Avoidables 5(3)By: Rachel Medhurst
Catherine moved on and I noticed Jason standing away from me. He was watching me intently and I felt the skin on my arms rise as the hairs stood on end.
‘What…?’ I asked, joining him.
‘You’re not as tough as you make out, are you, Layla?’ he said.
I saw William disappear into a building ahead and took off towards it. Jason grabbed my arm. I spun and deflected his hold. He stepped back with his hands held up in front of him.
‘It’s okay, Layla, you’re safe from physical harm here. I can’t say the same for judgement though. It’s something you’re going to have to get used to. This is the real world. It may seem like things are getting easier for Avoidables, but the truth is, there’s a long way to go.’
I looked around and saw faces at windows. Eyes staring at me as people walked past. It felt weird. I usually liked attention, especially from men, but this was a different kind of attention and I wasn’t enjoying it.
‘Let’s go and meet Amya. At least you’re free to walk around the compound,’ Jason said.
I followed but something played on my mind as we entered the building. ‘Do you think it’s unfair to keep Amya locked up?’
‘I think it’s unfair to keep anyone locked up. She’s so young, yet she’s capable of hurting people. I’m not really sure how to feel about that.’
Jason walked tall and proud. In fact, they all did. They might be stuck up but at least they took care of themselves. They were all educated and I worried I might not be intelligent enough to deal with what they wanted to me to do.
‘Here we are,’ William said as we walked up to him in a long corridor.
There was a window in the wall but a curtain was closed over it from the inside. I heard a screech from behind it and looked at the others.
‘Don’t worry, that’s normal. She’s part cat, although it is very watered down,’ William said, looking into my eyes.
I tried to look away but couldn’t. His dark stare delved into me and I coughed to cover up how uncomfortable I was.
‘What do you mean, watered down?’ I asked, looking at Jason to distract myself.
‘We think she’s a mixture of cat and Perfect but we can’t be sure,’ Jason said quietly.
My eyes popped at him. A Perfect cross breed? I’d never heard of anything like it before. I knew Hope was pregnant but we thought that her child would be the first ever cross. Maybe we were wrong.
‘Are you ready to meet her?’ William asked.
I nodded. In truth, I had no idea what they wanted me to do, and yet, I was curious about the cat rebel. What was different about her? Why had they come to our city? William opened the door and I cringed as a loud shriek vibrated through my head.
‘Who are you?’ purred the young girl.
She was tied to a chair and her long, red wavy hair was loose around her face. I could see she’d been struggling just by how messy it was. Her eyes glared at me. The pupils were a funny shape, although Jason had assured me they weren’t as bad as the other cat rebels.
‘I’m Layla,’ I replied.
I was standing by the door. William had closed it behind me and now I felt trapped. I was used to living in open spaces, away from Perfects and their city lifestyle.
‘You’re an Avoidable,’ she said, cocking her head to the side.
Her stare was intense and the hairs on the backs of my arms prickled. My stomach clenched as she lunged herself forward. The chair crashed to the floor and I took a step back towards the door. She was huffing as she tried to roll herself over. She laughed and the sound of it sent a shiver through me.
‘I want to eat you,’ she muffled from the floor.
Something inside me snapped. I wasn’t scared of this Avoidable. I’d faced much scarier rebels and roamers. This cat was a girl and I wasn’t going to put up with the rubbish she was throwing. Even if she did sound mad.
‘Stop it!’ I demanded, going over to her, grabbing the chair and roughly sitting her upright.
She yelped as her ties pinched her wrists behind her back. I could see her skin was red and sore.
‘If you cooperated, you wouldn’t need to be tied up. I thought we were the savage ones,’ I muttered, grabbing a glass of water and holding it out to her.