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April 7 – Freeing the Wolf Within

Lisa Fargazer poked her head through the door that joined the asylum with the hospital next door.  There was no sign, thankfully, of Dr. Viper, so she quickly slipped through the entrance and up the stairs, making her way to Lilith’s bedside.  The girl saw her and sat up gingerly.

“Hello, Lilith, how are you feeling?”  Lisa knew Strifeclaw had plans for them today, and hoped the girl was ready for whatever they were.

“Better.  Especially with Leon back now.”

“That’s good.”  Lisa turned at a stirring by the stairs, and saw Max Islay’s head poke up, followed swiftly by his canine friend.  Lisa smiled at them, though she still didn’t feel entirely comfortable around the dog, and made way for them to gather around Lilith.  She didn’t know Max well, so she kept quiet as they talked, and watched for Strifeclaw.

He wasn’t long in coming, padding silently up the stairs.  Lisa greeted him quietly, Lilith cheerfully.  Tepic arrived soon afterwards, and for several moments, they discussed Leon’s return.

Tepic looked around.  “So, we gonna try an’ spring Tenderpaws?”  Beryl nodded, looking at Lilith.

“Did you talk to Canergak?” Lisa asked him.

“Yes–well, Dr. Solsen did.  He is willing to let us try, and cleared Lilith to use the wheelchair.  Viper’s not happy, but then…” He shrugged.

“Err…how can yer tell?” Tepic asked.  Beryl looked at him with a bit of amusement.  “He said so.”

Lilith edged herself to the side of the bed.  Both Lisa and Beryl stepped forward, helping to support her as she moved from bed to wheelchair.  Once she was settled, Lisa moved around to the back and pushed the wheelchair forward to the stairs.  Between them, she and Beryl managed to wrestle it carefully down the flight, Tepic and Max watching carefully.

At the bottom, Max and his dog took their leave, as they’d all decided they couldn’t think of a legitimate, for Canergak, reason for them to come to the asylum.  After they’d left, Lisa pushed Lilith through the door, while Beryl waved at Dr. Viper, who was watching the proceedings with a disapproving stare.

Of course, they still had the stairs in the asylum to deal with, but between the three of them, they got the wheelchair up to the level of the inmates’ cells, though they were all panting by the end of it.  Beryl went ahead to open the barred entrance, letting them into the inmates’ area.  They all checked, though, at the sight of the open door to Rasend’s cell.  “That Canergak is in there,” Tepic whispered.

As Canergak turned and looked at Tepic, Lilith trembled nervously.  Lisa surreptitiously laid a calming hand on her shoulder.  Canergak raked them all with his gaze, and finally settled on Beryl.  “You gave one of the children one of the new keys. I will be changing the locks in the newest construction. Something which cannot be picked or duplicated.”

Beryl sighed, though Tepic’s eyes lit up at the implied challenge.  Canergak continued, “The specimen is ready for your experiment with the young one. Do take the effort not to lose her.”  With that, he swept past them and outside.  They heard him descending the main staircase.

“Nasty old geezer,” Tepic muttered and Beryl agreed softly.

Tepic strode into Rasend’s cell, and Lisa pushed the wheelchair in after him.  Tepic leaned over the prone body strapped to the table and said, “‘Ello, Tenderpaws.”  Pulling out his flute, he began playing quietly.

For a moment or two, they all listened, wondering if there would be any reaction.  Then Beryl suddenly said, “Did you get that, Lilith?  He grunted a few times.”

“There ya go, Tenderpaws,” Tepic said, lowering his flute.  “We’re goin’ to see ‘bout gettin’ yer out.”

Lilith nodded, and swallowed nervously.  Looking over at Beryl, she said, “When I… revert… use the blue serum.”

With that, the young girl turned back toward Rasend.  A growl escaped as black fur began to cover her entire body, and her bones snapped sickeningly as they began to shift.  Her face was a mask of pain for only a moment before it began to resemble something out of nightmares, and any evidence of the sickly girl she had been was lost.

While Beryl had seen this a few times before, Lisa stiffened, watching amazed.  Tepic let out a small cry of “Goodness,” before he quickly recovered.  “Now that both of yer are wolves, remember–no one eats foxes…”

There was a low, unexpected growl from Rasend in response, though his frame didn’t move.  Tepic grinned as Lilith began to let out small barks and growls, talking to Rasend.  Beryl didn’t know what they were saying, but he nodded along until Lilith turned towards them and started to try to growl to them.  She couldn’t speak in her current form.

Beryl looked to Tepic for an answer,  “You speak wolf, right?”

Tepic nodded, concentration on the sounds coming from Lilith.  Finally, he said, “Oh… err… he’s gotta show Lilith somethin’.  Somethin’ bad.”

“Where?”

Tepic looked confused.  “They need ter go into a dream together.”  He looked at Lisa.  “Could that be like yer cats’ place?  Do wolves have one, too?”

Lisa shrugged, but said, “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“Weird.  Foxes don’t, but… guess we go where we want, so don’t need our own place.”

Beryl glanced back toward the staircase.  “Canergak is down there.”  He looked back at the others.  “I’ll stay here.  Watch you while… you dream.”

“I can play somethin’ ter help yer snooze,” Tepic volunteered.  Lilith bobbed her head, her ears twitching nervously.

“Lisa.”  Beryl looked up at her.  “Lilith might be the bridge, but you’ve actually done this before.  Can you…”  He trailed off.

“I can try,” she replied, trying to keep her tone from being too dubious.  It was one thing to enter the Dreamfields of the cats–she belonged there.  But this… With a shrug, she edged her way past Lilith’s wheelchair, where Lilith was already beginning to nod off, and past Tepic, who had begun playing again.  She dropped down into the corner and curled up, trying to relax.  Tepic’s music seemed to swirl around her, and she let herself drift with it.

((To be continued…))

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