Part 29 – The Clinic

I squirmed in my seat, glancing around at all the people around me and sucked in my breath. Though I stood out more than the others, I was not the only twisted in the room. Aside from myself, the most noteworthy was a girl perhaps thirteen or fourteen. She looked more or less human save for the bunny ears that jutted out from the side of her head, and a pair of prominent buck teeth. She held a carrot in her hands and kept looking around the place with wide eyes and jerking movements of her head.

There was a boy about my age with orange eyes, and clawed hands, a woman in her forties with teal hair that grew out of her head in thick yarn-like strands and another person who was so androgynous I couldn’t tell whether they were male or female or even pin down their age.

Carrie sat beside me, reading a magazine, but glanced at me and on occasion offered a smile.

It had been a few days since meeting my family and while it was gratifying to find acceptance; it had been more than a little chaotic. Clearing out their spare bedroom alone took the better part of a day, and as yet, I would be sleeping on an airbed. I didn’t yet have any furniture. I still had my sack of clothing and could morph into any outfit I desired.

Carrie was supportive, and we spent hours everyday talking and getting to know each other. We had a lot of catching up to do.

Drew had taken Amanda and the twins out for ice cream. As much as I enjoyed her company, I was glad that my half-sister hadn’t come along. I was nervous enough without her tugging on my arm every five minutes.

Okay, that came off as a bit harsh. Truth be told, I couldn’t get enough of her. Amanda wanted to be with me every spare moment and was delighted when I showed off my abilities. If I let her, she would spend hours coming up with new outfit combinations for me to morph. It would almost be worth it to see the smile on her little face. I must admit, I liked it much more than I let on.

The same could not be said for the twins. They didn’t know what to make of me, nor I them. Though polite, they were shy around me and seemed to live in their own little world. Though determined to break through their shell, I’d yet to puzzle out how.

Despite my difficulty with the twins, it was Drew who I was the least comfortable. He was polite, friendly even, but of all the family if seemed as if I was intruding into his life the most. His wife was my father, something which was downright weird to begin with, and I kept feeling as if I needed to apologize to the guy. Here I was living in his house, eating his food, and all because he married a lady who’d once been a dude and gotten some girl pregnant.

He had said nothing to indicate he didn’t want me around. He had been every bit as accommodating as Carrie and it only made me feel guilty.

I put that out of my mind, released a long breath of air and pressed my lips together. When Carrie told me about the Spiral Clinic, I understood why she wanted me to visit, and I agreed to come without much convincing.

I’d only been waiting a few minutes, but I was already antsy. At first, I didn’t know why, but then it came to me. I feared what the doctors might tell me. What if they decided I was dangerous, or that Carrie wasn’t my father? What would I do then? Who would I turn to? Where the hell would I go?

I don’t believe it showed on my face, but a hand squeezed mine and I looked over to see Carrie smiling. “Hey, it’ll be fine, there’s nothing to worry about. I work here, I know these people.”

I swallowed and nodded. Carrie was a licensed nurse and worked at the clinic part time.

“W-would you come in with me?”

Carrie blinked, smiled and then nodded. “Yeah, of course.”

I opened my mouth, but a voice called my name before I formed the words. When I looked up a single tear rolled down my cheek, my cheeks flushed, and I rose to my feet sensing the eyes of everyone in the room on me.

Carrie took my hand, I smiled, and we walked into the office… together.

“Thanks, Sharyn.” Carrie smiled and the other woman squeezed her shoulder, waved goodbye to me and disappeared from the room.

Carrie and her friend had spent the last few moments chatting with me. What surprised me was that she hadn’t even batted an eyelash when Carrie walked in. As she talked with us it became clear that my father told her all about me. Oh sure, she asked plenty of questions, but she’d already known about my parentage and how I’d turned up on my grandparents doorstep.

It warmed my heart just a little to realize that Carrie hadn’t even tried to conceal my parentage, her ‘shame’ at having fathered an illegitimate child or even that she’d been born male. I let out a long breath of air and all the tension drained out of me.

I looked about the room, surprised at just how ordinary everything looked. There were the usual cupboards and counter with the sink, the row of implements arrayed atop the countertop, two chairs on one side of the room, an examination bed and the standard rolling stool. The only thing that seemed even a little out of place was a long cylindrical table that resembled a tanning bed which rested on the opposite side of the room. I turned to Carrie with raised eyebrows the question in my eyes. Either she didn’t pick up on my unspoken question or ignored it.
I opened my mouth to speak, but before I could utter a single word a knock at the door silenced me and a slender middle-aged man wearing a lab coat appeared inside the room. The newcomer smiled and then nodded to Carrie. He ran a hand through a shock of graying green hair before turning to meet my gaze.

“You must be Calista. It surprised me to learn Carrie had a teenager. I thought her children were much younger,” he said with another smile. “My name’s Dr. Clark.”

He turned turned away. I glanced at Carrie, and bit my lip. It was clear she hadn’t apprised the doctor of the situation. I held my breath thinking perhaps she might hide the truth, but again she surprised me.

“Actually, Irving.” Carrie paused pursing her lips. “I only found out about Calista a few days ago. She was conceived before my twist…”

Dr. Clark jerked around turning back to stare at her with his mouth agape. Carrie froze meeting his gaze, before she let out a long sigh.

“When I was a boy…” She finished grimacing as she watched the doctor eyes grow even wider.

“Well,” he said clearing his throat. “That must have been quite a shock.”

He turned to me, snatching up a tablet from the desk and grimaced. “I assume that’s why we don’t have any information on you in the system.”

I nodded and pressed lips together before glancing up and locking eyes with him.

He settled onto a rolling stool with a tired groan. “Why don’t we get started by you telling me about your medical history and we can go from there, all right?”

I told him everything I knew, and he nodded. I’d never been seriously ill or had any surgeries. About the worst thing that had ever happened to me had been that I sprained my wrist when I was seven. Beyond that, the only issue I had to contend with health-wise was the occasional bout of hay fever.

He then asked about the circumstances of my twist and that too I shared. I told him nothing of the events that followed, and he did not press me for details. A matter, for which I was grateful.

“We can see about getting your medical records transferred later, but I don’t believe it sounds as if there’s anything serious in your medical history. We don’t, as yet, have a baseline for any comparisons, but I think the standard procedure with a recently twisted individual, like yourself, still stands. A physical examination to determine the extent of your transformation and ensure that you don’t have any unique medical needs, a psychological examination to ensure that you haven’t developed any harmful compulsions or personality traits, and a consultation with one of our trick specialists,” he said a smile creasing his thin lips.

A psychological examination? I blinked caught off guard. I guess my surprise must have shown on my face because the doctor spoke up. “Please don’t think you’re being singled out or that there’s cause for concern. It’s all very routine. I went through the same process myself when I was your age as does every patient who comes through these doors.”

I nodded and sank my teeth into my lips realizing that there was something I should tell him. “Doc, as far as the physical examination goes, I guess now is as good as any to tell you…” I trailed off flushing. “I-um, I’m having my period. My first, actually.”

He froze, looking back at me eyes wide, nodded, glanced at Carrie then fixed his gaze back on me. “You were a boy before your twist too?”

I blinked, my mind going over our conversation, realizing that not once had I mentioned I’d been a boy before my twist. I nodded, certain that my cheeks were burning bright violet.

He smiled and glanced down at his tablet, pecking at the display. “Well, father and son both undergoing gender changes, this is a first for me.”

He set the tablet down on the desk behind him without even looking back. He motioned toward the exam table. “If you’d like to hop up on the table there, we can get started.”

I nodded, my heart hammering in my chest, once again. All my doubts coming to bear again. Again, I wondered what if he told me I wasn’t Carrie’s child? What if our resemblance was just some weird coincidence? Where the hell would I go then?

I swallowed, forced back all my doubts and climbed onto the table as he suggested. I was being stupid, I told myself. Carrie was my father, I had all the proof I needed. I looked just like her for hell sakes!

I held my breath, and the doctor approached removing the stethoscope from around his neck. Try as I might I could not dispel my fears. I released my breath as the doctor neared. Misgivings or not there was nothing to do but have at it and hope I’d made the right choice.