Kiba walked around the desolate streets of the dying island city. His mind swirling with thoughts about Paradise and the harsh comments made by Tsume.
Is he right? Have I spent my life searching for a place that doesn't exist?
He shook his head, shaking his shaggy hair around his face. Kiba wasn't sure what it was, but something deep within him denied those thoughts. His feelings were so strong, but why didn't the others have the same feelings? Why didn't they feel the tugging that directed him towards the path to paradise?
Kiba's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of muffled applause. The building the noise came out of looked uninhabited and decrepit, yet light peeked from underneath the door and through the cracks in the shut curtains. Kiba slinked cautiously towards the window, crouch low beneath it before peeking inside. He could easily make out a giant area, filled with humans about twenty feet below the balcony which held the window and door and was also filled with cheering humans. Kiba peered anxiously over the human's head and saw the cleared space in the center of the room. Two humans stood on either side, each hold snarling, vicious looking canines. His eyes widened as the animals were released and began brutally attacking each other. The crowed roared with excitement.
/ / /
I felt bone crushing between my teeth, the blaring sounds of cheering and screaming drowning out the squeal of pain. The dog's leg went limp underneath my muzzle but my opponent still trashed wildly to escape from my jaws. I felt claws tearing desperately at my shoulders as I unclenched my teeth from the mauled leg. My hind leg kicked out and swiped the dog across the neck with deadly claws. I turned and slammed the heavily injured body into the ground, my jaws hovering over the exposed, bloody throat. Cheers exploded from the crowd. Blood dripped onto the tile and shrieks of pain and fear came from underneath me. I held the pin almost effortlessly and wait for the signal. The audience gradually silenced, whoops and cheers occasionally escaping an overly excited observer.
Finally, silence enveloped the crowd and made the sounds of my growls and the desperate struggles of my opponent echo loudly through the small space. A loud, high pitched whistle ripped through my ear drums. I glanced at the suddenly still dog underneath my paws, his once vicious eyes clouding over. I mercilessly buried my fangs into his jugular, his body giving one final spasm before becoming completely limp beneath me. People clapped, they cheered, they shook hands, they exchanged money.
Three men walked into the arena, one pushed me off the corpse and dragged it out. I growled lowly at the two left, my tail raised stiffly and my adrenaline still coursing through me. They grabbed hold of me, one at my scruff and straddling my back, clutching my sides with his thighs. The other clamped a hand around my muzzle, attaching a leather shock collar around my neck. Immediately, a warning shock ripped through me and I froze, allowing the man to slip a strong metal muzzle around my mouth. My body reacted quickly, easing into submission. They practically drug me from the arena, tugging fiercely on my leash causing the chain collar to clench tightly around my throat. I hobbled along on three legs, my front one raised close to my chest and pulsing with pain from the claw marks in my shoulder.
"Move it, Bitch!" the man ordered while ripping the muzzle from my mouth and shoving me into a high walled pen. I fell harshly onto my injured shoulder and clenched my teeth together in pain. The dirt clung to my fur and invaded into the slashes. I rolled to my other side and tried to turn my head to lick my wounds. The only thing that did was stretch them a bit wider and cause me more pain. They weren't deep but they were in an awkward place and reopened every time I moved even in the slightest. The wound would heal quickly if I didn't agitate it too much. Sighing, I gave up and flopped my head on the ground.
I awoke to the sound of scraping metal. Two tiny doors were being open and food and water were thrown carelessly into the dishes below them. Half of the water spilled onto the ground, but the food was a generous amount of meat scraps. I carefully pushed myself to my paws and limped quickly over to the meal. I sniffed it anxiously, trying to detect any drugs or other impurities. All I could smell was the slightly rancid flavor of the meat and the coppery scent of the water. I sighed once more and dug in with almost no enthusiasm. I'd been here over a year and I still could barely swallow down the food I was given. But it was all I got, so I forced it down. I chewed slowly, cherishing the simple feel of it smashing through my teeth and sliding down my throat. I welcomed the feel of dead meat between my jaws, free of fur and thrashing and violence. I savored the gradual feel of my stomach becoming almost full. I finished each bowl and licked them spotless before settling down in the dirt again.
/ / /
"They will come for you," a beautiful voice spoke quietly.
"They? Who is they? Who are you?" I questioned, my claws clenching frantically into the ice beneath me. I whipped my head around, searching in the snow and ice for the speaker. The blizzard tore wildly through my fur causing my claws to dig deeper. A sweet smell wafted in the air.
"What do you mean? Tell me!" I screamed.
"Do not fear them, they will help you. But only if you let them," the voice answered.
"Help me how? And how will I know-" a sharp gust of wind blew in my face.
"Trust your instincts," the voice interrupted.
My eyes opened slowly and I blinked away the dust on my lashes. I shivered at the thought of the blizzard in my dream. I dismissed it from my mind though and began to stretch my sore muscles. I glanced at my shoulder and noticed the closed, healing wound. By tomorrow, it would be nothing more than another scarred memory.
My ears picked up the sound of paws lightly hitting the floor, but I ignored it and began licking away the blood that had dripped down my leg. The stench of blood filled my nostrils, but then suddenly another more pleasant smell filled my senses. I slowly turned my head and outside my pen stood a wolf.
"What the hell?" I whispered, squinting my eyes and then shaking my head trying to clear away what I thought was a mirage or dream. But no matter what I did, there he stood in his tall, proud stance. His head was held high and he looked down his muzzle at me with vibrant eyes. I stood and walked cautiously near him, our eyes trailing each other.
"Who are you?" I asked, my brows furrowed. His eyes stared straight at me, almost through me. But he gave me no answer.
"Why are you here?" I prodded.
"Why the hell are you here?" He questioned viciously.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I growled, agitated that I couldn't get a simple answer from this guy.
"What are you doing in this place? Used by humans for their entertainment! It's sickening!" He snapped at me, his muscles bunched tightly in anger.
"You think I'm here by choice? Wow, you must be an idiot," I chuckled lightly, then sat and began to lick the blood off my paw.
"What did you say to me?" He yelled, growling low.
"I said you're an idiot. Look, just tell me what you want. I'm exhausted and could really use a nap right about now," I said, still licking at my fur.
"I want to know why you're letting yourself be controlled by these pathetic humans. Don't you have any pride as a wolf? You're tamed just like a mangy dog," He accused and crouched low to the floor after hearing something far off. I growled, set my paw on the ground testing the weight it could hold before limping closer to him. I stuck my face near the thick metal fencing and stared him straight in the eye.
"I didn't choose to be here. Do you honestly believe anyone, even a dog would enjoy being here? If I could get out, I would have a long time ago. But, even if I did there's nothing out there for me. The humans hunt down our kind. It's not safe out there for us. I can hide here and be fed as long as I keep winning my fights. No dog stands a chance against a wolf," I said, glaring fiercely at him.
"You're no more a wolf than the dogs that you kill," He spat. A nasty growl ripped from my throat.
"You better watch what you say," I warned him. The other dogs began to get more irritable. They had for the most part cowered at the presence of the wolf, but when they heard my growl they were trained to react. Barks and growls exploded from the corridor and the sounds of yelling humans approached. When I looked back to the wolf, he was gone. I searched down the hallway and found him stalking behind the closed door. Two humans came in, screaming and banging sticks against the caged pens.
One stopped in from of mine and I immediately quieted my growls. He slammed the door open and walked towards me. I crouched low as he tugged the muzzle back over my mouth. I growled and shook my head uncomfortably at the unforgiving metal, receiving a powerful shock and a whack to the temple. I barked painfully and lower my head, my body twitching mildly as an aftereffect of the shock. A leash was attached to my chain collar and I was led out of my pen. I looked down the hall, my vision shaking. The wolf was slinking carefully out the door. He stopped suddenly, looked me in the eyes with an unreadable expression and then shook his head as I was yanked harshly in the opposite direction.
My carefully manicured claws clicked loudly through the hall, once again alerting every dog in the area. Vicious barks and growls followed me as I sedately walked beside the man. I gave the dogs no response and continued my trek. Each step was echoed by the sound of teeth gnashing or crazed growling and the smell of blood from jaws trying to rip through the metal to attack the others and I. The man leading me yelled at them, adding to the chaos. He snatched a baton from his waist and smashed a paw that reach through its cage. The dog yelped pathetically and hobbled into the back corner of the cage, licking at its paw but still growling lowly in my direction, foam spitting from his jaws. I shook my head disbelievingly.
I'm nothing like them. That mangy bastard has no idea what he's talking about.
/ / /
Kiba practically stomped his way through the town. He had no idea where he was going, but he was livid with emotion. His thoughts were going haywire and he couldn't stop the visions of blood and metal flashing through his mind. He thought the two collars that the she-wolf wore around her neck were bad enough, but a muzzle. That was just down right degrading.
"Why the long face? Given up on going to paradise?" One of the mangy wolves said to him as he passed by their bonfire huddle.
"It's not safe for a kid to wander around by himself, ya know?" A wolf mocked.
"You should move with your pack!" Said another. Kiba halted, his agitation growing.
"What are you guys doing, just standing around with no purpose?" Kiba questioned harshly.
"What'd you say?" The first wolf asked angrily.
"I know why you weren't able to get to paradise," Kiba stated, "The wolves in this town are nothing but a pack of dogs!"
"Why you little punk," The wolf replied, him and his pack advancing towards him.
Kiba stood his ground, growling at the wolves. The emotions from the day flooded through him. Anger, frustration, humiliation, desperation, and aggravation rushed through his head. That she-wolf, she didn't know what fighting for your survival meant. Fighting on the streets against a pack of wolves, half starved, and alone; that was survival. It was survival and it was freedom.