This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
To you, I’m Sam. Sam, the one who’s brown from head to toe. Sam, the one who would just as soon bite your hand off as chow down on a bowl of rotten meat and stagnate water. They say to never bite the hand that feeds you, but your hand comes in this cage for more reasons than one.
Today, you let your bony hands rattle against the bars. You know how much I hate that, but you do it to me anyway. You laugh it off with a toothy grin before tempting me with the rattling of rock-hard kibble. I salivate, I rub my nose against those cold black bars. You give in to my desire. The metal rods part ways, and soon enough a bowl of brown is sitting in front of me.
I’m thankful, sure. I won’t bite you. But I’ve been in here far too long to classify you as anything higher than the filth that layers the bottom of this cell. If it wasn’t for that daily bowl of muck, well, let’s just say your hand would look one hell of a lot bonier.
Today, though, I was feeling more than just hungry. I know you’d just assume it was my time of the year, or I had caught some disease. Perhaps you’re right. I itch, you see. It’s not the good type of itch either. It’s a shroud that covers my ears in sharp pain one minute, and thick numbness another. It dominates every second of my day. Prickling needles: Half a million for each ear. I lift my foot to tend it, and it comes back bloody. Six teeth inch across the floorboard.
“It looks like a damn pomegranate.”
Your friend is pretty observant.
“Yeah, he’s got it pretty bad,” you say. You open up the cage, and I try to stop you but I can’t. I’m digging my claws into hard plastic, my paws are wrapping around bars; you pull, and I tug. Your fingers dig into my ribs. I let go.
Because whats the point?
The operating table is only a corridor away, yet the journey wracks me terribly. I can feel your arms wrap around my back, warm, yet sinister. There is no sanity in this place you call the Clinic, so I writhe around your shoulder hoping for some sort of rationality.
“C’mon Sammy, we’re not gonna’ hurt yeh’, not one bit!” You take me in one hand and place me on the cold, eggshell porcelain.
I’m sure I look a decrepit husk, four legs and two dozen claws rattling against the counter. I’m rocking all right. You could at least have the frankness to point it out for me.
“He’s shaking, the poor thing.” Your friend chuckles. Didn’t I say he was the observant one?
“Oh, now you’d be shaking too if you had it as bad as him.”
“I bet its pretty common around here.” Your friend is making all the conversation, yet you sit there rummaging through your off-white cupboards.
“You betcha’.” Out comes the silver tool that could only be the alarming melding of two miniature knives. While dunking it in smelly water you continue your retort: “We’ve even got a name for it around here. We call it the bug.”
“I think there’s a few more than that.”
“Yeah, well, a bug’s a bug.” The twin knives surface, hover, before drying instantaneously. “Hold him down, I want a clean tug - no leftover bits.”
Two hands suppress my hind legs, another pushes my head to the table. I’ve only one eye available. And you know what it sees? Two ugly mugs looking down on me, and, of course, a silver instrument as pretty as a swastika.
What happens next is nothing short of excruciating. The instrument digs deep into my scalp, giving a sharp prick before dropping a tooth on the porcelain. It clicks as it falls, and begins wriggling as soon as it’s done spinning.
One after another they continue falling until we’ve got a miniature army parading around the operating table. I know your done by the satisfying sigh, and the fact that you’ve chucked the instrument to the sink.
“Damn, you’ve got to do that to mine sometime,” your friend says, and I’m put back into my cell.
Of course, that was all a week ago. The same procedure has been repeated on two other dogs of the same condition. I see you walk by, carrying them in your arms like struggling babies. And you know what? They look just like pomegranates, the ears, I mean. The bugs are packed in close together like that seedy fruit, sucking on skin just as red and raw.
To think, I was in that same boat. The numb ears, the sharp pin-pricks, the feeling of constant hunger. You fed me well, I can admit, but you also liberated me from a captor I never knew imprisoned me.
One week ago, you were my enemy, the sadistic jailor, the human psychopath. But one week ago, you pricked those ticks off me right proper, and I’ve never felt better.
Is an apology in order? I don’t know. I’d hug you, but I’m in this cage. The only thing I can do is thank you silently from a language you’ll never understand. I hope it’s enough… by the way you smile at me, I’m sure it is.
THREE WEEKS LATER…
Tenacious little beasts, aren’t they? Ticks, I mean. Unwieldy in their size, but my paws have no trouble making sure their bulbous little bodies have nowhere to run. One sits before me, the lone pawn after all other pieces have fallen.
I’ll name the little thing, just like you named me. But it won’t be an innocent Sammy. It needs to be something strong, something as tough as their behaviour suggests.
After all, I caught the thing.
I caught the bug.
I think I’ll name it Stockholm.
christylynnr5: This was a really good book. I couldn't stop reading it. I loved how the story had its ups and downs and it kept you on the edge of your seat. But the only thing I had a problem with was the grammar errors. I know everyone makes mistakes but this one had more than just a few. and in some places I...
christylynnr5: Wow. I've never read a book like this. Its very intense and keeps you reading. I loved the way everything slowly adds up to belle and Eli falling inlove. This book was truly amazing. There better be a second book!!! That was a huge cliffhanger that I cannot settle for.
Cassie Jacobson: So many twists and turns. Keeps you wanting to read to see what happens next. The main character is detailed well. The struggles and growth of Joby makes you admire her. It gives you a proud satisfied feeling while reading it. A refreshing difference then most books out there today, and in a w...
brettylee: The narrative is slick yet punchy. Life, Family and Friends I believe is the core message so it’s easy to relate to. It’s surprisingly action packed. The author does a good job at keeping you guessing. Just when you think all is right, whack, the unexpected happens. The dialogue is energetic and ...
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
summerlover119: please please write a second part this book put me in my feels although you had a few spelling mistakes but over all it was amazing. you have a gift. please write a second like does chloe see xavier again?, how's dan and maddison relationship doing?, and does alecs mate get taken off life support?
emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...
christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...
Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...