Get the Bug
Get the Bug
I hate myself. I really do, and I don’t know why. It’s been like this for a couple of years now. I just can’t stand my personality, my voice, my face.
I know it’s hardly normal for a girl of 12 to have these dark thoughts, and that I really ought to seek help, but I don’t want to worry my family, so I’ve learned to hide these feeling from them.
My family, by the way, loves me. So don’t think that this is their responsibility in any way. I don’t think anyone but myself can be blamed. I get bullied at school, but no more than any other student. I suppose it’s a mental problem, then. Of course it has to be. Everything is wrong with me.
They say you can’t love others if you don’t love yourself, but that’s a lie. I love my parents, and I pity them for having such a wretched daughter. I love my 17-years-old brother, Clark. I even love Emilia, his girlfriend. She’s our neighbor and we’ve been friends with her family since she was little, so she’s like a big sister to me.
That’s why it was such a huge blow when Clark stormed into the house at dinner and announced that Emilia had The Bug….
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know I’m referring to Burke’s Biomorphic Virus, which has been going around for a few years now. Its symptoms are similar to those of the common flu at first… until they cause you to transform. A lot of people only have minor changes like hair color or foot size, while others become someone completely new.
I only know a handful of people who have had it. A few students at my school caught it, but I don’t know them very much. Only one is from my class, and he got it only last term. He was a boy before, but he turned into a duplicate of his mother when she had been 20. It’s been very embarrassing for him, and I feel sorry for him because he was kind kid. It’s actually been embarrassing even for the rest of us, because now she sits in the class looking very self-conscious, the only adult among us.
A distant aunt also caught it three years ago, and though her identity wasn’t as radically altered, she got one of those uncommon, bizarre changes. Her skin is now purple and she has a thin tail that ends in a spike. However, that kind of transformation is extremely unusual.
The fact that you never know how it will change you is what makes Burke’s so frightening. Even though it wasn’t deadly, you could have thought otherwise from the reaction our family had when we heard about poor Emilia.
Mom cried all day for her, and Clark locked himself in his room. He wanted to visit her, but the risk of contagion was too great on the first day. My father was very silent, and he only offered us sympathy looks every time we met his eyes.
I just wished she wouldn’t have any radical or negative changes, and that she only grew a new mole, or something trivial like that. At the same time, I couldn’t help but thinking how it would feel to have The Bug, knowing that something about you would be different. Emilia probably liked herself as she was, but I definitely didn’t. Changing into anything else sounded… exciting.
That thought kept me awake all that night.
Next morning, we all went to visit her. At this stage, the virus was still contagious, but only by direct contact, so we could see her from a prudent distance.
As soon as we looked at Emilia, it was made evident that her changes weren’t very minor. Her black hair was blonde at the roots, and spreading out. Her natural blonde look was increased because her dark eyes had turned very blue. Those changes sat well with her, and I thought she looked very pretty, even with her reddish nose and other clear signs of sickness. She wasn’t sneezing much anymore, but her gaze was unfocused and her voice coarse.
After some careful examination, I realized there were other changes to Emilia. She was wearing a loose t-shirt and that’s why I didn’t notice it at first, but her body looked a bit curvier underneath. Even in the baggy clothes, I could see she was shapelier and that her breasts were pushing out a bit farther than usual. It was nothing radical, but a clear indicator of the direction her metamorphosis was taking. She had already changed a lot in her first day, and she still had another one to go, which was often when the more significant things happened.
I noticed that Clark was also looking at her chest. He didn’t seem as fearful about what the virus would do any more, but rather eager instead.
“You look gorgeous,” he said, and Emilia smiled feebly.
Half an hour later, she went to the bathroom to throw up and we all took it as a sign we should leave. At least, now that we knew that Burke’s wasn’t making her unhealthily obese, or something awful like that, we felt much more at ease during that day.
By the next one, her father called us to tell us the changes had stopped completely.
Emilia had awakened that morning feeling quite healthy, not an ounce of nausea or pain in her. The second thing she noticed was that her breasts had grown extremely large overnight.
She held them in amazement. She had always been a B-cup, but now she was 34D, and the feeling on her chest was quite unfamiliar to her.
The rest of her figure had changed similarly. She had shapelier legs and hips, and her abdomen was trimmer.
She smiled at her reflection. The Bug had actually done her a solid one. She looked great. Her hair was completely blonde now and her face was a bit different too, though still quite recognizable as her own. It was bolder, though, especially with her more angular eyebrows.
We were very surprised when we saw her during our second visit. She was wearing a long gray blouse that couldn’t hide her new voluptuousness, and she looked a bit self-conscious, especially around my parents.
Clark was speechless. His girlfriend had always been cute, but now she was downright sexy. Even I could see it, and I felt a slight stitch of jealousy, but I also felt very happy for her, especially when she and my brother embraced and kissed. I cheered with the others.
He looked a bit nervous as they parted, almost as if he thought she was too hot for him now. They certainly looked a bit mismatched, but maybe it was because Emilia seemed too mature for 17 now. She hadn’t actually aged, but her appearance definitely made her look a bit older.
“So… any secondary changes, dearie?” asked my mother, a bit taken aback.
“Well, yes… there’s this.”
Emilia held up her blouse over her navel to show us an intricate flowery design on the right side of her body.
Actually, it wasn’t a tattoo, but natural pigmentation on her skin, like a large, ornate freckle.
“I had noticed my skin getting darker there the first day,” she explained. “But it wasn’t until the second when I could see the pattern.”
After dinner with her and her parents, we left, though Clark remained with her. He was conflicted between feeling extremely lucky and feeling worried he would lose her, but he would soon find that her personality was intact.
We had just returned home when nausea hit me like a train. I couldn’t even prepare. I just vomited all over the floor.
My heart was beating faster and I felt elated. Was it really happening? Of course, there was an off-chance that the food had made me sick, but the alternative was more likely. Please, let it be The Bug, please let it be The Bug.
My parents immediately freaked out. Of course, regular illness still existed in the world, but what were the chances that something had happened to me so soon after it did Emilia? My dad immediately drove me to the hospital. A quick diagnosis was fundamental.
I almost giggled with joy when the doctor confirmed it.
“She’s got it. Burke’s Biomorphic Virus.”
“But…” my mother’s eyes were wet. “We only visited Emilia on the second day, and we were so careful around her…”
“I know, Mom. It’s not her fault, or ours. I don’t think I got it there. It could be a coincidence.”
I knew it wasn’t a coincidence at all. This was all planned.
You see, the first night after Emilia got the Bug I stood awake all night, thinking how good it would be to change something about my pathetic life. I couldn’t care less if I got turned into a boy, or if I changed my race. Anything had to be better than being myself.
So I climbed into Emilia’s room through her window while everyone was sleeping both at my house and hers. She sneezed twice while I was there, but she never woke up. She was covered in thick blankets and I couldn’t see how she had changed.
But I did know she was highly contagious at the moment and that just being there I had a chance of catching the virus. But then I saw her glass of water in her bedside table. She had already used it… and so did I. I also touched her discarded tissues. Then, about five minutes later, I returned to my room, expecting that it would happen… that I would change in just a few days. And that nobody ever discovered what I had done. Luckily, the doctor backed up my theory.
“I agree it could be a coincidence. Burke’s contagion is spreading. The cases are more common than ever.”
My father’s hands were almost pulling out his hair. My mother had already started crying. The doctor tried to comfort her.
“Try to stay strong for her. Lots of changes are quite small. And even if it’s something major, there are always support groups. Everyone adapts eventually. Now you should take her home. The process is just starting, but in about two hours she’ll be contagious. Try to keep her isolated.”
As soon as I got home, my mother prepared my room. They brought me what remained of Emilia’s medicine. There’s no real treatment for Burke’s, but patients often drink “Bug Juice” a protein mixture that helps them going through the changed more quickly. Then Mom hugged me and I locked myself in there.
I sat in my bed, trembling. I won’t lie: of course I was scared too, but it was all extremely exciting. Emilia’s change had been wonderful for her. Was there a chance mine could be too? Somehow I doubted it, but I repeated my mantra all day: “Anything will be better than what I am now.”
For the most part, the first day was boring, and actually uncomfortable. I threw up five times, and I felt as if I was sneezing my lungs out. So far, it was like the worst case of common flu I ever had. The Bug Juice also tasted horrible, and my body ached all over, which I tried to read as a sign that I was changing extensively.
I checked myself on the mirror every half an hour or so. I didn’t see anything different at first. I thought I looked a bit bloated, but that was to be expected, being so sick.
Around 6 PM, I finally noticed something thrilling: my brown hair was a bit darker, almost black. My skin looked a bit tanner, and I wondered if I was indeed changing races.
From there on, everything began. My bones ached more than ever and I certainly looked taller every time I checked. That part was rousing: before morning I would be the tallest on my class.
The next thing I noticed was that my butt was swelling. Just a bit at first, I ended up with a very large and round, but also firm backside by night, which any grown woman would envy. My nipples were also puffed-out and tender before I fell asleep.
When I woke up next morning, my stomach and nose felt better, but I was still aching all over. I felt larger than last night, and I stood up as fast as I could, and walked towards the mirror.
I had grown even taller. I suspected my height now surpassed that of my Mom, and maybe my Dad. Then again, I immediately noticed that I also looked older, more like a teen than a 12-years-old. I think I could easily pass myself for 16 if I wanted.
That was partly for my height, but it wasn’t the only thing. My face had matured, taking a very different appearance to what I was used to. And my body had obviously undergone significant development. For the first time, I had breasts, even though they were small. My very fetching backside had become even larger overnight, and my legs and waist were showing some curve. What startled me the most, though, was how fit I looked and felt. My muscles were swelling gently underneath my skin.
Now that I wasn’t contagious, my family came to see me. They were predictably shocked, but also relieved that I wasn’t changing in a seemingly negative way.
Then the second day of changes started, and it was intense.
If I thought I looked athletic in the morning, it was nothing compared to what the next hours brought to my muscle mass. My whole body’s fitness improved dramatically every time I checked. I looked much more feminine than ever, though, thanks to my expanding curves. My figure had taken on an hourglass shape which became more apparent when my breasts started to swell after midday.
Before my amazed eyes, they went from noticeable but small to double D orbs that stood proudly in front of me, straining the brassiere that I had borrowed from my mother.
I kept aging too. There was no way I could be considered a child, not even a teen, any more. I was clearly a very adult woman before afternoon, and when the changes were over, I had to be older than 24.
My face had kept shifting, not merely becoming older, but also changing me into much different person. I no longer looked like myself or any member of my family, but I had the angular face of a confident woman instead. I thought my new lips and cheekbones made me look a bit haughty, maybe even bitchy at times, but I was nevertheless quite sexy.
My hazel eyes had become greenish blue, and my skin had bronzed. My now black hair had gotten a reddish tint to it. In short, I had gotten my wish. I had shed off my old self and assumed a completely new persona.
I suddenly realized I wasn’t feeling sick any more. If anything, my new healthy body made me feel very strong. That meant the Bug had run its course and was now out of my system.
I stood in the bathroom, sweating like crazy inside the bikini that Emilia had loaned me, looking in awe at the package that I was going to inhabit from now on. And it was quite fetching. I hadn’t been able to love myself, but I thought that could definitely learn love this new woman I had become.
“Oh, Betty!” said my mother in surprise when she saw me.
The first thing I did was ask my family to call me “Bethany” from now on. I wanted to have a fresh start with a new name, and I would try to make the change legal as soon as I could.
The next thing I did, the very next morning, was head to the nearest gym.
The test was successful. I was still generally skinny and womanly, but also very strong.
I signed up to become a member of the gym and I started to go daily. I was very skillful at it, and I knew I could improve myself even more by training often.
I quickly became a known personality at the gym. People soon figured out I had the Bug, and some of them even knew what age I was truly supposed to be.
But even if my changes had been more radical than most, so many were getting infected in these last few months that people eventually stopped caring too much about how you had been before.
If I was famous at the gym, I was almost a celebrity at school. I was truly an odd fit in my class now. Reactions to my new form ranged from admiration to jealousy, but frankly I had never been more comfortable with myself.
For the first time, I felt at ease with my friends, even if they were about half my new age. I hung with them more than ever, and I went to the beach every weekend with them.
It was a bit strange for their parents for me to be there in my bikini-clad glory, but soon they started to see me as the adult I had become, and started to trust me more. In their eyes, I was almost my friends’ babysitter, even if they didn’t see me that way.
I knew that for them, I was more like a cool older sister, and I was fine with that. Even if my mind hadn’t matured during the metamorphosis, my grown body had forced me to act beyond my years. But I was glad that my classmates looked up to me. I knew that very soon they would start becoming teenagers themselves and things would become much more complicated for all of us.
But maybe what really mattered is that I was looking up to myself for a change. It wasn’t just a vanity thing. Certainly, being athletic and beautiful helped, but simply becoming someone new had done the trick.
It wasn’t easy, after so many years of self-loathing, but something changed inside of me, not just out. I’m ready to confidently admit that I love myself.