Patreon reward for Zeelo. Zeelo goes camping but picked the wrong lake to take a dip in.
It wasn’t often Zeelo went camping. In fact, he wasn’t sure if he had been camping before. Still, climbed out of his tent, surrounded by nature completely secluded he could start to see what people liked about it. Yet, he couldn’t shake the notion something was wrong. He understood this was supposed to be a fairly popular camping ground, and yet no one else was here. Zeelo couldn’t shake the feeling he had made a wrong turn somewhere. He had to take his car off road to get here and it had been pretty late at night so was hard to read the signs. Perhaps he had just set his own tent up a little further away from the normal campgrounds? Well… It didn’t seem to be hurting anything at least.
Zeelo was still dressed in his jeans and shirt from yesterday and was ready to get into some clean clothes. However he wanted to clean up a bit before changing. He was pretty the camp had advertised being on a lake somewhere in the brochure. If he could find the lake he could rinse himself off a bit before changing into his clean clothes. Plus, there’d probably be other campers at the lake. For now he tossed his clean clothes into a backpack, put on some shoes and set out to look for the lake.
Sticking to the forest trails Zeelo was able to avoid getting lost. But after three trails he tried reached a dead end with no lake he began to worry he really had gone to the wrong campground somehow. He was considering heading back and packing up his tent leaving when the fourth trail finally ended before a body of water. Zeelo wasn’t sure if he’d call it a lake. It was kind of small for that, about the same size as a backyard swimming pool really. He’d probably call it a pond or maybe a spring… The brochure must have embellished the details a little bit. Still, at least he had found it and that meant he was where he was supposed to be. And yet… He looked around the shore seeing no other tents or campers whatsoever. Why was no one else here? Maybe it was just that early in the morning?
Well… There were certain advantages to being alone. Zeelo strode up to the ‘lakes’ edge and looked down into the water. It was crystal clear. Looked healthier than the bottled water he had brought with him. He dropped his bag on the shore then quickly stripped off his shirt and tossed it aside followed by his shoes and socks. Then he spared one more quick glance around the ‘lake’ to confirm that no one else was in fact here. Certain he was alone, Zeelo slowly pulled his pants and underwear down. Lastly, he took off his glasses and set them carefully atop his clothes before leaping naked into the water. It felt great. The water was neither too hot or cold and as he paddled around he began to feel awake and refreshed.
Skinny dipping had not actually been on Zeelo’s original agenda. The simple fact was that he had neglected to pack a swimsuit. He had just hoped to wash his face and arms off a bit before finding a secluded spot to change clothes… But since no one else was here he figured he might as well take advantage of it. He closed his eyes and let himself float in the lake for a bit just enjoying the moment. However, he didn’t let it last long. There was no telling when other campers might show up, and he’d probably want to have some pants on by that point. He would definitely want to make sure he didn’t forget his trunks next time. Maybe if he got lucky though he could get out here before everyone else tomorrow morning again.
Zeelo swam back to the shore and walked up onto the surface. He shook himself as dry as he could before reaching around for his glasses and fumbling to put them back on. But… Something was wrong, his vision was blurry through the glasses. He quickly rubbed them off with his hand, assuming something must have gotten on them. Yet, still he couldn’t see. He took the glasses off to try and figure out the problem, but the moment the glasses were off his vision was clear. He could see better without them. That wasn’t right… He had needed glasses since he was a teenager. What was going on?
Zeelo would figure it out later. He needed to get dressed. He quickly grabbed his bag and pulled out a clean pair of boxers. But as he held them up they looked way too big. There was no possible way the waistline that big would fit his body! Those couldn’t be his! They had to belong to someone else! How had they gotten in his bag? He’d figure it out later. For now he grabbed his clean jeans only to find that they too were far too wide and too long for him to properly wear.
Now he was just confused. He dropped the jeans and slowly picked up the pair he had been wearing previously. They too looked too big, in fact even bigger than the clean pair. But… They had fit perfectly. That wasn’t possible unless Zeelo had shrunk.
Realization began to dawn. He looked around, realizing the entire forest seemed to be a bit bigger than it had before. He looked down at his own body. His proportions were off. He looked like he had lost weight, but his figure was still more round, and his arms and legs seemed way too short!
Zeelo quickly ran back to the water and looked down into it to get a look at his reflection. Instead of his normal self he saw the face of a child staring back at him, a child that couldn’t be older than nine or ten. No wait… Eight. Wait… Maybe seven?
Wait! Zeelo hadn’t been mistaken about the reflection’s age. It was getting younger right before his eyes! He was getting younger! No wonder none of his clothes fit! And… That explained why he could see! He wouldn’t need glasses for at least another 8 years at this age! But… How was this happening!?
“What’s going on!?” Zeelo squeaked and nearly fell back in shock from the sound of how high pitched his own voice was. He really was a kid now. But… How? Why? The only thing he had done was go for a swim. Was the water somehow responsible? He crouched on the lake shore and stared at his reflection. He was a mere six year old now, looking like he belonged in kindergarten. Actually… He was kind of cute… He wouldn’t mind being a kid again…
But then it was the face of a five year old. And then a four year old. He was still growing younger! How small would he go? Would it stop at all? Zeelo began to back away from the water, certain it had cause the problem. Part of him thought maybe if he got away it’d stop. Another part was scared of what would happen if more of the water splashed on him. As he moved backwards he felt his legs start to get wobbly. He was returning to his toddler years and could feel his strength leaving him. He had to take slower more deliberate steps to avoid falling over. But soon even that became impossible. His legs gave out and he wound up falling back onto his bottom. He let out a squeak, tried to stand back up but only managed to fall forward onto all fours. His ability to walk was gone.
“Abuw bwuh!” Zeelo tried to shout but no words came out. He was too young for them. He looked around in panic expecting there to be more but the shrinking seemed to finally stop. He lay still in the grass for a bit unsure of what to do. After a few minutes of not getting any younger or disappearing he slowly began to move. He crawled closer to the lake again so he could look at his reflection. He was an infant now. He had to be less than a year old. But… At least he wasn’t getting any younger.
Zeelo had mixed feelings. Again, he actually found the idea of being a kid again to have a certain appeal. But he was too young now! How was he even supposed to get home from the camp! How would he explain any of this when he got home if he wasn’t even old enough to make words!
Zeelo was roused from his thoughts when he heard movement coming from behind him. He crawled in a half circle so he could get a look. Was it another camper? Maybe someone who could help him? No luck. It was just an animal. A very large animal from his point of view.
She was a wolf, with long gray fur. Had Zeelo been his normal age, he might have thought she looked like a friendly husky. But… His current age made him quite a bit smaller than her, and that made the wolf terrifying. Especially when that wolf’s eyes darted across the shoreline and then focused on Zeelo. The wolf came towards him. Zeelo let out a squeak and began to try to crawl away. It was no use, there was no possible way for a human baby to outpace an adult wolf. She caught up to him with a casual trot before placing a paw on his back holding him in place. Zeelo let out shrieks and gurgles, hoping someone would hear him and come running. He was sure he was the exact right size for a snack for the wolf and that this was about to end very poorly for him.
The wolf lowered her head and as she held Zeelo firmly in place with her paw. She then opened her mouth as she moved closer to the back of his head… And then she gave him a single lick. It was something a playful dog would have greeted its owner with.
“Bwuh?” Zeelo squeaked in confusion as he paused from his shrieks.
“Arf.” The wolf seemed to reply to him. Then she turned him over onto his back and this time gave him another friendly lick on his face. Zeelo giggled a bit due to it tickling and pushed back against the wolf’s muzzle with his hands. This seemed to entertain the wolf who responded with a merciless onslaught of woofy kisses. Zeelo was reduced to a helpless fit of giggles as he rolled onto his back. Then he began to feel strangely warm. It was a pleasant sensation that spread through his entire body as if something was covering him like a blanket. It was so nice he couldn’t help but wag his tail… Tail?
“Awoo?” Zeelo tried to address the wolf as he stared up at her in confusion. He wasn’t sure what was going on… But she had done something to him. He squirmed over onto his belly and tried to stand up, this time managing to on four sets of paws. He let out a bark as he realized he was a wolf, then tripped over his paws and landed on his belly. The older wolf slowly laid down next to him, brushing her fur against his him. Zeelo found himself rubbing into that fur by instinct. She was warm and his tiny body felt so vulnerable. Grasping the wolf’s side made him feel safe, as if everything was going to be alright.
The wolf meanwhile stared out at the lake for a few seconds before glancing back at Zeelo as if she knew something. Zeelo himself hadn’t noticed. In the warmth of her fur he was starting to suddenly realize he was tired and began to nod off. After a few seconds he was out, still nuzzled into the wolf as if she were a giant plushie.
The wolf sat in silence letting Zeelo sleep in peace for a bit. After a few seconds her ears began to twitch as if she heard something. With graceful ease she slipped from the pup’s side and stood up. Then she bit down gently onto his neck. With glacial speed she lifted the napping cub by the nape of his neck. Once this occurred to moved at a graceful trot as she disappeared back into the forest, careful not to jostle or awaken the sleeping pup.
Zeelo had no idea how long he had been asleep for. The last few moments before he fell asleep had been a dream… But as he woke up he began to realize it was reality. He was in a cave now, a surprisingly warm cave. He could just see the entrance with the light shining through. It wasn’t the cave itself that was warm though, it was the person that shared it with him. The she wolf that had found him was curled up in a circle around Zeelo. Her fur surrounded him from almost every angle, acting like a warm blanket that left him feeling happy and safe.
But… That meant it was real. He really had turned into a wolf pup! And… Now… What was going on? Had he been adopted by a wild animal? He was so confused… And… Hungry! He hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before. His stomach was aching he was so hungry, and despite his best effort he felt tears coming to his eyes as he started to wail. The wolf snapped to attention. Her ears perked up in full alert once she heard Zeelo’s cries. She looked at him with what Zeelo could only assume was concern. His cries died down to sobs as he began to realize this animal was far more intelligent than she should have been.
The wolf stood up, leaving Zeelo on the cave floor. He shivered, missing her warmth as she suddenly bounded off into the back of the cave on all fours. Less than a minute later she returned, dragging a bag by its strap. She stopped directly in front of Zeelo, then grabbed the back with her teeth and emptied the contents onto the floor in front of him. It was full of snacks! Trail mix, jerky and some cookies! Zeelo clumsily grabbed for one of the bagged treats, tearing at baby teeth but unable to open it. The wolf watched him with interest, then realizing the problem snatched it from his mouth, bit edge of the package open before dropping it in front of Zeelo.
Zeelo greedily pounced upon it and began to devour the jerky inside. Thank goodness his wolf body was able to handle these foods. After devouring the entire thing he picked up a juice box in his mouth. His body may have been young and feral, but he still had his adult human memories and experience. He could get the juice box open! He pulled the straw off with his teeth, dropping the box on the floor. He mashed the straw down poking it into the box and began to lick up juice that spilled onto the floor. He drunk up the entire thing in a few seconds, immediately making himself feel better. Now that he wasn’t starving he could think straight.
Zeelo looked at the bag and the items that came from it. They looked like camping supplies someone had brought. Had the wolf stolen them from someone just for him? Well… If so he was really thankful! He felt slightly bad about whoever she had stolen them from… But it was a lot better than if she had brought him back a chunk of raw meat! She really was smarter than a normal animal… And she seemed to want to take care of him. After all, she had literally turned him into her pup.
Zeelo let out a happy squeak and crawled over to the wolf. He managed to balance on his hind legs for just a few seconds to give her a lick on the cheek. The wolf flinched slightly, but permitted it before slowly reaching down to give the cub an affectionate lick on the head.
This wasn’t so bad… It wasn’t what Zeelo would have chosen for a second childhood… But he could get used to being a wolf’s cub.
As for the wolf… Ever since she had taken a sip from the fountain of youth she had been blessed with not only being forever in her prime, but also enhanced intelligence and unnatural abilities. It was nice to have a companion of similar intelligence, even if he was helpless. Of course… This was something Zeelo had no way of knowing now… But as time went on he’d start to suspect it. After all, his mama clearly showed she was smarter than the average wolf. And as time went on she never would get older.
That was probably just as well. One sip from the fountain of youth was enough to leave someone in their prime forever. Zeelo’s little swim had done much more than that. No matter how much time passed the puppy never got any older. Yet… He didn’t notice as the months turned to years. His mama wolf was always there to take care of him and keep him company. And so neither of them were ever lonely or bored.