This story is one of my first. It contains sex, voilence and stuff. I hope you enjoy it. Any comments, constructive criticism or whatever send to me at email@example.com.
Leave A Good Looking Corpse By Kismet.
Chapter 2: Violence
When Zene came too, she realised that she had been badly beaten. Taking stock of herself she discovered that the thrashing was superficial. `Bad bruising on the ribs, legs and arms, swollen eye and jaw,' she noted to herself. Her mind did not concede the existence bruising on her new breasts, or the pain from the forced entry, just that she had been given a thorough drubbing. `Must be part of `The Plan.''
Handcuffs bound Zene's hands again and she had a blanket over her. The restraints were locked to a plate on the ground by a complex combination lock. She noticed a computer sitting on a table in the middle of the room, a mass of wires leading haphazardly under a barred door, the only entrance to the room. Cages containing animals lined one wall and there was a large medical cabinet and refrigerator on another. She realised that she was held hostage in the converted factories basement.
Zene shivered, wearing only briefs and a T-shirt under the sheet. Obviously Kelly had decided it was too much effort to dress his prisoner completely. It was day time, judging by the light coming through the small barred windows which were evenly spaced high along the wall above the cages, obviously at ground level outside. `Probably four or five o'clock on Saturday,' she guessed.
Looking around the room, Zene tried to find some inspiration, something to help her escape. Kelly's black cat was sitting in the corner licking its' fur. `No help there,' she thought. She looked closely at the assortment of penned animals. A sulfur crested cockatoo in one of the cages along the wall was looking at her quite keenly.
"Do you believe in god?" The cockatoo squawked, its yellow crop rising sharply as it talked, then lowering gently, a mobile mohawk.
`Who the hell teaches a cockatoo to say that?' Zene wondered, gazing at the large white bird with its' scant canary yellow plumage. "Polly want a cracker?" She asked.
"No, really, do you believe in god? You see I'm a missionary. My name is Norman Smith." the cockatoo said in a strained voice, its avian head shifting as it eyed her with one eyeball then the other.
"I'm sorry," she stuttered in confusion.
"I'm a Seventh Day Adventist and it is my task to spread the word of the lord."
"You're a cockatoo, you can't," she pointed out.
"Semantics. God has in his infinite wisdom decided that I am to see the world from a different perspective. It really is a miracle," he said. Something close to religious fervor gripped the squawky voice of Norman the cockatoo.
"So you were once a person?" She thought back to the news story of the man who had leaped from the top of the Rialto, flapping his arms like a bird. She vaguely recalled that he was a religious freak or Missionary. `Well he's gonna be a cockatoo for a while, now that his human body is dead. Can't really blame the cockatoo though - I'd rather kill myself then be mistaken for a Seventh Day Adventist. Maybe that's why those cult members always kill themselves. They just can't face the worlds' ridicule,' she postulated.
"My soul has merely changed vessels," the cockatoo replied sagely.
"So this process works between animals and people? Kelly did this to you? That's incredible." Zene considered the possibilities. `I might end up living as an animal for the rest of my life. I wouldn't put it past Kelly. Better than dying I guess, as long as I don't have to listen to this overzealous cockatoo for the rest of my life,' she shuddered at the thought.
"I think that ladies -er mans soul is in dire danger. I prey for her -um him. Kelly must see the light or else suffer eternal damnation. I fear Kelly may even be in league with the Devil," Norman said, indicating that there was little hope for Kelly's redemption. "Do you have difficulty with the pronouns associated with this situation?" The cockatoo asked suddenly.
"I try not to think about it." Zene realised it was most appropriate to hear religious ramblings coming from a cockatoo. Those clichés were learned by rote and any cockatoo could spout them. She could almost appreciate Kelly's sense of humour. Almost. She laughed at the absurdity of it all.
"Yes it is a rather funny question isn't it," Norman squawked, misinterpreting Zene's mirth. "I was doing my door to door rounds, spreading the gospel in this neighbourhood when I was kindly invited inside by Mrs. Kelly..." The cockatoo was prompting for their jailers surname.
"She is a veritable wolf in lambs clothing isn't she?" Norman mused. "Anyhow, she invited me in and seemed to be most interested in what I had to say, taking great pleasure in my conversation, giving me a lovely cup of cocoa. Then I passed out and woke as a cockatoo." There was a pause, Zene not knowing what to say. "I really do wish I could get out and have a fly around," he said in a morose voice.
"If I could, I'd let you out," Zene offered, holding up her chained hands, then grimacing in pain. Movement made her aware of how badly bruised and physically abused she was.
Norman suddenly perked up. "I may be of some assistance to you in our current predicament," the bird said, bobbing its head and scratching furiously at its feathered neck with a claw.
"Aaah," he groaned in contentment, "pardon me," Norman apologised, then continued, "as a cockatoo I've discovered I have remarkably sharp vision. I tried to tell Kelly this but she ignored me or threw things at me when I tried to talk to her." Norman was walking excitedly backwards and forwards along his perch, bobbing.
`I wonder why.' Zene pondered sarcastically. "He is rather violent," Zene commented, her mind again drawn to the sensitive bruises all over her body.
"Yes I've noticed. Well when Kelly tested the padlock on herself I managed to catch a glimpse of the code on the combination lock. So I can tell you how to free yourself."
Zene suddenly felt a surge of relief. If she could get free she could... `One thing at a time,' she thought, "so what's the code?"
* * *
Kelly strolled confidently along Fitzroy Street, in St. Kilda, his movements precise and measured. He prowled with feline grace, at ease in his new body, still a predator but now much larger and powerful.
`Eight o'clock. Nearly time to go and kill David,' he thought, glancing at his watch. Kelly had spent the day visiting bars, boasting loudly that he was going to fix his ex-girlfriend and her husband. He had feigned drunkenness, his suit liberally doused in alcohol, acting suitably obnoxious. He had put on such a good performance that he had been politely asked to leave most establishments. `One more bar ought to do it,' he judged.
Although he enjoyed the new energy of his body, Kelly still found it difficult to define his new sexual identity. He had never been particularly interested in females but after his encounter with Zene he found them rather attractive. At the same time men were still attractive. Though he had encountered a few that were quite handsome, none of them seemed to look at him in the same way. He decided that the old sexual chemistry just wasn't there anymore.
`I must be starting to think more like a man... Oh my god. What if being male will make me stupid!' Kelly worried. He had decided long ago that all men were easily manipulated fools. `That's ridiculous. I'm just reacting to the hormones in this body.'
`Even so,' he resolved, `I have to get back into my body quickly.'
Mentally comparing the gains and losses that had gone with the exchange, Kelly was quite pleased, `I've acquired strength, size, bulk and power, and I'm still ambidextrous.' Kelly was particularly glad that he had retained that characteristic from his old body.
Thinking of his body reminded him of Zene. Kelly admired her for nearly confounding his plan. It had surprised him greatly that she had injured her body. The momentarily panic he had experienced had been a timely reminder that he must be prepared for problems.
The idea of having to live the rest of his life with a flaw on his beautiful face had been a terrible thought. `It took me only a moment to change my plan to compensate for Zene's actions, one of the benefits of having a superior mind,' he noted. `I'm brilliant no matter what body I'm in and, after all, the plan is meant to be flexible.'
Kelly did regret that Zene was unconscious during the beating he had performed. `Kelly has to look suitably abused to be able to justify her killing Zene in self defense. I wonder if Zene understands that? Who cares,' he mused.
Kelly intended to transfer Zene's mind into a test animal, rather than kill her but had not told her that.
Taunting and intimidating Zene was fun but Kelly was worried that Zene might do something stupid while he was away. Zene might try suicide out of despair, or in spite. Kelly reasoned that most people would fight for any scrap of life they could hold onto, but Zene had surprised him once already.
After careful consideration Kelly decided that it was good to let Zene stew in her juices for a while. After all Zene didn't have access to any quick and painless form of death. Zene might even figure out what Kelly had planned for her after talking to Norman.
Norman had been a stroke of luck. He'd turned up on the doorstep and Kelly had been unable to resist putting his mind into the cockatoo. Kelly had not been sure if the swap between cockatoo and human would work and had needed a guinea pig. The transfer was a complete success.
The next day Kelly had led Norman's docile body to the top of the Rialto and left it there. `Bird brain that he was, the cockatoo decided to go for a fly. Gravity did the rest,' Kelly contemplated, somewhat amused by the whole situation. He smiled at the thought of Norman trying to convert Zene to his stupid religion.
Kelly reminded himself that he would have to put Norman in a body which could not communicate. That cockatoo could give the game away when the police came.
Kelly hoped that the police did not manage to catch him in Zene's body, but the money and power which this deception would give him was worth almost any risk or sacrifice, even the temporary loss of his female body.
Dismissing such fleeting concerns, Kelly considered the fortune he would amass. The Nanotech patents were a license to make money, worth billions just for their legitimate medical applications. Kelly ground his teethe in frustration, `billions which David wanted to waste by donating the nanobots to humanity.'
The other opportunities available to Kelly tantalised him by their immoral nature. There was even more money to be reaped in the illegal trade in new young bodies for the rich and unscrupulous. `Puritanical David would never allow that.' Kelly also toyed with the sinister notion of replacing key people with copies of himself. `That could be even more lucrative, but once again David stands in my way. I really have to kill him.' Kelly took comfort in the knowledge that his reasoning was still sound, even in a male body.
A smile of anticipation wandered dreamily onto Kelly's face. `If I do things right I could own the world,' Kelly sobered as he reminded himself that he had to complete his plan first. `Just don't get carried away. Deal with the here and now.'
He then thought about the duplication of himself he had made. `It always pays to have a plan B....' Kelly thought cruelly.
* * *
Even if Zene was in pain, laboring on the computer felt right. She forget her new body by immersing herself in the familiar task of problem solving on a machine, an action which she did every day. Most importantly the activity assisted in distracting her mind from recent memories.
There was still an edge of nervousness that Zene could not dispel and, unfortunately, her nerves were starting to wear thin. "Aargh. This is impossible. What's the damn password." With mild frustration, Zene was trying to think of words, phrases or things which Kelly would base his password on. She knew all his favourite foods, music, films, books, sports and pastimes. Nothing.
Leaning back, Zene stretched out cramped and taut muscles. She regretted it immediately as pain lanced through her body, her tender bruises throbbing in pain. Zone rolled her shoulders gingerly then massaged her aching neck with tentative fingers, manacles obstructing her movements.
Zene had discovered that the door to the basement was securely bolted from outside. Unable to get up to the windows along the ceiling, let alone bend the metal bars and smash the glass, Zene was trapped. That left her with the single option of breaking into the computer. Maybe if she could hack into the computer she could find a way to get her old body back.
She wracked her mind even in this small respite but was distracted by her new body. The long, dark hair bothered her as she rubbed her shoulder, as she had always worn her hair short. She shook her head in irritation and resolved to concentrate on the dilemma at hand. Bringing her hands to bear on the keyboard.
As the keys were not available, Zene was still handcuffed, and the chain made a rattling noise as she typed, slowing her progress, unable to maneuvre properly.
Norman was no help. The computer was facing the other way whenever Kelly had logged onto it. He kept yelling out religious passwords. "Jezebel. Sodomite. Gomorra. Delilah. Legion. Beelzebub," obviously counting Kelly amongst the damned.
"Be quiet, I'm thinking." The cat prowled up to her and arched its back against her bare leg. "Piss of you stupid cat, I'm not the one who likes you." She looked at the cat and realisation dawned. "My god I'm so stupid. It's right in front of me."
"Don't blaspheme." Norman squawked.
Typing in Cinders, Zene crossed her fingers and pressed enter. "I'm in," she said triumphantly. She scrolled through the various files and programs. There were some very interesting programs and, when Zene considered them, the amazing potentials for the nanobots dawned to her. The things which Kelly could do with the nanobots were diabolical. Zene resolved to do everything in her power to prevent Kelly from getting control of them.
Finding the program which activated the nanobots mental transfer functions, Zene tried to run it. She stared at the screen in dismay. "Oh god, it needs another password to initiate mental transfers," she moaned. Zene looked up at the small windows near the ceiling and tried to gauge the hour. `Past dusk, about eight or nine o'clock. Damn, I don't have the time to figure out another password. There's got to be another way.'
The program could not be run but that did not mean she was beaten yet. She could still figure out how the program worked.
"This is interesting...", she said hopefully. Zene examined the program in greater detail and found it incredibly complex. She breathed a sigh of irritation. "...but it's going to take some time." As she grappled with the basics of the program, a germ of an idea formed in her mind. With a huge amount of luck something might be done about Kelly.
* * *
Kelly saw a seedy but busy bar, called the Esplanade, and wandered in. He usually disliked bars, remembering back to when he had been a she. People had looked down at her, making her conscious of her small size or made inane comments about her height, in the vain hopes of impressing her. She often caught people taking advantage of her diminutive form, trying to see down the front of her dress and glimpse her ample cleavage. It always bothered her when she was ignored in pub crowds, as often people did not see her, either trampling all over her or not letting her through the throng. The worst thing was that drunken men would always grope and pinch her painfully when she walked past, convinced that she enjoyed such attention!
This did not worry him now. Kelly towered above all these sleazy drunkards and tarts, imposing, a force to be reckoned with. He cast a challenging eye over the pub, making eye contact with the patrons. Most people turned their eyes away. One maintained eye contact, a thin anemic man tried to stare Kelly down. Kelly mentally dismissed the runt as below him, walking over to the bar to order a drink.
"Midouri and lemonade," he said.
The bartender looked at him. "What?" He asked, moving a tray of glasses next to the beer taps. He seemed to have not heard Kelly or was surprised at the order.
"Midouri and lemonade," Kelly said more loudly.
The barman nodded and made the drink, passing it over as Kelly paid. Kelly sipped on it while waiting for change. `This drink's too sweet. How could I have drunk this for so long?' Kelly thought. The barman deposited the change in a particularly wet and sticky spot on the bar, smirking when he saw that Kelly was drinking the beverage. Kelly looked disapprovingly at where the barman had left his change and decided not to pick it up.
The haggard fellow who had kept eye contact with Kelly left his friend at the pool table and wandered over to the bar. Mid sized, with a lean, lanky frame and a cadaverous face, eyes sunken into the pits of his skull, the man looked like a walking skeleton. He signaled the barman with a bony fist and indicated that he wanted two beers.
Kelly wrinkled his nose, the mans sweat reeked of alcohol. Eyeing him side on, Kelly noted that the sallow mans clothes were dirty and well worn, his hair unkempt and greasy.
The barman passed the wan man two stubbies and he paid with some of Kelly's money on the bar, palming the rest. "Keep the change," the gangly bloke said generously as he turned around and bumped into Kelly, spilling beer all over Kelly's clothes. "Watch where you're going you clumsy bastard," he accused.
Brushing beer from his suit, Kelly's anger spiked like never before, his rage fueled by the foreign testosterone pounding through his veins. `I'm going to beat the living crap out of this little shit,' he decided spontaneously.
Kelly pulled back his fist ready to pound the stick-like man into hamburger meat but the lithe man was quicker, bringing his thin knee up sharply. Kelly suddenly doubled over in pain, several people hissing in sympathy for the young man.
`Jesus the bastards kneed me in the balls,' Kelly realised, as pain which he could never have imagined spread its way through his body. His rage and anger evaporated just as suddenly as they had come, and he toppled to his knees on the dark, slick floor, balling into a fetal position.
The gangly man drained the first beer and dropped the bottle on Kelly's head. The man then strolled to the exit. As the gaunt fellow finished the other beer, he tossed the empty bottle over his shoulder and looked back at Kelly. "Pussy," he said then laughed, shaking his head as he walked out. The blokes friend stood by the pool table laughing, and a number of other customers joined in.
"Serves you right for drinking a girls drink," Kelly heard someone say. A chorus of insults followed. Kelly didn't care about the mocking that much, and could ignore the laughs and slurs. He just wished that his balls would stop hurting. He staggered to his feet, and limped out of the bar.
* * *
The handcuffs slowed her progress as Zene fumbled with the keyboard. She mentally noted important strings of the program, then paused as she considered Norman, realising she should probably tell the cockatoo about the fate of his human body.
"Norman, yesterday on the news there was a story that might concern you," she began.
"Really? The police know I'm missing?" Norman asked.
"Not exactly." Zene tried to think of a suitable way to tell Norman, but could not. "Apparently a missionary jumped from the top of the Rialto building, flapping his arms like a bird. They think it was either a suicide or that the missionary went insane," she said.
"Maybe it was another missionary. No one could possibly think I'm insane. I mean I'm a good Christian man, a pillar of society, at peace with the greater scheme of things. Why would I go crazy or commit suicide? It must have been another missionary."
"Well these things can happen when you've got a bird driving your body. It's not like you did go insane or commit suicide. Do missionaries often go insane or commit suicide?"
"I can't tell you that... but if my family believe I've committed suicide then they'll think that I've gone straight to hell. I have to tell them that I'm a sane cockatoo."
"Yeah that's a good idea. I'm sure they'll be glad to know you're not in hell." This whole situation was insane. "Why don't we worry about this when we escape."
"It wouldn't matter even if I could return to my human body. It's too late, the damage has been done," Norman bemoaned.
"Well, when I was transferred into this body, I think I lost a lot of memories. I've put it down to the difference in brain size and composition. There just isn't the room for all the things I knew in this peanut sized avis brain. I can't remember much more than fleeting images of life as a human. Have you noticed any differences since your change. "
"Apart from the physical differences? Well... lets talk about this later, huh?" She paused, thinking, "so you saw Kelly in my body... what did he do?"
"Gloated while he beat you mainly. He threatened about how he was going to rule the world. You know, kind of like what a villain does at the end of a Bond movie, gives away all his plans then dies, but without dying. I was waiting for you to come too and defeat him somehow. I guess I'm a victim of pop culture like everyone else, huh?"
Zene outlined what Kelly had already told her to Norman. "Apart from the plan to kill David and pin it on me was there anything else he said that I should know?"
"Well, no. Just that he had all the bases covered. Whatever that means."
* * *
Kelly staggered over to his car, and got inside. The anger which had left him was back with a vengeance. He pulled the bag with the guns in it onto the seat and loaded them. Scanning up and down the dimly lit street, Kelly hoped to see the lanky bastard who had humiliated him. Kelly started the car engine and began to do laps of the block, scrutinising the poorly illuminated footpaths.
The plan only called for him to boast about how he was going to fix up David, but the plan became a secondary concern as a hatred, stronger than anything he had ever felt, flowed through his veins. Adrenaline fueled his fury into a black and acrimonious rage. `I'm going to kill someone who deserves to die,' he thought.
After the third circuit he saw the target of his wrath. The gangly man who had assaulted him was walking into a shadowy side street. Dimming his lights, Kelly pulled up at the entrance to the lane and smiled when he saw it was a dead end.
`How appropriate,' Kelly thought as he clutched one of his pistols and climbed out of the car. He loved the way the gun fit snugly into his palm, like a lethal fashion accessory.
Following the thin man into the unlit and gloomy lane, Kelly left his vehicle idling. The lithe man was taking a piss in the dusky, rubbish strewn alley, unaware of his approaching doom.
Kelly stole up behind the man, snorted in amusement then shot the man in the back, the gun bucking in his hand, light flashing off the grimy and flyer plastered walls. The man slumped, turning around. Kelly fired two more times, both chest shots. The muzzle flash lit up the gangly mans haggard face, which wore a startled and astonished expression.
`Mortal wounds,' Kelly noted, watching in fascination from the shadows.
The lean man futility tried to staunch the blood flowing from his chest. Vital fluid pumped out at regular intervals in dark viscous waves, staining the gaunt mans ashen hands and seedy clothes. Wet gasping breaths escaped his mouth as lungs filled with blood and he started to suffocate. The thin man finally fell backwards into a rapidly expanding pool of inky blood, wearing a rictus facial cast.
`Hit a major artery and punctured both lungs,' Kelly realised, `bonus points for that!'
The thin man's labored breathing ceased as he went into respiratory arrest.
"Pussy," Kelly muttered as he walked towards the comparative brightness of the cul-de-sac's entrance. As he strolled out of the alley, Kelly bumped into a someone. Kelly recognised the new person as the thin mans' friend from the bar. Kelly noted the spark of recognition in the new mans' eyes and smirked. "Watch where you're going," Kelly said, his face sinister in the poor light.
Kelly climbed into his idling vehicle, threw the gun onto the seat and drove away, looking back to see the dead mans friend walk into the dark ally.
`No great loss to humanity,' he thought, smirking cockily. `Well there is now a murder that can be linked directly to this body. Better go and kill David. The clocks ticking,' Kelly mused as he drove sedately to the conference hall.
It had felt good to kill the unknown man and Kelly did not even feel the slightest twinge of regret, just surprise at how pitiful the expiring man had looked. `I hope I die with more grace than that idiot,' Kelly thought. `But when this all works out, I'll never die. Ever.'
* * *
Kelly arrived at the front of the old Exhibition Buildings and left his car in a brightly illuminated handicapped zone. He reloaded the pistol he had just used and struggled into a double gun holster in the front seat, then snugly sheathed both guns. Grabbing a large dark trench coat from the back of the car, he climbed out of the vehicle and slipped into this bulky piece of clothing.
As he walked towards the entry he looked at his reflection in the mirror windows of the building. `Dressed to kill,' he thought. He could not even see the bulges in the coat.
Walking into the foyer, Kelly was irritated that his pants were stained from kneeling in the bar. This was a science and business seminar and Kelly wanted to blend into the suited crowd, which the mess on his slacks would not allow. Heading towards the bathroom, he quickly cleaned off the most obvious stains then returned to the main room.
Kelly passed an attractive lady wearing a name badge which declared that she was on the organising committee. He decided to approach her. "Excuse me Elizabeth, where are the guest speakers? I have to speak to David Stubbing," he asked politely. For some reason he forgot his drunk routine, wanting to impress this lady.
"You can't speak to them now, they're busy," Elizabeth replied, grinning sunnily.
"Are you sure? I have a message from his wife, Kelly. It's really quite important." He graced her with what he hoped was one of his most winning smiles, searching deeply into her eyes. He was attracted to her and was trying his best to charm her. She broke his eye contact somewhat shyly.
"In that case, I'm sure I can make an exception for you," she said glancing at him demurely, "follow me Mr.?"
"McGraw, Elizabeth. But please call me Zene," he replied smoothly.
"Follow me then. Its just through here Zene," she said, leading him further into the conference room.
"Great jacket, Armarni isn't it," he said as he followed her, watching her glide through the crowd, mentally undressing. "It looks wonderful on you Elizabeth." He was glad that he was conversant with woman's fashions.
"Thank you, but I prefer Beth. Elizabeth is so businesslike and impersonal."
`This is so easy, almost as easy as picking up men,' Kelly thought. "So how late do you think this conference will go tonight?"
"It finishes at ten but I'll be around here cleaning up and organising tomorrow until about midnight. Then I've got to be here tomorrow at seven," she replied, rolling her eyes. "No rest for the wicked. So you're not here for the conference?"
"Oh no. I'm just here to drop a message by and then I'm off home." They stopped in a corridor.
Beth wrinkled her nose quizzically. She could smell alcohol. "Oh. What a pity." She looked up and down Kelly's body, deciding that she could use a pleasant diversion from the hassles of the conference.
Kelly made his move, leaning forward and kissing her on the mouth, careful not to let the bulges in his jacket be discovered. Beth kissed back softly. Kelly's passion grew as the kiss turned into a jousting of tongues, a tasty game of tonsil hockey. Kelly reached down and grabbed Beth's buttocks and held them, his excitement growing, his hand then snaking under the back of her jacket and shirt. Beth arched her back, pressing her pert breasts into his chest. His other hand reached to the front of her pants and he tried to grope at her crotch through her pants.
Seeing an empty office Kelly dragged Beth willingly into it. It did Kelly's ego wonders to know that Beth was actually enamored with him and this made Beth all the more attractive. Pressed close to one another, the bulge in Kelly's pants became quite obvious to Beth.
Beth took the initiative, kneeling and unbuckled his pants. As she placed his semi erect penis in her warm mouth, Kelly decided that he could get used to being a guy. `It sure had its up side,' he though as he leant back on the desk and enjoyed the ride.
* * *
"Thanks, that was a first for me," Kelly said, his face flushed with excitement. Inside he was a turmoil, outwardly exhibited by his hands which were opening and closing in irritation. He had forgotten to act intoxicated and angry, instead he had concentrated on impressing Beth. He silently berated himself for this lapse of the plan, for thinking with the wrong head. `This body has a mind of its own, but it's too damn small.'
"It was a pleasure," Beth said, wiping the side of her mouth.
He thought of how easily he had succumbed to this woman, how she had taken advantage of his virginal masculinity, and became angry at himself. He hadn't even succeeded in seducing this woman, having failed to convince her to go all the way. He felt inadequate. `I'm going to have to kill her,' he decided irrationally, `she is ruining the plan.'
"Sorry about trying to go to far," he lied convincingly.
"Forget about it. Maybe next time...," Beth said optimistically then returned to business, "David Stubbing is just down here." She led him to a door and knocked. "Mr. Stubbing may I come in. It's Elizabeth."
"Yes. Certainly." A voice replied from behind the door.
Beth opened the door. "This is Zene McGraw, he has a message from your wife," she said by way of introduction.
David sat at a table strewn with books and notes, comparing ideas with a colleague, identified by his name tag as Alexandre Resnouf, another guest speaker for the conference. Kelly had met him a number of times in the past.
Beth was about to depart when Kelly grabbed her and pulled her into the room, closing the door. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" She snapped, incensed.
David looked up at Kelly in confusion. "What is the meaning of this. Who are you?"
Kelly smoothly pulled out his pistols, one in each hand. "Hello David. My name is Zene and I'm in love with your wife. She wants to go back to you. She wants you, a senile old bastard, over me! I'll tell you this - if I can't have her then no one can. Say goodnight Gracie," he said as emotionally as possible.
"Kelly?" David asked, recognition in his voice.
`Shit he knows who I am!' Kelly thought. He acted quickly, aiming the pistols at David's chest and firing both double fisted before his spouse could say anything else. Beth screamed in surprise and fear as David slouched in his chair, but Resnouf reacted quickly, catching Kelly by surprise.
The scientist hot-headedly threw himself over the desk at Kelly. A full body tackle knocked Kelly into the wall, paper flying into the air. Kelly struggled briefly with the slight scientist, then bashed him on the top of the head with the butt of a pistol. Alexandre became an unconscious dead weight on top of Kelly, groaning in pain.
Beth stood against the wall in fear, then decided to make a run for the door, screaming for help. Kelly turned and fired two shots at the hysterical woman as she tried to escape. The first missed, sending splinters flying from the door, the other took Beth through the throat, spraying blood across the wall and spinning the girl to the ground, where she clutched her neck weakly.
Freeing himself from the weight of Alexandre, Kelly turned and shot the prostrate man in the leg, a grazing wound. `One witness,' Kelly noted. He then turned to look at his spouse. David was sitting back in his chair, completely immobile except for his eyes, his face a mask of pain as he watched Kelly fearfully.
"Why?" David croaked.
Kelly emptied both pistols into David. He didn't have time to share the plan with his former husband.
Checking Beth's pulse on the way out the door, Kelly smiled when he determined that she was dead. He reloaded the pistols as he walked down the corridor, then holstered them.
`I'm almost done,' he thought, as he indifferently walked through the milling crowd. No one seemed to have heard the shots and screams over the clamor of the conference.
* * *
Officers Shakes and Newton were doing there normal patrol and scanning the radio.
"241 in Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda. Suspect male, of medium build. Driving red MX model sports car." The radio was thick with static.
"Hey, thats a red MX 5," Shakes said from the passenger seat, pointing towards a car in a handicapped zone. "Might as well have a look".
* * *
Kelly walked outside then nonchalantly up to his car and unlocked the door. He silently cursed his luck as a car approached him with its high beam lights on. What made it bad was that it was a police car. The police vehicle stopped at the rear of Kelly's car, blocking its exit from the parking space. "Excuse me sir, is that your car?" queried Shakes from the passenger seat.
"No, it's my girlfriends," Kelly replied.
"Have you been near Fitzroy Street at all today?" Shakes asked. He sniffed. "Is that alcohol I can smell?"
"No I've been at the conference. Someone spilt a drink on me so I was going to go home and get changed," Kelly smoothly answered as both officers climbed out of the car.
Newton, who stood on the far side of the car, held the radio. "Please repeat the description of the suspect on the 241," he said into the receiver.
Kelly realised that he was in trouble. He reached under his jacket and pulled out both pistols. "Don't move!" ordered Shakes, much too late, also reaching for his gun.
Kelly started shooting at Shakes, wildly and without precision. Shakes was knocked back as muscle tore and bone shattered, a lucky shot to his shoulder rendering his right arm a completely useless dead weight. Newton dropped the radio and pulled his own gun as the next slug took his partner in the upper leg, missing bone but knocking Shakes off his feet and leaving the perforated officers' left leg unusable.
Shakes had fallen to the ground before his gun could clear its holster. Newton was luckier and managed to open fire, hitting Kelly in the abdomen. Kelly did not even notice as he turned his guns at Newton, firing ferociously but still inaccurately, Newton diving behind his car as a hail of bullets buffeted the air which he had just vacated.
Fueled by adrenaline and in a suicidally aggressive state, Kelly ran forward, springing lengthwise onto the hood of the police car. He slid across the metal panel and emptied both his guns randomly over the edge of the bonnet. Kelly heard wet sounds of impact and rolled off the hood, coming down on his knees. He smiled cockily for a moment, then a bullet ricocheted of the hood, sparking painfully on Kelly's' face. Springing and twisting away from the front of the car, Kelly landed on his back and fired at where the shot had originated.
Shakes, unsteadily propped against the side of the car on his right leg, his gun wavering in his left hand, grunted in pain as a third slug hit him in the hip. The officer collapsed, futiley trying to draw a bead on Kelly as a pool of blood grew around his prone body. Losing strength, Shakes dropped his arm, the gun slipping from his grasp.
Kelly grinned realising that Shakes was no longer a threat, then inched his head around the car, pleased to note that officer Newton would not bother him either. Judging by the angle of Newton's' neck, one of the bullets had broken the officers neck.
Bleeding, Shakes inched backwards and cowered on the ground as Kelly approached him. Kelly relieved the officers of his gun, then wandered over to the sports car. He glanced at the hood of the police car and saw a long streak of blood. He wore a puzzled expression as he looked at the bonnet, then looked down at his abdomen and realised that he had been shot. Shrugging, without any pain, Kelly climbed into his car and started it, his motions jerky and mechanical.
Reversing the small red car rapidly into the police sedan, Kelly knocked the obstructing vehicle back a few metres. Shakes struggled to drag himself out of the way as Kelly drove forwards, the rear bumper falling off the red sports car. Kelly accelerated back again, this time with more momentum. The officers vehicle was forced further away, leaving a smear of blood on the bitumen where Newton had been and giving Kelly enough room to get out of his parking space.
`God I love touch parking,' Kelly though as he turned the sports car towards the exit and fishtailed out of the parking lot.
The drive back for Kelly was a gradual descent into a waking nightmare as he lost blood and started to register the pain. Kelly applied pressure to the wound, but was still loosing blood. He had powered through the last encounter on adrenaline alone. Now that the adrenaline was gone he was starting to go into shock. He hoped that he could manage the trip back to the warehouse and carry out the final exchange before he was completely senseless.
Prior to entering the street that the warehouse-apartment was in he heard the sounds of sirens emanating clearly from his destination.
`Fuck,' he thought, `this is a real mess...' He stopped his car and tried to think. The whole excursion was pointless if he was stuck in this body. `It's this bodies fault. The male hormones made me kill that thin man and made me waste time on Beth, and that ruined the plan.' He sat in the car, reloaded his guns and looked about despairingly for inspiration.
* * *
"Sergeant Baxter. I don't think he's here." The young rookie officer said. "We should leave."
"Collins, we need to check everything. Two officers have been shot, one killed, the other critically injured. Three other people have been murdered and another injured. This guy has been very busy today and we are going to be busy as well. That means we don't leave because you `think' we should. You do understand that this is one of David and Kelly Stubbing's two residences and that the car which that crazy bastard drove belongs to Kelly Stubbing and it was David Stubbing that he killed. No Sherlock, we wait here till the warrant arrives with back up." Baxter chastised.
The Sergeant could not believe that his new partner was as stupid as he seemed. Redmund Collins was green, but his knowledge of procedure was so poor that Baxter was surprised that the academy had passed him. `Bloody budget cuts,' he thought.
Baxter looked at the ridiculous mustache that the kid sported and smirked. He shook his head and started scanning the converted factory, then up and down the dark street, looking for anything out of the ordinary.
Kelly's car pulled slowly into the street. Baxter saw it immediately. "Get on the radio kid. Report that the suspect is here," he told Collins. Baxter went to the car and reached under the dash, pulling out a shotgun, pointing it straight at the approaching vehicle. He squinted. Something wasn't right. `Its almost like...' Baxter thought, then it dawned on him. "He has a hostage!"
Kelly drove carefully down the street towards the police and escape. He was momentarily worried when one officer aimed a shotgun at him, but the officer quickly lowered it. `He must have realised I have a hostage. Good,' Kelly thought.
Collins watched in surprise as the car moved towards them, Kelly driving casually with a gun held against a young child's temple.
Baxter moved for cover. "Get down Collins. That man's killed four people," Baxter yelled at his stupefied partner who scrambled for cover. The senior officer watched in apprehension as a homicidal maniac holding a five year old child hostage drove past him and into the building.
* * *
"It's the police. We're going to be saved. God is looking over us." Norman was getting quite excited.
"Yes it looks as though you're right." Zene was still engrossed in the computer. She was amazed at the intricacies of the Nanotech programs and the possibilities they held. This technology was generations ahead of anything. It was more than that. It was a complete new technology. David Stubbing was a genius on the level of Einstein or Newton. It amazed her that Kelly would want to kill someone that could create such an incredible technology. `Money and power brings out the worst in people, every time,' she realised ruefully.
* * *
Kelly drove up to the mechanical doors and opened them. He drove in, closing the doors behind him and climbed carefully out of the car. The little girl sat terrified in the passenger seat. He pulled her out, excruciating fire burning in his abdomen as he dragged her down to the basement.
`The irresponsibility of parents nowadays,' Kelly shook his head and looked at his young hostage, `who would send out a child for milk at nine thirty at night? Don't they know that there are dangerous people out here?'
* * *
Zene didn't hear the garage doors opening but Norman did. "It's Kelly. He's back." Not knowing what to expect she quickly logged off the computer. Hearing the garage door close she turned off the computer, her bruises aching as she struggled over to the bolt in the middle of the floor and locked her handcuff chain back into it. She pulled the blanket over her and huddled under it as she heard Kelly labouring down the stairs.
Fumbling with keys, Kelly unlocked the door and dragged in his young hostage. Zene looked with concern at the little girl, the gun held casually against her chest. Zene then glanced at Kelly's blood soaked shirt and great coat. `He went and got my body all shot up, the bastard,' Zene thought indignantly.
"You'll burn in hell. Kidn-" Norman started.
"Shut up!" Kelly yelled as he fired his gun at Norman's cage. The cockatoo squawked in fear as the bullet flashed off the concrete bricks near him.
"No." Norman was not going to be intimidated.
"Suite yourself." Kelly shot at Norman again, knocking him of his perch in a cloud of feathers and blood.
Zene looked at the shallowly breathing form of Norman and the wide eyed young girl realising that time was of the essence. "Let the kid go. You already have a hostage," she pleaded. "I'll do anything you want, just let her go."
"Anything?" Kelly asked, his eyebrow raising.
"Yes," Zene answered in a destitute voice.
Kelly thought it over. `This is a very heroic and selfless act by Zene and I can take credit for it when I'm back in that body... but I'm in no condition to take advantage of her offer. It would create another witness, though.' Kelly eyed the adolescent girl speculatively, then shrugged his shoulders. He regretted the action immediately as he winced in pain. "O.K.," he wheezed, then dragged the girl upstairs.
By now sirens were converging on the converted factory. Kelly opened the front door and pushed the girl out. "See ya later kid."
* * *
"Are you still with us Norman?" Zene asked.
"He winged me." Norman broke up into an uncontrollable cockatoo chuckle, but soon stopped, laughing hurt his throbbing wing.
"Listen I think we may get out of this, just stay quiet."
"I don't want to die... I'm getting cold." Norman's voice was very weak and almost unintelligible
"You won't die." Norman didn't answer. "Norman?"
Kelly came back down the stairs. "Done. But you'll be disappointed to know that I've decided to finish the plan as I intended, I'm not in any shape to take part in horizontal festivities anyway. So you won't have to do that anything you promised me."
"So you're going to kill me?"
"No, just place you in one of the test animals for the moment. But which one?" He looked at the range of animals, grimacing in pain. "So many choices. Do you prefer male or female?" He asked. "I think I should keep you female. I still haven't completely destroyed that male spirit of yours. Hamster? Dog? Rat? Oh I know. A pig."
"Please don't," Zene begged, anxiety in her voice. She saw a shadow move across one of the barred windows. It might have been her imagination.
Kelly pulled out the handcuff keys and put them on the table then turned on the computer, holding the gun in his hand. He typed in the log on password and as the computer booted up he limped over and collected two vials from the cabinet and a syringe. There were four vials left.
"The nanobots can be taken orally or intravenously. The only problem is that they only stay in your system for about six hours before the bodies natural defenses destroy them. So we need some more in our bodies," he explained. He drank half a vial, poured the other half into Zene's mouth and held her nose and mouth till she swallowed. Kelly then injected some into Norman, the sow and a hamster.
"When you were first drugged I created a reference for you on the computer. Once that had been done the nanobots recognise you every time..." Kelly was thinking aloud, trying to stay conscious long enough to finish with Zene and Norman.
Kelly shuffled back to the computer and sat down. He turned to Zene and smiled as he started the mental transfer program. Kelly typed in the password, then commanded the computer to exchange Zene's and the sows minds.
"Oink oink," Kelly said and initiated the transfer.
* * *
"Captain I've got a clear shot. He is unaware of my presence and is not pointing his firearm at the hostage. Should I fire?" Collins heard the sniper ask over the radio.
"I repeat. I have a safe shot. Permission to fire."
"Affirmative Carlsen." Captain Rogers ordered over the radio. "Take that bastard out."
The sniper took a bead on Kelly's head and fired on full automatic, following the falling body with his gun as Kelly's body dropped in the chair.
* * *
Watching in satisfaction as the body of the pig and Kelly's male body suddenly froze, Zene fought to suppress a cheer. A transfer was happening, just not the one that Kelly had expected.
It had been hard work for Zene to interchange the computer references for Kelly's and her own body. The result of this small bit of hacking was that the nanobots modified Kelly as though he were Zene. Kelly had intended for Zene to end up in the pig but it was Kelly who was being switched.
Zene's main fear had been that Kelly would decide to return them to their original bodies and then kill her. Kelly had originally promised to murder her, but Zene had gambled that Kelly would not give up the chance to exercise his new power over her. Proud of the subtly devious nature of her own scheme, Zene wondered how Kelly would react when he found out that he was a female pig.
This pleasant notion occupied Zene's mind as she entered the combination to the lock. She had unlocked the padlock when a window shattered and she looked up at it in surprise, her attention drawn to her erstwhile body.
Zene watched in horror as the head of her male body exploded in slow motion, spraying a fountain of gory brain and skull fragments behind it onto the floor. Projectiles continued to pummel her former body, turning its chest into a bloody pulp as it fell sideways in the chair.
The pig which Kelly was being transferred into squealed in pain as the nanobots copied the wound onto it's cerebrum, bullet holes magically appearing in the animals cranium and slowly oozing chunks of meat, the nanobots duplicating the damage in Kelly's body, expelling the sow's brain gorily onto the floor.
The concrete floor behind the lifeless human body turned into a shower of sparks as bullets ricocheted of it, a fine mist of blood painting the slab. Zene jumped as the cathode computer screen exploded loudly, stray slugs striking it. This further mutilating Zene's defunct hulk, showering the carcass with glass and plastic shrapnel from the monitor.
Zene collapsed onto her rump, staring blankly at the remains of her male body, the smell of charred flesh churning her stomach. For the last twenty five years that had been her and now it was...over.
She looked down at her soft, feminine body realising it was permanent. Up until now she had clung to the hope that she would get out of this encounter with her masculinity intact. Now she knew she had not.
* * *
"Lucky to be alive." Bright light, whirring sound.
"Gutsy chick though."
"What kind of an animal does that?" Bright light, whirring sound.
"Hey anyone know how this pig died?"
"Shot I guess."
"Scumbag even shot her cockatoo too." Cameras.
"You had lunch yet?"
"The cockatoo's still alive, just pretty beat up." Police.
"Come with me miss." Lots of them.
Zene was led out the door. "Is Norman O.K.?" She asked in a daze.
"Drink this." Someone handed her a cup of something hot. She sipped it but it had no taste. She felt a prick in her arm. "This will make you feel better."
Comfortable darkness engulfed her.