- A Serialized Novel -

This isn't a superpower. It's a curse.

The Twenty Minute Rule

So, at that point, all I really cared about, all that mattered, was that she got away. She would argue against that, try and say that I was that important or more, but she kind of had me outnumbered at the moment.

Besides, we were relatively certain that I could handle whatever they did to me.

Well… I did say relatively…

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Clayton looked at his hands and sighed. He’d been small enough when the random shift ended that Kilbourne had been able to pick Clay up himself, carrying him inside the lab and setting him down. Clay had been unable to stop him from using the restraints, so there he was, the size of a five year old, desperately hoping that April had managed to get away.

Kilbourne was busy with Clayton, leaving his goons to search for April, and they weren’t good enough to find her. No, he had to believe she was getting out of here. Then she’d round up a cavalry and make them come back for Clay and everything would be fine.

“I am curious about this twenty minutes business. Such a waste of time, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, but then your little experiment didn’t actually make the perfect… whatever I am, so you know, kind of your own fault, right? Exactly what was it you wanted me to be, anyway? Not what I am, I’m sure. What kind of a use is there for a power like mine?”

Kilbourne smiled cruelly. “Oh, I can think of plenty of uses for you, Moore, and we will most likely get to all of them since you’re rather resistant to death.”

“Gee, that sounds like so much fun.”

“Sarcasm is very unbecoming, especially from such a small mouth.”

“Larabee said the same thing, but you know, while I might—to a limited degree—pick up a few habits of the physical age that I happen to be, I’m not actually different. My mind is the same regardless of the size or age of my body.”


Clay shrugged a little, trying to squirm in the bonds. Kilbourne went to one of the refrigerators, took out a vial, and put a syringe in it, filling it. That couldn’t be good, whatever it was. “What is that?”
“I have been looking at the formula that your… friend created that he calls a stabilizer. It is crude, but with some work, I managed to improve it to where I do believe that it can induce one of your random transitions.”

“And why would you want to do that? And if you do, you know you’ll knock me out cold for like a day, don’t you? The only time that doesn’t happen is if the shift is a healing shift—and admittedly, I don’t know all that the healing shifts can do because they didn’t come along until you tried to kill me but I—Don’t give that to me. No. Please.”

“I thought you said you’d cooperate if I let your wife go.”

“But you didn’t. And you won’t because you have this idea that you’re going to perfect whatever went wrong with me with our child, so… Um, yeah, no. Not cooperating with you,” Clay said, but it wasn’t like he could do much, strapped down to the table like he was. If he could shift, he might break some of the restraints, but he wasn’t the Hulk so there was no guarantee there and beyond that, there was also the fact that if he shifted now, he was going to end up unconscious and still in the same trouble as he was before.

Stupid twenty minute rule.

“So now, if this does induce a random shift, since I know that you will not cooperate and shift for me, we will see just how soon you can come out of that coma,” Kilbourne said, lifting another vial. Clay grimaced. Two shots. Great. He hated needles.

Something buzzed right in his ear, and he moaned as he tried to roll over and relieve the pressure. It didn’t; he couldn’t. He didn’t know what it was. He didn’t really have time to figure out what it was because Kilbourne had taken hold of his arm, and he tried to pull free even as the needle pushed inside his skin, the plunger forcing the drug into his system. Almost immediately, he got dizzy and felt the twinge in his fingers.

At least he’d be unconscious soon, Clay thought as the pain took over. He just had to hold onto the hope that April had gotten away. If she did, then he’d be fine. He didn’t really care what happened to him as long as she was safe. Her and the baby.

Kilbourne, though, if Clay survived this, he really was going to find a way to make that man pay for all that he had done.

Probably with spandex. Just because. Spandex should be a weapon, and Larabee could make it one. Probably not on purpose, but that didn’t matter as long as Kilbourne got what was coming to him.

Clay managed to see his fingers getting bigger—and blurrier—and then he passed out.

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