by Christine Morgan
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.sabledrake.com
I felt the air change just before it happened. Sensed it, somehow, though I had not seen nor heard nor smelled anything unusual. I felt it. Something what? Something was
My half-formed thought went no further as the fireball erupted. A glowing nova of red-gold flame and white-blue crackling energy, brief-bright-brilliant, searing the night.
I ducked, and raised my arms in a totally useless gesture to shield myself. Totally useless in more ways than one. First, I was too late already, the fiery sphere had winked out, leaving a blue-green afterimage floating on my dazzled eyes.
Second, my arms, finely fleshed and densely furred though they were, wouldn't have done any good blotting out that glare. Even if I'd been wearing clothes, it wouldn't have helped.
The sound reached me half a moment later, a whipcrack rumble rolling behind the lightshow the way thunderclap followed lightning bolt, the way the boom followed the blast of a pyrotechnic display. With it came a warm gust of wind, riffling the leaves like swiftly-shuffled playing cards. I caught a fleeting mix of scents that did not belong here in the peaceful moonlit forest. Smoke and blood and metal and sour fear-sweat. They were gone almost too fast to identify.
Fireworks? But I was miles from the nearest town and calendar pages from the nearest holiday. And the flash had been low, down in the trees, not above them in the glittering black sky.
Explosion? But there was nothing out here to explode! No roads nearby to explain a car crash. What few hikers that braved this far into the wilderness were the rugged sort who did not carry gas-fueled lanterns or camp stoves.
Artillery shell? Plane crash? Top-secret military weapons testing? Terrorist attack? Any of those options made about as much sense as the others ... which was, roughly, none.
Whatever it was, it seemed to be over. Or, at least, it wasn't immediately repeated. If there had been fire, I saw no indication that it had caught and was spreading.
Still, I had to make sure. And on the off-chance that it had been an accident of some sort, someone could be hurt and need help.
As I approached the place where I'd seen the fireball, I moved with all the hunter's stealth and caution I possessed. I didn't have to worry about being seen, but that was no reason to be careless. Whatever I was walking into could still be plenty dangerous. For all I knew, I'd just witnessed the crash-landing of a UFO, crewed by aliens who didn't rely on ordinary vision. Or it might really be some kind of top-secret military thing, soldiers with infrared goggles or high-tech motion-sensor gadgets.
Of course, if any of that did prove to be the case, it wouldn't matter how careful I was. The sensible thing to do would have been to forget about it. Curiosity was for cats, right? And I was no cat.
True enough. I went on anyway, telling myself that it wasn't only curiosity. There was that sense of duty, too. I had to make sure nobody was in trouble.
Those fleeting whiffs of smoke, blood, sweat and fear those had smelled like trouble.
Lifting my pointed muzzle, I inhaled a deep breath. Cool air, growing green, rich soil, the myriad perfumes of night-flowers, small burrowing creatures curled slumbering in their dens, sleek nocturnal predators keeping a wary distance from me all ordinary, all natural, all normal.
I was sure I hadn't imagined it. I had seen that flash. I still had the ghost of its afterimage hanging in my vision.
Breeze sighed past me, and once again that odd mingle of scent tickled at my nose. Taunting, maddening, tantalizing, like a tip-of-the-tongue name I couldn't quite remember. They were faint, but they were there. They were real.
And something else?
Musky. Leathery. Unfamiliar.
Unfamiliar, but not unpleasant. A strong scent. Not precisely like anything I'd ever smelled before.
Young. Healthy. Vigorous.
My fur rippled as a shiver coursed down my body. My mouth felt suddenly dry.
I crept closer. My ears twitched at the sound of slow, steady breathing. It came from a clearing up ahead.
Now I could see physical proof of the fireball's reality. Nothing had been burnt, but the foliage was brittle, crisped, curled, as if it had been exposed to a source of heat almost-but-not-quite enough to ignite them into flame.
Only breathing. No movement. That vibrant male scent was stronger than ever. I slowly reached out and grasped a branch, easing it aside as quietly as I could. I peered through, into the clearing.
The full moon served as well as any spotlight, illuminating the stranger and revealing him to me in exquisite detail. He lay on his side, his back to me. My first thought was that he wore some kind of long coat or cape, but then I realized that those dark folds crumpled around him were his own wings. They sprouted from his shoulder-blades on limbs tipped with clusters of small talons. A long, supple tail curved across the ground. One muscular leg was stretched out straight, the other bent and drawn up out of my line of sight. His large, high-arched foot splayed into three sturdy claws.
The moonlight could not let me discern the exact hue of his skin. Deep brown, maybe, or scarlet, or maroon. His hair, though, gleamed under that lunar radiance like a fresh fall of snow. It was a lush, thick mane of frosty-white, spilling around his head in coarse-yet-silken tangles.
Even if I hadn't been trying to be quiet, the sight of him would have robbed me of speech. I could only stand there, staring without blinking until my eyes started to ache.
Then he moved, ever-so-slightly. Just a flex of his outstretched foot flexed, and then his tail curled over the brittle-brown grass. He groaned. The folds of his wings rustled as he shifted them, and then he rolled onto his back.
As he did so, I glimpsed something sparkle, something gold-and-blue, on the ground nearby. But I barely paid it any attention. I only kept staring, my gaze tracing the moonlit contours of this dusky-red stranger's broad shoulders, muscular chest, lean hips and taut thighs. He wore nothing but a wide belt and a rough woolen loincloth, which draped a fairly impressive package by all appearances.
He raised one arm, grimacing as he pressed his fingertips to the bony ridge above his eyes. Three fingers and a thumb. Twin horns sweeping back from his forehead. And the entire lower half of his face extended outward. Not in a tapered, pointed muzzle like mine no, that prominence could only properly be called a beak. His nose was not a sensitive nub at the end of it but a separate feature above.
His eyes opened, looking straight up. All he'd be seeing, I knew, was the moon and a patch of twinkling stars framed by trees. Even if he turned this way, he wouldn't be able to see me.
"Now what?" he said to the sky. His voice was hoarse, ragged. He gave a cough and cleared his throat. "Now where am I?"
The sky had no answer, and I kept silent. Past experience had taught me that people sometimes freaked out when addressed by surprise out of nowhere. He might run, he might try to attack, and neither of those reactions would do. I didn't know who this stranger was, where he'd come from or what he was doing here. By the sounds of it, he didn't know at least one of those things himself. Maybe he was a psycho. I had no way of knowing.
What I did know was that I wasn't anywhere near tired of looking at him yet, and therefore was in no hurry to make him run off or try to rip my throat out with those claws.
He sat up, planting his taloned toes in the grass. His gaze swept right over me without pausing as he surveyed his surroundings. I was downwind, and silent as any shadow. Still, it gave me another shiver during the brief instant our eyes locked.
"Great," he said, his muttering tone proclaiming that he was talking to himself. "Middle of the woods. Could be anywhere, anywhen. Brooklyn, buddy, you've still got your tail in a sling."
With a disgusted snort, he groped around and picked up the sparkling blue-and-gold thing. He held it a moment, expectant, then gave it an impatient little shake. It was about the size of a handheld video game, but clearly wasn't one. No screen, no buttons. Just a smooth swirling-blue substance, like opaque gemstone, framed in an ornate gold design that looked vaguely birdlike from where I spied, unseen.
"Oh, come on, you stupid piece of crap!" He shook it again, then rapped on it with the knuckles of his free hand. "Don't do this to me! I swear, I'll throw you against a tree!"
Maybe it was a handheld video game after all. That was sure how I felt about them sometimes.
"Damn it!" In a single powerful motion, he lunged upright. The edges of his beak had drawn back from rows of clenched, sharp teeth. His breath hissed between them. Cords stood out in his forearm as he squeezed the golden thing. "I'm sick of this! Do you hear me? Do you? Huh? Take me home! I've had it!"
Hot white fury burned from his eyes. It lit up the clearing even more brightly than the moonlight. In its lambency, I saw that his skin was indeed a vibrant brick-red, and also that he was bruised, smudged, and scraped all over. As if he'd recently taken a bad fall or been in a fight.
"You almost got me killed!" he roared at the object in his hand, grinding it in his grip as if he hoped it would shatter. "Is that what you want? Is that what you're trying to do? Or maybe not maybe you're trying to drive me crazy, is that it? I can't take any more of this!"
His roar became a wordless bellow. He spun, and hurled the golden object at the trees. I flinched when it struck a gnarled trunk. But instead of smashing into fragments, it gouged out a splintery divot in the bark, rebounded, and landed in a heap of fallen leaves.
Leaving it, ignoring it, the stranger crouched and buried his head in his hands. He sank his fingers into his thick white hair as if he meant to claw open his own skull.
"Get a grip, Brooklyn," he said. "Get a grip, don't lose it. Hang in there."
Brooklyn he was talking to himself again, calling himself that. It was his name.
"It'll be okay," he went on. "You're just a little a little strung out right now. Take it easy. Chill. Get a grip. You're not used to this being alone stuff." A laugh, like a humorless growl, escaped him. "No wonder Demona went nuts. Yeah. No wonder."
I was tempted to speak up then. To say something but what? What could I say that wouldn't convince him he really was losing his mind? I had been through this kind of a scene before. The first thing he'd do would be demand that I show myself. And that, well, that wasn't possible, was it?
If I went up to him if I touched him
The thought of resting my paw on his shoulder sent a liquid thrill down my spine. To feel his skin find out if it did have the texture of rough suede as it looked like it might to feel the solidity of his body beneath it and the warmth of his flesh
What would he do?
Whirl and lash out, whether he could see me or not, most likely.
But what if he didn't? He might think it was madness or a dream but so what? I would know different. I would know it was real.
"Right," he said.
I jumped, thinking for a moment that he was replying to my thoughts. When I moved, a twig snapped and leaves crackled.
Brooklyn turned. His sharp gaze fixed on the spot where I was. He didn't see me, couldn't see me. Could he? No. Maybe. The way his eyes had glowed could he?
Slowly, he rose from his crouch and advanced.
Just as slowly, I eased backward.
He reached the edge of the clearing and raked the boughs apart. Only an arm's length was between us, but he stared through me. Squinting, brow furrowed. His ears, which did not rise in furred triangles from the top of his head as mine did but were angled back, tapered to winglike points along the sides, seemed poised to catch the smallest sound.
I made no sound. I could have reached out, but did not. His scent was stronger than ever, washing over me. Up close, this close, all I could do was admire.
He was lean and chiseled, not an ounce of fat or softness anywhere on him. I knew the results of exercise when I saw it, and he was no hardcore gym rat. He did not keep himself in shape out of any sense of pride or competitiveness but out of a lifetime of sheer Darwinian conditioning. Survival of the fittest.
The way he held himself, so alert a warrior's reflexes, a body honed to readiness and perfection. He was magnificent. Gorgeous, too. Once I'd adjusted to the strangeness of him, those alien differences stopped seeming alien and became only exotic. Adding to his allure. We might not be of the same kind, but we were similar enough that I couldn't help liking what I saw. While different enough to be all the more exciting.
All I had to do was extend my arm. I wanted to. Just reach out, just skate the tender pads of my dexterous paw along that stiff, jutting beak. Feel how warm and hard it was. Trail in a light caress down his bare chest and chiseled stomach lower see if I could find anything else warm not to mention stiff, hard and jutting.
My tail gave an involuntary sweep, brushing the foliage behind me. The sound was no louder than a whisper, but Brooklyn's head snapped around and his eyes narrowed even more, into thin white slits.
His gaze was focused in the direction of the sound's source. Angled down, toward my treacherous and now held absolutely motionless tail. Which meant that if he had been able to see me, he would have been looking right at my
I'd already been struggling for self-control, but that idea was too much. Hot blood surged through me. I had to lock my jaws against a throaty growl.
Brooklyn sniffed the air. The heady scent of my arousal seemed to immerse me like a steamy cloud, emanating from my pores, permeating my fur. But his expression did not change. His olfactory sense was not as good as mine. He couldn't see me, couldn't smell me. Silent as I was, not even daring to breathe more than the tiniest sips of air, he couldn't hear me either.
He looked down. I did as well, suddenly sure that I must have left prints. Dappled shadows obscured the ground. No discernible tracks.
The noise he made was somewhere between a sigh and a growl. He started to turn away, then stopped. His instincts had to be clamoring, telling him despite the input of eyes, ears and nose to the contrary, someone was there.
One hand slowly extended. I could see the shadow-dapples playing over his deep red skin. Thick, strong fingers. Claws. Claws that could kill, claws that could leave marks in stone or, in a moment of passion, carve pain-pleasant scratches in a lover's back.
I did not have to hold my breath. I couldn't breathe at all, imagining what it might feel like to have those strong hands gripping my hips, those claws digging in, holding me, pulling me to meet his urgent thrusts.
Closer. Like someone reaching toward a mirage, expecting it to dissolve. A few more inches, and he'd touch my chest.
If I clasped that hand ?
He paused. A flicker of uncertainty crossed his face. Did he feel the heat of my body warming the air? Could he hear the rapid throbbing of my pulse? I could feel it, beating all through me like a drum.
Yanking back his hand, Brooklyn gave a snort. "Nothing there," he said. "No one lurking in the bushes. Only a rabbit or something. Don't get all spooked."
Massaging his brow again, this time as much in pain and weariness as frustration, he turned away from my hiding place.
"First order of business, get cleaned up. Then try to figure out where the hell you are."
He retrieved the golden object from its resting place amid the fallen leaves, got his bearings, and trudged off.
I followed. How could I not? Curiosity being for cats, so sue me. There was a lot more to it than simple curiosity. Fascination. Compulsion.
Sure, why not? Lust. Desire. Hunger. Need.
I'd been alone, too. I knew what he meant. I could sympathize. The solitary thing might be fine at first, a welcome reprieve from the distractions and annoyances of everyone else. But it didn't last. Sooner or later, we all craved company. Connection. Or simple physical contact.
I had a moment or two when I felt a little guilty. Those moments passed without much difficulty, as they often do. What did it hurt if I filled my eyes with the sight of him? He didn't know. He couldn't object if he didn't know. Looking never did any harm.
And so I looked. Oh, did I ever look!
Anyone would have. He was glorious. Even before he stripped off that belt and loincloth and waded into the water, he was glorious.
He started off by kneeling at the river's edge, and scooping up cupped handfuls of water to pour over the worst of his scrapes and scratches. But the lure of the falls upstream was too much to resist. The frothing cascades of moon-silvered water, tumbling down over the rocks and plunging into the wide pool it was a favorite place of mine already, and only became more now.
Brooklyn took a final glance around, as if to assure himself once more that he was unobserved, then unbuckled his belt.
His back was to me as the tattered scraps of woolen cloth fell away, but I did not begrudge the view in the slightest. It was a spectacular view. The way his broad, muscular back narrowed to a trim waist the rock-hard buttocks teasingly draped by that agile, flexible tail
The water lapped around his ankles, his knees, his thighs. Lucky water, it lapped higher yet, until its rippling surface allowed me to see the base of his tail. The lower halves of his wings floated beside him like dark lily pads.
I crept stealthy-quiet to a vantage point on a boulder. The waterfall's spray diffused the moonlight into a fine silvery mist. Brooklyn's crimson skin glistened. He bent his knees and ducked under the surface, then rose in a single convulsive back-arching motion. Water flew from his arms, his wings, the end of his beak. It flew in a fountain from his hair, which then slapped sodden down his back.
Even over the turbulent river, I could hear his exhalation of welcome pleasure and relief. He waded toward the falls, finally stepping onto a flat shelf of stone beneath them. There, the water rained down in a sparkling curtain and sluiced shallow across the stone into the pool.
It made a perfect natural shower. Brooklyn stood under it, wings streaming down behind him. His arms were raised as he ran his fingers through his hair, scrubbed at the underside of his beak and the back of his neck.
Then he turned. His head was tipped back, his eyes closed and his beak pointed skyward as he let the waterfall pour down on his face.
Not, I confess, that I was particularly looking at his face.
A fairly impressive package, had I thought earlier when surveying the bulge concealed by his loincloth? The actuality exceeded my wildest expectations. Even tumescent, he was enormous. A great thick dangling length against his thighs. The waterfall's torrents flowed over and around him like hurried, caressing fingers.
I damn near fell off the boulder. It was a good thing that Brooklyn's head was under the falls at the time, because I gasped and then made a low helpless-against-temptation sound with my lower lip caught between my sharp teeth.
Helpless against temptation. It was like something from a dream. This magnificent male, shining with water and moonlight what else could I do? Just walk away?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, wasn't that how the saying went?
Forget all that. Never mind the rationalizations, the weighing of the risks. None of it mattered. None of it mattered, because I was already springing down from my perch and wading into the river. Wading toward him. The cool water stirred through my pelt like wind across an open field of silky grass.
I was almost to the falls when Brooklyn stepped out of the torrent, sputtering and shaking his head and dashing droplets from his eyes. He balanced on the edge of the shelf, stretching, and then froze.
Looking at me. No. Not at me, but at the water where I stood immersed to the waist. It parted around me, swirled in my wake. The seemingly-empty spot where I stood would be hard to discern, especially in the ripple-shimmer of river and moonlight. But he might be able to notice that something was there. Or that something wasn't, that should be.
He did not move. He blinked, shook his head again this time in disbelief. His beak opened, then closed. His gaze tracked the hollow eddying disturbance in the river as I continued wading slowly closer.
I reached the shelf. Now he stood above me, water coursing around his taloned feet where they braced on the ledge. His skin looked slick, gleaming. I touched his foot.
Brooklyn twitched. He stared down, not able to see me except perhaps as the vaguest of outlines where the mist and droplets clung to my pelt but certainly able to feel me. I slid my paw higher, slow and gentle, to his ankle. His skin was like suede, warm and wet suede. And what did he make of the sensation of wet fur rubbing against him? Except for the frantic shifting of his gaze, he stood like someone who'd been petrified.
My other paw stole up and stroked his other foot, exploring the high arch, the tender underside, the bony spur like a dewclaw sprouting above the heel. I circled both ankles, then cupped his calves and slid both paws higher yet.
His breath shuddered in and out of his lungs. His tail undulated. Maybe he was thinking that his unseen visitor meant to yank his legs out from under him, possibly cracking his skull on the ledge or dumping him into the river to drown. But I doubted it. There was nothing hostile in my touch. Far from it. As I continued to caress his firm calves in long, slow strokes, that realization seemed to dawn on him.
And it had a very noticeable effect.
From where I was standing, still hip-deep in the pool and looking up at him, I noticed, all right. I heard him groan as he began to stiffen. His arms hung at his sides, and his fists curled tight. It was as if he didn't know what was going on but didn't want to say or do anything to break the spell.
He kept his eyes open, for all the good that did. I know he saw the splash when I boosted myself up to kneel on the ledge, and the way the water flowed around me. I'm sure that the waterfall's misty spray showed him some sort of hazy suggestion of a shape. But he stayed stock-still, even when I ran my palms up his thighs.
Fully erect, his rigid length was like a phallus carved from polished carnelian, the sort of erotic artifact that might be found in the treasuries of kinky ancient Babylonians.
Suddenly he did move, his tail snapping forward to whip-snake around my forearms. When the coil constricted, my wrists were pulled together, dragging my paws to either side of his groin. He groaned again as I wrapped my grip around the base of that thick shaft.
His tail held me, hips pumping his erection through my firm grasp. His wings were half-flared into the waterfall, showering us both with diverted cascades. He groped out, blindly of course, and found my upper arms.
He hesitated, faltered for a moment, as he discovered the bulging muscles beneath my sleek wet fur. His hands tested the girth of my biceps and breadth of my shoulders. I thought for a moment that he might draw back, but he continued his blind exploration, feeling his way over the jut of my muzzle and the upright points of my ears. Ascertaining the wolfen shape of my head.
I could read his mystified expression and read just as clearly the moment when he decided that it didn't matter, he didn't care who I was or where I'd come from. All that mattered and all that he cared about was the sensation, the physical contact.
His fingers sank into the longer plush pelt around my neck and head. His touch was rougher than mine, urgent, demanding. He tugged my head forward and pushed with his hips, nudging his erection against my face.
I was more than happy to oblige. Parting my jaws, I breathed a warm, damp breath over him. Brooklyn quivered. I slipped my tongue around him and took a long, leisurely taste. A low, rumbling growl came from his chest. He pushed again, more forcefully. I opened my mouth to him and drew him deep.
Mindful of my teeth, I tried to go slow and be gentle, but he would have none of it. His claws dug into the back of my head. He thrust hard and fast. His skin was anything but delicate, and the inadvertent nips and scrapes only seemed to heighten his pleasure.
Brooklyn's gaze remained fixed on his loins, unable to see my mouth sliding back and forth along it. Able to see his hands cupping what seemed to be empty air, his tail manacling invisible wrists.
If not for the length of my muzzle, I wouldn't have been able to accommodate him without choking. Even so, as his thrusts grew more insistent, he was bumping the back of my throat.
Yet I liked it that way. I liked his claws clenched in my pelt. I liked the sound his talons made as his toes curled and they scraped the stony ledge. I liked the quickening rasp of his breath through his teeth.
A frenzied white light flared in his eyes. I thought this meant he was near climax, that at any instant he'd spasm and fill my mouth with his hot, gushing flood. Instead, his tail unwound from my arms and dropped low, snaking around my thigh as I knelt. The narrow end twined in a slender and supple spiral around my erection. The tapered tip slid under my pelvis, working itself back, insinuating itself
Then he did something with his tail, some sinuous flexion of muscle, and the entire world exploded in a burst of exquisite ecstasy every bit as brilliant, dazzling and encompassing as the fireball that had brought him to my attention.
I'm not sure how I got there, but the next thing I knew I was sprawled flat on my back on the waterfall's rocky ledge. The cool torrents streaming around me gradually dimmed the unbelievable tremors of heat roaring through my body. I was panting for breath, my heart hammering.
When I could see again, I blinked and looked up. Brooklyn stood over me, feet planted wide, hands on hips. He gazed down hungrily at the wavery wolfish outline I made in the running water. He was still hard, and bigger than ever, that incandescent white light burning in his eyes.
"Turn over," he said, his voice a husky snarl.
I wasn't sure that my limbs would even work. What had he done to me? That thing with his tail what in the world had that been? But when I tried, I found that I moved readily enough.
More than readily, really. Eagerly. I rolled, and rose onto all fours. He knelt and reached to find me. I felt his claws rake lightly down my back, from my shoulders to my hips. He stroked the long banner of my tail, water running through his fingers as he squeezed it from the soaked fur. His rough hand explored me where his tail had so recently been. His fingers curled around my shaft in a commanding grip.
Whining low in my throat the only sound, except for my ragged breathing, that I'd let myself make since finding him I waved my tail aside. I hitched backward. Something stiff and hot prodded the back of my thigh.
He let go, and I could have howled with disappointment except that his agile tail once again took the place of his fingers. The heels of his hands spread my buttocks. Remembering his earlier forcefulness, I had one brief moment of doubt. But he entered with slow care, pressing into me, giving me time to adjust to the feelings of stretch and fullness before easing more of himself into my tight opening.
We were both so slippery-wet from the waterfall that he was able to penetrate to the hilt despite his size. I gasped from the sweet hurting bliss when his loins rested snug against my backside, and moaned as his tail curled, squeezed, worked.
Craning my neck, looking under and through myself, I marveled at the incredible sight of us or of him, his tail coiled around my invisible shaft, his very visible erection pumping in short, steady strokes in and out of my unseen body. His gaze fixed on the place where we joined, and I knew he was seeing himself driving into what looked like nothingness, but a nothingness he could feel as a snug, clasping heat.
As I'd imagined before, his claws were like fierce blunted points, digging into my hips, pulling me against him with each thrust.
Brooklyn sped up his pace, the diamond-bright fire of his eyes blazing hotter than ever. My own response built into a towering crescendo. He strained against me, loosing a cry that was almost a howl. Jet after creamy jet pumped into me, milky spirals seemingly suspended in mid-air.
At the height of his climax, he did that trick with his tail again, and my howl could have shaken the very moon from the sky.
Eventually, aching all over and more pleasantly exhausted than I'd been in some time, I was able to gather my wits and my senses again. I raised my head, water dripping from my muzzle. Brooklyn, in a similar state, was tottering unsteadily to his feet nearby.
We did not speak. I wasn't sure if I even could, or what I would say. Silently, we waded back to shore. I stretched out on the grass, letting the night-breeze blow over me and begin the long process of drying out my fur.
Brooklyn glanced at the eastern sky, where the deep indigo-black was beginning to lighten toward dawn. He scowled. Finding his discarded loincloth, he donned it and buckled his belt.
"If you're still there," he said, casting his gaze around until he spotted the place where the grass was flattened in shape of my body, "if you can hear me "
I sat up, flicking my ears. "I'm here," I said.
He bent down and retrieved the blue-and-gold object. "I just wanted to say "
In his hand, the object flickered. Sparks leapt.
"No!" Brooklyn shouted. "Not now!"
As he tried to fling it from him, it blossomed into flame. Tendrils of electricity snapped and sparkled.
I jumped up. The blast of heat dried my fur in a flash, might have scorched it to a frizzle had I not still been soaking wet. I winced and rubbed my eyes.
But when my vision returned to normal, the fireball and the object and Brooklyn were gone.