The first thing I noticed about him was his eyes. They were grey, or green. Or something. They weren’t normal, that was for sure. They were glowing.
Right there, in the middle of everything, was this boy and his glowing eyes.
This was all Cassie’s fault. If she had stopped on the way to the formal, like I’d asked her to, so I could get my medication, I wouldn’t have had to interrupt my otherwise perfect night with insanely scrumptious Mark Washington to sneak off to the top floor to pee every three minutes.
But now, here I was with this crazy, hunched over kid with glowing eyes. I was going to kill Cassie—and my mother for this damned weak bladder.
“Don’t look,” he warned. To be so huge, his voice came out soft, scared even, like he was embarrassed. What did he have to be embarrassed about? I was the one with pissy socks. They squished when I stepped forward. Warmth spread around my toes. God, I hated Cassie.
The moonlight slipped through the window. The wind whipped the tree branches outside. Shadows danced around us. I just needed to get to the bathroom to change or, at least, air out before I went back downstairs. I didn’t care that he was on some intergalactic crack that made his eyes glow. I just needed the women’s restroom and Ashy Larry here was in the way.
“I mean it,” he whimpered again. There was more authority in his voice this time, but the request was still the same, sincere. “Please, just give me…” He grunted. I heard something pop. He grimaced. I knew the face of pain all too well. Years of rehabilitation and hours of therapy flashed through my mind. When he threw his head back, the cracks became louder, and I finally recognized the sound.
Bones. His bones were cracking. Fracturing. Breaking.
His fingers flexed, his shoulders tensed, and his face held the same sorrowful look of pain. The kind of pain that hurts so bad that your whole body pauses—collapsing all at once, surrendering, until it is over. But for him, it wasn’t over. I realized that when I heard another series of crunches. He fell to his knees. Whatever this was, was just beginning.
A fearful voice called out to me. “Please, run away…” Another series of pops. His back flexed unnaturally, and his suit ripped to shreds. I glanced around. My mind was ready to heed the request…
“Run!” he demanded. His eyes tore through me, switching between endless pools of black and that freaky, glowing green, or grey, or whatever.
…But my legs wouldn’t move.
And then, everything happened all at once.
He whimpered at first, like he was just a hurt puppy, abandoned. My heart, despite its pounding, broke for him. I knew what kind of pain he was in. Before I knew it, my hand was reaching toward him. I didn’t know what I was thinking. To be honest, I probably wasn’t even in my right mind, because I should have been running. Running and not looking back. When you look back, that’s when you die. I’ve seen my fair share of horror movies to know that. But once my foot left the ground to take a hesitant step toward him, I realized my horrible mistake.
A growl unleashed from his soul. He threw his head back. I watched hair sprout from his skin like grass seeking the sun after a pulverizing winter. Long teeth jutted down from his gums like ice picks and his legs curved inward and then back out, like a dog’s. His nose transformed from a button to a snout. He huffed out and then in, like he hadn’t ever breathed before. At the back of his head, two ears sprouted up and flicked in my direction.
My feet were cemented to the ground. My knees knocked against each other. Fear wasn’t the right word to describe how I felt. I was more than scared. His yellow eyes slid over to me, he turned with the moon at his back and let out a hellish growl.
And finally, my legs got the hint.