The Days Before

My name is Lilian Tracy. I was born in Boston, years before the war. Back then, I was just like anyone else. Young, pretty, wealthy and, most of all, stubborn. But not stubborn enough. Back then I made one mistake, a mistake that rippled through my life, tearing everything apart. I fell in love. This time, I'm not making that mistake again. I'll die first.


3. Behing the Glass


 Something big was going on today. I could practically smell the nervous excitement in the stagnant air, the heavy sweat absorbing slowly into the thick coats of laboratory staff. For once, no one paid me any mind.
 It was almost nice, being invisible. I’d had my fill of stares and gawking, needles and tests and endless questions. Was I born this way? What exactly had happened? When? How? They asked it all in their search for answers, but somehow I never found the one thing I’d wanted to know for years: Why?
 My keeper stopped by for a few minutes to take another sample, a routine matter here, and chatter away about his home life. As if I cared. Personally, I thought this particular man was more hateful than all the others somehow. Maybe it was the way he looked at me, like some sort of caged rat he couldn’t wait to dissect. Or maybe it was just the fact that he was the one actually running the experiments. If – no, when – I finally broke free of this place, his precious family would be first on my list.
 “All done now,” he said cheerily, pulling the needle out of my skin. I turned back to the wall and closed my eyes, waiting for him to leave as he always did. After that the muzzle would release automatically and I’d have at least some small measure of comfort. “You know, it’s ‘bring your kids to work’ day today! Though, of course, we usually can’t do that. Classified, you know. But I applied for special permission this year.”
 As if I cared.
 “They actually agreed this time, though I had to compromise a little. So only Micah came. He’s my oldest, you know. Just like me when I was young.”
 Lovely. Also, doubtful. And horribly sad for poor Micah. Jameson was balding and think as a skeleton. He didn’t even smell tasteful either, more like half-rotten meat left too long in the sun.
 “I told him I’d show him something cool, so behave alright?”
 Like the bulletproof glass chamber, airtight muzzle and electric shock collar would let me do anything else. I didn’t give my handler any sign that I’d heard, but he too must have known the futility of asking me, because he didn’t wait even a breath before calling to this prodigal son of his.
 Slow footsteps. Light breathing, just a little too fast. The rustle of cloth – real cloth, not the fake stiff stuff the staff wore – and, above it all, the overpowering smell of fresh blood. It sang to me, each note growing louder as the boy came closer, closer, closer.
 I wanted him then, more than I’d ever wanted anyone. I knew it was a product of desperation, boredom, and the hunger I’d been barely staving off for decades, but somehow my mind refused to acknowledge those things. All I knew was that I wanted nothing more than to devour him.
 “What is this?” he asked, voice soft and halting and curious. I turned then, unable to stop myself, and rose from the floor to a half-crouch.
 “Micah, meet Lilian, a colleague of mine. She’s the one I told you about.”

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