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A Changeling Chronicle

Getting Conned


Rodford Edmiston

        I was sitting behind my table in the Dealer's Room at ChiCon, hawking my wares, waving to people I knew, when an old acquaintance came by.

        "Runner!" I called out happily, laying my sketchbook down. "Come back here and have a seat. I haven't seen you in nearly a year."

        "Hi, E'yesha," she replied, turning sideways to squeeze between my table and the next, "yeah, you'd think people who live just thirty miles apart wouldn't have to come to a WorldCon to see each other."

        Runner was smaller than most humans, only a head or so taller than me. We had a lot of other things in common, too, and I was eager to talk with her. She sat in one of my extra chairs and we chatted for a while, catching each other up on what we'd been doing. I noticed that when I paused to try and sell something to someone, Runner would peruse my prints as well.

        "So, are you gonna just sit there or are you gonna buy something?" I asked her, smirking. "I mean, not all of us can make diamonds out of charcoal."

        "Graphite powder, actually," she responded, absently. "Oh, yeah; I plan to buy some of your stuff. Maybe even get you to do a commission for me."

        Well, that was promising, but before I could follow up on it I was distracted by a very handsome, tall, male elf in classic garb walking by.

        *Whoah!* I sent, discretely switching to telepathy. *Do you see that?*

        *Yeah,* was Runner's unenthusiastic reply. *We've already met.*

        There were overtones to her thoughts which spoke volumes not stated explicitly.

        *Okay,* I nudged her, *what's the story?*

        *Well, you know how I changed into a character I created, a Bluegrass Elf...*

        *Of course,* I replied, rolling my eyes. *A lot of Changelings turned into characters they created. Including yours truly.*

        *Well, yeah, but I designed an entire species,* she elaborated. *For Bluegrass Elves, the primary source or arousal is telepathic compatibility.* She grinned, revealing her wolfish dentition. *When a Bluegrass Elf says "I love your mind" it means something.*

        I grinned too, but that faded as Runner's expression became grim.


        *So, I literally bumped into that guy in the consuite earlier, and when we turned to look at each other, we went into full telepathic rapport.*

        *Wow! Lust at first sight?*

        *Yeah,* she sighed.

        *And you, being a former male, couldn't stand that.,* I guessed.

        *Actually, right then all I wanted was to have sex with him,* Runner countered, frankly. *Him being male didn't matter. I was so horny I almost peed my panties.*

        *So you had sex, and now you...*

        *No, no, no!* she exclaimed, glowering. *Will you let me finish?*

        *Okay, sorry,* I replied, raising my hands in a placating gesture.

        *Sorry. This makes me pretty... uncomfortable,* she told me. *Anyway, I thought I might finally get laid, the first time since the Change. There just aren't that many people around who can heterodyne with me like that. And at first he was as swept along as I was. Only then he realized that this short, furry little freak in front of him was the source of his arousal, and practically ran screaming.*

        *Oog...* was all I could say. *Is there anything I can do?*

        *Not hardly,* she muttered in my mind.

        *Are you saying,* I sent, holding my shoulders back, pushing my chest out and smiling impishly, *that this doesn't turn you on?*

        *A little,* she admitted, shrugging. *That's more from remembering than anything else. Your scent does more for me than staring at your chest, and even that's not much. You're just the wrong kind of elf.*

        *Wait a minute. You said there aren't many people around who mesh with you. But there are some?*

        *I've found four, so far,* she replied, leaning back in her chair. *Two are married - to each other, even - and good friends of mine. I'm not going to intrude on what they have. One I just told you about. The other was this gorgeous female high elf who practically accused me of mind-rape. Seems she's homophobic.*

        Runner is quite an attractive creature, and while I could understand someone not being interested in sex with someone their own gender the male elf's response baffled me. Maybe it was the fact that as a fantasy artist I was long familiar with anthropomorphics. I'd even had wolf-morph and werewolf lovers. Runner looked quite appealing to me, with her fur colored in mixtures of earth-tone browns over most of her body, but off-white down her front and the insides of her arms and legs, and her big, moist, soft eyes. Maybe it was the fact that she had a muzzle, and fangs which could startle Dracula, which had repulsed him.

        *And you can only get horny with someone who's mind matches?* I asked, rather wistfully.

        That made her chuckle.

        *Yes, you perverted little elf,* she chided me, giving me a quick, friendly hug. *And as much as you wish otherwise you just aren't on the right wavelength.*

        I felt the beginnings of an idea then, but was interrupted by an announcement over the PA that the dealer's room would close in five minutes.

        "Oh, listen," I said, reverting to audible speech, "would you hang around for a bit? I want to take some of this stuff to my room, and could use some help."

        "Sure," Runner replied, shrugging again.

        "Good. Afterwards we can get something to eat and hit the room parties."

        I made some last-minute sales, then put things in order, covered the wares I was leaving behind with a sheet, and loaded Runner and myself with the cashbox and a few other items. We stopped several times on the way out to chat with other dealers. After dropping some stuff off in my room we headed downstairs to the food court.

        "Used to be I wouldn't eat this early," muttered Runner, around a mouth full of hamburger. "Since I Changed, though, my metabolism is pretty high."

        "Well, I've been in the Dealer's Room all day," I replied. "I just snacked around for lunch."

        Runner is normally a pretty fun companion, but tonight she was quiet. I figured she was still feeling sexually frustrated by her encounter with the male elf. I could sympathize. Since turning into E'yesha I become aroused much more easily, and by more things. Sometimes I literally, physically hurt when I can't get what I want.

        We bummed around the lobby and some of the function areas for a while, checking the message boards and seeing who was around.

        "Well, it's still too early for any of the parties," I sighed. I grinned wickedly. "I think I'll go take a shower. Wanna join me?"

        She actually snarled at me!

        "Don't tease me like that!" she snapped, loudly enough that some heads turned.

        "S-sorry," I gasped, shocked by her sudden anger.

        "No. No, I'm sorry. I don't know what's wrong with me."

        I thought I did, but was reluctant to say, after that outburst.

        "Well, I do want to get cleaned up," I told her.

        "A cold shower sounds pretty good right now," she sighed. She looked at me. "I mean that I'm going to my room, and shower alone, and put on some clean clothes."

        Our rooms were in the same hotel, in the same wing, but on different floors. We headed for the stairs. Unfortunately, as soon as we opened the doors we encountered trouble. Even before my conscious mind registered what stood before us, there was a nagging sensation of worry at the base of my skull, a warning sense I've come to respect.

        There were five of them, all young, mid to late teens, standing on the landing. Two were wearing one-day con badges. The others had no badges. All looked unsavory. The way their eyes lit up when they saw us made me shiver, and with the opposite of delight.

        I tried to hurry past them, up the stairs, but the biggest grabbed my arm.

        "Hey, babe, where you goin'?" he asked, leering at me. "Pretty young thing like you shouldn't be runnin' around alone."

        I didn't freeze. I didn't have time to. Runner's hand snapped down on his wrist so hard I got bruises. I suddenly remembered two things: Runner was in the same karate club as Bent-Tail, and she was as strong and quick as a timber wolf.

        She peeled his hand off my arm, and growled, lips curled back to reveal those huge fangs.

        Watching their world views rearrange was interesting. We went from being a couple of cute little exotic babes, to a cute little exotic babe and a wolf. An angry wolf. The other four screamed and ran. The guy Runner had hold of screamed and tried to run, but she wouldn't let go. I touched her mind, and saw such rage that I was suddenly as terrified as those boys.

        "Runner! Don't hurt him!" I yelled.

        Fortunately, that startled her back to her senses; she let the sobbing boy go and he stumbled after his friends.

        "Th-thanks," I gasped, "but don't you think you overreacted?"

        "They had it coming," she said, voice ominous.

        Again, I realized what the root cause of her anger was, only this time I blurted it out.

        "You need to get laid!"

        She whirled, lips again peeled back, and for just a moment I thought I was dead. Then she took a deep, shuddering breath and calmed herself.

        "I told you before, that's not funny," she said, voice quiet but hard and brittle as diamond.

        "Wait a minute," I said, as something which had occurred to me in the Dealer's Room came back. "I have an idea."

        "What?" she said, suspicious.

        "Okay, you're a pretty good telepath, maybe better than I am." I took a deep breath and plunged ahead. "But E'yesha had a special talent, an ability to tune her telepathy perfectly to non-elf minds. She was sort of a living balun. So if you'll let me, I'd like to try that with you."

        She looked puzzled.

        "I mean, I haven't had to do this before with you, because you are a type of elf, and close enough that it wasn't necessary, but I think that if I..."

        "Okay, okay," she said, rolling her eyes and giving a tired smile. "Go ahead and try."

        I touched minds with her, going for a deep rapport. I'd never done this before; there'd never been any call to. I felt a resistance, a minor incompatibility in the ways our minds were organized. I pushed, gently, felt myself fit a bit closer, then encountered more resistance. I could feel surprise and a growing anticipation from Runner, almost as if they were my own. Or maybe some of it was my own, reflected back at me. That sort of thing is hard to separate out in a deep rapport. I frowned, pushed again, trying to mold my mind to hers. The resistance held... then abruptly vanished.

        I was almost overwhelmed by a sudden, total, mind-to-mind rapport. And a rush of pent-up lust which left me gasping. We both just stood there for a moment, gaping at each other.

        "Your place or mine?" I finally managed, leering at her.

        "Yours," she gasped. "It's closer."

        I turned to hurry up the stairs, but wasn't fast enough. Runner grabbed me in her arms and ran.

        We never did get to any parties that night...




        This work is Copyright 2000 Rodford Edmiston Smith, who may be contacted at: stickmaker@usa.net for permission to reprint or repost.