By: Michael C. Keith
If you battle monsters, you don’t always become a
monster. But you aren’t entirely human anymore, either.
–– Jonathan Maberry
We were in our getaway rental six miles up from State Road 359 when we heard an otherworldly roar. My girlfriend jumped into my lap as we sat on the couch reading our respective star system maps. It was at an hour in the evening when things are as quiet as they ever get in this world.
“What was that?” gasped Wanda, digging her fingers into my triceps.
“No idea. Maybe a weird creature of some sort,” I answered.
“A damn big one,” she said, moving back to her side of the couch. “If it is, it can’t be far.”
“If it is, I wish we had tungsten hatching on the windows and a fully loaded atomic ray gun.”
As soon as we had settled back to our charts, another gruesome howl broke the silence. This one was louder and more dissonant than the first.
“Oh my, God! It must be close by. What is that? I’m scared, Craig. It sounds really strange.”
“Let me make sure everything is shut and the doors locked,” I said, giving Wanda a reassuring pat on her twitching lower limb. “We’ll be fine, whatever it is. Might be some twisted youths out there with a blow horn.”
“Well, I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that . . . anywhere.”
After making my rounds to insure the place was secure, I went out onto the deck for a look. There I saw something that activated my sweat glands. At the bottom of the dirt driveway leading up to the cabin was a figure that can only be described as electrifying. The intensity of the light emanating from it caused me to squint. As I did, I was able to make out its facial features.
“Oh, my God!” I blurted. “Is that you, Gerald?”
A crackling and hissing voice answered. “Yes, it is, Craig. It’s not who or what you expected.”
“What’s happened to you? You’re . . . ah, like a wall of fire, man.”
“I am that, and I can tell you, I’m feeling pretty damn hot . . . with rage, that is, Craig. With rage!”
“I know, but look, Gerald, things change. You need to move on. Wanda needed to get on with her life. You two were together for eons, and it ended. I just came on the scene when things were already over between you guys.”
“Don’t BS me! You caused it to end. If you hadn’t made a move on Wanda, we’d still be together.”
“That’s not true, and you know that. But how did you get like this, all flames and sparks? You’re like some kind of a movie monster.”
“I’m Blaze Man. You should know that, Craig. I got this way when you stole my woman. Now I’ve come to turn you both into ashes for what you did to me.”
“That’s not going to happen, Gerald,” I said, thrusting my chest out in an intimidating fashion.
As I did, Gerald moved toward me and shot a bolt of lightning in my direction. Before it could reach its target, I had morphed into a soaring column of churning water and doused my old nemesis with a hammering wave that would have made champion surfers envious. I am . . . Aqua Man.
“There, you rectal cavity, so much for your plans to burn us up!” I growled at the smoldering remains of my aggressor.
After a moment, I transitioned back into my normal self and returned to the cabin where I found Wanda dozing on the couch. I snuggled up to her and gently placed my still damp arm onto the razor sharp scales of her long lovely neck. Never had I felt so close to Lizard Girl.
Michael C. Keith teaches college and writes fiction. http://www.michaelckeith.com