I squeezed my eyes shut, shaking my head against the horrifying image. It couldn’t be true. I couldn’t be a monster. My breath came in short harsh bursts. I breathed deeply. In and out. In and out. Trying to control it. Finally, the shaking stopped and my pounding heart quieted. I opened my eyes and looked down at my hands. Somehow the fur was lighter, like it was receding.
When I looked in the mirror, I looked more like myself but definitely like a monster. I touched my face, which felt alien beneath my fingertips that were still coated with a fine layer of fur. What was I? Maybe this was why no one ever wanted me. Maybe they had known from the start that I was a monster.
I didn’t even hear the door open and shut, which was weird because normally I can hear a pin drop, on carpet, in the next room.
“Bailey?” Her voice was soft now, not the hard taunting tone that she had used just moments before in the first floor cafeteria. But it didn’t matter. At the sound, my shoulders tensed and it was happening all over again. I opened my mouth to tell her to go away, and I think I growled. Her hand touched my shoulder. I reached up, flinging it away. She cried out, and that was when I turned around.
I had scratched her upper arm, shredding the sleeve of her t-shirt. The scratches were deep. Her arm was dripping with blood, that ran down her arms in twisting rivulets before spilling in fat drops to the floor. And the odor of it was coppery and tangy and…appetizing.
“Bailey, what’s going….” She couldn’t even finish the sentence. I was walking toward her, and even I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. What I wanted to do was finish ripping her arm off and maybe eat a little of it. Even as out of it as I was, I knew that was a bad idea. So I settled for salivating over the look of terror on her face as I backed her into a corner.
“Bailey! I’m sorry Bailey!” To this day, I don’t know if she was yelling to convince me or because she hoped that someone would hear her. No one would hear her though. The fourth floor was deserted in the morning.
“Bailey, Bailey.” She whimpered and then started to cry as I took another step towards her. I didn’t say anything. I don’t know if I could have talked then if I wanted.
When she was backed into the corner, caught between the a sink and the wall, I ripped the sleeves from my shirt so that she could see the fur. I stepped forward, put my hands on the walls on either side of her, and leaned in. She tried to get away, but there was no where to go. I have to admit, I enjoyed her terror far too much. It made her smell good, to a point. Then, suddenly, she just started to stink. I think she peed her pants. I opened my mouth, showing her my brand new fangs and growled.
The noise was so loud, I knew the rest of the building heard. When I stopped to listen, I actually heard footfalls running up the stairs from the bottom floor. Suddenly, I knew that I had to get out of there.
I ran. I burst from the bathroom and sprinted to the end of the hall. There was window, that opened out onto a narrow ledge. I opened to window and stepped out. Gazing at the rooftop of the building next to the home, I wondered if I could make that jump or if I would survive if I didn’t.
I heard Head Mistress Danbury calling my name. “Bailey! Bailey! No!” Maybe she really did care after all. Too late. I jumped. I jumped and ran. I didn’t stop until I reached the trees….
I guess it was about a year later, when Anna Pantera found me and brought me here. At the time, I wasn’t sure. One tends to lose track of time in those conditions. I had been living in a forest north of the city, away from humans, eating all squirrels and rabbits that I could catch. I knew so little then.
She told me what I was. She coaxed me back into my human form. I had tried to change back once or twice, but I couldn’t. By the time she found me, I had almost forgotten that I had been human once.
When I think about it, I was really lucky. I could have been hunted down by humans at any time. But she found me…and she saved me…. I owe her my life.
©L. M. Davis. All Rights Reserved.
How far does Bailey’s loyalty go? What will she sacrifice for the woman that saved her life? Find out in Posers: A Shifters Novel; available soon.