((edit: gah, ninja'ed by Javrson! can we assume this post occurred before Ference made a break for it?))
So many shouts, and screams, not all of them human. It was all so loud. He stopped calling for Caleb. The sounds in his throat were unsettling, even for a dream. He couldn't cover his ears, but he found a way to fold them back--weird feeling. It didn't help much.
When he heard a child's voice, calling from inside one of the cages, the verdict was in. Not a dream. Definitely a nightmare. And it made him very, very angry.
But up there with the anger was fear. Especially when they pulled one of the others out of a cage, and some time later, came back with a cat. That same little part of his brain was absolutely terrified, though the rest of him refused to understand why.
An explanation was forthcoming. A fight broke out at one of the other cages. Abel slunk clumsily toward the far side of his cage, away from the noise, but he still had a perfect few of the scuffle--a perfect view of the way the man's limbs started writhing, how the fur slicked over his skin like oil, how his skeleton twisted in ways that never should have been possible. Then, he was lying on the floor, nothing like what he had been moments earlier.
Bad dream. Bad, bad dream.
The few wounded guards muttered a few curses and took out first aid materials from their utility vests. The one in the labcoat made a vague grunting noise and turned around.
"Let's get this problem case out of the way next. Carson, you're up. Lupine."
Oh God, keep them away from me!
The men with guns approached his cage, and one produced a muzzle. "Can it understand us?" He asked.
"God willing," the labcoat answered. "You--" He looked at his clipboard. "Forster. You play nice, we'll play nice. Come on."
He was done. Through. Quite ready to wake up. Now would be fine. Right now. Really, now was good. But everything was too real, too loud, too strong-smelling. He couldn't find his way out.
And the other wolf--other, the thought made him wince--was thrown in a heap, back in its cage.
The guard pulled the muzzle on, tight, and a sound came out of Abel's throat that, somehow, terrified him more than everything previous. A whine. Just like a dog's.
Another guard put a chain around his neck and yanked him toward the door. He stumbled--the feet were so strange--but then he was out, on the open floor. And yet, boxed in by his own skin, he felt no more free.
Then he saw Caleb.
Caleb! Caleb, it's me! He strained against the chain and made frantic noises through the muzzle, but the soldier yanked the chain hard and choked him, pulling him past Caleb's cage and into the hallway. The door slid shut, and he whined again.
"Oh, shut up," the one with the chain said. "I swear, this is getting to be the longest day. Liked 'em better when they were vegetables."
How long have I been here? What did you do?
They pulled him into an examination room, like at a doctor's office, but with some very high-tech equipment along one wall. Before he realized what was happening the guard reached under him and hefted him up onto the table--it made him feel small. He realized his tail had curled up between his legs. He didn't remember telling it to do that.
A different doctor came in, snapping on a pair of gloves.
"Alright. This is going to be my easiest physical ever, because you understand me and know to behave. Isn't that right?" He slapped Abel on the side of the muzzle--not hard, but still. He realized he was shaking.
The doctor started going through motions--some of which were familiar, some not. Shone a flashlight in his eyes, stuck a thermometer where it was not supposed to go, shoved a stethoscope under his fur--
His fur. His tail. God, he was thinking of them as his now. He had to wake up.
"Respiration is a little irregular. Or rather, more irregular than I'd expect," the doctor said, pulling off the gloves. "Still, nothing looks too wrong. Let's try and turn him back."
Yes! Yes, please do that!
"That'll do it."
Quicker than the thought could travel from his skull down his neck, something hard was pushed against his spine, and then his whole body caught fire. His shriek boomed, even through the muzzle, and every muscle spasmed, sending him crashing off the table.
"Christ, Peters, would you hold it down?"
"While you're tasing it? I'll get back to you on that."
Everything was blotchy, he couldn't see straight. God, it hurt so much...
"No response," the doctor said. "Hit it again."
Fire again, through every nerve and fiber. He wanted to scream so bad, but his throat wouldn't work, and it wouldn't stop--
The sudden void felt like ice. Like all his bones had burned, and only bits of snow and ash were left under his skin.
"Something's wrong. I'm taking a sample."
A sting, near his rump. The blotches cleared a little, but it hurt too much to move. He saw the doctor feeding something into a slot on the wall, and moving lights...
"Hemoglobin is fine, adrenaline levels expected. Relatively high traces of fexofenadine." The doctor swore. "The technetium catalyst is everywhere. Something's blocking carbene corruption." He turned back toward Abel. "We'll have to jumpstart it."
"You want me to get McFa--"
"He's busy gloating. Just get it back up on the table."
Thick arms under him again, pulling him back up under the interrogation light. Bad, bad dream...
"We'll use the same alkylation agent from the 6-18 case." Something pushed up against his flank again, and there was a shlucking sound--
This fire was nothing like the first. This fire was liquid, and thick, and it ran all the way into his bones, but the best scream he could manage was just a drawn out whine through the muzzle straps.
"Alright. You two clear out while I boost decay."
The guards hurried through the door, and the doctor pushed a button, and something loud started whirring in the ceiling. His vision was still blotchy, but he saw something large extending down on him, like the x-ray machine at the dentist's. The doctor was putting on some kind of shiny apron, and then he reached for a switch--
Nothing. Nothing like anything else, the taser and the injection hadn't been fire at all, they'd been oil, but this was sparks, and burning in everything, burning through every part of him, down into places he didn't know he could feel, and his screaming synapses managed only a single thought before blackness took him.
I'm dreaming of Hell.