Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure
Dragons in Pieces (Maze Beset #1) by Lee French
All Bobby wanted was a girl to come home to after a hard day of work. Like the last one said before she left, he was going exactly two places – no and where – and he was happy with that. But somebody had other plans for him. A murder. The Terrorist Watch List. For what? Underage drinking? Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Right?
Oh yes, they could.
He wouldn’t believe superheroes were real if he wasn’t one himself.
Tiny robot dragons send him chasing his humanity and his future, on the trail to discovering his past and a place to call ‘home’. If he’s lucky, maybe he can get a beer there.
It was Matthew, they recognized him from the photos. He wore jeans and nothing else. Every part of him left bare was smeared with blood and his eyes were panicked, terrified. It took him a moment to register both that the kitchen light was on and two strange men sat at his table, then he freaked out. In the space of perhaps two seconds, the jeans disappeared, his body grew muscles and fur and claws, his head reshaped with a fanged snout. He was easily nine feet tall and the scariest damn werewolf Bobby ever saw, probably because he was in the room with it, and it wasn’t just a costume.
The swarm was a much better place to be, and Bobby went there. Stephen, though, seemed calm, saying, “How apropos that a vampire and a werewolf should fight this close to Hollywood. With dragons, to boot. I wonder if we’ll attract any orcs or fairies.”
Matthew let out a loud roar and jumped at Stephen, the two of them started fighting. Bobby, unable to get into it much without causing a problem for Stephen, got the dragons to open the door a crack so ten could slip out and keep watch. If someone was coming, he wanted to know about it before they arrived and got involved. It seemed clear that Stephen could hold his own against this thing, but who knew how much they’d beat each other up before one of them lost. To try to help the odds, the dragons went in for the werewolf’s legs.
The little critters couldn’t really do much more than annoy Matthew, they found his skin to be much too tough for their little teeth. He’d be scratched up later, but not really injured from this assault. They had to be careful, too, to avoid getting hurt themselves. Stephen threw the werewolf into the fridge, Matthew returned the favor by tossing the vampire through an inner wall, putting Stephen in the bedroom unexpectedly. They did what Bobby thought of as wrasslin’, except for the fangs and claws and superhuman strength they both apparently had. It carried them back through the apartment, wrecking it as they went, until Stephen was thrown through a window and Matthew chased after, like a dog going after a stick.
Now it was public. There was a very real chance that one or more of Matthew’s neighbors noticed the initial noises and already called someone about it, but Bobby was willing to bet this spectacle would get some attention. He could almost imagine the call to the police. ‘Officer, there’s two costumed freaks wrasslin’ around outside, making a heckuva ruckus!’ Or however the locals would say that. The swarm followed them out, keeping a watch all around. There just wasn’t anything he could think of to do that would actually help Stephen directly. Aside from how much nothing he could do to harm or even distract Matthew, he was terrified of what would happen if a dragon got crushed.
They were horribly loud. Matthew sounded like a giant angry dog, Stephen sounded somewhat like a person making large cat noises. Stephen made an effort at keeping them close to the apartment, but Matthew really enjoyed tossing the vampire for distance and chasing after him. Bobby suspected that Stephen would just have flown out of reach, but the goal was actually to subdue the werewolf, not just get away from him. As a result, Bobby discovered that Stephen could heal himself, but every time he did, he looked a little more haggard.
Things, of course, got worse. A police car screamed onto the scene, brakes screeching as it halted sideways to block their passage farther down the street. Bobby saw it coming, but couldn’t think of anything to do about it. Really, he was just as helpless as any other bystander here. When he had some time to breathe, he’d try things and see what he could do with his dragons in this sort of situation, but for now, he had nothing to contribute. It was an unpleasant feeling, one that reminded him a lot of how he felt when that needle went into his leg at Jasmine’s apartment, except that this just kept going on and he didn’t get the luxury of blacking out for any part of it.
Out of the car with his gun drawn, the cop shouted for the two men to freeze and get on the ground. Matthew had his attention drawn by the command, and Bobby reacted as he saw the werewolf bolting for the car. This was stupid, but he couldn’t let the cop get hurt just for being the one to show up. Faster than a speeding werewolf, Bobby re-formed right in front of the cop so Matthew could hit him instead. When the claws swiped through the space, Bobby exploded into dragons again, causing the sharp claws to pass right through empty air.
Lee French lives in Worcester, MA with two kids, two mice, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She is an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is known for her fondness for Angry Ninja Squirrels of Doom. In addition to spending much time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don’t get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.
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Author Lee French is giving away a print copy of Dragons in Pieces.
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