County General Hospital
New Hebron, California
“Sir, I don’t know what the hell those things are, but they’re all over the hospital,” she said looking around the room with wide eyes. “I killed three on my way here.”
“That makes five.” Matthews nodded, unfazed by the entire thing. He eyed, the woman and glanced back toward the door, as a slender hand reached up to adjust his tie. “Agent Van den Broeke, given your current… attire, I believe it best if you remain out of sight. You stay and keep any eye on Mr. Howard and I will get a handle on the situation outside the room.”
“Yes, sir.” She replied, wiping sweat from her forehead as her superior moved through the room toward the exit.
“And agent.” He paused at the door, tugging at ends of his suit coat sleeve. “Fair warning, our friend here has exhibited telekinetic abilities.”
Matthews departed the room and Amelia, closed the door behind him. “My name’s Amelia van den Broeke, with A—”
“AEGIS, I know.” Everett cut her short his hand trembling as he stared at her with wide eyes. “I’m Everett How—”
“Howard, I know,” she smiled casting a furtive glance at the door before glancing back at him. “I was there at the crime scene where you were found unconscious.”
Everett doubled over, letting out an ear-splitting scream as another creature appeared, this time oozing through the window before lurching toward Amelia. Forced to defend herself against the minuscule threat, Amelia could do nothing to help the old man whose cries of pain grew louder with each passing moment.
Everett knew of the threat from the beast, but with each subsequent burst of pain, his awareness to anything but the changes to his body were so diminished as to be almost non-existent. He heard sounds, grunts from the agent, growls from the creature, and the sound of gunfire, but he wasn’t even capable of understanding what those noises meant. The only threat his mind registered was the one that was quite literally consuming his body.
While, the pain radiated across his entire body, the transformation didn’t happen in one place at once, focusing in one area before shifting to the next. It started in his stomach, fat rolled up his chest and down his side, in globs no large than plums, but in many sizes, collecting around his hips and chest. Bones, popped and cracked shifting in size and position, first in his back, forming a curvature that was decidedly feminine, his hips, pelvis and thorax all shifted at once, generating another burst of pain so much stronger than the previous ones that Everett almost lost consciousness, but as black creeped along the edges of his vision he gritted his teeth and hung on for dear life.
The darkness receded, but he remained conscious. It would have been a greater mercy had he fainted. His legs changed next, starting with his knees which popped out of joint as they shrunk and only reconnected once the surrounding bones and muscles had shrunk to fit his new joints. Next the changes shifted up, moving up his rib cage, his shoulders, arms and hands until it reached his head. As his face contorted he screamed, but gasped for air when his throat shut off. When it opened again, he screamed, but this time it came out as a high-pitched wail which was unmistakably female.
Had Everett been functioning on more than a primal level, he would have put together the clues long before that moment, but it was only then that the more rational part of his mind kicked back in and he recognized what was happening to him. Unfortunately, a rational understanding was not enough to help him stop or even accept the transformation.
As his face continued to shift and change, he brought his hands up to touch it. His wrinkles and sagging skin remained the same, instead it was the structure of his face that was being metamorphosed. Starting with his square chin and jaw, both of which softened, then moving on to his nose which had been broken more than once in his seventy-two years. There was a loud crunching sound before it inward about the same time there was a burning sensation in his eyes and was forced to close them.
The pain sub-sided to a large extent, and Everett’s awareness of the surrounding room returned with a suddenness that left him breathless. Agent Van den Broeke was fighting for her life, doing an admirable job combating three of the creatures at once. If the half a dozen or so corpses she’d left in her wake was any indication she’d had one hell of her fight on her hands while Everett had been in the throws of his transformation. He stood on his feet, more than a little aware of the changes that were still taking place within his body, but also aware that that danger presented by the creatures was too great to ignore.
When he tapped into his abilities, again, he had no idea what he was doing. Before, when he accessed them it was for the first time and he hadn’t even realized he had them. He didn’t take time to speculate on where the abilities had come from and the how or why they might be tied to his transformation, but instead threw his hands out and sent the remaining three creatures soaring away from the agent.
The creatures’ ability to phase through objects seemed to only work when they were moving. Using his own new ability Everett kept them in place allowing the agent to take them out with ease.
Amelia, was drenched in sweat and more than a little blood from the creatures, stopped dead in her tracks when she got her first good look at Everett. He was certain he was an odd site, given he was only part way into his transformation, but there was no judgement or revulsion in her gaze as he would have expected, just surprise.
Neither had time to speak before Everett doubled over as his crotch and stomach, flaring with renewed pain. ‘This is it,’ he thought at the exact moment something long, soft, and slender slid down his left pant leg followed by something more irregular shaped. Bile rose in the back of his throat and he kicked out sending both his penis and scrotum flying across the room and into the opposite wall.
He lost all control, losing the entire content of his stomach in a long stream of vomit. He staggered back, only able to keep his balance by leaning against the wall as more even vomit spewed from his mouth. This time it wasn’t the contents of his stomach, but something much stranger, yellow chunks of god knew what, blood and what must have been his own flesh. His body was discarding it had left over from the transformation process and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
A long drawn out shriek pierced the room and another creature wormed its way through the door and lurched toward Everett with reckless abandon. Agent Van den Broeke opened fire, but the creature kept moving, shifting between its solid and semi-solid form as a trail of bullets followed in its wake. Each one of them either missing it or passing through it. Everett threw his hand out to send the beast rocketing away, but nothing happened.
He threw his hand out again and again, but nothing came… and the creature came closer.