“Don’t take it so personally, kid.” His uncle gave him a hand up, ignoring the tears Ari wasn’t quite managing to hide. “There’s always some lunatic out there ready to tell you how you aren’t possible. How you violate the laws of physics and nature and, depending on what breed of lunatic it is, how your very existence is an affront to God. It’s just part of living in a city.” He handed Ari his jacket as the boy finished dusting off the worst of the debris. “You take all these people and squash them all together, and it’s more or less certain you’re gonna end up with some crazies.”
“It’s why your mom stayed away; little sis was never one for fighting battles that didn’t end. Me on the other hand, well,” his uncle grinned with teeth that had grown a little too sharp and eyes that had shaded a little too yellow, “let’s just say the cops wish I was a little less open about my ‘genetic quirks’.
Ari wiped away the last of his tears and kept to himself that the cops weren’t the only ones wishing Uncle Liander was less of a target. But lions were lions, as Nonna always said, although he’d couldn’t imagine his grandmother acting like Uncle.
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