I debated my options: punt the little sideshow attraction like a football or let it jump me and then snap its neck. The creature quickly closed in. I readied my leg for kickoff.
Then there was an explosion and the lizard baby’s head disappeared in a cloud of green-tinted pink mist.
I clapped my hands over my ears, temporarily deafened. That had been a gunshot, not an explosion.
Curt Connors stood beside me, my gun in his hand. He dropped the gun and knelt beside his offspring’s corpse. He looked up at me. Tears ran down his face. His lips moved. My hearing came back in time to hear him say, ” . . . different this time. All I want is nine months. All I need.”
Then he darted at me, tackling me just below the knees. I went down, the back of my head striking ground for the second time this day; only this time, it was hard wood, not slightly soft ugly carpet. I was stunned for a moment, and he took that opportunity to straddle my chest and grab my wrists. He pinned my arms down. His jaw twitched, and then he turned his head and spat out the horse teeth, the dentures. When he faced me, I saw lots of short, needle-sharp, needle-shaped fangs. Clear fluid dripped from two front teeth. He lowered his head and hissed.
I managed to rip loose my left arm and punch him in the face, mid-strike. He grunted, and the grip on my right arm loosened just long enough. I shoved him in the chest with both hands, and he tumbled off me. I flopped onto my stomach, thinking I’d go for the Glock and blow his head off. Like father, like son. Or daughter. Whatever the hell that thing had been.
Then he sank those needle teeth into my calf.
Ever caught your leg in a bear trap? Me neither. I think it would feel about the same, though. I screamed, kicked out with my leg, felt the sole of my boot strike something hard. If I was lucky, I had caved in his face.
I scrambled to my feet, my left leg burning all the way to my hip. I hadn’t been lucky. He crouched next to the coffee table, those bright green eyes locked on me. Blood streamed from his nose, so maybe I had at least broken it.
My leg buckled. I managed to catch hold of the couch and stop from spilling to the floor. Really, twice was enough for one day. I kept my eyes on Connors as my leg throbbed and blazed. My muscles began to twitch. I leaned on the couch and said, “Tell me you’re not venomous.”
He grinned, fluid running down his chin.
“You asshole,” I said. My eyes searched for the gun. Of course. It was behind him. No way I could get to it with my poisoned leg. One thing left to try.
I don’t need a full moon to change into my werewolf form, which is a definite plus. It helps, though, if I’m not loaded with lizard man venom.
I took a deep breath and willed the change on. I tasted blood as my teeth moved in the sockets. They slid out to their full two-inch length as the rest of my body started to transform. I let go of the couch and hit the deck, started stripping off my clothes as my bones broke and the ligaments and muscles forced them into new positions. The change takes only seconds, though, so most of my clothes ended up getting slashed off of my newly furry body by my talons.
My leg still hurt, but I was glad that despite it, I shape-shifted. I got to my feet and stared at Connors, who was still crouched by the coffee table. He clapped. “Good doggy,” he said.
He stood up.
I leapt for his throat.
I crashed into him. His teeth closed on my right shoulder in mid-fall, and when we hit the floor, he crunched down. I howled. He tore out a chunk of red fur and flesh. I howled louder. I was on top of him, and I used that to my advantage, digging my throbbing left knee into his gut as my claws pierced his arms and held them down. He hissed and tried biting my face. I twisted my head away and then went for his throat.
His skin was a bit thick and tasted bad, and I didn’t like how cold it was, but I sank my teeth in anyway. I tore out his throat and watched those bright green eyes turn dull green. When he was dead, I struggled off of him. My muscles were twitching again.
I didn’t try to get to my feet. I didn’t think I’d make it. I sat on my hairy werewolf butt as the twitching worsened. My left arm jerked, and my claws dug grooves in the floor. I decided to change back. That son of a bitch had poisoned me. If I was going to die, it wasn’t going to be as a monster.
It took longer than usual, it hurt way worse than usual, but I succeeded. I sat on the floor, drenched in sweat, my leg and shoulder screaming and burning, as something warm trickled from my nose.
I wiped at it with a shaking hand. My hand came away bloody.