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Olivia looked at her hand, fingers splayed, fascinated by what was happening to her. The webbing between her fingers had swollen into translucence, with minute black veins visible beneath the surface. A sharp burst of pain flared in her fingertips as pearlescent needles slid forward, set in beads of black fluid which dripped onto the table. She sighed with pleasure as she lifted her hand for inspection.
‘Excellent, Olivia.’ Amaro said.
‘Now do it again.’
Olivia repeated the process until the tips of her fingers bled. She felt a deep pulsing travel up her forearm as the wounds closed.
‘Will it always hurt?’ she said.
Amaro give a thin smile and nodded.
‘As with all life, Olivia. However, some pain serves a purpose.’ he said.
Olivia ran her tongue along her gums, feeling the small nubs of raised flesh, through which slid the secondary set of teeth, fine black hollow needles which produced a neurotoxin and a vacuum seal to draw out blood. She lived with bursts of fascination about her new anatomy before a fleeting sense of how alien these things were washed over her like crude oil atop an ocean.
‘My experiences beg to differ.’ she said.
Amaro’s lips curved into a smile. Olivia noticed the subtle changes in his physiognomy, how his cheekbones would protrude and recess then the plates of his skull would swell before he caught himself and resumed his normal features.
‘Of the two of us, I have more to say on the matter.’ he said.
Olivia looked into his eyes and held his unflinching gaze.
‘How Old Are You?’ she said.
He brought his hand and covered his mouth as he shook his head and chuckled
‘I will be 340 years old in May, Olivia.’
‘Why are you laughing?’ she said.
He came around the table and stood close to her. She caught the salted piscine musk of him, wondered how far from humanity he was.
Perhaps it was the power, both in his form and wealth which set him apart. She had met with deputy directors, elected officials and although their station afforded them respect, Olivia knew without that station, they were small, crumpled and weak. She looked at him and fought the chill stirring of her interest which ran through her veins.
‘The ages have been dichotomous Olivia. I have been a monster and a god to some, but all I know is my purpose.’
She caught the Spanish accent, the diphthongs which escaped his control which made her smile to herself.
‘Which is what Amaro?’ she said.
He rested his hand atop hers for a moment.
‘In time, Olivia, in time. Now, walk with me.’
Amaro’s long, supple fingers curled around hers and he lifted her hand as she got up. Her breath caught in her throat as she followed him from the room. They left the house through the rear, wandered through the garden and out onto the beach. Olivia raised her nose and struggled against a pleasurable shifting through her body. The smell of the water prompted further changes and when she caught Amaro staring at her, she lifted the black t-shirt over her head and tossed it to the sand. He unbuttoned his shirt without taking his eyes from her, wandering over her high, firm breasts and soft stomach. Olivia had held herself apart from men but her transformation still held surprises. Her nipples hardened when the warm breeze caressed her. Amaro’s physique was a study in definition, sculptured muscles underneath translucent emerald skin as he let the shirt fall and he unbuttoned his trousers. The lack of modesty was reflected as Olivia stepped out of the cotton jogging pants and removed her white cotton panties. They established communications through the sets of laryngeal tissue set in vibrating pads of mucous membranes beneath the gills in their trapezius muscles.
(initiation) (consummation)? He said
(trust) (manipulation) she said.
Amaro stepped towards her and took her hands in both of his.
He led her to the water and she watched his face elongate into something cetacean as his mouth swelled with the additional rows of teeth in his mouth. His eyes blackened but there was an open lust there as she stepped into his arms. The rush of the sea water around her bare, webbed feet was a caress and when Amaro stroked her cheek, she opened her mouth, letting her additional teeth slip forwards as they nuzzled one another, moving into the ocean where she shuddered with an exultant bliss. She surrendered to the liquid, alien wonder of mutation as Amaro lengthened and drew her into the water, reaching for her with cold, elongated fingers which knew the places to draw her pleasure.
They sang to one another under the surface. When the surrounding fish convulsed and turn on one another, Olivia looked and saw the coruscating eddies of photo-electricity, lines of force which penetrated the surrounding space. Amaro pulled her close and she slipped her legs around him as he drove into her with an urgent thrust which was agony and ecstasy in the same instance.
If it was not love, then it was the monstrous equivalent and for Olivia, it was enough.
Kelly watched John as he loaded the dishwasher. She had showered and changed into one of his t shirts and a pair of pyjama bottoms festooned with superman logos, which made her chuckle when she saw them folded on the bed. When she came through, he smiled at her.
‘They look better on you than they did on me.’ he said.
She smiled and walked towards him as he stood up. Kelly enjoyed the difference in height between them. He read her thoughts and reached out, took her in his arms and kissed the top of her head.
‘Thank you.’ she said.
He took in a deep breath and she felt the raw force of him as she pressed her cheek to his collarbone.
‘It’s strange, Kelly.’ he said.
She looked up and watched his face. There were dark circles under his eyes but he smiled and she touched his furred cheek.
‘What is?’ she said
His smile faltered before he put his hand over hers.
‘Not being alone anymore.’ he said.
She kissed him and brought her other hand to his cheek before she drew back and stared into his eyes.
‘I know you didn’t give this John. Please don’t feel bad about it. I’m freaked out enough as it is.’ she said.
He lowered his mouth to hers, but held himself.
‘I wouldn’t hurt you for the world, Kelly.’ he said.
He gave off waves of warmth through his clothing and his hands smoothed down her back.
‘I know, but we have to figure this out, don’t we?’ she said.
He rubbed his nose against hers.
‘We will. I’m interested in the intuition you’re experiencing. Do you feel stronger,?’ she said.
She had not considered it but there were rushes of vitality coming through her in waves, sometimes subtle and involving but in his arms, it was a more primal state of grace which wrapped itself around them.
‘Yes, but it’s the thoughts. I reached into your computer without touching it and it was something I did without thinking.’ she said.
He pressed her to him and they held one another, drawing a deep comfort from the simple reassurance of touch which chased the thoughts away.
He looked into her eyes,
‘Take me to bed.’ she said.
He led her through to his bedroom. There was a full cabinet of books, some worn paperbacks skulking between crisp hardback spines and the floorboards were varnished and warm beneath her bare feet. She looked at the king sized bed with egyptian cotton sheets and sat on the bed.
‘I want to feel your weight on me, John. Everything in my head is floating away and I need you to hold me down until I figure it out. Do you get it?’
John did not have to speak. A flare of insight gave Kelly the biological information of his arousal. The hormones translated into tastes and textures. Testosterone and oxytocin were the soft crush of fruit flesh and wine, the endorphins were clouds of golden butterflies and she sensed the immunoglobulin as wavering globules of light appearing around them.
‘You look so beautiful.’ she said.
He gave a tender smile and looked away for a moment.
‘No one’s told me that before.’ he said.
Kelly watched the subtle shimmer of his vulnerability as a heat haze around him.
‘That you’re beautiful?’ she said.
He sighed and she ran her hands over her shoulders.
‘You are, John. We’ve changed but I still feel human, don’t you?’ she said.
He stood in front of her and she pulled him down onto the bed with her. They were still dressed and it lent an adolescent clumsiness which ended up in a burst of giggles before he slipped his hand inside her pyjama bottoms and ran his fingertips over the curve of her pussy. She tensed up with the delight of it before she softened and nodded to him, her voice lost to the urgency of her need.
‘I feel human around you.’ he said.
She kissed him hard and pushed his bottoms down his thighs before she caressed the taut globes of his backside. A moment’s concern wafted across her forebrain about protection but she looked into his eyes and wanted him inside her with nothing between her.
The virus had chosen them both. Perhaps it had a reason but as she closed her eyes and surrendered to the urge for his substance. It did not chase the thoughts away, but it gave them an alchemical symphonic quality which eased her fears. Kelly could see the means to kill and break, but it was a tool to see how desire manifested through her new senses.
John put his weight on her and moved inside her, slow but determined before she urged him not to hold back. He gained pace and urgency as she grew sodden with each angled thrust of his cock, moving deeper as she opened to him. When she came, with her fingers dug into his back everything went white before he joined her in the moment of pulsing abandon.
Later, as they laid there, Kelly turned on her side and stroked the hair on his chest as she moistened her lips with her tongue.
‘John, we need to test what I can do, don’t you think?’ she said.
He opened his eyes and brushed the hair away from her face as he nodded.
‘Tomorrow.’ he said.
She squeezed him close and rested her head on his chest.
A hive of thoughts hummed in her skull as she laid there, enjoying the strong thump of his heart and the dark musk of sex which hung in the air between them.
‘Would we have gotten together if we hadn’t met the way we did?’ she said.
He stroked her hair. She listened to his heartbeat for a change in pace but his heartbeat remained strong and steady.
‘You were flying over my house. I don’t like to ascribe meaning to horrible things which happen any more than I do to good things. I’m glad we have met, despite everything.’ he said.
She inhaled the smell of his skin before her eyes grew heavy and she drifted off into a slow, deep rest.
Yvonne walked into the station house and stopped when the pair of agents stood up, their faces were expressionless but polite as they identified themselves as Agents Richards and Evans. She hid her nerves well as she led them into her office.
They sat down and she asked one deputy to bring her the files from the store robbery. Agent Evans pushed his spectacles up the bridge of his nose and thanked her.
‘In the interest of cooperation, we hope you’ll be amicable to our help.’
Yvonne chuckled and shook her head.
‘I’ve dealt with stray dogs before but this is some fucked up Lassie shit.’ she said.
She punctuated the balloons of horror which floated through her day with sharp observations, disguised as homespun humour. The pair of agents were a tough crowd, however.
Agent Richards leaned forwards, rested her forearms on her thighs.
‘Yes it is. We had the autopsy report sent over on the way here. Your coroner was a touch precious about it, but we figured we’re all on the same side, sheriff?’ she said.
Yvonne nodded with care.
Whatever the thing was, the coroner had assessed it managed about 1160 psi, enough to bite through the knee joint and amputate the leg in a single bite. Yvonne had looked on the internet and saw it was more powerful than a bengal tiger. She had emailed a few local dog breeders, asked them if they had taken orders or bred anything special but they responded as a chorus of indignation at the suggestion.
Evans smiled and looked at Yvonne with a quiet disdain.
‘The Lassie thing is cute, sheriff, but we’re looking at something which has been used to kill several people in your jurisdiction.’ he said.
Richards, who had the bright insincere smile of the girls who bullied Yvonne through school, shook her head.
‘You must forgive Evans. He takes getting used to.’ she said.
Yvonne hoped she wouldn’t have to but smiled and asked them if they wanted coffee. They agreed and she asked one deputy to go across the street and grab some.
‘As precious as Ray is, he’s recovered some foreign tissue and it’s getting analysed.’
Richards pouted and nodded her approval.
‘That’s good, the sooner we can find him, the better.’ she said.
Yvonne wondered if she misheard her but when she saw the blood creep up Richard’s throat, she realised she had.
‘What do you mean, him?’