The following passage is taken from a new story idea of mine called Strain.
This is the room where they keep the featured Mauler of the month. The Keeper lines us up single file behind the waist-high fence separating the viewers from the cage. Right now a curtain hides the Wolf. I hold my breath, waiting for the curtain to be pulled back from the cage. This is always the moment that makes my heart jump. There’s no way to know just how the Mauler will act. Sometimes they’re cowering in the corner. Other times they just sit on the cot and avoid us as if we’re not even there.
Not this one.
This Wolf is standing right up at the bars. He’s in his human form; eyes sharp, flecked with golden specks—the sign of the Strain in his blood. His thick brow set low. The Mauler walks down our line, his left shoulder bumping against the bars of his cage. He looks at each of us as he passes. He stops and stares right at me. I’m not smiling anymore, and for a moment I forget who’s observing who.
“This here is Bandit,” the Keeper announces and then proceeds to give out the standard information. “Nineteen years old. Showed first signs of the Strain at fourteen, younger than most.” He chuckles a little. “Named him after my Chihuahua back home.”
All the Maulers are given new identities when they come to the Slammer. Personally, I would have named this one after a bigger dog. He looks powerful. And dangerous.Bandit watches the ...