I shot up violently sitting on my bed, strands of hair stuck to my forehead. My breath was immense and heavy. I swept away the sweaty strands of black coloured hair stuck to my forehead with the palm of my hand. The nightmares continued as they always did. All the same one, every time. Continuous visions of a pair of soulless eyes that made me want to scream. Visions of death, blood and a blazing inferno. My breathing slowed as I stood to my feet from the bed. I ambled over to a full-length mirror hanging on the wall. I gazed at my reflection: my slightly pale skin and my thin build. My defined hips. I studied my heart-shaped face and straight waist-length hair, my high cheekbones and angelic lips.
I looked at the clock above the mirror: 8:14 AM
Shortly after, I heard screams and chains rattling. That moment was when I knew the day had really begun. However, this maybe an odd start to the day for some, this was my life. It was how I lived but– as the day moved on– it got much worst.
I walked up to the cell bars pressing my face lightly against them. I watched a little girl getting dragged out of her cell by her hair whilst her mother was screaming as the guard got a mace and repeatedly hit her with it. How could they do such things to the Orihunt? Why did the Valgus not care for them when the Valgus were practically like us? Well… if they were actually like us this wouldn’t have happened! The Valgus didn’t just act like monsters they were monsters! Sometimes I wish I had been born a Valgus so I could be a royal, obeying no rules but the laws of my own self-loving satisfaction, but you get what you are given.
One of the guards came and unlocked my cell door. “Come on!” he said “Get out now or I’ll take you by force!”
I walked passed him slowly and teased, “How long have you been waiting to use that phrase?”
His expression hardened as he gripped his mace. “How dare you talk back to me?” He yelled swinging back his mace quickly and smacking me in the back with it. At first I widened my eyes slightly and yelled out in pain and shock. Then, he kicked be to the floor and smacked me one last time, but harder.
I cried out and screamed as pain took over me. I tried to hold in my tears but I couldn’t. The pain was too much and I cried on the cold, wet floor. “That will teach you a lesson, creature!” He grabbed me by my arm and it felt like he was going to pull my arm off, but I didn’t make a sound. From then, my body when limp and heavy as the guard threw me over his shoulder as if I were a ragdoll no heavier than a small child. All the guards had to train to be strong enough to handle two times a regular Valgus’ weight. Since the Orihunt people were all quite alike to Humans there was not much difference to a regular Human’s weight and an Orihunt’s weight. If you tried to pick up one of the Valgus you’d probably get squished but I didn’t know completely if that’s what would actually happen because, I’ve never picked up a Valgus before and I wouldn’t want to take the risk.
The guard carried me outside to where all of the others worked and worked, day after day not earning a single penny and, why would they? The Valgus didn’t give money to anything not wealthy or lower of them on the food chain (and they tended to get downtrodden and eaten). I watched Mothers and Fathers being separated from their children and the children got dragged away by the ankles to who knows where? The bloody chaos and ridicule broke my heart as it had done thousands of times before. I saw things that made me weep even more; a Father protecting his daughter from the guard’s gun only to end up getting shot in the head. The screams of the girl as she watch her Father fall dead on the ground was horrifying! How? How could they have committed this mutiny?
“Get to your feet, creature!” The guard’s strong Scottish accent rang in my ears. I shook my head, disobeying his orders as if I was expecting him to show mercy. But I knew what was coming. I heard his grip tighten on his mace as he swung it back. I shut my eyes tight knowing the pain was coming. In that second of thought I wondered, why am I expecting the pain to come any differently? I knew it wouldn’t but a little part of me waited in anticipation because- really- pain was the only thing keeping me alive.
I yelled out as the mace battered the flesh on my back causing blood to overlap the dried blood from yesterday. The tatty clothes that I was wearing had slit a while ago but the mace just made the tear even worse and my blood went everywhere. “Stop! P-please! I beg of you!” I yelled through a sort of muffled scream. The torture diminished but the wound where the guard had beaten me stung in agony.
After I got to my feet I got to work but the guard never left my side even when I mined for riches the guard would shout at me every time I slacked off and it wasn’t fair! It never is.
As the day got on and the sun began lowering into the horizon the guards started binding all the Orihunt in shackles and bringing them into their cells.
As my guard bonded me in shackles the sun was all I could focus on. The luminous glow gave me hope that there was a way to be free from this enslavement and as the guard pushed me along the sun disappeared into the horizon and the filthy insides of the dungeons greeted me once more.
I ached on the stone floors. My skinned knees and strained limbs were screaming with the agony that the day had caused me. I whimpered shaking my head, my voice cracking with each woeful sob I took. The guards had called in extras because we all knew the full moon was tonight. I heard some screams from the cells near by and I imagined the pain any weapon could not inflict. The screams grew closer and as they continued I grew scared and ended up on the ground rolled up in a ball. An image of nightmares again like every other night before rolled into my head as did a familiar memory.
His eyes haunted her. The never-ending darkness filled his eyes as she watched. She wept on the ground scared to death. The figure whom which the dark old man looked upon was thin and the woman’s crystal eyes mimicked her own. She watched in horror as the body lay there dead on the cobblestone swamped in their own blood. Her eyes filled with her tears and a new soul – a man – entered the area. “Father.” The man spoke to the old dark figure. The muscular man had her hair colour, every highlight and detail of the colour like hers. “Don’t kill Angelica!” He begged. “My dear boy, you are blind. You do not see what is in front of you.” The man said softly stepping beside, revealing the woman’s body. Sadness and anger filled the man’s eyes, “Why? You monster!” He said running to the body. “No. No, no, no!! She’s dead!” The man pointed to this Father, “You killed her! Why?” He raised his voice, tears flooding from his eyes. As the man cried so did the little girl, her eyes burning with tears. “She was a waste! She did not bare the gift like you.” The old figure whispered. She heard a growl coming from the young man’s throat, “ You bastard! I loved her, more than anything.” He sobbed.
The old man smirked, “An Orihunt? No son of mine will ever love an Orihunt. Now, give me the little girl and no one else dies.”
“Then you shall die like your wife.” The old man raised his arm as claws grew from his fingers.
“Daddy!” The little girl cried, running to him. The man hugged his daughter tightly. “You silly girl! You shouldn’t have done that.” The girl’s Father yelled.
The old man smirked, “Give me the girl!”
The girl’s Father crouched down before the girl, “You are going to do exactly what he says, ok?” The little girl nodded, turning to the Lord. “Come!” The old man yelled.
The girl walked to the man occationally glancing back at her Father. The old man looked to the girl’s Father. “Now son, you shall die!”
The girl’s Father spoke with alarm, “But you said…”
“What did I say?”
The old man lifted his arm his hand covered with fire and electricity that sent chills down the girl’s spine. “Daddy!” The little girl yelled the old man held her back tightly. The girl's Father shifted into a wolf and as the old man fired… No!
I felt my heart racing and pulsing blood around my body. The beating of the blood pounding within my head! I screamed, thrashing on the floor. “Please! Not now.” I yelled, my bones cracking and shifting. My hands ached and my head throbbed. I crawled to the cell bars, pulling myself up. “Someone! I know it’s not likely that you will let me out but– GAH!” I flung backwards, hitting my head on the stone floor. I felt bones growing and forming a tail from my rear. I screamed in pain continuously as claws grew from my fingers. I fell silent, hearing footsteps coming to my cell. “Oi, guys. She hasn’t fully shifted!” One guard said to the others. They all gathered to my cell. “Why?” Another asked. “Well I don’t know!”
I lifted my head; all I could see was black and white. I felt that I wasn’t in my body anymore that the monster was there; it had taken over. I was but a spirit, not there but not dead. The guards widened their eyes. “Call the Lord! Tell him, we’ve found one!” They all ran from my cell except one who watched me. The beast stood up, its tail still. It pressed my face to the bars, baring its sharp wolf teeth at the guard. It snarled and growled. The guard stood there but in seconds he had moved away. I saw that he had moved to the cell across from mine to collect a man, a man who had half shifted but couldn’t go on and had wasted away, dead on the ground.
It is not shameful for an Orihunt to die while shifting. It happens all the time. We are hardly fed and when we are weak, our inner beasts kill us because they are too strong. I wondered why my beast did not kill me. It stopped my shifting process and acted through my human form. Why? That’s never happened before!
How could that happen?