I sneered at him and the others who were trying hard, but not hard enough to hide their smirks. “No, it seems like all the animals here refuse to be civilized.” I brushed off my legs, and ran ahead, finding the intersection where the game trail met the highway.
I yelled to the men behind me. “I mean really, don’t you guys have any nice animals? Horses, dogs, cats? What about pets?”
“Oh we have pets alright,” a husky voice snickered behind me.
I stopped. The hair on the back of my neck stood on edge as his words breathed into my back.
“Let me show you,” his rough hands encircled my neck and pressed me to the ground.
An involuntary gasp escaped as he choked me. I twisted around and followed the rough hands up to his crazy eyes, half hidden behind his greasy hair. My chest hammered as I saw the twinkle in his eyes, and the sides of his mouth rise. He enjoyed this.
“Don’t fight it ‘lil one. Papa’ll take care of you, and give you a new home.”
I fought against him, but my nails slid off his skin.
“I take care of all my pets. Hush… just sleep.” He shook me until my breath choked out in short gasps, and my eyes closed. Blinding light flashed as he slammed my head against the ground. The ringing in my ears deafened me. Everything seemed out of focus. The ground blurred as I looked toward the rough laughter. My pulse raced, I counted five large blurs. The longer I stared the clearer it became, and for a moment, I wished for darkness.
Bound in a cage, three young girls, reached toward me. Their looks of desperation tore at me. Dirt covered them, cleared only by streams of dried tears. The girl in front screamed as a rod smashed into her knuckles.
Their torment amused the bandits. The largest one drug his spear along the bars, forcing their arms down.
"Now, now, pretties. Make room for a new friend." Then he turned and faced me with his jagged smile.
I reached across and tightened my grip on the dagger. No one deserved to be treated this way.
-Dreamscape: Saving Alex 2014 Kirstin Pulioff