It was the smell that caught her attention; she picked it up at the subway station. She’d followed it up to here: it permeated the alleyway. Worse than homeless people’s stinky piss. Except it didn’t smell bad. In fact it was quite pleasant. She’d never found anything with such an aroma in the city; not even in the rich neighbourhood. She was curious as to what it was.
Moving silently, she made her way between garbage bins and rivulets of actual piss. She couldn’t understand how the smell would suppress that of human refuse. It was usually an odour that percolated every inch of her body. One that needed washing off after a night in the streets. But not now. She knew curiosity could get her in trouble; but the scent was intoxicating.
There was a man sitting on a small stool, as if he were waiting for something. When he saw her, he smiled. She hissed. Something about him. Yet, he smelled so nice; he was the source of the odour that wafted throughout the street, the smell that brought her here.
“Come here, girl.”
How did he know she was a girl? She cocked her head. He extended his hand and the smell became almost overwhelming. It was all over his hand. She approached. At his feet she sat on her haunches, observing him. She licked her paw.
The hand he hadn’t extended caressed her head. She purred; she didn’t always enjoy people’s attentions. Sometimes they were mean; and she was free. But if she were nice, maybe the man would give her food. It was easier to find food in this shape. He continued to caress her; her bones rattled. Oh it was good. When his other hand moved, she licked it. It tasted so good. It was sweeter than anything she’d ever had.
“Want more little one?”
She mewled. He pulled a bottle filled with a liquid that looked more like molasses. There was a white sticker on the bottle but she couldn’t read what it said; not as a cat. He emptied some on his hand again and gave his fingers back to her. Eagerly she lapped at his palm and hand until it was emptied of it content. And again, until the bottle was empty. She spared a thought to wonder what she’d just consumed but it didn’t matter.
“I think that should be enough, don’t you little one?”
When he took her in his arms, she didn’t resist. When he caressed her she merely purred against his chest. She had a moment where she thought she’d never let anyone hold her like ever. But it didn’t matter. She was in his hands, and he was taking care of her. He placed something about her neck but she merely drifted in a state of semi-consciousness. He moved; she knew that. Suddenly he lay her down in the darkness. She mewled. But he let go. Something clicked. She opened her eyes. A cage.
The concept should terrify her but somehow it didn’t. What had been in the molasse like liquid? Drugs? It didn’t matter; she was right where she needed to be. She looked up. He was smiling.
“Good girl. I wonder what you look like in your true form.”
Fear tried to shake her but it could gain no purchase on the happy, soft laziness she felt.
“Do you want to know what you drank little one?”
Did that really matter? It didn’t matter.
“Something that will make you a wonderful experiment subject.”
She didn’t understand. But she didn’t care. Somehow she knew she should care but she couldn’t bring herself to. Somewhere she knew that curiosity got her in trouble so deep, no one would ever save her. But it didn’t occur to her to feel afraid about it.