I love you Phoenix.
Her words echo in my mind as I wake up in my cold cell. I try to hold on to the memory of her for a few seconds more before it fades away and reality sets in.
The reality of the damp cell filters into my vision as my dream leaves my thoughts. The cell was only a few feet across with thick iron bars surrounding three of the walls with cement behind me.
Both my wrists and ankles are chained to the cement wall behind my back. The constant injections of wolfsbane and silver have kept me weak and unable to break the metal chains that have trapped me here for months.
Every day the scientists come in and draw blood. Every week or so, they throw us into a shared cage so they can see different shifters fight. The hunters are experimenting on the different supernaturals creatures to try to kill us all.
The slam of a cold metal door echos off the concrete walls of the cell as I hear the guards start to make their way down the cages.
"Experiment 492, step up to the bars. You know the drill," I watch the guards walk up to the call across from mine. I knew the cruel fate of the young witch. She was going to be cut open and experimented on. If she survived the procedures, they would throw her in the cage to fight a shifter.
She wouldn't be strong enough to survive.
"In the name of science," he would hear the doctors quote over and over again.
This wasn't science. This was torture.
Honestly, I didn't think there was any word that could describe the hunter's method.
The one thing I knew was that it couldn't be called human.
I watched in silence as the witch was dragged down the hall. A few minutes later, the echoes of her screams reached my ears. She lasted only minutes before there was silence was more.
The prison guards did their rounds before tossing a piece of bread into each cell. The grains were tainted wolfsbane and the coating was seasoned with mistletoe. The small particles in the food wouldn't kill those in the cells, but the poisoning kept us disoriented.
I could barely keep my eyes open, much less focus on any of my senses.
I couldn't focus enough to feel the bond.
It had been a few hours since the guards had taken the witch and they had taken another from a few cells down.
The click of heels registered against the cement as two scientists made their way from cell to cell. They took their time to look into each cell as they watched those they have been torturing.
When they made it to the bars in front of me, I took in both of them. The male was scrawny looking with his face hidden behind large, thick glasses. The woman had her brown hair pulled back in a professional bun with a slim figure.
Her fingers clutched the wooden clipboard in her hands as she tried to keep her face neutral. I feel my body want to reach out, but I knew nothing would happen. She wouldn’t be able to help me or any of us in the cage. No one could help.
I lowered my head as the energy to keep it raised became too much.
I could feel as the woman swept her eyes over me as she took in my beaten and broken form. Her gaze took in every scrape and bruise before her eyes landed on the ink they had placed on my arm.
I looked down at the black ink the butchers tattooed into my forearm.
The number that had begun to kill my spirit. The idea that I had been reduced to a number and that there were over five hundred creatures who had been tortured and killed before me.