Leslie R. Lee

“Huh?” Tormn repeated stupidly, snapping his jaws together.

“She - is - MISSING!” the hospital Administrator wailed again, beckoning him to follow as he scurried away.

Tormn tried to corral his wits. The sudden and strong urge to bite, tear, into something soft and fleshy, threatened to overwhelm him. He hurried after the Admin, avoiding his thrashing tail, a sure sign of the Lirnzan’s agitation. He tried to keep his own tail from getting stomped on by the many clawed feet in the crowded corridor. As always, hundreds of his fellow scaled citizens crammed into the hospital demanding treatment for bites or gashes or some other trauma inflicted most likely by a fellow Lirnzan. Children scurried up the walls, their parents cursing at them to come down. Occasionally, a very young one would scamper across the ceiling clinging happily out of reach of the mother’s frantic arms. Tormn flicked his tongue out tasting impatience, anger, anxiety, and sometimes, real fear in the air. It might have been coming from him.

The Admin squirmed through a hole in the wall. Tormn was almost swept past the opening by the river of bodies but he grabbed the edge and levered himself into a room where three other Lirnzan’s were coiled, waiting. The Admin reached over him and slid the door closed shutting out some of the noise.

Tormn coiled himself into a seat, trying without much success to not touch the others. Nervous, his scales changed colors despite his best efforts. The others confined themselves to green grays matching their dark clothes. Except for the Admin. He shifted hues like he was being paid.

“I’m Inspector Modo,” hissed the one obviously in charge. Not bothering to introduce his two thuggish accomplices, he lazily tasted the air. Rudeness wasn’t his concern.

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