"It's the tenth one," Sheriff Jimmy Brock murmured to himself, "In as many weeks."
Just vanishing into thin air, he thought, no sign of foul plan, no bodies, anything. All these people just gone. No leads, nothing to work with. He looked out at his deputies and wanted to do anything to give them hope in the case, but he had none left to give.
"Come one," Kenny said, "Lets get a beer or something."
Max looked up, "I want to finish this, then I'm meeting Tim."
Kenny smiled at her, "Rich doctor, Tim?"
"Don't get all defensive, Max," he retorted, thinking he was probably the best guy she dated in a long time. A geneticist, he thought, who wasn't a jerk? "I like this one."
She relented, "Sorry, I'm just tired. And this case . . . It just feels so hopeless. I really just want to go home, crash, but I promised him I'd meet him for a drink."
"Come on," Kenny said, as they walked back toward the locker room, "Get changed, then I'm going to walk you to your car. Don't give me that look, Max. Something really weird is going on in this town. I'm your partner, let me act like it."
"Max," Tim said, standing as she walked into the wine bar in Windsor, "You look beautiful."
She smiled at him, wondering what she did to get such an eligible man. Dark blond hair, blue eyes, all trim in his dark suit. She wasn't exactly sure what he did with genetics, but she knew he was heavily involved in it.
"Thanks," she said, sitting across from him, "Sorry I'm late."
"You," he said, taking her hand, "Were worth the wait. I thought about you all day. Max, I need to talk to you about something. It's important."
"But not here," he said, as she sipped his wine, "Do you trust me?"
"Of course I do."
He smiled, as he saw the fog creeping into her eyes, "Remember that."
"She isn't answering her phone," Kenny said the next morning, and forced himself not to panic, "Or her pager. This isn't like Max. I talked to Tim, he said he dropped her off last night because she was exhausted, that he saw her go inside her apartment."
"Go," Jimmy said, knowing that something was really wrong, "Go now."
Max woke up groggily on the small bed. Where am I, she wondered, looking around the sparse room. Tim, I was with Tim, and then . . . Nothing. Oh, God, where am I?
"Tim!" she cried, as the door open and shut behind him, "Where am I? What is going on?"
"I told you we need to talk," he said, stroking her cheek, "I love you, Max, I chose you for this."
She stared at him for a long moment, not liking the terror that was creeping in, "Where are we?"
"We're safe," he promised, combing through her red hair, "You really are lovely, a beautiful woman. Max, I haven't been completely honest with you."
"Where are we?" she repeated, pushing him away, "I want to go home."
"Let me explain. I have labs all over the world, we recruit people to take part in our experiments. I've perfected the techniques, and I intend to share them with you. I love you, Max, I didn't plan on it, but I have my needs as well. You are very beautiful, but I can and will make you more. You will be my perfect lover."
"Don't touch me!" she yelled, pushing him away, "You're crazy!"
"Not crazy," he smiled, as two other men wearing lab coats came in, "I'm brilliant. Take her to room A. We need to get started."
"Nothing," Kenny said, walking around Max's apartment. It's like she vanished into thin air. Just like the others, he thought, gone, taken. No, not Max . . . My best friend, partner. Everything in it's place, he thought, walking back to the neatly made up bed, it all put away and stored. Not Max, please not Max.
"Let me go!" she screamed at them, looking at the IV's and tubes going into her body, "What are you doing to me?"
Tim smoothed back her red hair, "Don't be afraid my love. I won't let anything happen to you, although the process may hurt a bit."
"Please," she sobbed, "Don't."
"I promise you," he said, stroking her naked body, "You'll see, you're going to be incredible. You feel it starting?"
"What is happening to me?" Max cried, as her entire body began to tingle, "Tim!"
He ignored her, as she felt her legs go limp. Now she was
scared, she lost all movement in her legs and she felt like her pelvis
was dissolving. Her waist began in decrease in size, as Max felt all of the bones from
her waist down seem to liquefy and dissolve. Her legs and feet lost shape
urine was forced out of her bladder as these changes progressed. Max
began to panic, as she felt her vagina and anus merge
between her legs and then be pushed outward as the fleshy masses of her
legs began to merge together. She felt her spine began to grow within her
new ribs forming slowly downward. Her organs shifted inside to accommodate her changing body. Her once beautiful legs were now a mass of flesh merging together and
growing. She leaned up her head and no longer could make out her legs at
all. But as her spine and ribs began to develop down her body the fleshy
mass below her waist began to fill out into a new form, a more rounded
"What is happening to me?" she cried out as the transformation continued now into it's second hour.
She felt new growth throughout her, especially from the waist
men in then room were watching at a distance but Max hardly noticed them because
she was paying attention to what was happening to her. She found that she
could move her new appendage around even lifting the tapered end that was
about 4 feet long into the air. As she did this she found that her skin
color and texture was changing. It was tinted blue and it darkened in places. She
also noticed that her breasts had also increased size and also her hands
now were developing webbing between the fingers, she could feel the
webbing as she moved her fingers around but could not see them. Her
vagina and anus were now in one slit in the front just below her waist.
As she lifted her tail again she found a tail fluke developing
spreading out as what remained of her feet become her new tail. She was
now a mermaid of sorts. Her tail continued to get covered in what she assumed now were scales, as she screamed, "Please, make it stop!"
And then it did, and she laid there in all her new found, mermaid, glory.
"Oh, Max," Tim breathed, staring at her new form, "Incredible, absolutely incredible."
"You fucking bastard!" she screamed, as she caught glimpses of her new tail, "What did you do to me?"
He ran his hands down her body, stroking her tail, "You are a mermaid."
"I am not a mermaid!"
The table began to rise, until she was suspended vertically. She gasped, as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Is that me, she wondered in terror, looking at the reflection. The tail, all six feet of it, glistened where her legs used to be. Long and glittering, she flipped the finny end a bit, trying to get some feel of how it worked. Her body was thinner, and ended right below her belly button, when the tail took over. Her shoulder length hair, had grown longer, and she could see her bare breasts poking through the red hair. I'm a mermaid, Max thought numbly, looking at her webbed hands. He turned me into a mermaid.
"You see?" Tim smiled, "I did this for us."
"Why?" she cried, as they unstrapped her, and laid her on a gurney, "You made me a freak!"
He touched her again, "This is what I do, Max. I love you, but I needed you to be more. I have a thing for mermaids. Take her to the pool. Get used to your new body, I will be there shortly."
"I tried Tim," Kenny said, "He isn't picking up. His lab said he hasn't been in all day."
"They found Max's car at the bar," Jimmy said, "I talked to the bartender, he said that Tim practically carried her out of there. That she got really woozy and passed out. We got prints off of their table, I'm running them."
"They found Tim's car," Skeeter said, joining them, "At the Greenbay Airport."
Max swam round and round in the large pool. This is kind of neat, she admitted to herself, twisting her new body around in ways that would have been impossible in her old form. Diving to the deep, her new gills pulsed on her neck. Kicking slowly on her back, she watched her new tail carefully. It is beautiful, she thought, reaching down to stroke it gently. It's like I've never had anything else before. Like it's always been here. Smiling to herself, as she did another flip in the depths, she relished the feel of the water on her bare skin. I'm a mermaid, she thought wildly, he made me one. Hearing a rumbling at the surface, she smiled as she saw Tim watching her. My creator, she thought, swimming slowly toward him. Breaking the surface, she flipped her tail gently to stay on the surface.
"You look like you're having fun," he smiled at her, "How do you feel?"
"I feel wonderful," she admitted, seeing her tail glitter beneath the water, "I've never felt like this before."
"I love you, Maxine," he said softly, "Do you understand why I did this?"
She shook her head, "I'm not really sure what you did to me."
He beckoned her closer, "The changes are still happening, but the major ones are complete. We merged your DNA with a fish, creating a mermaid. I've tried changing others, but they didn't work. Then I met you, and I knew you were the one. That you would be my mermaid. I love mermaids, Maxine, and I knew you would be the perfect one. You are glowing, and taking to this new life already. I see it in your eyes."
"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked softly, relishing her new form, "I was so scared, it happened so fast."
"The missing people, my staff took them. We changed them, trying to find the right combination. This is an evolution Maxine, these changes are irreversible."
"All those people?" she asked, dying to get back under the water and see what her new body could do, "I don't have to change back?"
"You are a mermaid forever," he promised, stroking her cheek, "My mermaid. I will release you into the lagoon what the changes are complete. Your systems have to finish merging. You feel like an animal?"
She nodded, "I feel . . . Wild. I remember being human, but I don't care anymore. I'm a mermaid now."
He leaned in and kissed her, "I will be back to check on you later. I love you, Maxine."
"Tim Dorian is working on classified projects in genetic research," Jimmy said, "Gene manipulation, he has labs all over the world."
"Gene manipulation?" Kenny repeated, "Meaning?"
"Meaning, he was doing things the public was not aware of," Jimmy said, as they confiscated his computer, "And we don't know what he wanted Max for. The plane they kept in Greenbay is gone."
She swam deeper, diving through the tunnels and chambers pf her new home in the lagoon a few weeks later. The changes complete, there was an animal wildness to her features now. Chasing a few fish, Max let out a delighted laugh at her new life. How could I of cared about anything before, she wondered, as she pulled herself out on a rock to sun herself.
She smiled, when she saw Tim waving at her from the shore. He stripped down to his swim trunks, and swam out to her. She combed through her long red hair, as he approached, "You don't need to wear those."
He smiled at his mermaid. She is perfect, he thought, stroking the long tail, stopping at the slit that hid her pleasure zone, "There are others here."
"Are you bringing more?" she asked, as she slid into the water with him and gathered him close with her tail, "This is our paradise, Tim."
"My work is very important," he breathed, as he slid into his mermaid, "Would you like a friend in here with you?"
"I want you. Only you."
"The plane landed in Australia, and then they took a boat to
his private island," Kenny said, forcing himself not to panic,
"Where he's gone every time we've had a missing person.
Genetics . . . What is he doing to her?"
Jimmy read the files they salvaged from his computer, "Genetics . . . He's taking animal DNA and merging it with human."
"Does that work?"
"We're going to find out."
"Maxine," Tim breathed, as they held each other in their arms on the warm sand, "What did I do without you?"
She smiled at him, her tail lazily hanging behind her, "I don't know what I did before this. Why I wasted so much time on being a human."
"My love," he murmured, kissing my cheek, "I didn't know you would adapt so well."
"Will you ever join me?"
He smiled, "As a merman? The thought has crossed my mind. To live in the open ocean with you? I need to finish my work, and then we will do that. Together forever. I am curious to see how you reproduce, my love."
"You don't know?" she asked, as she felt his hands running from her waist down to her tail, "You made me."
He nodded, "Fish lay eggs Maxine, and humans give birth. You are a complicated combination of them both. You have kept your human eggs, and all my tests have indicated that they are still viable. They have been altered by the fish DNA, much how I believe a human males sperm will be. My love, I would like to make you a merman mate."
"I only want you."
He leaned in and kissed her again, and realized she was all he ever thought about.. The thought of another man, thing, touching her, disgusts me. I need to know though, if I am going to continue my research. "Your friends, your human friends, are looking for you."
She smiled lazily at him, and slid back into the shallows, "Are they? They won't know what to make of this."
He watched her splashing in the shallows in wonder, "How would you feel about one of them? We'll let them find us, then I'll bring him to you."
"I suppose," she sighed, kicking farther out, not really caring as long as I had Tim, "I want it to be you. I want you to touch me. To live in the water with me."
"I can't resist you," he murmured, as he watched her long and supple body, "Maxine, I have to get back to the lab."
She pouted a bit, as he walked away. Diving back into the water, she swam through the mazes of caves and tunnels, losing herself in the beauty of it all. Smiling as she joined the dolphins, Max contemplated getting a mate. If not Tim, she mused, someone I know? Someone I care about to share all this with? They won't understand, not right away. How can they not enjoy this with me?
"How is the mermaid?"
Tim looked up, "She is incredible, and has fully adapted to the aquatic environment. I had my doubts that she would be so accepting of it, but Maxine is 100 mermaid, both physically and mentally. She wasn't happy as human, much like all our changelings here. I'm going to make her a mate, one of her friends from Wisconsin."
He nodded, "She has held onto more of her human DNA then the others. If we can breed a successfully with a mermaid? It would be a breakthrough. Do you have one picked out for her?"
"Oh, I do. They will make a beautiful pair."
Max sighed as she broke the surface for the first time in weeks. Smiling to herself, she pulled herself onto the rock.
Max smiled, as she watched Nina, one of Tim's assistants walk out onto the beach, "Nina."
"You are looking well," she said, settling onto the grass, "You are getting a mate."
Max yawned, "Tim mentioned it."
"Oh, Tim," Nina sighed, "I saw you two having sex the other day. How are you feeling?"
Max shrugged, "Wonderful. I've never felt so wonderful."
"I need to test your blood."
Max smiled, her tail flapping gently in the water. Giving Nina her arm, "I know that. He was playing God with all, but I have no regrets about what I am now."
Nina filled the vial, "Oh, I know. Tim is ecstatic. All he does is talk about you, ever since he first met you. He knew you would be the one."
Max smiled, "He chose me for this life. I can never repay him for that."
"You still retain your human memories?"
Wild, free, Max thought, I lose myself for days under the sea, I don't care to speak to anyone else. Just me and my animal friends . . . I'm not Maxine Stewart anymore, I'm not even sure who she really was. I should of always been this way. "They are still there, but . . . I can't remember why they were ever important to me."
Nina nodded, "I'll be back to check on you later.
"It's been six months," Kenny sighed, "I don't . . . God, he couldn't have."
Jimmy looked up, "Morell got a file on Tim Dorian, he is funded privately. Other geneticists have laughed him off, but there are rumors of what he's done. That he successfully created human-animal hybrids."
"But . . . She's his girlfriend. He wouldn't make her into a freak."
"He doesn't see them as freaks, just his creations. Whatever he's done to Max . . . If he's done something, she isn't Max anymore."
"His island," Kenny trailed off.
"It's off Australia," Jimmy said, "We aren't getting help with this, Kenny. The FBI is staying out of it, we don't have any jurisdiction."
"Lets go find her."
"I love you," Tim murmured, as they laid in the shallows together. Stroking his mermaid, he wondered how he ever lived without her. How he could ever bear to see her with the mate he had to create for her. I love her, she is mine!
Maxine stroked him gently, relishing the feel of his hands on her, "I wish you would stay with me all of the time. You could be my mate."
"Nothing would make me happier, my love," he whispered, as she began kissing his chest all the way down to his penis. Taking it in her hands, he let out a long moan of pleasure as she had her way with it, "You are my love."
Max smiled at him, as he came again, "Stay with me, Tim."
"Soon," he gasped, kissing her again, "Very soon."
She pulled back, "My mate?"
Tim nodded reluctantly, not taking his hands off of her, "They are coming, and they think they're going to take you away from this. To make you human again."
"Human?" she giggled, "Why would I want that? You have given me a life so much better . . . I didn't know I could ever feel so alive. You will change them?"
He combed through her red hair, which grew to her waist now, "Yes. Kenny, I believe, will make a fine merman mate for you. As for Jimmy? We are creating a new race here Maxine."
"Oh, Kenny," she sighed, thinking of her former partner, "He'll be stubborn. I'll convince about being a merman. He always had a crush on me. Jimmy was always so wise, so stately. He'll want his family here as well."
"His children? We could watch them grow," Tim replied, "I love it. I have to prepare, Maxine. When my work is done, it will be just you and me. I will join you in the sea."
"Holy crap," Kenny said under his breath, "What is this place?"
He heard the rustling in the woods, whispers, and felt like he was being watched. Thinking of Jimmy safe in Australia, he prayed that he would see him again. That nothing bad would happen to him in the next 24 hours.
"I need to find Max," Kenny finished, looking toward the compound, "In there? How?"
Pushing through the heavy brush, he wondered where everyone was. Why it wasn't more heavily guarded if it was some secret lab. If Max was hurt, scared, what that bastard did to her. Stumbling at to a small pool of water, they froze as they watched the woman swimming in there alone.
"Max?" Kenny gasped, watching as she treaded water in the middle of it, "Max!"
She turned her head, seeing her old friend staring at her in amazement. Slicking her hair back off of her face, she smiled at him, "You came for me."
"Are you okay?" Kenny cried, as she didn't come closer, "What are you doing? Did Tim hurt you? Max, do you know who he really is?"
"Hurt me?" she laughed, "No . . . Tim loves me. He chose me."
"Max," he said, "We're here to take you home."
She frowned, "This is my home."
"Max," Kenny said, as the voices and giggles started up again, "What is going on?"
She swam closer, keeping her fish half hidden, "You can't leave. Oh, you'll love it here! Tim has it all planned."
"Max?" Kenny pressed, trying to see what was different about her, but not quite placing it. Her hair, it's so long, he thought. Her eyes seem bigger, more . . . Something in there that wasn't. She was always beautiful . . . Sexual. She's oozing sexuality, something wild about her. Unpredictable, what did that bastard do to her? She's brainwashed or something, oh God, she's naked. Max's breasts, "Come on. Get out of the water, we're going home."
She shook her head and giggled, "You think you can just leave now that you know the secrets? That Tim brought you here by accident?"
"What did he do to you?"
Her grin broadened, as she swam closer. Pulling herself up on her favorite rock, she saw his jaw drop as he stared at her. The long, blue tail, sparkling in the sunlight. The body, naked from the waist up, with her red hair clinging to her. Her eyes laughing along with her full mouth. Her webbed fingers, resting comfortably on her new form.
"Max," Kenny whispered, not taking his eyes off of her, "Oh, God, Max."
"Don't be upset," she promised, flipping her tail a little, "I'm not. It was a little scary at first, but . . . Oh, there is nothing like this. You'll see."
"You're a . . ."
She cocked her head to the side, "I'm a mermaid. Tim made me a mermaid."
"Oh, Max," Kenny sighed, his heart breaking as he stared at the creature that his best friend became, "We'll fix this. We'll change you back."
She giggled again, "Why would I want that? Come here, Kenny."
He shook his head, mesmerized by the naked mermaid, "Max, I . . . Stay away from me! How could you let him do this to you?"
She combed through her hair, "Well, he kind of surprised me with it. It hurt a bit in the beginning, but it was well worth it in the end."
"You're a freak!" Kenny shouted at her, "God, Max, he made you into a fish!"
She stared at him, "Only part fish. And everything that made me a woman is still there. Right under here."
Kenny gulped, as he watched those webbed hands rub over the where her genitals should have been. Seeing the pleasure on her face when she touched herself, he felt himself get a little heated. She's beautiful, he thought numbly, something out a movie. Every mans wet dream. That tail . . . It's got to be six feet long. Everything about her is tempting me.
Max saw his reaction to her, as she slid back into the water, hiding her fish half, "Does this make you more comfortable? Don't be sad for me, Kenny, I'm not."
He gulped, as he watched her swim closer, "Are there others?"
"Oh, there will be," she sighed, "I'm the first one."
"Max?" he asked, as she laid in the shallows in front of him. He could make out the long tail behind her, and it didn't seem as strange as it did before, "God, I was worried about you."
She propped herself up on her elbows, and rested her chin in her webbed hands, "Yet, you came all this way for me?"
He sat down on the sand and just looked at the creature in front of her, "Can I touch you?"
She held out her hand, and he gently stroked the webbing between her slim fingers. He ran his hands over her sensuous face, before eyeing her tail. Running his hands over the scales, he noticed how incredibly muscular and curvy her body was.
"Kenny?" she whispered, stroking his face, "Come with me."
The webbing tickled his face, "Max, I . . . in there?"
"I missed you," Max breathed, "Don't be scared, Kenny. You're here with me now."
He pulled back, and just stared at her, "What are you doing to me?"
"Oh, she's just trying to prepare you," Tim said, "Isn't she fantastic?"
"What did you do to her?" Kenny shouted, his mind still whirling with what he saw, "You sick bastard!"
"She is quite lovely these days," Tim sighed, "Her transformation was a complete success. You saw her."
"You gave her a tail! Her hands . . . She's a fucking mermaid!"
Tim grinned, "She certainly is. She has adapted quite well, but it is time for our family to grow. There is no place to run here. You will soon be joining Maxine in the water."
Kenny shot a look at the lounging Maxine, who seemed completely unfazed by all of this, "Max? Say something."
"I've been waiting for you," she said, "Don't fight it, Kenny. Come. Be with me."
He shook his head, "No . . . Max! Don't let him do this to me!"
She gave him a playful splash with her tail, "You can't leave, Kenny, now that you know. We're going to have so much fun!"
He stared at her in disgust, and swore that he would get through to her. Fix her. Shoving Tim into the lagoon, he ran into the woods.
Tim laughed, as they wrapped their arms around each other, "Where does he think he's going to go, Maxine? We destroyed his boat, there are cameras all over this island. He won't be getting far."
She stroked her human lover, "Kenny is very stubborn."
He ran his hands over his mermaid's tail, before kissing her in the shallows, "I was thinking of trying something new with him, my love. Not that I don't want you to have a mate."
"I only want you, Tim. I love you."
His heart beat faster, as they laid together, "I will never leave you, Maxine. I chose you for this. Even if the rest of my experiments fail, I will always have my mermaid."
"What are you doing to do with him?"
Tim combed through her long hair, "What do you suppose he would enjoy?"
Kenny ran and ran until there was nothing around him but the brush. If Max is a mermaid, living in the water, what else is out here? What other monsters has her created? She didn't look like a monster . . . She looks like a, hell, a mermaid. A beautiful and sexy mermaid. She's still in there, I'm going to get her out of here. I'll take her home, to a doctor, whatever he's done . . . It can be fixed. She can be fixed, I'm not letting her stay a mermaid!
Jimmy watched as the timeline came and went . . . Kenny, dammit, he thought. I shouldn't of let him go alone. Something really weird is going on here, and he walked right into it
Kenny prowled the island, looking at the endless rivers, lagoons, and wondered exactly where Max was. If she was swimming in those waters, leading the others to him. I'm not ending up like that. How can she just be okay with it? Just lying there in the water, all exposed, with that long tail. The Max I knew would have fought against this . . . Not be in love with the man who did it to her. I'm taking her home, I'm going to fix her.
Hearing the splashing, he turned to see another lagoon, or was it the same one. Max, he thought, seeing her swimming alone in the moonlight. That long blue tail, making little ripples behind her. He heard her laughs of delight, as she played with the jumping fish. She dove under, her tail making a powerful splash behind her. She's beautiful, he thought, watching the mermaid. She's happy, he thought numbly, and laughing. Max . . . How can she be happy like this? He froze as she stopped swimming, and looked over in his direction.
"Tim?" she called, "Are you here?"
Kenny stood perfectly still as he watched her. She's perfect, he thought, a mermaid. A freak, but so damn beautiful. The more I look at her . . . She's out of a book or something. He didn't just make her a mermaid, he made her the hottest one he could. That tail . . . All six feet of it, what is she doing to me?
"Tim?" she called again, before pausing, "Kenny? Did you find me again? I can't very well come out and find you. This new life of mine does have some restrictions, and flopping around on my belly on dry land is quite unpleasant."
"And I thought you loved being a mermaid!" he shouted at her.
Max smiled at him in the tree line, "Well, there are a few drawbacks. Kenny, you aren't getting off of this island."
"How?" he asked, "How did he do this?"
"He . . . He merged my DNA with a fish. My bones, all of them below my waist, dissolved, my spine and ribs grew down into them. I couldn't move . . . I could feel things growing inside me, and when I could? I had this tail."
"Oh, Max," Kenny sighed, hearing for the first time a sadness in her voice, "He shouldn't of done this to her."
"I grew the scales, my gills developed," she continued, "My whole body changed. I'm not human, when I'm underwater, I forget I ever was. I've spent weeks, months, down there. I'm an animal."
"We'll fix you!"
She shook her head, "No. It's permanent. There is very little human about me."
"You're still you," Kenny insisted, "Come back with me. I can help you."
"You can't help anyone," Tim declared, stepping behind him, "Good job my love."
Max lay there motionless, as she watched the struggle on the beach. Feeling something snap inside her, she propelled herself up on the sand and knocked the men on the ground. Seeing Kenny look at her in shock, she grabbed his hand, "Come with me."
He looked at the men scrambling up on the sand, then back at his mermaid best friend, "Why should I trust you?"
"It's me or them," she said, "You can't save me, Kenny, but I can save you."
His big hand squeezed her webbed one, "How?"
She pulled him into the lagoon with her, "Hold onto my shoulders and take a deep breath."
He felt her slippery tail, as he did what she asked. Faintly he saw the gills on her neck, as she dove under the surface. She's so fast, Kenny thought, as they sped through the water together. I can't breathe, he thought, as she pulled him through the tunnels with her. Digging his nails into her skin, he gasped, when they surfaced in a cave together.
"He doesn't have any cameras in here," Max said, as he gasped and clung to her, "You're safe."
"Max?" he gasped, "How . . . I'm not leaving you here."
She smiled at that, "Where would I go? You called me a freak, and that is how the world will see me."
"The ocean," Kenny said, "You could be free there."
She took his face in her hands, "There is no way to leave. They destroyed your boat."
"If . . . If I got you to the water," he stammered, "To the ocean. We could go. You're faster then any boat, Max. This tail . . . I could barely hold onto to you."
"They'll be guarding the shore," she sighed, "I've just delayed the inevitable. They will find us. He will change you into a merman, or something else. It's really not so bad, Kenny, I enjoy it."
He gingerly reached out, feeling the webbing between her fingers, "Did it hurt?"
She nodded, as she helped him up on the rocky ledge, "He drugged me, but I could still feel it. I could be happy in the sea. How far to home? We're in the south pacific?"
He nodded, "I wanted to save you. Max, you look . . . You're not a freak, I'm sorry I said that. You look . . . You're beautiful. That tail is something else."
She watched him warily, as she pulled herself up onto a rock that was half in and half out of the water. She felt his eyes on her naked top half, as he skimmed her all the way down to the tip of his tail. "I think I've gained a lot of weight down there."
"Well you grew a couple of extra feet, Max," Kenny commented, "You're top half . . . God, did you look like that before? I mean you were very beautiful, but, I don't know. You ooze sexuality, Max . Just the way . . . God. Your body is, your hair . . . Is it, I mean because of the animal in you?"
She nodded, "I'm free. All my fears and doubts about myself are gone. Tim won't let you leave. This isn't a bad life, Kenny. You can't stop staring."
He nodded, "I've never seen a mermaid before. Much less one who I used to work with. The more I look at you? The more natural you look, like you've always been this way. You're so . . . You look so comfortable in your own skin. Are you?"
Max nodded, letting her webbed fingers dance over the top of her tail, "It took some getting used to. I will help you get away, if that's what you want, but this is who and what I am now."
"I don't want to leave you," he said raggedly, just looking at that six foot tail, "Come with me."
"How could she do this?" Tim snapped, "There is no place to go! The cameras haven't picked them up yet. She chooses him?"
"They were friends?" Nina asked, "Close? Before you brought her here."
"They worked together. Best friends. She wanted a mate, he would have been perfect. Maxine is a mermaid, she shouldn't be protecting this human!"
"You think you're the only human she cares about? You have sex with her everyday. You took away her entire life to make he into a sex toy. She was a success, you need to build on that."
He nodded, "I was going to change him for her. To see . . . They're searching right now."
"Max?" Kenny asked, waking up the next morning in the empty cramped space "Oh, crap. Max!"
Hearing nothing as silence echoed around him. Where is she? Where did she go? Did they catch her. Oh, God, did she go get them, to lead them back to us? Scrambling up, as he saw something coming up, he prepared himself for the worst.
"Max," he sighed, as she broke the surface, "Where were you?"
She slicked her hair back, "They're looking for us. I don't think they know about this cave, but . . . Here. I brought breakfast."
"What is this?" Kenny asked, as she handed him the leaves and what looked like animal guts, "You eat this?"
She crunched on the leaves hungrily, "Kenny, I'm part fish, this is what I eat. There isn't a pizza place down here."
"Max, I can't stay here. You can't . . . What are they going to do to me? Or to you for helping me."
"Tim loves me," she sighed, "He'll be angry, but I have my ways. As for you? He wanted to make a mate for me, to see if I could reproduce, but he was talking about other DNA mergers too. He tried, all those people who disappeared were his failed experiments. He has video tapes of all of it."
"He's a murderer. Why would you want to stay?"
"Who else is going to love me?"
"You deserve better! You didn't ask for this!"
She flipped her long tail, "I could just spend the rest of my life underwater, and not mind. I could just let the animal in me take over."
"You're going to be human again."
She shook her head, and gestured to her body, "Kenny, I have a tail, Gills. Webbing between my fingers. There isn't any going back for me."
"He made you a mermaid! He could change you back!"
She shook her head, "My DNA has been changed, there is no way to separate it, and I'm . . . Don't be sad for me."
"Max?" he asked, as the scuba divers arrived, "What's happening?"
She shook her head, as they shot the both of them with darts and they passed out.
"Maxine," Tim said, as she stirred in the small holding tank he first put her in after he changed her, "I'm very disappointed in you."
"What?" she asked, swimming to the side, "What happened?"
"I brought him here for you, and this is how you repay me? For all I've done for you?"
"He was scared," she said softly, "He didn't understand. I was scared like that, I wanted to help him."
He stroked her red hair, "I haven't done anything to him yet."
"He came to rescue me. He thought you were hurting me. I tried to make him understand . . . He said he could change me back."
Tim continued to stroke her hair, "Impossible. Your original DNA doesn't exist anymore, you are a completely new species. Kenny will be joining you shortly. Let the drugs get out of your system, and come to the main tank. He'll be waiting for you soon enough.
"You son of a bitch," Kenny growled, as he was strapped down onto the table, and the IV's were hooked up, "How can . . . We're human beings."
"Not for much longer," Tim sighed, as they fiddled with the doses, "This will sting a bit."
"I feel weird," Kenny murmured, as he thought about Max going through this all alone. He felt his lower half go limp, and struggled in vein to sit up. What is happening to me, he wondered, even though he knew. I'm going to have a tail . . . Max seemed so happy, happier then I had ever seen her before. And so god damn beautiful. My legs . . . The bones are melting, he thought, struggling to see them. He felt his butt push forward, merging with his penis on the fleshy mass in front of him. He felt has spine stretch and grow, connecting to what he knew was a tail. He could now lift his head, and recoiled and shock at his lower half. Long, fleshy, he thought, as he realized he could move it around a bit. Picking up the end, he felt the new growth all inside him. New muscles knitted through his torso and tail. He saw his feet flatten out and stretch into long fins, much like Max had. Fins, he thought numbly, as they grew and stretched before his eyes. Dark green scales began to cover his tail, as he felt the webbing between his fingers develop. Closing his eyes, he didn't want to see anymore, he didn't want to know. Max, he thought, we'll get out of here together.
"There you go," Tim's voice cut in after the hours of changes, "Welcome."
"You son of a bitch," Kenny murmured.
"Take him to the pool," Tim ordered, "I'm going to get Maxine."
Max swam around the large pool, anxiously wondering how Kenny was. He didn't want this . . . Oh, he's going to be angry. She swam to the edge as they wheeled the gurney to the side of the tank. Watching carefully, as they lowered Kenny to the side of the pool. She sucked in an involuntary breath, as she looked at him. The tail, wider and darker blue then hers was brushing the top of the water. His body, always muscular and in shape, was more well defined. His hair looked shinier, healthier, his eyes bluer as he looked at her. She ran her hands gently up his tail, seeing he was angry and in shock. She took his hands in hers, as he just stared and stared at his tail.
"Kenny?" she said softly, "Let me help you."
He stared at her, "Is that some fucking joke? I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."
"True," she said, feeling how dry his skin was from being out of the water for so long, "I'm sorry."
"Hey!" Kenny yelped, as they shoved him in the water with her, "No!"
He struggled under the water for a long moment, fumbling with his new tail. I'm drowning, he thought, before realizing he was breathing under the water. He paused in his struggles, as he just hung there. Looking down at the six foot tail, he gave it an experimental kick. Ignoring his fear and anger at the moment, he dove deeper in the tank, testing out the changes to his body. Seeing Max at a distance, he marveled at her grace as he swam slowly toward her.
She smiled at him under the water, running her hands down his strong arms. Kissing him under the water, she felt his surprise as she did. He pulled back, and marveled at how clear everything was under there. He watched as Max swam circles around him, and then beckoned him closer. The walls of the tank were opening, leading the mazes of lagoons and tunnels that run all over the island. He paused, a little unsure if he wanted to go with her. To give in to what the made him. He looked back toward the surface, at Tim and the others, and the last thing he wanted to do was see them again. Looking back at Max, he couldn't help but get aroused at the mermaid. Following into the caves, he looked back at the powerful tail that was his lower half. The webbing between his fingers caught the water, even though he struggled to keep up with Max. Losing himself in the beauty of the water, he was disappointed when she led him into a small cave.
"Are you okay?" she asked softly.
"You keep telling me this is a great life."
"One you didn't want."
"One you didn't get a choice in either," he said, still touching her face, "We're going to get out of this, Max. We aren't his prisoners, his science project. Don't tell me he loves you because he wouldn't of done this to you if he did. He wouldn't have done this to anyone. He's crazy. A killer. Who knows what he plans on doing with us? To others. We need to stop him, to warn people."
She stared at him, "He taped the changes, the ones that failed, the people that died. I know he filmed mine . . . If we tell people, we'll just be locked in another tank somewhere, always a project."
"You always fight. You do the right thing."
"What is the right thing?" she asked, "I don't know how to leave. We're fast in the water, Kenny, but on land?"
"What about the tapes?"
"How? I've only been in that room," she trailed off, "We're not inconspicuous anymore. Did you come here alone? Does anyone else know?"
"Jimmy . . . We can't let anyone else come here, Max."
She shivered a bit at his hands on her, "Tim. He loves me, he'll do anything for me. I can make him . . . They do tests, take my blood, he wants us to breed . . . He'll take me inside."
He looked at her naked body, "Where would you hide them?"
"This is hopeless," she said quietly, touching his face, "I was fine until you showed up."
"We're going home, Max."
"Kenny is gone," Jimmy trailed off, "I've called every agency . . . No one will touch Tim Dorian."
"You think he turned them into some circus freaks?" Jill asked, "That's insane."
"I don't know what to think anymore."
"Max!" Kenny yelled, as an explosion rocked the island, "What was that?"
She clung to him, as rocks fell around them, "We have to go!
This place is falling down."
Diving under the waves, they swam out of the caves and toward some of the lagoons. Kenny stuck close, knowing that she knew this place like the back of her hand. What am I supposed to do, he wondered, what is happening? Surfacing in the lagoon that he first saw her in, he gasped at the helicopters and boats storming the island.
"What's happening?" she gasped, as she pulled him under again as men came to the beach. Hiding, she thought, they'll take one look at us and dissect us! Sinking to the bottom of the lagoon, she held Kenny tightly to her as they continued their destruction of the island.
1111 - 6 months Later
"What is this?" Jimmy asked, looking at the tapes in the mail. Not liking the gnawing in his gut, he reluctantly put it in the VCR. Settling down on his couch, he hit play and watched as the lab came into view. Choking, as he realized he was looking at a naked Max bound to a table. Naked, he thought, wow. All the tubes and wires running into her . . . God she's screaming, Jimmy realized, and changing? He stared in amazement, as he watched her body slowly morph into that of a mermaid. Fighting back revulsion, he put in the next one, and saw the same thing happen to Kenny, then all of the footage of them swimming through the caves together. Forcing himself not to panic, as he watched the island getting destroyed, and finally the last shot of the two mer-folk swimming away.
"Jesus fucking, Christ."
Kenny chased Max through the warm waters of the Caribbean. Taking her in his strong arms, he pressed his lips to hers. She's all I need, he thought, as they sunk down lower together. It's not perfect, he thought, thinking of their family and friends back home, but we have each other here. He ran his webbed fingers over the bump on her stomach, where their child was growing. Max smiled at him, as they swam hand in hand to their new home.