This is set in the "Tales from the Blind Pig" universe.
I silently padded down from the overhang I was lying on. I had sighted a
straggler from the herd. This one was limping. Good. Slowly, and carefully, I
quietly crept up on the stag, and pounced, my teeth tearing into it's throat,
the hot blood gushing into my mouth as it breathed it's last and-
I woke up with a start from the dream in a hot sweat. My dreams were never that vivid. I could still taste blood in my mouth. Then came the realization that it was my blood in my mouth. I started feeling even hotter. I knew that I had caught a flu bug of some sort, and had called in sick to work. I hoped that this nap, combined with some anti-cold medication, would tamp down the symptoms enough for me to go back the next day. But this felt even worse. I'd never felt this sick before, but I felt like I was burning up underneath the sheet of the bed. As I struggled to get the sheets off of me, I brushed a hand against my body and it felt really strange. I had fur. Then the pain hit, feeling like someone had set my skin on fire. I finally flung the sheets off, and watched in painful horror as a pattern of white, orange, and black fur started spreading across my body. The fur grew in quite fast. The pain started to subside, but then lanced through my body as whatever this was moved on to the internals. What little scream of agony came out was quickly choked off as my throat changed from a human larynx to a feline syrinx. Unconsciousness thankfully followed shortly thereafter. The last image I remember seeing was a red tinge as my eyes started to shift.
I suppose I should be somewhat lucky. I was among the last to get the Flu from the original outbreak. The Panic that had followed Dr. Stein's announcement had only slightly affected the town where I lived. Unfortunately for me, I happened to get whacked pretty hard by the SCABS.
Cool Black. Relaxed. Slow, Steady breathing. I slowly cracked an eye open. A widening line of pure white invaded my black hiding place. I decided, what the hell, and cranked the eyelid wide. And then promptly slammed it back shut, the afterimage of pure white searing across my eye. Ouch, I thought, and then slowly re-opened both eyes. The sight was rather strange to say the least.
Going from the 'normal' human vision to something else was enlightening. Felines do not have the color vision that humans have, but it's much more sensitive to light. Plus, you have the wider angle of vision to deal with, which initially gave a slight "fisheye" view of everything until I got used to it. I looked around within my field of view. I was in a hospital bed, in a room with a window. Light was streaming in the window, and was lighting up the room rather well. What I could see of my muzzle was an orange colored with a black strip across it. Funny, tigers don't have any stripes on the bridge. I tried to open my mouth, only to find that it was restrained in some manner. The realization sunk in that I had been muzzled. My brain then decided to tell the rest of me at that moment that the nose was functional, and that the room absolutely stunk of some gross medicinal scent. I tried to move my paws, but found that they, and the rest of my body, was strapped to the bed.
I had been fully changed into a Siberian Tiger. My body had completely changed. I was not sure about my mind, but I did not hear any odd thoughts or any urges, except to get free of my bindings. I tried to speak, but all that came out was a sort of chuff and a low rumble. I felt some moving air with my whiskers, and realized that someone had opened the door. I caught a whiff of the deodorants that the nurse and doctor were wearing, and then the air moving as the door closed.
The Doctor spoke first, telling me that I had come down with SCABS as a byproduct of the Martian Flu. The straps and other restraints were to keep myself from injuring anyone, or even injuring myself. As he was saying this, the nurse was cautiously removing the restraints. The doctor asked if I could speak. I shook my head no. I wanted to talk to him desperately, and suddenly my throat started to tickle a bit and suddenly all the connections were there. The Doctor had gotten up and started to leave when a rough voice came stumbling out of my muzzle, "Wait." My voice was raspy, like someone had taken a file to my vocal chords. "What will happen to me?" The doctor simply stated "I'll tell you in a few minutes", and left.
They pushed me out of the hospital a week after, just to make sure that I had finished changing. They also wanted to run some tests on me. Not everyone changes into a tiger apparently. I had gotten used to my new body, and had re-learned the basics. Speech was difficult, simply because I could only hold a morphic form (or shift any part of my body) for a short period of time. Eventually, I could hold my throat up for a period of three hours, but it was painful toward the end, and I had to spend an equal amount of time mute. Hence, I ordered a voder. It was a couple weeks before I could really use it effectively.
I went back to work after a month. My boss was not very accommodating. I had to talk to the director, and finally conviced him that I was ok. Although I could not do the job I was hired for, I proved to him that I could do the same job as the rest of the department, ie play a router jockey. In the month off, I had found that my memory retention had gone up dramatically. I could easily do the router jockey job. My tenure back was incredibly short unfortunatly. I lasted a little more then a month.
I had a habit of taking my lunch to work with me. I had quite enough trouble getting my transportation, (my custom made motorcycle for a full-morph was rather expensive), I felt that I could eat in and save the expense of buying lunch out every day. That, and steak does get expensive in a restaurant, if they would even serve me. I ate my food one day, and although it tasted odd, I chalked it up to something in the air. It smelled fine when I put it in the microwave to heat it up. I don't remember much from that period. I remember finishing the steak, and stepping outside for a breath of fresh air. After I went in, I felt quite dizzy. My co-workers tell me that I passed out in the break room.
I was describing what had happened to the human resources person when someone came by and quite rudely asked if I had a pleasant nap. The smell on him was familiar as well... hmm... After the H.R. person closed to door, I bluntly told her that he has the same chemical oder on him as was on my food. She thanked me, and proceeded to tell me that she would get to the bottom of things. The rest of that day passed uneventfully.
The next morning was not fun. I was sent to the switch site in another part of town, and I dutifully went. When I got back, I quite nearly blew a gasket. There, in my cubicle, was a large picture of me passed out yesterday, and a few other unpleasant things. I ripped them down, wrote out a rather hasty letter, and went over to see the H.R. person to hand deliver this letter. She read it, and I stated quite bluntly: "I'm leaving. For Good. Please contact me at my home when you find the culprit." As I was exiting out the door, I ran into my boss. The only emotion I caught from him was a nasty scent, which identified him as the culprit. He did turn around to try and say something to me, but that was drowned out by the smoke and screeching from the motorcycle as I left a large and long skid trail in the parking lot.
My old company was nothing if quick. the next day, a delivery from Federal Express came to my house. Inside the envelope was a large check, a written apology and a request not to sue. That was what the check was for. I looked carefully at the amount on the check. It was more then enough to pay for the bike, and a few other things. I signed the form, wrote an additional note, and sent it back to them. I then drove over to the bank, put the check in, paid the bike loan off, and then went shopping for two things: some toys, and a new job. I found out later from several friends that still work there that my boss was fired that day. I probably could have come back, but this gave me a new freedom.