From the rough draft of ‘The Last Griffin’…
Through my peripheral vision, I’d been watching panther creep slowly along the wall, pausing when I looked his way. He wasn’t more than seven feet from me, crouched low, tail whipping and legs bunched beneath him. When I let Brent go, I’d hoped it was the end of it. I didn’t want blood, not anymore.
At Hall’s triumphant grin, a black streak launched at me. I ripped into my griffin and met the panther head on, gasping at the torture of the change. The pain clouded my reasoning and as a result, I found myself with a snarling writhing jungle cat latched onto my throat and two bears clubbing at my head. The humans stood at a distance, even the ones armed. I saw more than one pistol pointed at me. Keeping the bears between those guns and me, I grappled with the cat. I couldn’t pull it free without tearing out my windpipe, jugular, or both. Meanwhile, he worked his jaws back and forth, trying to slice through the eagle feathers for a deeper purchase.
I had hold of his body with one talon, having to stay low to protect my underbelly. I squeezed and lifted my opposite hind lion leg, seeking his intestinal cavity. One of the bears leaned in too far, swung too close to my beak. I snapped his arm, tearing it away from his body. Blood from his artery spurted over me and everyone as he twisted around to the wall and slid to the floor, screaming.
Suddenly outnumbered, the second bear stepped back and I heard one of the guns fire. The bullet tore through the panther and into my shoulder, numbing it. Feeling the panther loosen his jaws, I raised my final talon, the one that had been holding me, balanced on one lion leg and raked the black body with everything I had. The minute he was loose from me, I launched onto a pool table. There was barely room for my head, but it afforded me better reach now that I was injured. The group split into three now. About half of the guys, some in the process of changing, ran out the back or the front, forgetting they had guns. I saw that Carl and Brent were among them. The remaining group of changelings fought on, but it wasn’t much of a match.