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Skin Deep II foreward chapter 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 epilogue

Skin Deep II: The Dance
Chapter 2: Strike Up The Band --
Let The Dance Begin
by Mark McDonald
©2002 Mark McDonald -- all rights reserved

Michelle touched up her make up in the rear view mirror of the HOV. In the passenger area behind her was four-year-old Shelly, her youngest daughter. Shelly watched with intent interest, imitating her mother's movements as Michelle brushed her cheeks with color. As Michelle watched the watcher out of the corner of her eye a smile lit up her face. Shelly was the only child of the three that actually looked like her. Erin and William both resembled Gary; William was almost Gary's twin in fact. It gave her heart a thrill to know that her genes had finally made a contribution to the family portrait.

She returned her attention to her make up. Michelle hated make up. For so many years it had not been needed. Recently both Gary and Michelle had noticed something very strange happening. Perhaps it more accurate to say something that wasn't happening, Michelle was not aging.

At first, as Michelle grew into her new life she had found it fun. They had joked forever about how Gary would be an old man with this young good-looking lady on his arm.

"You mean smokin', don't you Michelle."

"I mean presentable, Gary."

"Hot!" he would say and grab her up into his arms. "Hottest thing for three solar systems."

"Nice then, OK? How's that?" Michelle would counter.

"Do I need to remind you how hot you really are?" He pressed her against the door and drew his face close to hers. She could smell him, musky and strong. It made her light in the head when he was this close to her, smelling like he did now.

She took in a deep breath through her nose. "Show me then, please. Make me believe it again."

Those had been days of intense passion. These days were still days of intense passion. No two people had ever been so in love it seemed to her. But now this new development was disconcerting. Things had gone well for many years. She had actually started to age some and then at about the age of twenty-two, it seemed to have stopped all together.

In the first few years, there was no problem. Michelle liked looking 'nice' for Gary. It drove her crazy to know that she drove him crazy. But at the age of about thirty or so, others began to notice. Friends began to comment on how young Michelle always looked. In at least one case it became a point of resentment for one family friend, and a point of mistrust when that friend's husband developed a crush on the youthful Mrs. Shipley.

Becky Fenton, their close friends across the park on Lee Street also noticed it. After about a year or two of this, the Shipley's began to withdraw, ever so slowly, from their circle of friends. Only Frank Newberg and Kit Garrison, friends that had been there when Michelle had been born were allowed in close.

Now, in a desperate attempt to look her age, she wore make up in an attempt to age herself. She had to be careful though, too much would clue the kids, too little and she would just wind up looking young and a little weird. She was now almost forty years old and her concerns had become deep-seated fears. In the morning before the make up, she could see that there was no change in her appearance. Sometimes she would sit there while Gary was in the shower or just using the john and cry desperate tears. Sometimes she would laugh through those tears, thinking 'Most women would die to be in your position. You're probably the only woman in the world that wants to grow old.'

She was careful to hide this fear from Gary. She didn't want him to worry about her state of mind or how he was going to have to start hiding Michelle from public view or denying their marriage. It was only a matter of time until one thing led to another.

She pushed the review mirror away. Michelle's thoughts always had a way of running away from her like that when she started thinking about what might happen if this thing didn't fix itself soon.

'Would you listen to yourself? Fix itself, is that what you just thought? I have a VID-Flash for you girl. You're not a space heater. What you've got is a genetic defect.'

"No!' She said out loud. She closed her eyes and bent her head to fight back the tears her fear sparked. "No, please." She whispered.

"Yes!" a voice cried. It was so unexpected Michelle gasped and looked up.

"Yes!" it cried again, but this time Michelle knew it was Shelly in the back seat.

Michelle dabbed at her eyes to remove any sign of tears and turned to tickled her daughter. "You frightened me!" she said as Shelly squealed with delight.

"Boo!' Shelly said and laughed.

For a while, Michelle was distracted from the problem. She and her daughter left the HOV and walked the short distance from the parking lot to the grocer, shopping for the family's meals always made her feel better too. She would take a little extra time today; maybe buy a few special things for dinner. Before she knew it she was lost in the pleasure of any other thought but her own problems. It was 5:30 in the afternoon. It would be after eight o'clock before she arrived home.

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Twenty minutes went by, Jason Fenton was having a heart attack. Well, if you could have asked him, that's what he would have told you anyway. In spite of the pain, Jason was collecting anything and everything that he felt would be necessary to live on the road for God knew how long

The first to go were the cash chips. Then two poly-pack bags that had been below the one Carrie had retrieved for her father. Jason was packing when Carrie snuck up behind him.


"Please baby. Not now."


"CARRIE! Please."

"NO DADDY! I'm going to say this."

"Look," he said turning on her, but the hurt and terrified look in her eyes pulled him up short, in spite of the nagging pressure to get out while there was still time to get out. She must have seen him soften because has he watched the face of his darling little girl, he saw one solitary tear slip from the corner of the left eye and ride the slope of her face down to her jaw.

"I'm sorry baby." Jason said. He knelt and took the child in his arms. She was trembling mightily.

"How much trouble are we in Daddy?" she asked, her arms were around him and her head rested on his shoulder.

"I won't lie to you any further. It's bad, really bad baby. I'm sorry if I scared you hon. I didn't mean too. I was... all I was trying to... I felt that I could maybe save some part of..." What were his intentions? Would he have really killed the girl his daughter claimed to be William Shipley? Given his state of mind at the time he reasoned, yes, he might very well have done just that. Only a miracle had spared him from becoming a murderer.

He was still going to be a fugitive however and if his worst fears hadn't come true, they almost assuredly would soon. He was going to have to be grateful that it wasn't his daughter that had tried on the SKIN.

Carrie echoed his very thoughts. "Would you have really hurt William Daddy?"

"I didn't. That's all I can say. None of this is your fault baby. This is my fault." Jason said. The enormity of his responsibility bore down upon him. It threatened to crush him with the weight of it. His heart ached for forgiveness. He had dashed any hope of a normal life for Carrie for the future. In time she might be able to break away from being a fugitive as her father was by claiming ignorance, but she would be hounded to give him up and watched in an effort to find him. For the short run there would be no proms, no boy friends, no girls night out, no friends. No one would be allowed to get close. If they did the potential for getting caught was monstrous. He had done the one thing he promised himself would not happen when this started. He had let his family become tangled in his web of greed.

"It's OK Daddy."

"No it's not, but all I can do is say I'm sorry. I'm sorry," he repeated, "and nothing like this well ever happen again." He squeezed his daughter tight. It would be the last moments they would ever spend as members of the Fenton family. They would never again eat a meal at the table Becky had so carefully picked out as 'just right' for that tiny space. This place, the whole home had not changed since her death. It was the last breath of her he had. It had been a monument to her life and love of him. Now he was forced to leave her forever. He would have nothing of her left. What an appropriate punishment this was. The thing he had done to make her happiest had now finally slammed shut the coffin lid on her forever.

Visibly he fought to maintain control. Too much sadness and loss in the last few years, if he were allowed to get away and remain free, he would never again allow his judgment to become so clouded. He had his daughter to think about. He had her to protect. His memories of Becky would have to do. It was time to go.

They silently packed clothes, food (to prevent having to stop for a while and be seen too close to home), cash chips, he packed the two SKIN's (just in case), and grabbed a few family DIGASTILS of he and Becky and Carrie when times were oh so much better.

As they pulled out and away from the house Becky had loved so much he could see, on the corner, the trash receptacle he had put out on the curb when he had arrived that night. It represented the last minute of normalcy his life would ever know.

He swung the HOV around and flew below the HOVWays to avoid detection by HTC. Jason turned out over the park, checked his visual and horizontal traffic radar, reset his standard coordinates and dashed out into the Pennsylvania night moving south to the Mexican Territory of Cuba

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William didn't walk like any teenager. He walked like he had something to hide. The 'it' he was trying to hide wasn't being hid very well.

It didn't once occur to him that if he were to have just walked naturally across the park, no one would have paid him a bit of attention. By the time he was halfway across the park, however, it was clear that he had generated stares from nearly everyone that he passed. It didn't help that he spent as much time pulling down on the hem of his skirt in a vain attempt to lengthen it as he did taking steps and trying to hide his face. In his mind it was the indisputable fact that he had once been a boy and was no longer, that generated the stares, a boy that had put on a skirt and blouse and sprouted long blonde hair and breasts.

The idea occurred to him now was how was he going to get back in his house? If anyone saw him enter then there would be hundreds of witnesses to corroborate the fact that a suspicious girl had been seen heading in that direction. What to do now?

He took refuge in the doorway of what used to be an old apothecary store. It had since been turned into an Old Town museum. The tall plate glass reflected not only William's new reflection to him but that of the passing street traffic. He noticed that as long as he hid his face, no one seemed to notice that he was a freak.

He watched the reflection of people as they walked by waiting for an opportunity to step out on the sidewalk and keep his distance from those walking around him and make a dash for it and then in a moment of inspiration he realized that people were not looking at William Shipley, but a girl that didn't want to be seen and was doing her best to hide. William's head slammed against the hard glass of the door of the old apothecary with a thud. You are a complete idiot! He thought to himself. How could he have missed the fact that he was not recognizable as William? For all these people knew he was just some girl that was wandering through the park.

He made a more self-conscious pull on the skirt he was zipped into, looked skyward with frustration painted on his sweet pretty face, took a deep breath, and stepped out in the crowd looking as confident as he could manage. Walking confidently in a skirt and blouse didn't come naturally or all at once for William. As he tried to relax with each step he became more and more aware of small gusts of breeze that would cause his skirt to flutter about. He felt compelled to hold it in place with both hands. Then he would reflect, I never see other girls doing that. It took all the will power he had to resist keeping his hands down around his crotch to prevent the wind from blowing his skirt up, a thing he knew probably wasn't going to happen anyway.

He also became increasingly aware of the effect gravity and the steps he took on the sidewalk had on the protrusions on his chest. He wanted it to stop so badly that beside when a breeze would blow from a grate or near by alley up his skirt, it was impossible not to think about how they moved on him.

When he crossed the street on the west side of the park it was nearly eight o'clock. He pushed his thumb in the security port for a print read and withdrew it again and waited for the usual buzz click of the lock system disengaging. Instead, the red beacon came on indicating a negative print read.

A cloud of confusion crossed the sweet face William was wearing. He lifted his thumb and stared at it, not comprehending why it wasn't working. Just beyond his thumb was a polished Kevlar window pain mounted beside the door. It was a large peep window used to see who was on the other side of the door if the VIDSecure system crashed. There was the image he had seen at Carrie's house and in the reflection of the window of the museum across the street. A young and beautiful teenaged girl; it came to him why the system wouldn't let him in. That girl wasn't a member of the Shipley family. She was a stranger, a person to be kept out. He wasn't going to be able to get back in to his house.

He let out a long shuddering breath. There was nowhere to go. He was going to have to knock on the door and face the music right here. He had to find out who was home somehow. A thought occurred to him. He dashed around to the side of the building. There low to the ground were two old windows. They had been sealed shut but they contained a clear Kevlar glass that allowed sunlight to get into the basement HOV stall. He eased himself down on his knees, grimacing as small pebbles and bits of blacktop and glass dug into his tender flesh.

"Owwwwwwwww" he wined and was disturbed to hear how much the inflection even sounded like that of a girl his age. The thought 'Valley Girl' popped into his head and he decided to say as little as possible until he could get out of this body.

He bent forward, not considering that his pantied fanny was exposed and sticking up in the air. In the alley, fortunately for William, no one else was there to see. He looked in the spots where his mother and father parked their HOV's. They were both empty. As he assumed an upright kneeling position again, he found his skirt rucked up over his rear and stood quickly to push it down and smooth it out. He then brushed the small rocks and other debris that had stuck to his knees and went back around front.

Erin might be home, but his parents weren't. Erin wouldn't let him in, not like this. Even if he told his sister what had happened she would make him wait out here, either choosing not to believe his story or out of pure hate.

He was about to wander around to the back of the building when the security buzzer went off out front and he heard the bolt slide into the open position. Someone was coming out. He quickly raced the few paces to the sidewalk and retreated ten or so steps from the door and then turned and began walking toward the building again. Out popped Erin, guitar in hand. 'She must be going to a practice or something.' The two crossed paths about two steps from the door. Erin looked at the young girl and smiled. 'Wish I had a camera.' William thought smugly, 'Probably be the only time she will ever smile at me.' William hoped his timing was on as he would get only one shot at this. He passed his sister as Erin stepped into the street to cross; William stuck his foot in the closing front door of the Shipley house, stepped inside and pushed the door closed. The security clock recorded in the VIDlog that the door was opened internally at seven forty p.m. Doorway VID camera recorded Erin exiting and another person entering at almost the same time at that precise moment.

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When the door latched, Erin hearing it turned to see that it had indeed closed. Nowhere in sight was the cute girl she had just passed. Erin didn't think twice about it. She turned and made her way across the park to the music store. Erin needed to have a tuning key repaired and wanted to have it done by tomorrow afternoon. After that she would return to her room to write a score she was batting about in her head. In the distance she noticed the Fenton's HOV pull recklessly out of its garage, pause for a moment, and the dash off across the Eastern Pennsylvania sky.

"Shit... wasn't even flying a HOVWay. His boxers must have been on fire." She giggled to herself.

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Michelle left the grocer's at seven minutes to eight. All worries about her perpetual youth were displaced by the time she had just spent with Shelly. Shelly's face was covered in chocolate and sugar cream filling.

"Yum Mommy!" Shelly said licking as much of the sticky goo off her face as she could reach. "Want some?" she asked and held up a smashed cream filled chocolate stick. It oozed between her fingers and was dribbling down her hand. Michelle didn't care. She had been so well behaved tonight; a small treat on Friday was not such a bad thing. Michelle looked in the rearview mirror at her daughter's request. "Oh, baby..." she said but could not contain the laughter. She put the HOV on the HOVWay and snapped in FMS cartridge and set the autopilot to carry them home. She then turned and was about to clean up the mess, prying the chocolate stick from Shelly's hand, when the world around her faded away.

Without warning her senses were flooded with the sounds of birds on the wing as they flew from the treetops. There were the sounds of people, lots of them, and smells too. She could smell fresh air as she had only smelled on a few occasions on trips to remote places with Gary. Places only their money could take them. There were other smells... horses, she smelled horses and metal and wood. She could smell some type of savory food being cooked, but couldn't identify it. Her hunger, she was surprised to find, had followed her to this place.

The smell of the food caused her stomach to growl, and she reached down with one hand to quiet it. When she did, she found her clothes had changed. She was wearing a beautiful satin gown. It was studded with pearls and jewels. It was also too damn tight in the waist and chest.

She shifted to adjust the dress and clocked her head on a low ceiling of some sort.

"Ouch!" She reached to rub her head and found what she had bumped it on. A wooden board over head, she pushed on it but soon realized that it was held in place by some metal rods. She shook them and found they surrounded her. She was in a box, with no room to stand. Frightened, her head still hurting, she absently reached up to rub it as she assessed her situation. There she found a tiara or a crown or something. She tried to drag it off her head to look at it but it seemed to be bonded to her scalp. Michelle ran her fingers over it. She could feel round smooth glassy orbs on it that could be jewels.

Confused she turned her attention to the bars. She gripped them and shook them but they were buried deeply in the wood above and below her. There seemed to be no door to her cage...

'No, I'm in my HOV. Shelly...' Michelle started to think. It was only then she remembered that she had been flying the HOV with her daughter strapped in the passenger bay in the back. "OH GOD. My daughter... LET ME OUT! MY BABY GIRL... She's all alone!" What came out was "MY LORD! MY CHILD IS IN DISTRESS, SHE IS IN NEED OF MY CARE AND HELPLESS WITHOUT ME!" She was about to think 'What the Hell?' When a rather large man standing outside her cage slammed a huge mace against the bars of her cage making her shriek in fear and recoil from the bars. The man bent so she could see his face. He was huge and looked to be strong enough to bend the thick bars cage. He was wearing heavy leather armor and greasy black hair and had a thick, dirty black beard peppered with gray.

"Shut your mouth wench! You fancy yourself Queen do you? I say thou art not the Queen of my court!" he snarled and slammed the mace against the side of the cage again and again Michelle screamed in terror and surprise.

"Please!" she begged. "My youngest child, the Princess, is alone and needs her mother!" In her distress she fought with the words she seemed not to be able to control. The man did nothing, he simply ignored her, and so she tried again.

"Ple-" Was all she got she got out. This time the mace came down hard on the bars of the cage and once again she recoiled and screeched.

She had to be quiet. That was plain. She was not in control here.

You haven't been in control since you turned your life over to Gary and FORCED him to run the show. Team player, yeah right!

That had not been her voice.

She looked about to see who had said it, but found no recognizable face. There on the far end of the clearing however... 'Where did this clearing come from?' was a boy being mounted in armor. The crowd in stands on both sides were going crazy, there was going to be a jousting contest. She assumed she was to be the prize.

Wait a minute. How the hell did I get here? She wanted to scream for help, for someone to help Shelly. She was so anxious about her daughter she was ready leap from her skin.

Then the joust was on. It was fast and it was over in no time. The boy she had seen from a distance fought with his helmet as he crashed to the ground from his mount. When it finally flew off she could see it was William, her William. Her son!

"Billy! Oh God Billy, Help me!"

He seemed not to hear. He had won the contest but was at the dead knights side. William was lifting the head and torso of the Knight off the ground. He pulled of the man's helmet and Michelle was suddenly a broken woman. Everything she knew crashed to the ground around her. The dead Knight was her husband, Gary.

"NOOOOOOOO! Oh GOOOOODDDDDDDD NOOOOOOO!" She slammed herself against the bars of the cage but could not get out. "Billy... " She got the mace again but it didn't matter. She continued to scream, "BILLLLLYYYYYY! HELP ME... WHAT HAVE YOU DONE! OH GOD, GARRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYY! PLEAAAAAASSSSSSSEEEEEEE LET ME OUT... I HAVE GOT TO GO TO HIM!" The desperation of losing him was so great that as she filled with it, it felt to her as if her small frail body could not contain it all and she would burst open and die; that the feeling would spill out all over the ground and consume her broken body.

Then all was quite again, everything except the crowd that is... There was a girl down there with Billy as he waited to have his armor put on. She could not see the girl closely but she wore a pink gown. Then, in her peripheral vision she saw another pink dress directly next to her cage. She craned her neck to see the owner no longer terrified at the scene she had just witnessed. It was gone now anyway.

The girl in the gown bent and Michelle saw the sweet face of her sister.

"Erin?" she sounded confused and relived at the same time. "Erin, Please let me out of this thing. I think it's... going... to... YOU'RE DOING THIS AREN'T YOU?" Michelle realized out of the blue.

"There is a puzzle that needs to be completed." She said softly. "Watch." Erin pointed to the field and Michelle, although her judgment told her better, turned to see what Erin was pointing to. William was at the other end of the field and in a flash, he was gone, replaced by a girl. This girl was young, from what she could guess in her late teens. She wore a gown much like the one Michelle was in. She could see the girl clutch at the waist of the garment, pull at it and try to get it off. The girl pulled at the crown on her head but it too would not come off just as Michelle's was stuck on her head.

'Just like me!' Michelle thought; and that was followed by another thought that Michelle tried to shut out with all her might but could not. 'Like mother like son!'

"ERIN! No! Please no... not him... don't do this to him!"

"It's his choice." Erin said in a soft voice.

"He doesn't understand, he doesn't know what it means." Michelle pleaded.

"Then," Erin waived her hand; the scene changed back, "This is what you'll be left with. Your cage will become real, and Gary will die leaving you forever trapped within it." She waved her hand again and they were back where William had been transformed into a girl.

"I don't know what your are talking about." Michelle was badly frightened. She knew all to well that when Erin predicted things, they happened.

"Let the wheels roll baby sister."

"No! The last time you got involved, look what happened to me!" Michelle said bitterly.

"So you are unhappy? I can arrange for you to go home Michelle."

Erin gestured to the front of the cart and there stood Mike Vello. Older, fifty maybe, maybe younger, Michelle couldn't tell. He looked like shit! There were bags under his eyes. He looked crazy, bad crazy. He glared at Michelle and screamed "LEAVE ME ALONE YOU FUCKING BITCH... GET OUT OF MY HEAD!"

The man, if that's what he was, picked up the rope and started to pull the cart that was Michelle's cage off as if it were his personal burden to bear.

"STOP!" Michelle screamed. "I'm not complaining. ERIN, MAKE HIM STOP!"

"He is you! You make him stop baby sister. Before it's too late!" As Erin drifted out of sight Michelle could hear her sister say, "DON'T WAIT TOO LONG!"

"ERIN?" Michelle scrambled within her small prison to look back at her sister. "EEEERRRRIIIIINNNNN!" Michelle screamed after her. "Let me go... letmego letmego letmego..." she cried jerking desperately on the solid bars. The man pulling the cart screamed "SHUTUP SHUTUP SHUTUP SHUTUP!

"Boo!" Shelly said and squealed with laughter.

Michelle blinked her eyes and the cage, gown and the smells of the arena melted away. She was face to face with Shelly. She was OK.

Trembling, Michelle put a hand to her forehead in an attempt to steady herself and took in several shuddering breaths. 'A daydream... that's all.'

This time there was a reply. 'Don't wait too long!' it was as if it had been spoken out loud again. This time she knew the voice.

Michelle fought back tears of fright. She looked about to get her bearings and found the HOV had landed on autopilot at her home some three minutes away from where she had started. She slumped in her seat. "Flashback... That's all it was. Just a flash back."

There were no contradicting voices this time. "After twenty years, I really thought I'd have gotten over that by now."

From the back seat Shelly spoke up. "Get over it Mommy!"

Michelle burst into nervous laughter. "That's right hon. Mommy has to get over it doesn't she?"

"Get oooovvvvverrrrr it!" she chanted.

The HOV arrived at Shipley building and hovered, waiting for the autopilot to be disengaged. Michelle brought the craft in on its landing wheels and guided it into the basement-parking garage. "OK squirt! Time to go in. Michelle lifted her from the back seat, grabbed a bag of groceries and went inside.

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He began to hyperventilate and tears started to flow. Now that he was home what good could this possibly do? What the hell had he been thinking? His mother was going to be home any minute; she was rarely gone this late unless she was working The Red Fish or recording with Tidewater, her band. He knew she did neither on Friday nights. That was her so-called 'Family Night'. Even though Erin and now himself had begun not to show up for the quality time event.

He had to get this off. It was beginning to dawn on him how much trouble he was in. Not just with his parents -- that had been when he believed Mr. Fenton was going to help him, not kill him. William had to face the facts that if things were bad enough for Mr. Fenton to try such drastic measures, there may be no way to reverse this.

Franticly, he searched the place where Carrie said she had closed the thing.

He fell to his knees but continued to search, finally ripping off his clothes down to his bra and panties. The sight of the girl he knew he was trapped in, there in a bra and panties, was a horrifying sight. He could not get out of this body. He knew no one that had ever even seen a SKIN, and for all he'd heard they were dangerous. Many stories told of people trapped forever within them. Left to live some other life.

"No," the girl whispered. She bent her head and shook it. "Please no..."

He wanted out, and he wanted out NOW! He grabbed the bra by the boning and tried to remove it. It would not come off. He then flailed around in back trying to unhook it but could neither see nor figure out how to get it unhooked from this new perspective.

"God Damn it!" she wailed and then bullied the bra off over her head. It left visible red abrasions on her skin, below her breasts, and under her arms, but she was out of that at least. Next William attacked the panties. They didn't present such a challenge or put up nearly the struggle the bra had.

Once out of all the women's clothes he had escaped in, he stood and began searching the exterior for a way out. None presented itself. He violently wiped the tears away as quickly as they fell. He pulled at his mouth, lips and hair hoping that it was really just some sort of costume but everything failed.

At last he just leaned his head against the wall and cried. His breasts shook with the force of the sobbing. After he had enough of that he swatted at one of them only to find they were extremely sensitive to violence. He clutched his right arm around it as if to protect it from yet further attack and bent over in pain. It was similar, William thought, to being kicked in the nuts.

He was recovering from the pain when downstairs he heard his Mother come in.


Oh fuck... Mom!

"A little help here?"

William could hear her struggling with what sounded like bags of groceries. Suddenly the inter-household VID started to spark into life. That meant his mother had activated the master set down stairs and the system had detected someone in his room. She was searching the house for signs of life, probably to help her with the bags. Soon he would be broadcast to the living room in all his naked glory for his mother to see. William dove for the opened closet door and pulled it shut. Quickly he emptied the hamper of dirty clothes on the floor and started piling them on himself. He toyed with the idea of putting on some of his men's clothes but decided that it would be too risky. His mother was no dummy. She was probably on the way here now to see why the VID had come on in William's room when no one was in here. Extra movement or noise from the closet would give away the fact that he was there.

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Michelle came into a deserted house. 'Your family is falling apart.'

"All I wanted was just a little time with my kids once a week. You'd think I'd asked them to cut off a hand or something."

"Cut off Erin's hand Mommy?" Shelly asked questioningly.

Michelle crouched down and picked up Shelly. "No baby, if I did that she wouldn't be able to play the guitar, would she?"

Shelly shook her head with a grave look on her face.

Michelle called out, "Hello!" She had additional bags in the HOV but didn't want to leave Shelly inside all alone. "A little help here?"

No response. 'So much for family night.' Michelle thought. The memory or flashback had almost faded to nothing, much like the dreams she had when she herself was changed from Mike Vello to Michelle Donovan.

She turned on the VID for a newscast and accidentally hit the 'Monitor House' function. She quickly changed that to 'News Service' and set the groceries down. Her intent was to prepare dinner but with only Shelly and herself she figured that Gary could cook tonight. They would go down to The Red Fish and eat as paying customers for a change.

As she grabbed her things to leave she noticed that Erin had shed all over the living room as she usually did after getting home from school. Michelle shook her head and sighed. She figured she'd get a leap on the weekend by starting a load of laundry before leaving. What was the harm in that?

She gathered up Erin's clothes and started upstairs.

"Mommy? I'm hungry!" Shelley announced.

"I know baby, Mommy's just going to start some laundry and then we're going to surprise Daddy."

"Yea! I want to surprise Daddy." Shelly squealed.

Michelle smiled a broad, beautiful smile. She still had the ability to make men and boys stop dead in their tracks when she did that. To this day she didn't understand how that worked. She wished that just for five minutes she could see what all the fuss was about. Just see it from the other perspective; but she had not been out of this body since she had put it on and she guessed that was now just wishful thinking.

"Five minutes baby..." Michelle said

"Ok Mommy!" Shelly said and wandered off to watch the VID.

She grabbed a load of clean clothes she had done that morning and with the small bundle of clothes Erin had dropped like gingerbread crumbs in the living room, she went up stairs where the kid's quarters were, as they called them.

William's room was the first one she came to.

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After a considerable time his mother didn't come in. The room outside the closet door was silent and he was almost comfortable enough to try to move his legs and get into a more comfortable position. It was an unpleasant feeling being naked but he had the comfort of knowing that he was at least covered by a pile of clothes. At last he decided to run the risk and move his legs a bit, but when he did a pair of jeans tumbled down off the top of the pile exposing his face. As he was about to re-adjust the pile to cover himself again, the closet door swung open and terror gripped his heart.

There stood his mother with an arm-full of clothes. She hung the garments she had on the racks and hangers in William's closet silently, thoughtfully and when she was done -- to William's horror -- she bent and began collecting the dirty garments on the floor of the closet.

Busted... You're busted! Oh God make me invisible please, I can't explain this!

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His mother recoiled as if she had seen a snake in the pile of clothes and William knew he had been seen. Michelle let out a little squeal as she stumbled backward out of the closet; William remained frozen, unable to move.

Michelle's thought process cleared and concern filled those beautiful green eyes as she walked closer to the closet and began speaking.

"Hello. What are you doing in there?" she waited briefly for an answer but William was too petrified to speak. "What's your name honey? Where's William?" Michelle tried to keep an even keel. 'Give me a ship and a star to steer her by.' The thought popped up in her mind. It was the first of many thoughts that would assault her brain in the next three minutes. Her self-defense mechanisms had gone into high gear and Michelle was not even aware her mind had gone on the defensive.

William watched as the events transpired before him without his control. He fancied he was dying, that's how bad he felt. He almost wished he had tried to call the police as he had threatened, at least he wouldn't be in this all by himself. Anything was better than this.

"Come now... You have to tell me your name." He could see grave worry on her face and wondered what his mother could be thinking. What ever it was he was happy to let her just keep right on thinking it. Anything but revealing that he was now a girl. Michelle reached her hand out to William. William in turn tried to bury himself down into the pile of clothes. He pushed himself down into the corner of the closet and pulled the clothes all around him.

Michelle stopped. Now extreme worry and concern creased her brow. He had never seen his mother under such stress, she had to know who he was now, William could feel it all slipping away from his grasp. He felt he might pass out from the enormity of it all.

His mother was asking him something, "Did William do something to you?"

Do something to me? Yeah, he got me involved with a crazy woman. IT'S ME! JUST SAY IT! SAAAAAAY IT! But he couldn't. His voice seemed every bit as trapped inside this body as was his consciousness.

"You have to tell me something, dear. Where do you live? I can call your parents."

They wouldn't believe you! He thought and almost started laughing hysterically.

The hand was coming again but he was out of room to manoeuvre with. William watched wide-eyed as the hand vanished below the pile of clothes and fished about. It clasped around his wrist like a steel cuff and started to drag him out of the pile of clothes. William tried to resist, aware of his nakedness. But once it was clear that he was going to be lifted into plain sight he quit and allowed himself to be brought up. He stood there in front of his mother who was aghast at the girl's condition.

Michelle was horrified. Here stood a terrified naked girl in her son's room. Naked, dear God...

She tried no to let her mind run away from her, but her thoughts were out and running a stampede over her logic, trampling it into the dust. Naked and terrified in her son's room, why would there be a naked, terrified girl in my son's room.

Why do you think? You're not stupid. The words, 'forced sex' come to mind. I use those because you're afraid to think of the obvious.

"No, please." Michelle whispered. But her mind didn't listen or care about her plea.

RAPE! It shouted at her and she jumped visibly causing William to jump and squeak a little.

Oh Mom... I'm sorry.

Michelle didn't want to frighten the girl any more than she was already traumatized. "Honey, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you." Then Michelle's face and eyes softened. "OK." She came over to William, who flinched just a bit at her touch. His mother was warm and he hadn't realized that he had been shivering. William stood there trying to cover his crotch out of force of habit for what was no longer there. "Can you tell me where you live honey?" Michelle asked as tenderly as she could muster but William could not muster the truth in words.

His mother sighed a deep sigh as if resigned to some horrible fate. "Come with me, you're freezing. We have to get you covered up. I think I have some things that will fit you."

There was something funny in the way this girl was trying to cover up, something unnatural in the way she stood.

N... N... No... Not more girls clothes!

But despite the objections of his mind he allowed himself to be led to the master suite. There she began going through her drawers pulling out underwear. Next she moved to her closet and tried to find something that might fit the girl. The idea of wearing his mothers clothing was more than he could take.

"Please mom, Please... Don't make me put that stuff on. I'm sorry! I know I screwed up... But you can't make me wear that stuff. I won't do it." The words came in an unexpected torrent of confessions.

Michelle seemed a bit perturbed at the protest. "I know it's not exactly up to current fashion standards but it will do until we can contact..." William saw a most amazing transformation in his mother's face.

William knew that his mother's beauty was natural. Although she had only recently started wearing sparse makeup, William watched as his mother's pallor changed before his very eyes, even the makeup could not hide how badly her color turned. William could see the beautiful skin tone fade from her face and turn an ugly, ashen gray. Her lips actually turned from a deep natural red to almost blue and William was afraid that his mother was suffering a heart attack and was on the brink of dying. Her eyes became bloodshot in an instant and her hands began to tremble.

William didn't know what to do. He was afraid that perhaps she was truly sick, unable to cope with the truth.

"I'm sorry." He offered with tear filled eyes.

"Wha... Wha..." To William, she seemed almost out of breath, "What did you call me?" she asked in a tone that was just above a whisper.

"Mom?" Squeaked the girl. "I'm sorry Mom. I don't really know how all this happened. I was at Carrie's. Then I was like this..." he was quiet and then he added very quietly himself. "I'm me Mom, William."

Michelle's eyes rolled back into her head and her lids began to flutter. Just before she reached the floor she uttered, "Jesus wept!" and then hit like a wet sack of potatoes.

The naked girl rushed to his mother's side, crying "Oh God! Now I've killed my mother too!"

Skin Deep chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Skin Deep II foreward chapter 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 epilogue
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