Olly and Scott promised to be best friends forever. They grew up on the same street, went to the same school, and did everything together. But one hot summer night, teenage experimentation caused hurt feelings and confusion, and their friendship was destroyed.
Four years later theyíre both eighteen years old and in their final term at school. Scott is a football star and Ollyís preparing for a main role in the school play. After a heated argument in the streetówitnessed by their mysterious, elderly neighbouróthey wake up the next morning stuck in each otherís bodies.
The sound of music playing pulled Scott from a thick blanket of sleep into
wakefulness. He lay curled on his side; his room was darker than usual, as though someone had come in and closed the blinds while he slept. His bed felt weird, softer than it should be, and it smelled different.
He sat up, blinking in confusion as he looked around. He took in the room, the details unclear in the half-light that crept around the edges of the blind, but it was enough for him to realise where he was.
The posters on the wall were new, but the layout hadnít changed in four years.
What the fuck?
It wasnít possible. Logic told Scott there was no way this could be happening.
Heíd gone to sleep in his own bedóhe hadnít been drunk or high. So why the hell was he waking up in Ollyís room with no recollection of how he got there? And where the hell was Olly? The music that had woken him was coming from a phone on a docking station by the bed. He picked it up and pressed some buttons until it stopped. His brain was fogged with sleep and he couldnít think clearly.
Scott got out of bed on shaky legs. His hip ached as though it was bruised.
Actually, his whole body felt weird. Perhaps he was sick? Maybe this was all some bizarre hallucination?
Pulling the cord to raise the blind, Scott flooded the room with light. He looked down at himself, onlyÖ.
He closed his eyes and shook his head. When he opened them again, he still didnít see himself. His body was too thin, his skin too pale, the hair on his legs darker than usual, and he definitely didnít own any snug purple briefs like the ones he was currently wearing.
Stomach roiling with disbelief and terror, Scott turned to the full-length mirror on the wall and blinked.
Ollyís reflection stared back looking as horrified as Scott felt. Scott raised his hands to his face, and so did Olly in the mirror.
ìThis isnít happening,î he said.
The voice was Ollyís too, softer and a little higher-pitched than Scottís own.
It was the weirdest, most vivid dream Scott had ever had.
He pinched himself hard. ìOuch!î
Why wasnít he waking up?
Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep!
Olly shot up, heart pounding at the shrill sound. He opened his eyes and blinked in the sunlight.
Ugh. Too bright.
He looked around wildly and closed his eyes again, refusing to believe what he saw. Obviously he wasnít awake yet because he couldnít be in Scottís room. He hadnít set foot in Scottís house in years.
Olly cracked his eyes open again but still saw the white walls, the posters of Scottís football heroes that Olly remembered from years ago, and the freakishly tidy desk that definitely wasnít his.
The alarm clock by the bed was still making an awful racket, so he found the button to silence it.
ìScott?î he said hesitantly, then coughed.
What the fuck was wrong with his throat? His voice was deep and rough sounding. Oh God, no, please donít let him be getting a cold. He couldnít afford to lose his voice with all the play rehearsals coming up.
He pushed the duvet off and swung his legs around to get out of bed. Heíd find
Scott and work out what the hell was going on. Maybe he had some weird amnesia after his accident yesterday, although he hadnít hit his head. There had to be some explanation for why he was apparently in Scottís bed rather than his own.
Then Olly looked down at his legsóand froze.
They were thicker and more muscular than they should be. Olly only dreamed of having legs like that. The hairs on them were light brown instead of dark, the skin more tanned. He looked at his hands, they were all wrong too, thicker and sturdier than they should be. He lifted one to run it through his hair, the way he often did in times of crisis.
ìWhat the fuck?î No long floppy fringe falling in his eyes. Instead he found short-cropped hair and his ear piercings were gone.
Now convinced he was dreaming, because that was the only possible explanation, Olly got up to look in the mirror. Scottís handsome face stared back at him, the mouth slack with surprise and the blue eyes wide.
Olly shook his head in disbelief. No way could this be happening. No way. This was the stuff of Hollywood movies, not reality. But cold, creeping panic rose in his gut, because apart from the fact that he appeared to be in the wrong body, everything else felt normal. Way too normal for it to be a dream.
ìNo,î he said loudly, putting his hands up and touching Scottís nose, Scottís
cheekbones, Scottís lips. He felt every brush of his fingertips. ìOh, Jesus Christ on a bike, this is not happening. No.î