Shanice and Alan had grown close since they had been confronted by Gordon Manfree. They stayed together at almost all times, roaming wherever their enhanced senses took them. It was easy for them to keep away from others by negatively charging themselves and they frequently would spend nights on the beach, sleeping on the sand. A few days after that fateful meeting, Shanice felt like riding Alan again and asked him, though she was always embarrassed to do so.
“Alan, I want to…Can I ride on you as a shark again? Please?”
Alan nodded and they got up from the beach and went into the surf, making sure nobody was around. Shanice watched entranced though she had seen it many times, as Alan’s face elongated and his hands pulled inward, becoming fins as his legs turned into a tail. Soon the transformation was completed and Shanice gripped onto Alan’s rough skin and held tight as he swam out into the ocean. She watched the waves, saw freighters in the distance, and saw flying fish leaping from the water in fear of the great white shark that was near them. Soon Alan’s energy seemed to wane though, and he began to give off more and more negative energy, so much that Shanice felt it and spoke directly into his mind as she rode on his back.
“Alan, what’s wrong?”
“I am thinking about my mission. I have to find the second shifter and see what has happened to him, I would rather not kill him, but if I have to then I will.”
“I thought your mission was to kill him though?”
“That would only be the case if there was nobody else involved, since these humans have captured him it changes things. I do not want to put you in danger without giving you more abilities, and for that we would have to grow closer.”
“What do you mean? I can already charge myself, what more is there?”
“There is much more, but it will happen soon enough. We should go to the facility, or at least near it, we can’t stay here any longer.”
Shanice and Alan set out from the college, leaving everything behind and heading toward the address on the card they received from Manfrees assistant.
At the campus pool, a taxi pulls up and a slender, harsh looking woman gets out. She walks into the pool where practice is being held and begins speaking to coach Maccloud.
“Yes, I’m looking for someone who may have come by here; he was a very good swimmer.”
“Who exactly are ye lookin’ for lassy? We ‘ave a lot of folks ‘ere.”
“You know who I mean, where did he go?”
“Ah don’t know, who are ya anyway?”
The woman’s eyes flashed white for a fraction of a second and Armin Maccloud stopped being tense and defensive, his entire body relaxing.
“Tell me where the boy went.”
“Ah do not know where he went, he left out the back with a woman.”
“Hm, you really don’t know. Alright, move, I’m done with you.”
The tall man stepped to the side and the woman walked past him and out the back door of the pool. She knelt and closed her eyes, focusing all of her abilities into tracking Alan’s signal. She found more than she bargained for, his, another woman’s and one more that she had felt before, that of Gordon Manfree.
“So, he’s been claimed by another woman, that will be fun.
She walked back through the pool and got into the taxi, commanding the driver to head to north, along the same path Alan and Shanice had taken.
Alan and Shanice had been driving for almost an hour, but as their gas ran out they had to pull over and re-think things, since neither of them had any money. Shanice found herself explaining how cars ran on gas as well as re-explaining the concept of money to Alan, whose mind still did not view it as something important enough to be worth remembering.
“So basically the car needs gas to run, sort of like how we need water to live.”
“So is it alive? It does not seem like it is. And does it eat food?”
“No to both, it’s not alive, it’s a machine, and it doesn’t eat food, it just needs gas, which is a liquid that you have to buy with money.”
“And money is the green papers; I recall that much, but no more. They have different things on them, I know that much. Why do you need them to get things though? We could just negatively charge ourselves and take what we needed.”
“Well, we would probably still get caught on camera, plus there are some situations where negatively charging won’t work.”
“Well, if it’s that important then we can go to one of the hidden caves in the sea, there are many of them and most have a large amount of the green papers in them, we keep them there because the papers foul up the water.”
“Ah, I remember you mentioned those before, I forgot that was an option. I think that would be the best thing to do Alan, I don’t want to start stealing or anything.”
“What is stealing?”
Shanice thought for a moment before speaking. “Basically stealing is when you take something from someone else that isn’t yours, I’m sure that exists in the shark world.”
“Well, yes, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s just natural, if something takes what you have, then it was stronger than you, there isn’t anything you can do except be stronger and take it back, defend yourself so that it doesn’t happen at all, or take something from someone that is weaker than you are. Some things I see make me think that it is like that with some people as well. Since your car needs gas, we will have to walk to the ocean from here, which will take some time.”
Shanice parked her car in the lot of a large supermarket and they walked toward the general direction of the coast, following Alan’s senses. As they walked, Alan voiced his worries to Shanice and she asked him further about life as a shifter.
“Shanice, I am worried that Manfree will attempt to capture us by using the second shifter as bait, so part of me wants you to stay safe and out of danger. You are becoming a shifter slowly, but it takes a different amount of time for everyone, and as a female shark you will be far larger and therefore it will take longer. I do not want you to be hurt in any way because of me.”
“Alan, it will be fine, don’t worry so much. I do not want to get in your way; I will be careful and help as much as I can without getting in danger. I want to know more about what will happen to me though, can you tell me what to expect?”
“Not really, I was a shark and shifted to a human, in your case you are becoming a shark, so the process will be different. For me it was overwhelming at first, I wandered around snapping at things and getting into various fights because my shark instincts stayed in control of me for a while. I shifted in another country though; your kind calls it the south of America I believe. I had to be called back to my clan and put in a hidden cave as a human for a week so that I could fully get used to being on two legs and being able to speak, among other things. I suppose one thing you may have to deal with is the fearlessness and dominant nature of a shark once it begins manifesting in you.”
Shanice felt a flutter in her stomach as excited nervousness set in, both at seeing the ocean and at her being able to shift becoming a reality. As they reached the surf, they stripped and hid their clothes in a sand dune, Shanice wearing her wetsuit and carrying Alan’s clothes for him as he sat in the shallows and began shifting. By the time she had hidden the clothes and returned, he was halfway to becoming a shark and looked like a merman, as his upper body was human though his legs had become the tail of a great white shark. Soon the dorsal fin rose out of his spine and his head became stout as his mouth filled with row upon row of deadly teeth, and the transformation was complete. He spoke to Shanice in her mind as he swam in slow circles, waiting for her to climb onto him.
“The cave is deep, too deep for you to hold your breath, so I will share my oxygen with you. Once you climb onto me, put your hands on my gills and concentrate.”
Shanice did so and felt the slightly less rough flesh around his gills become pliant and warm, and then got lightheaded as they dove and she found herself still able to breathe. She felt a tingling sensation in her hands, like a very mild shock and found that she did not need to use her mouth or nose as Alan was somehow directly oxygenating her blood. Alan spoke to her mentally, explaining what he was doing as they took a few test dives.
“Shanice, you’re sharing the air my gills extracts from the water, it’s going to feel strange at first, but you will get used to it quickly I think. The caves are aren’t very deep, but it’s dark for a while once you get inside, so try to stay calm, I will be able to sense my way around just fine, so stay low and hold on. You can still think to me, but try not to unless it’s important once we reach the cave, as I need to concentrate.”
As Alan swam down into the ocean, Shanice began to feel just how vast it was, as opposed to the times she swam in the shallows. The deeper they went, the darker it became, and soon she began to hyperventilate, feeling as if unknown creatures were eyeing her. Alan noticed her trepidation and calmed her as they swam on.
“Shanice, calm down, there isn’t anything anywhere near us that could pose a threat; you are breathing faster and straining my gills. You can still sense energy signatures, do it, and see how far anything is from us.”
Shanice did so, focusing and closing her eyes as she saw sonar like series of images in her mind’s eye. There were many small schools of fish and a few that were solitary, but nothing within range of her and Alan that was any threat. She felt herself calming down and Alan sped up, letting her know that they were nearing the cave. She held him tightly and leant down as they swam toward what seemed to be a bare rock face, and then darted under it and into a small tunnel. Inside the tunnel, it was pitch black and Shanice felt herself growing both claustrophobic for the first time as the sensation of movement slowed down again.
“Shanice, we will be out of this area and into the actual cave soon, but you have to calm down for me, I’m getting your emotions and it’s making it hard for me to navigate, I’m right here so you don’t need to worry.”
Shanice forced her nervousness down and felt Alan speed up once more and soon she felt herself above water again as Alan found his way into the main cave area. She looked around, expecting a cramped cave, but seeing one as large as a football field, with luminous stones embedded in the walls that cast a soft light around every inch of the place. There were multiple small pools, some filled and some empty every hundred yards and she saw several that were indeed filled with bills. Behind her, Alan had finished shifting back to a human and climbed out of the water naked and then sat near one of the glowing stones in the wall as Shanice looked around the cave in astonishment.
“I wasn’t expecting this Alan, this place is amazing! Are they all like this?”
“More or less. Each one has some features that are slightly different of course, some have shafts for sunlight to enter instead of these rocks and others have long tunnels that lead to the next cave, but this one is on its own.”
Alan stood up, walked over to one of the filled pools, and then climbed into it, sighing as he did.
“Shanice, you should get into this pool with me, the water is warmed by the earths internal heat. There is also a warm air geyser at the far end to dry off.”
Shanice was astounded and quickly walked up to the pool and climbed in, feeling the heat of the water dispelling the chill that had settled into her. She moved closer to Alan and hugged him close, soon feeling his warmth as well, and dozing off while caressing him as he stroked her back.
Back on land, Lara was still inside the taxi, following Alan’s signal, though it had abruptly stopped along the highway and led her to a parking lot. She stood outside of the taxi until she picked the trail up again and had the driver take her to the beach, where she got out of the taxi and walked down to the shore, feeling the trail lead into the water and then vanish.
“Well, there’s no way for me to follow you in the water little boy, but I know where you’re going. All I have to do is find the second shifter and wait for you and your new female.”
She walked back to the taxi and got in, noticing that her control had worn off the driver and that he was sweating profusely and shaking once again.
“What’s the matter driver? Don’t you want to keep serving me and taking me wherever I need to go, or would you like me to tear you to pieces?” Lara said, shifting just her mouth until it stretched and began to fill with hundreds of razor sharp teeth. The taxi driver looked away and began breathing heavily, trying not to vomit as Lara laughed and returned to normal.
“What a weakling you are, so weak I don’t even want to mate with you. If I didn’t need you to control this contraption I would have already torn your arms off and left you in here to bleed out or maybe-”
“L-Lady, look, I’ll do what ya want here, but I can’t drive forever, this car needs gas! I can’t drive with no gas, so killin me will only slow ya down until-”
“Oh, is that it? I know how that works; you just need the green papers. Go to the place where you get this ‘gas’ and I’ll handle the rest.”
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