Jake was laying lazily on his bed, holding a dust ridden book and reading by the amber glow of the lamp on his night stand. It was yet another night that he just couldn't sleep; these odd cycles of insomnia posing a greater and greater annoyance. Stirring slightly beneath the covers, he kicked them off, allowing them to slide off the foot of his mattress; landing to the carpet in a crumpled heap. Sighing, he flipped another page, guessing this would be just another night of boredom and sleeplessness.
Jake didn't always suffer from these restless nights. It seemed not long ago that he would often be fast asleep, lost in his immensely active dreams. Gradually, something had always seemed to be tugging at the back of his mind, something tethering him to the world of the conscious. It could have been his depression, his medication, or just some unknown factor but, whatever it was, it was the squeaky wheel, and the oil can was empty.
Changing position, he slowly rolled onto his side, his weight resting upon his right arm. Glancing quickly at the clock, it read 3:47, "Great, still three hours before I have to leave for school." The light caught the side of his face, showing a light, unkept fuzz, his brown locks hanging long and greased in front of his face. When you suffer from insomnia, sleep isn't the only thing omitted from your schedule. He closed his eyes, leaning back against the mahogany headboard, just thinking. He had nothing to drain this time. Sure, there was reading but, one can only handle "Guns, Germs and Steel" so long until its tones are as entertaining as a long-winded lecture. He used to enjoy programming on his computer but, that took too much focus now. Then, his eyes darted open as his thoughts drifted back to his childhood, remembering the one possession that would never leave his neck.
"Gah, I wonder if I still have it." he thought aloud. Sitting up, producing a tense sound in his aging matrice. Hopping to his feet, he walked to his closet, sliding onto his knees; pressing into the carpet and filth. Rummaging through the old affects of his youth, how he had followed the earlier trends, and bringing to mind just what mattered to him at a younger age. Other than finding a few crumpled dollar bills, his search came up empty. Growing frustrated, he got back up, thinking he would flick out the light and just stare into the darkness for a few hours. He stopped just as he reached the edge of his bed, having just stepped over the gaming consoles strewn across the floor. "I wonder..." he mused to himself, recalling the last place he had seen it.
Eagerly, he turned around, reaching onto this over-cluttered hat rack, the layers of dust disappearing into the darkness. Moving some aside to get down to the hooks on which they rested, a grin crossed his face, the first sign of happiness in months. There is was, his dragon pendant. He reached over, grabbing it's black chord tightly in his hand and tossing it over his neck. It had been nine years, nine years forgotten in the back of his mind.
Sliding back over to the bed, he clicked off the light and laid back. Closing his eyes, fatigue gripped him, and whatever it was keeping him awake, released its hold. For the first time in days, he slept, soundly dreaming even after his alarm rang.
Groggily, Jake woke; opening one eye, and then the other, thankful for his first decent sleep in days. Noticing a metallic taste in his mouth, he tugged at the black chord of his necklace. Apparently, he had been chewing on the dragon pendant all through the night, it's tail slightly bent by the work of his molars.
Standing up, Jake fell right back down to his knees, breaking one of his consoles under the concentrated weight. He grabbed his stomach in agony, wondering what was happening. Then the thought hit him, morbid as it sounded. He had been chewing on this piece of metal in his sleep, what if he had received lead poisoning? A crushing headache began to form around the temple of his cranium as he grabbed his stomach once more, his abdomen being pierced with pain as he gagged.
Becoming desperate, he reached to his night stand for the phone, only to bring his hand back to his abdomen, the pain too much. He screamed as the sensation writhed down his back, he knew he had to be dying, that would be the only cause of so much discomfort, so much pain. "How fitting," he sighed, "this artifact of my childhood will be what kills me."
Jake was suddenly muted by the sound of crunching filling his ears. It was unlike anything he had felt, not like a fractured or broken limb, but almost like his body was being crushed. He obligatorily emptied his lungs in a heavy heave as the sensation spread from his hips to his chest. The cracking and crinkling continued, his limbs growing numb, gradually descending from "pins and needles" to a true lack of sensation. It began to feel as if his weight was redistributed, feeling like it was resting more on his knees than his palms, holding himself up. He fell onto his left side, the initial pain subsiding somehow. Glancing behind him, he gasped. It was a tail, his tail, his scaly tail, curving up to the side, seemingly of its own accord. "What the hell is going on? Am I hallucinating?!" He yelled, but still the image remained.
Just as he shifted his weight to try and stand up and reach the phone, he was pinned back to the ground by another surge of pain, beginning with a feeling of his skin burning, and coming to crunch as the last one. His calf tensed, an invisible pressure manipulating it. Suddenly, it snapped back and his foot began to grow, taking on a darker, more leathery color as it expanded. The outer two toes merged together, the nails darkening and lengthening with his foot until they became obsidian talons.
Diverting his attention back to his hands, Jake watched in a horrific fascination as his pinky and ring fingers seemed to melt together and his nails began to obfuscate; their opaqueness rapidly clouding and blackening. Suddenly, scales began to appear on his knuckles, matching the ones engulfing his lower body. They started as just a few until they began to accelerate, rapidly covering his whole arm up to his shoulder. This was accompanied not so much by an itching or burning feeling, but more akin to being covered with silk; it was an odd, but welcome, bit of comfort from the earlier torture. This progressed rapidly over his thighs, abdomen and all the way to his neck. With two loud rips, gigantic wings sprung from his shoulders, hanging limply as their membranous furls unfolded.
Jake tried to scream as his headache became more and more acute but, instead of the shrill noise, it was a draconic roar that escaped his lips. The changed had already made their way to his throat. Four great horns sprouted from his head as his forehead suddenly was crushed downwards, his eyesight growing black as he felt his jaw pop and crack. As the changes were slowing and coming to a halt, his hair fell out, revealing the scales that had formed beneath it. His once yellowing teeth were replaced with powerful, ivory-colored fangs, a muzzle extending from his face. These new senses, foreign feelings and sense of disorientation were all too much for him to bare as he began to loose consciousness, sure he'd never see it again.