updated fer zee hardcore fans
Tripping over the things crawling off of X’s legs. X exploding out from their shelter, trench coat thrown aside to reveal a body become other. A garden of fungus. Arms ballooning out into sudden wings of brilliant purple-yellow-red-orange. Legs lost in shelves and plateaus and spikes of green-and-blue. Back broader and insanely strong and gray. Head suddenly elongated and widened. As he ran a high-pitched scream came from his mouth that frightened Finch and bloodied the ears of the Partials.
The bullets. X kept taking them like gifts. They tore through his limbs, lodged in his torso. Leaving holes. Leaving daylight. That closed up. And running in the shadow of that magnificence, as Xâ€™s scream became a roar again and they were assailing the ramparts of the Partials, he felt as if he were following some sort of god, his own gun like a toy as, from the shelter that was X, he laid down fire back at the chapel to keep the rebels pinned down.
Xâ€™s voice came out incomprehensible and strange now. Guttural and animal-like. No part of him in those moments that was human. Once he looked back at Finch to make sure he was still there. The whites of his eyes colonized. His pupils looking like something trapped. Trapped forever inside its own flesh.
For awhile it was as if X had lent Finch that kind of vision, because he could see the bullets coming. As if Finch were floating overhead, watching. And it was ecstasy or some kind of odd heaven. The surprise that eclipsed the Partialsâ€™ pale faces as X overran their positions. X trying to outrun something he couldnâ€™t outrun. Tendrils from his chest racing out to impale them. The weeping muzzle of his gun taking them in the legs, the heads. Faces trampled under his charge. Fungal eyes still clicking and clicking as the bodies lay dead. While even the rebelsâ€™ fire had become scattershot from the shock of the new. From seeing the glory that X had become. The monster.
Then it all came crashing down and Finch was in his skin again. In that one last look back he saw it all as a crazed tableau of men fallen, falling, firing, or running at an impossible speed. Almost distant enough as they made it to the warren of streets beyond to think of them as the silhouettes of broken, spasming dolls.