I’d never have looked at him twice normally.
The man behind the door had longish hair, wore jeans and a Chicago Cubs sweatshirt and seemed to be in his late 20’s or early 30’s. If I’d passed him in the street, I might have noticed that he seemed more fit than the average guy, but I might not.
At this moment, the main thing I noticed was that he was holding a metal flask in his hand. He placed it somewhere off to the left of the door as he opened it.
“Looking for me?” He said.
I’d have liked to say no, but given that I was dressed in black, wearing a helmet and carrying a jet pack on my back, I didn’t feel like I’d be able to get away with lying.
“I might be,” I said.
“Where’s the girl?”
Haley wasn’t next to me.
I didn’t say anything. I looked off to the right where she’d been. No one.
When I turned my attention back to him, I realized that the size of his muscles had doubled and he’d grabbed an oddly shaped gun from somewhere while I wasn’t looking.
Well, at least he hadn’t turned green.
He pointed the gun at me and I felt something hit my chest.
I looked down, noticing a tranquilizer dart on the ground near my feet.
Combat situations are a really stupid time to look at your feet. He charged me, grabbing me in a bear hug and knocking me over.
I tried to hit him with the sonics, but missed. Windows shattered behind him.
Hitting the ground didn’t feel good, but it didn’t knock me out either. I managed to move my arm enough to punch him in the side.
He grunted appropriately.
Despite being able to punch him, I still couldn’t move my arm very far and breaking his grip turned out to be hard.
By hard I mean nearly impossible. The stealth suit includes some of the same technology as the regular suit, but it’s not anywhere near as strong.
Fortunately, it didn’t matter.
Lying on the ground, I suddenly knew where Haley had gone. She’d jumped onto the roof. I understood this now because she was jumping down.
She landed just to the right of me.
Her right arm blurred, her hand raked across the back of his neck.
“Shi–” he began, and then went limp on top of me.
I pushed him off and pulled myself up.
“How did you do that?” I asked.
She looked uncomfortable. “Poison,” she said. “You know, my hand…”
Her voice trailed off. She held out her her hand.
I didn’t see anything unusual about it at first. Then I noticed a dark spot of liquid next to her thumb.
“There?” I began to point at it with my finger.
“Don’t touch it!” She pulled her hand back.
She took a breath. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. Just a second, I’ll show you.”
She held out her hand again, palm up. A sharp sliver of grayish claw slid out almost parallel with her thumb.
“It stays even when I’m not changed.”
“Do you have one on the other hand too?”
“Yes.” She held out her left hand. The claw flicked out and then back in.
“So, does it knock him unconscious or is it a paralytic or what?”
“It’s a paralytic. Do we have to talk about it?”
“No. I’m just asking because of him. I don’t have handcuffs, and I’m pretty sure he could break them even if I did. How long can you keep him out?”
“Around twenty minutes for most people, but I can’t scratch him again and again. I need time for the…” she paused, “poison sacs to refill. Also, if I had to and I mean only if I really had to, I could bite him.”
“I’ve got poison fangs, Nick.”
“Even before you transform?”
“Yes, but they’re not really fangs until then.”
From the expression on her face, even I could tell that she didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
“We should call Isaac and tell him what we’ve got,” I said. “Can I borrow your cell phone? I left mine in my pants pocket back at HQ.”
“Mine is back in the car in my purse. I can go get it,” she said.
“You might as well grab the car while you’re at it. It’s at least a block away.”
“OK. I’ll go and–oh no.”
The man tried to pull himself to his feet, stumbled and fell.
She leaned over, grabbing his arm. The claw slid out from her right hand and entered his skin. His eyes shut and his face hit the snow dusted pavement.
She let go.
“That wasn’t anywhere near twenty minutes. I wonder if we could just call the police from his room?” I said.
“I hope so,” she said. “I’ll be happy to get away from everybody.”
“Everybody?” I said.
Half the doors of the motel seemed to be open with people standing in front of them. One man pointed his camera at us. The flash seemed extra bright in the darkness.
Two doors down from where we stood, a middle-aged woman in a nightgown and winter coat shouted, “I’ve already called the police.”
“Great,” I said. “Thanks.”