He rips off his clothes as he teeters, puny human form fighting the blast of the night air. The boat ploughs on, no captain no rudder.
He leaps. Well out of the range of the boat’s motor. He changes. Gills rip gashes out of his flesh, his legs fuse together, and the muscle of his tail flexes. His skull smooths out and expands, all of him muscle, predator, strong. He’s born for the water, to swim, to move, to hunt. And to feed…
This is his ready-made explanation, for the local cops.
Lucky he’s an old hand at hot-wiring boats. Due to occasional necessity, rather than preference. And he guns it, desperate. The change is coming on. But he needs deeper waters, needs to be free of the risk of capture, needs…
Needs to change. The moon burns him, telling him it’s time, too late for anything else but this. Engine still running, leaving foamy crests of a fevered wake, spreading out into the darkness. Greg leaps onto the lip of the boat.
A shark’s troubles: always restless, always hungry, always on the move. Swim to survive! But a shark shifter has a few additional problems. Like the moon – the full moon. And access to salt water, at moonrise. Full moon can be inconvenient for a loup–garou, with no plans in place. But at least she’s not going to die — as long as there are no hunters around.
If a shark/human shifter makes a miscalculation, finds himself too far inland on the wrong day… Well.
He could become sushi.
Greg is usually careful. His plans are immaculate. But now, factor in a business trip to Mexico. And the local cerveza, not to mention tequila. Some disreputable, conscienceless business contacts, drinking buddies. And sleeping off the all-time worst hangover in history…
Well. That’s how you come to be piloting a stolen motorboat, out to sea, heading for the open ocean and the stars, courting the full yellow moon, dancing with her.
Water should be clear, pure, perfect and barely perceptible. He should never have to think about water. It should be the last thing on his mind. Because his mate is near, a fact that ought to trump every other consideration.
But the water is thick with blobs of synthetic snowdrift, more terrifying than any of the winter scenes he can dimly access, from his other life. It’s then that he spots her, through the growing mist.
Still in human form, despite the moon: scuba diving through the aqua depths, her wetsuit gleaming as she hammers towards him, from a kilometer away. Because she can feel it, as he begins to choke, to spasm.
To die. Greg wonders if his mate’s pain will be the last thing he’s aware of, as her shark form is triggered and she begins to rip off human adornment, to launch herself towards him as her gills open.
He’s choking. And he wonders. If they’ll die together, in this storm of man-made snows.
He’s man, and he’s shark. But it’s the men who’ve killed him, and all his natural shark brothers too.
And he swam. Swam like crazy, like it was the first time in his life he’d hit the water. Like a guided missile, like grace.
To his mate.
Except that there was something wrong with the water. Dimly, shark-brain could remember snow – a strange, alien concept of solid, floating water, drifting through the air.
One might as well conceive of solid air, to shark-brain.
This was a fire, in the coldest depths of the sea. It was fire, contained beneath the invulnerable hide of this shark’s skin.
No, he’d never felt it before. But he felt what it was, anyway, instinctively.
Mate. His mate, the only thing something so powerful could possibly be.
The water was home. He hit it swimming, plunging deeper. Searching for his first meal of this particular change.
Food, that was what his predator brain was instinctively searching for, immediately. But what he found was something else.
Shark-brain was different to human brain. In human form, he knew it, theoretically. But it was always a shock to actually experience it: the focus, the intensity, the dead-set intent. And anyway: he had never felt this before.
He ripped off his clothes as he teetered on the edge, puny human form fighting the blast of the night air as the boat ploughed on without captain or rudder.
And he leapt. As he jumped, well out of the range of the boat’s motor, he changed. Gills ripped a gash out of the flesh on the sides of his neck, legs fused together and the muscle of his true tail, true self, gave an immense flex, his skull smoothing out and expanding, all of him muscle and predator and strong, born for the water, to swim, to move, to hunt. And to feed…
This, in any case, is his ready-made explanation for the local cops.
Lucky he’s an old hand at hot-wiring boats. Of necessity, sometimes, rather than preference. And he gunned it, desperation mounting. The change was coming on. He could feel it, but he needed to get into deeper waters, needed to be free of the risk of capture, needed…
Needed to change. The moon was burning him, telling him it was time, and it was too late for anything else but this. Engine still running, leaving foamy crests of a fevered wake, spreading out into the darkness of the open sea, he leapt with all a shifter’s natural agility onto the lip of the boat.
A shark has enough troubles. Always restless, always hungry, always on the move. Move or die, swim to survive! But a shark shifter has a few additional problems. The main one being the moon – the full moon – and access to salt water, at moonrise. Sure, it’s a little inconvenient for a loup-garou, finding himself with a furry embarrassing situation at that time of the month, with no plans in place. But at least she’s not going to die from it – at least, as long as there’s no inconvenient supernatural hunters around at the time. But if a shark shifter makes a miscalculation, and finds himself too far inland at the wrong moment… Well.
He’s liable to wind up sushi. That’s what.
Greg is usually so careful – his transformation plans are normally immaculate. But then, factor in a last-minute business trip to Mexico. And the ludicrously strong local cerveza, not to mention tequila. Some disreputable, conscienceless new business contacts and drinking buddies. And sleeping off the all-time supreme champion worst hangover in history…
Well. That’s how you come to be piloting a stolen motorboat, out to sea, heading for the open ocean.