Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer


I’m stuck to this wall with thick maglets encasing my glowing hands. My eyes are weeping constantly and I can’t stop my long tongue from flopping down to my chest and tracing lazy circles in the sweat-matted hair there. It’s so hot here. The cluster of my eyes light up yellow and take in my surroundings. I open up my nostril slits and wetly snuffle the air for the faint stink of friends. Any friends at all within this complex.

My footclaws sheathe in and slide out over and over again as I think. I’m stuck up here, arms outstretched, legs splayed and tail pointing straight down. It’s not uncomfortable but they are not going to let me go.

There’s a low, deep growl that’s resonating in me. A low, thudding drumroll in my chest. I’m thinking and I’m humming. I’m trying to imagine back to where I screwed up.

All the energy I push out of my hands just gets absorbed by the maglets. They soften but they will not melt. Hell, they’re probably the way they power the prison that I’m in. A few kilojoules of energy from my angry fists and they can hold me for days thanks to my own poor impulse control and my race’s natural instinct for anger that we have still barely learned to control.

Posessors. Demons. Overtakers. Biters. Light-darkeners. The Tribe.

They’d have you believe that we can change shape and see in the dark. We are just as vulnerable as any meat machine, though, and that is what scares me now. I think that this is what they refer to as the first degree. If I remember correctly, the first degree is letting the prisoner wait. The second degree is showing them the tools that you are going to use on them to get the information you’re after. The third degree is asking them the questions over and over again. Or maybe it’s the actual torture. I’m not sure.

Either way, my mind is racing with animal fear and a deep need to get out of here. I’m not interested in finding out what the actual third degree is.

I wish I was back with my cubs and my breedbeds in the hive but this is the risk I took, joining the defense.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows