"Welcome to Fredericks Technologies, if you walk this way, you'll see the meta-human prototypes we are developing for military purposes. Purposes that gentlemen such as yourselves..."
The assistant, Mia Reynolds, trailed off suddenly, piquing my interest. I crept out of the shadows of my cell, pressing my face to the bars.
The group she was leading gasped, jumping back as one when they caught sight of me.
Mia smiled pleasantly in my direction for a moment, turning her attention back to the military officials, "As I was saying, ladies and gentlemen such as yourselves will find that our developments will assist you in many ways,"
She led them to my cell, kneeling down to reach a hand through the bars. I allowed her to scratch behind my ears with her long red fingernails. The officials murmured to each other, shuffling their feet.
"You don't have to be afraid of Fang, she wouldn't hurt a fly," Mia told them, patting my head before rising to meet their curious gazes.
"If she wouldn't hurt a fly, then how could she be of use to us?" A rather portly man barked, pushing his small round glasses higher up on his nose.
Mia turned towards me, "A rose by any other name..."
Every fiber of my being targeted the threat - the man. I hurled myself against the bars of my prison, opening my mouth to display my snake-like fangs for which I was named. My claws gouged long marks in the cement floor as I snarled and roared in rage.
"Would smell just as sweet," Mia finally finished.
I relaxed, falling back onto my haunches, panting from the effort. The man was staring at me, wide-eyed, his double chins wobbling as his teeth chattered.
One of the group began to clap. Soon, thunderous applause filled the lab, stirring some of the testing animals in the cages opposite of me from their slumber. Dinky the chimp jumped up and down, clapping his hands and grinning. I returned his happy gesture with the best smile I could muster. I had a feeling it looked more like I was baring my teeth at him though.
Footsteps rang out hollowly on the white tiled floor. I swung my head in the direction from which they came. I leaped to my feet, wrapping my hands around the bars. It was my father, looking immaculate as ever in his long white lab coat and bright blue tie.
"Hello my dear," He nodded in my direction. I nodded in return. It was our only means of communication.
"Sorry I'm late, there was an issue with one of the meta-humans - he decided he didn't want to get back in his cell," He muttered, tugging at his shirt collar.
There was slight laughter from the gathered officials.
"I trust you have this place under control?" A woman asked. She had blonde hair which hung around her face in curls.
"Oh of course. In fact, watch this," He crossed the room in two quick strides, sliding a key into the lock of my cell door.
I whipped my tail back and forth happily, purring with delight. He swung the door open.
I leaped out, rubbing against his legs, overjoyed to be freed - even if it was for just a moment.
"Meet my daughter, Angela," He gestured down at me. I raised myself to my full height, balancing on my hind legs, turning to face the crowd.
I raised one of my hands, waving awkwardly. They clapped - it was not thunderous as it was before - and laughed at this.
"What sane person would do that to his daughter?" The portly man muttered, taking his glasses off to clean them on his dark green shirt.
But father did not hear. He was too busy stroking my hair, tickling underneath my chin with his long slender fingers.
"Okay, in you go," He jangled his keys in front of my cell door.
I sauntered inside, sitting obediently on the cool white floor. He closed me back inside my cage, locking it.
"Now, ladies, gentlemen - if you would care to walk this way?"
They left me, alone, with no one but the other beasts to comfort me.
And in my solitude, I wept bitter tears.
My happy, bubbly, cat-like presence was merely for show.
I was alone. I was always alone.