Gilda stood at the bottom of the stairs with fists planted on hips and forced a furious furrow onto her smooth brow. “For goodness sake, Beatrice, haven’t you changed yet? We have to get going soon!”
“I know, I know. Sorry, I was just finishing my book.”
“It’s Friday night. Read tomorrow. Read during the week. Just don’t read on Friday night. Bookworm!”
Beatrice shook her head. “What’s a bookworm?”
“It’s someone who’s always reading.”
“But a worm? I mean, what’s that about? How can a worm live in an e-reader?”
They stared at each other, from the landing to the bottom of the stairs. “Ohhhh! You’re jiving me again, aren’t you?” Gilda knew full well that Beatrice didn’t completely share her excitement for the party scene. Beatrice was a shy (but not with Gilda), quiet thing that could live a full existence in her room with her e-books and her imagination. She was also, in Gilda’s humble opinion, the most drop-dead gorgeous creature in the entire universe. Still, even the pinnacle of beauty can try a girl’s patience every once in a while. In fact, it was pretty much <em>de rigueur</em>. “So, have you even decided on the color yet?”
It was an empty question: since they had joined up Beatrice had only taken a ‘blue’ on a few occasions; one of those was when the entire gang decided to go to an all-Blues club anyway so that probably didn’t count. They’d quickly figured out what combinations worked best in their relationship and after that Beatrice was a pretty steady pink; it was what she preferred anyway.
Truth be told Gilda had liked her even as a blue, had taken her blue on blue too, but it wasn’t really Beatrice’s thing. Beatrice must really love her, Gilda had thought afterward.
Beatrice came down the stairs (Like a film star Gilda always thought) and stood in front of the hallway mirror. “You know, maybe I don’t need a pill tonight? I mean, you keep telling me I’m pretty anyway, right. You do think I’m pretty, don’t you?”
Gilda pushed back on her impatience because she knew her sweetheart was toying with her. Of course, she was making her wait because Gilda just hated – hated! – being late. But this toying could be exciting too and if she played the game right she would get her reward soon enough; all the sweeter for having been made to work for it.
“Of course, you are beautiful. But you know how it is now Beatrice, don’t you? It’s about making an effort, you wouldn’t want our friends to think that you didn’t try now, would you?”
“They are your friends Gilda, the Friday night crowd! Oh come on, they wouldn’t even know! When have they ever seen the real me?”
“They have,” Gilda said, putting her lips to the back of Beatrice’s neck and slowly planting a ring of kisses from one side to the other. “or at least they’ve all seen you enough times that they could probably work it out. You know how it is, put together ten photos of someone after they’ve popped together with one of the base form and people will nearly always be able to pick that one out.” Gilda blew hot breath onto a wet snog-patch where neck met shoulder and Beatrice giggled.
“Yeah, I guess so.” Beatrice opened the jar and stuck her finger in to stir the contents around. Shuffling them didn’t really make a difference of course; they all looked identical to each other but each one would be subtly different. She held the jar out. “Choose one.”
Gilda smiled, stuck two fingers into the container and came out with a single pink tablet. “This one then.”
“What about you? Any preference for tonight?”
“I’ll wait to see what you put on and then I’ll decide.”
Beatrice turned slowly, pulled off her hair towel and then let her bathrobe slip to the floor. She used the little desk by the mirror like a chair, pushing one leg up on the side and then she placed the pill right between her teeth and held it there for a moment before sticking her tongue out with the pill balanced on the front of it. Then Beatrice pulled it back in and swallowed.
“Oh, you naughty bitch! If only everyone else knew what my quiet nerd does when we’re alone together.”
The change happened over the next half minute. It was mainly subtleties on her face but there were other changes too. Her hair went darker and curly, her breasts scaled up one size, her eyes turned brown with flecks of green. “Oh god,” she said, “does my ass look …”
“Yup, definitely. Don’t worry, you’ll have something to fit. The white miniskirt will look a treat on you.”
“I think that might be a bit of a stretch,” the woman said, peering over her shoulder into the mirror.
“That’s exactly what I was thinking too.”
“Pervert. Your turn.”
Gilda shook out some pills onto her palm. There were some pink and some blue. She looked again at the naked woman in front of her, taking in the curves, the small amount of pubic hair that had grown, the slightly thicker calves, the dimple that had deepened a little on her chin, the wider and more rounded face. “Love you, ” she said and then with a quick and lustful look at that wonderful backside reflected in the mirror she plucked out a blue and swallowed it.
Sometimes, even going cross color didn’t bring on too much of a change. This one had a kick to it though and Gilda let out a quick, gasping moan as the transformation swept over her. “Oooh, that’s tight.”
“Wel, you should have got undressed first.”
“Probably. But hey. And wow. I must have grown four inches taller. Put on some muscle too.” She patted her groin and grinned. “Feels like a monster down there.”
Gilda still looked familiar, like her own brother perhaps and certainly with enough feature resemblance for Beatrice to possibly still have recognized her if they had just met randomly on the street. There was quite a lot of change, though. Interesting change.
“Well, it looks like I’ll be getting well and truly blued tonight then. Let’s grab some clothes – not that miniskirt, though!”
“Because you already have enough bad ideas in that head of yours.” They got dressed and half an hour later took a bus into the center.
It felt good to have a penis again, Gilda thought idly as they sped silently through the greenfield areas and then into the outskirts of the city proper. She did not know exactly what that made her; she certainly did not want to be some sort of throwback but at the same time the difference from her base form felt good. In fact, it usually only took minutes after popping for her to get her first erection whether she was thinking about sex or not. Today had been no exception. Not at all. She wasn’t alone either, nearly everyone liked popping a blue now and again. People who did it a lot, who popped a blue whenever they could, were synonymous with the pills themselves and became known as the Blues. That wasn’t quite Gilda though, as she took almost as many pinks as blues and she enjoyed it with Beatrice either way. That might make her a <em>Lilac</em>, a <em>Two-Tone</em>, or a <em>Blink</em>; there were lots of terms people had made up, none of which she tended to use for herself. Gilda just considered herself normal.
As normal as everybody else.
Every once in a while, Gilda wondered what it had been like when the world was covered by two sexes, with men as well as women. The history books painted men as the source of all evils. Mass war, violence, subjugation, sexual oppression and excessive greed destroying social cohesion. But it wasn’t all like that, surely? There would have been good men just as there were many a bad woman in the world. Still, a hundred years of global peace had followed the end of The Cut, the time when it had been decided for the good of the race to completely eradicate the x chromosome from the gene pool. Clearly, the decision had been a good one.
Officially the period of change was termed The Harmonization but men had quickly taken to calling it something else: The Cut, as in ‘the cruelest cut of all’. That is how everybody came to refer to it ever since. Firstly, scientists released a virus into the population which made the men infertile. Then, as the males grew older and their numbers decreased, they introduced the ‘blues’, the tablets which could transform a female into the opposite sex for a period of time. It was not necessary for procreation – science had that figured out too – but more as part of humanity’s psyche. To balance things further they soon provided the ‘pinks’ as well.
As was well documented, the last actual man to die had been Samuel T. Adams and they built a great monument that soared two hundred meters above his tomb, a most phallic end to the reign of men. From that point onwards all the people of the earth were female and so women – <em>Womynkind</em> now and no longer ‘mankind’- were finally free of their oppressors. No more violence, no more sexual objectification.
“Everyone is staring at me,” Beatrice complained. “I knew I shouldn’t have worn this miniskirt.”
“You look fine. Nobody is staring.”
“Well, hardly anyone.” <em>God, Baby, of course, they are staring</em>. “Now stop complaining, I wish I could turn heads like you do.”
“It’s not just the heads I can see moving.”
“Don’t worry about it. You are the perfect Pink and every so-oriented woman in the world is going to run hot when they see you.” She took Beatrice’s hand and gave her a wink. “Let’s find the gang and have some fun.”
‘Gingers’ was expensive and they did not come here often but the live acts were always as daring as any legitimately allowed within the city. As a couple stripped and made love on the simple stage at the center of the floor space, people chatted and drank at their tables scattered in a circle around the performers. Every few minutes one of them would pop and change from pink to blue or vice versa, transforming, to loud applause, in the very middle of some graphic act. Beatrice would have been embarrassed had it not been for the fact that she believed everybody was watching the action and nobody looked to see her discomfort. Not that she didn’t like it, exactly. But watching this in public was more of a Blue’s sort of thing. Wasn’t it?
At the end of the routine Beatrice got up to use the <em>little Pink’s room</em>. Not all establishments separated the toilet’s out in this way, and sometimes people sneaked into the wrong one anyway, perhaps forgetting what they were that night, but it was a divide which had stood the test of time; had survived even The Cut itself. Maybe it was just tradition.
“Did you know that some people claim we are all living in a giant computer and that nothing is real?”
“I’m sorry?” Beatrice replied to the stranger next to her at the wash basins.
Beatrice vaguely remembered the woman in the green dress had been hanging out at the bar. She was tall with a thin face that seemed to be stretched a bit too much lengthways. It all looked weird and sexy at the same time. “Cynthia,” the woman said, “Cynthia Crawford. Do you always pop this hot?”
“I’m sorry?” Beatrice said again. Oh shit, was she being hit on? By an older woman and in the toilets of all places!
“It’s okay. I never got the hang of slow introductions. I say what’s on my mind and sometimes I’ll tell others what should be on theirs. It’s not ADHD or anything, it’s just me. I think that when you look into mirrors like this one you can get strangest ideas from the person looking back. If we live in a giant computer then that machine would be God, don’t you think?”
“I’ve heard this theory,” Beatrice said, considering her options to extract herself as quickly as possible from the conversation. “It’s just religious displacement, a modern attempt to fill a primitive social need.”
“Ah Beatrice, yes you really are a bookworm.”
“I’m sorry? Look, how do you know my name? What do you want?”
The woman who had introduced herself as Cynthia Crawford smiled. “You don’t even know how beautiful you are, do you? You could be the new Helen of Troy. Do you know who that was? No? Well, she was someone that caused a huge war. Men of course, but still, the fight has gone out of humanity without them. Nobody fights for anything anymore. Humanity lost its balls with the cut. I miss men.”
“Well, it’s been nice talking to you,” Beatrice managed and turned toward the door.
Cynthia said. “But it’s coming back. The fighting I mean. Look around you and you’ll see that everything else is coming back. It just needs the right recipe, the right spark. The right person. The right Helen of Troy. Here, take this, you’ll understand later.” She pushed a little packet into Beatrice’s hand and gave her a slow wink, just like Gilda did sometimes. What the Hell? Beatrice threw her an awkward smile and then she was out of there …
… and straight into a yelling, grabbing and punching brawl that had spread across the entire room.
Someone grasped her arm and pulled. “Here she is!”
Beatrice pulled back and then someone else got a hold of her shoulder. “No, she’s with me.”
A punch felled the first person but that seemed just to mean someone else coming to claim her. Beatrice had never even seen a proper fight before, not more than a minor playground skirmish anyway. This was … madness. Chaos! “Gilda! Help!”
She felt an arm snake around her waist. “Come with me,” Cynthia said as if the fight was nothing at all. “Head up now and don’t look scared. Look proud! This is all for you – own it.” Beatrice felt her legs move but the guidance all came for the woman at her side. It was crazy to see everyone in the midst of clawing, kicking and scratching just back off from each other and make a path for them. “Gilda,” Beatrice said, panicking inside “Where’s Gilda?”.
She felt herself turned slightly to the left. “Let’s go and get her then. This way.”
They found Gilda batting off three Blues on the side of the room. She had a snarl on her face and she was doing well too considering the odds. As the others pulled back she spotted Beatrice and came to her side. Cynthia put an arm around her as well and gently propelled them towards the main exit. “Keep going now, girls. You are safe with me, I promise.”
They got outside and did not stop until they got to a bus stop. Sirens were sounding; was that the police? Gilda looked at Beatrice and shrugged.
“It’s way more complicated than just a computer,” Cynthia said into her ear. And like that, she was gone, disappearing around the corner without a backward glance. “See you around.”
Back at their apartment they sat glumly around the table and nursed two coffees. Beatrice was shaking a little. Gilda had bruises on face and arms. There was a big scratch down one side of her neck. It was a long while before Beatrice opened the little packet that Cynthia had passed to her. Inside was a green tablet with, when she looked closely, what seemed to be a red apple motif on the top.
There was also a note: More beautiful than even Helen was. Not all knowledge comes from books. Cyn.
Beatrice re-wrapped the pill and the note. She drew in her legs onto the sofa and wrapped her arms around them. “Gilda, is it alright if I go blue next time? I know you won’t pink for me and that’s fine. I just want to go differently next time.”
“Sure Baby.” Gilda put a hand across her back and kissed her cheek. “Pink and blue, I love you.”
© 2016 – 2018, Alyson Madden-Brooker. All rights reserved.
As a teenager, I used to write stories which reflected an early literary diet of science fiction and fantasy. I did this on an actual typewriter (yes a real one and I even learned to touch-type) before some bright spark invented computers. Then life got in the way; my career took me away from writing and I stopped my stories for a long, long time. I did carry on reading though and enjoyed many of the absolutely brilliant writers that there are out there. Hopefully, I learned something from them all.
Finally, along came digital publishing. As soon as I purchased my first kindle I realized that the future of books was completely changed and not so very long later some internal brain-spirit whispered something into my dreams, "You could do that. You could write about me..."
So eventually I joined a local writing club and rather nervously and slowly started writing quaint little stories about demons, usually with soul-stealing character defects. One day, just for a change, I sat at my desk and started writing about an angel. Having crossed over to the 'other side' (sort of) I suddenly found I couldn't stop and now plan many new books in my Forgotten Wings series.
My partner and I have been together for more than half our lives. The result is an untidy house, some dogs and no 'human' children.
I am not planning to grow up anytime soon.