"You look like hell."
"I'm dead. What's your excuse?"
The two men stared at each other, then burst out laughing. Cassandra shook her head. She walked over and examined the wounds on Pryor's body. Deep holes pocked his body; some of the bullets had gone clean through, leaving an exit wound, others were still lodged deep in the flesh. A strange, pungent liquid oozed from each. Its viscosity was thicker than human blood. Cassandra wiped a drop up with her finger tip and brought it towards her nose and flinched; a quick taste made her spit. It tasted rancid, like poison. She spit again and looked towards her companions.
"We need to leave."
The two men looked at her and composed themselves. Glover reached his arm out towards Pryor.
"Can you walk?"
Pryor moved his stiff legs over to the edge of the slab. He rose to his feet, trying to find his balance. He felt hollow. His hearing and sense of smell seemed sharper. He looked around the room until his gaze fell upon Edwards.
"What happened here?"
Glover spit and started to walk to the door. The sooner they left this place, the better. They needed to finish the mission and meet up with the others.
"The little man knocked him out and hooked him up."
Pryor walked over and looked at his commander. Edwards' body twitched. He pointed to Glover's face.
"Did he give you that?"
"Yea, he was trying to help me find you. Cassandra! Move out! Place explosives in the corner's of the room and let's get out of here. We've got a work to do."
Pryor reached out and grabbed Glover.
"What are you doing? We can use these men. This is an unstoppable army."
"This is an unpredictable mob. We don't need any more trouble. We need to finish what we came to do and get the hell out of here."
Glover turned and started for the door. Pryor moved in front of him and started to growl. Glover maneuvered his weapon into position.
"We've run out of time, Pryor. The others have broken camp and moved on. We need to finish what we were sent to do and then try to rendezvous with them."
Cassandra appeared at his side, nervously looking at Pryor. He looked like something out of the stories her grandmother used to tell her, stories about the dead walking the earth. She started to move towards the door, calling back over her shoulder.
"The charges are set for three minutes. I suggest we finish this conversation outside."
Glover followed, quickly moving past Pryor. Pryor charged after them. The fools! Throwing away an opportunity like this! Cassandra and Glover were all ready down the alley when Pryor hit the street. He started to follow them when a burning sensation began to overtake his body. He looked down at his bare arm. It was bathed in moonlight.
He doubled over and began to groan. He dropped to his knees and began to pant, he felt his bones break and reassemble, his skin melt off his body and then knit together, only now it was covered in thick fur. His jaw snapped and elongated, his teeth extended into sharp points. Pryor tried to stand up straight but lost his balance; a long bushy tail waved excitedly behind him, trying to steady his equilibrium.
Cassandra started to run towards Pryor, or to the thing that was Pryor, when the charges went off. The explosion knocked her back onto her ass; her ears were still ringing as Glover knelt next to her.
"You all right?"
Cassandra winced as she wiped a trickle of blood from the side of her mouth, coughing up dust and grit. A piece of metal was lodged in her bicep. Glover pulled out his knife and dug it out, doing his best to stop the bleeding. She looked at the wreckage of lab in front of her. Smoke and flames swallowed up the building, limbs and body parts were scattered amongst the ruins.
Glover ignored her and kept working on her arm. Cassandra pushed him away and tottered to where she had last seen Pryor. She fell to her knees and looked at the snow on the ground. Splattered around the piles of flesh and blood were tracks. Wolf tracks. Cassandra pointed towards them.
"This way. He went south, towards the woods. We have to find him."
Glover walked over and stared in disbelief. None of this made sense. He grabbed Cassandra by the shoulder.
"We have a job to do. We need to finish the mission and meet up with the others."
Glover turned and started back down the alley. Cassandra watched him leave, then rose to her wobbly feet.
"To hell with you! To hell with the mission!"
She started to follow the tracks, straining to listen. Off in the distance she heard a howl. She moved onward, the light from the full moon illuminating the tracks on the freshly fallen snow.
The fire was smouldering as the lab lay in ruins. Rubble was piled deep. A dark figure pushed its way from beneath its premature tomb. Its clothes were tattered, its skin cut and flayed. It crawled out to the street and collapsed, gasping for breath. It lay on its back and looked up at the full moon. It laid there until the moon began to wane and the sky in the east began to turn pink. It rolled over and pulled itself to its knees, trying to focus on the two sets of tracks in the snow. One human. One lycan. It took a deep breath, startled at its heightened sense of smell. Edwards smiled and pulled himself to his feet. He'd find them. He'd find them both.