A Walk on the Wildside - rewrite


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Authors note: This story is a rewrite of one of my older stories "a walk on the wildside." Even if you haven't read...or don't remember that one, it isn't necessary for this version as I plan to do a lot of changes to story and character arcs. It's still going to have fur and diapers and a LOT of elements from the old story. So, I hope you enjoy this one. :)

A Walk on the Wild Side

I stepped out into bright afternoon sunlight, and as I did, I slid on a pair of neon green sunglasses and glanced around the bustling but never busy city streets. With a sigh from a filling lunch I raised my right arm and slung a black backpack over my shoulder and began walking along. Slowly, bit by bit crowded city streets gave way to stretches of dark green grass field as I made my usual trek home – usual that is if I still had a job to go to. But like many others, the company I worked for tanked and thirty employees not including myself were let go. Since then, I've been keeping busy with looking for work but it seemed the more I tried, the less jobs there were for someone like me. The only thing that keeps me going is the sobering realization that without an income, I'll lose what I have – which isn't much, just a cheap mobile home I'm renting and some clothes. Granted it isn't much, but its what I've got.

Without warning, a sleek dark blue motorcycle skidded to an abrupt halt right in front of me. After taking several steps backwards from the close call, I glanced around to see if there was an accident I didn't notice because of being as deep into thought as I was. Yet, the only things I saw were stretches of green grassy fields, the two lane road to my left and the motorcycle and rider right in front of me.

“Judas Christoph?” Came a muffled voice from behind the helmet with a tinted visor hiding the riders identity.

“Who wants to know?” I asked back while adjusting the weight of the backpack over my shoulder. After hearing this, the biker reached into his pocket and pulled out a wallet then flipped it open to reveal a gold badge.

“Joe Smith; off duty PD. There's been an incident with your wife. You need to come with me right now to the hospital.”

“Let me see that thing!” I shouted and pointed to the badge. He instantly flipped it closed causing me to back up a little more. For most of my life I was pretty quick with plotting and thinking on my feet, and now, as an adult, the skill was about to become quite useful as I suddenly spun around in place then took off running through knee high grass – all the while the backpack bounced around my arm and shoulder. For a few seconds there was only the sound of the motorcycles running engine, that was until the engine revved up several times and the bikes rear tire squealed on pavement. It was then that I knew the chase was on.

Bike doesn't have any off road tires so it should be difficult to navigate this kind of terrain. I thought to myself as I huffed and puffed going into a full galloping run. Even though I didn't really know what the guy wanted from me, I knew it wasn't good as pretty much everything he said didn't add up. I knew they wouldn't send off duty cops to find me in an emergency, plus the fact that I didn't have any friends let alone a wife. Then there the thing he did with flipping his wallet closed as most cops – that I was aware of – wouldn't mind standing around while someone called to verify that they were indeed an officer.

Just as fast as I could blink, a blur of blue and silver flew past on my right side then skidded to a turning stop dead in front of me forcing me to dig the heels of my boots into the ground causing me to slide and skid slightly myself. “What do you what!?!” I shouted to be heard over the motorcycle engine running at idle, but I received no answer; the rider still facing me with both hands on the handlebar. Then he looked up revealing a hint of skin under the helmet. It was then that I noticed the loud noise that caused me to have to yell – it wasn't the bike, it was a sleek and angled helicopter painted flat-black descending from the sky at a fast but steady rate. As I watched, two lines dropped from the sides of the helicopter followed by several black clothed people repelling down the lines until they made contact with the ground.

That was all it took for me to take off running again, however, the biker stayed in place with the helicopter taking a lower hovering pattern as if to be some kind of protection. Finally the biker revved the engine and spun the rear tire kicking up dirt and grass while spinning to turn around and get away; surprisingly the chopper followed the bike as it sped away leaving just the six people I saw repelling from the chopper. Before I knew it, a large ball shaped device flew into my view where it bounced after hitting the ground and stopped, not sure what was going on, I stopped too and tried to look at the unit without getting too close. The thing beeped five times, then there was a seconds pause before streams of thick blue smoke sprayed out of the top of the grapefruit sized metallic ball. Even before I could think to turn and dart off I was enveloped in a thick cloud of blue smoke, but what surprised me was that I wasn't gagging and gasping for air, it wasn't burning my eyes or throat; the only thing it the cloud really did was make me groggy and tired.

With my mind racing I carefully dropped to my knees then slowly laid on the ground as my eyelids grew too heavy to keep open. The last thing that I could clearly comprehend was a masked person in a black uniform leaning over me to check my pulse, then they turned to another person wearing the same outfit and spoke loud enough to be heard. “Prep the Hawk for an immediate dust-off and evac, contact HQ and tell 'em we've got the package.” That was the last thing I could consciously recall before the dark nothingness of sleep took me down for the count.


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I slowly opened one eye, then the other. At first, I couldn't really tell what was happening because of a long lapse of dizziness, but with every blink, my mind settled down enough for me to make sense of things. The first thing I noticed was that I was in a dimly lit moderate sized room that had a nice chill in the air. The very next thing that I was able to comprehend were the feelings of a thick yet soft blanket covering everything from my neck all the way down to my toes and well past the end of the bed. Slowly the senses returned to my body until I managed to sit up using my elbows as props and looked around.

The walls of the room were an off white color, the floor was concrete with a gloss shine to it, and the ceiling was made of light gray panels resting on a cris-cross grid of white metal strips. In the wall across from the bed I lay in was a metal door with black and yellow caution paint running down the very center of where the two doors met. On the wall to my right was a row of windows that stretched wall to wall and were about chest height to just above head height. Under the windows was a simple metal desk with a normal office chair. With a little bit of force I managed to pull the blanket away and swung my legs over the edge of the bed only to realize that the only thing I wore was slightly damp diaper.

“What is this place!?!” I half-asked half-grunted taking another look around only to find the very basic room and nothing more. Still unsure of the situation, and a little groggy, I managed to stand up and slowly but surely take a few steps to the desk where I paused and glanced out the window to find nobody around, then I looked down to a row of items on the desktop. Surprisingly, my backpack was there yet it only had a half used bottle of baby powder and a tub of wipes. Next to that was a pair of tennis shoes with a sock stuck in each one. To the right of those were two see through packages containing light blue fabric. With another glance around, I picked up the transparent packages and opened them to find they held blue scrubs like I had seen in the hospital many times before.

Before long I was dressed in the scrubs and had the shoes and socks on my feet. As I searched around the door hoping to find a way to open it, my sight fell upon a small rectangular box on the side of the door with three LED lights along the top of the unit. Great. I thought to myself as I inspected the device. Key card reader, nobody gets in or out without the card. As soon as I realized there was no use trying to pry the doors open, I turned my attention to the glass, which as much as I expected to find, were two thick glass panes with a metal wire mesh sandwiched between.

Suddenly the doors hissed open; I turned back to find flashing yellow lights slowly creeping into the room, the lights were attached to a gunmetal gray container on what looked like go-cart tires. As the rolling case approached in a slow speed and a light whirr coming from its inside, I stepped back completely unsure of what to make of it. “Your breakfast has arrived.” It spoke in a strange robotic yet human voice. “Please open back panel three.” After it said that, it slowly turned around until its back was facing me; as I looked, I found three compartment doors labeled one through six – each one being a different size. “Your food is still warm, go ahead and eat.” The robot spoke again and backed up slightly causing me to take a step back too. With nothing more than a sigh, I hesitantly reached out and turned a small silver latch on panel three causing it to open revealing a yellow plastic tray, it wasn't until I pulled out the tray that I noticed the warmth from inside the space. After closing the door I glanced between the robot and the tray in my hands holding eggs, pancakes, a hash brown and a small container of juice. On the side of the meal were a plastic fork and spoon.

Slowly, the robot started moving forwards towards the door causing them to open again, then once the bot was in the corridor, the doors hissed closed leaving me with more questions than answers. With nothing else to do, I stepped over and sat on the corner of the bed and began eating. To my surprise, the food was still hot and quite delicious. Most importantly, even though there wasn't a lot of food, it was enough to satisfy a grumbling stomach that hadn't had food in at least a day.

Time passed slowly. Too slowly to count. Without a watch, cellphone or even a clock on the wall I had no idea what time it was. The only way I had some idea of the time was when the robot on wheels opened the doors to the room and rolled in with a faint motor hum. This time though, instead of just the robot coming in, an aging woman roughly my height entered into the room too. Her hair was gray, and her eyes were cold dark as though she'd seen the worst of everything in life. She wore a black uniform with a bright blue patch on the right bicep, and silver stitched lettering that read 'HURST' across the left of her chest.

After the robot stopped then turned around to face the door, the woman opened one of the compartments and slid the breakfast tray into it, she then closed that door and pressed a few buttons that I hadn't noticed on top of the front end of the robot causing it to roll away towards then out of the door. With the doors hissing closed, Hurst motioned for me to sit on the bed while she reached out and pulled the desk chair out far enough to sit down on. “How you feeling?” She asked as she laced her hands together and leaned forwards slightly.

“Irritated. Trapped. Stir crazy. Why the hell am I being kept here like a prisoner!?!” I shouted that last bit with enough force that it took her by surprise.

“Your not a prisoner.” She kept her calm and gentle tone of speaking which seemed to irritate me further.

In an attempt to prove my point, I jumped off the bed and darted to the door to try and open it but nothing happened. “Key card access; I can't open it. I'll even be willing to bet that the glass...” I pointed to the unusually wide window. “...can stand up to several blocks of C4 taped to it! Now how am I not a prisoner!?!”

“Because you're in a seventy-two hour holding room until we know for sure that you're not going to bring anything into our complex.”

“Complex?” I asked staring at her, my eyebrow raising slightly.

“Have a seat.” She held her hand towards the bed. Yet, seeing me still standing, she sighed and nodded. “There's a lot you have to know. This is Sleeping Possum – a well hidden and well guarded military instillation. We've brought you here for your safety; at approximately thirteen hundred hours you came into contact with someone on a motorcycle, right?”

“Yeah.” I nodded. “Its foggy but I remember that. Had what must have been a bogus cop badge.”

“That wasn't a cop. Wasn't federal either. That was someone that works for Silent Night – a well funded and well trained anarchist group that wants nothing more than global conquest. And they'll stop at nothing to see it happen. We've been fighting them for a long time, and for a while it looked like we were finally going to stomp them from existence, but somehow they just keep coming back – each time more powerful than the last.”

“That's fine and all, but what does any of that have to do with me?” I asked finally relaxing enough to sit on the edge of the bed until we were facing each other. “I'm just a normal guy that's out of work; at most I could just be an innocent person caught in the crossfire.”

“You would think that wouldn't you.” She paused and reached into her pocket to pull out a simple wallet, then she pulled something from the wallet and handed it to me. When my sight fell upon the picture, my mind went into overdrive. In her wallet was a picture of her at a much younger age with something I never expected to see – my parents at a much younger age. “This picture was taken years before you were even conceived. Nancy and Markov were good people, they never should have been in that accident.”

“How the hell did you know them!?!” I growled through clenched teeth, my head shaking side to side.

“Because we all used to work together in this very complex.”

“Bullshit!” I shouted while leaping up and pointing an accusing finger at Hurst. “My mother worked as a manager of a bowling alley and dad worked for a construction company – its been like that for as long as I can remember! So don't you dare try to tell me they worked here because I know for a fact they never left Linwoodfalls except for the occasional vacation.”

“That's true. They did do those jobs for a living; only AFTER they worked here...”

“Get out!” I growled and pointed to the door.

“I'm trying to tell you...”

“I said GET OUT!” By now it was almost impossible to hide the tears in my eyes and the quiver in my voice. “Damn liar! Just get out and don't bother coming back in here!”

Slowly she stood and moved to the door where she pulled out a small card and slid it through the reader causing the doors to hiss open. Once she stepped out and the doors closed, I yelled at the top of my lungs and reared my arm back ready to hit something. Before I could even think to do it, my fisted hand flew forwards until it came to a bone jarring thud of a stop against the glass. Slowly I turned in place, leaned back against the glass then dropped to my knees. With nothing else to do I rested my head in my hands and sniffled, giving up the fight against the onslaught of tears.


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I suddenly awoke to a sounds of sharp hissing and metal grinding on metal; lunging into an upright position in bed I forced my eyes open to find Hurst standing in the doorway of the room where I had been kept for the past few days. I watched as she slowly entered while keeping her hands behind her back, all the while her cold eyes stayed focused on mine. She kept moving forwards until she stood at the foot of the bed where she paused, sighed, and let her hands drop to her sides.

“I know you deserve some answers. So lets go get some breakfast and hopefully we can discuss this like rational adults. For what its worth, I'm sorry if I hit a raw nerve with your parents.” Just then I noticed something, I could barely see it but in her eyes was an odd warmth of compassion. Seeing it in her eyes I glanced down to the blanket covering me and nodded.

“I uh...I shouldn't have lost my cool like I did, its just this whole situations got me so wound up...”

“Then lets get you unwound.” She smiled a little with a subtle head tilt towards the doors. “Lets get some grub. Oh, and before we go, you might wanna to change; I can smell you from over here.” She spoke while kneeling down to pull out a plastic tub under the bed, then, before I knew it, she was tossing a crisp new diaper onto the blanket towards my right hand. Without saying another word, Hurst stepped towards the door and paused long enough to swipe her card until the doors hissed open, and once she stood in the hall, the turned and and called out. “Bang on the door when your ready.” With that, the doors hissed shut.

Still trying to completely wake up, I rolled out of bed and shuffled over to the window and pressed a small black button on the frame causing the glass to fog up then turn a dark gray blocking out any and all light from the hall outside. Sure that the window was sufficiently tinted to keep prying eyes away, I went back to the bed and picked up the dark blue diaper and unfolded it then went to the plastic tub under the bed and pulled out my bottle of baby powder and the tub of wipes. Soon enough I stood in a pair of clean scrubs with the new diaper hidden from sight, though every time I moved, I could hear a hard crinkling sound. Before long, I stood at the door and gave the metal a few good strikes with a fisted hand. Within a few seconds, the doors slid open with a hiss revealing Hurst standing there with card in hand. Then, to my utter surprise, I noticed she wasn't alone. She stood in front of a row of identical looking men in the same black uniforms, the only difference between their uniforms and Hurst's was that they wore bright silver patches on their sleeves instead of blue. Just seeing the six men standing behind Hurst made me want to run back into the room because all six of them carried high tech looking weapons that took both hands to wield.

“This complex is state of the art. Air and water filtration systems in case something happens in the outside world; ten backup generators with enough fuel tanks to keep powered for weeks, and if those go out, solar panels above ground are enough to keep the emergency lights on if nothing else.” Hurst spoke as eight of us moved along quiet corridors lit from above by rows of florescent lights. “Three meals a day and twenty-four-seven kitchen access. Smoking, drinking and drug use are strictly forbidden. No ifs, and's or buts; no exceptions.”

After turning several corners and taking another series of long halls, we stood to an entrance for a cafeteria with ample space for seating and a massive serving line. Even though I kind of remember the same type of thing from high school all those years ago, I still followed her lead as she grabbed a tray from a stack of them then a drinking glass then a plate and finally silverware. Soon enough we were sitting in the closest table to the doors and began eating biscuits and gravy with bacon on the side and apple juice to drink. As we did, the six men stood off to the side, keeping what I could easily see to be a very watchful eye on both of us.

“So. What's going on here.” I began simply enough, hoping to get short concise answers.

“The Genesis program.” She answered directly enough. “Next level bio-research. It originally started out as a small group of scientists that started innocently enough just trying to find ways to extend human life. But, as the years came and went, so did their goals. Eventually, as technology advanced, so did their research until they were working on ways to merge man and machine.”

“The Terminator.” I grinned, knowing what she was talking about based on several sci-fi movies I watched over the years.

“Exactly. And as time went on, their goals changed again; they...I should say we are now working on ways to force the next stage of evolution by combining human and animal genomes.”

“Something like that wouldn't go unnoticed; if that were true then the government would be highly interested in it.”

“Again you're right. Thus, here we are; in a very well hidden and guarded complex that is home of the Genesis program.”

As though we had a psychic link, we both continued eating more of the food. With a small sigh and a quick glance to the men watching both of us, I placed my fork on the tray and pointed subtly towards them. “Okay. What's with the muscle? Surely not everyone's packing that much heat around here.”

Suddenly Hurst grinned then stared me eye to eye. “They're called Sentinels; top of the top security forces. Modeled after – or should I say - cloned from Robert Sentine who had the idea to have a small army of elite fighters that could guarantee the security of the complex.”

“Okay. So how do I fit into all of this...” I took a swig of juice. “...I mean, you know, what does any of this have to do with me?” I asked breaking the silence between us.

“Before I tell you, I want your word you're not going to spaz out like the other day.” Hearing her, I nodded and held my hand over the table towards her.

“You got it.” No sooner had I said that then she reached up in a mutual handshake.

“I know its hard to comprehend, but your parents, in all truthfulness, worked worked here as part of the Genesis project. All of us in the program were willing test subjects for highly experimental serums which would, in theory, allow us to benefit from animal traits.”

“Did it work?”

“Originally, no. But, that was because nobody knew back then what we know now. Even though nobody came out of the experiment with the desired results, we found that there were unforeseen yet beneficial side effects. Which is how you come into the picture. When you were conceived, something happened; something very unexpected and very dangerous happened. Something, that if Silent Night got you, would be doomsday.” She lowered her tone while intensifying her glare. “Long story short, the way you ran away after your parents accident was the best thing you could have done; because if we couldn't find you, Silent Night couldn't either. How do you like the food?” She asked, her entire disposition seeming to change within seconds.

“Its, good.” I nodded. “Reminds me of how mom and dad...” I trailed off while lowering my eyes to the tray in front of me. “...yeah its good. Tastes like real home made food and not some mass produced stuff.”


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I ran as fast as my fourteen year old legs could go. I didn't have a destination in mind or a route to get there; I was running just to run away from everything. Running through endless hallways of the hospital, running away from that room, running with tear-blurred vision and short sporadic breaths. “Someone stop that kid!” I heard an older mans voice shout out from further down the hall behind me but I didn't stop, I didn't slow down, I didn't even turn around to look because I knew what would happen if I did. When I saw a large bright red door with a little window in it, I picked up my pace and slammed against it with enough force to ram it open until I was standing and staring a two flights of stairs – one leading upwards and the other leading downwards. Without giving a lone thought to it, I charged for the steps on the left leading downwards and within seconds I was taking them two at a time to gain as much ground as I could.

Eventually I powered through another bright red door marked with “G” and found myself on the ground floor of the hospital where a lot of people were roaming around doing their own thing. As I scanned around the scene, I noticed one thing particular; among the sea of people dressed in blue scrubs were two people dressed in bright blue shirts with gold star shaped badges, on the belts of their black pants were handgun shaped tasers and two-way radios.

“He took stairwell D so he'll have to come through here; and when he does, we'll hold 'em until CPS shows up.” The older of the two security guards muttered as I ducked down behind a row of seats to avoid being seen.

“All right finally some action!” The younger of the two grinned and slapped his hands together and rubbed them briskly. “I can finally use some of the moves I learned in mixed martial arts.”

“No!” The older one with thinning white hair suddenly countered his partner. “You don't get physical unless its absolutely necessary! He's only a kid that just saw his parents die; force isn't the answer, we have to use gentleness and care. No cuffs, no blitzkrieg style fighting, no cornering 'em. All we'll do is sit him down in one of these chairs and stay with him until one of the CPS agents show up; if he wants a snack, we'll get 'em one.”

“So basically we're babysitters.” The younger scoffed, the grin on his face fading into a frown. It was then that I saw my chance; just as the two security guards started pacing about trying to find me, a nurse passed by while dragging a medicine cart behind her, and without even thinking of it I stayed crouched down using the cart as a shield to make my way towards the doors. Unfortunately it wasn't a foolproof plan because the nurse made an unexpected turn leaving me fully exposed. “Hey! There he is! Somebody stop that kid!” The younger guard shouted out and started running towards me. Within seconds I too was in a full run except I was headed for the main doors of the lobby; even as I shoved the doors open and gained speed down a handicap ramp I didn't stop.

--- --- ---

I awoke with tears in my eyes from the dream. As I lay in bed wiping the tears from my eyes I couldn't help but think back to that day when my life changed forever. “Why...!?!” I quietly whispered to myself while rolling onto my side. That was the first time since I was brought here that I didn't immediately hop out of bed and get changed. Instead, I just laid in bed wondering what life would've been like if anything had happened differently back then.

Eventually I sat up with a grunt then climbed out of bed to get to the plastic tub under it; after a short while I was changed into a new diaper. About an hour later I was be escorted from the room to the mess hall, yet with every day that passed recently, the number of armed escorts decreased until there were just two of them. Sometimes Hurst would also be there, sometimes not. After a hot and filling breakfast I was lead by the Sentinels to an unfamiliar part of the complex, were after unending halls and a maze of turns, we finally stopped in front of Hurst standing about ten feet away from a massive sliding glass door.

“I'm impressed. Two weeks in the isolation room and you haven't tried to escape once.” She grinned and tilted her head back and to the side just far enough to motion me over. Not sure what to expect, I cautiously stepped closer until we stood within a foot of each other. “Today you get your new living quarters and you'll meet the guys that you'll be living with.” She turned and held her hand towards the glass door, then once we stepped within three feet of it, it slid open with a gentle hum.

As soon as we stepped into the massive room my jaw dropped. On the wall to our left was a huge flat screen TV that went from floor to ceiling and from corner to corner. In front of the tv was a wide coffee table with several remotes and gaming controllers, and past the table were three couches set up in a U shape. In a recessed area to our right were rows upon rows of computer desks – some were empty, but three had high end laptops on them. “Computers don't have any online access unless its to white-listed websites; no email communications, no Skype, no texts, nothing. Satellite TV that gets over five hundred channels, and any movie ever made.”

“Someone has got a lot of money to burn if they put this kind of stuff into a place like this.” I gasped still trying to get my mind around the vastness of it all. I followed as she moved forwards towards a long and wide hallway on the far end of the room.

“Room for twelve residents. Six rooms on each side.” Hurst spoke just loud enough to be heard as she pointed to rows of sliding glass doors. “First two units on the right are already occupied, first unit on the left is yours.” Hurst spoke as she pointed to first room on the left. With a shrug, I slid the door open and poked my head inside to find a small yet spacious room with a single bed and a dark blue blanket. Light gray carpeting covered the floor and a shelving unit on the right side of the space had rows upon rows of diapers, several bottles of powder and a few tubs of wipes. Just to the left of the shelves was a moderate sized trash can marked with bio-hazard symbols, and to the left of the bed was a night stand with a small but powerful desk lamp.

After stepping out of the room, I nodded. “Its cozy.”

“At the other end of the hall is the entrance to a group bathroom and shower.”

“W-w-w-wait...” I stammered.

“Something wrong?”

“Yeah I'd say somethings wrong.” I crossed my arms. “I don't do group showers.”

“Well yeah now you do.” Hurst crossed her arms then lowered her eyebrows to give me a fierce glance.

“Whatever.” I grumbled and turned to walk away. Yet something caught my attention; I paused in mid turn when I saw something in one of the rooms across from mine. Even as I stood staring at the second to last room, my mind went into overdrive trying to figure out what was off about it. I slowly tilted my head and squinted then stepped closer to the other room until I could clearly see a mattress standing on end leaning against the wall. It was an ordinary plain white mattress but different some how. Suddenly it dawned on me why it stood out; running up and down the length of the mattress were countless slice marks revealing clumps of stuffing. “What...the...hell?” I asked trying to figure out why it was there in the first place.

“That's for Michael.” Hearing Hurst saying that, I turned to her with the most questioning glare I could. “There's something you really need to know.” She went on while starting to walk towards the main space with the entertainment area causing me to do the same. “Devon and Michael, see, they're not like you and me. Well actually they kind of are, but they're kind of not. That is, they're like zebras and we're like horses. Pretty much the same but one teeny-tiny little difference.”

“You lost me; just spit it out.” I rubbed the side of my head. Yet, before she could, two distinct mens voices echoed into the space from the main door leading in and out.

“I'm telling you, that you'll have to vary your workouts to get the best results.” The first voice quipped.

“Oh don't go getting your tail in a knot because I can bench press more than you can.” The second one snapped back in a bit of a sarcastic tone.

“Devon, Michael.” Hurst called out as she snapped her fingers. Just as I looked up to see who she was talking to, the entire world came to an abrupt halt; my heart skipped several beats as my mind went absolutely blank.

“What the hell!?!” I suddenly shouted out and pulled myself behind Hurst trying to use her as a shield. Standing between us and the only door leading out were a orange-brown furred wolf and black-and-orange furred tiger – both were the same size and shape as human figures even sharing the same ability of walking on two legs. They also wore the same kind of scrubs as I did yet the tiger carried his scrubs top over his shoulder like he would a towel at the gym.

“Judas.” Hurst rolled her eyes and stepped out from in front of me leaving me fully exposed. Having seen this, the tiger let his tail swish side to side much like any feline would. “That's Devon Snits on the left and Michael Gerrunt on the right.” She spoke while gently pointing to the wolf then the tiger. Guys, this is Judas Christoph.”

“How'ya doing Judas?” The wolf smile while coming towards me with his right paw extended. At this, I backed away several steps trying to leave some distance between us. He must have sensed my agitation and fear because he backed away in slow gentle steps. “Okay I get it, you need some time to process all of this. That's fine. No problems.”

“Y-you can talk...” I blinked and shook my head rapidly. “And you can walk on two legs.”

“Remember Judas; horses and zebras.” Hurst muttered barely loud enough for me to hear. She then turned to the wolf. “Devon, I trust you'll help Judas to get settled in?”

“Yes Major.” The wolf nodded with a genuine smile. “I'll do everything I can to help.”

“Good.” Hurst glanced to her watch. “All right, I'm going to be in the infirmary if you need me.”

“No! Don't leave me here by myself!” I gulped and sprinted until I stood between her and the main door.

“Calm down, Judas. They're not going to eat you.” She then paused and raised her left eyebrow as if in thought. “...or would they...” With that she grinned and ran for the glass door as fast as she could.

Sure that she was gone, Michael the tiger shuffled over to the couches and flopped down on the first one then reached for a remote and began flipping through channels on the wall sized TV. With nothing else to do, I strolled over to the far end of the massive space and sat down on a vacant chair at the rows of computer desks. To my surprise, Devon also came over and pulled out a chair to sit down across from me – doing so in a way that was uniquely human. “I don't blame you for freaking out like that, I know this isn't something you see every day. But once you get past all the fur we're pretty much the same; skin, flesh, bones, blood, brains. All of us put our pants on one leg at a time, you know?”

“Yeah, I guess.” I shrugged still trying to get my mind around all of it.

“Has Hurst showed you to your new living area?”


“You know about the lines on the floor?” As Devon asked this, I thought back to a conversation I had with Hurst a few days ago when I asked her about the painted yellow and blue lines on the floor in the halls.

“Yeah I asked her about it the other day, she said that's how you get from here to the infirmary, and the mess hall.”

“Good, good.” Devon nodded. “She, uh, also told me about your condition.”

“She...” I started to yell but with it being something I didn't want everyone to hear I lowered my tone. “...she told you about that!?!”

“All she said is that you have a medical condition that requires you to wear some kind of protective garment. Whatever that means. Whatever, ya know? Its your business not mine so my lips are sealed.”

“Does he know?” I asked thumbing towards Michael.

“No.” Devon chuckled. “I'm planning on keeping it that way.”

“So...” I paused trying to find the right way to word my questions. “How did you two come to be like this? Were you born this way or was it a freak toxic sludge accident? I mean, you know, how did this all come about?”

Hearing this, Devon chuckled then reached out to pat my arm rather gently with his hand shaped paw. “We all have one thing in common, Judas, we're all children of the Genesis Program.”

“Pretty small group from the looks of it.” I glanced around. “There's only what, three of us here?”

“Sadly yes.” Devon sighed and shook his head slightly. “We're the ones that survived birth. Michael and I didn't always look like this; up until our twenty first birthdays we looked...well not just looked, we were human. But then we had to go through our individual transformations, see, it's almost like a rite of passage. And sooner or later, you too will have to have your transformation. And on that day, we'll all be behind you one hundred percent.”

After taking a few moments to reflect on everything, I leaned forwards with my right hand held out towards Devin. “You know, you're a cool wolf dude.” I smiled, it turned even bigger when Devon reached forwards with his right paw until both of us were in a familiar handshake.

“Like I said...” He too smiled. “...you just needed a little time to process everything.”


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That was an interesting twist. I'm going to take a guess that a koala is going to mingle in sometime soon? :)


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Two shadowy figures was all I could make out past thickening smoke flooding the hallway. There were only two ways out of the dimmed hall I found myself in; the first was the end of the corridor where the two shadow figures stood, the other, was behind me where a growing fire that both added to the ambient light and drowned it out with billowing black smoke.

“Judas.” A gentle womanly sounding voice echoed out over the sounds of the fire mixed with bursts of automatic weapons fire, and hearing it, I glanced around trying to figure out where it was coming from. “This way.” The voice continued as the figure on the left raised what looked like an arm shape. A sudden explosion echoed out through the entire complex causing everything around me to shake violently enough for the walls to crack and crumble blowing out chunks of concrete and mists of dust. Fearing for my life I took off running towards the figures, yet try as I might, I couldn't escape the destruction around me as bigger and bigger chunks of the walls and roof caved in, getting closer and closer with every drop. The last thing I saw were several steel beams falling from the ceiling aimed directly at my face; I could only watch as the beams grew larger as they came closer until I could smell the stale smell of steel.

I bolted up in bed drenched in a cold sweat while yelping in short terrified tones. Even as I glanced around to the small room illuminated by a lamp on the night stand, it took several minutes for my mind to register that the nightmare had ended and that I was safely tucked away in the space I came to call my room. After calming down enough to think clearly, I rolled out of bed and shuffled out of the room, on my way out, I quietly glanced through the glass doors of the other rooms to find Devin and Michael sleeping soundly in their own rooms. Just as quietly as I slipped from my room, I shuffled out to the main communal space and flopped down on the couch closest to the large tv. With nothing more than a silent sigh, I picked up the remote and started flipping through the channels eventually settling on a nature documentary about wildlife in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl.

--- --- ---

The halls were quiet, the only two sounds that echoed out were those of my shoes gently scuffing the floor, and a familiar rustling sound coming from my mid section. Turn by turn, long empty corridor by long empty corridor I walked along, my mind resting by not letting any thoughts come across. The solitude of being in the empty halls was what I was very accustomed to; it was the only thing I knew since I was about fifteen years old. Just me, by myself, with my back to the world. When I came to another corner, I slowed to a quiet stop as I heard two familiar voices talking with four unfamiliar voices – two male and two female.

“...Yeah I think he's getting settled in. I don't really know anything about 'em other than his name and that he as a condition.” I listened and crept closer to the corner as Devon spoke. Who are they talking about? I thought to myself as I leaned a little more towards the edge of the wall.

“What's Judas like?” An unknown woman's voice asked.

“He's a red flag, ma, that's what he is.” Michael blurted out causing me to take even more interest in the conversation.

“Oh come now son, he can't be that bad.” The woman again spoke out.

“Ma. Listen.” Michael countered with a little bit more of a raised tone. “He doesn't say anything to anyone, he keeps to himself so you don't really know what he's thinking. I wouldn't be surprised if one day he suddenly snaps.” Hearing this, I raised an eyebrow out of confusion and astonishment.

“He is rather quiet but I don't think he'd flip his lid. I think there's something about his past but I can't get a clear read to know what it is.” Devon muttered softly.

“Just be careful, you two.” An unidentified mans voice echoed out. “He is Nancy and Markov's boy after all, we're all in for a world of trouble if even one thing goes wrong.” Nancy...Markov... I thought to myself while shaking my head.

“Dad.” Devon grumbled. “He isn't a threat.”

“You're wrong, Devon.” The man interrupted Devon. “He's more of a threat than you could ever imagine. Even if he's sound asleep he's still a serious threat. Just keep your distance from him; that's the best thing you can do.”

That was all it took. Before I even realized what I was doing I stomped around the corner with tensed muscles and a low piercing stare. “And just what is that supposed to mean!?!” Silence. I looked at Devon and Michael then to the two men and two women standing in front of them, every single one of their faces bore complete shock. Nobody said anything. “Well?” I hissed wanting answers yet everyone stayed quiet. With nothing more than a scoffing huff I turned and stormed off while shaking my head and muttering to myself.

It wasn't until I reached a set of glass doors which hissed open upon my presence that I finally allowed myself to think. I made my way past the coffee table and couches in a U shape and kept going until I slung open the glass sliding door leading to my own little room then slammed the sliding door shut. After locking the door I slid a set of vertical blinds across the door then twisted a rod causing each blind to twist ninety degrees blocking out everything. Slowly I crept over to the small bed and sat down on it then drew the pillow into my lap and brought my knees to my chest. I rested my chin on the pillow and sighed while closing my eyes. As I sat in solitude the tears came, it was barely a trickle at first but as more time passed the thicker the tears grew until most of my face and the pillow were soaked. Yet they weren't tears of sadness; they were the kind of tears only a deep running anger and spite could produce.

“Mom...dad...” I suddenly shrieked out while clinching my eyes shut and burying my face into the pillow. “Why! Why couldn't you have waited even a few seconds more!?!” After belting that out I shouted and yelled – the pillow muffled every noise into muted tones until I collapsed against the mattress completely drained from the sudden release of the raw emotions. With nothing more than gasping huffs I rolled onto my side still clutching the pillow tightly.

--- --- ---

I must have cried myself to sleep because the next thing I knew, I awoke to a series of knocks upon the glass door. With a grunt and a groan I wrenched myself off the bed and shuffled over to the blinds to push them to the side, and as I did, I noticed Hurst standing on the other side of the glass door. “Whats up?” I asked her after sliding the door open. At this, she stared at me with what seemed to be a methodical glare.

“Its time.” She spoke coldly, not moving the slightest.

“Time for what?” I countered and scratched my head, not expecting anything.

“There's something important you need to do for us. But you'll have to come with me to the bio-lab to do it.”

“Can't this wait? There's a show about deep space nebulas that I really wanted to watch...”

“I'm not asking you.” Hurst crossed her arms, then as if on cue, six heavily armed Sentinels clamored into view taking formation around her. “You either come willingly, or, these guys take you kicking and screaming.”

“Can you at least tell me what you need me to do?” I rolled my eyes and shook my head.

“Come walk with me.” She motioned for towards the main space. With nothing more than a sigh, I stepped out of the small room and stood at her side until she started walking. I kept pace at her side with the Sentinels walking behind us. Soon enough we were making our way through quiet halls, she lead the way while I kept a vigilant watch on everything. “I've noticed that for about the past month you seem to have certain...” She paused in thought, perhaps she was struggling to find the right word. “...a certain tension. And that tension isn't allowing you to settle in. I'd go as far as to say that you have unresolved issues regarding certain events in in your life and these issues are profoundly affecting your life in negative and toxic ways. So I've arranged a little get together for you and Devon in the bio-lab so we can get to the bottom of this whole mess.”

“What, we gonna sit around and sing campfire songs?” I scoffed with a grin as we went into a stairwell and began heading downwards.

“You'll see.” She grinned. After what seemed like a few more minutes of wandering around the corridors, she finally stopped at a closed door then pulled a key-card from her pocket and slide it through a wall mounted reader. Within seconds, the unit beeped and flashed a green light before the door popped open with a hard clack. She pushed the door open far enough to reveal a moderately sized room; in the center was an exam table with blue padding on the top, a few fridges to the right side, a couple of empty chairs on the left side, and Devon standing behind the exam table. Behind him, several expensive looking machines whirred and hummed with flashing lights of different sizes and colors. The entire space was illuminated by overhead florescent lights and by three moveable spotlights like I'd seen in operating rooms.

“What is this place?” I asked while stepping in and looking around.”

“Bio-lab two.” Devon grinned. “Its where we get to see what makes you tick.” As he talked, I watched Hurst as she went to a small tray stand on the head end of the exam table and retrieved two small devices.

She reached over sticking one of the devices behind Devon's ear causing him to flinch slightly and flutter his ear about. She then turned towards me and moved around the table. “Are you going to cooperate?” She asked giving me a low brow stare.

“That's not going to hurt, is it?” I asked while pointing to the remaining device in her hand. She gave a simple shake of the head, then after a few seconds to think it over, I shrugged and moved towards her.

“This is a neural transceiver that'll help equalize your brainwaves.” She spoke softly while sliding the unit behind my ear which was followed by a sharp prick causing me to yelp and duck away from her. “You'll get used to it after a while.” She muttered before turning and walking towards the machines behind Devon. After she clicked a few switches, turned a couple of knobs and read some displays she turned to both of us. “Your gamma, beta and delta brainwaves are syncing up; in thirty seconds you can proceed, Devon.”

Time seemed to pass by quicker than usual; perhaps it was the uncertainty of the situation, maybe it was trying to understand why I felt another presence looming over me. Whatever it was, I couldn't be sure.

Can you hear me? I heard Devon ask.

“Yeah I can.” I mumbled. Suddenly my eyes went wide as it registered in my mind; even though I was watching him closely, I heard him ask me that question even though his mouth didn't move.

Its just you and me, kiddo. Nobody else can hear us; don't speak, just think it in your mind and I'll hear it loud and clear.

“How are you doing this!?!” I asked without saying anything.

It's a special gift. But right now it is really more of a tool that I'm going to use to help you.

“Help me how?” Again I asked without speaking.

By going into your repressed memories and getting 'em cleaned out.

“I don't have any repressed memories...” I shook my head side to side as Devon came around the table. All the while. Hurst watched silently as he drew closer and closer. Soon enough he was within reaching distance. “You're just wasting your time with this psycho mumbo jumbo.” Before I knew what happened, Devon reached out and put both of his hand paws at the sides of my head and leaned in close enough that I could feel his breaths on my chin. That's all it took. Countless pictures of long forgotten memories danced through my mind; the emergency room, the looks on the faces of the doctors and nurses, the shrill steady tone of an EKG machine, my running from the hospital, coming upon the accident site by sheer happenstance.

The images ran through my mind faster and faster, my breath grew shorter and more shallow, my pulse quickened as my heart beat harder and harder. I could clearly see how torn up the car was, I could recall the red stains on the pavement. I even remembered how a yellow tarp around the drivers door gently swayed in the breeze as though it were a flag at the top of a pole. Tears swelled in my eyes. I wanted to run but I was unable to make my body move. The memory-images came faster and faster still; my body shook, I felt lightheaded and like I was about to pass out. “Make...it...” I tried to say but no words came. “I...can't...” again I tried to make everything go away but it wouldn't.

“STOP!!!!” I shouted out finally mustering enough willpower to push Devon away. Almost instantly I hit the cold floor with a thud. Whimpering like a wounded animal I curled into a tight ball using my knees as support while burying my head into my arms. My whimpering turned to shuddering crying and that's when I felt a pair of hands gently pulling me into an upright position. Through tear blurred eyes I could barely make out the figure of Hurst sitting on the floor while gently tugging me until I was at her side sobbing hysterically on her shoulder.

“Shhh it's all right.” She whispered softly and gently patted my back as though I were a kid again. Then I noticed something different; someone else was crying, I looked up in time to see Hurst holding her free arm out towards Devon, welcoming him into her caring hold. It didn't look like he needed much coaxing because just seconds later he too was on the floor with us. “Shh it's okay, its over, its done with.” Hurst quietly cooed and began rocking back and forth ever so gently as if trying to harmonize with the rhythms in our minds.

“I-I'm so sorry Judas!” Devon sobbed while draping a furry arm over my shoulders. “Now I understand. It all makes perfect sense... But now the healing can finally begin; now you can be yourself and you'll never have to hide behind that mask of anger and hate again.”


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I snapped awake and sprang up in bed to sudden blaring alarm. Forcing my eyes to focus, I threw myself out of bed and towards the sliding glass door to see what was happening only to find Devon and Michael running from their rooms causing me to do the same. The three of us ran through the common space then out the sliding glass door to the hallway. “Whats going on?” I had to shout to be heard over the racket of the alarm. Devon glanced back just long enough to see me then returned his glare to the hall in front of him.

“Shut up and run!” Was all I heard from him. It was then that I noticed something oddly cool; in the walls about waist height were series of flashing lights, and coming to the first four way intersection, I found that Devon followed the direction of the lights to the left. At the next T junction, he followed them to the right and that's when I realized that the flashing lights were guiding us somewhere. After a series of turns and long empty stretches of hallway we came to a doorway with a stairwell sign on it; without hesitating, Micheal ran to the door and slammed into it metal push-bar with all of his weight forcing it open. Seeing there was only one way to go, the three of us began our trek down several flights of stairs until we came to yet another door, this time, though, Devon reached out and twisted the metal knob and swung the door towards us.

Michael was the first one out followed by Devon then by me; again we took off running, following another series of flashing guide-lights. Little by little the hallway widened until it was about double its original size. After what felt like an eternity of running, we came to a massive cavernous space that was two floors high. Along the far left wall were dozens of large plastic totes ranging in color from red to black and everything in between. On the right side of the space, at the second floor level were double metal doors and a metal walkway leading to a flight of steps that came down to the floor. Across the area from us was what looked like a subway platform with a branch off that ended at roughly the center of the huge room. In the track branch was a single electric locomotive and two streamlined passenger cars sitting idle. Standing between us and the two car train were Hurst and several men whom all wore the same style black uniforms but they wore a bright green patch on the upper right sleeve.

“Four minutes, seventeen seconds.” Hurst grinned while clicking a stopwatch. “Not bad. Could be better. But not bad. Had this been an actual evacuation, that tram would have been powered up and ready to go when you three got here. But, since this was just a drill, this'll be the end of the line.”

“Damn drills.” Michael blurted out causing all of us to glare at him.

As Hurst slid the stopwatch into her pocket, she glanced between Michael, Devon and Myself; a sudden seriousness falling upon her face. “Playtime is over. From this now on, you three will wear regulation uniforms because y'all have just been drafted. As for you, Judas...” She focused on me. “...its time we see where your strengths and weaknesses are. Now report to the supply store for your supplies.”

With nothing else said, Devon, Michael and myself turned and started heading back the way we came. “Judas.” Hurst called out, I glanced over my shoulder towards her. “Start sleeping with some form of pants.” When she said that, I looked down and realized I was only wearing my blue scrubs top with a pair of socks and the diaper.

As the three of us made our way back through the maze of halls I stayed behind Devon and Michael hoping they wouldn't notice anything. For the most part it worked; it wasn't until we passed the cafeteria that Michael stopped and sniffed the air while twitching his ear. Slowly he turned around until he was looking at me, then as he studied my stance, a grinning stare crept across his face. It was then that I realized he noticed it...that both of them noticed it.

“Dude, is that what I think it is!?!” Michael chuckled and pointed to a general spot just under my scrubs top – his grin growing wider and wider.

“I dunno. What do you think it is.” I gave him a deadpan glare, but inside I was ready to run and hide anywhere I could.

“Lets see. It sounds like plastic, it smells like wiz, and it doesn't look like underwear. Its a freaking diaper isn't it!?!” By now there was mistaking the bewildered amusement on his face as he began cackling in laughter. All the while, Devon stayed silent while looking at the floor while shaking his head side to side.

“Very good; it is what you think it is. Now, which way to the dorm?” I asked and walked past Michael causing Devon to do the same. There was a look in the wolfs eyes, though, as if he was silently telling me that I was doing the right thing by just letting the whole thing go.

“Piddle-pants crinklebutt!” Michael continued laughing hysterically. “Didn't your parents ever bother to potty train you!?!”

Let it go, Judas, just let it go. This isn't worth it. He's no worse than those bullies back in middle school. I thought to myself as I kept walking, trying everything I could to ignore Michaels verbal jabs. But the more I heard, the more I curled my hands into fists.

“Talk about a total loser.” Michael continued. “You're a twenty four year old and you still wear diapers. I think Hurst should have taken an empty room and turned it into a daycare center just for you!” By now I was grinding my teeth and doing everything I possibly could to keep focused on the hallway in front of me. “Such a baby...”

That's all it took. Before I could stop myself, before I even realized what I was doing, I suddenly stopped and spun around until I was facing Michael. As if my body was being controlled by someone else my left arm raised up and drew back with a fisted hand ready to fly. I couldn't stop myself; I could only watch as my hand flew directly to the side of Michaels face. In the time it took me to blink and process everything that just happened, Michael lay on the floor with an utterly surprised glare.

Suddenly, Devon sprang up and pinned me to the wall. “What the hell is your problem!?!” Devon bellowed out as Michael made it to his knees while running his tongue between his teeth and cheek. Ever so slowly the grin returned to the tigers mouth.

“What do you care!” I shouted back at Devon as Michael strolled away. Seeing him going further down the hall, I shifted my weight and struggled to break free of Devons grip. Yet the harder I tried to break free, the stronger his hold became. “You heard 'em saying all that crap and you didn't do anything about it! It always like this...nobody's in my corner 'cause they don't care; they say they do but in the end nobody really does!” I grunted and mustered enough leverage to force Devon off of me until he backed off a few steps. “From now on just stay out of my way!” I turned and started walking towards the dorms in long hard steps.

“Judas.” Devon called out but I kept going. “You don't see it now, but I'm on your side...” He trailed off as I turned the corner.