You wake up the next day much later than normal. Much later. In fact, the angle of the sun tells you it's almost noon.
The first thing you look to is the ceiling. Dirk and Dave are still there, looking like they just woke up as well. Maybe the scientists were giving all the survivors a day of rest before they continued with that hybrid's particular trial schedule? If that was so then Jade was at risk of being tested today.
Looking down you catch a glimpse of her body in her cell. Surely she wasn't still asleep as well, was she?
Just then a scientist walks in. "Good job yesterday, guys," he says less than enthusiastically. "We're getting results, just not the results we want, so we're just going to have to keep at it. Maybe our little star here can show you how it's done, right four-one-three?"
At that moment Jade does something that sets your nerves on edge, something you never thought possible for her to do-
It's a deep, un-human growl that makes your fur involuntarily rise. Hybrids all around you squeal and shriek as the try to scrabble away from Jade's cage. Dave and Dirk can't help but ruffle their feathers. Even the scientist takes a step back.
For a moment there is a silent standoff.
"Hm," The scientist narrow's his eyes then jots a note on Jade's clip board before wheeling her out of the room.
After the door shuts, you Dave and Dirk each exchange a dumbfounded glance.
The next several days are a living hell for you. As if your life wasn't already hell.
It started when you and Dirk had been taken away for your first potentially fatal test.
You were put into an empty room and were forced to face krats. Krats were a type of feline made of a mix of every big cat imaginable. Spotted or striped, thick manes or short fur, every krat was big, agile, equipped with sharp fangs, claws, and a taste for feathers.
You and your brother were separated for testing, probably to increase your sense of helplessness and heighten your fear.
Well, it fucking worked.
There was a perch thirty feet above you, offering a route to safety, but despite having wings you can't fly. You've never had a chance to practice and strengthen your wing muscles.
You knew why the ledge was there, though. It would be so easy to reach if you just knew how to preform the omnipotence
You slowly retreated into a corner as the krats were released into the room. You were defenseless and they knew it, but like nearly all the creatures you've had to face in the laboratory, they liked to play with their food before eating it.
You'll admit it, you were fucking scared. But you weren't going to let fear overtake you and make you stand paralyzed on the spot while the big cats devoured you alive. If today was your day to die, you'd make sure to go down with a fight.
With an ear-piercing screech you made the first move, taking a flying leap at the leading krat with your talons extended. You aimed for the eyes. Within seconds there was blood on your claws and your white uniform was stained red. The now-sightless krat lets out a caterwaul of pain and tried to back up in retreat. It bumped into another krat while doing so and lashed out at it in blind panic. Literally.
All the other krats were taken by surprise and you took the opportunity to disable another feline while you could. You slash at a face and gauge out two more eyes. No hesitation. No regret. No fear. It's either you or them in this death trap and you already decided it wasn't going to be you.
The two blinded krats began to attack anything they ran into, unable to tell if they were friend or foe. You grin a little, realizing that this put you at an advantage if all the krats eliminated each other.
A snarl from behind caused you to jump out of the way from swiping claws not a moment too soon. The krat's nails tore four ragged lines in the fabric of your white pants, but luckily missed the skin. Despite flapping your wings as hard as you could, you got no more than half an inch of air beneath your feet as you hopped away to safety.
The krats wouldn't be taken off guard so easily again. Ignoring their wounded, they turned on you again and lunged.
You met their assault head on, slashing and clawing at throats and sensitive areas. More krats were becoming wounded but there were just too many to keep at bay.
You felt teeth embedding themselves into your flank and with a furious shout fueled by pain you began to tear your attacker's face apart.
While preoccupied, another krat jumped onto your back and latched itself onto one of your wings.
That was going a step too far.
Despite your flightless-ness you'd do anything to protect your wings. The searing pain in your back was quickly blocked by adrenaline surging through your blood stream.
Twisting your arms back, you sing your talons into the krat's gums and raked them across the soft tissue. Spitting and hissing, the krat let go and retreated.
You fought for minutes on end. Everywhere you turned there was a krat waiting to snap at you. Every swing of your arms left you coated in more and more sticky blood and fur. You couldn't keep fighting at this rate. With each blow, your energy flagged a little more. Every time a krat swiped, they got closer and closer to slicing you.
After what felt like hours, the last krat falls dead at your feet, blood running from its jugular.
You were breathless and covered in cuts and bruises. Your talons were clogged with fur, you're missing a good number of feathers, and there isn't a spot on you that's not coated in blood. You can't escape its metallic, iron smell as it dries.
There's still the problem of reaching the plat form. Until you figure out a way to reach it, you're still testing, but you're so dizzy with pain you can't think straight.
You took a few staggering steps and lean heavily on the wall. After a few deep breaths you noticed something; the wall was plaster-like.
Stiffening your claws and mustering up the strength, you punched the wall as hard as you could. Some plaster forced its way into your nail bed as your talons pierced the dry wall, but you bite your tongue. You've felt worse pain today.
You repeated this process with your other hand, aiming a little higher this time around and slowly began to claw your way up.
You've reached your limit by the time you got to the plat form, and to your surprise it connected to a walk way going through the wall into what you suspected was another testing room. Sitting on the walk way, wheezing for air, was your brother.
His wings were limp, his eyes were barely open, and he was covered in scratches and blood that may or may not have been his own.
krats too?" He asked.
Too exhausted to answer, you slightly nodded your head.
going easy on us." With a sigh of relief, he slips into unconsciousness. Seeing Dirk alright relieved you more than you thought it would as well, but knowing that he was safe you quickly follow him into sleep.
You wake up in your cage the next morning, barely being able to move. God, you're sore. The scientists cared enough to bandage your wounds while you were K-O, but you wish they would have at least thrown in a few pain killers.
You're too groggy and stiff to care much about anything right now, so you don't notice when the scientist comes in to take away the next unlucky soul of the day. In fact, you're just about to nod off again when an un-earthly growl snaps you to attention.
For a minute you lose all touch with your human self. You're nothing but instinct; your wings spring open in an attempt to let you escape, but they thrash helplessly in the confinement of your cage. For a few seconds the only thing you feel is the heart-stopping panic and icy fear of small prey, the only thing you see are flashing memories of fangs and claws of all the predators that had once hunted your ancestors, and the only thing you can think is 'run'.
The growling stops and you immediately come back to your senses. Your heart is pounding and there's a cold sweat on your forehead. What was that?
The tension in the room is so thick you could cut it with a blade or even just half of a blade if you had one.
But the scientist does nothing more than shrug it off and wheel a crate out of the room. It's only then do you realize that it was Jade who was taken away.
seriously Jade?" your brother asks. You turn to him and see that all his feathers are raised, making him look twice his size. You're the same way.
You ruffle your wings in an effort to calm your nerves. "I
" you mumble.
"That was undoubtedly our beloved inmate," Rose says. "You know, for some inane reason I thought she was incapable of showing aggression until just now."
"I know, right?" says Dirk. "She took all of us off guard. Do you think she's alright?"
The question hangs in the air, but you only shrug as a response.
Hours later Jade's crate returns. You sense a festering surliness emitting from her cage. It unnerves you.
"Jade?" Dirk asks in concern. Jade fixes him with a quick, piercing glare, but says nothing. You're all at a loss for words.
It goes on like this for days. Jade refuses to talk to anyone. She growls whenever a scientist comes in, even if she's not their object of interest. The growls never fail to unsettle you.
Everyday less and less hybrids return from their testing. Miraculously, you, your brother, Jade and Rose are all still alive. You've all had a lot of close calls, some too fucking close for comfort, and you aren't sure how much longer you can all keep lucking out.
You guess you should have seen it coming.
Jade's behavior had been so erratic as of late you wonder why it took you by surprise when she finally snapped.
It started after she had been taken away for testing one day that was indistinguishable from any other in the god damn place.
Minutes after she left the room came the faint sounds of
barking? Yes, you all heard it, the unmistakable sound of barks and shouts and orders and snarls.
Suddenly the chaotic noise is broken by another sharp sound you are all too familiar with- the crack of a whip.
You all reflexively flinch at its echo and try to block your ears from the yelps that follow.
It cracks once, twice, three more times before the squeals that accompanied it finally die away. The storage room is more deadly silent than usual.
You hear nothing.
Minutes that feel like lifetimes pass before the scientist returns with Jade's cage.
She's pressed herself firmly against the back, putting herself out of your line of vision. She's talking fast to cover up the whimpers that escape her between each word.
"I'm not sorry! I'll never be sorry! I won't ever fight for you or do what you ask ever again and you can't make me! I'll bite you again if you come near me. I'm not afraid of you!"
"Shut the fuck up!" The scientist speaks sharply as he roughly returns the crate. "You should be fucking grateful for all we've done for you!"
"Grateful!?" Jade's voice is shrill and filled with venom. "You want me to be grateful that you turned me into a freak and expect me to fight for you at the cost of my own life? You expect me to thank you for raising me to fulfill my own death sentence?"
"We took you in when no one else wanted you, bitch," The scientist spits back. "But you've caused too much trouble as of late. I'd personally take you out back behind a shed and put a bullet between your eyes if you weren't the most valuable hybrid here because only you seem to be able to tap the omnipotence. You should just be fucking thankful you're alive! Do you know how many experiments die just undergoing their metamorphosis? Do you know lucky you are just to have survived?"
"Sometimes I wish I hadn't!" Jade screams. The scientist kicks her cage then leaves the room in a fury.
As soon as the door shuts Jade starts speaking again.
"Guys, let's talk. I haven't spoken a single word to any of you in days. I'm real sorry about that. What should we talk about? Let's talk about anything."
You speak first.
"What the fuck happened out there?" You twist and crane your neck, but still can't catch sight of Jade in her cage. You see glimpses of her paws, pulled close together as she continues to squeeze herself in the corner.
"I bit a scientist," at this Jade start to giggle. It's a nervous giggle- one you make when you're terribly scared, but once Jade starts laughing she can't seem to stop. "Heheh, I can't believe it. I actually bit a scientist! Ha ha ha ha! It's like I'm asking to be shot for being a dangerous animal! HAHAHA!"
"Jade, do you honestly find this whole situation amusing?" Rose asks in concern.
"Heheheh, no," Jade sniffs. "It's just that heh- if I don't laugh," her voice suddenly gets tight; "I think I will cry."
Too choked up to continue, the whimpers Jade tried so hard to cover up come out freely. You can tell by the sound that she's in a tremendous amount of pain, but doesn't want to show it.
"I don't want to die," she cries. "And I don't want anyone else to die
because of me. But
It's happening anyway
And I can't stop it." Her whimpers turn into squeaky growls when the scientist from before suddenly returns. Your blood runs cold when you see that he has some sort of rifle with him.
His face is stone and his eyes betray no emotion as he walks up to Jade's cell, gets down on her level, and takes aim.
You can hear the thumps of Jade's paws as she quickly paces back and forth in her confinement.
"What are you doing? Don't you dare shoot me! I'll bite you if you try!"
"Hold still," The man says as he squints one eye and pulls the trigger. A second later there's a cry from Jade.
"OW! What-? This is a dart! You tranqed me! Why, I ought to-!" but she doesn't finish her sentence as the fast-acting drugs do their work.
"Okay, she's out. We got an hour to do this, an hour and a half tops," the scientist radios in from a wall speaker.
Shortly after he hangs up three more men come in, two with a portable stainless-steel operating table, one with a hose and medical kit. They're all in scrubs.
The first scientist manually unlocks the cage and pulls the tranquilized hybrid out and onto the table.
You stare, wide eyed in horror at the lashed mess that is her back.
Fresh, open wounds, four horizontal gashes cross her back. Her shirt is torn and bloody. No wonder she kept herself pressed in the back of the cage so you couldn't see. You don't want to look, yet you can't look away.
While one scientist begins to wipe down the walls of her cage that's smudged with her blood, the other three get to work on her wounds.
Lying her face down on the table, they remove her shirt and roughly clean off her back then dab disinfectant into her injuries. A few sutures, gauze and medical bandages later, they're fitting her in a new shirt and dumping her back in her cage.
Then they leave as is the whole incident never happened.
You gradually rejoin the world of the living as the tranquilizers wear off, but you're in so much pain you decide to extend your stay in dreamland and sink back into sleep.
The next time you wake up it's the middle of the night. Your back feels like it's been crucified to the cross and you're unbearably queasy.
Your mind's still a bit hazy, but if one thing is clear to you from your drug induced coma, it's that you know you can't keep living like this. You need to do something.
But where to start?
You know you can't just attack another experimenter anytime soon. You'll probably be held in quarantine or some shit for a while to make sure you didn't give your victim omnipotent rabies.
Besides, where would biting your captors get you anyway? Nowhere, that's what. Except maybe out behind a wood shed if you just become too unpredictable.
No, this wasn't a matter of fighting to get back at them. You needed to fight to get away from them; free of their steel walls and tests.
You need to get out.
Your eyes scan the room in futility. They're drawn to the control panel near the door that can manually lock, unlock and move your cages. Even though it's not active some lights are still blinking on it.
Your eyes settle on a little flashing green one. That gives you an idea.
Ignoring your aching back, you struggle to your hands and knees, take a deep breath, and begin to concentrate.
You're going to force yourself to tap the omnipotence.