An inhuman howl tore through the cold night air.
The city was in ruins. Rain – angry, bitter rain – pounded the cracked pavement. Mutts, hungry and feral and murderous prowled the streets. And in the courtyard of the Lab, a blue boy knelt, bound by the wrists to a pole, receiving lashes from a scientist who found his escape attempt unacceptable. Cerulean blood slipped down his back. His long ears were pinned to his skull.
“Please!” he begged. Thunder roared. The whip cracked. Another howl. “PLEASE!”
A foreign tone. White peeled away at the edges of the sky. The whip cracked. Another howl.
“Gaz, hey, wake up!”
The rain is gone. The city, rebuilt. The blue boy jumps, sitting up in bed. Soft words are whispered to him and someone – very gently – rubs those scars on his back. Terrified cat-like eyes glanced around the room.
“Shh, hey…you’re safe. It was just a dream. You’re safe.”
The word tasted odd on his tongue.