Davyn was quiet. Good puppies were quiet.
Good puppies were also lost, squished, and confused, not to mention terrified. He couldn’t completly stop himself from whining, a terrified little noise at the back of his throat. As long as he didn’t get too loud, the pain didn’t come again.
Even without the punitive jolts of pain, his situation pretty much sucked. The kennel he’d locked himself into was upended, leaving him mushed into the bottom, leaned against some sort of cart, rolling…
…well, he really didn’t know where they were going, which was more than half of the problem.
He curled up the best he could in the tight space, nose to knees, and tried not to cry. Not only was crying loud, maybe loud enough to get zapped again, it was embarrassing. He was sixteen, not a kid anymore. Adults didn’t go crying like that. Even if they were trapped.
It really had been a dumb plan. What sort of jerk locks himself in somewhere and doesn’t remember the key? But his parents were pretty stupid too. What sort of parents wander off and leave their kid, time after time? Was he a bad kid? Was that why they’d rather have the dog?
This time, the whine surprised even him. He was a bad kid. He wasn’t a very good puppy, either, but he was definitely a bad kid, or his parents would have come to find him by now. Even the nanny hated him. She had to have noticed he was gone by now… so his parents had to know he’d stowed away. And they weren’t doing anything at all! They were letting him get taken!
His parents were getting rid of him. They had finally decided he was a horrible, rotten kid and they were taking advantage of this stupid prank of his to get rid of him. He whimpered, and turned around again, trying to get comfortable. He’d been thrown away.
“There, there, puppy. It’s all right. We’re almost home.” Her voice was strange. She was trying to sound soothing, he thought, and it almost worked. He felt better and worse at the same time. A crazy woman had kidnapped him, but she said it would be better. His parents had thrown him away, but someone was making calming sounds.
The punishing pain came again before he remembered he wasn’t supposed to talk. He yelped, yelped again as the pain redoubled, and then settled into whimpers at the bottom of his cage. He’d be good. He’d be a good puppy. Please? The last was almost a sound, a long whine. She didn’t zap him when he whined.
“There, there. I know you’re trying to be good, but you have to be quiet a little bit longer. This isn’t a good neighborhood, and I don’t want anyone to steal you. You don’t want that either, do you?”
He didn’t want to have gotten stolen once! He settled down. They were going to be home soon. Once they were home, she would let him out of the cage. Once he was out of the cage, he could figure out how to get home. Or, if not home, somewhere where someone didn’t zap him randomly, somewhere where someone didn’t think he was a puppy. He was at the very least a full-grown dog!
Where had that thought come from? Adult. He was a full grown adult person. Davyn held on to that thought as tightly as he could. He was a person, and people – what did people do that dogs didn’t? They did math, right?
Davyn was not very good at math, preferring classes that weren’t so much like the stuff his parents did, but he tried. Algebra. Trig? Maybe he could remember some of his trig. figure out… the hypotenuse of the kennel door. If every cage grid was an inch…
…He had come up with three answers, and started scratching numbers on his skin, when the kennel stopped moving and thumped back into a flat-on-the-ground position, sending him tumbling. He yelled out, “hey! Watch it!” and then slammed his hands over his mouth.
It was too late, of course. The pain ripped through him, toes to nose and back again, worse than it had been ever before, until all he could do was curl up and whimper, all math forgotten.
The cage door opened, but Davyn didn’t have it in him to move. He was still in pain, every single one of his toes hurting with separate agony. The girl had locked something around his wrist before he even noticed she was touching him.
And then the pain stopped. “There, puppy. Come on out of your kennel like a good pet.” Her voice was cooing, soft, almost incomprehensible. “I have a nice sandwich for you if you’re good.”
The pain tapered off, enough for Davyn to make out her words. Sandwich. His stomach rumbled. It had been a long time since breakfast. “Food?” he offered.
“Food,” she agreed. “Come on out of there, puppy.”
It was only as he was slinking out of the stupid kennel – it really had been a horrible plan – that he realized what she’d done. There was some sort of shackle around his wrist, and it was attached to a chain. The chain was attached to something else – his eyes followed it until he found the bolt in the floor – and gave him about six, seven feet of room.
“There you go!” She was unceasingly chipper, so much so that it hurt his ears. “All nice and settled in. And I have a nice collar all waiting for you. It says ‘puppy!’” She picked up the collar – it was pink, pink – and showed it to Davyn for a moment, before wrapping it around his throat. “All set. Now, puppy, you settle in and meet your new family, and I’ll go get you that sandwich.” She skipped off a few steps, then skipped back to pick up the kennel. “You won’t need this. Go on, puppy, be friendly.” She prodded him lightly with a toe. “I’m Circe, by the way.”
Circe. Circe. He knew that name. Davyn whined quietly, and heard the whine echoed from around the room. His new family, she’d said. Circe, she’d said.
It really had been a horrible plan.
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