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Rated: E · Short Story · Animal · #2258429
entry for creature features 9/2021 1107 words, won honorable mention.
"If there is any way you can find my key, I can get us both out of here," Whispered the prisoner from her cell around the corner from Beaoul. "It is on a gold chain and is pearlescent gold. It can unlock any door and get you to a neutral Middle of Everywhen entity or anywhere else you could want to go. All you have to do is focus on a destination. Put the key in a lock or if hard-pressed and really focused push it into a wall and a door will appear. The door will open and freedom is on the other side."

"I think I know where they would put that kind of thing. Where did you get it?"

"It came from the old omniverse. I am just really lucky it still works here. I am doubly lucky that it brought me here. I don't know how it did. Shh, I hear the guard coming."

Beaoul held her question as a sanruphrup guard entered the hallway. He shuffled up to the door to the cell of the prisoner Beaoul conversed with. "Her majesty is ready to see you. Pray to whatever god you worship that she kills you."

Beaoul watched as the hairy humanoid creature drug the prisoner back the way he came. The prisoner made eye contact with Beaoul, and Beaoul saw the realization in the woman's eyes that Beaoul was the one who had been speaking. It was a realization no prisoner had ever had before. The prisoners had always seen Beaoul, a hellhound, and assumed she was just a dumb animal. The knowledge this prisoner had was dangerous to Beaoul. If Mira Black, the reigning Queen of Darkness, discovered that Beaoul, her righthand hellhound companion was socializing with prisoners amicably... Beaoul didn't know how she could spin it in a way that didn't lead to Beaoul's termination.

Beaoul trotted along behind the prisoner and guard, all the way to the throne room. The guard chained the prisoner up in a recently vacated torture alcove. The black walls shined from a hasty rinse down completed just minutes ago. Mira stood just to the left of the alcove with a wicked grin on her face. Beaoul suppressed a flinch. This woman would spill her guts about everything she knew by the time Mira finished with her. Mira snapped her fingers and the guard handed her a small glistening handful. She dangled it from her hand and Beaoul recognized the chain and key the prisoner described.

"Oh, Beaoul, dear! Good, I was about to summon you. Do you realize what today is? I almost missed it myself but Klugg brought it to my attention this morning. Three-hundred-sixty-five standard days ago, you tumbled from your host mother's belly. Today is, what they call on earth, your birthday. I thought we could celebrate with a nice rousing torture session." Mira smiled broadly showing her teeth. Especially gleeful, Mira's demeanor did not bode well for the prisoner.

Mira's smile faded just a bit, drawing to Beaoul's attention the fact that Mira expected a response. Beaoul cleared her throat, "Thank you ever so much Mistress."

Mira's smile brightened. She waved off the guard, and she held the key dangling in front of the prisoner's face, "Do you want to tell me where you got this?"

The woman gritted her teeth and said nothing, offering no other reaction.

Mira tossed the necklace over her shoulder. Beaoul followed it with her eyes. Just a little jiggle of her mind and she could grab it telekinetically. She thought of its promised abilities. Her attention returned to Mira and the prisoner with the sound of a loud slap. Mira had begun to beat on the prisoner. It was an unusual tactic.

"I will find out where you got it!" Mira emphasized each word with a blow to the face or the stomach. The prisoner didn't even whimper or grunt from the blows. Mira slapped her hard and hissed. "I just broke a nail! This isn't worth it! Let me introduce you to a little plague I have been working up for a little world called Tradehub." Mira pulled a small vial into her hand from a place on a stand next to her throne. She sprayed the prisoner in the face. The woman coughed and sputtered. Nothing happened. Mira snarled and flung the empty vial at the opposite wall. "Beaoul, eliminate her!"

Beaoul hesitated. Mira turned and glared at her. Beaoul decided to act. Telekinetically she unfastened the prisoner's chains and snatched up the necklace. Physically Beaoul threw herself at Mira snarling and clawing at the air. Mira backed away in surprise. It gave Beaoul and the prisoner enough time to race from the throne room and off down the hallways. Beaoul attempted to lead the prisoner away down a hallway. She sensed Mira summoning the full force of the hellhounds to hunt them down. Damn, Beaoul thought as they managed to duck down an empty hallway. That is when the lethal effects of the spray began to slow the prisoner. They came to the end of the hallway and the woman couldn't go on, "You never told me your name," The woman drew in a ragged breath, "It doesn't matter take the key. Get yourself out of here. You don't belong in this place."

Beaoul sighed, she didn't know if she had the courage to leave alone, but she had burned her bridges. "I was hoping we could escape together."

"I am escaping. You need to go," The woman gasped for breath.

"I am Beaoul!" Beaoul said using her telekinesis to hold the key up to the lock of a door.

"I am Seyona. Beaoul, do me a favor, help people."

A tear rolled down Beaoul's muzzle, she didn't even know she could cry. The woman's body was one big festering sore.

Seyona pushed one final word past her lips as the sound of hellhounds closing on their position approached them, "Go."

Beaoul turned the key with her mind and pushed the door inward. An infinite white expanse showed through the doorway. Beaoul ran through it and slammed it behind herself. Beaoul sat on her haunches in an infinitely white space that extended beyond her in all directions. Beaoul breathed in her first real free breath. Happy birthday Beaoul! She felt exhausted. She had lived under such stress her whole life that the sudden release of tension left her physically and mentally limp. She lowered herself to the semi-solid space beneath her and fell into a dreamless sleep.


1107 words
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