Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wyre-rat (part 20)

"Having a cat dogging my footsteps is not going to make this easier." I used the word deliberately, wondering if the same sort of rivalry existed between wyre dogs and wyre cats. From the pained expression, it probably did.

I sat on the bed, my legs curled up under me. He sat against the wall, out of sight of either the door or the window, and talked very quietly.

"I can't stay here."

"I agree, but that's something we need to work out. Unless you'd like to wear a collar and harness?" I raised my eyebrows at him. I expected him to get all offended.

His mouth twisted up. "Until a year ago, that's the only way I got out of the Center. The supervisors would take us out to introduce us to the city."

I think my mouth fell open. "What?" I swallowed hard. "That's..."

"Disgusting?" He said it quietly, staring at his hands. "That's the way it is."

The back of my throat tasted foul. "Wyre are people too. Not animals that can turn into people, but people who can turn into animals."

He looked at me strangely. "Is there really a difference?"

"We're people first." I scrubbed at my mouth, swallowing the bile taste. "You are a person first. How could anyone think that is right?"

He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall. "I don't understand you. We couldn't survive out here. No one would want to hire us, we'd be distrusted and outcast."

"Is that what they told you?"

He seemed to be struggling again, glancing at me for a few seconds and then away. "That's the way it is."

"It doesn't have to be." How strange this must be to him. "My parents were wyre, and they both had jobs. Dad worked in sanitation and Mom in health care."

His eyes closed again. "People didn't mind having her...touch them?"

"Why would it matter?"

His eyes remained closed. "People don't like us touching them."

Part 21

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

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