The room rang empty and cold. The dark, rusted walls barely reflected the muted light of the cellar, giving the room a grim and ghastly feel. The air felt frozen around me and was only jolted by the occasional beep originating from the furniture next to me.
My arm gave an involuntary shudder, pushing against the bonds holding me down. The metal clamps that secured my arms, legs, tail, and torso to the cold, hard mattress seemed to have frozen to my pale skin.
He should be there at any moment, not that his presence would bring me any comfort. I knew that his daily visits would only bring more tests, chemicals and pain. Though I was aware of this, I couldn’t help but look forward to his visits as he was the only human contact I had.
A metallic clang from the far side of the cellar sent me into a panicked fear. I threw myself against the metal, clenched my teeth and struggled to break free. Of its own accord, my four foot long tail peeled back its tip like a cats claw, revealing a two inch long barb that was filled with poisonous fluid.
Of course, he had already tested how lethal it was. The poison apparently could kill anyone and anything in a few seconds- except for me, of course. Something in my body acts like an antivenom and protected myself against my poison, and my poison alone.
“Calm down, you aren’t going to hurt me.” Rumbled a deep voice from the darkness. In response, I bared my canine teeth and growling, flexing my claws.
Suddenly the lights were switched on. The once black darkness of the room suddenly changed into bleak cheerfulness.
When my eyes adjusted, I caught sight of him. He stood a few feet away from me, rummaging around on a table, looking for something. He glanced up and his bright blue eyes seemed to pour into mine.
“Come now, if you calm yourself, I’ll let you up and you won’t have to be strapped to that table anymore,” He offered.
My wings struggled to unfold from my back and to sweep him off his feet. They pushed again and again at the straps holding them to me. I wanted, if not to make him feel the pain of my 16 years under his care, to take myself away from him and to be rid of him forever.
As I struggled, I watched him gather more straps to him, linking and clicking them together. His close-cropped blonde hair shone in the light and was gelled to a perfect set. He stood at about six feet tall and was close to touching the low roof with his head. He wore his usual t-shirt and blue jeans over black tennis shoes.
He brought forward the gear and held it out to examine it. Glancing at me, he noticed I was still struggling, “Zara, we are going to teach you how to fly. If you do not quit then I am going to take my colleages advice and teach you to fly the hard way instead of the natural way,” he threatened, sharpening his tone.
At this, I froze. He’d never spoken of letting me fly before. Freely or not. Sure, I’ve tried to escape many times before, but it’s hard to escape from a cellar in some house in the middle of nowhere. The possibility of seeing the sun, of basking in her warmth and feeling the heat on my face glued me to my wire mattress.
“Good, now food… food…” he trailed off, muttering to himself. He moved to my side and slipped the straps of reinforced leather over and around me.
The retched straps worked on my body like a harness. It wrapped around my body like a snake and forced my wings to fold tight against my back. Then it wound around my arms and down to my legs, it covered my fingers like a glove and my feet like socks. Then one single strap covered my tail completely so that it resembled a black piece of leather.
To the untrained eye, it would look like a strange sort of jump suit, with clips and locks and such. But to someone who had worn it and seen it in action all their life-someone like me- I knew exactly what it does and what it is made for.
Somehow, the crazy scientists and threaded together a tough fabric that they called ‘leather’. It was strong enough that it could secure an out-of-control mutant without breaking, tearing, or scratching. The gloved hands, tail, and feet weren’t for the cold but were to secure my claws and tail spur. As they haven’t found a way to rid me of my poison without depriving me of a tail, they stuck with this harness.
I call it my Deadwear. The major point of this harness that gave the controller complete control was that, if one wearing it ever were out of control, or the scientist felt in danger of harm, with a simple click of a button, thousands of needles all throughout the suit would pierce the wearers skin and they would be dead in seconds.
I, myself had seen the Deadwear in action before. Many times, when the experiments had gotten too wild, then with a push of a button, they were gone. How easily they could take away a life scared me.
He finished with fastening the harness on me and stepped back to take something out from under a cabinet. After a moment of fishing around, he rose with a bowl of raw ground beef in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. To me, that was the best breakfast I could wish for.
“Alrighty, come and get it,” He said cheerfully, activating some unseen button or switch that released me from the mattress. Without a pause, I jumped up and grabbed for the food.
It was gone within seconds, and I looked up at him for more. Though, when I looked to see where he was, he had vanished. A moment of panic spun me in a circle before I spotted him at the far side of the cellar next to the silver door.
I came over to him, standing almost as tall as him, and held out my hand. A simple message; more.
With a devilish smile, he shook he head and opened the door. He turned and led the way down a short hallway and to an elevator. The hallway was about as long as my arm, with a short ceiling and cramped walls. I could feel the closterphobia creeping up on me as I followed him.
The elevator opened as we walked up and he stepped in, punching a button that lit up a bright yellow.
As the elevator began to move, I leaned against the far wall and stared at the floor. Dread burned in my body as I found that the elevator was moving farther into the earth instead of away from it.
My heart dropped down to my feet and continued down until I couldn’t feel it anymore. The elevator traveled further and further for what seemed like forever. The entire time, he maintained a cool, collected posture.
Finally, the metal doors slid open and the tension that had been building inside of me came out in a large wave.
He stepped out of the elevator and stopped about five feet away, watching me as I followed.
The room that he led me into was larger than I would’ve thought possible. It was the size of a hollowed out airport, as far as I could tell. The wall I was facing began at least a thousand yards away, and the walls to either side of me were even farther then that. Each wall was painted a faded white, but it resembled a blotchy grey when I discovered it.
While I stood in awe, I barely noticed him adjusting my Deathwear. This was brought to my attention only when he stepped away and I felt my wings able to extend. A glance over my shoulder confirmed that the harness had been adjusted to still wrap around my body but allowed my wings room to move freely.
“Alrighty, Zara. Go ahead and have fun.” He said, stepping back and moving to sit on a bench to my right.
“Okay,” I replied, my high, clear voice rang around the room like a bell. My left ear twitched like a dogs in response to the echoes, annoying my sensitive ears.
Slowly, struggling against the stiff muscles, I extended my wings. I held them up and out, examining their length. I had only before extended them a few times, when he had wanted to measure their length and take other tests.
I tossed a lock of black hair over my shoulder and reached out to touch the sleek feathers. My hand brushed over the black and white speckled feathers. The black feathers resembled my long, straight hair perfectly while the white was about the same shade as my skin.
Swallowing my fear, I took a few steps forward and beat my wings. The bones creaked and the unused muscles felt weird, but I continued.
When I felt comfortable, I ran forward and beat them harder. To my surprise, I immediately began to be lifted off the ground. After three steps, I was two feet off the ground. My eyes widened as I beat my wings again.
I dropped down to the ground for a minute and jumped back into the air. With a mighty flap and a few more beats, I was ten feet in the air. I continued beating them, pulling them up and then down until I was at least thirty feet in the air.
Excitement flowed through my body as I pulled myself higher. A smile stretched across my face for the first time in years as I gained more and more height.
“You’re a good flier!” called a deep voice from above me as I flew forward. At its sound, I cringed and lost a few feet in height. I struggled to regain my balance and glanced upward to catch a glimpse of white wings and blonde hair.
I looked forward and aimed upward so that I could examine who was calling to me. Tipping my wings back, I was pulled up until it felt as if I were standing in air.
He flew in place a few feet away from me, smiling as I struggled to hover as he did. His short, blonde hair was shaved brutally close to his skull. Two emerald green eyes watched me from beneath his thick brows as a thin smile began to form on his mouth. He looked to be about six foot, four inches in height, as he was much taller than me, though he was five feet away from me.
“Thanks, your great too,” I called back to him, putting on a small smile. I felt slightly embarassed when I looked at him, knowing he was probably thinking what a miserable creature I was, with a tail, wings, and pointed ears.
“I don’t think that, I’m actually just like you.” He said, as if he could read my mind. Before I could reply, he flew up to the roof and settled down on a ledge. I followed him tentatively and sat down next to him. When I had caught my balance and settled down, he held out his hand.
“Hello, there. I’m Makor. And you are?” he asked, still holding out his hand. Blankly, I looked from his hand to his face. He seemed to understand that I was confused, for he reached forward and took my right hand in his and shook it once before letting it fall.
“I’m Zara. How long have you been here?” I asked curiously, I had never seen anyone of my kind before. Sure there had been other ‘experiments’ that I’ve seen, but never before one as intelligent as this.
“Why thank you, I do like to think myself as intelligent,” He smiled happily; “I’ve been here for as long as I can remember. They only recently started bringing me here.” He motioned with his hand to the large room we had been soaring in.
“How do you keep answering what I’m thinking?” I finally asked, totally confused.
“Oh yeah, that’s another one of their experiments that I’ve chosen to keep to myself. I can read minds!” he tapped his forehead with another smile. Did he always smile so much?
“Woah!” I exclaimed, “That’s amazing!”
“I guess,” he shrugged and glanced over the edge of our ledge.
“So, how many times have you tried to escape?” I asked, struggling for small talk.
“Too many to count. But I did find out that these things can be ripped by our claws, but once the threads touch together, they seal back up.” He winked at me and leaned back against the wall.
“Well, that’s good to know. I haven’t tried to escape in about a month. He punishes cruelly,” I muttered, trailing off.
“He? As in Larson?” he asked, looking at me.
“His name is Larson? I never knew, he never mentioned it or anything,” I said, puzzled.
“Yeah, he’s Larson. There are a lot of people here, about two hundred. Most are a lot worse than good ‘ole Larson.” He chuckled and sighed.
“Do you know any others like us?” I asked after a moment of silence, the question had been burning at the inside of my brain.
He though for a moment then shook his head, “Only you, I didn’t think it was possible for them to make another like me.”
I was about to reply when Larsons voice, startlingly magnified, rumbled through the room, “Zara! No time to chit-chat! Don’t waste my time!”
I shot an apologetic look at Makor before diving off the ledge. I let myself fall in the open air for a minute before snapping out my wings. They caught air and I soared. Larson only allowed me a few more minutes of flying before he called me back down.
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