Archive for July, 2010

For a time, it was easy to lose himself in simple chores. However simple they were, they were still largely new to him; he’d seen other people doing their like – cleaning, sorting, shelving, folding clothing – but he’d never been expected to do them himself. Even when he paused for food, it was a simple, informal affair, things he could move around as he ate, nothing like a long-drawn-out state dinner that would have given his mind time to brood. Just a few mouthfuls to take the edge off his hunger, to let him bide until a fuller meal later, and then it was back to work.

Yet however new to him the tasks were, they remained simple. Once he’d grown accustomed to any given chore, his mind bean to wander as his hands did the necessary work. And when his thoughts strayed afield thus, their destination was never pleasant.


All around him, the city was alive – people went about their lives, going their separate ways, joining and leaving the flow of bodies. At first glance, all was as it should be.

But then he saw that nobody passed by him unscathed. Anyone who so much as went near him, anyone whose path he crossed, was left… scarred. Faces that had been pristine were instead marred by lines or patches where the fur would not grow; some of those in his wake walked with limps, or hobbled with the aid of canes or staves.

He tried to back away, but hands gripped his shoulders – hands that ran with their owners’ blood, but nevertheless forced him forward. The clothing of those who passed next to him became stained with red; flesh withered. And then he was helpless to pull away as someone walked right up to him, white fur blossoming with patches of ugly red. She reached forward, her hand little more than skin and bone by the time it seized his muzzle, and she leaned closer, bringing her muzzle up to his –

He lurched back, flailing amid the sheets before it quite registered that the dream was past. He’d cried out; now he sat, panting, trying to push the awful vision out of his mind.

Whether this was better or worse than the last night’s dreams, he wasn’t sure, but it was certainly dreadful. Even his dreams were hammering home the harm he’d done.