THE CELL is a new short story. Misunderstood and punished for her species, a young female werewolf tries to handle solitude and acceptance under the watchful eyes of her captors.
I woke with an insatiable thirst, my throat was dry and raw, I needed to wet my palate, I needed substance, but most of all I needed a paracetamol to stop my head from thumping. As I lay looking up at the ceiling I couldn’t remember getting home, I couldn’t remember getting dressed into my night gown, and I had no idea why I was laying next to my room mate. My dead room mate. Her blood flooded my nostrils, hot sweet copper, rich of iron. I looked down at her pretty blonde hair tangled between my own long dark locks. Misha. Pretty Misha. Popular Misha. Curious Misha. Why did you have to follow me last night?
My body twisted and turned in ways I thought inhumanly possible. I looked down at my arm; I knew it was my arm, from the scar that ran parallel to my wrist; the hairs seemed to multiply at an alarming rate, puckering and thickening, their coarseness scratching my skin. I tried to itch away the pain, but my nails turned into sharp instruments making my arm bleed. The smell of fresh blood made my stomach growl. I wanted to scream, but I had to stay quiet, I was not to make a noise; it was forbidden.
I rolled over to face her; her pale skin had turned translucent, her once vibrant deep blue eyes glazed a pale turquoise colour giving her a doll like quality. Where she would laugh, there would be silence, where she would hold me there would be stillness.
When I woke, they had taken her body and I was clean and laid upon fresh bedding. Her smell still lingered and I could hear her laughter bounce off the walls. I closed my eyes. Sitting upright I looked at the empty bed opposite. The grey bedding had been replaced, no creases and perfectly flat. My feet touched the cold floor and I was standing beside her bed pulling at the covers, puckering the material with my sharp nails. I thumped the pillow. Plumes of feathers were airborne littering the room, and my hair. Her smell was all around me now, clinging to my skin like morning dew. I sat on the floor in silence my head low. My senses altered me to the person stood outside though I could not see them. Hairs prickled my skin all over my body as I inhaled. He was watching me; always watching me. I snarled in disgust. Turning to my bed, I lay down, my back to the room and closed my eyes.
The smell of sweet home cooking woke me from my slumber. My bones were no longer aching and my clammy forehead was now dry. I turned to see a young man sat on the bed, my new cellmate. He smiled at me.
“I’m Jonah. What’s your name?”
I tried to ignore him by turning my head back towards the wall.
“Thought you’d never wake.”
I closed my eyes. Maybe he will give up if I ignore him.
“Where are we?” His footsteps sounded on the stone floor and then my bed dipped as he sat down beside me. A warm hand touched my back.
“Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”
Hurt me? I tried not to laugh.
“Last thing I remember is walking in the park and then I woke here.” He said.
His sweet breath hung in the air and I inhaled deeply to savour him. I turned to face him. How very cruel they were bringing them in, making me like them.
He looked at me with a frown. His dark hair framed his good looks; stubble was starting to form on his chin and above his full lips. He leaned down to me.
“They did hurt you didn’t they.” He said pulling his feet up to his chest and looking at me with sympathetic eyes.
I wouldn’t allow myself to like him. I just wouldn’t. The klaxon sounded and the red light shone in the cell. His hands clamped on my legs and his heart rate began to increase.
“What’s that noise?” he asked, fear leaking from his pores.
I sat up next to him. He was handsome even in the red light. “Get off my bed.” I said sternly.
He looked terrified. When he didn’t move I pushed past him and stormed over to the door. The small hole at the top was too high for me to look through, but I knew he was there. I stared at the door defiantly; my body was rigid and cold. I wouldn’t let them get to me. Five minutes later the klaxon stopped and the red light faded. The fluorescent white light surrounded us once again. His footsteps sounded behind me and his heat hit my back, and then I turned to face him. He held me tight. His musk floated to my nostrils as I inhaled him deeply. His hair smelt of lilies and his skin smelt of the cookies he had eaten not ten hours previously. His body started to quake gently. I could feel him through the thin material of his pants, he was hardening to my touch. They truly were cruel. My hands slowly wrapped around his body, he stilled, and then relaxed into my caress. His head lowered to my shoulder and I could feel the light stubble on my bare skin, he moistened his lips and then kissed my neck. I closed my eyes. His body reacted to the touch and he stiffened between his legs. Pushing him away I sat on my bed looking at the grey wall opposite.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
He sat on the bed opposite me. I lifted my head and watched him as he stared at me.
“What will they do to us?” he asked his mouth running dry.
I pulled my legs up and lay down on my bed looking up at the ceiling. All I needed to do was ignore him for twenty-eight days and then he would be gone. I heard sobbing. I closed my eyes.
Three days later and he started pacing the room like a caged lion. Six days later, he was throwing his bedding around the room screaming like a banshee. I closed my eyes. Fifteen days and he began pounding on the door until his knuckles bled. The smell filled the room and my stomach growled. When he calmed I sat by his side. His blood shot eyes no longer kind and gentle. His stubble had turned into a coarse substance making him appear ruggedly handsome. I kissed his forehead. He pushed me away. I held his hand and he pulled it away. Tearing linen from my bedding I dabbed his knuckles, he winced. The blood fell to the floor and filled the air. I quickly wrapped his hands with the linen to contain the full flavor as I licked my lips. Tying the makeshift bandage, I sat beside him and watched his expression soften.
“Why have you been ignoring me?” he asked.
I kissed him on the lips. He pulled away from me, his brow knitting together. I leaned forward and kissed him again. He hesitated and then gave in to me.
I woke alone. Footsteps outside my room grew louder, the door opened and the young man was thrown into the cell. I looked over to the empty space opposite me, and my expression hardened. The door closed shut, several locks sounded and then the beeping noise stopped.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
He stood and brushed off his clothing. “What do you care?” Looking at the empty space he turned to me and frowned. “Where is my bed?”
I shrugged and sat on the edge of my own. “Did they hurt you?”
He stood in the empty space with his back to me, turning and then slid down the wall and sat on the floor looking at me with contempt. His arm had deep scratches where I had grabbed him and his shirt was torn along the back. Several hours later, he stood and walked over to the side of my bed. I shifted to one side allowing him to lay next to me. We both stared up at the ceiling.
Several hours later and my skin began to crawl. I felt his eyes on me as my stomach tightened. He was watching from beyond the door, watching his experiment unfold. I wanted to jump from the bed and pound on the door but couldn’t give him the satisfaction. As I thought of all the ways I could dismember him my body connected with warmth. My cellmate was holding me, my body moved into his touch. His head rested on my shoulder and his leg draped over mine, I let my head roll onto his and closed my eyes.
Ten days later and we were still entwined. His body and mine had grown to know one another. The bruises on his skin had faded and they were taking better care of him. Twenty-five days had passed since they brought him to me and I grew anxious. My bones had started to ache, but I tried to ignore them. The pins and needles all over my body made it impossible to stand, but I need not stand, I would take what I could before …
The klaxon sounded, but the red light did not light up the room. The young man raised his head and looked to the door. He could feel him watching too. Resting his head on my shoulder he sighed then closed his eyes. He would have no show today.
We lay naked under the covers facing one another when he frowned.
“Are you in pain?” I asked.
He shook his head. “I think I have a migraine. Must be that god damn noise they keep making.” He took a sharp intake of breath as his body tensed.
“What else do you feel?”
He sighed. “My legs have gone numb, I think we’ve been laid down for too long, must be cramp.”
He tried to get up but growled holding onto his leg. My eyes widened as I watched him. The pain in my arms started to intensify and I tried to move away from him, but I too had cramp in my legs and I knew it wasn’t from laying down. Managing to pull the covers away, I tried to roll him off the bed but he was much stronger than I. Frowning I snarled at the door. Pushing him harder, he rolled off the bed and onto the floor with a thud. He made no sound. As I pulled myself up to see him he was on his back rigid.
“Something is wrong with me,” he whispered.
My body began to burn and my bones grew.
I looked at him one last time and said, “Close your eyes, it won’t hurt so much.”
© Ruth Shedwick