Through Scout's eyes Danny saw differently. Colors were brighter, sharper, brilliant with traces of ultraviolet. The view was wider, expanded into a circle like a pie with just the one small piece missing, 320 degrees of sight.
He saw the railroad as darker than he saw it with his own eyes, the metal cold, the wood between them vivid with life and damp with water. Scout wheeled downwards, and Danny could feel the winds that helped her, the warm currents and the cold air ruffling her feathers.
The blood spots shone red-black and glistened like patches of oil. Smears of it were clear to him where a human might miss them, telling a story of past time. The victim had been caught once, had run bleeding only to be caught again, and yet he'd fought still with the desperate strength of fear. Even fatally wounded he'd fought and the traces of the battle were clear in the scuffed and marked ground. Here his heel had scraped and pushed off, there he'd fallen and scrambled up again and there again he'd fallen and been dragged, boots tracing a circle in the dust.
He was dead now. Scout could see the body was cooling, the heat rising from gaping wounds, blood rising up in puffs of thin spray around the beast's muzzle as it fed. It ate quickly, tearing chunks and swallowing, raising its heavy head every few moments to look around. It spotted Scout, but obviously did not see her as a threat as it ignored her.
The beast was huge. It was more than twice as big as the man it had killed and must have weighed 400 pounds, its body solid with muscle. It was hideous and wrong. It had a man's torso and arms, although these were dark and hairier than ever a man would be, and gleamed with a coppery tint. It's lower half was that of an animal, hooves the size of dinner plates at the ends of its legs that dug deep into the ground. It's head was the worst thing, a mix between that of a human and that of a bull, eyes small and glinting with dull malice. But its teeth weren't those of a herbivore, they were more like a wolf's, stained red now with the blood that was also smeared all around its terrible mouth.
Yet it didn't eat peacefully, knowing its superiority, but was nervous and agitated. Danny came back into himself and felt his body cold and shuddering. What's it scared of? What would a thing like that fear?
"What?" Sarah asked. "What is it? Did you get a closer look?"
"We need to sneak past it, now while its occupied," Danny said.
"Come on!" she said and frowned. "You're not telling me something. You have to tell me, because whatever it is I'll imagine worse."
"It's..." Danny shrugged helplessly. "It's a thing, a minotaur. It shouldn't be here! And it's scared Sal. It's this huge thing. A goddamn monster. And it's scared."
"It's a what?"
"What I said. Half man half bull and all mad," he said and she stared at him with concern and suspicion.
"Are you sure, I mean..."
"I don't care. You can think I'm crazy, whatever. We just can't stand around here discussing it. You'll get a closer look. Unless you can fly like Scout we'll have to pass too close to get around it."
"Ok," she said, suspicions hardened into certainty. Danny didn't call Scout back, she flew ahead of them now. He kept a slender link between them, guiding her to sweep in larger circles, looking for other things that might lie in front. It was so hard, moving two bodies with one mind. While his own eyes looked down at the railroad and ahead of him, his mind's eye was focused on the landscape from above. It was difficult not to stumble, not to feel as if he was flying, to think about where he put his feet while riding a thermal and searching the tree-line below. He heard Sarah follow him, felt her eyes. She thinks I'm nuts. She thinks I might hurt her. She's wondering now if I'm not like Nate. She'll find out.
They passed the minotaur and he heard her gasp to see it, was pleased to have proved her wrong and then felt bad about this. As if her reaction would not have been anyone's reaction. Anyone who didn't know how the world was changing. Anyone who hadn't already seen for themselves.
He didn't stop, carried on going, as fast as he dared while still being quiet, but after a while he became aware she was crying. They were far enough away now to stop again so he turned, thinking maybe her tears were just from the shock of seeing what she'd thought couldn't possibly be true. But she stared at him and he knew there was more.
"That was..." she said. "That was Nate! Danny, oh I wanted you to stop! Only I knew we had to get past it, but it was Nate! Danny, where's my sister!"