SCALES-7

The darkness enveloped me like velvet. 

No, seriously, it felt like I was constantly brushing against something as I fell, and at one point I could swear I felt something grabbing at my ankle.

It was kind of calming but kind of terrifying at the same time.

Suddenly the feeling stopped and I was surrounded by smooth marble walls, sliding down a twisting, narrow path like I was on some crazy water slide.

Alice had nothing on me. 

After a considerable amount of time I shot out of the tunnel, landing in a pile of straw.

There was a torch on the wall and my eyes took a moment to adjust to the light, but I quickly felt something warm and sticky dripping onto my face. 

I looked up and froze. 

There was a huge pug head hovering above me, spit trailing from its jaws. 

"Um...hi?" I squeaked, staring at its washing-machine sized head.

Suddenly, another dog head appeared beside it, a cream-coloured corgi head.

As if that wasn't enough a third head popped into my vision, but it was...a cat?I wondered briefly if I'd gone to petting zoo hell before I heard Eversio's voice and the heads disappeared from view.

I sat up, only to realize that all of the heads came from one, massively muscular body. The...thing was lying on its back, squirming happily as Eversio scratched its stomach. 

"What...what is that?" I asked tentatively, wiping the spit off my face.

I was violently allergic to fur, and the last thing I wanted was to break out in hives.

"A corpugmanx." Eversio supplied, "I thought everyone knew that."

The beast rolled onto its paws again and bounded towards me, sniffing curiously at my shirt with its three noses.

"Does it...have a name?"

"The pug on the left is Celia, the corgi Celine and the manx Cerise."

I reached out and touched Cerise's head, surprised at how silky her fur was. I heard a rumbling purr as I moved to scratch behind her satellite dish ears, and was momentarily overcome by the cuteness.

Celine nudged my free hand with her nose and I pet her too, feeling the pet deprivation of my childhood kicking in.

I had an obsession with cats when I was a kid, and finding out I swelled up whenever one was in a mile-radius of me wasn't much fun. Not to mention the fact that my parents hated animals anyways.

RECRUIT #6666, PLEASE REFRAIN FROM TOUCHING THE SECURITY MEASURES AND PROCEED ON SCHEDULE.

"Seriously, Bob?" I asked, wondering where to look to address the guy, "I actually start enjoying myself and you're worried about scheduling?"

APOLOGIES, RECRUIT, BUT YOU ARE SPEAKING TO YOUR SUPERIOR. PLEASE RESUME PROFESSIONALLY.

Ouch.  

"Since when does hell care about being professional?" I asked incredulously, getting both Eversio and Bob to laugh.

"We have a public image to maintain, you know." Eversio replied, "We're not like those archaic sleazebags up top who don't keep up with the times."

"Right." 

I totally know what you're talking about. Totally.

He checked his pocketwatch and gestured towards the door in front of us.

"Let's keep moving."

The End

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