Apple swore. She sprang to her feet and dived behind the couch as plastic projectiles filled the air. Renan slid under a table. The projectiles filled the room, not going in any particular direction, the same way as the guests of the nightclub. It seemed to be firing into the room at random. Renan wondered why the hardsuit wasn’t targeting him. It didn’t seem orderly or tactical; it just sprayed flechettes in his general direction and hoped for a lucky shot. Renan noticed the security drone fly into the room, announcing the lack of responsibility it found. The hardsuit turned and swatted at it. The security drone retreated and extended a small telescopic arm. It let loose an EMP, breaking the hardsuit’s shields and stopping it cold. He poked his head out from under the table, watching the chaos settle down and looking around for Apple.
He saw her stalking away towards a back door. She was still holding his headset! What a jerk. He got up and ran towards her. She noticed him and upped her pace. However, somebody stepped on her tail, and it gave Renan just enough time to tackle her as she ran through the doorway.
They rolled on the ground for a few moments; Renan trying to get his headset back from Apple’s clawed fingers. Eventually, she kicked Renan in the crotch and pushed him off her. Apple dusted herself off and closed the door. Renan could barely move, and was curled up in a ball, groaning and cursing.
“You’re in trouble now, buster.” Apple said, kicking him in the back. “I should eat you for messing this place up.”
“You’ve got bigger problems than me.” Renan said, barely managing the words. “Plus, I don’t taste good.”
“Now that I think about it, you’re probably right. That last guy tasted awful.” Apple said, licking his blood off her fingers.
Renan uncurled, and tried to get on his feet. But Apple pounced on him, giving him a toothy grin. It wasn’t a sweet smile, with all her predatory teeth. It looked more like a humanoid dinosaur getting ready to eat its prey. She licked her lips and brushed him with her long, forked tongue.
“Wait…you’re serious?” Renan said, trying to push her off him. It was no use.
“Of course I’m serious!” Apple said. “I’m not a human, you idiot. But, I’ll let you go.” She loosened her grip, and got off him, laughing. She leaned against the wall, with crossed arms.
“What are you?” Renan said.
“10% house gecko, 4% tree frog, 30% space mammoth and 56% human.” Apple said, suddenly much more sullen. “I’m sure you’ve heard of the rapid evolution project. It involved a space mammoth and genetic enhancement for commercial use.”
“I saw you on TV once. You looked different.” Renan said, leaning on the concrete wall, nursing four lines of severed skin on his arm. “I thought the government put you down.”
“Too much work. The government just defunded the project and left everybody to their own devices.” Apple said. “I left. Kicked out is more the term I should use.”
“Give my headset back, please.” Renan said, getting up.
“No way.” Apple said. “I need the money.”
“Listen, you twit.” Renan said. He took out his concealed handgun and pointed it at her. “I need it just as much as you do.”
“Hey!” Apple exclaimed, putting her arms in the air, one hand still holding his headset. “Okay, then. Come and take it.”
Renan walked over to her, still holding the gun. When he drew close, she ducked and tripped him. He fired, but the flechette only hit the ceiling. Renan hit the ground hard, and it knocked the breath out of him. He gasped for air as Apple once again pinned him down.
“I’ve dealt with worse than you.” Apple said. “You’ve got the shakiest fingers I’ve ever seen. It makes you slow.”
Renan cussed at her as a reply.
“You’re just one more bad man, you know.” Apple said. “You humans always seem to think that you’re special, that just because you’ve got a body and a will to live, you’re entitled to life.” She twisted his arm, freeing the gun from his grasp. “I’m no different than that.” She licked his face. “You taste awful, just like you said. You taste like greed and hate. I like that. You humans, you’re all the same. You all say you’re different. But, in the end, that’s what makes your kind so predictable. I’m no genius, but I know enough about your kind to tell that you’ve made some bad decisions.” She smiled. It was soft, almost friendly, yet quite unnerving at the same time. “I could end all your troubles for you, but I know that you love them too much. You love your pain, don’t you?”
Renan struggled, but Apple held him down firmly.
“You love your tortured soul too much to lose it.” She continued, almost sounding sympathetic. “I sound so sadistic when I say all this, don’t I?”
Renan didn’t respond. Apple dug her claws into him, to the edge of drawing blood. “Do I or do I not?” she said, harshly. She was scowling. Renan quickly nodded in agreement.
“I’m a twit, am I now?” Apple said. “A few words can go a long way, can’t they? Look at you. You’re helpless. Watch your mouth, and your insides stay where they belong.” She picked up his gun, and got off him. “Don’t cross me, sweety.” She said, waving his gun around with a kind, sweet grin beaming on her snout.
“You’re strong, lady. Do you work out?” Renan said, as he peeled himself off the ground.
“Am I? Thank you. And no, I don’t work out.” Apple said. Renan wasn’t sure what was up with her.
“Can I have the headset back?” Renan asked, apprehensively.
“Not without me.” She said. “I don’t have anything better to do. Give me a little bit. Be a good boy and wait here, won’t you?”