You may have figured out by now that I don't scare easy. I know I'm strong, and I know I can take care of myself in a fight. And if the odds are shite, well I'm a fast runner.

But like the man said, nowhere to run. Two minutes ago, running was the furthest thing from my mind.

Old Norse wasn't offered at the UW, but I'm pretty sure those aren't sweet nothings Thor's growling against my throat. I cast a panicked glance across the dock and catch the glint of sunlight along the blade of my knife, where it rests on top of my discarded clothing.

I fucking know better.

The Viking raises his head, and without anything resembling forethought I jerk mine from the dock, and our foreheads connect hard enough that I see fireworks.

"Levi!" I shout. "Snap out of it!"

An animal noise comes out of his throat, but he hangs frozen above me, unfazed by my violence. I can feel his hardness against my leg, but he's just watching me. A predator waiting for his prey to make the next move.

For a moment the only sound is the rasp of my breath moving in and out fast. But then suddenly everything is in motion.

Levi's weight lifts as he bounds off me. I get only a fraction of a second to wonder what the hell he's doing before a shadow rises at the end of the dock.

Levi's sword is in his hand, but he hasn't quite turned when the shadow thing reaches him. Whatever it is curls round him as I flip onto all fours and scramble for my blade. I catch the hilt with my first two fingers, and suddenly the shadow thing uncurls with force.

Hard as my brain drives my body to move, it's just not fast enough, like trying to run in a dream. I watch Levi's body sail off the doc, his arm arcing as he heaves his sword the opposite direction. The clatter of it striking the dock synchronizes with his body splashing into the water a good ten feet away.

I don't get time to fully appreciate the fact he's just saved his weapon to fight another day - partly because I'm not sure whether the same holds true for him, and partly because at that moment the thing notices me. A scream sticks in my throat, threatening to choke me as I raise my blade.

It's a flesh-eater. And it's not. It's got head, shoulders, and chest. The forward jut of its lower jaw is more pronounced than a regular flesh-eater. But running down each side of its oversized rib cage are what look - and move - like gill slits, four on each side. The flesh is silvery black and scaly, and the beast's form below the waist is a better match for such a covering - its lower torso continues fishlike to the end of its powerful tail, which is edged with long curved spikes like claws.

Merzombie. WTF?

The thing gives a screech like a seagull caught in the jaws of a shark. Its fish-half compresses, and time speeds up again as it launches at me.

I drop, roll, and stab with everything I've got. My blade punctures near the end of the tail section, blade striking the deck beneath. I give it a twist, trying to dig it in, but with a single flip the creature from the black lagoon is free, and my knife's skidding toward the water.

My stomach drops like it's my kid that's gone over, but no time to mourn its passing. I roll again, but the heavy tail flops my direction, and I shriek as the claws dig into the meat of my thigh and fling me hard against the dock. As it bends over me, so close the dark corpse hair flows over my chest, I'm frozen by the thing's shark-like stare. I jerk to free my leg but only manage to work those needles in deeper. The pain brings tears to my eyes, but a moment later I've forgotten it. The thing opens its jaws to reveal a set of choppers even Ripley's big alien bitch would envy - because these are arranged like a shark's into rows of replacement teeth.

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