Moon Island (Chapter Fifty-four)

Within the flame was a creature that I knew all too well. A creature much bigger than me, and much more powerful. A creature who was, in fact, also me.

The creature seemed to be waiting impatiently, and as the blurred form of Conner Thurman prepared for his final blow, the creature in the flame rushed toward me.

Filling me. Taking over me.

Becoming me.

*  *  *

The transformation was nearly instant.

My clothes burst from my body as I rapidly grew and contorted. Soon, I was something that didn't belong in this world, nor any world, stronger and bigger than I had any right to be.

In a blink, my left hand reached out and grabbed Conner Thurman around the throat. He tried to speak, but only a strangled gasp emerged.

I lifted him off the ground, still holding him by the neck. I was tall enough now that my hunched shoulder just missed the stained glass windows high above. In fact, I very nearly filled the entire hallway. My leathery wings hung behind me.

I thought of the threats against my son.

I thought of what Kingsley had said to me: Cut off the head of the snake.

And as I lifted him off the ground, as he kicked and gurgled and fought me, I continued squeezing.

And squeezing…

Something black and horrible appeared from his open mouth. A serpent, the same snake I had seen coiled around all of the Thurmans. It continued pouring out of Conner Thurman's mouth as if vomited by the Devil himself. Now it hung suspended in the air, twisting and coiling before me.

"Sssister," it hissed, and slowly faded away.

I growled and threw Conner Thurman hard against the far wall, and as he slid down, I swiped a massive claw cleanly through his neck.