Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used the following prompt: “Oh jeez, now what?”
Shane picked his way over to me, and all the time I feared the black scale would slip from his mouth. It didn't, though, and I expelled a shaky breath when he reached me. I extended my hand with the deep scarlet scale.
“I hope they don't taste the way they smell,” I said.
Shane laid the other scale on my palm, stared at them and then at me.
“Go on, Shane. Eat them.”
He licked the scales off my hand and swallowed. I held my breath.
After a minute, Shane still stood in his German Shepherd puppy form in front of me. Tears sprang into my eyes, veiling my sight. I sobbed. “It's not working.”
I sat down on the ground, careless about the crunching black and red scales underneath my butt. We'd done everything but it still didn't work. Why? With another sob, I tucked my knees up and wrapped my arms around them. I tried to cry as silently as possible but my whole body shook and I could barely breathe.
Shane whimpered as he bounced around me. He licked my neck, my hands, whatever part of me he could reach. At first I didn't react but when he kept on jumping and whining, I pushed him away.
He got the gist after what seemed an eternity and went away. I was an ass because I knew he must feel worse than I did. After all, he was still trapped in his puppy form. I couldn't bring myself to care, or at least not enough to comfort him. Selfish? Maybe. Probably.
“Gil? Sweetheart?” Shane's rough voice shook me to the core. Why did I have to dream that he was talking to me.
“Gil!” Heavy hands dropped onto my shoulders. Fingers dug into my taut muscles, then soft lips brushed along my neck, raising my hairs. Why did I have to be so cruel to myself? I'd never experience Shane's hands on me again.
“Okay, that's enough. Sweetheart, turn around and look.”
I frowned. This sure sounded like something Shane would say. Could hallucinations feel that real?
I opened my eyes and cast a quick glance over my shoulder. My breath stuttered in my chest. Shane crouched behind me, smiling. My Shane—the human version of him.
“Shane!” I twisted around and flung my arms around his neck.
He yelped and we tumbled onto the ground, with me landing hard on him. Shane laughed as he ran his fingers through my hair. “Hey, sweetheart, I missed you!”
“Oh, God!” I sobbed. “Me too! Me too!”
Shane's expressions sobered. He cupped my face in his hands before he peppered my face with small kisses. “I'm so sorry I hurt you, Gil. So very sorry.”
“You're back, that's all that counts.”
Shane's arms locked around my torso and he hid his face in the crook of my neck. I clung to him, still sobbing. My heart brimmed with joy, and I had a hard time believing he was here.
Shane's body stiffened, and I jerked my head away from my comfortable position on his shoulder. Wide-eyed, I stared at Shane. “What? You're not going to shift back, are you?”
Shane shook his head. He yanked me to my feet and I staggered to find my footing. Shane pointed at the sky. The two dragons flew apart. The black one roared, then dove head-first toward the ground, toward us.
“Oh jeez, now what?” I asked.