Sharks By D.I. Jolly
Dr Horn sat alone in his laboratory staring at the results of his latest test and thinking about his childhood. Back to the day in primary school when his teacher Ms Bean, told him he could be anything he wanted when he grew up if he just put his mind to it. He liked Ms Bean, she was kind and sweet, she read the class stories from what he imaged were her favourite books. At age six he thought she was the most beautiful women he had ever met, other than his mommy of course.
He reset the tests and started them again before taking himself off to bed. It would be the fourth time but he needed to be absolutely sure before embarking on the next stage of the experiment. Before drifting off to sleep he laughed at his younger self and the ideas he had had at that age. The real world was a very different place to what he thought but it hadn’t been unkind to him. He was obviously brilliant from a young age and achieved quickly. Top of his class in school and university, headhunted by top companies, and some magazines had called him the greatest mind of his generation. The line always made him think of another teacher he’d had as a child, Mr Rodgers. He wasn’t nice or kind like Ms Bean and had often mocked his imagination as a child. Telling him he’d have to grow up and get his head out of the clouds one day. Dr Horn wondered if Mr Rodgers had seen that magazine covers with his picture, and what, if anything, he’d thought about it. He wasn’t even actually sure if any of his primary school teachers remembered him. He hoped they did.
In the morning and with a cup of coffee he went over the results again and found them once again conclusive. He had done it, he had achieved the impossible and it was time for him to take the next step.
As he climbed into his machine and attached the cables to his head, he thought again of his days in primary school, to Ms Bean and Mr Rodgers and to what had been the worst day of his young life. The day he realised that his favourite and least favourite teachers were actually a couple. The women he loved was in love with the man he hated. The memory still made him embarrassed when he thought back to his reaction at the time, screaming at Mr Rodgers.
“I can be anything I want when I grow up and I’m going to be a shark and eat you!”
Mr Rodgers laughed, the rest of the students laughed, and in a heart-breaking moment, even Ms Bean laughed. It hadn’t been a good day. But that was then, and this was now. The machine’s power levels reached maximum and Dr Horn set his jaw.
“I can be whatever I want when I grow up.”
He threw the switch and his vision went white and it felt like his mind exploded into a million tiny pieces and then rushed forward. If he could have worked out which piece operated his mouth he would have screamed but before he had the chance his mind slammed back together and he opened his eyes into a totally new world. It took a moment before he realised what he was seeing. From inside the tank, the reflection made it hard to see laboratory around him, but if he shifted gently from side to side he could make it out. In front of him was him, or his body. When he shifted the other way, the glass became a mirror and he stared for a second into the cold dead yellow eyes of his new body and thought.
“And I’m going to be a mother fucking shark!”