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It was supposed to be one night off. He was supposed to be gone for one day while he travelled and rehearsed. He was travelling with his band and he hadn't done anything, just got out of the bus to ask how long the stop was going to take, and if they needed any help he might have been able to provide. He knew the moment he saw the scene that that was impossible, that nobody could help.

Blood splattered on everything. The road was stained. He had no idea how he managed it, but he kept himself from vomiting or screaming. Instead, he stepped back, away from the bus. His driver wasn't there- no, he was everywhere. He ran.

There was a creature there, some pointy-nosed lady with bright red hair. On her wrist was a tattoo of a silver fox sitting on a pile of fire rubies, and chewing on a string of something that looked like an intestine. She had inverted eyes, with pupil's like a snake's, but she so much looked like a fox. He paused, and then she pounced, pushing him backward into a tree- but it wasn't a tree, anymore. It was a rough wall, and she clamped chains around his wrists, kissing him deeply before he could protest. Something fell into his mouth, dragging him into a hellish sleep somewhere in between pain and ecstacy.

"Calm," a voice came, light and carefree yet still stern. "I've been doing this since I was only a Shifter. I always preferred to be hands-on with my prey. Maybe, just maybe, you'll earn special treatment."

"Please, let me-" He was cut off by being smacked. Her sharp claws left deep cuts in his jaw. He let out a groan.

"Don't backtalk. You are to address me as Mistress." She slid a needle into his arm, injecting a whiskey-colored liquid into his veins. A searing pain shot through his body, intensifying in his throat. Mistress was gone when the blue-white light overtook him.

He had no idea when he woke up, but his throat was dry and painful. Tears streamed down his face, but he barely recognized it as he called for the woman, for mercy, to be taken home. By the time he stopped, he noticed just how chilled the area was. He used the chains to pull himself to his feet, trying to see the way out, but all he could see was a window, that looked to be about the size of his arm.

He slumped back, and soon Mistress returned with a brand. He backed away from her, but she pinned him and forced his shirt off, pressing a symbol there. He made a noise, almost enough to be a whimper, but he didn't expect her to be slammed into the wall across from him.

"I-I'm sorry, please-"

"Don't be," Mistress snapped, impressed. "I think there's a special place for you."

His eyes widened. He knew nothing good could come of it, but he had no choice as she wrapped barbed wire around his neck, threatening to tighten it and cut him off from his newly bestowed magic.

Mistress led him down a long hallway, to a golden doorway. She opened the door, pulling him into what seemed to be a kitchen. She locked him to the table, laughing at his dismay at this development. He wordlessly begged of her pity.

Over the next three months, if the calendar she kept was right, he was taught to be obedient to her. She would crack a branch across his back, leaving welts and scars. This was how he would wake up. She would give him crusts or scraps of her food on the days he didn't struggle. He was allowed water every other day, but he was allowed more water on days that he got food. He'd been thin before- now he was just bony. Full of pain. But he was determined that she was doing a kindness to him.

Somedays, she'd sit next to him, touching various parts of his body that she had wrecked. She would cut his hair far shorter than he liked, but she liked it, so he taught himself not to flinch. On the last day of the third month, she led him into a room that appeared to be a great forest inside. He was suspicious of it, and in pain, but he had grown to love whatever she offered to him.

That day, she removed his collar of barbed wire. This was a rare occurrence, and when she had let him have that liberty before, she told him to sing to her, to sing her to a climax that she wouldn't soon forget. Rather than ask of anything specific, she simply told him to make her proud before leaving.

He had no idea what that meant at first, but he took the opportunity to stretch his legs. He heard a scream, and he knew that scream from somewhere. He ran.

He stumbled across a fox, one that cowered in fear. Its leg was mauled hopelessly. It was in pain, he knew; so he decided to give it mercy. He picked up a stone and slammed it through the fox's head to end its pain.

He heard the noise first, and he turned to see the beast, but the beast was not there. He ran. It was the only thing he could do, so he did it. He ran until he could not anymore, until he was trapped.

The moon fell seventeen times before he stopped counting the nights in hopes that Mistress would return to him. He hoped that he would escape this room, for Mistress to find him and take him back, even though here he had water daily, and daily he ate. There were days when he was attacked.

He refused to repeat the words, later, that he sang to drive them mad and kill each other. He found a willow tree and broke off a bough, using it to beat himself for harming them. It was the penance he deserved; each bone he broke he whispered thanks to Mistress for the wound, thinking maybe that would make her proud.

He killed a young wolf that attacked him the last night he was there. He did not hint the beast that had injured the fox. It would be a deathwish; it would hurt Mistress and make her angry, make her upset. He was sorry if he already had angered her.

Mistress appeared in the forest that night, holding his head as he mourned it. He took but a few minutes to recognize, and she smiled at him, horrendously sharp fangs glinting pink from her fox-like face. He cried put in happiness, not caring that the trees behind her exploded in reaction as he thanked and apologized.

"Stop," she told him, guiding his lips close to hers. "You've earned a reward."

Their lips met, kissing gently and filling him with a warm, seedy, satiated feeling. He appreciated it, loved her and the attention that she gave. She took him back to the kitchen, chaining him to his table. He let her, and he raised his jaw to allow her to rewrap him with the wire, but she didn't do that.

He felt the knife slice away the long hair and scrape away his beard. He let her, glad that she was reshaping him to be more acceptable, to be what she wanted again. That night, he was washed for the first time in too long, and he soon realized why when she sunk onto him.


Mistress never revealed a name to him once, but she became less heavy-handed and softer. He didn't get his hopes up that it was for good behavior. He decided it was because she would rather instruct him to feed her as her belly grew, at times kicking out when she let him sing. He decided that this child didn't yet know why he was such a failure. When she labored, he was allowed to wash and then catch the child when born.

Mistress named his daughter Athena.


"I want my Mistress," he begged to the new woman- the Professor, known as 'Viviana.' She didn't chastise him, and he felt as if she lied when she spoke.

"She's gone, Andrew," she told him softly, wrapping Athena in a warm blanket and holding the three-month-old close as she ate. "You're safe now."

He was confused and in mourning. Viviana was glad that he wasn't dangerous, only in shock, and that he would heal. Mistress was dead, and the world a tiny bit better.