Karl stopped on the trail and adjusted his hat. He pulled his water bottle out of his bag and took a quick sip. He would miss doing this every summer with his younger brother; at eighteen years old, Karl was preparing for college in the upcoming month. He looked back to see the sixteen-year-old struggle up the path. David’s pale skin and skinny build gave away that he preferred books and video games to sports, which was completely the opposite of Karl. Despite their differences, they got along well enough.
“Hey, David, what took you so long? I was getting ready to leave you behind,” Karl said as his brother came closer.
“Shut up. You’re not that far ahead,” David shot back.
“Whatever you say. Anyway, we’re almost there. Let’s make it up to the top of that mountain,” Karl said as he pointed at a low peak. “This is our last day to explore, so let’s make it count.”
“Let’s do it,” David said as he raised his hand in mock enthusiasm, then he took the lead. “I’m waiting for you now.” Karl smiled behind his stubborn brother.
After a few minutes of walking, the trail ended at the base of the mountain. “Hmm, it looks like we’ll have to blaze our path.” David nodded and they started to explore the best route to reach the top.
About halfway up, David pointed out, “Hey, there’s a cave up there. I’m going to check it out.”
“Okay, I’ll follow you.” Karl looked up at the cave about twenty feet above them; it seemed like an easy climb.
David reached the cave and yelled back excitedly, “You’ve got to check this out.”
“I’ll be right there.”
As Karl pulled himself over the last ridge, a huge light burst from the cave. Karl’s heart almost stopped. Adrenaline pulsed through his body.
The first thing Karl saw as he entered the cave was David sitting on the ground, wide-eyed, staring at something. “David! Are you alright?” Karl asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Look at that,” David said as he pointed. Karl looked deeper into the cave and saw a stone pedestal with shards of glass on it. David explained, “There was a crystal on it, but when I touched it, it exploded.”
“Really? Are you sure you’re alright? We can head back to camp if you want,” Karl said, more concerned about his brother than the weird cave.
David shook his head, “No, I still want to go to the top. Just help me up.” He held out his hand and Karl grabbed it to pull him up. Right when they connected hands, Karl felt electricity pulse through his body. Karl looked at his hand trying to understand what happened; goosebumps ran down his arms and legs.
“Let’s go!” David called out, snapping Karl out of his trance.
“Whatever,” Karl said to himself, dismissing the shock, and then said out loud with a smile, “I’m taking the lead though. We don’t want any more crystals blowing up in your face.”
“Not if I beat you there first,” David called out as he rushed out of the cave. Karl let out a small curse as he chased after him.
Karl and David walked back from the peak. They had made it to the top without any more incidents; the cave had become nothing more than a cool story they’d tell when they got back. However, Karl noticed that he was having a hard time hiking. Usually, he could easily walk these trails barely breaking a sweat, now he could barely keep up with David.
“Let’s take a small break,” Karl told David when he felt like he was going to pass out.
“It’s alright. I can still go on,” David responded energetically.
“It’s for me, idiot; I feel exhausted,” Karl sighed.
David gave his brother a surprised stare and then smiled. “This is a day to remember. I am now in better shape than you.”
Karl punched David in the arm. “Shut up; I just need a small rest.” Karl found a rock to sit on. As he took out his water bottle and drank half of it, he could feel sweat bead down his body, making him feel grimy. He took off his hat and rubbed the sweat off his forehead. As he put his hat back on, he saw that David was staring at him. “What?”
“You… your hair… It’s blond.”
Confused, Karl tried to pull his hair to get a good look at it, but it was too short. His hair’s original color was dark brown and no matter how long he spent in the sun, it never got lighter. He looked at David as if it was a joke, but he seemed serious. “I’ll take a look at it once we get back to camp. Nothing I can do about it now.” David nodded blankly. Karl stood up; usually, he was a good few inches taller than his brother, but now it looked like they were almost the same height. Karl shook his head; the trail was probably uneven.
They reached the camp about two hours later, just as the sun was going down. Karl dropped his bag and rubbed his shoulders; he used his hat to fan himself off. Karl caught David looking at him.
“What? Oh yeah, my hair. Do you have a mirror?”
David nodded and scrambled through his tent. He pulled out a small metal mirror and handed it to Karl. Karl looked into it. Sure enough, Karl’s hair had turned blond. Not just sunbleached but a full-on bright yellow. He rubbed his hand through it; he had never heard of hair changing like this. He saw David looking concerned.
“I’ll get it checked when we get back,” Karl said. “As I said before, nothing we can do about it here.”
The boys got ready for bed. Karl changed his clothes to a t-shirt and basketball shorts and climbed into his sleeping bag. He fell asleep instantly.
Half asleep, Karl felt something brush across his forehead and ears. He brushed it aside with his hand, but it came right back after a few seconds. Once again, he brushed it away, but it came right back. Karl’s eyes shot open. Bugs! He yelled wordlessly as he jumped out of the tent, trying to swat the bugs away.
David crawled out of the tent a few seconds later, yawning. “What are you doing? What’s wrong with your hair?”
“My hair?” Karl stopped swatting the imaginary bugs and ran his hand through his hair. The blond hair almost reached his shoulders. “Wha… How did this happen?” He tried to pull it out, but it was connected to his head.
David stood up and walked over to his brother and touched Karl’s hair. “This is too weird . . .” David said.
Karl looked up at David; he couldn’t breathe as he realized he had to look up at his younger brother. Karl was over six feet tall, and David was three inches shorter than him. Now, Karl was a good two inches shorter than David. Not able to stand still, Karl ran away from the campsite into the forest.
Karl’s foot snagged on something. The next thing he knew, he was lying face down on the ground. The soft dirt cushioned most damage, but he still received a few scraps. He turned over and sat up. He saw that he didn’t have any shoes on and his feet hurt. Karl smirked; he was worried about not wearing shoes in this type of situation.
Karl closed his eyes, trying to will all of this to be a dream. He opened his eyes hopefully, but he could still feel his hair brushing the back of his neck.
“Okay,” he said aloud to no one, “if this is happening to me, I’m going to face it head-on.”
He stood up and checked for changes. He felt a sense of vertigo as the ground was closer than before. Using David as a reference, Karl had lost about five inches. He grabbed his blond hair. He pulled a few dead leaves out of it. It felt odd to have the extra weight on top of his head. He brushed it behind his ears to try to ignore it.
As he brushed his hair back, he looked at his arm; the muscle he had built up over the years was gone. His skinny arms looked to be thinner than David’s. His chest, abs, and legs were also much skinnier. He realized that his muscles were probably shrinking during the previous day, which was why he was having a difficult time hiking.
Another thing Karl noticed was that his clothes had slightly changed. With his shorter height and loss of muscles, his clothes should have been extremely loose. But, they fit perfectly; not only that, they changed as well. His basketball shorts had become shorter and tighter, like those old-time basketball players used to wear. His shirt was tighter, but also longer so it went to the middle of his thighs like an odd dress. It looked like he wasn’t wearing any pants at all.
His brain couldn’t comprehend all of the stuff that happened. A slight pressure built up inside of him, which signaled that he needed to relieve himself. He walked over to a nearby tree and opened up his pants. To his great alarm, ‘it’ was significantly smaller. He started to yell as loud as he could.
A few minutes later, Karl made it back to camp where David was waiting with the mirror. Once David saw Karl again, his eyes went wide and his mouth opened. Before David could say anything, Karl held up his hand and said, “Don’t. Say. A. Word.” Karl felt something a little off about his voice. Karl grabbed the mirror and went inside the tent.
Once inside the tent, Karl took a good look at himself in the mirror. He looked a little strange with longer hair. At first, he looked almost the same, except that the stubble he had built up over the last four days was gone in exchange for an incredibly smooth face. However, as he looked closer, his eyes were bigger and his features were a little softer, more . . .
Karl set the mirror down. “No, no,” he told himself, “I’m not becoming more feminine.” His heart was beating fast. “This is not happening, this is not happening . . .” After a few minutes more, he decided to take action. He needed to get back home and see a doctor before anything else happened.
First of all, he needed to get changed. He started to lift his shirt, but then stopped. “What if . . .” he said quietly. He cautiously took off his shirt and breathed out a sigh of relief. His chest was still the same, just without a lot of muscle and chest hair. He took out a green shirt and jeans. At first, they felt loose, but then they shrunk before his eyes. They even felt a little tight. No time to think about those things.
Karl got out of the tent. Before David could say anything, Karl said, “Don’t say a word about the changes. We’re going to go straight home and go to a doctor to see what’s wrong with me. Let’s get going.” Karl winced at his strange voice. David simply nodded.
They packed away their camp and started their way back home. The car was about two hours away, but they realized it would take longer because of Karl’s condition. Before, they would take turns carrying the tent, but Karl quickly realized it was impossible to carry it by himself. Since it would be difficult for David to carry it the whole way, they decided to carry it together, which made it very difficult to hike effectively. David suggested leaving the tent behind, but Karl shot it down, mainly due to his stubbornness. The tent was pretty expensive.
As they were walking, Karl caught David glancing at him.
“Would you stop that?” Karl said. He blushed as he heard his voice was even higher. It sounded more cute than threatening.
“Sorry,” David blushed and looked away.
However, David kept on glancing at him. Karl couldn’t blame him; he felt his body keep changing. His hair kept on getting longer; he tried to stuff it in his hat, but that just made it uncomfortable. His figure became more petite, which made it increasingly difficult to carry the tent. His face felt numb; he could almost feel it gaining feminine features. He also noticed his chest was itching. He forced himself not to look down.
About an hour into the hike, Karl felt a sharp pain hit him in his stomach, which caused him to drop the tent. He held up a finger to David and ran into the forest. Once Karl was far enough away, he knelt on the ground and held his stomach. It felt like his insides were twisting and changing. He didn’t know how long it took for the pain to go away. He tried to stand up and almost fell over; he felt a little different, like his center of gravity was off. He steadied himself, steeling himself for the changes.
He took off his hat and his hair flowed down the middle of his back. His hips were wider now; that was what threw off his balance. His long jeans had transformed into short shorts, which showed off his smooth legs. He rubbed them, marveling that they were his; they looked so . . . girly. He opened his shorts, afraid to look inside. His manhood was completely gone. Karl went numb, unable to think or feel anything. Emotionless, he lifted his shirt. Two small mounds were budding on this chest. He poked them and shivered; they were sensitive. Karl collapsed to the ground, unable to think properly. After a few more minutes, he (Karl would not consider himself a she) picked himself up and walked back to David.
Karl made his way a few feet away from the trail. He hid behind a tree, not wanting David to see how he had changed. He caught a glimpse of David; he was pacing and looking in the direction where Karl had run off to.
Karl took a deep breath and stepped from behind the tree while staring at his feet. Reluctantly, Karl looked up into his younger brother’s eyes. All of the emotions Karl suppressed bubbled to the top in the form of tears as he saw the wide-eyed expression on David’s face. Karl curled into a ball and started weeping like a little girl; as he made that comparison, it only made it worse. Karl felt a hand on his head; it was warm and comforting. David was kneeling and awkwardly patting Karl on his head. Karl grabbed his shirt, leaned his head on his shoulder, and cried.
Karl finally managed to control his emotions. He let go and composed himself the best he could. He gave David a weak smile and said, “If you tell anybody about this, I’ll kill you.”
“My lips are sealed,” David responded, his cheeks a little red. “Shall we continue?” Karl nodded as he sniffed.
They picked up the tent once again and continued their hike. After about half an hour, Karl started to stare at David. When David would glance over, they would both blush and look away. Then after a few minutes, Karl would look over again and the cycle would start over. Karl had no idea why he kept on looking at David or why he would blush afterward. He just knew that he couldn’t help it and that his heart would skip a beat every time David looked at him. He tried to deny that it was an attraction, and he tried to stop looking at him, but he couldn’t.
Two hours passed. Karl’s mind began to become a little fuzzy. The constant struggle of trying not to look at David played a huge toll on his mind; his arms were also strained due to lifting the tent. He could no longer think straight.
“Let’s take a break,” David said. “I think we still have an hour left.”
Karl nodded. Without saying a word, he dug through the bag and pulled out the mirror. Alone, he walked into the forest to look at the changes.
Karl took a deep breath. He didn’t think anything could surprise him anymore. He looked down. Two large mounds were formed on his chest. Before they were tiny, barely noticeable, but now they were fully developed. He touched them; they were warm and soft.
“So that’s what it feels like to have breasts.” His voice was soft and feminine. He noticed beneath his shirt a bra was wrapped around his body. His shirt was tight, which show off his new body’s curves. His shorts had changed once again, this time into a skirt; he had been wondering where that breeze was coming from. Karl had shrunk another two inches, which meant that he was at most five foot six. It was still strange to view the world at this height.
Karl looked into the mirror. A pretty girl looked back at him. Karl could catch glimpses of his old self in the reflection, but everything was softer and effeminate. If Karl had a sister, this would probably be how she would look. She looked to be a cute tomboy, especially with her hat on. Karl gave his best smile; the reflection smiled warmly back. This was his new face, and he didn’t know if he could change back. Despite all of this, for some reason, Karl felt completely calm.
David watched Karl emerge from the trees. David was having a hard time reconciling his emotions about his older brother’s new look. Even the way Karl walked and held herself screamed of femininity that made it impossible to think of her as a guy. For the past two hours, David had watched his brother change into a cute girl. It had been especially strange when he saw her breasts swell like slow-filling balloons.
David was suppressing a panic attack. There was no way this was possible. But, he forced all of his emotions down. His brother needed him now more than ever.
“Are you ready to go?” Karl said in that high cute voice. She appeared much calmer.
“Uh, yeah,” David mumbled.
“Good, because I’m ready to get off this forsaken trail.” She was stretching her body and bouncing up and down, trying to hype herself up for the trip, her breasts bobbing up and down. David had to look away as he kept telling himself that this was his brother.
Her enthusiasm was very short-lived. After about fifteen minutes, Karl could no longer carry the tent. She was straining to lift her end, but David could tell she wasn’t going to make it much longer. Karl looked on the verge of tears.
“It’s alright,” David said, “I can carry the tent the rest of the way.” Karl looked up with tearful eyes then looked down and gave a quiet apology. David didn’t know what was happening to his brother, but he knew they needed to get back as soon as possible.
David picked up the tent and started trudging down the trail. Karl offered to carry the other bags, and David gratefully accepted. About five minutes later, David felt Karl brush his hand on his arm. David looked over at her; she was looking down at her feet, her face bright red. A few minutes later, the same thing happened. David felt as confused as Karl looked embarrassed.
A few more minutes passed and David felt her hand completely grab his arm. David’s whole body tensed up.
“Um, Karl, what are you doing?” David asked.
She quickly jumped away; her face beat red. “N-nothing.”
However, once again, David felt Karl grab his arm again. David tensed and looked at Karl, but David didn’t say anything and just continued to walk. Karl took this as a confirmation it was fine. She let out a huge sigh of relief as she pulled herself closer to hug his arm between her breasts and reach down to hold his hand. She even leaned her head on his shoulder. Karl’s huge smile looked like she couldn’t be happier and that she wished the hike would go on forever.
David, on the other hand, was placed in a conflicting position. He didn’t know how to react. The girl’s personality was changing; she wasn’t acting like Karl at all. His mind knew that it was his brother who was hugging him close, but his body couldn’t resist the affection of a cute girl. It was too late to back out now. The rest of the hike lasted forever, but it also ended too soon. He hoped Karl wouldn’t kill him once he returned to normal.
They reached the truck without any more incidents, except David was completely drained both physically and mentally. Karl let out a very girlish cheer. David still was having a hard time dealing with her new personality. Once they loaded everything into the back of the truck, Karl pulled out the keys, but David reached over and grabbed the keys out of her hand.
Karl began to pout, “Why did you do that? I’m older so I’m driving.”
“Um,” David said, without looking at her directly in her eyes, “I don’t think you can drive in your state. Let me see your driver’s license.”
Karl pulled out her driver’s license and, sure enough, it had the picture of Karl as a guy; David was wondering if it had somehow changed with the rest of her clothes, but no such luck.
“Fine,” Karl said, still pouting, but then she smiled, “It looks like I get to play with you all the way home.” It was a two-hour drive home.
As David pulled into the driveway, he let out a huge sigh of relief. That was the most awkward drive ever. Throughout the whole ride, Karl kept on grabbing his arm, holding his hand, and trying to hug him. She ended up snuggling close to him most of the ride; the truck had a middle seat next to the driver. They were lucky they made it back in one piece. She ended up asleep on his shoulder, with her breasts pressed firmly against his arm.
David shook her awake. “Karl, we’re here.”
Karl got out of the car and stretched. “Ah, that was a nice ride.” She then gazed at David and gave him a warm smile. During the ride home, David thought about what caused the transformation; he concluded that it was that crystal’s fault. He just wondered why it affected Karl and not him since the crystal blew up in his face. He needed to find out more.
“I’m going to jump in the shower,” Karl said, once they had unloaded everything inside. “I’m all sweaty and stuff.” Luckily, their parents were still at work. David wouldn’t know what to say to them if they were home.
“Okay, I’ll get in after you,” David said.
Karl leaned in close, and said softly, “You know, we could always get in together.”
David blushed a deep red. “Ah, um, no. Maybe another time.”
She giggled teasingly. “I’ll hold you to it.”
Right before she walked in, David called out, “Before you get in, can I see your hat?”
Karl took off her hat and gave it to David with no hesitation. “Gladly.” She then walked to the bathroom, turning around to give a small wink before going in.
Right when Karl went into the bathroom, David began preparing to leave. He stuffed as many clothes as he could into a bag and grabbed his stash of three thousand dollars that he was saving for a new computer and college. He wrote a quick note to Karl and his parents. David then put on his brother’s hat and walked out the door.
David didn’t know if the doctors could find a way to change Karl back to normal; he had never heard of something like this happening before. He couldn’t stay home any longer. He couldn’t be around Karl in this state; he would probably do something he’d regret.
Karl got out of the shower and examined herself in the mirror. She whistled at the reflection; she had a perfect body and was incredibly pretty. A small portion of her was still a guy, so there was some attraction to the person in the mirror. She had all of the memories of Karl, but she completely identified herself as a girl now. Taking another look in the mirror, she hoped that she was pretty enough to attract David. She felt complete whenever he was close. She wondered if asking David to join her in the shower was a little too forward and if David would end up hating her. They were siblings after all.
She walked out of the bathroom and yelled to David it was his turn to get in the shower. She went to her room and sighed. All of the clothes were still guy’s clothing. She decided to put one on anyway. When she put it on, the clothes magically fit her form and became feminine, including a bra and panties. “Oh, that’s neat.”
After she got changed, she noticed the shower wasn’t on. She knocked on David’s door and said, “Didn’t you hear me? You can get in.” No answer. She opened up the door and nobody was there. His room was a mess like someone had-
Panicking, Karl searched the house. She didn’t find anything except a letter in the kitchen. It read:
‘Dear Mom, Dad, and Karl. I’m sorry to say I have run away from home. For some unknown reason, Karl has turned into a girl. It had something to do with the hike we recently went on. I’m going to search for a cure on my own. Please don’t look for me.
Karl, I’m sorry for leaving you. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Live your life the best you can; go to college and study hard. See you later. You’ve been a great brother.
An hour later, David’s and Karl’s parents came home to a strange girl weeping on their couch. She greeted them with a sad smile and handed them a letter. Their parents couldn’t believe it at first, but after the girl answered every question, they took her to a doctor to get tested. Soon enough, through fingerprints, DNA, and further questions, it was confirmed this girl was Karl.
A group of scientists took her in. They ran more tests to try to figure out how she transformed, but they couldn’t find anything. The girl explained how her clothes also transformed, but they stopped changing after a few hours. After the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, they changed all of Karl’s records to a girl named Karlee. She was even able to get into the college she applied to.
However, they weren’t able to find David. They found the truck at a nearby bus station, but they couldn’t track exactly where he went. They sent out a missing person picture with the hope they would find him. They also tried any family members and friends he would stay with, but nothing came up.
Karlee followed David’s advice and went to college. She wanted to become a girl good enough for David to return to. She also didn’t want to stay home any longer; her parents looked at her as if she was a stranger. No matter how much they said they accepted and loved her, in their eyes, Karlee was not their daughter. At college, Karlee was able to start over with a new life to go along with her new body.
However, Karlee never gave up on finding David. On weekends and holidays, she would travel to different cities to search for her long-lost brother.
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