Snaking Chords

Jacob silently pulled his old, beat-up truck onto his driveway. Stopping in front of the small, metal garage-door, he loudly forced the gear into park, pulled up the emergency brake and killed the engine. noisily pulling his key out. As the key left the ignition, gravity quickly pulled it down, clattering loudly against the other keys of his key-ring. Then, he pushed the slim, plastic door-handle towards him, the rust-covered door noisily clunking in protest as it begrudgingly opened.

He gingerly swung his legs out of the truck, firmly planting his shoes on the cobblestone driveway. Putting a hand against the interior roof of the truck, he pushed himself out and fully onto the driveway. Adjusting his red-and-black plaid button-up shirt, black-frame glasses and blue jeans he slammed the rusted door shut as his gaze settled on the tall, cardboard box propped against his front door. Jacob confusedly looked at the box. He hadn’t ordered anything, at least that’s what he thought.

After walking along the curved path towards his front porch and up the two stairs leading to the porch, he stood in front of the slim box. He quickly scanned the entirety of the box, checking it for any markings signifying who it might belong to. His gaze quickly settled on the white label attached on the box, finding his name and address printed onto it. He incredulously stared at the label for a few minutes, trying to figure out what the package could even be.

He shook his head, deciding to bring it inside instead as he inserted a metallic key into the deadbolt. The deadbolt clicked, retracting and unlocking moments later. Pressing down on the small, brass handle of the door, he pushed it open, grabbing the heavy package and bringing it inside with him. Kicking off his shoes right besides the door whilst closing it, he set down the package and began tearing it open.

Inside the mysterious package, contained under mounds of packing peanuts and bubble-wrap was a black-and-white electric bass. He carefully pulled the base out of the bubble-wrap and looked it over as a note softly fluttered towards the ground. The bass itself looked brand new, the only thing giving away its true age was the worn leather strap attached to it. Kneeling down to grab the note, he read the neat, black, cursive script inscribed onto it. “Jacob, I hope you enjoy the bass~,” was all the note said.

He tilted his head, confused about the meaning of the strange note, but quickly dismissed it, walking over to a small side-door revealing a flight of stairs leading downwards. He flicked the light-switch at the top of the staircase, illuminating the staircase with a white glow. He descended the staircase, down the curving steps and into the basement.

Faint traces of daylight dwindled through the tiny, rectangular windows of the basement. He looked around the underground living space, faintly smiling. He walked over to the door standing directly in front of him, and lightly pushed it open, quickly turning on the lights of the room. Inside, pushed slightly to the side was a metal stand, complete with red pick and sheet music; directly under the stand stood a small, black, amp; in the middle, facing towards him was a simple wooden chair with red cushion; surrounding the walls were thick rows of black acoustic foam.

Jacob sat down on the chair, kicking the door closed with his foot. He then put the strap around his shoulder, while grabbing a few of the cords running from the amp, plugging them into the bass. With a quick twist of the wrist, the amp kicked to life with harsh feedback before shifting to peaceful static. He grabbed the red pick on the stand, put his fingers in position and lightly played a chord. The base was already tuned. That was a good sign.

Lightly tapping his foot a few times, he lowered his head, slowly beginning to play a normal song, until Jacob abruptly jerked his head upwards, towards his left hand, fixating his gaze on it in an intent stare. His breath quickened, mouth agape as he watched in silent horror. Fearfully stammering with hand trembling, he helplessly watched his once rounded fingertips slowly morphing into sharp, pointed claws before his very eyes. Dark gray, shield-like scales started steadily spiraling beginning at the tip of his sharp claws and down his digits.

The transformation’s allure compelled him to keep watching while he vainly prayed he would wake up in bed, able to pretend it was nothing but a nightmare. Yet, he silently knew in the recesses of his mind this was no nightmare—it was reality—with the sole way the torment would end was if he stopped playing the bass. He couldn’t however; he was unable to bring himself to stop.

He shivered mere moments later; an icy wave jolted through his trembling figure. His hand grew colder, like a vacuum was discreetly draining the heat out of it. Fearfully gulping, he steeled his nerves enough to lean forwards where he stole glimpses of the rest of his quivering hand. Breath faltering, he hurriedly scanned it, taking in row after row of dark-gray scales coating the entirety of his palm. It leisurely stretched down his wrist, spilling out onto the rest of his arm. He silently knew, while he could not see the rest of his hand, it had already been enveloped by the scaly transformation slowly meandering its way down the rest of his arm.

He stared at the scales, eyes wide, as they rapidly disappeared underneath the relative obscurity of his plaid sleeves. With his gaze on the scales—the telltale arctic void of cold revealing where the scales were—he tracked them slowly inching closer and closer to his elbow, greedily swallowing his bare arm as it went. Once it reached the very edge of his elbow, seemingly guided by unconscious instinct, Jacob relaxed his arm slightly, pushing the bass outwards, further away from him. Mere moments later, the scales began enveloping his elbow; he instantly jerked it back towards him.

Eyes stricken with fear, he began trembling, panting through jagged breaths intermingled with soft whimpers. He felt the heat from his elbow slowly diffusing downwards towards his hand, allowing it a lingering moment of warmth before dissipating moments later. The scales slowly shifted up his bicep next. Jacob could feel every new scale slowly and firmly planting itself onto his warm flesh; as it leached away the heat of his arm; as it gave way to the next scale that repeated its predecessor’s process.

His arm faintly twitched, the scales steadily wrapping around his upper arm in its ascent. Within a matter of minutes, the entirety of his arm sans shoulder was covered in the tiny, gray scales. He felt the rest of his body growing colder; the warmth from the rest of him being pulled to his scaly arm where it invariably was lost to the air.

He suddenly snapped his attention over to his right hand, breaking it away from the scaly assault on his left. His breathing faltered once again; from the skewed glances he gleaned, he saw his hand slowly shifting into a scaly claw. Like his left hand, the scales slowly took root on his hand, scale after scale, seemingly teasing him about his helplessness to object; about the fact he would keep playing; about the fact he secretly desired this.

Shaking his head, with mouth barely moving, he fearfully watched the transformation as he drew shallow breaths. It soon extended past his knuckles, quickly spilling over onto the rest of his hand. The warmth drained out of his arm, plunging him deeper into the icy void that slowly wrapped around him. He winced, dropping the red pick he held onto only to forcibly clamp two of his scaly claws together, unable to separate them. Scales brightly gleaming in the studio’s harsh glare, he kept strumming.

The scales quickly disappeared into his plaid sleeves, hastily doubling the ground they were once covering, whilst the scales on his left finally finished their ascent to the top of his shoulder. The scales seemingly hesitated for a moment, debating where exactly it should continue its conquest. Jacob hesitantly raised his left claw upwards, the neck of the bass in palm, as he extended a single scaly thumb outwards. Placing his thumb onto his neck, he felt a momentary jolt of heat rush through his hand before leaving his neck colder than before.

Without even thinking about it, he faintly traced the scales up his neck towards the very bottom of his jawbone. The scales eagerly followed his light tracings, quickly planting itself and draining out the heat out of the path he traced. His hand lingered at the very bottom of his jawbone; fear and panic flooding through his system; a thought which was quickly drowned out by the overwhelming bitter-cold nipping at him. His entire figure had certainly been chilled by several degrees, yet he felt no urge to move to anywhere warmer.

Closing his eyes, he lowered his head. Instead of the scales fully enveloping his head like he expected it to, it instead slowly stretched around Jacob’s neck and jaw, finally interlocking with the scales running up his right shoulder. The scales slowly started to spread down both sides of his torso, like two icy hands tightly gripping at his ribs. It slowly spread from either side of his waist to the other, only tightening the grip the scales had on him both physically and mentally.

Prying his hands away from the bass, letting it dangle by the worn leather strap around his scaly neck, he suddenly fell onto his knees. The bass swung forwards only to immediately slam back into his padded chest. Jacob didn’t react, much less grunt as the bass hit him full-force. He didn’t feel any of it, instead seemingly only persuading the scales to descend faster towards his waist.

Mere moments later, the scales slowly consumed his rest of his waist, he felt both of his knees being forced tightly together. He was unable to move either leg independently, only able to move them together as one. With weak efforts, he barely tried to move from where he knelt, to no avail. Jacob was stuck there, unable to move, and totally, utterly helpless.

Silently watching, he felt the scales slowly working its way down his thighs, seemingly teasing him about how it had utter control over him; about how he wanted this. He felt his jeans bulging and ripping at the seams as his legs slowly morphed into one larger thing. Moments after, his jeans had loudly ripped in half, placidly falling to either side of him, revealing his now shining scale-coated thighs. His legs slowly started to morph into one another, shaping up into in a slow taper as it painlessly grew several inches of a scale-covered tail.

When his new tail was finished growing, pairs of alternating red-and-black feathers sprouted out of the middle, stretching towards the base of his waist. Broken up by large chunks of gray scales, streaks of faint, jagged red ran down both side of his new appendage as he felt his waist slowly swelling outwards, matching the combined girth of both of his legs and torso.

Then, only his face was left uncovered as the scales slowly crept up along his left cheek. The scales stretched towards the right side of his face slowly covering his mouth and nose. In its wake, he felt the scales morphing his face into a sharp, trapezoidal muzzle; his nostrils were forced on either side of his new snout, as his glasses fell to the ground, shattering instantly. He quickly brought both of his scaly claws up to his cheeks, feeling the scales converting his lower-face. With his rough scales dragging along his new muzzle, he traced out the sharp shape of it.

He softly hissed by instinct, a small, pink, forked tongue quickly petering out as it flickered up and down several times. He breathlessly stared at his new tongue, mouth agape. Before he had really any time to admire his new facial features, he felt his two canines slowly twisting into curved, pointed fangs. They leaned inwards towards his gums, faintly poking at them as he closed his maw. He hesitantly opened and closed his mouth a few times, exposing his fangs to the brisk air each time. He truly was becoming a snake.

Soon after, the scales slowly began climbing up the sides of his face, swiftly spreading across his ears. His ears slowly shrunk into his skull, fading into nothing. A faint and muffled ringing echoed loudly through his skull, drowning out all other sound around him. Frantically looking around the room, a worried expression spread across his face as he inaudibly yelled to himself, only to be greeted by the suffocatingly, empty silence.

His breathing shook once again, his entire figure trembling as he was left in the silence for several minutes, feeling nothing happen to him, save the continual loss of heat, before sounds faintly returned to him. The ringing sound slowly subsided, and this time, with sounds much sharper this time. His hearing started off weak, but quickly grew stronger than before within seconds.

Then, he could hear the scales slowly taking root along his hair—the only remaining parts of his skin. Starting with the very back of his neck, large clumps of brown hair fell out as the scales slowly took stand. In its wake, sprouted alternating patterns of red-and-black feathers, identical to the ones lining his tail. The feathers were roughly the same length of his hair was before and they slowly spread upwards towards the rest of his hair. Within moments, the scales had fully taken over his entire head, fully coating it in the feathery hair instead, as he ran both scaly hands through them. They felt just like his normal hair, although, he knew it wasn’t.

Finally, the scales crept towards his closed eyes, surrounded them within moments. He forcibly opened his eyes to piercingly black darkness whilst his eyes changed. His pupils dilated into tiny, black slits, his irises changed from dark brown to light amber and the sclera of his eyes turned from white to faint yellow with each blink.

Many blinks later, his vision had fully returned, marking the end of his transformation. It was complete; he shivered in reply as the last remaining bits of heat deserted his body. He looked up and down his new form, taking in all the minute details he missed the first time. Running from underneath his jaw, along his underbelly, towards the tip of his tail was a thick line of light-gray scales, occasionally intercepted by faint bands of dark gray.

A faint smile came to his lips. He liked—no loved—his new body. While he hesitated for a moment, the loud metallic clunking of the heater boomed through the tiny studio room, as it kicked to life. He was quickly basked in the much-desired heat he craved. He relaxed slightly, his shoulders slouching as he happily hissed, closing his eyes once again. The thoughts of who he used to be quickly faded away with each second that passed. He lifted the bass back up in his hands, and a few strums later, he was playing once more, as if nothing had happened.

Not like it really mattered to him anyways; he loved his new body…

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