Plan of the Shusheen

Shifter Worlds

By Vic James

Copyright 2012 by Vic James


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One day, I was taking a break while Mike was on the phone discussing his investments. I decided to take a walk outside. I headed down the hill towards the lake. It was beautiful out.

I came to the inner fence, then turned right and walked alongside it. I came to a section of the fence that was broken. There was a bar missing. There were cedars blocking the view of the damaged part of the fence from the house. I turned around to head back and tell Mike about the fence. I felt a sting in my arm. I looked at it and there was a dart in my arm. The world began to swirl and that was the last I remember.

I woke up in the dark from being shaken. I felt around me and found I was alone in some kind of cage. The vibration and motion made me think it was a vehicle.

"Can you make my eyes more sensitive?"

I still couldn't see anything.

I felt around me. I could feel bars. They felt like painted metal. I pushed on one and it didn't bend much if any.

"I guess we are in some sort of cage."

I tried to reach my hand through the bar. It was a very tight fit, but then my hand got more slender.


"I reached out but couldn't touch anything."

"Check the floor, Ben."

I pulled my arm back in and felt below me. There was wood below the cage. It was rough wood; it felt unfinished.

"Reach your hand through the bars again. I'll make your arm longer."

Just then we hit a bump. We slid. We were definitely in a truck.

I reached through the cage. My arm felt weird and then I touched wood again.

"We've got unfinished wood below us and on one side. I'd say we are in a crate."

"I agree, Ben."

"How do we open it?"

"I'll drill through it."

My hand felt even stranger and then it was on the other side.

"Can we get out?"

"Yes. Let me make the hole bigger."

My hand pulled back and then went through again.

"You'll need to undress and then we can shift into something that will fit through the hole we made."

I undressed. It took quite a while. I could barely move in the cage. Eventually I was naked. I pushed my clothes through the bars.

My perspective changed, I moved through the bars, and then I could see, barely. A second later I could see the inside of the truck dimly in black and white. I walked towards the back.

We were in a crate that had 'Alpo' spray painted on it.

"How do we get my clothes?"

"Pull on one edge of the crate. I'll boost your strength."

I pulled and the front of the crate came off. It made some noise, but not all that much. I got my clothes and looked inside the crate. It looked like I had been inside a heavy duty animal crate.

"Look at the bottom of the cage."

I did. The cage was bolted to the wooden crate. The wooden crate was big enough that no ordinary person would be able to touch the sides.

I stood up and noticed there were a few small holes at the top of the wooden crate.

"I guess they didn't want us to suffocate."

I could see other cages, but they were empty. There was only the one wooden crate. I walked to the back door. The truck swerved a little and I almost fell. There was a lot of wind noise, so I guessed we were on a highway. I tried to lift the door, but it was locked.

I felt the truck slowing down. It came to a stop. The engine stopped. I heard a door slam and then footsteps. They seemed to get louder, and then they stopped. I stood perfectly still; afraid the truck door would be lifted before I could get back in the cage.

"Can you boost my hearing?"

I could hear the driver was taking a leak.

"Ben, look at the bottom of the door and see how much clearance there is."

I squatted down carefully and looked. At one section, there was about a quarter inch of space between the door and the bed of the truck.

The door slammed again and we started moving again.

"We have two choices. We can shift into something extremely long and a quarter inch thick, or I can try boosting your strength to see if you can break the lock."

"I think getting away quietly is a better idea."

"I agree. However I don't think we'll be able to take your clothes with us. We might be able to take your shirt, but not with the buttons."

"Let's get out of here. We can worry about clothes later."

Suddenly my eyes were on the ground and I was moving along the floor toward a light. Then my head or whatever was outside. My body was coiling up on the truck's bumper. My eyesight returned to normal and I could see we were on a highway in the middle of nowhere.

"Can we get off the truck safely without being seen?"


I seemed to be floating away from the truck while the truck started gaining distance on us. Then we were in grass on the side of the road. My eyes seemed to be a couple of inches above the grass. Then I seemed to be getting taller until I could see the truck was now out of sight.

A car zoomed by us.

"I hope they didn't see us."

"Well, they certainly couldn't see me, Ben."

I laughed and asked "Is that a joke?"

"Yes. I thought you needed cheering up. They couldn't see us. We looked like a bush."

We were in a hilly area and I could see mountains in the distance on three sides of us.

"I wonder if these are the Rockies."

"I don't remember enough to know them by sight."

"What do you recommend? An animal of some sort? I hope it's not hunting season!"

"I think a bird. No one is around to notice a really big bird and we will be able to fly high enough to have some idea where we are. It's difficult to ascend quickly in the usual Shusheen flight form."

I grew wings and launched myself into the air. I felt like I was flapping my arms.

"I'm glad I don't need to learn how to fly!"

"I've done it many times! Isn't it fun?"

"I'm worried about Mike."

"I know, Ben. We'll get back as soon as we can."

We flew very high and looked down. There was a large city in the distance.

"I wonder if that is Denver."

"We'll head for it."

We took off for it at high speed. I was glad I was a fast bird!

When we were at the outskirts of town, we landed behind some trees that hid me from the highway.

"How about a woman, Ar-Tan-Bey?"

I was looking out of normal eyes I looked down and I seemed to be wearing a blue sweater. I had boobs! My clothing looked very realistic. Unless someone tried to rip it off me, there shouldn't be a problem.

We walked to the highway. I looked at a license plate and it seemed to be Colorado.

"I know it's about 900 miles from San Antonio to Denver. It shouldn't be as far to Mike's. What do you think? Hitchhike or fly?"

"Flying would be safer, I think. You are going to be very hungry. We will be using a lot of calories if we fly at high speed."

I walked back behind the trees again.

"Do we need to worry about being seen?"

"No. I don't think so. I will use the Shusheen flying form and match the sky color on the underside of us and the ground color on our upper side."

"Would the big bird be faster?"

"Yes, but speed isn't the only consideration. We would use up many more calories as a bird. We will burn fewer calories as a Shusheen because the form has been perfected for eons to be efficient, among other things."

We took off into the air. It was interesting that I still felt like I was flapping my arms, even though I had arms that weren't flapping.

"I'm flapping my arms to fly, but I also have arms. How does that work?"

"Your brain is connected to the wings instead of the arms. Try to move your left arm."

I tried and nothing happened.

"Keep trying."

I got my arm to move finally.

"Your arms are still connected to your nervous system, even though the wings are routed in place of your arms. You are capable of working around that, but it isn't easy.

"There are many shapes you can shift into that your existing nervous system does not know how to address. Other shapes your brain and nervous system has no trouble controlling. That was one of the issues we faced in developing shifters on Earth. For instance we did not know whether Ar-Ta-Bon would be able to walk as a vin. Would be have to learn how to control four legs simultaneously before he could even stand? Or would his brain adjust automatically. The human brain has no trouble at all adjusting to four legs. It does have trouble dealing with the six appendages you have in the flying form. That's why you have trouble lifting your arms. By the way, you should now be able to lift your left arm."

I tried and I could make it move, although not well.

"Your brain has connections to your extra arms. Eventually, without my help, you would have complete control of all six appendages in this form. I'm capable of overriding your nervous system, so I can allow you to do things your brain can't immediately do. That was one of the reasons my mind was implanted in your species. When the implant is active, I can intercept your desire to do something and direct your body to do it without waiting for your brain to establish new connections to do it. There are many forms and situations your brain might never be able to control. For example, if I changed us into a fish, I could make you an air breather or give you functional gills. If you did it without my help, your brain might eventually be able to work the gills, but you might die first. Or it might never be able to work them. I can control the gills directly. I can control specific muscles that may have been relocated or modified as part of a shift. Another example would be an octopus. If you shift into one, you don't want to spend a month learning how to move tentacle number seven. I can handle that for you. On Shilleen, skills in such things are taught as part of the education process."

"How high do you think we should fly?"

"I'm going to try to maintain a height of about seven hundred fifty feet."

"How fast can we travel in this form?"

"It depends on how many calories we are willing to burn."

"I want to get back as soon as possible. I don't know what's happening with Mike."

"Do you want to go fast, but get hungry, Ben?"

"Yes, unless you think that is a bad idea."

"We should be able to maintain about 70 miles an hour.

After an hour or so, I started to feel hungry. We seemed to be making good time, though.

"You said this form was perfected. What did you mean?"

"There are several things that make it very efficient. Circulation almost ceases in arms and legs unless they are used. A special organ extracts helium and/or hydrogen from air and pumps it into sacks in the wings and torso. There are other less dramatic metabolic changes, some of them used by birds on Earth."

"How about when Mike matches the form by looking at me? Does his body also have those enhancements?"

"No. I have been giving that a lot of thought lately. There are many other forms which I can give you that are optimized. Like a swimming form with gills. Mike can match the shape and he would be able to swim, but he does not know how to go about giving himself gills. So he would still be an air-breather."

"Have you figured a way to help him?"

"Not yet. I've been wondering if Shusheen chemical communication could be adopted to show him what needs to be done."

"What is Shusheen chemical communication?"

"I told you we do not have telepathy or know whether it is even possible. What we have developed is a metabolic system which can carry information. Two Shusheen can touch and can speak to each other without sound. Communication can even be airborne, but it is affected by atmospheric conditions."

"Wow! But Mike doesn't have that metabolic system, does he?"

"Well, you don't have gills, but you can shift to form that does."

"I don't understand how that could work when all Mike can do is copy my outward form."

"There is no reason at all that Mike is limited to shifting into forms that he's seen on you. There's some sort of mental block that is affecting the Vin-Ta. We've already seen he can shift into completely different shapes. If we could eliminate the block, he could be taught how to do these things the same way young Shusheen learn. I have been wondering whether I am in fact, the reason they think they can only change into wolves. If I had encouraged Ar-Ta-Bon to change into more than one animal, maybe his descendants wouldn't be so convinced they could only change into wolves. On the other hand, maybe many Vin-Ta have figured it out. My knowledge of human history is identical to yours. I have no way of knowing what any Vin-Ta have done between the time my mind was copied and the time I awoke when you were born. Maybe many mythological creatures were actually Vin-Ta."

"I'm glad I have you to do my homework, Ar-Tan-Bey! That reminds me; do you regret copying your mind into me? You've basically imprisoned yourself in my head."

"No, I don't regret it at all. I sometimes have regretted the fact that your implant doesn't deactivate me. I am awake even while you are asleep. But my presence seems to be helping you and that's a good thing! I hope I have helped all the species I designed."

"Well, you sure have helped me. You just helped me escape kidnappers! There's no way I would have found Mike if you hadn't matched us. Would that have happened if you were getting deactivated?"

"No. And I'm glad to have helped.

"Ben, it appears to be late afternoon. Do you want to fly at night?"

"Could we get lost?"

"I don't think we would get lost, but we could veer slightly off course if we are going over unlit areas It could add a little time to our trip."

I sighed. "I have no idea what to do. This is all so new to me, but I guess land and try to find food at night.

"Hey, wait! I forgot to tell you the direction."

"Ben, I've looked at every map you've ever seen."

"Oh, right. I keep thinking you're an alien and don't know the area."

"No, I'm from San Antonio," she said. I laughed.

I started to get even hungrier. It got worse and worse. Then the sun started to set.


"I know Ben. I can feel it too. Do you want to land?"

"I think so."

"Do you want to land near a highway or keep away from people?"

"What can we eat if we are away from people?"

"We can turn into a cow or horse and eat grass. Grass doesn't have many calories though, and it is heavy. I don't want to think about becoming a carnivore and killing an animal. An ideal food would be high calorie and lightweight."

"Like a candy bar?"

"Or ten candy bars."

"Let's land near a highway and maybe we can beg old men for candy."

A few minutes later we saw a highway and we landed. Ar-Tan-Bey changed me back to a woman with the same blue sweater. There was a truck stop about a quarter mile away and we walked toward it.

"I don't see any old men with bags of candy bars. I'll try offering to work for food at the cafe," I said.

I walked into the cafe. A middle aged brunette woman asked me if I wanted a table or sit at the counter.

"Will I sound like a woman?"


"Actually, I'm broke and I was wondering if I could work for some food this evening."

The woman said "Sure, as a matter of fact, my lazy dishwasher is late again this evening. If you don't mind washing dishes, I'll pay you six dollars an hour in cash or food."

"That's great! Thank you ma'am."

"The name's Dorice. I'll show you to the kitchen. What's your name?"

"Ben...jamina. But my friends call me Ben."

She showed me the industrial dishwasher and a sink. The sink was already full of dishes. She handed me an apron. I got started on the dishes. It reminded me a little too much of my first job at a restaurant.

"I wonder if I should try to call Mike. I wonder if people might be looking for us though. What do you think?"

"I have no idea. We should be home tomorrow though."

After washing dishes a while, Dorice came back to check on us.

"Hey Ben, someone ordered a burger and fries and then got a phone call and took off. They are untouched and hot, if you are interested."

"Thank you I haven't eaten since this morning!"

"Come on. You can take a break and have your dinner."

I walked out of the kitchen and ate the burger and fries at the counter.

"Drinks are on me," Dorice said. "What would you like?"

"Should I order something high calorie?"

"Yes. We have a long way to fly tomorrow."

"I'm dying for a chocolate shake, Dorice. But you can take it out of my pay."

"No problem, Ben. It's on the house."

The cafe was slow. Dorice chatted with me as I ate.

"You know, Ben. An awful lot of women your age and with your looks would never think of washing dishes. It says something about your character."

"Well, I've never been bothered by hard work."

"You raised on a farm?"

"No. I'm from San An...gelo," I said, deciding not to give out too much information. I sure wished I knew if I needed to worry about whoever kidnapped me finding me.

A couple of truckers walked in the cafe and Dorice seated them. I had finished my meal and went back in the kitchen. I washed dishes for another hour or so, and then the regular dishwasher showed up for work. Dorice paid me nine dollars for an hour and a half of work. I was very happy to hand over my apron.

I saw there were maps at the front of the cafe. I opened one and asked Dorice where we were.

"You're just north of Lamar, Colorado. You hitchhiking, Ben?"


"You headin' home?"


"Well you can stay on 287 south if you want."

"OK! Thank you so much, Dorice."

"You're welcome. Have a safe trip home."

"What do you think? Sleep out in a field?"

"If you want, I can fly and you can sleep."

"We won't burn too many calories?"

"We've taken on a lot and we have money for a big breakfast. I can fly over 287 at night and won't have to worry about getting off track."

"OK! Good night!"

I was worried about Mike. I wondered if he was somewhere in a cage. I knew I ought to be panicking in a situation like this, but my endocrine system was doing its thing. Then I thought maybe Mike was in one of the other cages in the truck. I couldn't remember if I'd looked in all of them.

"We did. If he was captured, he wasn't in our truck."

Finally I fell asleep. If Ar-Tan-Bey did it, I was grateful.


I woke up to incredible hunger pains.

"Ben. We have to land."

We slowly descended.

"Any idea where we are?"

"We are south of Amarillo on 287."

"Ready for breakfast?"

"Absolutely, Ben."

We flew lower until we came to another cafe.

I walked in the cafe and ordered breakfast. I spent every cent of the nine dollars but I was full afterwards.

After I ate I walked behind some trees and took off again.

"We can stay on 287, right?"

"Yes. 287 will take us to Fort Worth and we can head east from there."

We flew on. It was exhilarating, but I couldn't enjoy it. I was too worried about Mike.

By the afternoon, the hunger pains were intense again.

Finally we had to land again for food, but with no money again.

We landed behind some trees and my perspective changed. I was a woman again. With the same blue sweater.

"Are these the only clothes I own? I'm going to give my man a piece of my mind!"

We walked towards the trees. We passed them and came to the highway. I was scratching my back trying to decide what to do when two cars stopped. One of them slammed on their brakes and fish-tailed. A good looking guy jumped out of a Ford Taurus, practically before it stopped rolling.

"Do I have two heads?"

"No, but you have two large breasts." I looked down. They'd grown.

"Is there something I could do for you ma'am?" the guy with the Taurus said.

I smiled and said "I'm lost." I had a new breathy feminine voice. I pulled my shoulders back and pushed my breasts out. He practically drooled. The hunger was getting unbearable.

"Where am I?"

"Decatur, Texas ma'am."

I started to get dizzy. He grabbed me.

"Are you all right?"

"I have low blood sugar, sugar."

I was willing to flirt for food.

"We need to get something in your stomach."

"What is close by?"

"There's a McDonalds just down the road."

"Will you take me there? Please?"

"Sure thing!"

He opened his car door and I got in.

"What's your name?" I asked him.

"Ernie Wright."

"I'm Benjamina. But my friends call be Ben."

He started the car.

"I've got to tell you. You sure as heck don't look like any Ben I ever met. Not that I'm complainin'."

We pulled in front of the McDonalds. I really didn't want to wash dishes again and McDonalds probably didn't hire temporary employees anyway.

I decided to make something up. Something that would make this big strong man want to help me. It occurred to me that I had no idea how to do that. What came out of my mouth, was "My fucking boyfriend made me get out of his car because I wouldn't do what he wanted in the car while it was moving. I'm not a robot or a sex toy." I told him.

Ernie's eyes bugged out.

"Please, Benjamina, let me buy you lunch? Please?" I was getting dizzy.

"Oh, Ernie. You're such a gentleman! I'd be honored if you would."

He jumped out of his seat and opened my door. I almost fell getting out of the car.

He helped me into the restaurant and I sat down. I was getting very dizzy.

"What'll you have Benjamina?"

"Would two Big Macs be too expensive? And a coke?"

What a nice guy Ernie was. He brought me two Big Macs, a large fries, and a large coke. I ate ravenously.

"How long has it been since you ate, Benjamina?"

"Last night. My boyfriend wanted to feed me my lunch in the car!"

"What a bastard! You're much better off without him. Are you feeling better?"

I was.

"Ernie, I know this is an imposition, but could I have two more Big Macs?"

Ernie's eyes bugged out again.

"Be right back, Benjamina."

He brought them and two apple pies, too.

"What do you think, Ar-Tan-Bey? I feel like a heel for using him, but how am I supposed to pay him back? I'm certainly not going to cheat on Mike! I don't think I could even if I wanted to, and I don't."

"Get his name and address so you can mail him the money. Then kiss him if you are feeling sentimental, go into the bathroom and we'll come out as someone else."

"I wish I could call Mike! It's probably safe, but that's not the same as safe."

"Whoever kidnapped us may have been after Vin-Ta.. I'd rather not give away our location."

I got up.

"Ernie, are you from around here?"

"Yes, Benjamina. I live in Decatur."

"Ernie, I want you to know I will never forget you for your kindness." I kissed him. It didn't bother me to kiss a man who wasn't Mike, but then it wasn't a romantic kiss, just a grateful one. "I have to go to the ladies room."

I got up and walked to the rest room. I remembered to go to the ladies. I looked in the mirror in the ladies room. Wow! I was beautiful! Astoundingly beautiful! Then I changed into someone who wasn't and walked out.

I left the McDonalds.

"Do we have enough energy to fly the rest of the way?"

"Probably. Head for those bushes behind the restaurant."

I walked back there.

"Ar-Tan-Bey? I'm still hungry and I don't want to go through that again. Besides we might get shot down."

"We can hitchhike then. Do you want to change back to Benjamina?"


I watched my boobs grow.

He headed back the way we'd come.

"There you are Ben!" It was Ernie.

"How the heck did you get out of the ladies room?"

"I walked."

"Please let me give you a ride to wherever you need to go? Why did you run off?"

I looked down at his hand. There was a gold band.

"Because you're married, Ernie!"

Ernie looked flustered. "But she ain't my mate!" He corrected himself quickly and looked very nervous. "I mean my true love!"

"Do you think he's a Vin-Ta?"

"I can't tell by looking. I would guess so, from what he said and the way he corrected himself."

"Well, I'm not your mate either, Ernie."

His mouth dropped open and then he said softly "We shouldn't talk about such things in the parking lot."

He held his door open for me. I got in. Ernie got in the other door.

"Are you a Vin-Ta?" he whispered.


"I can understand your answer, Ben. Let me tell you something, Benjamina. The minute I saw you, I had to stop. I knew it was important. There's something about the way you smell. Not you, yourself, but like I smell home on you. Are you heading home?"

"Yes, Ernie."

"Please let me help you."

"What do you think, Ar-Tan-Bey? Should I trust him? Should I tell him the truth?"

"I think so."

"Ernie...I have a mate. I was taken from him. Without anything. I escaped."

Ernie got tears in his eyes. "Where's your mate, Ben."

"Lake Tawakoni."

"Will you let me take you there?"

"Yes, Ernie. As long as you understand we won't be having sex."

"I sort of figured that when you told me about your mate."

We got on the road. Ernie told me he planning to divorce his wife because she was getting suspicious of his not aging.

We talked. I liked Ernie. He made me laugh. If I had never met Mike and if Ernie had been gay, I would have been doing my best to get a date with him.

"Did you shift to get away, Ben? Is that why you were so hungry?"

"That and being in a cage for I don't know how long."

Ernie looked furious.

"I need to get gas, Ben."

"Will you get a map that has Lake Tawakoni on it?"

"Sure will. I don't exactly know where it is. Just east of Dallas somewhere."

Ernie got gas and we continued on our way.

As we approached Dallas, Ernie said "Oh, Ben. I'm startin' to smell something. Something wonderful."

A few minutes later he was practically bouncing on his car seat. We are headin' in the right direction!"

"For what?"

"I don't know for sure, but I think it's my mate!"

"I hope so, Ernie, I really do."

Ernie was bouncing around and whistling.

I had to laugh.

"I have the funniest feelin' that when I get you home, I'll find her!"

We finally passed Dallas.

I opened the map.

"We don't need the map, Ben."

I was doubtful.

"Tell you what. If we pass the last turnoff for the lake, we'll get the map back out. How's that?"

"That's fine, Ernie."

We passed an exit and after about a minute, Ernie said "We need to go back."

We turned around and did that. Eventually we came to a dead end at the lake. We needed to be on the other side. We stopped and looked at the map. Ernie turned around and we took another road. We passed another intersection. Then Ernie stopped, turned around and took that road east. We were blocked by the lake again.

"Shit. I know where we need to be. The damn lake's in the way."

We picked a route that would take us to the other side. Things on the road started to look familiar. I had seen them out of the limo. I wished I had paid more attention to things like roads and road marks when we were in the limo, but Mike was always in there with me and Mike and his cock always had my undivided attention.

"I think we're close, Ernie! I'm starting to recognize things!"

"How come you don't know where your mate lives?"

"He has a limo and I'm always in the back seat with him. If you understand what I mean."

Ernie chuckled. "No shit! I hope he has a sister!"

He didn't, but he had a brother. I hoped Ernie wasn't going to be disappointed.

I recognized the fence.

"This is his land on the right!"

"Are we still heading in the direction you need to go?"

"We sure are!"

"Turn right, here!"