CHANGING IN THE PALE LIGHT • by Jack N. Waddell

Furious and cloaked in the silvery light, I change.

With an itch that grows to a burn, coarse hairs push their way up through my skin like worms in a flooded graveyard.  I dare not scratch, for unbidden keratin oozes along my fingernail until they lengthen to points.

Twin snakes of rage and terror coil around my spine, twisting it into unnatural shapes.  I fall to my knees first, and then topple to my back.

Yes, there is pain, but it is subservient to my fury.  I rend my clothes, and where my claws miss, the bulging of new muscle serves to part the threads.

I tremble — not a shiver of cold, despite my nakedness, but a paroxysm of rage.  I curse the one that brought this affliction upon me, curse myself for succumbing, and curse the fool that fueled the flames of my fury.

At last, my change complete, I rise to hulk over the object of my ire. Bathed in the pale light, I raise one hand, claw extended like the dagger of a mad god, and bring it down.

I click “Reply to comment.”  With keyboard-shredding fingertips, I type my scorn to the world.


Jack N. Waddell is a Southern writer, physicist, and educator. He and his wife live in Arkansas, where he enriches young minds, but only to reactor-grade levels. His fiction has appeared in Linguistic Erosion and Mad Scientist Journal.


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