Chapter A03 - Escape
I’d left to find her.
That night she escaped. She looked at me, before she went through that door. I was hit by a wave of her smell, her fear, her excitement, she was intoxicating, thrilling, and everything else in the lab just faded away. I’d seen the code entered over and over, I knew it by heart. I’d never thought to free myself with it. But she showed me that freedom was so close. Then she was gone, out the door. I howled long in frustration.
When I opened my eyes, Shen stood by the door and looked down his nose at me. He held his bloody hand with a grimace.
I shut my mouth. The rest of the lab followed suit. It was quiet. Then the crack of a rifle outside.
I knew that hunters sound all too well. Her freedom was cut short. She would be leaking into the snow, her hot blood cooling and her scent beginning to fade. Her breath would slow and then come no more. I sat back on my haunches and tried not to picture her red in the snow. I was surprised when a hunter appeared before my cage. A collar snapped around my throat and I was being led out of the cage. Down the hall, away from the door. I was so confused.
A treatment? Now?
But I was led to her room. I was hit by the wave of her pouring out of the room when the hunter opened the door. And I smelled blood too, on the floor and the door. But that was Shen’s blood. The hunter led me around the room. I was in blissful shock, drunk on her scent. I couldn’t seem to breathe in enough.
“Get a good whiff boy. You’re going to prove your worth tonight. Once and for all, Stinger will know you are the best hunter we got. You got her in your nose boy?”
I looked up at him. I would know her smell anywhere. She haunted my dreams, and my waking moments. I wondered why he would torture me with this.
“Go get her!” he unsnapped the collar with a flourish.
I stood there looking at him.
“She ran off. Track her down and find her, we’ll keep an eye on you with your tracker.” He tapped the back of his neck. “There’s a storm coming in tonight, won’t be able to see shit, and can’t fly the drones. You find her and we’ll take her down. C’mon, Shen is losing his mind. She bit him and ran off.”
I froze a moment while that processed, then was out the door, my paws whispering in a loping run by the time I made the lab.
“Go get ’er boy!”
One of the hunters with a rifle in hand, held the door open and I flew through it. Caught the scent and lengthened my stride. I smelled the burnt gunpowder in the air next to the used shell. Then it was the crisp night air.
And then her, my senses wrapped around that trail.