Khatire reached out to grab the child, who twitched with dreaming, and froze. It was a girl, almost four. They were all brothers and sisters, all bearing mark of their father’s features. A lump, hard and stinging, grew in Khatire’s chest. There were so many! She could only save one.
His body lengthened, his worn leather footings bursting as his legs, now fused, spiraled behind, scaled and glistening black. Even when the foul thing had fully turned, its hands still grasped at the air while the twisted mouth shrieked fearful things. It would have seemed only a beast, powerful and deadly, were it not for those hands and eyes, so like a man’s but not, a living sacrilege.