I do with the woman. You will hear and understand me, and relay my thoughts as needed. We must speak to the authorities of your world. I have many benefits to offer, now that I understand you better," the alien said. Judi's head dropped forward and lolled there for a moment.

"You are mine." Judi looked up at Jim. "You are mine," she repeated. "I don't know why I ever let you go."

"How? What? He hates you," Greg said.

"He hates them." Judi pointed to the figures walking out of the jungle into the clearing. "He always wanted me, but when we went out in college I scared him off. Isn't that right, Jim?"

"Yeah. She's a weirdo," Jim said. "Holy shit! That's Shelby and Bob!"

"Yes. It repaired their damaged organs and structural elements and replaced the lost blood in time to keep them alive," Greg said. "Wow. Having that voice in my head is going to take some getting used to."

The jungle seemed to lean away from the seven naked humans, forming an arrow straight path. The five who had been taken by the alien walked in formation, their minds still under the alien Zone's control. Judi held onto Jim tightly and tugged him forward. Greg fell in beside them.

"You need a new name, Greg. Although, I guess you don't have to change it, if you like," Judi said. "You know, Jim, she is a smoking hot babe."

"Fuck no! No offense Greg, but I want to forget this day ever happened. Except for the part where me and Judi got back together, that is," Jim added before Judi could respond.

"That can be arranged," Greg said.

"Don't you dare," Judi said. "It'll be much easier to get him to play with me now that he's seen what weird really looks like."

Greg and Jim exchanged glances.

"We are both so fucked," Greg said as the group walked out of the turquoise jungle and onto barren sand.

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