It was a calm day, the day that my friends and I found the man on the side of the road. The man with a son that was just a little too shy and quiet for his age, and a bit too gaunt. We'd initially found them on the side of the road, just walking past calmly when we had decided to pull over. I hate to admit that it wasn't because we were so concerned, as much as simply curious about this little event. Their backpacks were worn, and their clothes dirty, stained with dust and sweat from walking down the side of the road all day in hot weather.

"Hey guys.. whats up? Its kind of hot for a walk on the highway, don't you think?" Hailey asked, motioning to the long expanse they had yet to go.

He nodded, and grudgingly asked for a ride. She invited them into the car for a drive to the nearest hotel, which turned out to be only a few miles down. It wasn't much, but if it saved the kid some walking at least, and that was probably a good thing. When we drove past a bar on the side, though, we all knew we were hungry.

Being a bar or not, it probably had some food, since it was a bar with a restaurant attached. Before long, after some mushroom swiss burger specials with fries drink and a choice of soup or salad, we were all fed and chatting, the man having had more than a few beers, since he wasn't driving. He let the kid have a coke, and I gave him my salad, which I hadn't really wanted anyway.

It was then that the man, half drunk, opened up after the girls decided to go up and do some karaoke to relax for a bit before their drinks wore off. I'm not big on karaoke, so I decided to stay back and watch. I knew something was off when I'd seen the son and father interact before when we'd picked them up from the road, but it had appeared to be just the usual awkwardness. The distance they gave each other was awkward, and I found myself wondering about it.

"Its about time I let you know whats going on." the father rumbled, a smile beginning. I glanced at him, not really interested, but listening all the same. "You see here? This little guy?" he motioned to the boy, who looked away with a wince. "This little one here isn't going to make it," the man said, making eye contact with me as he spoke. He had a grin on his face, like it was some proud joke. The boy didn't say anything, but he shifted uncomfortably.

"What are you talking about? We'll get to the hotel on time. They don't really close, you know. They can't, if they want business." I said, hoping that the drunkenness of this man would fade quickly enough.

"You don't understand.. I'm taking him to the Killing Fair. I have a few debts to pay... and I'm going to hand him over. Better him than me, right? Blood of my blood and all that. Its not far now. A few miles off of town."

I stared at the man. Killing Fairs weren't real, were they? No one knew where they were, if they were actually around. But surely no one would actually do that... right?

"The killing Fairs aren't real, right? Is this some kind of drunken joke?" I demanded, irritated. It wasn't right to pull on someones chain like this. Especially not in front of the mans son. The glare that formed on the mans face and the tightening of his jaw after what he told me, let me know that the glare he was giving was going to be the only warning I would get. Sudden movement came from him, and I moved in shock to evade the swing he suddenly took at me. He'd missed, but only just barely. Hard knuckles brushed the side of my head, and his other fist caught me off guard.

The second dodge had failed. I fell from my chair and hit my head against the table behind me as people swarmed the man to stop him from getting to me. Yelling commenced as dark spots swam across my vision in response to the fall, as the man yelled and cursed, demanding to be set free. I half rolled out of the chair, becoming momentarily dizzy from the action. Sitting up and running a hand over the back of my head and bringing my hand back in to view fir a glance told me that I was, indeed, bleeding from the head.

Well, fuck.

My friends had come to my rescue, but the drunken man was snarling out all of his plans for when he got free. The crowd listened, shocked and horrified as he stopped trying to lie, stopped trying to defend himself as he was heard with his loud, brash rambling about his bloody plans. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach as he admitted to the planned out murder of his son. He'd even started with how he had been about to kill his son by bringing him to the Murder Fair, like he had somehow hoped that it would scare people into letting him go.

That his plan was that he would be betting his oblivious son to save his own skin in one of those games of chance they sported there, was horrifying enough. I looked to my friends as they talked, fighting with ideas on what to do until they all reached a consensus of what to do. we took the kid from the man, and knew that one of us had to take the murderer to the police. I voiced the thought of taking the car after they reached the hotel and taking him, and since he was my responsibility to take there, now, we left immediately.

I drove them all to the hotel after blindfolding the hostile man, and we were off with directions to the closest police department. The man had been put into zipper ties, and he squirmed and yelled to be let free, but I ignored him as best I could until a loud snap was heard. I had only a second to react, and it was already too late. He grabbed the wheel as I almost drove off of the road, and I was blacking out, pain driving through my skull.

I woke up to a rough shove to the side. Wincing and blinked into the sunlight, what little there was left of it, and realized it was him. I hadn't just had some terrible dream... fuck. I'd woken up to being in one. I knew that I was in deep shit now. I'd been the one that had been tricked, the one taken away. All because we were still close to the odd county fair, and his son wasn't here. He pulled out two knives, and pressed one to my neck. I froze, since I didn't want a knife cutting into my throat.

"Get up, little daisy. Places to go, you know. Up. Now."

I began to get up slowly as the man continued pressure on my throat with the knife. It was careful, yet threatening, and I had to make sure my movements were slow and careful as I stood up. When I was finally up and standing, he moved behind me, placing what I assumed to be another knife against my spine, with the knife pressing in just enough to let me know it was really there. Since I didn't want a knife cutting into my throat, or stabbing me through my spine, for that matter, I began to move forward when he told me to.

I began thinking furiously of ways to escape. I knew a few holds I might have a chance to use to keep him down or knock him out, but I couldn't think of any that wouldn't get me severely hurt by getting stabbed, sliced up, or maybe even beat if I didn't manage to do it right. I might not get up from it if that happened. I'm just not the best fighter of all time, being rather small in stature and light in weight wasn't going to help me, here... especially in holding him down if I had the opportunity to.

In the nearly deserted fair, and yes, it was an actual fair with what looked like all of the traditional confectionery; food, rides, booths with trinkets, I found it unnerving to be in such peril in the midst or an area where I should have been able to go to have fun. Instead, I was being held at knife point. It must have been past closing, because no one seemed to be there.

When we arrived at a corner called Spinners End, I got a sick feeling in my stomach when we turned the corner. My eyes fell on yet another booth- but it was larger than the others, sporting a few different games in the same place. But that wasn't what had garnered my attention. It was the small crowd of men laughing and talking in front of it. One of them saw us approaching, and I watched them all begin to pay very close attention. I reluctantly moved forward with the knife at my back pressing in, as the men at the booth fell quiet from their talking and laughing to watch as we approached. The light from the booth back lit them as my captor and I slowed to a stop.

"Franklin? Who is this?" an older man asked. His voice was soft, bristly from talking and yelling over customers all day, but patient. Kind. I listened to Franklin as he began telling the group of men about the 'audacity' of what I had done, taking his son away, planning on turning him in, how I'd almost succeeded. That he didn't know where his son was, now.

There was shock in the air, and then the air went cold. I didn't meet their gazes as they watched me, glaring in anger in the quiet of the closed down fair. I knew that they all wanted to kill me in that moment. Murderers, after all, don't appreciate having their prey taken away. Certainly not when they have to replace the prey, and I could only imagine what a hassle that could be. I now knew what I'd done to Franklin and these men would be exacted on me when I'd taken Franklin's son away from him.

I tried not to stare at any of them. My heart was beating too fast as I tried to keep a level head and tried not to panic, even though I knew that I was sure to die, here. The old man kept an eye on me as Franklins news was all relayed to him, his eyes becoming dark and cold as the news went on. He didn't give off the shine he'd had a moment ago of friendliness, open curiosity and warmth. Now he was giving off a chilling and thoughtful feeling. Suffice to say that I didn't like it.

"What on earth were you thinking, girl? A man is willing to give his son for a chance to live, and you think you can interfere? What made you think you could contain him, when you didn't even check him for weapons? Its too bad... you seemed a lot less like the type that would do this than most girls, because now, you'll have to suffer the same fate the boy was to be fated with."

One of the men opened the door to the inner gaming area and I was brought in to it. As the others followed behind, and the door shut behind us, I realized they were closing the sides too, and lighting the area with lamps. Unfortunately, the booth was large, so they all fit comfortably, but that was bad news for me. A shorter man... no, teenager, by the looks of it, opened a drawer and pulled out a large, old looking spinning wheel. It was spotless, gleaming, old wood and what looked like ivory panels. I'm sure I looked confused. After all, who would have expected this as a fate? But then I saw them.

The wheel had all sorts of things portrayed on it. Ways to die, curses, extreme bodily harm and two other things that I wasn't so sure about. I was let go slowly, and was able to look over to Franklin before he nodded once to me, and pushed me forward. I stopped myself, and gave a small step forward. I felt like I was walking on eggs as their eyes followed me. The old man frowned and a tall man came up next to me, taking one of my hands and dragging me to the wheel.

"Spin it. Your fate will be decided there. This is a games booth after all, and you are our game tonight," he said, matter of factly in a disturbingly smooth voice. He forced me forward to the wheel with what felt like steel corded hands, and put my hand on top of it. He let go of me, and watched closely to make sure I wasn't letting go. I was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and about as happy... but I couldn't see a way out.

I was going to be forced to spin the wheel, no matter what happened. I relented and spun it as hard as I could... hopefully the damn thing would break and I could use the distraction to run. It shook from the force I'd used on it, but it stayed in place, much to my ire. I moved a half step back from it and watched apprehensively for a moment, before I busied myself with trying to look for a way out. With seven other guys there... I didn't stand much of a chance of just running off. I glanced at the wheel, trying to judge just how much time I had to get away, if I tried. The feeling of a knife was suddenly back at my spine, and dug in enough to pierce skin, and made me move forward to try to avoid it, but the knife in front drew a thin trickle of blood. I clenched my hands, mentally counting down.

Some of the men heard the intake of breath from my suffering the cuts and glanced over, saw the damage and grinned softly, or chuckled as they turned their gazes back to the wheel. It was slowing, now that the tiny needle on of the wheel was beginning to enforce just enough stopping power to begin to slow the wheel itself. I felt dread as I watched, and saw it heading towards a section of horrible depictions that I wouldn't have wished on my worst enemies. Fear prickled through me when it almost stopped, and seemed to refuel a bit upon reaching the axis of the wheel, giving it a bit of oomph and sending it spinning a bit faster.

I hid my sigh of relief. No one wanted to die by being slowly slicked open too many times, which is what it had looked like it had almost landed on. A curse escaped a younger male to my left, who glared at me once it passed. Indignation rose in me and I resisted the urge to flick the bastard off. For all I knew, he'd take it to heart.

I looked back to the wheel as it spun on, sure that the longer it went on, the more time I had to think of an escape... but I knew how unlikely that was with the knives on me, and seven other men. Some of which looked fit enough to chase me down.

It slowed, and I felt my stomach twist as it landed on a coat of some kind. Silence reigned throughout the group, and myself. I didn't know what to expect. It wasn't like I could just leap out of a window and get away. Not with them all closed with wooden shutters. I cast a look around as Franklin grinned at my look of panic.

"Are you ready?" he asked, and I felt my eyes grow wide.

Thats when it struck me. The coat. It could mean so many things, but what came to my mind was the coat made of skin. In this place...

Oh God, no.

I flinched as pain ripped up my back. At first I thought that Franklin had cut up my back, already beginning the process, but there had been no movement from him. More pain chased it, becoming worse every time. I forgot about their sneers, the grins on some of their faces, the look of eagerness in the teen boys eyes, and focused on breathing as Franklin chuckled at my agony.

I'm not completely sure there was ever a coat, but I know that the curse or spell, whatever it was that forced the long, trailing spire of pain to run down my spine caused Franklin to jump back and let me go like I was on fire, slicing my shoulder on the way from the dagger he'd held at my throat. I crumpled down, kneeling as the feeling raised cries from me.

Spines emerged from my back, and I felt someone come and slice the shirt from my back. The cloth that fell away, and what I got to see from the cloth itself, was covered in flesh and blood. I stared at it for a moment, in disbelief as they watched. I snarled, a sound I was sure that I hadn't been able to make before. One of them came close and I only noticed from the click of his shoes, as the agony ripped through me. Whatever was happening had me so paralyzed that I didn't get up. Hell, I didn't even think of it as he came closer.

He knelt and angled my head up, which stung like hell, because of the slice in my throat from the knife and the barely healed cut on the back of my head from the restaurant. I tried to look away, but the pale man with his piercingly blue and hazel eyes smiled while his hands kept my face, keeping it turned up to where he wanted it to be.

"Scream. It hurts, but screaming will help it feel better, don't you think?" he whispered, brushing a thumb over my cheek as I tried to tear my head away fro him. My face was held tighter, with crushing force that lasted just a moment before I was rewarded for my struggles.

Another bout of pain, worse than before, tore through the back of me and I realized that I wasn't just being coated in the literal sense. I was being coated in a spirit. Something that wasn't a mere human shape. The world went white in my eyes as darkness fell around it like black snow behind my eyelids, and I closed them to scream. The man holding my face laughed. I fought not to pass out, and dug my fingers into the mans arms as he laughed, and didn't stop laughing as I went through his skin, into muscle and met bone.

I was in a circle of murderers. I knew that once I was blacked out, I most likely wouldn't wake up. There is only so much that the human body can take from pain. I briefly noticed the voices again. Someone touched me that wasn't the deranged man that I clung to.

He touched my back, and instantly regretted it when I suddenly came out of my pain state just enough to swing something I'd never had before at him. A new, blood coated tail. He yelled, cursing, and I didn't know why until I forced myself to look, the man I clung to let me take it in, sliding one hand off of my face.

That's when I saw it for the first time. It was coated in long, black and brown spines that reminded me of porcupine spines, but thicker, and dark red from hitting the stranger in his leg. I stared at it, and let go of the man I'd been clutching. Blood made my hands slick as I tried to grab the table and almost made myself fall. No one else came near me, but I wasn't fooled. I knew that they were watching.

My vision was slow to fully return to anything close to normal. I saw my original captor move, like he was curious. I knew him best, oddly, and almost jumped when I felt the new appendage twist to the left as he made me think about how much I hated him. I stood silently, feeling the vapors of my agony edge away as I tried to absorb everything that had just happened. The man before me, now at my feet, slowly stood.

His arms were a mess, and had black marks around where I'd dug my dull, human fingers into his pale arms. He was bleeding a lot, but he didn't seem phased. He was mostly taking in what I couldn't see. Or so I thought, at least. Others began to move closer, looking, staring, and one grabbed a mirror. I turned away from it before I could see. I didn't want to look. I shivered, unnerved, terrified and sick feeling.

A gentle touch on my arm made me look up, and I realized what a bad plan that was when I saw the blood spattered visage that looked back. At first, I didn't recognize myself. They didn't say much that I paid attention to, though there were whispers in the dark of the room. They just wanted me to see what had happened from the wheel. They were intrigued, maybe even one that sounded sympathetic, but they were more drawn to the blood and pain, and the change itself. They didn't try to comfort me, which was awful, because after something like that happens to you, you want to run, to hide, to pretend its not real. He angled the mirror so I could see that the spines were all the way down my back and went down to a long, thick tail coated in spines.

"The coat symbolizes the pain and strife you wear... and the willingness to use it. Bringing it out for all to see. No one I've seen has worn such a blood ready coat. You could have been one of us... how didn't you become one of us? So willing.." he murmured the rest, but loud enough for the others to hear as well. Heads nodded and I felt unease, stronger than before, worming back into me.

I took a shaky step back. Dizziness swept over me, and my new tail nearly threw me completely off balance. The wounded man I'd literally dug my hands into, drew something from his back pocket with a wince. I watched warily as he brought a knife into view, and turned it around to present to me. I didn't take it. I had a terrible feeling about what he meant with the action as I moved back, the spines on my sore tail whispering along the floor.

I didn't want to be a part of this. Any of it, but he didn't back down. Blood dripped from his arms. He kept the knife proffered, and moved from the stance he'd adopted. He moved deliberately slowly, and the knife began to switch position. Half offered, half threatening. The meaning wasn't lost on me; it was clear that I could take the knife in one of two ways. Either he would use it on me, or I could take it and have more of a weapon than the spines I had no idea how to use... let alone the energy, and I was still surrounded, exhausted, and I knew.. ordinary things in this booth were not ordinary. The wheel had proven that. What did the knife do? Was it like the wheel, and it had some kind of effect?

"Why are you giving me your knife?" I asked warily, my voice soft. I felt it as my throat constricted for me, almost like it was afraid of me speaking too loudly. The silent man before me didn't answer. Movement came from the side, but I didn't divert my attention on the still proffered blade and the man holding it. It might have been foolish not to keep an eye on the others, but so far, murderers or not, they hadn't really provoked me.

"Do you know what hes going to do if you don't take it?" the man next to me asked softly. I knew the voice. The one that I'd stopped from killing his own child, Franklin. I shook my head, daring a brief half glance.

"No. But I have a feeling its not good." It was true. The blade was a hunting knife. Serrated, sharp as any knife I'd ever seen. Perhaps sharper, if he had sharpened it himself. He began to move forward. Something in his posture went into stalking mode, and I was instantly alert to it. I knew I wasn't being left with a choice, now, though. Even as he paused, dark gray eyes focused on me. It sent a chill through me, and I realized it was my last chance. What a demented picture I found myself in.

Knowing how I was covered in so much blood... both my own and his, flesh and flayed clothes, that I'd harmed someone with my bare hands, made me feel ill. Irregardless to the fact that he hadn't fought the terrible grip I'd imposed upon him, that the same man was giving me the option of taking the knife willingly, or possibly being shown the business end of it up close and personal, had me on an edge as thin and as sharp as the knife that was slowly edging closer to me. I moved my hand, and he stilled farther, watching as I brought it up in hesitation in the now silent room.

He smiled. A slow, cold smile that made me want to withdraw my hand, but I didn't think he'd let me. Not after such a long, lingering hesitation. He moved to hand it to me slowly. When his hand touched mine, his hand still wrapped around the knife, I froze in sudden realization.

No. The bastard had tricked me.

He gripped my hand with his other one roughly. Moving made me nauseous. For as long as I'd been still before, I'd thought things were okay after the change had occurred. I was so very, very wrong. Pain ripped up and down my body like someone had tried to rip off my skin. I screamed when he pulled me forward, but the strength of my pain overwhelmed me and I was able, for a moment, to change the aim of the knife. I felt blood pool from my mouth. He'd tried to make me kill him, I realized, as the knife sank into his leg without effort. He yelled, and I laughed through the pain, panicked and pain filled like the broken, torn skin I now wore.

"I'll help you with your coat, miss," hissed a figure. Ice cold dread pierced me before my eyes went wide, and my mouth fell open. I don't know if I screamed. I think I did, but I couldn't hear or see anything through the haze of blackness that swept over me, with a man kneeling down to cradle my face. I passed out, I think, because when I next opened my eyes, I knew there was something different. It was darker in the booth, and the lights seemed brighter, now. I tried to move, and regretted it.

"Stay still, or I'll make your hands too dirty to clean."

That voice... I turned my head, about the only thing I could do without irking the man, whose eyes gazed down at me. Dark gray eyes. I didn't say anything. I just looked at as much of him as I could without moving. His arms were bandaged, but the bandages themselves looked stressed. Like he'd been pushing at the wounds with his fingers to make them bleed through the bandages. He was doing.. something odd feeling. Then I realized, he was pulling off skin from my tail. My skin.. but it didn't hurt. It was like the feeling you'd get peeling Elmer's glue off of your hands. I jerked, and he glared at me.

"Stay. Still. Or I'll pull off your tail, now that you have one. Or do you want your old meat stuck in your new coat?" he sneered, pulling out, indeed, a hunk of my old flesh from the spines. They gleamed wetly, and I saw a bucket beside him. I stared in horror as he dropped my flesh into it with a sick, thick sound. I stared as he smirked.

He was enjoying it, and it showed. I was literally at the hands of someone taking pleasure in flesh by peeling it off of a person. I was extremely grateful that I wasn't attached to what he was pulling off of me, but I was horrified to the point of denial. I looked away, and saw others talking, watching, pointing.. all of the sat or stood, most of them had their gaze on what was happening, and the looks I got were terrifying. One man in particular, older, with salt and pepper hair darkened by work in the sun and dark haired gazed at me with hungry eyes. His green eyes followed the gray eyed man as he moved, when he moved, and I noticed his hands were clenched around his chairs arms, white knuckled, and stock still. He vibrated with pent up energy, as if he'd dive after me in a moment, should I so much as twitch.

They all stood out. One with longer hair watched in what seemed to be disinterest, his body relaxed. Another with curling, reddish brown hair gazed at us attentively. He had such open, hungry curiosity that I knew he'd been told off for it. The tallest of them stood behind him, bringing a blood soaked hand through his hair. I realized he wasn't just bleeding, he has tiny holes all throughout the chest and leg of his pale blue suit. Blood smeared over the one I knew, his throat a big, red hand mark, and bruises forming over his face.

"If you keep staring, they're going to come over, and you might not like that," The gray eyed man warned. I closed my eyes as far as I could, as still see even the briefest bit, bit a sharp tug on my tail let me know that, somehow, he knew. I closed them all the way, listening to the sound of a pair of footsteps approach. I turned my head away from it. Maybe if I didn't seem to hear him, it'd dissuade him from coming closer. It was a fools hope, and it didn't work, either. I tried to go back in my mind, to think of something else.. anything else.

The work on my tail was to a point where he had to have run out of flesh to pull from between the spines I sported on my tail, because the pulling had ceased, the sick plop of wet, heavy flesh in that metal can ceased... and a hot hand brushed over the quills... from the wrong side. I tried not to move. It was hog nose snake time. If I didn't provoke them, make I'd be alright. Or maybe he'd cut my tail off for tail steaks in the morning. I opened my eyes to find the white knuckled, staring man staring at the Gray eyed man.

"Don't. Do it." Gray eyes said. His tone made the other man grin, stroking down the quills, and then down my leg. Just over the ankle. With them locked in a stare, I didn't dare move. The room was completely silent, save for breathing.

"What about you, Ark? Are you going to save her? Are you tired of blood in your hands, flesh in your stomach...? Your not going to just stop."

"No. If I needed to, I have plenty to choose from outside."

"Right. And everyone knows virgin killers are always right outside. Aren't they? Who else had donned the coat and lived?"

I felt ill. Extremely ill. It was beginning to make sense. The boy hadn't just been for gambling. He'd been for lunch. He'd been for all of them. No wonder the man had been desperate. I glanced over, meeting his eyes. The tiniest shift let me know I'd guessed right. I just knew that he knew I'd guessed. I looked back to the two over me, Ark and white knuckle. I focused on listening to my body. If I needed to fight or get up, I'd have to know what was there.

"Orrin.. don't." Ark said. Something about his voice sounded pleading. Orrin gazed down at me, and I glared at him. He smiled, and I had a moment to notice his menacing the look was on him before he turned it into a close lipped, snide smirk. "Do you know whats happening?"

"Your fighting over the menu. I noticed. I'd like to stay off of that particular dietary regiment, though. I think beef is way better than... whatever the hell I am now," I said, my voice was small, but clear enough to be heard.

He nodded once, taking my wrist. Ark was looking from my hand to Orrin, to me, and the look he wore was almost sympathy worthy. He was so deep in, the hunger he felt had turned to yearning. And fear. Eager to escape this situation, I thought quickly as Orrins nails began to dig into my arm.

"I can't just be replaced, right? You said no one has ever lived through this. If you waste me, you might never get one of my ilk again. Then where would you be?" I begged, and it sounded like it. It was reasonable enough from my point of view, but I didn't know just how bad it was until I'd thought it through, and realized that I'd set myself a nice, deep hold to sit in... fuck.

Orrins eyes went dark. That darkness where you see a mans eyes go when promised things they want in darkness with sheets. I shivered, disgusted. "Such things she says. Such reasoning in her terror. You know that she can't get free, just as she does, Ark, and shes trying to stave off the inevitable. Why not? Its her only shot."

Ark took my wrist from Orrins gently, and Orrin let him, watching with a savage grin. I pulled my arm back, but he gripped it so hard I gasped. He held on with a shaking hand, looking to me for a moment. My stomach dropped to my feet in a rush of ice. The look was one of apology.

"N-no. Please." I gave up being nice. I scrabbled to get up, and was slammed back down with force. I didn't give up. I'd do anything to get out of there, not. I tore at them with my nails, shrieked to deafen them and even tried to use my spines on my tail to hurt them. In the end, the kicking, punching, scratching, screaming, scrambling, the quills... it all failed. But I'd knocked the living fuck out of a few of them. They'd almost all come running forward to keep me where I was. I'd been beaten down, punched, kicked... I didn't know how I'd even fought two of them off, but the calm man had a gash across his chest, and the other, the tallest man in the group had been scratched in the throat. Blood dribbled down his Armani suit like it was a deep set of gouges.

Served the fucker right.

Orrin on the other hand, was laughing. He was damn near straddling me to keep me on the ground. I was breathing deep. I was too tired to fight him all the way, but I tried my best not to make it easy for him, either. He nuzzled my neck, and I felt my eyes get big. He chuckled again, against my throat. I tried to move, but it wasn't working.

"Do you want to live?" He whispered, using his nose to move over my neck. I felt ill. He knew I did. I nodded, and Ark leaned in, too, listening as he held his ribs. I'd smacked him into the buckets with my tail. I hoped I'd done some internal damage. "What did you just agree to?"

"I want to live. I'm so not ready to die. I'm scared of death," I pleaded with Ark, looking him dead in the eye. I made sure he saw it all. The fear, the sadness, the desperation. Everything. Ark had, by far, proven himself extremely insane... but right now, he was the closest one that even looked like he gave a damn, as Orrin licked my neck and shoulder.

He was silent. The room had, again, gone mostly quiet. He nodded. "I see. Well, then... you have no idea what you just agreed to. I can't deny this any longer, but at least you will live."

Arks hands pried my hand free from under Orrin, and I clenched my fist, pulling away, when Orrin had apparently had enough. He bit down. Hard. I yelled, and Ark bit down as well, into my already bleeding wrist. I snarled, terrified as tears rolled down my face. They said that I'd live, but with wounds like this, I didn't see how I could. I closed my eyes and more hands appeared, and I let them have my other arm. Two in one arm. One at the wrist, another on the inner arm. I was in a nightmare, I knew, as they drank. They weren't biting for just the sake of biting. Thankfully, there was no tearing or ripping. Just drinking. Orrin was pushed to the side enough to center on top of me, and I felt a bite on the underside of my tail. I felt my tail jerk, but they had it so that the spines wouldn't move and hurt them.

...I would live. I wouldn't die... but in that moment, I knew, with all of my heart that I was broken into pieces that would never mend from this. I settled, somehow, and waited. There were more bites to come, surely. As if on cue, another pair of hands appeared, touching my hair. I winced, and Orrin bit down harder, humming into the wound, shifting to rub an obviously aroused bulge against me. Shivers ran up and down my spine, and not the good ones. He sighed and did it again, then again, harder, before he stopped.

The soft hands moved gently, slowly across my hair as I braved a glance when nothing else happened. Something hit my hair. Blood. By now, I knew the feel of the warm droplets. Abruptly, I realized that it was the curly haired one. He looked a little ill, and pet my hair as he bled into it from a neck wound. Scratches. I opened my mouth to say something, but he shook his head. Quietly, I agreed. He wiped away my tears as Orrin shifted, and I felt revulsion as he pulled his teeth out of me, glancing up lazily as he leaned in to try and kiss me. I wanted to jerk away, but I didn't get the chance. The red head pulled the mans head up and shoved him over. Orrin chuckled as the boy leaned in to me.

"I won't bite, but can I have a lick?" he asked softly, almost shyly. Something else in me broke. He was too curious not to join in. But he'd asked. He waited, and I nodded once, softly. He turned himself so he could get to me easier, and leaned in to give a gentle, soft lick to the burning bite Orrin had inflicted. I felt him tense as I turned my head away, and he paused as my face met his throat, scratched up as it was, it was still bleeding. I gave a small gasp, which was stupid, because his blood got in my mouth.

It was like shoving my hand into an electric socket. I clamped my mouth closed, whimpering. What the hell was going on? A rough hand grabbed my jaw, squeezing. The boy was pushed down, and I couldn't breathe. When this happened, the others let go of me, stopping their bites.

"Let Orik go, Orrin!" Snarled a man. Suddenly, I was able to breathe, but Orik was shaking as Orrin laughed. "Oh, but look at him! Hes so ready."

"...Orik, don't do it," I said. "You were so gentle. You can stay that way," I encouraged him, trying to see through the man. He shivered. I just laid there. I wasn't sure what to do, anymore. I could only beg for so long, and Orik seemed more than happy to stay right where he was. But then, slowly, like he was made of some hard, heavy, immovable thing, he sat up. I stared, because the all too familiar fear raced through my system when I saw his eyes. Red rimmed, with pinkish red irises. He turned around, and shook.

I did, too. No one stopped me. No one tried to keep me down. I watched them watch Orik and I as we struggled away from one another. Every movement hurt, and I just wanted to leave. If I could leave, I'd be so much better. I'd be so much safer. I curled around myself, curling my tail around me and ignoring the bloody tips. I curled on it so hard it hurt the bites I'd gotten, and watched them. Movement from behind me, and I waited until Orik passed. He was no less calm, but he moved by as another came forward. One I hadn't met face to face yet. He looked.. sad. That was the only thing about his expression that I could think of when he met my gaze. He was clean, his black over jacket was uncreased, but taken care of and his dark, almond shaped eyes fit with his olivine skin tone. Dark slacks stood out in this misfit crowd. When he came close enough, I winced when he sat on his haunches to look at me on a more equal level.

He shushed me lightly, and showed me his hands. I didn't see the point, seeing as I probably wasn't able to fight him off if he wanted to do anything to me now. "You chose to live, right?" he asked, trying to speak softly.

"...I do.. or I did. I'm not sure I'll recover from this," I admitted. I sounded broken, and got mad. Just because I was the victim here, didn't mean I had to be like this. But I didn't know how else to be. The asian man reached forward slowly. I shook my head, and he stopped, pausing. "Please don't... I can't take any more bites. Diners closed, okay? Try never again, maybe."

He smiled, and damned if it didn't look good on him, even if the frown he wore next completely ruined the effect.

"I'm going to attack you, then. Its a choice of let, or take, and if you choose life, your losing now, because your bleeding out. I can make it better, but only if you let me. Otherwise, seeing you suffer like this... I will take your life in a mercy killing."

I can't describe feeling so broken, so numb, that you just can't feel anymore. I stared at him, and he stared back. I felt my face go slack. I stopped crying. I stopped hugging my tail to my knees. I gave up completely. I looked at the rest of them with cold, empty eyes. No. Not empty. Accepting eyes. I'd accepted that there was no way out.

"So this is it? I saved a boy, to undergo this? I've had my form changed through force, I've been beaten, scratched, stabbed, sliced, beaten more, bitten, you've tasted my blood... and that's it? Now I get to die because you fucks can't leave well enough alone? Are you mad that I took the boy toy away? I wouldn't have been tortured enough just looking like I do, now? And of course, its just not enough to drink me damn near dry. Of course not. Now you've sent the vet in to kill the beast, now that your done playing with it. Good job, everyone. I bet your families are so fucking proud of you. Out of however million sperm, you jerk offs are the ones that made it. Congrats, and I hope your all happy little kitten killers," I spat, hardly able to wrangle up just enough care to give a fuck when Orrin went half mad and went for me. Orrik grabbed him, keeping him away. Orrin had had promise, I lamented, as I watched him struggle.

A hand brushed mine. I looked at him, and he nodded. I moved to stand up, and he moved to stop me. I pushed him off as well as I could. He let me, grudgingly. "I'm apparently dying. I can do that on my feet. I'm not going to die on a filthy floor," I hissed.

"I admire your sentiment." he said, standing up and moving closer to me. I didn't see him coming after that. One moment he was standing, looking at me, and then, suddenly, he was biting me in the throat. It was smooth, fast, and so easy to feel the difference from what had to be fangs, instead of the gnawing bite of a normal humans set of teeth. I got swept up in the stunning sensation, and felt the dizziness begin anew, even though I had already begun to fade. Quickly. I heard a yell, but I didn't see anything. The bite felt so calming.

I felt my heart beat slowing down. It began to hurt to breathe, it hurt my heart to even beat, but I was so calm. I wanted to lay down, to rest, but I was being held up. Then warmth at my lips. I didn't resist it. I just accepted it. It hit me like it had before, but stronger. It felt like an electric shock all throughout me, and this time, I had no reason to let go. I bit down as hard as I could, and there was a grunt. I didn't care.

As long as I had this, I felt safe. It was home. It was quenching. It took the pain away... until the burn started. Like a fire in my gullet. Confused, I drank deeper, and became aware of the man feeding me his blood trying to coax me off of him. I still drank greedily, until the burn became so bad that I had no choice but to let him go. When I did, I held him to me as he slouched into my arms. I held him and reeled in the strength my bloody body had. I felt whole again, like nothing had happened. I inhaled, and it felt new. Orik stood watching me with the others apprehensively as a creeping dread filled me.

What had I just done?