The New Normal - Issue Two: Contagion - Prologue by Sonicspirit

The New Normal - Issue Two: Contagion - Prologue by

Date: 4/6/2022 Views: 5051 Favorites: 8 Comments: 4

Barn
Farm
Unicorn

Here we go! So here's the illustration and first chapter (prologue, really) for New Normal! ^_^;; It kinda sucks to not do it in comic form, but yeah, I'm happy to get this story told!

^_^;; Well, sorta. Transfur's character limit prevents me from posting the whole chapter here, so I'll post as much as it lets me, and just drop the links to where the full thing can be read below. I guess the current plan is to continue to mirror the chapters here as they're written. There will be more TF in upcoming chapters, but Shine's story is post-TF, with a few exceptions like this prologue. Hopefully that won't piss too many people off if the accompanying illustration with the chapter ends up not showing much obvious mid-TF.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/new-normal-issue-64613738

http://sonicspirit.net/new_normal/issue_02_chapter_00.php

https://www.furaffinity.net/view/46664413/

https://inkbunny.net/s/2687136

https://www.weasyl.com/~sonicspirit/submissions/2117091/the-new-normal-issue-two-contagion-prologue

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The pastures stretched broad under the steely, overcast sky, the barns and nearby house dark. I sniffed the air, smelling only cold, earth, and wet grass, the warm scent of the animals more like a distant dream on the breeze. Good. Hopefully I wasn’t here too close to morning, the last thing I wanted was to be discovered by someone popping in for chores. I tip-toed over the cold grass towards the nearest barn, still feeling the novelty of walking around on all fours, and still reveling in how right that felt. This had to work, right? Fully transformed or not, I was a unicorn now, an alicorn, really, wasn’t I?

I shivered in the chill April pre-dawn, the new-sprouted feathers on my developing wings prickling as they attempted to fluff out against the cold, my barely-adequate, mostly grown-in layer of fur obviously a sleek summer coat, and nowhere near appropriate for the penetrating, damp cold of early spring. I traced a still-developing forehoof over the frigid, springy wet grass, grateful we at least hadn’t had a frost tonight. I might need to come up with some sort of clothing after all–at least a blanket, or maybe some sort of cloak. It was still early in the year to start living outside in this area, where I had apparently decided to stay after all, instead of following my original plan of “run away from everything ever and go find some nice forest somewhere to vanish into”. The weather couldn’t be counted on to be clement in this area until at least late May…which was another reason I hadn’t originally intended to stay.

But apparently I wasn’t the only person to impossibly transform, and…I wasn’t ready to just leave if…if I might be able to find more of us. I snorted in disgust. At the very least I wouldn’t be running away and abandoning any other part-transformed people I found. Unlike a certain fancy asshole.

The cold had kept me awake, despite the nest of blankets I’d hauled out to the nook of the forest preserve I’d claimed, but it was my own restlessness that had brought me to a local equine vet’s rehabilitation clinic tonight. A swirling power thrummed in my chest and forehead, and I had a horn already, didn’t I? Maybe I could use it? And where better to try out a possible nascent healing ability than a vet’s? Ears pricked, I put my sharpened hearing to work–I wasn’t expecting anyone to be out at three AM, but I wasn’t going to bank on them not being around, either. Once I was as certain as I could be that the night was quiet and empty, I slunk up to the nearest barn.

My heart thrumming with nerves, I took a step forward, and froze again at the sound of my mostly-hoof striking the concrete skirt around the barn. I waited a long, long moment, wishing I’d had the forethought to find some sort of cloth to muffle my hooves. Even though the still-transforming appendages still had some vestiges of my former hands, the clacking sounds of my cloven hoofsteps were distinct. But no lights flicked on, no voices rang from the house. I shook the mane along my lengthening neck. Maybe I was being jumpy for nothing?

Gathering myself, I ghosted as silently as possible across the concrete, the large, hanging barn door towering over me. I nosed at the side, pressing a foreleg against it to see if I could roll the door open. It wasn’t locked–one of the barns I’d grown up visiting had used a hook and eye bolt for that purpose–and with a bit of pressure it moved freely enough, but the low rumbling sound of the roller had me bolting in a clatter away and around the corner to hide, letting the door bang against the barn. I winced, ears pinned against my head as I cowered against the stable’s wall, trying not to breathe as I listened for the sound of someone investigating. The moments stretched on, and on…and nothing happened. No door sounds, no voices, no boots on gravel. I sighed carefully, and edged back towards the corner of the barn I’d just darted around. Maybe nobody’d heard. Maybe they thought it was the door banging in the wind. I’d come this far, hadn’t I? I rubbed my forming muzzle against a foreleg. Well, I was here, I might as well. I edged an eye around the corner, still seeing no one.

I crossed the concrete to the tantalizing gap I’d opened, slipping past the hanging door with a sigh. I glanced back. Would it be more likely to raise alarm if I left the door ajar, or if I tried closing it again? Considering my hooves, I decided to risk leaving the door open…there weren’t many good places for me to push the door back open from the inside, and I wasn’t about to risk being trapped in the barn.

Taking another deep breath, I slunk down the aisle, moving as quietly as I could, hoping the door would keep any sound I made inside the barn…and that I was far enough from the house that no one would hear me moving around anyway. The stalls stretched in a neat and orderly line along either side of the aisle. They looked huge from this angle–I was only about two feet or so tall at the shoulders—I’d spent plenty of time in horse barns, but being like this, halfway transformed into an alicorn and walking on all fours…? Nerves shivered up and down my spine, through my new tail and fluffed my nascent wings. It was a heady experience, and put my body’s changes in sharp relief more than anything else I’d experienced yet. I whickered softly to myself and tossed my head, intent on savoring the terrifying experience, refusing to cower from it.

I lifted my nose, scenting not only horses, hay, and bedding, but also pain, antiseptic, blood, medicine...and a human. Horrified, I planted hooves that suddenly wanted to dance with my anxiety, or shy to the side in a surely clattering riot. My tail flagged in my fear, I shouldn’t have come here, what was I thinking?

“Huh?” a bleary voice called out, “Nnn…whu? Mmmph…Janey, was that you, sweetie?”

I stood absolutely frozen, throat clenched tight, tension singing through every part of me, desperate to flee but terrified of drawing even more attention to myself. What if they captured me? What if they kept me, and held me, and I was never free again? I’d worked around horses for most of my life, I knew what horse people could do…

A stall door—one that had been left unbolted, I now saw—slid open, a warm brown face peeking around it, then the woman’s eyes lit on me and her sleepy expression vanished. Horror bloomed in each of us, me at being seen, and her presumably at my in-between form. I scrambled back, intent on fleeing, my mostly-hooves skittering and clacking against the concrete aisle. I tried to wheel and bolt away, but lost my footing on the unyielding concrete and crashed to the ground, cracking my chin painfully on the hard floor, a startled squeal ripping its way out of me. I scrambled to try and stand again, and warm arms locked around my hips.

Comments

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Selden

Poor easily-startled foal. The new instincts kicked in hard, didn't they?

Terrifel

Transformed into an alicorn?! Talk about your worst case scenario. Not that I wouldn't be worried about it in that situation.

Arthas972

Tg too ;)

Arthas972

I notice it’s issue 2, but it seems to be a interquel?