Chapter 1: Raise Hands: Who Else Has Days Like This?

My eyes blurred over my lab report. I had succeeded in drawing an evil smiley face and writing Maedhros Fëanorion fifteen times. I glanced covertly at my partner’s neat writing, yawned and gave up. I tried to relocate, but my bottom stuck to the stool. I wanted to go home and sleep.

The other pair of girls sharing the table was little more productive than I.

“Touch it,” said one, prodding her neighbor’s shoulder.

“And get electrocuted?”

“Professor Wong said it’s not the volts but the amount of charge… no wait, that’s not right… whatever.” I began to rub a glass rod with silk, listening to it crackle.

The two girls chattered on over the prospect of being zapped. They’d long since given up on finishing their report before the allotted hour.

“C’mon. Lick it,” the first whispered with a smirk.

She pretended to touch the voltmeter’s outlet with her tongue. Back turned, the Prof. was writing formulas at lightspeed on the chalkboard, which was not for our benefit; he just liked to do it.


“Like I want to be carried out on a stretcher.” The second folded her arms.

I just had to break in at this point. “The voltage can’t hurt you.” And I was going to prove it. I think it was my drunkenness from lack of sleep. If I had the choice to go back through time and slap me, I would. Sigh.

Deliberately, I stuck out my tongue and held out the wire of the voltmeter. My partner had stopped with her inscriptions and the other two leaned over. Even a few heads turned from the other tables. Wiggling my eyebrows, I brought the cold metal to mouth and tasted cold acidicness. Huh.

Then I felt a chain of jolts wrack through my body, like my bones were popping one by one. My brain exploded into ribbons. The tables, the faces, the voltmeters were gone.

I moaned and pulled the covers back over my head. Must. Sleep. Ten more minutes. I lightly dozed. Suddenly I thought it was way too bright to be early morning! Had I overslept? I waved my arm out for the clock. Funny, where’d it go? And I don’t remember it being so bright in my room. The window should be over THERE. The light shouldn’t be… a redness blazed through my closed eyelids… shouldn’t be right above me. Weird. Something else was strange. I opened my eyes, instantly regretting from the pain the sudden entry of light brought. THESE aren’t my blankets. The bed is… lumpy. I looked at the corner I had snuggled on. It was green, tight fabric… my sweater. I still could not see properly. Some things were so blurry and others so… crisp… it was almost like I could see new color, new texture.

Then I inhaled. It almost knocked me backwards. My mind was filled with images of fleeting birds, insects, a fox, almost as though my nose had brought them to me. And dirt, dirt, dirt! My sweater was covered in nasty dirt! Why is my sweater in the dirt? Wait. I looked down.


I had PAWS! With claws. And little webs between the toes. My body was… Ok, I was always short, but this??? I had stubby furry legs. Somehow I felt there was more, like I was getting sensation of ground from somewhere I didn’t usually… I looked behind me. I had a tail. A long, fat, paddle-like tail.

I was beyond belief now. This was too much. I was dreaming. It all came back to me! Right now I must be lying on the cold lab floor. Knowing the Prof, he wouldn’t call the ambulance; no, he couldn’t waste the opportunity to demonstrate the effect electric shocks have on the human body. I’d just have to wait it out.

Suddenly I smelled – yes – smelled the fox. Not that I ever before knew what a fox SHOULD smell like… Time to go! I rummaged through my clothes and found my watch and wrapped it around my tail. My glasses would not fit, so there I left them. That parting was painful.

I tried to run to where I somehow, through smell again, I guess, knew there’d be water. But I fell hard onto my nose, which seemed abnormally broad. Right! I am some four-legged animal now! I tried running again with front paws included, and after some stumbling, waddled to the water.

I resisted the urge to dive headlong in. By its massive currents, it had to be a river. Then again, I was short, so my judgment could have been warped.

Regardless, there was something I needed to know. I crawled along the bank and found a smooth patch and peered over. A round face of fluff looked back at me. It had beady eyes, a black nose taking up about a third of the face, a wide mouth with long whiskers curling down. I knew what it was. I always wanted to see one in person and never had till then. An otter. I was an otter. Holy shoes; well, I’d had stranger dreams. I was just lucky this was not one of my painful ones, you know, falling off the Alps, being made into a pincushion by spears, and so on.

I reached my paw idly into the mud. To my horror I found a struggling crayfish and ate it.

Again I looked into the water. I admit, the fur was quite flattering, but when I bent to examine it better, my image rippled into chaotic nothing. What gives? Suddenly I heard a rumble like an approaching train. The river began to recede. Then I felt the ground shake and smelt the approach of tired, sweating… horses. I stood on my back legs and looked over the weeds.

And I thought things couldn’t get weirder.

There was Frodo, honest to Manwë, Frodo Baggins on a white horse, Asfaloth, it had to be. They were on my bank; the hobbit was putting up a resistance, a valiant speech, the whole gig, to the… I emitted some sort of bark and dived onto the earth.

B-black Riders were out there! I wanted to cry.

Then I heard a horrible rumble and even more terrible screeches. It felt like my organs were being grated on a cheese shredder. All went still. I lifted my wonderfully long neck again; Frodo was senseless in the mud and Asfaloth was nipping at some floppy weed. I cautiously approached.

Well, so I knew he wasn’t going to die, but, come on, I couldn’t just let him lie there, green skinned and all that. Not knowing the first thing about CPR, I did the next best thing: I beat him on the head with my versatile paddle-of-a-tail.

He groaned. I brought my face close to his. Definitely in need of toothpaste. I backed off a bit when his eyes suddenly flickered open. The movie did not even come close to the reality of this boy’s piercing gaze. It was like he could look into your soul.

“A…” he rasped. “A-n otter. So…” I wished he would stop trying to talk. He looked as though his face would peel off any minute. “So… CUTE!”

Before I could step back again, he had yanked me off my paws into an embrace. Then he jumped up, still holding tight. “I’m totally cured!”

At that very moment an amazingly good-looking blondie who could only be Glorfindel, Strider, and the hobbits splashed through the ford. They were looking at Frodo with, oh, how can I describe it, jaws hanging to their belts.

“Well met, everyone,” Frodo yammered. “This is my friend; she aided me in my flight. Will there be food in Rivendell, master Glorfinkle?”

‘Finkle drew his sword and Aragorn his sword hilt. “Frodo, back! It may be a servant of the enemy!”

“SHUT UP.” Frodo stomped his foot, and they dropped their weapons.

That settled it. Everyone else was both too tired and too shocked to care about the Ringbearer’s OOCness and we (I was carried, special me) trudged to the Valley.

Turns out Frodo really was cured and not a smidgen of Morgul-trash remained in his system. Even the knife-splinter had disappeared. The others, however, required intensive care to pop their jaws back into their sockets.

I could go on and on and on about the many meetings there and how Gandalf in real life DOES smell like old man, but I’ll skip to the Council.
To be continued

A/N: My answer to Dúnedain Ranger of the North’s “animal transformation” challenge at lotrfanfiction[dot]com.

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