Ignoring her aching muscles, Janissa dragged the cowed suit across the yard of the experimental farm by his revers. It had taken a lot of self-control to not shoot him in the face. For what needed to be done, her shotgun wasn’t enough. She wasn’t even aware she was muttering strings of curses punctuated with repetitions of “deliberately”.
“None of the tests suggested any danger,” the guy whined. “There must have been a mutation.”
“Or maybe rats are not humans! Don’t give me your stupid excuses. Where can we get gasoline here?”
His eyes went even wider. “Look, I’m all for terminating the experiment and destroying the enhancement—”
“Virus!” Janissa snapped. “Stop the propaganda-speech.”
“Virus, but an uncontrolled fire might do more harm than good.”
“And risk monsters running wild?”
Janissa stopped and faced him, narrowing her eyes at his tone. “What?”
“You may have a point about humans being different. They seem to be the only species that goes all, you know… bloodthirsty. The cattle just gets slow and apathetic.”
“That I want to see. And you go in first.” She emphasised her point by tipping her shotgun in his general direction.
He nodded to that happily enough, and led Janissa into the barn.
She followed wearily, fearing a trap even though her gut feeling said he wasn’t up to setting one. All she saw were cows standing where they belonged, placidly. As the guy stood aside, she had a look at the nearest animal. Janissa had no direct experience with cows, but she didn’t think its nose should be grey and cracking. Was it even breathing?
Her drafted guide had calmed down and actually answered her muttered “What the hell were they thinking?”
“The… virus slows down the metabolism, particularly in the extremities, but affects the digestion and milk production hardly at all. The result is more milk per pound of fodder, and besides, they are sluggish and less… prone… to…” He would down and swallowed in the face of Janissa’s glare.
“So everyone in my neighbourhood who wasn’t lactose intolerant turned into a zombie to maximise your profits.” After a beat she added, “Go away before I shoot you.”
Worry and irritation mingled in Sylvie's mind. Ayu-Asra, the two-headed pet dragon she could not get rid of, had gotten her thrown out of an inn, and she had really looked forward to not having to sleep outside.
Not that she could blame the landlord. A glance at the animal trailing her by alternately running along the top of the fence next to the street and gliding a short distance showed her that its chest was still glowing faintly. Maybe she should have claimed this was normal and harmless, rather than admitting he had never done that before. The dragon didn't seem bothered, so maybe it was harmless, but what could it be? He was able to breathe fire, so maybe something going wrong there? Trying to remember if she'd ever heard of a dragon overheating and exploding, Sylvie flinched as Ayu-Asra whistled shrilly and veered off towards an orchard.
After a furtive look around, Sylvie followed to see what had him so excited, or what damage she would have to apologise for.
She found him chasing insects, his heads occasionally fighting each other for the fattest bugs.
Luminous fluid sprayed from the fat glow-worm corpses.