“None shall pass.”
Gordon stopped short as he checked the outer perimeter of Freetown’s painfully bright floodlights, arrested by the amused, chittering voice. His mouth, pursing out in the beginnings of the proboscis it would become, stretched into a smile. “Join me at Camelot, good Sir Knight,” he invited with a passable British accent.
His gaze ducked down as Amanda limped out of the darkness. She’d tripped earlier in the evening and had sworn fit to impress a sailor. “How’s that ankle, Amanda?”
“‘Tis but a scratch.” She dropped her Monty Python tribute. “Okay, enough geeking out. I’m okay.”
Gordon made himself look her over carefully. He was the Becomings’ leader after all. Leaders didn’t duck their heads and refuse to meet others’ eyes.
Amanda looked as resolute as ever, her AR-15 at the ready. She looked more like an alien gunfighter than any knight. Much more alien than human. At least she still smelled mostly human, soft and sweetly fragrant.
He nodded at the gun. “Armed for mutant bear, I see.”
“I did a lot of hunting back in Kentucky. My dad didn’t have any sons, at least none he could claim and not get killed by my mom, so I had to stand in as his hunting and fishing buddy.”
Gordon started to kick sand and made himself stop. “The fun part about you is finding out new things every day.”
Amanda’s smile was lopsided and a bit shy. It was a surprise coming from the self-assured woman. He must have been reading her expression wrong, Gordon decided. She didn’t do ill-at-ease.
Amanda said, “I figure the more gradual you learn, the less likely you’ll run screaming from me. If I did the big info dump, you probably couldn’t get away fast enough.”
“Dumps of any sort are usually not a good thing to put on someone.”
She snorted. “What is it with men and potty humor?”
From her grin, Gordon thought she might be teasing him again, not truly put out by his crass joke. “We’re gross creatures. I apologize on behalf of my gender.”
That reminded him that he no longer had a gender, thanks to his transformation. The thought made him nauseous for a moment. Not human. Alien. A monster. All the humor fled.