“Can I use your phone to call Biohazard?!” I yelled over the roar of the enchanted water engine.
“Do what you need to do! I have my kids to take care of!”
Mrs. Oswald stepped on the gas and peeled out of the driveway like a bat out of hell. I went inside and checked the phone. Dial tone. Wel , something 09
had gone right for once. I dialed the Biohazard number from memory.
“Biohazard,” a gruff male voice said into the phone.
“My name’s Kate Daniels. I have a giant dead spider- scorpion thing on Chamblee Dunwoody Road. I need you to come and get it.”
“Sure,” the voice said. “Let me get right on that. You’re eighth in line. It will be twenty- four hours.”
“It’s an RM in a residential neighborhood.”
The phone went silent. “How bad?”
“It went from mammal to insect after death. The insect is ten feet long, not counting the legs.”
“Sit tight. We’ll be there in half an hour.”
Experience said it would be more like a couple of hours, but I would take what I could get. I dialed Cutting Edge. Derek answered, his voice raspy. “Cutting Edge.”
“Can you meet us here?” I gave him the address.
“I’m leaving now.”
“Thanks. Is Ascanio there?”
“Ready and willing,” Ascanio said into the phone.
“Call the Dunwoody Police Department for me and please check if there were any complaints against the Oswalds on Chamblee Dunwoody Road.” I gave him the address.
“Yes, Consort.” Either it was force of habit or he was jerking my chain. Probably the latter.
I hung up and went into the garage. A toolbox sitting by the wall yielded a pair of needle- nose pliers. Perfect. I found Curran outside. He had turned into a human, had pulled his clothes on despite being covered in slime, and was trying to rinse his mouth out with a hose.
“Did it taste that bad?”
“You have no idea. This goo doesn’t wash off with water alone. I tried.”
“Let me see your shoulder.” He glanced at me. I lifted the pliers and made pinch motions with them. “Are we done?” he asked.
“No. We have to wait here until Biohazard shows up.”
“Why? It’s dead.”
I sighed and sat on the stairs in front of the door. “Because it exhibited reanimative metamorphosis. It was dead and instead of staying dead, it turned into something else and came back to life. It also went cross- phylum, from mammal to insect. That means there is a good chance it might come back to life again as something really strange, like a terrestrial octopus shooting lightning from its tentacles.”
“Why don’t we just set it on fire and scatter the ashes?”
“Because the ashes could still metamorphose into something nasty like leeches or flesh- eating flowers. We killed it. That means we initiated the RM process, so now we have to watch over the corpse until Biohazard shows up and quarantines it.”
“And if we don’t?” His tone was getting harsher and harsher.
“It’s a mandatory ten- year prison sentence.”
“So we performed a service by killing this thing and now they are punishing us for it?”