The guards were easy to pay off in the lowest houses, the slums of the slums themselves. A man with beady eyes waited outside a dirty tent attached to a house that was more rubble than solid brickwork. Even so, this man was able to pull the expensive pocket watch out to check the time. Watching the delicate hands go round bit by bit. Those interested in seeing his “show” would be here any minute. He waved as the guards went past, reminding himself he needed to take them out to the nearest pub sometime soon.
The risk of the officials discovering his source of income is too great otherwise. The government of Galabria weren't especially open-arms when it came to unusual beings. As if on cue the first of the customers arrived.
The collective gasps of disgust and horror were normal to her ears. She backed away from the sounds and the bright light leaking through the opened tent. The bars on the other side met her back too soon as always. She'd tried countless times to escape, but it proved pointless as the familiar stabbing sensation stuck. Her right shoulder this time. Her muscles jerked and any thoughts the customer had on her living conditions were chased away as they took in her new matted brown fur and luminous, yellow-speckled hazel eyes
“Does it have a name?” A male voice asked, causing her owner to chuckle. She bristled at the sound and instantly felt the stab again.
“Her name is Dina,” He answered, sending her a warning glare. As if she needed more than the bolt of electricity to keep her quiet. The people left one by one. Some venturing closer to her bars than others. She fixed each with a stare, not bothering to note their faces. The people all blur into one after such a long time. The man kept up his cheery, laid-back act until the last one left.
“You need to behave yourself girl,” He muttered, heading for the small wooden box where he stored the cooper and silver. And the occasional gold coin.
Once that was done he left. No good-bye or be back soon. To him that girl wasn't his daughter, but an end to means. She curled up, feeling her body shift slowly away from her beastly counter-part and to the body of a clearly malnourished young women. She shivered against the cold wind and wrapped a filthy blanket round her, ignoring the dampness staining it. She expected to be left alone after that. Darkness was falling outside and that meant no more people starring open-mouthed at her. But the flap re-opened and one of the strangers from earlier approached the cage.
She crouched against the far side of the cage and growled. She didn't have the energy to shift shape again, but her canines were sharp enough if needed.
“Keep quiet, or I might get caught,” the man whispered, pulling out two thin pieces of metal. She studied him closely as he reached the bars and began to fiddle with the lock. She heard something click and the stranger pulled the door open. She starred from the opening to the man in confusion.
“Don't hurt me, okay? I just helped you. Now get out of here,” with that, the man took off.
Dina tried to remember the last time she'd walked and couldn't. All the same she grabbed the bars and pressed her weight on them as she pulled herself up. She took one step and nearly fell down, her legs shaking under her pitiful weight. She clenched her eyes shut and made herself leave the cage. She wrapped her blanket close and as she left the tent. Her movement growing steadier with each step. She blinked at the tall lights floating above her and studied the street. People walked past, but none sent her a glance. She pulled in a sharp breath and ran. She didn't know where she was going, just that she had to get far away from the man who claimed to be her father.