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The illumination from the streetlights was more than enough to see by, even after the intense electric glare of the subway station. But the addition of the subtle light of the full moon added a certain something to the night that Alex Johnston had always thought special, almost ethereal in nature. Even now she marvelled a little at the way in which the moonlight seemed to erode the clean and ever so modern edges of the nondescript Yokohama street, eating away a part of the very real and practical nature of the architecture of concrete and glass with its natural beauty.
Alex walked from the entrance of the subway station to the edge of the kerb and had to shake herself out of contemplation of the moon and its light to check the road before she crossed. But there was no traffic in either direction, no sounds of any vehicle in the road.
If she was honest, there was so little sound at all that it lent more strength to the fanciful potency she liked to ascribe to the moonlight, as if it had blanketed the entire city and blotted out the noise and bustle that was more the norm and replaced it with simple silence.
She crossed the road, lost in the reverie of the moonlight and trying to use the calmness it inspired to wash away the frustration that her evening at work had created. Nothing more than she was used to if she was honest, a puzzled salaryman staring back at her from the other side of a desk, glancing down at a business card in his hand and then back up at her as though she had two heads. The agency was supposed to be clear when dealing with potential clients and explain that in the West her name was not exclusively masculine in nature for the sake of avoiding just that situation. But sometimes it just did not get done and then rather than deliver a tutorial of English as a second language, she had to deal with the fallout. The problem was only made worse by the fact that she was of Asian descent herself, which meant that many less modern Japanese men treated her with the traditional condescension reserved for their female compatriots.
But the appointment was over, she had made the best of a bad situation and she was on her way home in the moonlight, so the evening had not been a complete disaster.
Alex stopped a few feet from the other side of the street as a sudden noise shattered the calm silence of the night. It was the unmistakable screeching roar of a motorbike engine followed by the sound of tyres protesting at the forces grinding them down on the surface of the road.
The bike came round the corner of the intersection perhaps fifty feet down the road from where she was standing and at such a speed that it almost slid sideways into the frontage of the nearest buildings. It came so fast and in such a confusion of sound and speed that Alex had no time to react or even think about removing herself from its path.
One moment the bike was there, frozen in her vision and the next Alex was staring up at a random collection of concerned faces that hovered over her, exchanging hurried words with one another.
“Are you alright?” one of the faces that belonged to an elderly man asked her.
Alex nodded and sat up, her head spinning all the time.
“That crazy man came out of nowhere,” tutted a rather rotund woman, “we were worried that he had killed you!”
“No,” Alex performed a quick assessment of herself, “I think he just clipped me.”
The small crowd fussed over her for another ten minutes until it became clear that she was indeed fine, no one had noted the registration of the bike and in any event the victim was not keen to press charges. Once the potential of righteously indignant drama had passed, Alex was able to thank her flock of helpers and make her way to her apartment block that was no more than two streets away from where she had tried to cross the road.
A familiar sight on the forecourt of the apartment building and in front of the small row of garages that served some of its residents cheered Alex up and at the same time reminded her of the fact that she had almost been seriously hurt doing something so mundane as crossing the road. In all the time she had been living in the building, she could not remember a single day when she had not seen her neighbour from across the hall outside and tinkering with his beloved scooter.
As usual, Kanta was oblivious to her presence, wrapped up as he was in whatever small thing needed to be done to make sure his scooter ran perfectly. Alex smiled as he wiped a smear of grease and oil across his forehead in consternation and then groaned in dismay as he saw the state of his hand. Alex was under no illusion as to the fact that she found him attractive; he was handsome and sweet in a somewhat innocent way and far too caught up in his interests to be aware of the fact that a woman might look twice at him. Part of her wondered if there was anything else in the world that he was as devoted to as the maintenance of his scooter.
“It’s after eleven at night, Kanta,” she took great pleasure in the look of shock that crossed his face when he realised he canlı bahis was not alone, “shouldn’t you be in bed by now?”
“Not when I’m so close to nailing whatever’s making that damn rattling sound,” he rubbed his hands on his overalls and shook his head. “And never mind me, why aren’t you in bed?”
“So you’d like to know when I’m in bed?” Alex raised an eyebrow.
“What?” Kanta looked suddenly shocked and embarrassed, “No, of course not…I’ve never even thought about your bed, didn’t even know that you had one!” He grimaced as the reality of how stupid he sounded sank in.
“Just don’t stay up all night,” Alex laughed as she opened the door to the lobby, “you need your beauty sleep!”
That night Alex slept soundly and dreamed deeply of curving mountain roads and exhilarating speed, buoyed up on the natural high of adrenaline. She swept along the precarious ribbon of tarmac, the surface of the road so close that she could almost feel it brush against her cheek as she rounded one tight bend after another. In the true nature of dreams, Alex was never sure whether she was feeling the sensation of riding some kind of terribly fast vehicle or was supposed to be flying, unaided over the distances that she covered.
When she woke the next morning, the impression of the dream had faded like colours washed out by the rain, but they returned the next night and the night after that.
The nature of the recurring dream may have eluded Alex in her waking hours, but every night she thundered down the same roads and through the same mountain forests; and in those hours, nothing mattered but the road, speed and the freedom they brought her.
A month had passed, or perhaps four weeks when Alex found herself standing in front of the full length mirror in her apartment, locked in the eternal debate that most women have endured at one time or another in their time upon the face of the planet. That was of course the debate as to whether the dress that she had bought whilst riding a wave of bravado did or did not in reality make her look as though her virtue was far more easy than she would have liked.
The garment in question was silver in colour and could best have been described as a dress that did not come near the neck or the knee, but instead made a point of remaining as close to the waist as possible. At the same time it fitted very well and had someone other than Alex been looking at her reflection, they would have most likely commented that she wore it very well.
As it was, Alex was sure it made her look cheap.
But then she balanced her fears against the fact that tonight was the first date she had been on in months and at a time when her social life as virtually non-existent, could she really afford to be such a puritan when it came to what she wore? If it came down to contact with other sane human beings outside of work whilst looking everything was there on a platter and blowing it dressed as a nun, then she was going to be laid out on that damn platter with a big smile on her face.
She finished the outfit with a pair of black tights and high heels, fixed her makeup, tied up her hair and grabbed her purse before hurrying out of the door.
In the hallways she was greeted with the sight of Kanta chatting with Mrs Tokoro in a quiet, typically Japanese manner. Both turned at the sound of her door and smiled politely at her. The elderly lady said something that escaped Alex’s command of Japanese as it always did due to the fact that Mrs Tokoro had moved to Yokohama from one of the rural areas swallowed by the unstoppable advance of the vast metropolis that was Greater Tokyo and had brought her village’s particular dialect with her. Kanta translated as he always did, having explained to Alex in the past that his own grandparents had spoken a similar dialect when he was a child.
“Mrs Tokoro says that you are looking very…healthy tonight,” Kanta, as always was being diplomatic when wording his translation of the old woman’s comments. Alex had come to the conclusion that Mrs Tokoro tended to be more blunt with her comments towards the young foreigner as a result of an odd mixture of the common indulgence that most Japanese showed to the odd habits of those from other nations and the plain-speaking nature of life in the kind of small village she had lived most of her life in. Tonight she reasoned that Mrs Tokoro had seen the dress she was wearing and simply assumed that it was what a foreigner would wear under the circumstances and tried to comment that she was wearing it well.
“Thank you,” Alex nodded respectfully as the old woman returned the gesture.
“Ah,” Kanta went on, “she also kindly requests that if you are in later tonight, that you not play your western heavy rock metal so loudly.”
“Play my what?” Alex shook her head at Kanta as she made her way down the hall to the lift.
“I think Mrs Tokoro may be a bit confused, but some of the other residents have been meaning to ask that you try to keep the noise down a little at night,” he followed her to the lift, trying to keep his voice to bahis siteleri a whisper. “Some people are starting to say that you are keeping them awake.”
“I don’t understand,” the doors to the lift opened and she stepped inside with Kanta right behind her, “I’ve been so tired these past few weeks that I’ve just collapsed into bed every night.”
“Perhaps you have left you television or stereo on?”
“I could have,” Alex considered the possibility, “anyway, tell them I’m sorry and I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“I will,” Kanta paused as they walked out of the lift and Alex made her way to the door, “there was just one thing.”
“I would not have thought you were into motorbikes.”
“What does that mean?”
“Mrs Tokoro may be hard of hearing, but I’m not and I know the sound of an engine when I hear one. The sounds that I heard coming from your apartment were the sounds of a motorbike engine. I just would not have thought you were interested in watching something of that nature.”
“And you’d have been right!”
Kanta looked disappointed with the answer, as though he had been expecting her to say something else entirely. But Alex put it out of her mind as she made her way to the subway station.
The moon was full again and the moonlight back to spread its magical glow.
Alex still could not believe she had actually ended a date by pouring Miso soup into the lap of her supposed company for the evening. It was something that she had never thought herself capable of and while the recipient of the crotch scolding broth had more than deserved it, on one level at least it had been a waste of a good bowl of soup.
But he had deserved it; there was no doubt in her mind about that.
On paper it had all sounded well and good, another ex-pat, an acquaintance of a colleague who was according to all accounts quite a catch. In the flesh he had turned out to be an obnoxious character convinced of his own charms and carrying the unpleasant impression of an overgrown high school jock that had never really woken up to the fact that the real world was not interested in his moronic opinions and borderline racist views on the people of the nation he was a guest in.
The worst part was that he seemed to be under the impression that he was doing a favour to a charity case in sitting down to dinner with her and that she should be grateful.
Things might have been bad in her private life, but there was no way they were that bad.
So when the ever so polite waiter delivered the soup to the table she had steeled herself, put down enough to cover her part of the bill and simply tipped the contents of the bowl into his lap before walking out without taking the time to watch his reaction.
As she closed the apartment door she came to the conclusion that it was more gratifying to remember the sound of his surprised shock than the yelps of pain as the piping hot liquid seared his groin.
Alex dropped her purse on the table in the small hallway, kicked off her shoes and made her way into the bathroom to remove her makeup.
It was as her stocking-clad feet touched the cold tiles on the bathroom floor that she felt the first strange sensation of heat on the palms of her hands. She glanced down at them and saw that there was no hint of them being red from irritation and no sign of perspiration, but the sensation was still there and becoming more pronounced all the time. She ran her hands under cold water in the sink, but there was no relief from the heat she felt in them.
Suddenly Alex gasped in shock as what appeared to be a drop of silver liquid became visible in the centre of each palm. She glanced up to the ceiling, but there was nowhere the liquid could have dropped from to land on her upturned hands. When she looked back down the drops has grown into small puddles that were spreading across the skin of her hands as she watched. The oddest thing was that the liquid seemed to be welling out from the centre of her palms, as if it were emerging from beneath her skin. Soon the warm liquid had covered both of her hands, coating them like a surreal pair of gloves and started to creep up her forearms as well.
Rather than panic, Alex groaned in frustration.
Not enough that he has to be a damn idiot, she thought, but he has to spike my drink as well!
She was convinced that it was too late to make herself throw whatever the lowlife had doped her with up by drinking saltwater, but there was no way that she wanted to call an ambulance either. Afraid of answering questions about how she had come to be taking something that was making her hallucinate so wildly, Alex had no idea how the authorities would react to her predicament.
The only solution was to ride this thing out, though she had no idea of what to expect due to a very limited experience of mind-altering substances.
By the time she glanced back to her hands, the silver liquid had reached all the way up past her elbows where it had stopped for the moment. But the same was not true of her hands, bahis şirketleri there the liquid had begun to swell and shift so that it was covering her fingers, pulling them together into a pair of fists from which she could not release them no matter how hard she tried. At the same time she felt the liquid coating her arms becoming stiff and rigid, forcing both limbs to adopt a straight and unbent position.
A thin stream of liquid from both of her hands defied the laws of gravity and dropped horizontally towards each other to meet in the space between and started to twine together. The mass grew as it span and began to stretch out into a shape that resembled at first simply a lump, and then a plate or a pair of cymbals pressed together. Soon it became more and more defined and Alex was able to make out what looked like thin metal wires extending from the centre of the mass to the outer edge. From that same edge she began to see a black band emerge from the silver that encircled the whole of the outer rim of the disc.
As a pattern of grooves appeared on the black band, Alex realised that it was a tyre and the metal wires were spokes.
The disc was a wheel.
She was hallucinating that she had grown a wheel!
As the silver liquid formed a fender over the top of the wheel, break pads and other complicated mechanical parts that she could not have named, Alex marvelled at the strange things that the human mind could conjure up in an altered state. When the tyre of the wheel brushed against the sink, she almost laughed as she felt the cold porcelain as if she had touched it with her own hand.
But then she reminded herself that she had actually done that in reality as the wheel was really her hands after all.
It was that thought that sent a bolt of realisation through Alex; she might not have known much about getting high, but she was sure when you were the last thing that you were capable of were such clam and insightful thoughts as those.
Alex was distracted from the ever more complex nature of the thing that her arms were busy turning into by a sudden sensation, once again of heat, but this time from the region of her abdomen. Her transformed arms were unable to reach for the edge of her dress, but she saw that lifting it to investigate the sensation would have been pointless anyway as the garment was starting to shrink, as though it were being unravelled from reality and simply disappearing into thin air. At the same time it had begun to cling ever more tightly to her torso, as if it were becoming like a second skin. The dress ceased to shrink when it had come within an inch or two of the underside of her breasts, clinging to her as what now resembled a silver top barely able to keep her decent. Finally the stretchy fabric hardened until it became as thick and stiff as plastic.
Now that her stomach was exposed, Alex saw a jumble of complex, chrome coloured pipes and valves had emerged from her navel and spread out across her belly like a metallic spider web. As she watched the collection of metallic elements quickly grew in size and knitted together to form what could only be an engine. As the engine grew in size it also grew in weight and Alex was forced to at first bend over and finally descend to her knees.
As her front wheel touched the floor of the bathroom she pushed and shuffled forwards into the hallway, feeling the sensation of the change from tiles to imitation wood as much in the tyre and underside of the engine as she did in her stocking-covered legs.
No sooner had she managed to make it into the hall, Alex felt the same sensation of heat begin to emanate from her most intimate of parts, spreading to her buttock and forcing her to arch her back as much as she was able. Prevented from glancing back far enough to see, she only felt the changes that were taking place back there.
A skin of smooth, black material had emerged from the region of her crotch, stretching around her waist from both sides to form a belt that encircled her middle. From there it expanded to cover her lower back and buttocks like a pair of skin-tight shorts. The material stopped just below Alex’s buttocks and began to harden into a texture that looked to the naked eye to be soft and inviting leather. Alex felt the tightness of the material as it set and pressed upon her intimate regions, the warmth and liquid sensations overwhelming her for a moment. And then there was the bizarre but inescapable impression that the organs of her abdomen had also become affected by the process, somehow melted and softened enough that they yielded to the strange movement of the black liquid and shifted position to allow it to progress. Confused and freaked out as she was Alex was also sure that things that normally had a very familiar order in her underwear had been given a new arrangement.
Once the sensations from her posterior had calmed down, Alex was able to guess what had happened to her in that area. She did not need to see her reflection to know that the process had transformed her lower back and buttocks into an imitation of the leather upholstered seat of a motorbike. Where there would have been the simple affair of a cushion for the rider, Alex instead had the curve of her buttocks beneath the leather of the seat to serve in the same way.
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