Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!
PHOTO CREDIT delboysafa from Morguefile.com
The cage bars were cold against my skin. “Let me out!” I screamed as I slammed into them once more.
The tigers lay in the fake jungle like surroundings, watching me. Traitors. How could they bask away beneath the sun, letting him decide their next meal? So docile, as if they didn’t remember what it was like to slink through the thick grass and hunt for food.
The door at the back of the tiger exhibit opened, and one of the handlers came in carrying slabs of raw meat.
“Please, help me,” I called, shaking the bars.
His startled gaze met mine. “What are you doing in here?”
“The zookeeper kidnapped me. He’s had me locked up in here for days.” My face crumpled, tears streamed along my cheeks.
One of the tigers, Felix, the male, let out a roar. The handler tossed him a hunk of meat.
“What the hell’s going on?” the handler asked. He came close enough for me to see his name tag. Rick.“I—I don’t know. A couple of days ago, I came here with my family. And the head zookeeper asked if we wanted to take part in a special exhibit.” My fingers trembled as I tried to forget the screams. “When he got us in here, he fed my parents to the tigers, and locked me up.”
Rick looked horrified. “Listen, I can sneak you out of here. But you’ll have to give me a minute so I can get you something else to wear.” He gestured to my torn, bloodied clothes.
He slipped from the holding area, his dark hair sticking up in messy tufts. When he returned he carried a khaki colored zoo uniform. He slipped them through the bars, then turned while I changed.
“What’s your name?” Rick asked.
“Okay, Tia. I’m going to unlock the cage real slow. When I throw the purple ball to the tigers, I want you to move toward the exit.”
I wanted to tell him that they wouldn’t let me go passed. But he already had the toy in hand and rolled it across the floor. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed hold of Rick’s waist, jerking him against me. The tigers growled. They knew what I was doing.
“Hey, what’s going on?” Rick tried to break my grip, but I was too strong.
“Just stay with me, I’ll explain when we get out.” A smile tugged my lips when the tigers backed down. I knew Felix wouldn’t have the balls to go against the zookeeper.
When we reached the door, I released Rick. “Who are you?” he took a step back.
I laughed. “There’s a reason the zookeeper had me locked up. And it’s time I paid him a visit.” A loud crunching sound filled the air as my bones broke, and my skin tore. Pain radiated through my limbs. I cried out. Only it came out a roar instead.
The shift was always the worst when under stress. But I had to take care of the zookeeper. He’d imprisoned me and family, forcing us to work in his zoos. But no more. Tonight it ended.
Rick’s mouth fell open, but he stepped out of the way holding the door to the park open for me. I stopped long enough to lick his hand, then went to find the zookeeper.
It didn’t take me long to pick up his scent. The stench of cheap cologne and day old whiskey. He never saw me coming. He stood leaning against the brick building, talking on his cell phone. Making more deals to buy our kind. I gave one low growl, and he went still. Before he could turn around, I leapt on him. My teeth ruptured his skin, warm blood dribbled down my fur. Finally. Paybacks. He should’ve realized keeping wild animals can be dangerous. My claws dug into his flesh as I used him for my personal scratching post and when I was done he was beyond recognition. No more than he deserved.
Once I shifted back, I found Rick waiting near the back gate for me in a truck. “You need a lift somewhere?”
I smiled. “Yeah, anywhere but here.” As I glanced behind me, I saw Felix standing on the other side of the glass, staring it me. I flipped him the bird.
He sold me out to the zookeeper and for that, he could stay in a cage.
Rick turned on the radio, and I rolled down my window letting the wind blow my hair. Never again would I be anyone’s pet. Today was the first day of the rest of my life.