“Some days,” said Martin, “I scuttle. Some days I gallop. Some days I trot.” He lifted a hand to show me a heavily calloused palm and fingers. He laughed at my expression. “I used to have soft hands. Now I could probably sand wood with them.”
“Is the transformation continuing?” I asked.
“It seems that way,” he said. “I turn my head 360 degrees. I can do the same at my hips and shoulders. I can’t quite manage to do it with my spine but I’m getting close.”
The creature lurched through the forest, swatting at the branches of the trees that impeded his way. We followed at a walk. There seemed no need to hurry. The poor beast was heading away from the village so we had no fear of him hurting any other men.
“What are we to do with him?” I asked.
Father drank from his flask. He did not offer a taste to me. He gave me a smile instead. “Perhaps he will stumble off one of these cliffs and we will need do nothing.”
Brother Adler’s chest heaved as he tried to catch his breath. “What … was … that beast?” he said. “Some sort of hell hound?” His eyes widened at the implication.
Father’s smile was grim and showed many sharp teeth. He said, “No, not a hound. A wolf. A hound would be a simpler thing. Wolves travel in packs.”
“Sit. Please. You I will not bite,” she said. “That would be unmannerly.” She grinned, stretching her lips yet farther, showing yet more of her large yellow teeth. “Neither would your flavor be good. You’ve got too much of the old stock in you.”