Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wyre-rat (part 18)

"Once more, furball." I stared back.

His head ducked a little. He walked forward, staying well out of my reach, and this time curled up in his own bed. Men and cats.

I didn't sleep this time. Instead I stared into the dark. Choices to make.

I could head home, leave him to his own devices. I could send him out of the country, but that didn't leave out the possibility that there was a real "escapee" out there. Obviously he wasn't one--just an opportunist.

Could I in good conscience leave him here? I scrubbed at my scalp under hair, kept short because long hair was nasty to wash after I'd been a rat. Could I stay, and risk capture? I wouldn't be the only one risked in that scenario. They'd said no to me staying in the first place, and with good reason.

I carefully did not lean over to look at him. I knew from experience that a wyre animal's senses were just as acute as the real thing--although what real thing I would leave to the imagination.

I hissed quietly through my teeth, and wondered if he heard it. I might find myself out of a job when I got back, but--there's the rub. I couldn't leave one of my own kind here, if there was a way to get him out.

If he wanted to get out, which was by no means assured.

It occurred to me belatedly that I'd taken charge of a total innocent. He would have no idea how to survive in my world, would know nothing about the reality of it all. Only what he'd been spoon fed.

His comment that he'd thought I was a supervisor suddenly made sense, and I replayed our first meeting in my mind. He'd come with me, a total stranger. Now that I thought about it, nothing in our initial meeting had been what I thought. He hadn't chosen this--I'd simply assumed that any captive wyre would want to be free.

He might be better off if I let him go back, but I wouldn't. I'd compromised not only my own life and mission, but also the lives of any free wyre still living in the city. Letting him go back, to tell his people that there was a free wyre in the city, would start a witch hunt.

Whether he wanted to be free or not, I was committed now. I could either kill him, or get him out even against his will.

If I'd been in rat shape, I probably would have bitten my own tail for my stupidity.

I'd always wanted to be free, which was part of what had landed me in this situation, trapped inside a country hostile to my kind and trying to defend someone who might not want to be defended.

I rolled, looked over the edge of the bed, and hissed in a breath. Gone.

Part 19

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat episode 1

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