Marco scrambled to his feet the instant Dorris freed him. There was no jolt to his limbs, no weight being lifted when she issued the command: it was nothing more than the difference between being made of stone and switching to living tissue and warm flesh. Perhaps it was like his body lay in wait for the moment it could move anything, as though he were persistently tensed and ready to spring. It was difficult to describe, but every second between his paralysis and his current state of freedom was a welcome distance.
“Crazy bitch,” he muttered, as he sprinted from her thick feet toward the forward end of the tub. His desperation to escape her reach nearly led him straight into the drain. On any other surface he might have sprung away like the panther he fancied himself as, in moments like these. Quick and sleek! Powerful and graceful! He held the image of a panther in mind as he slipped through city crowds or refused to budge against the tide of humans flowing toward him, in the corridors of commerce. Now, however, he was none of these things: he planted one foot to launch him sharply to the side of the gaping chrome orifice, and his legs shot almost naturally to the side. He hovered in the humid, cloyingly sweet air of the shower for a moment, then slammed to the enameled steel with jarring blasts to his shoulder and hip.