Thundering in Ashton’s head brought the blur to a crisp, waking reality. Every pock and crater, every line of texture on the cheap ceiling in his cheap studio apartment stood out, the shadow lines stark against the white. From downstairs, directly beneath him, came the pounding music and the moans and wails of sex. The couple beneath him frequently made some noisy, animalistic sounds but at six in the morning after a night of binging on tequila shots and watered down mixed drinks in some sticky bar really brought into focus how loud they actually were, each ass-slap a needle in his brain and each thundering rhythm of the beat from their stereo system a puncture wound.
He rolled to his side, stomach lurching. There was a trash can next to his bed, the little one from the bathroom. There was drying vomit in the bottom and the stench burned his nostrils, the nauseated feeling rolling around in his liquor-soaked guts. “Well,” he thought, “It’s already got hurk in it.” He vomited the rest of the contents of his stomach on top of it, the barely-remembered chili-cheese fries landing on top of the booze and tacos already half digested in the can.
The rug felt scratchy under his feet. He yawned and stumbled to the bathroom, bumping into the door panel and scratching his chin. He could sort of feel the day’s-worth of peach fuzz under his chin. Shaving was sounding pretty good after he completely sobered up.
Hot water ran over him, his whole body feeling an odd tingle from it. The apartment was cold, it might have been the temperature differential, but for some reason Ashton just felt wrong. His hands ran soap over his body and the entire process….tickled. Somehow it was tickling him, like something itchy and soft had been mixed into his soap. He read over the labels. Lots of stuff he couldn’t pronounce but it looked pretty standard, the ingredients frightening but not on a epidermally destructive level. He set the bottle back on the counter and looked over his shampoo and conditioner, finding that while he needed to read up on what went into his cleansing products he still seemed to have no reason to worry about the ingredients.
It was there when he rinsed. It was there when he toweled off. It was there when he jacked off over the toilet. That last one, though, was when he noticed why. Fuddling himself, unable to get over that odd feeling in his dick. He looked at the palm of his hand, holding his bony fingers close to inspect them. Covering them, from his palms to the tips of his fingers, was a dark fuzz.
He cried out and slipped on the wet floor in the fading steam from the shower, smacking into the wall and falling face first on the floor. He had a vague pain in his groin as his legs split on the tile. He lay there on his face, able to see his palms from the corner of his eye. The dark fuzz was there. Sitting up, clutching his pounding head, he sat up against the wall and looked at his palm.
Deep in the skin, even in the lines in his hand, were little black hairs. The joints, the fingertips, it all had a fine, soft hair fuzz on it. The opposite side, it had the hairs as well, all over. He looked at his legs. They were pretty hairy on a regular basis, but the backs of his knees usually weren’t. Neither were the tips of his toes, the soles of his feet, or even all the way up on the knee itself yet all had the hairs on it.. Realization dawned on him and he sprang up, crossing to the sink and the mirror. The fog still clouded it, and he wiped away the haze with a hand towel. As the translucent haze cleared with each passing stroke of the towel he could see it. The unibrow was a sad joke compared to the frightening, magnificent head-beard he was cultivating. The black fuzz was even and set all over his face., Spreading out all over what had been plain skin for mere hours.
The hair itched, too. He scratched and scratched, absently raking his fingers over his cheeks as he looked at himself in the mirror. It was actually astounding the way it had grown so even, so perfectly covering his face.
Without thinking about it, only noticing that his itching had matted the fur, he picked up a comb and sat thinking, brushing the hair on his arm into a perfect feel, the tangles coming out with ease. “What is this?” he wondered. One of his fingers brushed against it once more. The hair reacted, all across his body shuddering and twitching. At last it shivered violently, twisting, and he began to feel a heat.
The hair grew two inches in length, all over his body. He could feel it on his eyelids, in his pits, even in the crack of his ass. The hair sprouted quickly, the tips poking into his skin between his legs and poking him between his arm and the side of his torso. The itching was revolting, and he was scratching like a dog with fleas. Come to think of it, that might be what he was.
This sparked a thought. He had buried his dog of 15 years a few weeks back, the funeral for it lonesome and depressing. Under the sink in his bathroom was flea shampoo, designed for dogs but when you were desperate you tried anything. He flipped on the hot water as he ran by, letting the steam of it reheat the bathroom and fog the mirror once more. He threw open the cabinet under the sink, the pipes twisting behind bottles of various cleaners and a pair of rubber gloves, And there it was, the flea shampoo, standing right there in front of him.
Whipping around, Ashton knee-walked back to the tub and rolled into it, the blazing heat from the water causing a brief but painful scream to erupt from him. He popped the top of the bottle and began to squirt the creamy liquid all over himself. He rubbed it in strong and the itching subsided within seconds, The hairs combining with the soap and the liquid to relieve the discomfort.
It took him almost three hours but he finally decided something was too wrong to fix with modern conveniences. He had tried shaving, he had tried Nair, he had everything. Here was a large, blue chair in the family room and he called his own and he had sat in it, wondering what to do. He sat there, still absentmindedly combing the hair. He was terrified of whatever might come next, but decided that while he could still travel he might as well try to make it to Greg’s place.
Greg Nicoletto was an asshole, a real piece of shit. He was also, bar none, Ashton’s best friend. Greg was charming, funny, and could talk his way out of almost any situation. He was not all that smart by any means but he was a fun individual. He lived at his father’s house, a twenty minute walk away. Ashton could make it, especially at ten in the morning. He had no reason to think that if he left right then he would have any trouble making it. For a brief, frightening moment before he walked out the door, he thought he felt the stiff feel of hairs on his tongue.
He pulled the hood of his zip-up sweater over his face, covering as much of the deformity as he could. The sunglasses he had selected were large, reflective aviators. He hoped the glare from them would keep him hidden to a degree. Warm sunlight beat down on him and a sweat broke out in his pits, under his shirt, and overall on his whole body. He was drenched in minutes, oping against hope that no one looked at him too closely.
The stairwell was close and he ran into a married couple coming up the stairs. The woman, with nowhere to moves to, waited patiently for them to go around. As they did, the wife looked over at him and gasped. He tried to shuffle passed quickly. The husband saw as well and ran, dropping his groceries on the ground and running away, leaving the wife to her own devices. She was terrified but unable to scream, her mouth opening and closing like a fish gasping on the beach. She had horrible fish lips, it was difficult to look at.
Ashton had just reached the bottom of the stairwell when a bullet hit the ground in front of him, the shot ringing out loudly in the morning quiet. He stopped, turned, and looked up at where it had come from. The husband, a man in his early fifties at least, stood over the enclosure. The man took aim at him, the gun pointed right at his forehead.
“What are you?” the man asked.
“I…I…” Ashton stuttered.
“I said – what are you?”
“I don’t know,” Ashton said, teasers fogging his sunglasses.”
“Fair enough, you deviant.”
The husband pulled the trigger.