Therianthropy: After Burdened

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Less Torture More Rescue: Evan

All the time I’d been in their possession should have prepared me for what I saw next.

“Err, did you know you’ve got blood in your hair? Where did the gun come from?” Then I blinked as I realized “I never even got your name.”

The guy who’d been in the cage next to mine, who I’d been sure was dead meat, didn’t even acknowledge the first two questions and simply said “Name’s Chase. Come on, we got to get out of here now, don’t know how long that distraction will last.” Then he used the butt of his gun and slammed it a few times against the door to my cage. After a few heavy dents and the two of us pushing and pulling, it gave way and I scrambled out.

From the door he’d left open after bursting in, screams were clearly audible, but I didn’t bother to ask this time as I followed into the hallway. He was at least six feet easy, with manky dark brown hair and a naturally athletic tan that came with the build. The dark hazel eyes that had demanded information from me earlier were much brighter now, there was no hesitation in his steps whatsoever as I continued with him through this place.

He’d gotten a key card from somewhere, and every time he passed a door he swiped it and poked his head inside. Unable to stop myself I asked “Where did you get that?”

“Ripped it out of some dead guy’s hand. Thought he looked like the in charge type, as many guys as he had around him, and I seem to have been right.” There was a more pleasant time in my life where that sentence would have bothered me more, now not so much.

Inside every door we passed, we’d sometimes find a setup like ours, and we’d break in and release them to either general thanks or a beeline for the door. The farther in we traveled, we started seeing worse things.

Our kind, hooked up to walls with silver bracers attached to their wrists, all with varying degrees of torture done to them. Whichever ones responded to our entrance, we both came forward and began working out the contraptions holding them to the walls.

They were pure silver, that much was obvious just by being around them, with heavy latches keeping them bolted in place. No way could someone in them jimmy out the release, though why they weren’t actually locked I’d question later. We used up several minutes on the first one trying to figure out how to undo them, but once we did that guy was bolting out of there on stumbling legs without a glance back.

Most of them were unconscious, or so far gone they didn’t even register our coming in. It felt heartless to do so, but Chase refused to stop and try to get them all out. The ones that were able bodied made a run for it when they were free, but the others didn’t.

I knew the second we’d found who he was looking for, because he cracked open the door and every drop of tension melted out of him as he sprinted forward.

Her dark skin flushed, looking all the darker when Chase pressed his hand to her cheek.

“Fiona” he whispered, turning her face to his. I looked away at once, feeling like I was intruding. Like most of the victims we’d come across, she wasn’t wearing clothes, and her thick curly hair was matted with grease and blood. She was still breathing though, and the moment he’d spoken her name she’d reacted by straining against her bonds and crying “get out of here, he’ll be back!”

Now with quick practiced movements, he unlatched her shackles and she fell forward into his arms, shaking like a leaf and blinking rapidly as her newly freed eyes adjusted.

He turned on me then, his eyes so dark they seemed to have lost a drop of sanity as he snarled “anyone here you were looking for?”

I shook my head mutely, but still feeling rather uneasy, as if there were some sort of setup or a trap, I asked “How do you know your way around so well.”

When I’d shaken my head he’d turned away back to the door, cradling the girl tight in his arms and a predatory stance in place clearly saying he’d rip someone’s head off if they got to close. I hardly expected an answer even as I followed him back through this maze of a place to me, so was generally surprised when he said “Found a guard and promised not to kill him if he showed me how to get around. Idiot actually just handed me a layout of the facility, then I killed him anyways. Lit a fire outside, waited until someone important came out, then I shot them all. Took the key card and started releasing whoever I could, but again I don’t know how long until they get this place back under control.”

He said all of this in a matter of fact tone, like he didn’t have a gunshot wound bleeding from one arm, and he hadn’t just admitted to killing a bunch of people and setting others up as bait just so he could circle out and find this girl. Frankly I was kind of disturbed even by this, but it didn’t slow my pace down any. Considering how much taller than me he was, I was practically running to his light jog as he easily turned another corner and made for some unmarked doors. Shouldering his way through them, I came face to face with freedom.

He hadn’t been joking about the fire, and it had clearly spread. There were Hunters all over the place, running around with buckets and hoses trying to put out the now raging forest. Some caught sight of us and began running over, guns raised, but Chase was already sprinting right toward the flames, and I was quick to go after.

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