"I don't think we should be here."
"Stop being such a dick, Kev," Thom answered back to his friend as he climbed through the previously boarded window and dropped down onto the dirty wooden flooring. He kicked up a swirl of dust when he landed, causing Kevin to sneeze. Patting Kevin on the back, Thom gave him a mocking "bless you" as he walked past him and headed to what looked through the darkness to be the outline of a doorframe. Thom fumbled around, feeling the wall until his hand found what it was looking for and an audible click sounded out. A dim light filled the room with an eerie glow and Thom laughed. "The electric's still on, sweet!"
"This reminds me of that game," Kevin said as he looked around the dusty room. He was surprised to see the furniture was still present in the abandoned house.
"Which game is that then?" Thom asked as he took to lying on a rotting couch by the door.
"President wha'?" Thom mocked, knowing Kevin would give him some kind of explanation.
"Oh you know. Bunch of coppers crash in a helicopter, seek shelter in a mansion, kill some monsters and zombies and stuff."
"That's interesting..." Thom said, emphasising the words by putting on a camp voice.
"Oh... stick to your Spyro and Sonic, you furry faggot," Kevin teased in return, mocking his friend's interest in anthropomorphic sub-culture distractions. "Let's take a look around. Maybe we'll find you a stuffed toy to make out with."
"Nice," Thom said as he got up from the couch, dusting himself off whilst Kevin opened the door that lead into an adjoining corridor. There was another light switch by the door which he pressed, filling the passage with enough light to make out certain details - the peeling green wallpaper, the mouldy blue carpet sticking to the rotting floorboards. Moving around was probably going to be precarious. "How'd your date with Modern Warfare go?"
"Get knotted," Kevin returned sneeringly. Thom had loved it when Kevin told him about the infamous red ring of death happening to his console the day he bought the shooting game. He had been waiting a while for its release, even going as far as to decorate the day on the calendar that hung on his bedroom wall. Thom had pointed out that obsessing over a game was equally as eccentric and mental as his being a furry. Kevin agreed with the point of it being daft. He was about to turn around whilst he travelled to the nearest door from the room they came out of when everything he saw passed by in a dim haze of blurriness. He did not feel the impact from the landing after he fell through the floor. Coughing as he tried to get his breath back from being winded, Kevin looked up at the hole his body had made only to see a concerned Thom looking down at him.
"You alright, mate?" he called down.
"Yeah!" Kevin returned as he pushed himself up to stand, hissing when he felt a shooting pain in his left ankle. Taking a moment he steadied his weight and took a couple of tender steps. It was not broken, that much he knew. "I think I see a door."
"Just point to it," Thom instructed. Kevin came back to where the light spilled inside the basement room and pointed to where he thought he saw the door through the darkness. "I'll come down to you."
"Okay," Kevin responded as he limped over to the door and felt for a light switch. Finding it by the doorway Kevin flicked the switch and waited as his eyes adjusted to the light from the brilliance of the bulb.
The room was a contradiction of itself. On one side of the room was a sink adjacent to a side, sat atop with various unlabelled chemicals in conical vases and test tubes. The other side was a tailor's wet dream - racks of clothes were left hanging, collecting dust over the years they had been left around. Next to the rails was an old style sewing machine, complete with wheel and a hatched metal foot pedal. Out of curiosity Kevin pushed the pedal a few times and watched the machine work. The needle seated in the housing rose and fell with the movement of the pedal. The more Kevin watched it the more he could have sworn it started to glow.
"Kev, mate," Thom interrupted having made his way down into the basement room. Kevin looked up at his friend, distracted from the mechanical tool.
"Have you seen this?" Kevin pointed to the needle which had now stopped.
"Yeah, I bet it'd be worth a bit if we took it and sold it."
"Not that. The..." Kevin stopped when he saw the needle was not glowing anymore now that it had ceased moving. Thinking for a second he must have thought it had caught the light, tricking him. He shrugged it off. "Yeah, it probably would..."
"Cool costumes," Thom observed, striding over to the rails and hurriedly flicking through the tailored clothing. "You know what would be a good idea?"
"Probably not," Kevin teased as he went through what was on the chemical side of the room, opening a cupboard beneath the siding to reveal books lined along shelves. He knew from experience that anything which seemed to be a good idea to Thom was probably going to be a generally bad idea. "I already know you're going to suggest wearing some of those fancy dresses over there, what with Halloween only weeks away."
"Well if you've already thought of it, then it must be a good idea," Thom defended.
"Sure..." Kevin thought for a moment. He did not know Thom was going suggest the idea, the thought just occurred to him. Like the idea had been planted in his mind. Hating the idea of debating with himself, Kevin relented. "Okay, why not."
"Sweet," Thom jeered as he continued to rifle through the clothing. "I knew you'd go along with it."
Thom started to randomly pull out costumes and suits to get a better look at them. Kevin continued his inspection of the bookcase, giving a breathy grunt of amused disbelief as he saw Thom paying particular attention to the suits that seemed to represent particular animals. Quite a few of the titles on their spines were degraded beyond recognition. Pulling them out they were mostly about tailoring, it was the odd few which seemed to take a sinister turn from the tailoring theme - books on alchemy and theoretical sorcery. The last book in the case was different from the others; it was hand written.
"Strange..." Kevin muttered to himself.
"What's that?" Thom asked, coming across from the rack of clothes.
"These books..." Kevin started to explain until he noticed three things. One, Thom was head to toe in a blue fox costume with a white front and a bushy tail which hung lazily down to the floor. Two, the costume had breasts. Three, he was holding his own clothing draped over his forearm and a costume over his shoulder. "You're serious?"
"Krystal? You're even more of a furfag than I thought. I hope it's not contagious," Kevin mocked on the brink of breaking out into laughter. Thom merely shrugged.
"It's a fancy dress, mate," he chuckled. "Why not this one?"
"Yeah alright," Thom nodded, relenting. "Could you at least tell me why you're arse-naked under there?"
"I didn't want to damage the suit," he told Kevin before putting his own clothing on top of the bookcase and pulling the suit he had slung over his shoulder and offered it to Kevin. "I picked you one out."
Kevin capitulated and took the green suit with a sneering look, inspecting it by holding it out in front of himself. It was a textured leather piece, dark green mostly but lighter on the front and on the underside of what appeared to be the tail. Along the back, either side of the zippered split, were two limbs that stuck out rigidly. Pulling them up to inspect the limbs Kevin saw that they were wings. A quick inspection of the head confirmed what he suspected. As he stared into the hollowed out eyes in front of the horns sticking back from the head Kevin saw it was a dragon suit he was holding.
"You must be joking..." Kevin muttered under his breath as he was about to step into the suit.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, sweet child of mine," Thom cried out, gripping Kevin on the shoulder to stop him from getting in to the suit. "You're seriously not getting in like that?"
"You expect me to get starkers to get in this dusty old thing?"
"Just a little respect for someone else's property is all."
"You're on about nicking these to use for Halloween," Kevin said, hoping Thom would relent and they could just go home. Thom just shrugged. It was starting to become his catchphrase. Kevin shook his head and took his leg out of the suit. Taking off his shirt he gestured for Thom to face the other way, muttering to himself as he stripped off. "I don't know. You come out into the park at night, break into a creepy old house with your weird mate and fall through the floor. Next you're playing fancy dress, indulging in your friend's love of furfaggotry."
"Don't forget to mention the insatiable thirst for buying Disney DVDs and collecting a truckload of plush dolls. All of which I don't have," Thom threw over his shoulder causing Kevin to snort a laugh.
"I believe you," Kevin jested as he picked up the suit. On the brink of shivering from the cold damp atmosphere he got into the suit with a sense of enthusiasm that he did not want. Kevin stuffed his legs into the suit as far as he could, surprised that his feet reached all the way down to the paws. He pulled the arms up until his fingers reached into the clawed hands and settled the suit onto his shoulders, feeling the weight of the wings pulling him back, causing him to lean forward slightly like he was carrying a heavy rucksack. Sighing he leaned his head forward and pulled the mask part of the suit over his head. It was a small struggle to stop it from crushing his head into his neck but the suit stretched when he forced his head up. Kevin figured he must have broken a couple of stitches, even though he did not hear any snapping. "It's making me sweat. Damn thing's going to make me need a shower when I take it off."
"Yeah, they feel pretty stuffy," Thom agreed as he pointed to the zipper at the base of his suit's back. Kevin grabbed between the bottom of the zip and the base of the tail and quickly fastened the suit. Thom turned Kevin around and pulled his fastener up, sealing him inside the leather dragon. "Looking cool..."
"I look like a twat," Kevin complained as he stood looking over himself. He had not been joking about sweating, he felt unhealthily sticky beneath the material. Kevin pulled at it, finding it stuck to his skin because of the sweat.
"Nonsense, it suits you," Thom barracked as he fidgeted in his choice of character costume.
"Well I know it fits now, so could you undo me so I can get back into some proper clothing?" Kevin told his friend as he turned around and pointed to the top of his back.
"Okay..." Thom agreed as he stepped over to let Kevin out of the dragon costume. He rubbed his hand along the back of Kevin's neck, feeling for where the pull was. Kevin reeled away giggling.
"Stop that, man, it tickles," he protested before walking back with a smile beneath the artificial mask. Looking back at Thom he found it easier to look through the hollowed out eye sections. "Just take it off, okay?"
"Yeah sorry dude," he said before trying again, causing Kevin to flinch again.
"Sorry I just can't find it in this thing," Thom explained. "See if you can get mine off?"
"Sure..." Kevin sighed. "Just turn around and I'll..."
"What?" Thom asked, concerned when Kevin trailed off.
"My mouth moved."
"Yeah, it's called talking," Thom interjected with every hint of sarcastic rebuttal.
"Not my mouth, the mouth."
"Speak English," Thom moaned, not getting what Kevin was trying to explain. Kevin sighed through his nose and looked down at the stone floor, feeling the cold of it through his feet. Nodding to himself, decided on his action, Kevin looked back at Thom and shoved a finger into the side of what should have been the suit's snout. Thom reeled away holding the snout, giving a small yelp of pain as he did so. "What the...hell?"
He got the idea.
"I think we're up shit creek," Kevin said.
"No shit?" Thom asked sarcastically, gently rubbing his snout.
"Yeah, sorry... I know this is weird but we need to get out of... Dude!"
"Could you stop playing with your tits for a minute and get the book on bottom-right of the bookcase?" Kevin told him, or her. Thom let the breasts go and retrieved the book Kevin had asked him to fetch, before embarrassment could set in.
"Why couldn't you get it?" Thom asked prompting Kevin to hold up his clawed hands. "Oh, okay."
"They're not exactly reading hands."
"So what am I looking for?" Thom asked as he started to flick through the pages.
"Content list," Kevin rolled off the ideas. "Anything about removal of the suits or about the conditions of wearing these things, you know. That should narrow it down."
"What makes you think it's this book?"
"It is hand written," he explained. "I'm pretty sure some weird magical suit maker didn't get a book on his work published. It makes sense."
"Someone's been watching too much CSI," Thom remarked as he continued to read.
"I've seen the furry one about ten times," he returned. "Piss myself laughing every time."
"Funny... Hang on..." Thom said curiously, slowly swishing his newfound tail behind him.
"What have you got?" Kevin enquired as he started to move the wings involuntarily.
"I think I've got some kind of warning about putting the suits on," Thom explained. "It says here that we might start to exhibit some form of personality clash as a result of being in the suit."
"So what happens if I can't get this thing off?" Kevin asked as he tugged at his scaled skin, wondering just who in their right mind made a costume that could take over a person. Okay the dragon one he was wearing being enchanted, that made a twisted sort of sense for it to be cursed, but Thom being trapped inside Krystal from that god-awful Starfox game? That was sheer lunacy at best.
"Well in a nutshell, you become the dragon," Thom said as he read from the ancient book. Kevin steadied himself against the table, fidgeting his dark green wings as he tried his best to find a comfortable position. In the end he chose to stand and leaned against the wall.
"Wow, really? That sucks..." Kevin said on reflection.
"Well, it's not the end of the world but," Thom extrapolated with every hint of cynicism. "It says here that whoever is wearing the suits will behave in the way of what they become. You'll probably develop an appetite for virgin maidens and unwavering worship at the hands of desperate human beings who don't want to be eaten, slain, burned alive, or all of the above. If that doesn't say 'end of the world', then I don't know what does."
"I see..." Kevin sighed wishing it was not true, that everything which had happened in the last few hours was a dream. A nightmarish sleep he was about to wake up from at any moment. Unable to pinch himself Kevin poked at his arm with one of his talons, hissing in pain as it tucked behind a scale, reaching the skin between and breaking it. It was not a dream. "So what if you don't get out?"
"I imagine I'll probably have to get used to squatting when I piss."
"Not funny," Kevin said walking away to the door before choosing to stop and lean against the doorframe. Thom joined him and sat on the bottom step.
Sitting on the stone steps leading up to the ground floor Thom sighed. Kevin was sitting on his hind legs, idly playing with his front claws. Thom wiggled the furred toes on his paw-like feet and sighed again. Kevin heard him this time and looked up towards the feminine Thom.
"Thom, are you okay?"
"Sorry... I was thinking about shoes."
"Yeah, little red ones with ankle straps and shiny stones along the toe strap. I think they'd look good on me."
"Sorry," he apologised sombrely when he realised what he was doing. Trying to distract his train of thought he reached down to the floor and picked up one of the broken floorboards and started to hit it lazily against the cold stone floor. "It's the suit."
"Of course it is."
"Who are you!?" Thom asked, shooting up to stand from his perch holding the plank of wood like a bat, wondering just where the hell the strange man in his pinstripe suit had come from.
"I have many names," the strange man said cryptically. "That's not a clichéd euphemism for me being Satan, by the way. That kind of crap is so over rated. No, the name thing is just years of identity theft I've used as a means of paying the bills."
"That doesn't answer my question."
"I'm the person who made those suits you found, including the two you chose to wear."
"Why did you make this one? I mean, Krystal, really?"
"A man gets lonely with his own thoughts and a creative flair," the stranger shrugged. "You should know that else you would not have put it on."
"I put it on for a laugh," Thom denied fiercely. Kevin giggled at the defence Thom put on so strongly.
"He gets it," the man said, pointing and smiling until he saw Thom slowly raising the piece of wood threateningly. "Jonathan is my name."
"Well, Jonathan," Thom sneered, lowering the crude club. "How do we get out of these things?"
"The instructions are in the book you have," Jonathan pointed out. "I'm sure you already knew but you've not read that far yet. You kids never take the time to sit down and read these days. No wonder you're stuck this way."
"Come on," Kevin pleaded. "Just tell us how to get out of the suits and we'll put them back where we found them."
"Put them back?" Jonathan said. "May as well keep them, seeing as you're the only people to show up in the past couple of hundred years."
"The house hasn't been here that long," Kevin pointed out.
"I never said anything about the house," Jonathan corrected honestly. "This place has been here since the fifties. I sold it years ago, but the buyer passed away. I still use it as... storage."
"So you're old then?" Thom asked.
"I thought you didn't like clichés?" Kevin chipped in, referring to Jonathan's earlier comment.
"Look," Jonathan sighed, tired of playing questions. "I'm not some Bond villain explaining all of my evil plans away before I throw you out of a plane. I make living suits - nothing more, nothing less."
"Listen, mate," Kevin said as he stepped forward to get Jonathan's attention. "I don't know about Thom and his weird taste for animals with tits, but I don't want to stay stuck as Saint George'sworst best friend for the rest of my life. So if you don't mind just telling me how to get out of this bloody thing...!"
"Fine, fine, I'll tell you," Jonathan submitted, throwing his hands up. "It takes a little bit of brute force and willpower. Something I'm sure Thom here may be lacking."
"Hey!" Thom protested.
"Grab hold of here and here," Jonathan explained as he put his hands on the back of the heads Kevin and Thom, pointing to each spot. "Then you pull, hard."
"Okay..." Kevin acknowledged as he tried as best as he could manage to take a handful with his claws. Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, Kevin lurched forward and pulled as hard as he could. There was a sickly splitting sound and Kevin yelled out in pain. Almost as quickly as the pain came it went and Kevin opened his eyes. He looked down at his hands, seeing the clump of cloth that had previously covered his head hanging loosely from them. Dropping the head he pulled his hands out of the arms and flexed his human fingers. It felt strange to be himself again, to feel the cold on his normal skin. Without waiting for any more strange occurrences to happen Kevin pulled his legs out from the suit and left it to lie on the floor. His new priority was to put on his clothes, which he did with great enthusiasm. Thom had already managed to free his body from the grip of the unnatural costume and he was already tying his shoelaces.
"So what are you going to do now?" Jonathan asked.
"Well I'm going home," Kevin told him.
"Me too," Thom agreed. "This whole thing has just weirded me out."
"Wait a second," Jonathan called to the two boys to stop them from leaving.
"What?" Kevin asked wanting to know what was so important. Jonathan looked down at the floor and back at the boys. After a quick sigh he put both hands behind his head and pulled. Kevin gaped in awe at the sight. The human façade of Jonathan was swept away in one quick motion, replaced by long chestnut brown hair and orange fur. The mask fell away to reveal purple eyes and a white snout. The distraction worked, Thom and Kevin were not going to leave just yet. The creature managed a smile as it let the human suit drop to the floor, revealing the rest of her body. The breasts gave that much information away. Thom continued to stare, even as Kevin looked away in respect for her naked body.
"At least stick around to listen to my story...?" the vixen asked. Kevin sighed and nodded.