Born to human parents, raised in a human house, and living around humans all her life, Casey thought that she was human. What else could she be?
Casey grew up in northern Michigan, and as the only child to two parents who were desperate for a kid, so it was easy to say that she was spoiled. She got what she wanted, she had much more than she needed, and she was greedy. But her parents gave in to her every demand without a second thought. She wanted a computer--she got a computer. She wanted a new doll--she got a new doll. She wanted more ice cream for dessert--well, her parents did put up some guidelines. Her room was full of toys and games, stuffed animals and coloring books. Though Casey was clearly privileged and spoiled, her parents loved her, and she loved them more than anything else.
In school, Casey had several friends who she would hang out with, many of them staying her friends well into high school. Parties, dances, sleep overs--it was everything Casey had hoped for and more. Considered one of the "popular girls," Casey spent a lot of time hanging out and having fun, enjoying all the attention she was getting. She couldn't have been happier with how her life was going. That was, until she turned into something...less than human.
A few weeks after her seventeenth birthday, Casey woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. Every bone in her body felt like it was breaking, her muscles felt like they were being ripped apart fiber by fiber. When she screamed in pain, desperate for help, burn the sound that came out of her mouth was an animalistic shriek. She screamed again, and the same sound came out. Her parents rushed into her room moments later, her father holding a bat. Her mother screamed, her father just stood there and stared.
That's when she finally noticed it--looking down at herself to try and see where the pain was coming from, Casey saw white fur, followed by a dark snout. Further down her body she saw red fur and canine legs and a long, bushy tail. She wasn't...she wasn't human anymore. She was a...a fox.
Casey can't remember anything after that, probably having gone into shock for a combination of pain and the shock of seeing her own body in the form of an animal. When she woke up again, it was light out, probably midday, and she felt absolutely famished. Her mouth was dry as she sat up in her bed, a raging headache pounding at the back of her skull. Her pajamas must have been somewhere under her covers, because she wasn't wearing them anymore, but she didn't notice. Getting out of bed proved to be more difficult than she had intended--everything was spinning, every part of her was sore--but she managed to get to the door on wobbly legs eventually. Her hand rested in the cool metal of the doorknob and gave it a sharp twist--only for it not to budge. Frowning, she tried it again, but it still seemed stuck. So she tried it again, gripping it tightly, and twisted. There was a popping sound, and then the door opened.
Still groggy and in pain, and so very hungry, Casey went to the kitchen, not noticing that the house looked ransacked on her way there. She consumed nearly everything in the fridge--left overs, fruit, a whole head of lettuce, a jar of peanut butter. She also downed a whole gallon of milk, followed by three cans of pop. Finally, her hunger and thirst had been quenched, and she could--why was the house a mess? Had someone broken in?
No answer. Casey ran to their bedroom--they weren't there. Their closets and dresser were wide open and empty, as was the safe in the wall where they kept most of their savings. All important documents were gone. All of the pictures on the walls--gone. Out the front door, their cars were gone. In the back yard, there was a smoking pile of ash in their firepit, which Casey ran to to investigate. Tiny bits of blackened or browned paper remained, along with metal pegs that were...from a photo album? Casey picked up one of the singed pieces of paper to examine it closer in her hands.
'Certification of live bir...”
The paper slipped from between her fingers, back into the firepit. It was her birth certificate. It hadn’t to be. Her parents had burned her birth certificate, likely a along with any other sort of legal documents pertaining to her. They had locked her in her room, grabbed their things, and abandoned her. The memories from the previous night came rushing back to her in a painful flood--screaming, pain, fur, tail, legs, fox--
Casey wasn't human anymore. She was something else.
Casey kind of just...sat outside, naked, by the firepit, for hours. Her whole life was turned upside down in the worst way possible. Her parents had abandoned her, she could turn into a fox, she had no record of who she was. Of course, her town still knew about her, she still had friends, there was no way her parents had erased records of her digitally, but could she stay? Was she safe to be around? Would she turn into a beast at any moment?
That night, after sitting outside well after it had gotten dark, Casey made up her mind.
Casey went inside, ate the rest of the food in the fridge, then packed her bags. She stuffed a duffel bag with as much clothing as she could, dug through her sock drawer until she found an old leather wallet full of cash--containing her birthday and Christmas money, along with some that she might have stolen from her parents, which she in no way regretted now--and filled a backpack with boxes and cans of food from the cupboards. Putting on a baggy outfit, raincoat, and sneakers, Casey walked out of the front door of her childhood home, and never looked back.
The next few months basically consisted of Casey walking, stealing, hiding, and discovering just what she was. A lot of the time she slept outside, even in the cold of winter, incase she changed into a fox in her sleep again. And, actually, she did. But she didn't just turn into a fox--she became a cat, a poodle, a hawk, a squirrel--all while she slept. It took her a while to figure out how she could change while she was awake, and the more she changed while she was awake, the less she did while she was sleeping. It was also far less painful than the first time she had changed. Now it was just uncomfortable, not scream-worthy agony.
Stealing was something she wasn't proud of, but Casey had to eat, and she had to eat a lot. Apparently after her first change, something about her physiology had changed internally as well. She could burn off food as fast as she could eat it, so actually cheap fast food that was high in calories was her savior, even if it got disgusting very quickly. Her thievery usually consisted of her waiting outside a restaurant as a fox or sometimes a hawk, and stealing the bag of grilled meat and fries straight from their hands before running/flying off. Or she would join a group of drunk people late at night and order as part of their group without them noticing. Crafty, right? Maybe she was intended to be a fox. She stole clothes from thrift stores, they were usually big enough to grab a handful of shirts and jeans and run out before anyone noticed. The cash that she had taken with her from her former home was tightly sealed away in a jar, being saved for the right time. And finally, finally that time came nearly two years after she had first turned into a fox.
A couple of months before her nineteenth birthday, there was a used car place that she came across that was having a going-out-of-business sale, and Casey jumped on the chance to get a car. Her jar with nearly three thousand dollars in it--she kept a few hundred in her bag just in case--was handed over for any car of her choosing in the lot. There weren't that many, and even fewer that were actually worth the money she paid, but she found a simple sedan that was ass-ugly and rusty but drove well, had all its windows, and the doors could lock. She drove it off the lot before having the chance to do any paper work, but she didn't care. She finally didn't have to sleep outside anymore! She had a radio and air conditioner and heater that only partially worked but it was good enough for her.
Finally, one year after that, she found a job. At the age of twenty, Casey got hired as a busboy in a small-town bar that didn't ask for the papers she didn't have and only paid her in cash, but you bet your ass that she worked her ass off cleaning the place spotless every damn night. Her boss quickly stopped giving her free meals after seeing how much she ate, paid her cash at the end of each week, and eventually got her a uniform, too. Finally, she didn't have to steal anymore, she had a place to sleep away from the cold, and she knew how to control her abilities. Still, Casey had no idea what she was or where she had come from, and she missed her parents even after they abandoned her, but with a job and a running car, she felt...human again.
Now, at twenty-three years old, Casey still works at that same bar, in that same small town, with that same old car. Now as a bartender instead of a busboy, she made more money, money that she finally got as a paycheck with some...possibly forged documents that might have also been used to get her a bank account and an apartment. Her savings is going towards getting a newer car and paying rent, and she feels happy again. Of course, she didn't think anything would ever make her as happy as her childhood, but she tried not to think about that. Her parents left her, and she left that part of her life behind the day she turned into an animal in her bedroom. Done were the dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor, in were the dreams of being able to get enough groceries and afford rent at the same time.
Almost every night or early morning, Casey would run in the woods in one of her animal forms, allowing her to sleep more soundly at night so she wouldn't change. Because there was always the chance that she'd wake up as an animal, she never dated, not even a one night stand. It was far too risky. So she remains single, her only friends being her coworkers, who she never spent time with outside of work. It was easy to say that her life was lonely, because it was, but Casey would rather be alive and lonely than experimented on for what she was.
Casey's favorite animal to become is still a fox. She had no idea why that was the first form she had turned into, or why she liked it so much--hell, she never really cared about foxes as a kid--but it's still her favorite. As far as she knows, Casey can turn into any animal she visually knows the body of well enough. She had just see a single image of an animal she's never heard of and suddenly become that animal, she usually has to see that animal in person. Mamals and birds are also the animals she can turn into. Reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects are a no-go, only giving her a headache whenever she tries. Because apparently when you're a shapeshifting abomination, you still have rules you need to follow.