Rain blew against the Bay Bridge with a vengeance. The pigeons that had been pecking in the sunshine earlier that afternoon now squeezed themselves into rafters and under benches to escape the cold.
Across the bridge, under an awning on Market Street, an unhappy young man in a five hundred dollar suit did the same. The man’s name was Kent.
Kent Wong never forgot his umbrella. Ever. Through two months of summer sun he brought it and got teased for it.
That day, however, he’d had enough to take home as it was—his laptop bag, his file bag, his lunch bag, and a box of left over donuts from that morning. Plus, it hadn’t rained for weeks. The weatherman forecasted blue skies for the next ten days. It was as safe a day as he could ask for to leave his umbrella home. He just had to make it three blocks to the train station and then he would be okay. Just this once.
Kent pressed himself closer to the building, away from the storm, trying not to step on the man sleeping on the step.
“Dammit,” he complained, reaching into his breast pocket for a cigarette. “Dammit,” he said again when he remembered he couldn’t smoke anymore because of his lizard lungs.
He couldn’t even vape without having an asthma attack. With as much stress as his new condition put him under, he should be allowed to vape at least.
Thunder crashed above him. Lightening lit up the raindrops.
He scratched at the scales on his neck, which were growing with his agitation. Lizards may not be able to handle smoke, but they were adaptable. At least, the one inside him was. The DNA wanted to adapt old Kent right out of his own skin.
He felt his claws growing back from the vicious clipping he’d given them at lunch. His tail was swelling against the duct tape that secured it to his leg. Some water must have gotten on him, despite how careful he had been.
Something cold dripped into his hair from the canopy. Kent swatted it away in a panic. His elbow jutted out into the light and a gust of rain blew in, splattering against his face.
Quickly, he tried to wipe it off, but it was too late. The duct tape dug into his tail and leg as they grew. Scales surfaced like hives all over his face, all down his neck, back, chest, arms, legs. His eyes felt like ice as they changed. His tongue and teeth grew thin and long. And it hurt. All of it. His human groan came out as a strangled growl.
There was nowhere to go, nothing he could do, nowhere to hide. An army of witnesses marched past him down the rush hour streets. The café behind him was locked. Anything he did to hide would draw more attention. He sank to the ground in defeat and buried his head in his arms.
“What’s the matter?” The homeless man had noticed him. Kent didn’t look up.
“Nothing. I’m fine. I’m just…” He didn’t finish. Just what, hm? What could he possibly say that wouldn’t draw even more attention? If Dad found out about…God, if he found out this way…
The homeless man sighed gruffly and shifted to his knees. He took off his large coat and tucked it around Kent.
Tears welled in Kent’s lizard eyes and he buried his face deeper, embarrassed and worried and desperately done with this whole ordeal. His tail was still growing, his skin turning green. He was getting bigger.
“Sleep it off, fella.” He patted Kent’s arm. “You’ll be fine. There you go.”
A/N: Sleep solves all problems. It’s science.
This is an idea I’m playing with. Kent the were-lizard. This post was uploaded earlier this week, but there were programming problems with it, so I ended up having to scrap it and repost it today. So if Kent seems familiar, it’s because he is.
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