STRAY – Chapter 5 – Companion Animals









Alex looked around the dark basement dungeon. It was surprisingly warm and comfortable, once you got past the feeling of being trapped. He looked over at Eddie, still looking handsome in his beastial form. His eyes were closed, now just pressed black slits on his furry face. Their love making was intense and passionate, and thoroughly exhausting. Being separated even for a day seemed so painful, that when they finally were reunited, all they wanted was to be like one flesh.

Eddie’s chest rose and fell, taking quick, shallow breaths. Every now and then, little twitches or fidgets would happen on his arm or leg. Alex thought he might be dreaming. He watched to try and see if he could tell if it was pleasant or bad. Who knows what Eddie has been through. What he’s seen and experienced before he came to meet him. What this man had done to him. He wished he could step into his dreams, block out all the bad and show him nothing but love.

Instead, he kept guard, sitting beside him, running his hand on his back as he slept, waiting for the man to return.

He wasn’t sure what he’d do. Perhaps he’d rush the door when he came, pushing past him, trying to squeeze through the narrow opening, pulling Eddie behind him. Maybe he’d have to fight him. He tried to game it out in his head, trying to remember how big and strong he seemed.

He felt his fist clench, as if he was ready to punch through the wall at the thought of him. But just as he felt his tension build, he saw the dark eyes of Eddie open up and reflect back at him.

“How long was I asleep?”

“I don’t know. Twenty minutes maybe. I kind of lost track of time, myself.” He ran his hand along Eddie’s face, watching his tired smile perk up and his ears lift. He felt their soft fur, watching him rise from his nap.

“When did–I mean, have you always been like this?”

Eddie leaned up, looking off toward the light. “No. I used to be like you. Like everyone else. But then one day in high school, something happened. I don’t know what, but I felt this change come over me. I couldn’t stop it. I didn’t know what it was.”

“Were you scared?”

“Terrified. It seemed like a nightmare! I didn’t know who to talk to or where to go for help. I assumed people would think I’m crazy or a monster. I kept it a secret, trying to stay hidden and unseen. Tried to even predict when the change would happen. …Eventually my family found out. They were terrified, too.”

“What happened?”

“They didn’t know what to do, either. I can’t say I blame them. So… I left. Or rather… I was asked to leave.”

“That’s awful. Those assholes! Where did you go?”

“I wandered around a bit. There are more homeless teens than you’d think. I moved around from place to place, but I couldn’t stay too long. I didn’t want people to see what I was. That’s when Hercules found me.”


“Hercules. The guy who has you trapped here? Or kidnapped you?”

“It’s not… exactly, like that.”

“Does he hurt you?”***“No! …Well, not intentionally.”

“What do you mean? What’s going on here?”

“You have to understand. I had no one. Nowhere. Hercules has kept me safe, kept me fed, and has helped me in a lot of ways. He really does want what’s best for me. And sometimes that just means keeping me secure here.”

“This is insane! You have someone. Somewhere. You can come home with me! I’ll take care of you!”

“I can’t be in your world the way you want me to be. We’ll never have a normal life.”

“We could try! If this place is so great, why did you run away? Why were you out on the street?”

“…I’m just wild, I guess.”

The two continued to talk, Alex trying to understand what was happening, unaware that Hercules car had returned to the house. They were so deep, they did not hear the hum of the engine or the closing of the car door.

It wasn’t until they heard footsteps echoing around the dungeon that they realized he’d returned. Eddie’s ears perked up while Alex stared intently at the closed door.

He waited, breath held tightly in his chest, knowing that he was going to have to do something brave to get out of here. To get them both out.

“Eddie… I know this is confusing, but I need you to do as I say. When the door opens, I need you to run as fast as you can.”

Eddie looked at Alex and nodded meekly.

As the door began to quake and move, Alex pounced forward. He needed to take the man by surprise, knowing he’d never expect an attack of this kind.

The door moved slowly, revealing Hercules large, muscular body little by little. Alex knew he had the physical advantage, but he had to move.

It was all so fast. Alex looked into Hercules eyes as he came close, seeing the handsome man fully for the first time. Eddie was close behind him, running toward the door with him. The two boys split Hercules, moving past him on either side. The man seemed to have no time to react and understand what was happening as they slipped through. And yet, to Alex’s surprise, he felt a tug on the back of his shirt.

His speed was cut short as he was caught in the older man’s grip. It seemed impossible that he could grab him that fast. He looked forward, hoping to see Eddie continue forward, only to see the dark, empty bedroom he’d come through to find their hidden chamber.

Hercules had them both, one caught in either hand.

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