It was cold and dark, but still I ran. The sounds of the city that never sleeps filled my ears like a roaring ocean. I was tempted to roar back, but I knew that I would attract too much attention that way.
No one seemed to care that a naked teenager with cat-like qualities was hiding in the darkness, slinking between alleyways and back streets, avoiding the scream of the sirens.
The occasional dog barked in my direction, tugging at its leash. I simply bared my fangs and smiled to myself as it ran, whimpering.
Eventually, the police caught up to me. They cornered me in an alley that came to a dead-end.
I pressed myself against the wall, my claws scratching at the brick. They shined lights in my eyes, aiming their weapons at me.
I looked upwards at the wall and noticed a fire escape not too far above me. I jumped for it, my claws hooking on the bottom mesh.
The police fired their weapons at my hands, attempting to knock me off. I swung my back legs up to the mesh, hooking them so that I was completely upside down. I reached out with my front claws, wrapping them on the edge of the platform, releasing my back.
I swung all the way around, flipping up onto the fire escape. A bullet sank into my hind leg. I ran, up the stairs, bursting through a window into an apartment.
It was someone's bedroom. The occupant of the bed sat up, flicking on the light. It was a boy, around my age with dark hair and tanned skin.
"Holy mother of pearl," He whispered, his eyes as wide as saucers.
I growled low in my throat, fixing him with a piercing stare. He looked away, unable to meet my eyes.
The bedroom door burst open. A man stood there in nothing but his boxers, a metal baseball bat over his shoulder. He let loose a yell, swinging his weapon at my head. I stood, fastening my claws into the flimsy surface of the bat.
The man paled, his jaw dropping. He let go of the bat, his hands visibly shaking.
"Please get out of my apartment," He murmured, backing away slowly. The man had a thick Hispanic accent, his dark hair and complexion matching that of the boy in bed.
I had to try. No matter how hard it hurt.
"Help," The words made my tongue feel numb and thick, "Please,"
I retracted my claws, setting the bat down on the wooden floor. I licked the tips of my fangs to make sure they too were withdrawn.
The boy got out of bed. He too was only in his boxers.
"How can we help you?" He asked, eyeing the long marks I had left in the titanium baseball bat.
His question was answered by a pounding on their apartment door and a loud cry of, "This is the NYPD! We have you surrounded!"
The boy and his father exchanged glances. I soon found myself being bundled into a closet while they went to answer the door.
I pressed my ear to the wooden closet door, listening.
"We have reason to believe you are holding a suspicious subject on the premises. Mind if we take a look around?"
They did not wait for the father and his son to give them an answer. I heard them rifling through various sections of the apartment. I could sense one of the police walking by the closet. Holding my breath, I waited for him to pass.
He stood in front of the closet, shining a light into the crack.
"All clear! Thank you for your time Mr.Martinez," The apartment door slammed shut.
The closet door opened, the sudden light blinding me momentarily. They had turned on all the lights in the apartment.
"You can come out now," The boy told me, smiling cautiously.
I crept out on all fours, sniffing the air, checking to make sure every last cop had left.
"I'm Alejandro," He told me.
I stood. The boy's father had gone back to bed, it seemed. I could smell him from an adjoining room.
I turned to Alejandro, struggling to form my name on my tongue. Failing miserably, I pointed to the leather collar around my neck.
He peered at the inscription burned into it.
"Fang huh? Nice to meet you Fang," I nodded, dropping to all fours and promptly curling myself into a ball.
He stared at me for a moment before returning to his bedroom, leaving me to sleep in peace in front of the open closet door.