Seven Days 2

Morning brought sunlight and a wonderful sense of peace and anticipation, but not the slightest disorientation or confusion.

Laura rolled out of bed, and scavenged whatever was left in her kitchen before stepping into the shower stall in her closet-sized bathroom. The hot water felt wonderful, though she wished she had better shampoo and conditioner to use on her long white-and-red hair. Working around her horns to wash it was certainly interesting and took some concentration, but she had to admit that she loved every minute of it. Her tail writhed around her, not really much practical help, but it did seem to be demonstrating her mood and it definitely influenced her balance, moving on instinct to counterbalance anything the rest of her body did. That could have fascinating implications for dancing.

Clean, she strode back out to the main room.

She was supposed to work today, although as usual she was closing. It wasn’t like she needed her evenings free, her manager said reasonably when making the schedule. Laura was at least thirty, after all, and didn’t move so well these days so she certainly wouldn’t be out dancing or anything like that, and closing meant she could sleep in.

She picked up her phone and sent a text message to her manager. «An emergency came up. I literally can’t come in. I’ll tell you when I can.»

She didn’t really care what the reply was. She could guess. She turned the phone off completely and tossed it on top of the dresser.

Her dance costumes for both practice and performance, collected over years and a few of them custom work, had all been sold to pay bills, and her remaining wardrobe was limited, but surely she could find something that would fit.

A stretchy matte-black mini-skirt could be adjusted to sit low enough that it didn’t interfere with her tail, though it fit tightly over her hips and bottom in a way that actually delighted her, emphasizing the roundness. Sadly, she didn’t have so much as a dance scarf to tie over it.

Very little fit comfortably over her chest. She unearthed an oversized T-shirt she normally wore on sloppy days with leggings, cut off the bottom but left two strips at the front, and tied it around her ribs as a makeshift crop top.

All of her dressy high heels were gone, too, abandoned as torture devices that aggravated her back, leaving her with nothing over an inch high and even those were wedges or thick heels. She chose the least-boring pair.

All in all, it was sexy bordering on slutty, and it was improvised, and she was going to draw attention for multiple reasons.

That was fine. It would do for now.

Into a small black purse she tucked her keys and her bank card and her TTC pass. The cap liner she slid under her laptop so it would be there when she wanted it. The phone she left on the dresser.

She locked the door behind her.

Out on the sidewalk, she paused to consider her options. She had a limited amount in her bank account, but she didn’t care whether she spent it all. She could deal with that when it came. Besides, it was distinctly possible that, looking like this, she could more than replace it before the week was up. She’d better: she was almost certainly unemployed.

First she needed better clothes.

There were places she could get the kinds of glittery flashy dance costumes she missed, but she wouldn’t be able to pay for them. She was going to have to settle for visiting the best thrift store she knew of instead.

Which meant catching a streetcar to Queen West.

On the walk to the stop, she couldn’t help but notice that everyone she passed paused to watch. She added an extra sway to her hips, as best she could in her current shoes, and pretended not to notice, but it delighted her. Just a demoness strolling down the street on her own business, not harrassing anyone, but maybe giving a few fantasies for later.

She felt so good that the word didn’t even apply. She hadn’t slept that well in months, there was no pain registering at all, and she was damned sexy even in her improvised clothes. She had a week of heaven ahead of her.

What would happen at the end of that week, she simply refused to think about. She wasn’t wasting this on angsting about consequences.

The others waiting at the stop couldn’t seem to take their eyes off her.

The driver just stared at her, open-mouthed, when she calmly stepped onto the streetcar and scanned her card. She didn’t much want to sit down—over her new curves, this skirt was quite short if she bent at the waist—so she stayed standing, holding one of the support bars. Once the driver shook himself into motion, the weather-damaged rails embedded into the street surface made the streetcar bounce and rock under her, and she halfway closed her eyes, getting lost in the subtle flexing of her own body as it shifted instinctively to compensate. Her tail snaked itself around a vertical bar to help steady her.

The thrift store staff and customers kept stopping whatever they were doing when she came near, just… watching.

It didn’t look to her like fear. No one screamed, no one fled. That was all that mattered, really.

She searched through the racks and finally came up with a combination that would be acceptable, although she’d need to visit the dollar store so she could make a quick adjustment. She paid for it all, then backtracked to the changerooms so she could switch right now.

The ankle-length skirt had considerable volume, several tiers of fine lightweight cotton, some of them with a delicate pattern of tiny purple stars and some plain black. The drawstring waist meant she could adjust it as she pleased, and she loosened it enough for it to rest low on her hips, nudging the underside of the base of her tail and showing off her abdomen.

The black halter top could have used some bling, but it did have a fringe along the lower edge, and it did a lovely and tasteful job of displaying her enhanced cleavage. Apparently she didn’t need any kind of support, although logically she thought she should have; she hoped that would continue to be true when she got the opportunity to dance.

The strappy high-heeled black shoes were hardly worn at all, and fit with unexpected comfort once she’d adjusted the multiple buckles properly around her foot and up to her ankle. It had been a long time since she’d worn three-inch heels.

Her treasure was a bright red dance scarf, dripping with sequins and beads. Someone had retired or had tried and given up, presumably. Tying that in place and adjusting its fit around her hips, a familiar motion that she’d missed so badly, gave her a sense of outright unadulterated joy.

Her reflection thrilled her. She twisted back and forth, making her skirt swirl around her, then dropped a hip and did a slow figure-of-eight roll.

That demon in the mirror only looked more sexy, moving like that.

The change room was much too cramped for her to do anything fun, but she could hardly wait until she could really let go and find out how much of her muscle memory lingered.

She shoved her old skirt and modified T-shirt and shoes into a small backpack she’d just picked up for exactly that, and left.

A brief stop at a nearby dollar store gained her a box of safety pins. In the parking lot, one tier at a time, she gathered the skirt upwards to mid-thigh, showing off her left leg and giving herself more freedom of movement. She shook herself, making sure it was going to stay secure, and smiled in satisfaction. The weight and swing and drape of the soft cotton felt wonderful, and the modification added a bit of a tease while increasing her awareness of the contrast, the edges of the new opening brushing against her bare leg.

Also improvised, but she was much more pleased with this.

She noticed a man nearby watching her, eyes rather glazed, apparently having halted in his tracks on his way into the dollar store. He was cute, if much too young for her.

She winked at him. “Hi, handsome.”

He dropped to his knees in front of her. “Yes.”

Taken aback, she froze in place. “Yes, what?”

“Yes, Goddess?”

“What are you saying yes to?”

“Anything you want, Goddess. My body is yours.”

“Uh… right. Get up. Go back to what you were doing.”

He rocked instantly to his feet. “If you need me, just call me.”


She watched him go. Men were strange sometimes. He must have a seriously strong fetish for demon imagery or something.

There was a deli next door, and it advertised fresh-baked bread and homemade soup. She could get herself something to eat. Being hungry a lot was normal but not normally to this degree.

The woman behind the counter gave her that same kind of glazed look and, now that she was watching for it, so did the handful of other customers.

Just as an experiment, Laura said, “Do I have to pay for this?”

“Can I watch you eat and enjoy it?” the woman asked.

Admittedly, anyone could have a kinky side, but a woman old enough to be her mother, in a simple white uniform-like blouse and with her greying hair in a net, seemed an unlikely candidate.

“Um, sure.”

“I would never ask you to pay for that.”

“I’ll pay for it,” another customer, a male one, volunteered. “Just to see you take pleasure in it.”

“Uh… okay…” Laura said. She thought of the man outside. “If I were to ask any of you to have sex, which I am not doing, would you say yes?”

“Instantly,” the male customer said, and several other voices chimed in, enthusiastic or breathless.

“And if I were to ask you to, um, sign a petition against the League?”

That made his forehead furrow. “I can’t think why I’d want to, but if it would make you happy and get you in the mood for sex…”

“So… pretty much you’ll do what I ask if it means there’s a chance I might have sex with you.”

That got her a chorus of agreement.


“Because you’re the sexiest person I’ve ever met,” the talkative man said seriously. “You’re like a literal goddess. It would be a miracle, being permitted to have sex with you. Worth anything.”

“Right. Okay. I think I’m going to take my food and go sit outside somewhere to eat it. I’ll pay you for it, since I won’t be sitting here.” The thought of this many people all watching her take every bite, their attention fixed on her to the exclusion of their own meals, was just too creepy.

“Oh, no, I’ll pay for it,” the man said. “Just because I got to see you and be this close to you.”

Laura shrugged to herself. “Sure. Thank you.” Because she felt a little guilty, but not much, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek as she picked up her order.

There was a park not too far away. She settled herself on the grass with her food and opened the bag.

Compared to the cheap trash she’d been eating, the simple fresh soup and sandwich and diced fruit cup and smoothie were a small heaven all their own. She savoured it all, eyes mostly closed, the textures and flavours of every bite an experience in itself. So much of her life had been washed out in a pain-coloured filter exacerbated by her sudden poverty, she’d forgotten the little things that just made her happy in her own body, all the little sensations that connected her with the world. The tickle of the breeze against her back felt like a caress, and the sun felt good on her exposed skin, warm and welcoming.

She did need to try to think, though.

She was reasonably certain that her transformation was something Eureka had done via the energy drink, although she wasn’t going to even try to guess the mechanism for that.

Among the nearly seven million people in the Greater Toronto Area and the constant flow in and out of visitors, there would always be someone who found absolutely anything to be the greatest fetish in the world. The League’s Canadian HQ was in Toronto, because despite not being the national capital it was easily the largest city and it put them within fairly close range of a fifth of the population; supervillains migrated in just like anyone else looking for opportunities. That made Toronto the one place in the country the most familiar with all the strangeness that came with that, and that was on top of the normal strangeness that came as a package deal with off-the-rails diversity and multiculturalism.

It seemed rather unlikely that she was just rolling the dice and running into nonstop demon fetishists today, and while her current body was sexy as hell, that couldn’t possibly account for this kind of behaviour, so something else was going on.

The only thing that had changed was her, thanks to that energy drink.

So did that mean that she’d been given superpowers along with a transformation?

Was that going to mean that everyone she met would be so obsessed with the hope of sex with her that they would do anything she said?

She tucked all her environmentally-friendly trash neatly back into the paper bag it had come in and set it on the ground next to her, then drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, loving the freedom to sit that way without her back screaming at her. Her tail wrapped itself around as well, the furry tuft resting on the opposite arm. Thoughtfully, she scanned the area. Families with children, individuals jogging, people walking dogs—sometimes while jogging. All colours and sizes and ages and styles, which was to be expected in this part of the city.

It had crossed her mind that she could drop by one of the stripper bars and take advantage of her current circumstances. Technically she needed a license, she knew that, but she was sure that she could circumvent that by spinning the right story in the right place about wanting to test whether she’d be successful at it before spending the considerable fee on that. She knew how to move, even how to pole dance since one of her ex-friends-and-partners at the studio had taught lessons in it and they’d tried to learn the basics of each other’s specialties; even if her wardrobe was limited, she had no doubt she could work around that for a single evening, with the funds to improve the situation after that. Dancing was dancing, after all, and it was inherently a sensual act under any conditions. She wasn’t entirely adverse to the idea of sex for money, at the moment—she was planning to find someone to scratch that itch, and if she could negotiate a bonus out of that, so much the better. Repressive sex-work laws could go to hell where they belonged, it was her body and she’d do what she liked.

If her ability to attract attention and desire was an outright superpower… that changed everything.

A young woman of some difficult-to-isolate ethnic background, in tattered grey jeans and a loose worn T-shirt and her dark hair in a long braid, stood under a streetlamp pole with an electric guitar, a small amp sitting on the ground next to the open guitar case.

What would happen if…?

Laura smiled, and got up in one smooth motion. She made a brief detour to toss her trash in a recycling bin on her way to the busker.

“Hi,” she greeted the busker, who looked at her and her dark-lined brown eyes widened, focusing on Laura to the exclusion of anyone else in the area. The image on her T-shirt, Laura noted absently, was Freddy Mercury.

“Uh, hi.” The busker licked her glossy coffee-coloured lips, and swallowed hard.

“I’d like to dance. I need someone to play for me. I can work with just about anything, but I’d rather have something faster than a folk ballad. You were just playing Roxy Roller, that’ll do just fine. Anything we get, we split fifty-fifty. Is that fair?”

“Uh… yeah, sure. That sounds amazing.”

“Good. Try to concentrate on that. The better the music, the better I can dance to it.”


Laura planted a foot on the nearest bench and bent over her knee in a slow stretch, then repeated it with the other foot. She really should be doing a full set of warmup stretches. Her current euphoric sense of health and energy didn’t mean she was immune to something as simple as muscle strain, which could thwart the rest of her week. But she couldn’t bear the thought of waiting any longer. She needed this, needed to feel her body move, needed to share that with an audience.

The busker touched the strings of her guitar, and raised her low rich voice, and everything else just… stopped. The only thing that mattered was the sheer joy of the dance, grounded in modern belly dance but incorporating anything else that had ever caught her attention as expressive and appealing. The strength and fluidity of her body, the swing of skirt and hair, the deep satisfaction of using skills she’d worked so many long days to learn—sometimes with a different kind of pain that she’d accepted as a transitory price. It was, in many ways, better than sex could ever be, and more intimate a moment between dancer and musician than between lovers.

The busker was actually very talented, and it came through more strongly as they adjusted to each other. The other woman chose Shakira’s ‘Whenever, Wherever’ to slide into next, and followed it with Santana and Rob Thomas’ ‘Smooth,’ both of which Laura considered excellent choices.

Laura glanced at the busker, and the woman wound down at the end of that one. Laura finally, though only with reluctance, stopped moving, doing her best not to show that she was somewhat short of breath after the exertion. That sort of thing just looked sloppy and unprofessional.

The guitar case held quite a lot more than it had, and it wasn’t all silvery and brassy and bi-coloured coins. Mixed in with them was a rainbow of colourful bills of all denominations: blue fives, purple tens, green twenties, even the occasional gleam of a pink fifty and a couple of brown hundreds. The young busker woman crouched beside it, sorting it swiftly into the two ends of the case.

“Please keep dancing,” one man watching begged.

“I need a break,” Laura said. “If I don’t rest, I could hurt myself and then I wouldn’t be able to dance anymore. But I’m very grateful for the generosity, and I hope you enjoy fantasizing later about how much fun I’d be in bed.”

“Where can we watch you again?”

“Oh, I’ll be around. I need to go buy at least one new dance costume and this will help enormously, so thank you for that.”

“Do you have a name?” another one asked.

She certainly wasn’t going to use her real name.

“Call me… Carnal.” That seemed appropriate. Her most urgent priorities were all very physical and body-focused, after all.

The young busker straightened and handed her a stack of bills. “That’s as close to half as I can estimate, from what was there before. And thank you. That was… I’m here most days right now. I’d love to do it again.” The young woman blushed, darkening her warm-brown skin along her cheeks, but met her gaze steadily.

Interesting: she didn’t look so bewitched she couldn’t think of anything else. Had that moment of rapport somehow superceded the effect? That was worth taking note of.

“I’ll remember that.” Laura leaned closer and kissed her, and let it linger. She heard the collective breath of the startlingly-large crowd catch, but didn’t think it was disapproval. “What’s your name?”

“Jaz. One zed. Couldn’t decide between the flower and the music.”

Laura laughed. “I’ll do my best to get back here soon, Jaz. But shopping calls.”

Jaz smiled. “Have fun. Can’t wait to see what you might be wearing next time.”

Laura tucked the bills into her small purse, and shouldered her canvas backpack—she needed to consider just dumping that somewhere.

“You should keep listening to Jaz,” she told the audience. “She’s really good and she’s sexy and she deserves lots of attention.” She had no idea whether that would do anything, especially once she was gone, but it might, and even if the effect faded, maybe they’d actually be paying attention by then and realize that Jaz really did have a way with that guitar.

With some effort, she shooed audience members to either side so she could get through, and left the park with a new immediate goal in mind, and several nebulous ones taking shape just beyond that, and one overarching idea giving it all form.

Seven days wasn’t going to be long to come up with the money and publicity she’d need for an ultimate finale, but Carnal was feeling highly motivated, and not terribly inclined to respect trivial obstacles like laws. She wasn’t sure she had enough cash, but there were generally other buskers between here and her next destination, and it might take less than she thought anyway.

Seven days for her ruined life to have purpose one more time.

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