(August 29, 2004)

She snapped at his fingers as he poked them between the bars; he jabbed her nose with the tip of one nail and laughed, the vast majority of his tar-yellowed teeth showing against his red-brown lips.

'A little angry, little lady? Feelin' a little contained? A little held in and beaten and muzzled?' His smirk seemed almost wider than his narrow face, stretching endlessly out from the scar that was once a hare lip, and his eyes were small drops of shit against a vast field of half-rotten wheat. Her stomach twisted; her ears dropped flat against the stripes running down the back of her head as her hackles rose as if to meet them, and she growled.

'A little bitter, little lady? Feelin' a little defeated? A little bound down and frightened and alone?' She could not keep her teeth to herself, her own lips nearly vanishing into the fur surrounding them as she pulled them back, and her gaze steadied itself on his throat. Each thrumming of her heart sent more anger through her veins, a blackening core charring her innards and sending the taste of iron - her blood enslaved seeking his blood emancipated - up to the back of her throat. He snorted.

'A little defiant, little lady? Feelin' a little rebellious? A little unfettered and ready and loud?' He peered down at her with keen interest piled atop disgust, still dangling his digits into her cage, seemingly unaware of how near she must have been for her breath to warm his knuckles as it did. Without warning he lashed out, his boot connecting with the iron door just beyond her breastbone and creating a terrible sound that tore at her ears and her chest simultaneously. She fell as the door clanged shut and then open again, never latching and never restricting.

'Why don't you ever bother to leave, then?'