Chemical burnMature

Lazarus jerked awake, the sensation of falling gripping him until his arm twinged. The lights hadn’t been turned off and briefly, he wondered how he had even fallen asleep. He noticed three things as consciousness fully returned: he really needed to eat, use the toilet and it was extremely cold. He looked around, straightening his back painfully, wincing at the loud cracks it made. He wanted to straighten out his leg too, but his ankles had been tied to the chair legs since he had last been awake. Where’s that damn hunter gone? I’ll... who am I kidding? I’m too weak to break the handcuffs, let alone hurt a hunter right now.

A rush of air swept across him as he sat dumbly waiting for something to happen, doing his best not to soil himself.

‘You’re awake already,’ the hunter’s voice betrayed a little surprise.

‘Was I not supposed to be?’ Lazarus asked bitterly. The man only shrugged in response and pulled out a little torch, bending over Lazarus again, pulling back his eyelids and shining the little light in his eyes.

He wrote whatever he found on his hand in biro and smiled a little more every time he noticed Lazarus flinch away uncomfortable with the close contact.

‘I need the loo,’ Lazarus said eventually, blushing a little, though his voice betrayed a note of irritation.

‘Then go.’ The man said, scribbling a final note on his hand.

‘You would have to untie me so I can get up to go,’ Lazarus frowned.

‘No. Stop pretending you’re a human, Lazarus. You’re an animal; you might as well act like one.’ The man turned away, walking back to his table. He stared at the microscope slides with Lazarus’ blood on, mixed with different variants of silver and a few other chemicals. His words made Lazarus fall silent, shocked.

‘An animal...? Is that how you see me? Nothing more than an uncontrollable dog with a human’s appearance and clothes?’ his voice was stung and he talked to the floor more than the hunter. ‘Had it never occurred to you that “my kind”,’ he spat out the words in a mimicking tone as his shocked anger rose, ‘are every bit as capable of emotion as you? We can’t help what we are, you know. Just like you can’t help being a human rather than a... a cat or something else!’ the hunter tuned the meaning of the words out as Lazarus tried to persuade him that he didn’t deserve this treatment.

‘It doesn’t matter if you look like or feel like a human. I’m sure even domestic pets have some kind of emotional response to how they’re treated. But domestic pets generally don’t become something else three days a month, do they? They’re controllable, useful. You on the other hand, do nothing to contribute towards human life, and when you turn at the moon, you tend to destroy things.’ The hunter replied as he looked at the slides. He let out a pleased hiss as he changed through the slides. So far he had only thought pure silver worked, but it appeared that silver could be mixed into a compound of other chemicals and still have an effect. While this could be seen as good news, especially for hunters with limited access to pure silver, the silver had less of an effect on the cells. Still, a breakthrough was a breakthrough and he looked up, smiling.

‘I had a job, I contributed to society,’ Lazarus said quietly, the humiliation burning him more than the silver.

‘You know what? I'm in a good mood. I’ll let you go to the toilet, and then I’ll show you your new room. I might even give you something to eat!’ he laughed.

The End

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