A commission for C-Flare. His character buys a costume at a strange stop and you should see where this is going.
Late Night Shopping
It was getting late as C-Flare continued his stroll through the indoor shopping center. Most of the stores were in the process of closing up if they had not already done so. C-Flare was just about ready to head home himself. The mall was closing anyway. He left through the front doors where there were a few stores outside the main mall. There was something unsettling about the center at night as everything closed down. He couldn’t explain it, it was just like an uncomfortable tingle running down his spine. It was approaching midnight, it was time to get out of here. But something gave C-Flare pause as he walked past the stores outside the mall. There was exactly one shop left open. It was one he had never seen before, and in fact was sure that a building hadn’t even been there. The shop had a simple sign above it reading ‘Magic Shop’ and an open sign hanging in the window.
This was certainly curious enough to catch C-Flare’s attention, and despite that warning sensation running down his body decided to approach the shop and head inside.
“Welcome!” A female cashier greeted him as he stepped into the store. C-Flare responded with a polite nod before looking around the shop.
The shop was surprisingly plain looking. It looked like any other mom and pop store, just a few rows of shelves lined with various products. C-Flare began to walk through the different rows examining them. There were five rows of shelves total and at first glance the products on them all appeared to be pretty normal. Snacks, toys, small decorations. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that all the products had strange names. A drink called Gator Aider, a board game titled Shifting Stratum, a small statue of a cat listed as Cursed Guardian. All of them had colorful packaging that seemed to show sparkles intended to be magical effects on the person using the item in the picture. There were also a number of items laying loose in a small container in a corner. The packaging was open on most of them, indicating they were likely returned items.
“Excuse me?” The voice came from directly behind C-Flare and startled him. It was just another store employee, a short man dressed in some kind of robe or cloak with a hood pulled up that cast a shadow over his face. “Is there anything I can help you find today?”
“Um… No thanks.” C-Flare stepped back away from the employee. Where had they come from? He had only seen the cashier here. And why was he dressed like that? Well it was obvious really, the shop was clearly trying to follow a theme. So everything here was given a magical name like a brand of cereal being labeled as ‘Dragon Gems.’ But there was nothing C-Flare actually needed he had just been browsing. After all, he had never seen the shop before and was curious what they sold. Plus, it was the only place open this late. With his curiosity sated it was about time for C-Flare to leave.
But before that… There was something that felt off about the cashier and the stocker. Before leaving C-Flare approached the cashier standing at her register.
“Anything catch your eye?” The cashier looked mostly normal, but she exceptionally pale skin, as if all the blood had been drained from it.
“No, nothing yet.” C-Flare replied.
“Alright let me know if you want to buy anything.” She leaned back. “In the meantime feel free to help yourself to a complimentary snack, we keep them out for all shoppers.” She gestured at a tray sitting atop the counter. When C-Flare saw the tray he froze in place.
The tray was full of colorful marshmallow candies each in the shape of a different animal. That wasn’t what made him freeze in place though. The marshmallows were moving, walking around in the tray. In fact, if he listened closely he could even hear growls or squeaks as the animals interacted with each other. What was he looking at?
Was the store actually magic, and not just playing at a theme? C-Flare couldn’t think of any other explanation for what he was looking at. But if the place did sell magical items he had to wonder if it was safe to be using them. He didn’t know anything about magic. Yet another part of him was curious if they might have something in stock. A secret dream C-Flare had always had, one that was physically impossible, or at least might have been until now.
“Actually do you sell…” C-Flare paused about what to ask for. He knew what he wanted, but he didn’t actually know what item if any could cause his dream to come true. “A um… costume.” He asked. “Maybe one to make me a fox?”
“Just a second.” The cashier bent down as she dug around beneath the counter. Then she pulled out a black box and sat it on the counter directly in front of C-Flare. C-Flare could feel his heart beating intensely in anticipation of what he was about to see. The cashier opened the box and inside of it was a very realistic looking fox costume. “It’s $2,000.” This last remark made C-Flare’s hopes suddenly go crashing to the ground.
That was a lot of money. But he had convinced himself this place was real. And that meant it could actually work. Yet, could he afford to spend that much on it? He debated with himself internally. Finally he made a decision.
“Do you take credit cards?” C-Flare asked. If the costume did what he was hoping for, then paying it and interest off over a few months was worth it.
“Of course.” The cashier grinned and held out a hand. C-Flare quickly got his wallet out, produced his card and handed it to her. For a brief second their hands touched and he noticed her body was ice cold. He jerked his hand back faster than he intended and just watched as the cashier ran his card. Then she printed a receipt, asked for his signature, and it was done. “It’s all yours.” She spoke with a sly smile. “But make sure you take everything off before you put it on, if you want it to work at least.”
C-Flare grabbed the black box and clutched it greedily to his chest. He was absolutely sure this was going to work. He thanks the cashier before quickly heading out the door and breaking into a run. He wanted to get home as fast as possible to try this on and see if it would actually work.
He was out of breath by the time he got back to the apartment, and running the entire way meant his legs hurt making going up the stairs painful, especially doing all this holding the box that was rather heavy.
As soon as C-Flare was inside his home he stripped himself of all clothing, tossing them aside in a pile. Then he opened the box and looked at the costume. It was divided into three sections, a pair of legs that included a set of paws and a tail. A chest piece which would completely cover his arms, hands and all the way up to his neck. And lastly was the head piece. C-Flare took a few deep breaths and as he pulled the first part of the costume on. Slipping his legs into the costume’s legs he was surprised how easy it was. He was certain it would be tight, or he’d have trouble getting his feet into the paws at the end of it. But it only took a few seconds and the lower half of the costume was on.
And then it happened. Suddenly, the costume piece tightened, pressing hard against C-Flare’s skin. At the same time, it felt like his legs were pushing back against the costume, and slowly the two began to pass through each other. C-Flare was caught off guard. He had assumed the entire costume would have to be on before anything would happen. Yet, here he was, watching the costume merge with his body, and then the costume was no more. Instead, from the waist down he was covered in actual fur. A little bit of white at his waist, then mostly orange with the fur turning black at his paws. And he had an orange, white and black pattern as well. He reached down a hand and touched his fur. It was definitely real. Especially as he looke over himself and saw his tail which he could move at will. He wagged it back and forth testing it. As he was now, he looked like a satyr, except a fox based one instead of a goat.
It was real. It was actually real. Not wasting any more time C-Flare quickly grabbed the top half of the costume and slid it on like putting on a shirt. Just like the lower half, it was easy to slide into and fit perfectly. Then as soon as it was fully on he felt the sensation of the costume squeezing him as his body pushed back. He looked down and watched as the costume and his body merged, the fake fur becoming actual real fur that covered almost his entire body. The white continued from his lower waist all the way up his stomach, chest and neck. Then with the exception of his hands, the rest of his fur was orange. His hands much like his feet were covered in black fur. C-Flare was shaking. It was actually happening. He was almost entirely transformed, the only thing left was his human head. There was zero hesitation as he grabbed the head and slammed it on over his own head like a helmet.
By now he knew what to expect. Just like the other two pieces it slid on easily enough. And just like them the head began to squeeze against his body once it was on. This time it felt stranger though, likely from the sensation of the costume’s muzzle merging with his own mouth and nose. There was a sensation of his face being stretched out… And then it was over. The changes were 100% complete.
C-Flare ran to the bathroom to get a look at himself in the mirror. The reflection staring back at him was a humanoid fox. He even had the proper muzzle, ears atop his head and of course he already knew he had a working tail. There was a small patch of black hair atop his head between his two ears. His old human hair, the only sign leftover of what he had been just moments again.
It felt like a dream. C-Flare slowly lifted a hand up and tugged on one of his ears. He could feel it! And if he tugged too hard it hurt! They were sensitive! He tried twitching them, watching his reflection in the mirror with delight as he got a feel for his new body. He was expecting to have an awkward moment after the change, to at least be off balance going from a plantigrade human to a digitigrade fox. But moving around and controlling this body, he could do it by instinct. He let out a laugh. He couldn’t contain himself anymore. He was just so happy. Even when he became convinced the store was magic, even when he bought the costume, none of it had felt real. It wasn’t until this very moment while he stared at his transformed body that it began to truly feel real. And C-Flare simply could not contain himself. He had never been filled with so much glee in his life. He went back to the living room and flopped onto the couch letting his tail hang over the side. But, there was the question of ‘now what?’
He had been transformed? Would people still recognize him as himself? Or would they see a strange fox. These were questions he could probably get answers to back at the magic shop. And since the costume had worked, everything else in there likely also worked. There were so many items, he couldn’t even begin to imagine the possible number of combinations of magical effects they may have. Yes, going back to the store for more information, and maybe pick up something else, that was the correct way to go. As he mused he noticed something was left over in the box. A manual. Apparently it had instructions on how to change back. But of course that didn’t answer all of his questions. He’d have to go to the store to get more answers.
“I’ll head there tomorrow.” C-Flare spoke to himself. “Maybe I’ll even take a friend.” He grinned at the thought, wondering if that happened if they’d leave with a costume two. For now though it was exceptionally late, well past the time usually stayed up. He curled his tail around himself and drifted off to sleep on the couch. The warm and softness of his own fur made it easy to slumber. For now he rested. But tomorrow… Tomorrow would be an interesting day.