Danielle blinked and shook her head. Her eyes must be deceiving her. Had the man grown taller? He was nearly as tall as the doorway! How could that be? His clothes were ragged and torn. His shoes! The man’s feet had burst through them. Leather flopped at either side of the soles. And his skin began to change color, first from a tanned, blond man to the mixed colors of granite, then deepening to dark slate, until he finally shimmered obsidian. His features changed as his body expanded. No longer did he resemble a normal human man, but a horribly disfigured one. Finally, his black leather jacket, emblazoned with insignias and officer’s stripes, burst into shreds as wings erupted behind him. The silvery light from the streetlamps fell into darkness, choked off by his outstretched bat-like wings. At the last, the man’s pale blue eyes closed, then reopened bright red and luminous, like the glowing center of a house on fire.
“We meet at last,” a voice cracked, as stone upon stone. A wicked sneer spread across the creature’s face.
“Wh—” Danielle’s voice caught from dry fear. “Who are you?”
“I am your benefactor.”
“How’s that?” she squeezed out.
“I am Sedig-Tahr. I am come to rescue you, child, from… all this.” His voice oozed malevolence and sarcasm.
Danielle was light-headed. It was difficult to breathe properly. She forced herself to relax and inhale deeply. She couldn’t hope to run if her body was so tense.
Sedig-Tahr noticed the subtle change. “My dear, you are not planning on such a silly and hopeless effort as attempting an escape? By now, you should know better. Yes? Did you learn nothing from my less competent brethren?”
Despite her heart telling her to be quiet, she blurted out, “What’s it to you, beast?” She immediately turned on her heels and sprinted towards the back of the house, hoping against hope either her father or her dog was recovered enough to help…to fight. Better yet, both.
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