Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon, Toei and Bandai do. Thanks again to Aerol Somtaaw for letting me use the idea that will become apparent this chapter. ;)
As the massive skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan towered over the sky, the strange grey mist that had fallen over the earth hours before slowly dissipated into nothingness. The sun was rising slowly over the houses and rooftops of the city, casting long shadows on everything it's light reached. Everything seemed to be at ease, however the dead stillness of the air and the quietness of the usually busy street seemed strangely out of place. The world was waking up to a global disaster, but one of a very different kind to that it had witnessed before.
Inside Tara's front room, two solitary figures lay on the brown carpet. They were unmoving except for a slow breathing motion – at the very least they were still alive. Finally, after a few minutes of this, Liam's eyes opened. A look of complete shock, fear and puzzlement were in them, along with a look of surprise.
He was definitely not the same as he was the night before.
As he tried to sit up he let out a short gasp.
"So it wasn't a dream."
Liam's human features were all but gone. In the place of them were the familiar feline features of a digimon – a Mikemon. He around a foot shorter than before. He had paws and claws instead of feet, with brown glove paws covering where his human hands would have been, he had a cat-like mouth, nose and ears and his eyes had completely changed to the feral golden-yellow colour of his digimon counterparts. His ears were a red-brown colour with brown tips on the end of them, and he had a calico-like pattern running down his two sides. Finally, he also had a red-brown spiral pattern going around his newly formed tail, which also had a brown tip. Liam had changed into his Mikemorph form.
Having mastered walking with the added weight of a tail for the second time in his life, he sat down on the green sofa, which had been pushed up to the wall of the room. He quietly regarded Tara as she continued to lie on the carpet breathing slowly, without moving. He mutely sighed.
"I don't want to go through all this again," he whispered to himself. Again, he was shocked at the change in his voice. To him it seemed throatier than before.
He was again compelled to watch Tara in her Renamorph form. Her skin was now covered in a soft, yellow fur. Her hands had been adapted slightly, and the lower half of her new arms had long, purple gloves over them with a yin-yang symbol on each. Her bushy tail lay flat on the floor as she slumbered, and she had also developed feet covered in white fur. Her head was longer now and looked more akin to that of a foxes, with long ears and strange markings under her cool blue eyes.
It seemed that the city was only coming around to what was happening. Liam quietly looked out the window at some people across the street boarding up their windows with sheets of fibreglass. His attention was quickly averted when he noticed Tara was waking up.
"What happened? Why am I lying on the…" The girl stopped talking suddenly as she noticed her voice, which sounded more fluid and mature than it had sounded before. She also realised a new feeling – some sort of power inside herself. The pupils of her Renamon-inherited blue eyes dilated. The power that she felt was not new however, she recognised it instantly. "Liam?" she said in a weary voice, as she looked around her front room. She noticed him sitting on the green sofa.
"Hey Tara," he said. She carefully got up from her place on the floor and stood on the balls of her fur-covered feet.
"Wh-why did it happen again?" The girl stuttered. Her face was stricken with panic.
"I don't know Tara, but I don't think we're the only ones this time." As he said this, a thought struck him. "Of course, it would be all over the news!" He shouted. Tara nodded quietly and gracefully stepped over to the sofa where Liam was sitting. She quizzically watched him as he wrestled with the television remote. He tightened his left paw around the remote and used one of his other claws to press the 'on' button. It was a challenge, but one he feared he would have to get used to. They didn't even have to change the channel, however, the same emergency broadcast was on every one of them…
"You join us at this tense moment in the history of the world and her people. I'm Patrick Jackson."
"And I'm Angela Burns. This is a BTN special broadcast…"
Liam sighed. "What if this is only us? Those two don't seem to be any different than before." His Mikemon ears drooped.
Tara was determined. "We can't give up hope, Liam. What if it's only some people that have been affected? I'm sure we're not the only ones. I can feel it." Liam smiled at Tara and they continued to watch the news broadcast.
The TV was telling them nothing. It seemed that the journalists knew just as much as everyone else. Nobody knew what was going on.
"Mom…" Tara whispered. Her eyes welled up.
"I don't even know if she's safe. Where is she? What is she doing? Is she a horrible creature as well!" Tara shouted. She burst in to tears. The tears trickled into her yellow fur. Liam tried his best to comfort her.
"Tara, everything will be okay. Please believe me." He put his arm around her and placed his paw on her back. He found he couldn't reach her shoulder. Tara was still crying wildly. "Please believe me."
Her cries gently started to subside. She was thinking about how she talked with her mother just the night before. Had she only knew this would happen.
They both nodded at each other, understanding the feeling of power that each of them had. The digimon spirit that they now were holders of. The instinctive nature that a digimon had, they now had. A blessing and a curse, some would say.
"We've got to do something," Liam said. He got up from his place on the sofa and went to the window. Tara looked at the outside world from her seat. In the time that had gone by since they awoken, not a solitary soul, human or otherwise, had passed the house. No cars had zoomed past at their usual speed. In fact, no cars had passed at all. It seemed like the city had completely deserted in light of the 'tense moment in the world's history.'
The boy was restless. "This is killing me! We need to go out and see what's going on!" Liam shouted. He started to pace around the room.
"Sit down. For all we know they have marksmen out for us," Tara said.
"But we're human beings! How could they do that?"
"You'd be surprised."
Liam stopped pacing and stood in the middle of the clammy room. He looked at Tara, shook his head in dismissal of her comment and turned to the window.
"Can you imagine if there are others out there that have been turned into digimorphs? What if they found out they had special attacks with incredibly destructive power? What would the government do then?" Tara said, in a slightly fearful tone.
"It's unbelievable. But I still think we should go out. We need to see if and how this has spread. Because we may be the only ones who can stop it," he said. "And besides, aren't you just a little curious?"
Tara smirked. "Curiosity killed the cat," she snickered.
"Yeah, yeah, all right foxy," he said laughing. "Let's go!"
She gave in.
The door slammed with a loud noise, as Tara fumbled with her keys to lock the door.
"No pockets," she said, rolling her eyes. Looking around for something to do with the keys, she was forced to leave the keys underneath a welcome mat at the door. They walked down a series of steps to street level, and began to walk towards the city.
"Why are we not wearing any clothes?" Liam asked her casually. A human tradition in his mind wrestled with his re-ignited digimon instincts.
She stopped. "Well… nothing you have would fit anymore, and…" she struggled to find reasoning behind forgetting ordinary routine. "I don't feel I have to."
"Fair enough," he stated. For some reason, they both felt the need to drop the subject.
As they continued to walk, the true extent of the situation showed itself. On a normally busy New York street, at lunchtime, not a single person was to be seen.
"This is so strange," Liam said while his paws tapped on the pavement. "It's like nobody wants to come near us or anybody else." While walking past houses, the pair couldn't help but glance in the windows that they passed. Some families were staring back at them with wide eyes and disbelieving stares, trying to piece together fragile reasons for their existence. Other fellow digimorphs looked back out at them from the safety of their houses. Some, however, had simply boarded up their doors and windows, not ready to face the reality happening around them.
One digimorph was brave enough to try and talk to them, though. Her window was opened wide, and she was waving them over to her.
"Hey! You two!" They ran over to her window, and she looked the pair through the glass, finally realising that she wasn't alone in her fear of the outside world.
"Um… hi there," Liam simply said, waving a paw at the girl. "I'm Liam. Nice to meet you!"
"I'm Tara, how are you?" the Renamorph asked.
The girl behind the glass sighed in relief. "Hi, I'm Maria, and I'm just glad I'm not the only one this has happened to."
"I would count yourself lucky, Maria," Tara stated matter-of-factly. "You seem to have it better off than the rest of us." Tara smiled at her. There was some truth in her statement.
Maria, in her digimorph form, had long, lightly coloured purple hair and wore purple lingerie over a distinctly ordinary female body. She wore long gloves that covered the bottom half of her arms, and each had a pair of fairy wings attacked to them. She also wore very long light purple shoes that went up to cover just above her knees. There was another wing pattern where her knees were. Her face was also very distinctly female, but she had a silver visor over her eyes. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about her form, though, was the pair of huge fairy wings protruding from her back, allowing her the power of flight. Maria was a Fairymorph, and all in all, the only huge difference to her human body was her new wings.
"Well, I still feel a whole lot different," she said. "I feel like there's something inside of me trying to take over. I don't know if I should let it." She lifted up her visor to reveal a pair of genuinely concerned auburn eyes.
Tara instantly understood. "Just try and keep everything in balance. Don't let one side get the better of you. Try and enjoy the experience."
"Enjoy? Right about now my parents are still sleeping upstairs. They still think I'm human. I'm… not. How am I meant to tell them? How am I supposed to enjoy myself?" Maria was clearly saddened and heartbroken.
Liam tried to be empathetic. "Just tell them you woke up like that. I'm sure they'll understand. You'll be fine!"
Maria was clearly thankful for the advice. She replaced her visor and gave them a thumbs up. "We should get together again," she said.
"We'd like that," Tara said, bowing slightly. Maria went away from the window, presumably to go and tell her mother and father about her change in appearance before they found out themselves. Tara and Liam continued to make their way into the inner city.
"Can she see through that visor?" the Mikemorph asked curiously.
"Of course she can, how did she see us in the first place?" The fox put Liam's question to shame.
Tara's medium-sized terraced house was on a street that was quite a distance from the main area of Manhattan, but was on the avenue that led directly into the centre. Before Tara left, she clocked the time as 7:30am, and she deduced that they must have been walking for at least fifteen minutes to half an hour.
"I wonder if this means everyone has been digimorphed," Tara wondered aloud. "There may be many more of us that we haven't found yet."
"But, we seen those people looking out at us," he remembered the feeling. "They were normal."
Tara came to a realisation. "That's it! I'll bet it was only the young people that were changed!"
Liam pondered the thought for a moment. He, himself, was 16 and he knew that Tara was 17. It was also a safe bet that Maria was around the same age as them. This theory only brought more questions to Liam's head, however. What age did you have to be to be affected by… whatever it was that changed them? Were very young children affected? And what or who the hell did this to them in the first place? Liam was scared to consider how powerful the force would be. Not only because of the power it would have, but because it probably had something to do with him and Tara.
"That sounds right," he said in response to her.
As the two came to an intersection, they didn't even have to wait for a green light – there were no cars anyway. Tara spied a corner shop across the street.
"You don't think that's open, do you?" she asked.
Liam picked up the pace. "Only one way to find out."
But Liam, not listening, was already over at the door pushing it open. Inside, a small bell rang to signify someone had entered, but apart from that and the quiet hum of the numerous refrigerators, the shop was empty and noiseless. Letting the door close behind him, Liam started to look around the shop.
He picked up the sound of a soft clicking close behind him. He breathed in sharply and, almost like an instant reaction to the noise, shot his arms into the air. He could feel his heartbeat pounding ever faster and harder in his chest. Shakily, he started to look over his shoulder, while making sure to keep his paws up.
At the side of his vision, he saw the side of a man holding a gun pointing at his head.
The man's face turned to a grimace when Liam had completely turned round to face him.
"I am going to blow your head off, you freak of nature." The man steadied himself to fire the pistol, while Liam's face contracted in pure fright. He hardly had time to scream as the bellowing sound of gunfire pierced his ears. The bullet was travelling towards his head. He was finished for sure. Everything was moving in slow motion for him.
Liam prepared to breathe his last.