Category: NonHuman Stories

A Lesson in Decorum Ch. 04

by MichelleRubidoux©

Calvin stared down at his plate. It was the same as always. Some sort of gruel made of leftovers and mixed with vitamins. It kept them alive, but they never got full. They were never truly satisfied. Every once in a while, their clients would feed them. He hated that he longed for those moments. Tasting real food, sweet things, salty things, was such a treat that he found himself looking forward to holidays. The single women always seemed to flock there on those days, wanting to pretend to have a partner, a relationship. He could entertain them if he got to eat. He hated himself for that. He hated to feel obligated, to feel excited about scraps. But they certainly were better than what he was used to. He was beginning to feel a hint of fury build in him at the realization.

"Was it that bad?"

Calvin recognized the voice and felt the corners of his mouth upturn to the beginnings of a smile. He looked up, finding one of the few friendly faces he came into contact with on a regular basis.

Courtney still looked very young, her features revealing a soft innocence that he envied. Her spotted mane fell into her green-yellow eyes and she quickly tucked it behind her ear. Her face was round, gentle, her eyes very large and bright. As always, she wore a genuine smile as if she couldn't feel the collar that was latched securely around her neck. At least the females were allowed thin dresses. Their breasts were hidden, obscured. That was probably to keep the handlers under control more than anything else.

"It was horrible," he said ominously. He had to force himself not to smile too much. He had taken a shine to her over the past few months, treating her like a kid sister. It was borderline impossible for him to be angry near her. Her smile was so damned infectious. He doubted that she had a mean bone in her entire body. She was a leopard, something akin to his beast. It made him feel comfortable, at home, near her. It also made him almost violently protective.

"Ah, I guessed that." She slid next to him, her own bowl of slop coming with her. "I heard the guards talking."

"About?" he asked.

"You."

She winked at him and scraped some of her food into his bowl. He immediately reached up his hand. He wanted to stop her. After all, they were only fed once per day. Calvin certainly didn't want to take her food. She glared at him and offered a soft growl in return. Calvin finally let her do what she wanted. She often did that. He was much larger and she tried her best to take care of him.

"So what were they saying about me?" He picked up his spoon and shoved a spoon of the food into his mouth. It was cold, clashing with his that was still slightly warm. It was difficult to keep the stuff down while hot, cold it was almost vomit inducing.

"Apparently you pleased your human very well."

"I usually do."

She blushed and he fought the urge to laugh out loud.

"Yeah, but this... She left them a huge tip." She let a scowl show on her features. It was one of the few times he had ever seen her look so upset. So angry. Seeing her smile slip was so out of character that he froze with the spoon in his mouth for a short moment.

"I always earn big tips," he finally said before enduring another bite. It was getting harder to swallow. He needed to speed up.

"They kept it for themselves."

Calvin offered a small shrug. It was expected. Shifters couldn't own things, couldn't have money. Hell, they couldn't even eat real food unless their owners gave it to them.

"It happens, Courtney." He gently bumped against her with his shoulder playfully. "It doesn't matter. What would I do with money?"

"It does matter." She looked up at him, meeting his orange eyes once more. "Doesn't this piss you off?"

"You know that it does. There's just nothing that I can do about it." He pointed at his collar and then hers. "Neither one of us can do shit about it. It's just the way it is."

She growled and hissed under her breath for a few more minutes. She was getting older, more restless. He understood that. She was eighteen now and that meant one thing. Of course she knew that. He certainly did.

"Hey, why didn't you tell me it was your birthday?" He wanted to distract her quickly. Somehow.

"Who told you that?" she asked. Her words cracked subtly and he felt his protective nature spring up. He wanted to say the right thing, but he didn't know what that was.

His silence was telling.

"One of the handlers, wasn't it?"

He sighed heavily and took a large bite, forcing it down his throat. He offered a soft nod when the lump finally pushed down.

"That figures. I'm sure they all know about it." She looked at him, her anger still evident. In fact, it was growing.

"You should have told me. I like to know these things."

"Why?" she hissed. "It doesn't mean anything good. You know that. Like you said, we can't do anything for one another, it's just another day." She let her face drop down, staring at the table. "You know what it means."

He felt like he had been punched in the gut. Her tone was no longer happy, no longer cheery. They had already warped her and they hadn't even touched her yet. He wanted to scream, to roar. He wanted to rip the building down around them, but he couldn't. He had to make her see that it was okay. It was, for the most part. They had it much easier than some of the other Shifters. And he could keep her safe. That was all that really mattered.

"Come on, Court. It's not that bad." He tried to lie through his teeth but she knew how he felt more than anyone else. "You want to go walk around? We can talk."

"I... I don't know." She sighed heavily and her hair fell completely into her face. "I'm just... I'm scared."

Calvin reached up to wrap his arm around her shoulders. "Don't be. It's fine." He laid a gentle kiss on her cheek. "Humans are tiny, after all."

"Ass," she laughed, slapping his thigh roughly. Her smile returned for a short moment before disappearing. She looked caged, cornered. Sadly, Calvin completely understood every single thought that was racing through her head.

"What is it?"

"He's taking bids."

Calvin winced but tried to retain a smile. His blood ran hot, his fangs sharpened slightly but he never allowed his smile to completely fade. He wanted her to know that it would be fine. It always was. If nothing else, they were far too valuable to damage.

"I told you, it's okay. It won't be bad at all. And I'll be here when you get back."

She looked at him, raising her two-toned eyebrow. "Oh? Would you be anywhere else?" She pointed at his collar. "I thought that pretty much guaranteed you as a captive audience to my emotional breakdowns."

"I guess it does." He winked at her. "So, trust me. It will be fine. I promise." He shoveled the last of the food into his mouth. "Now, do you want to go for a walk before sundown? Or do you prefer to mope?"

"I like moping." She winked at him and stuck out her tongue. "I learned from the best."

"That you did. That you did." He stretched, feeling his muscles pull madly. He was exhausted from the night before, but he still had enough energy that he didn't need to sleep just yet. "So, let's go walk in the pen, yeah?"

"Fine, fine." She ate the last few bites of her own meal. "This stuff really tastes like ass."

He chuckled to himself. "You have no idea how accurate that description is," he laughed, standing up.

The look of mortification on her face spoke volumes. Calvin allowed himself a soft laugh at her disgust and momentarily forgot the reason he felt so anxious. He wanted to keep her safe. He would take all of her clients if that were a possibility, but he knew that it wasn't. After it was over, she would be fine, he reasoned. She might be a little embarrassed, a little emotional, but it would get easier in time.

"You really haven't..." She couldn't finish the question, her cheeks turning scarlet.

"Oh, I've tried a lot of things, my dear. All the things." He winked at her but she wasn't looking in his direction. "Come on. I'll tell you all about it when we get outsi..." He let out a loud oomph as someone bumped into him.

Calvin turned, meeting the eyes of a man much larger than himself, much more frightening. His face was scarred, the remains of claw marks crisscrossing his face and nose. His skin was tan, dark even, but the scars were vibrantly white and pink, telling that some were much fresher, others much older. His right eye was completely white and void of any remaining color, the edges of a scar leaving a bald area in his eyebrow and across his cheek. His other eye was monstrous, amber and glistening with some unspoken hatred.

He had come from The Pits. A dog, a wolf. They were never brought to the brothels, most not living to see their twentieth birthday. But this ugly man was standing very much in front of him.

"You need to watch where you walk, cat," he growled. His voice thundered and rumbled through the air. The few Shifters near them all stopped eating, the women feeling very uneasy and moving closer together.

"You bumped into me, freak show," Calvin hissed back, pushing the wolf slightly and noticing that the larger Shifter didn't budge. He almost wanted to back down after seeing this man's size, but he couldn't lose his place. He was the Alpha, the head of this small group. He couldn't appear weak or they wouldn't trust him.

"What did you call me, pussycat?"

"Bull," Ramirez grumbled, getting right between them. "Bull, you move back." He put his hand on the rugged man's chest and pushed him back a bit. He obliged Ramirez where he looked ready to take Calvin apart.

"Bull, huh? What kind of name is that?" Calvin let a smirk show on his face. "Did they not know you're a fucking dog?"

Bull growled and motioned to lunge when Ramirez held up the control unit. "Back it up, Bull." He put his hand against the wolf's chest and pushed. "I said back the fuck up."

"This fucking bastard is talking shit to me." He was talking through clenched teeth, spit leaking from the corners of his mouth. "I don't let people talk shit to me."

"This one is off limits."

"Yeah?" Bull growled.

A wad of spit flew from his clenched teeth and hit Ramirez in the face. Instinctively, or out of spite, Ramirez hit the button and Bull fell to his knees, grabbing his head.

"You fucking spit on me!" Ramirez hissed. He wiped at his face with the sleeve of his uniform, his eyes showing panic. "Fucking son-of-a-bitch!" He hit the button again and Bull let out a soft scream. Ordinarily, this would have send Calvin into a rage to see another Shifter tortured, but he rather enjoyed watching Bull receive some sort of punishment.

"That's enough," Courtney squeaked. "Please, stop hurting him."

Ramirez looked at her, his thumb going to the button that was designated for her collar. Calvin felt his pulse speed up and his pupils change as he looked at Ramirez.

"Don't," he warned.

Ramirez froze and looked at Calvin. He looked to the corner, seeing the video camera used for security monitoring and his eyes took on a hardened glare.

"Man, I was fucking helping you, Calvin. This is how you fucking repay me?"

"You're hurting him," Courtney cried. "Please, sir. He's learned his lesson."

Ramirez scoffed, walking closer to Bull who was still groaning in agony as the pulse continued. "You know why they call him Bull?"

No one answered.

He released the button and grabbed Bull's hair, pulling his head back. "Like a pit bull."

"What's a pit bull?" Courtney asked.

Ramirez chuckled a bit and let Bull's head fall forward. The large man collapsed on the floor, panting. "Before the plague, we had pets. Dogs, cats." He looked at Courtney. "You've seen the pictures I'm sure." She nodded softly, clutching Calvin's arm. "Pit bulls were used for fighting. They would stick them in rings, bloody them a bit, and see who would win." He bent down to pat Bull's back tauntingly. "This one here, well, he ain't afraid to bite a throat out or two, are you, boy?"

Bull offered a soft growl and Ramirez laughed.

"See?" He stood up, looking at Calvin. "You people are decent replacements for a lot of things." He pointed at Bull. "Entertainment and..." He moved close to Courtney, letting his fingers run along her exposed upper arm. "Entertainment."

Calvin could feel Courtney bristle and he pulled her close. She was shivering quite a bit and he laid a gentle kiss on the top of her hair.

"It's okay." He started to walk, keeping her close. "Let's go outside."

He held her close and rubbed her shoulder where Ramirez had touched her. He wanted her to forget about it, but as he looked over his shoulder as they walked away, he could see that same evil grin on Ramirez's face. He knew that it meant nothing good for him.

Written by: MichelleRubidoux

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Story Tags: shifter, shifter sex slave, weretiger, werewolf, wereleopard, fantasy, collar, future, sci-fi

Category: NonHuman Stories