Still going strong with this one. Are you ready for more? This is a piece of a much longer story. If you are new and want to catch up or want to refamiliarize yourself with where we are now, check out the links below. They are listed in Story order.
Rat in a Cage
He hadn’t noticed the time pass. He had even drifted off to sleep, but for how long he was uncertain. The tray that Mira had dropped on the floor earlier had been removed, replaced by two bowls. He found them when he stepped in the one with liquid, he assumed water.
They had reduced him to the status of pet. Food bowls on the floor like would be left for the family dog. The indignity of it cut him in a way, maybe deeper than the change they had done to his body. But he refused to play the game.
Eddie flipped the bowls with the blade of his left arm, scattered the contents across the floor, and then grumbled with the pain of his empty belly. The thought of the food on the floor repulsed him but drew him in with his hunger. It was a meat of some kind. He could smell it, bloody, fresh, a clean kill that hadn’t had a chance to sit too long before it had been placed in the room with him. And again he was repulsed.
He was no better than dog. Animal hungers and instincts consumed him as the smell of the meat assaulted him. The second voice in his head screamed at him that it needed to feast. It took every ounce of determination Eddie possessed to keep him from dropping to his knees and biting into the hunk of flesh on the floor.
“Don’t fight it.” The voice drifted through the darkness, smooth, oily. It carried a vile whisper that scared him while it excited him in animal ways. “Would you rather have made the kill yourself?”
She had come out of the shadows. In his echo vision she appeared again as an inky mist. Her form rolled and billowed into a shape that vaguely resembled the woman he had known before. She hadn’t come through the door. The thought stopped him short, how long had she been in the room with him?
“I am not an animal,” Eddie said. The words came out in a rough growl that ripped at his vocal chords.
She touched his cheek with a cold, oily hand. “No, no you are not. You are a hunter, a predator, so much more than a common animal.”
Her words slipped deep into his mind and through his body. At one time her voice might have made him blush, more so by standing so close to her. Now, he felt cheap, dirty, like he had been used and would soon be tossed aside when his usefulness reached its end. He wanted to pull away from her caress. The voice that he recognized as his own, screamed at him to get away. But there was a part of him that craved her touch.
He hadn’t felt her move but she held the hunk of flesh before him, flat on the palm of her hand. “Eat it,” she said. “You need to rebuild your strength. There will be plenty of time for you to hunt soon enough.”
He fought the urge, but only for a moment. Around her he lacked the control. His body and urges were no longer his own. He bit into the meat in her hand, pulled away a chunk that his teeth ripped through, shredded on its way to his belly. She fed him, held it for him till he had finished it all. And then she left him alone in the room.
Something had changed. Eddie couldn’t help but notice it. The door to his room had been left open. A breeze blew into the room from the open window in the room next door.
New smells, fragrances he couldn’t quite describe assaulted him. Somehow the smells came across as colors in his mind. It all wormed through his thoughts in a way that shocked him in its naturalness. Not only had his vision changed into something unexpected but the way he perceived the world around him had changed. The only thing of what he had been that still remained was the small voice that needled him apart from the voice in his head that drove him forward.
An urgent need to get out, to break free of the place that had held him captive for so long, had become a driving force in his mind. The dominant voice in his head commanded and drove him forward as he stumbled through the doorway and to the window in the next room. The change in his sight showed him a blank wall outside the window.
Not quite a wall, more like an empty space. He was not able to pick up contours or forms past the open window. The lack of shapes left him essentially blind to anything beyond the his immediate surroundings. Though that didn’t stop him. He could feel the door into the main hall to his left. And there wasn’t any movement beyond the door, that he noticed.
That small voice, his old voice, pleaded with him that this couldn’t be right. After all this time, they wouldn’t just let him go. His other voice growled and grumbled, “shut up,” to himself. The driving thought in his mind, freedom; He would remain here no longer.
When he stepped into the main hall, he caught a new scent. In his old life, his old body it wouldn’t have had the same effect on him. But the smell of fresh blood filled his nostrils and set his nerves a flame. It was like he had awakened for the first time.
He knew the direction and the distance. His muscles twitched with electricity at the thought of the flesh of his prey. In that moment thoughts of Eddie had slipped away. He ran through the hall on his toes. He skipped across the thick carpet with a light touch that gave no indication that he had even been there.
It was close he could feel it. As he drew near it, his sight took over. The creature had been chained to the floor. It couldn’t escape, not from him. Even if it had been free he would catch it. Its hands were bound, the creature couldn’t fight back. The predator instinct in him wanted to strike though it felt cheated of the hunt.
He was torn, confused. The prey he wanted, that he deserved, wasn’t here. Before him was a boy, scared and alone. He could smell the fear that oozed out of the child’s pores. At the sight of him, the child pissed itself. It had become a blubbering mess, that mewled like a wounded beast at his feat.
He raised an arm to strike it down, put it out of its misery, but the small voice, his old voice gave him pause. Eddie knew this creature before him. He was sure of it. He now knew what had become of Barry, the abuser that had threatened him so long ago. The animal inside him fought against the human he had been. His arm shook with indecision as he fought against himself. He could so easily kill this mewling thing before him. But he knew, he would be no better than the animal they had changed him into.
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