Pursuit of Hatred

by Kodiak


Chapter One

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Pant. Pant. Pant. Pant. Running.
Running from the man. The man with the gun. The man who's trying to
kill me. SCAB! I'll get you! I'll get all of you! Then a new voice.
My father. "Worthless SCAB. You're not my son." Suddenly I run into my
father. My father has the gun. My father is the one trying to kill me.
"Die SCAB," I hear. He raises the gun. NOOOO-
-OOOOOO! I bolted upright in the hospital bed. "Oh, Lord," I
shakily muttered to myself. The dream again. I buried my altered head
in my clawed hands and tried to ignore the pain of my wound, much
smaller now after only two days. The sudden upright motion had pulled
the stitches a bit, but the wound wasn't bleeding. Not that it would
have mattered any; the bleeding would've stopped in a few seconds
"Mr. LeDuc?" came the voice of the night shift nurse who had
stepped in to check on me, Cor-something was her name, I think. "I'm
fine," I said. "Just a dream." After nodding knowingly, checking on my
wound, and asking me if I needed anything for the pain or to sleep
(nurse reflex, I'm sure; most medicines don't work very well on me
anymore), she left me alone. Thank God I could still talk without a
'voder; even a few seconds of talk with another human (I still think of
myself as human) was reassurring. My new voice was deep and a bit
guttural now, but the SCABS hadn't taken that, at least. Being a 5 foot
6 inch, walking, talking wolverine was enough loss of humanity, fuck you
very much SCABS.
It had only been half a year since my bout with the Martian Flu,
and less than two months since the SCABS had done its song and dance on
me, the transformation taking about two weeks of semiconscious delirium
in a small-town Illinois hospital. I swear the SCABS has some kind of
twisted sense of humor. I used to be a 6 foot tall, beefy hairy guy who
was mostly a loner, preferred a high meat content in his diet, and liked
cold weather more than warm. The wolverine-morph body I had now was an
uncanny and ironic reflection of those traits. Oh, by the way, did I
mention that I closely resembled the mascot of the Michigan Wolverines?
Ha ha. Another ha ha: the SCABS had given me some weird regenerative
ability that healed wounds and quickly neutralized most types of drugs
and poisons at an incredible rate (Wolverine from Marvel Comics,
anyone?). I was gonna keep that as secret as I could; I dreaded the
endless jokes that would follow if anyone found out (other than the
hospital staff, of course, I hope they're honest about keeping
confidences). Most people might see that ability as a blessing, but not
me; maybe I'm just pessimistic as hell because of the SCABS in the first
place. Painkillers were largely ineffective now; that's some bad mojo
when you think about a 9mm hole in your left side. The regenerative
ability probably had me age-locked now; so I can put up with SCABS
prejudice for an even longer time on Earth. I could go on and on. Oh,
I should be thinking positively about this, I know, but SCABS doesn't
put one in the best frame of mind, you know.
As for other parts of my life, well, that went to hell at about
Warp 60 or so. I used to be a factory worker, with experience in
machine operation and hand tools. I worked with machinery like lathes
and drill presses; it's what I liked doing and it's what I did best.
The SCABS had affected that, too, as my new claws reduced my manual
dexterity somewhat (I couldn't fully retract them), and sometimes
scratched the paint on the machines or tore the all-important paperwork
that goes with each job. I had always suspected my last boss of being
somewhat prejudiced, as I had only seen white males working in the
plant. Well, I certainly confirmed that the hard way. I was terminated
a mere three weeks after I came back, with my boss using a number of
excuses for the decision. "You scratch the paint too much." "You can't
operate the forklift now; your tail won't fit in the seat." "What if
all that fur gets chemicals in it and catches fire?" Etc, etc.
Bullshit; I think he was just covering his own ass to avoid any charges
of discrimination; most excuses were veiled in terms of 'safety
reasons.' I could have fought it, but why bother? To tell the truth,
it was actually somewhat of a relief to leave, considering the reactions
of my co-workers. They seemed to treat me the same as before, but I
could actually smell their nervousness. Whether it was my predatory
appearance that unnerved them, or some other factor, perhaps a faint
musk odor I didn't myself notice, or maybe the idea that SCABS was
contagious, it was just one more nail in the coffin of job termination.
So I walked out the door without toomany regrets; it's not in my nature
to get angry or to hold a grudge, new instincts aside. I just wished
they had been more open and honest with me.
So there I was, unemployed. I had enough in the bank to last a
couple months, but that was it. Fortunately, my SCABS had been
hospital-documented, so I could get new identification and prove who I
was. Some SCABS have lost everything because they couldn't legally
identify themselves anymore. Two months' money, I thought
optimistically, would be enough to get me to another job.
Man, was I in for a rude awakening. I guess I know why I'm so
cynical and pessimistic now. In one month I must have filed over forty
applications for employment at various light factories, machine shops,
and the like. Most never even called me; probably that little line on
'physical impairments' that I always honestly filled in turned them
off. Two called just to inform me, in rather explicit and impolite
language, what they thought of a SCAB being around normal people. And,
of course, I drew stares and looks of disgust and hostility whenever I
went job hunting or went anywhere in public.
My God, I, who never gave a damn about appearance, who didn't mind
being around SCABS or other minorities before, who didn't factor
religion into my judgement of people, was shocked and embarrassed at
being so ignorant of the way the world worked.
Then, two days into the second month of my money reserves, a huge
chunk of shit hit the fan.
I was walking back to my car after turning in yet another useless
job application (I knew by the guy's scent, you see, I had learned to
recognize such things). I heard the truck pulling alongside my car as I
was getting in, but I figured it just to be another gawker for me to
ignore. Then, as I was fitting my tail into the crudely modified seat
and starting the car, I heard a low-pitched, hate-filled voice spit out
"Fucking SCABS."
That, plus the powerful, sour odor of alcohol suddenly wafting my
way, whipped my head around fast, and there was some filthy, drunk, and
furious-looking man 10 feet away pointing a gun at me! Browning Hi-Power
I thought incoherently, then the good ol' survival instinct kicked in.
I didn't waste time; I dropped the transmission lever into Drive and
floored the gas pedal as he started firing. I was lucky he was drunk,
because instead of exposing my brains to daylight, his first three shots
just hit the car's body. The fourth shot came through the door at an
angle, and I felt a sudden, stabbing pain in my left side, as the bullet
tore the flesh and fur just above my hip. Thank God it was a dinky
little 9-millimeter, and not something ghastly like a .50 caliber.
Probably wouldn't have been fatal anyway, just a helluva lot more
Gritting my sharp teeth from the pain, I still manged to notice in
the mirror that the guy was getting into his truck to come after me. I
turned my attention back to the forward view. "SHITFIRE!" I roared out
as I nearly slammed into another car in the parking lot. This was at
the back end of the lot, which fortunately was mostly empty. Plenty of
spaces closer to the factory, some health freak who likes to walk to the
plant (don't ask why I was thinking all this stuff, I guess my brain
wasn't exactly coherent at the moment). SCREEEEEE! I missed the
decrepit-looking white Ford by about a molecule's width, pulled about 9
gee's whipping onto the access road, and shot forward (none of this was
helping the wound in my side, by the way). I had slowed down too much
avoiding the parked car. The drunk gunman in that Chevy pickup was
almost on me.
I whipped out onto the main road. HOOOOOOONKKKK! SCREEEEEEE! I
had probably just ruined someone's underwear, but at the moment I didn't
care, I had far more pressing things on my mind than apology or proper
driving habits. I matted the pedal, peeled out, and heard
a*CRASH!*-VROOOOM behind me as the gunman broadsided the vehicle I had
just missed, and kept coming at me without a second's hesitation. What
the hell did I ever do to him? I thought, and would think several more
times in the 20 seconds or so before this insane pursuit ended.
Stoplight just ahead! I raced ahead, pedal still held to the floor,
hoping to make the green. The gunman was only about 15 meters behind
me. The light suddenly turned yellow, but I knew I would make it
barely. I shot through as the light turned red, but the gunman kept
right on coming, and collided with the right-front side of a big Mack
semi that was just lumbering through the intersection. A tremendous
BANG crashing sound, horns and screeching brakes, then all was still. I
breathed a sigh of relief, and feeling a little dizzy from the
adrenaline and blood loss, I hurried to the hospital. The police
statement could wait.
The next two days would give me another rude and unpleasant
surprise, but one that, in hindsight, I should not have been surprised
at. I was in the hospital, where fortunately they had a doctor who had
some (damn little, actually) experience in treating SCAB injuries,
though mine was one of the worst he'd seen, despite being relatively
minor. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon, and I was flipping idly
through the daytime channels, trying to ignore the pain of my wound,
alternately bored with the mindless TV programs and nervous about the
nasty dream I had had that night. I don't know why my father figured in
the dream; probably some deep-seated fear of eventual rejection because
of my SCABS, even though nothing of the sort had happened; Dad had been
as supportive as ever. There was a knock on the partially open door,
and a uniformed cop came through a moment later. "Aaron LeDuc?" he
asked. "Yeah, that's me," I responded, having expected the police to
show up for a statement as soon as the docs were sure I was stabilized.
No problem there; my regenerative ability had become obvious within a
couple hours of treatment; already the wound was 20% smaller; and the
painkiller from only fifteen minutes ago had already worn off. The cop
introduced himself as Officer Perry Dayton and requested a statement of
what happened, which was as accurate as I could make it. The interview
took about twenty minutes, and when he was finished, he thanked me for
my time, got up, and left the room. I didn't realize that he'd be back
the very next day with terrible news.
I heard his voice just down the hall at 7 am or so; my new highly
sensitive hearing made it difficult not to hear. He was saying "Nurse,
can you leave us alone for about half an hour? I have some confidential
things to discuss with your patient." Dayton was back in my hospital
room a minute later. When he walked in, the look on his face told me
something was wrong. I'd seen the look before; the look of having to
say something that you really don't want to. Shutting the door, Dayton
sat down in the same hospital chair he used the day before, and
proceeded to screw up my life even more thoroughly. I don't hate him
for it; he was doing me a favor with his warnings. He was just the
messenger, after all.
"Aaron, the man who tried to kill you is named Robert Harper. He's
a rather wealthy businessman from the area. What I'm about to tell you
is confidential; you must never repeat it." This wasn't what I had
expected to hear, but I obviously needed to hear it, so I promised my
silence and asked him to go ahead. "Harper lost both his sons to SCABS;
one last year, the other less than two weeks ago; the first son died
when physical changes replaced his lungs with gills; he died before they
figured out what the problem was and were unable to get him into water
in time. His second son changed almost all the way into some small
mammal, a mole I think it was, and lost his mind. We think Harper's
sanity cracked under the strain and he decided that all SCABS were at
fault for his loss somehow. Yesterday, he got extremely inebriated,
took the pistol he had for home defense, and simply decided to go out
and kill the first SCAB he saw."
"So I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time?" I asked.
Dayton replied, "Yes, you might say that." The policeman paused for a
second, then continued. "Harper, amazingly enough, suffered only a
broken nose from his crash. The woman driving the car he broadsided was
alone, and only has minor cuts and bruises, thank God. There were no
other injuries, besides yours, of course," Dayton said, pointing to the
shaved (fur quickly regrowing, of course) area on my left side. "He
should be brought up on charges of attempted murder, among other things,
but there is a problem."
I dreaded hearing what Officer Dayton would say next, for somehow I
knew it meant an ill wind was blowing my way. Dayton continued. "The
officer who responded to the scene, Chris McGee, is secretly a member of
Humans First, and one malignant son of a bitch at that. I know this
because he told me and a few others secretly, and I'm guessing at the
malignancy because he skewed the hell out of the accident report he
turned in, implying that you threatened Harper and forced him to open
fire in self-defense. He pointed Harper to a judge, a fellow Firsters
member, to get him out of the charges pending on him, and they're all
three fixing to have you arrested on trumped-up charges over this
incident simply because you're a SCAB."
"What?" I breathed, horrified at what I was hearing. What the hell
was this? Was there no end to the SCABS prejudice I would face? With a
half angry, half sorrowful look on his face, Dayton said, "I'm sorry,
Aaron, but there's nothing I can do. When you get out of this hospital,
I suggest you take what money you have and lay low somewhere, they can't
freeze your account without formal charges laid against you. This is
not fair, but it's the only thing you can do, I guess. Most attorneys
in a rural area like this won't deal with SCABS; there's just too much
controversy involving SCABS cases around here . They want nothing to do
with such cases. Fortunately, there's a very good chance that they
won't be able to make anything stick; there were just too many witnesses
to the incident. But you'll never know peace around this area again.
This is the best course of action I can suggest."
I was stunned, and barely heard him say goodbye. As he was about
to open the door, I said "Wait!" He turned around. "Why are you
telling me all this?" Dayton paused, appearing to think through his
answer, then told me. "I believe in justice, Aaron. This is not
justice, so I simply want you to be safe until these ridiculous charges
pending against you are dropped. Oh, me and some others I know will
take care of your hospital bills, you just worry about your other
affairs." My elongated jaw dropping open, I still managed to stammer
out "Why?" Dayton came over to me and rolled up his sleeve. I saw a
grayish-green patch of scales just above his right elbow. With a small
smile, Dayton said "A few close friends know, and not too many others.
We SCABS have to help each other out sometimes." "Thank you," I managed
to say as Dayton turned around and left.
So that's where I was. No job, nobody willing to hire a SCAB in
this area, getting low on cash, and some powerful Humans Firsters after
me. I took Dayton's advice; what else could I do? I was angry, of
course, angry at being forced to give up most of what I knew, and
fleeing with my tail between my legs (man does SCABS make some old
sayings literal) like some coward. The realist part of my brain won
out, because I really had no other choice. After getting my affairs in
order, such as rent and utility payoffs and deactivation, I prepared to
move out. I packed up my computer and whatever odds and ends I could
take with me. Talking with my family was harder, of course: they
didn't want me to leave the area, because I'd see less of them.
However, when I explained things, they were as understanding as ever. I
guess that's one area I was tremendously fortunate in; many SCABS have
had their families utterly reject them, and I was glad not to have to
deal with that sort of pain. I was going to move to that city I'd heard
about; fortunately my car was not disabled, though a little......unique
looking now, what with the bullet holes in the side. It had not been
impounded for evidence; I wondered how the hell Dayton had pulled that
one off. A creative paperwork error, maybe. Anyway, I wasn't charging
ahead completely blind; I did have a sort of half-assed plan.
I had done a lot of 'net surfing looking for info on SCABS after my
change, so I would know a little of what to expect. I'd learned the
city was more tolerant of SCABS than was the norm, even with all the
trouble that bastard SCAB-hater Barnes had stirred up, not to mention
the various hate groups still roving around. There was an unusually
high proportion of SCABS in the city, so I would fit in more
effectively. And, perhaps most importantly to me, I would have some
relative peace and anynomity, being in a city where a SCAB was not a
terribly uncommon thing. I was on my way only five days after being
shot, with my wound completely healed over, the fur regrown, no sign of
ever having been wounded. If only my mind can remain as stable as my
body, I thought. At least the dreams had ceased.

Chapter Two

Within a week of living in the city, I realized there was some
truth to that saying about "Grass is greener on the other side of the
fence." Oh, I didn't suffer nearly as much prejudice as had been the
norm, for this was a city where people were calloused to unusual things,
not the small-town area I came from where nobody likes to see an
interruption like Martian Flu or SCABS come along. It was just that the
city wasn't the golden opportunity I had hoped for.
But I still considered it sanctuary from the people who had rejected
me. Do you hear me? This poor, filthy, scrounging existence I now
lived was better than the whispers, the rumors, the looks of disgust or
hatred I had learned to loathe.
Employment was difficult to come by, for though the prejudice was
milder and not as sharp, it was still there. I finally found work
through a temporary employment agency that had me doing various odd
jobs, mostly positions where my increased strength came in handy, or
where no one really sees you (care to guess why?). I did such things as
janitorial work or loading trucks, among other low-key assignments. It
brought in enough money to pay the rent in the cheap flat I had found,
and paid for a few essentials, but it was not quite enough for the food
I needed, and I was actually reduced to hunting for rats or eating
carrion several times. The ease at which I could do those things
sickened me; I was NOT an animal! I understood survival was more
important than my pride, but those infrequent hunt-and-scavenge episodes
really hurt my morale. Yet I was too stubborn to give up. As demeaning
as all this was, I stuck with it, for I did not want to go back to where
I was and face the prejudice all over again. I never changed my name;
though I did start to use an alias, I had my pride and would not let my
true identity be taken from me. Nothing would ever do that; no
hate-mongers, no SCABS, nothing. *Never.*
Then one day, scanning the help wanted articles on a discarded
newspaper, I found something interesting that would change my life for
the better. I found an advertisement on the next page, just a little
box article in the corner that most people never even look at. "The
Blind Pig Gin Mill" it read. Everyone welcome. There was an address
and phone number at the bottom of the box. Blind Pig. Where had I
heard that one before? It sounded familiar....... Maybe I had seen the
name in passing on the Internet, or heard it on the street somewhere.
Whatever it was, my curiosity had been piqued. I didn't need a drink,
though I would probably buy one just to fit in. After all, I couldn't
get drunk for more than a few seconds, anyway, and even that took a huge
amount of booze. Maybe I just needed a place to bleed off the stress
and rage that had been building up in me for several months now. What
the hell,I thought. Maybe someone there might even know of a good job
for a SCAB.

For some reason, I had automatically fixed in my mind a mental
image of the Pig as simply another seedy, rundown bar where people could
forget their worldly troubles for a couple hours. Small-town experience
coupled with an alcoholic stepfather from many years ago had taught me
to expect nothing different from most taverns. So upon opening the
front door of the Blind Pig, I was pleasantly surprised to find a clean,
well-run establishment which, while nothing fancy, had none of the
oppressive atmosphere I had expected. Even better, I drew no stares or
sneering looks, which was quite a relief, believe you me. A couple bar
patrons, both SCABS, looked up for a moment, nothing more.
Relieved, I sat down at the bar, a couple stools down from some
rabbit-SCAB, and took a quick look around. It was a slow night (not
surprising for a Monday), and there were only five or six people in the
room besides me, four of them obvious SCABS. The place was blessedly
quiet, except for a low snoring sound coming from.......yes, under the
pool table (I grinned slightly from that). I was admittedly a little
distracted by the nonchalant attitudes of the Pig's patrons; I had
gotten so used to eating shit over the last couple months that
indifference had become a complete novelty to me. I guess my pleased
surprise explained how I missed the bartender up until now; I don't know
how the hell else I could've not noticed a 600-plus pound SCAB with a
minotaur-like appearance.
I felt a tap on my shoulder, making me look up, and instantly
recoiled slightly from the sight of the bartender. The guy was
*enormous*. "Sorry," I said, instantly embarrassed at my reaction. The
bartender leaned his huge Auroch head forward slightly and smiled a
little (yes, he was able to smile a bit), then followed with a rapid
flash of hand motions. I figured this was sign language, but I knew
nothing of that form of communication, and told him so.
"Donnie said, 'It's all right, it happens a lot.'" I looked over
at the rabbit two stools down who had just spoken.. "You know sign?" I
asked him. "Not really," he said, "but I've seen a lot of it, and I've
picked up that much. He also asked what you'd like to drink, by the
way." I turned back to Donnie and ordered Pepsi with a straw. What the
hell, I figured, I hated the taste of beer. Nodding slightly, Donnie
turned to get the drink out of the cold case. I turned back to the
other SCAB. "Thanks for the translation," I said. "No problem," the
rabbit-morph replied. The rabbit put down his mug and hopped over to
shake hands (er, paws) with me. "Phil Geusz," he said.
"Aaron LeDuc. I go by 'Steel' sometimes, a holdover from my old
job," I returned. Phil hopped back up on to his stool, and picked up
his mug again, an expensive one shaped for paw use. I noted that it had
the words "Hare Restorer" engraved in the side. I grunted a little
amusement at that, and turned to my drink. "It's nice to find a place
like this. Nobody's staring for once," I commented, mostly to myself.
A minute or so later, Phil spoke up again. "Haven't been a SCAB
for long, I take it," he said, with a sympathetic tone to his voice.
"About three and a half months," I confirmed. "Is it that obvious?"
Phil was silent for a moment, then replied, "I've seen the signs
before. You seem a little depressed to me, but that's common in SCABS.
If you want to talk, you came to one of two good places for that." I
answered with a simple "Yeah?" I had a pretty good idea of what was
coming next; I had heard it before. Phil continued. "I do some SCAB
counseling at the West Street shelter; mostly with other lapines, but
others from time to time." Bingo. "I don't need a shrink," I
immediately said, suddenly sullen and resentful at someone offering to
help me. Just my idiotic macho self-reliant attitude rearing its ugly
head again; this had always been a problem with me even before I got
SCABS. Stupid, I know, but that's how I was, I guess. I wish I could
go back in time and kick my other self in the ass for the
then-troublesome attitude problem. Even though everything turned out
more or less alright, what happened next should never have come to pass.

Insofar as I could understand the expression on Phil's lapine face,
he seemed hurt by my reply. "I'm not a psychologist, I'm just someone
to talk to. I can't help if you don't open up," Phil said. "Maybe I
don't feel like opening my heart to a stranger," I replied in as much of
a sneer as I could, repressed anger from the past few months boiling up
in me. Looking warily at me now, Phil said, "I can tell you're bitter.
It's hard to adjust to SCABS." For some reason or other, that set me
"Bitter?! Hard to adjust?! You got that right!" I shouted,
jumping down off the bar stool. "And it ain't 'cause of this!" -I
pulled on a tuft of fur- "Or this!" -I batted my big wolverine tail with
one paw-hand- "Though they cause their share of headaches. Maybe I'll
tell you sometime if I live long enough!" Suppressed rage I hadn't even
been aware of had finally caught up to me and boiled over.
I had gone way too far. Phil looked terrified of me, and I had
drawn the attention of everyone in the bar, just the thing I didn't want
to do. I threw a couple bucks on the bar for the Pepsi, and stalked
out, head down and tail low in shame. Great. Just great. My people
skills were just as wonderful as ever. The sarcastic part of my mind
yapped at me the whole way home. You did great, Aaron! Why don't you
rip the poor bunny limb from limb next time? How does it feel for even
other SCABS to hate you? And on and on, even after I reached home and
went to bed. I spent most of that night tossing and turning, unable to
sleep, tortured with feelings of self-loathing.

I know it's foolish to wallow in self-despair, but that's exactly
what I did for the next week. I thought I had alienated myself from the
Blind Pig, the one outlet that would let me relax in a world that
reguarly denied me that luxury. I didn't know then that the people of
the Blind Pig Gin Mill had seen it all before, and were much more
tolerant of such outbursts than I would have ever dared to believe. So
during that week of despair, I tried to submerge my feelings in work,
and walking, plus enough exercising to tire out a platoon of Marines. I
don't fatigue easily, another legacy of my regenerating ability, so I
need a lot of exercise to tire myself out. But always the despair
lurked in the back of my thoughts. I had made everyone hate me once
more, I thought again and again. But superimposed over those feelings
was my independent attitude. I kept telling myself that "I'm
self-reliant, I'm independent, I'm a loner. I. Don't. Need. * Any.
Help. Period*." I would come to realize eventually that the wolverine
instincts that came with this body, however mild, were having some
influence on my state of mind.
An incident that occurred seven days after my first visit to the
Blind Pig would finally change my mind and attitude, though I wish the
circumstances of the encounter hadn't been so dangerous.
I roused myself early for work, as I always did on a Monday, put on
what little clothing I could tolerate without overheating (not much, I
admit, but enough for the job I had), and drove to work at the factory
loading dock I was assigned to this week by the temporary employment
agency I worked for. More of the same old-same old that would get me by
for the week, but that's it. I pulled into the factory parking lot at
about 6:30 a.m., still half-asleep and wishing that caffeine still
worked on me (you have no idea how hard it is for me to get going
without a Mountain Dew!). I locked up the car, and was about halfway to
the front door before I noticed the familiar, and entirely unwelcome,
stench of oiled steel. God, I must have been out of it to miss that!
Instantly, I was running back to my car, and even had it unlocked
The driver's side window shattered in my face under the roar of
gunfire. As I dropped and scrambled for the other side of the car, I
detected other familiar odors that told me instantly who it was. Robert
Harper! The bastard tracked me down somehow, and had been laying for
I remembered his first profanity-laden, drunken attempt on my life
those few weeks ago. Harper wasn't like that now, apparently, all I
know is that he spoke not a word, but his cheese had definitely slid all
the way off his cracker. Where the hell was everyone else? I know I
typically arrived early at work, but didn't anyone else also arrive
early and hear the gunshots? On second thought, maybe that was for the
best. Harper was crazy, and might just shoot anyone else on sight in
his effort to kill me. As I hid behind the car, I knew he had me.
There was no other cover to run to, the lot was mostly empty. Harper
must have been hiding behind his own vehicle, one of only three others I
had seen in the lot, and waited for me to arrive so he could kill me.
Suddenly I heard a shout. "What the hell-" shouted someone who had
opened the front door. Then BAM! from the pistol, and "Jesus!" from
the same voice. Harper had taken a shot at the person who opened the
front door, probably on pure reflex. The guy was lucky to be alive.
Harper started toward my hiding place once again.
Strangely enough, while this was happening, my fear simply
disappeared. Now, what I felt was a building, simmering anger. "How
dare this son of a bitch threaten me. I'm gonna HURT you!" pretty well
described my thoughts in the next few seconds. I would later remember,
from what I had read about the animal I resembled, that Gulo Gulo has a
notoriously short temper and has been known to take on animals much
larger than itself. This may explain why I suddenly abandoned cover
and, seeing red, charged Harper.
I know what you're probably thinking. Attacking a guy with a gun,
unarmed, isn't the smartest action in the world. I have three defenses
for my actions (the first two are lame ones, I admit, but I couldn't
think of anything else). One, I wasn't exactly unarmed. Two, I was so
angry at the moment that I didn't care. And three, the good reason that
I wasn't thinking of at the time, was that any wounds I took would heal
over completely anyway, with the possible exception of an instantly
lethal wound, such as a shot to the brain or heart. I got lucky.
Harper was only 15 feet from me when I charged, and still distracted by
the guy who he'd shot at. He must have been looking at the door to the
factory at the wrong moment, because his head was turned when I began my
mad dash. I reached him before he got his pistol up, lashed out and
raked him across the face with the claws on my right paw/hand, then
popped forward and head-butted him hard in the face, breaking his nose
yet again and knocking him down. As suddenly as it had descended on me,
the rage suddenly evaporated, and I saw he was still holding the gun. I
could have tried to disarm him, but instead I took the first action to
come to mind, and ran for the factory door and relative safety. Once
inside, I called the police, mostly on reflex, because that's what I had
always been taught to do in an emergency. The call was completed and I
hung up before even thinking about the potential problems I had with the
Past experience told me that dealing with the police would be a
waste of time for a SCAB, and besides, I was apprehensive about the
trumped-up charges back in my hometown, which I knew nothing of, and I
didn't know whether or not I would be arrested for them. Waiting for
the cops to arrive was probably the longest ten minutes of my life. I
worried about being arrested and considered running away before they
arrived. Finally however, in a rare show of optimism, I decided to give
the police a chance to get the facts right this time. Fortunately, the
police in this city are more used to dealing with SCABS, and one of
their senior detectives is actually a fullmorph ostrich SCAB.
Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself treated like the
victim for once. Harper had fled on foot, leaving his truck behind,
which gave the police all the data they needed to identify him and begin
looking for him under a battery of charges which included two counts of
attempted murder. I also discovered that the ridiculous charges against
me had been dropped two weeks after I had moved, which was quite a
relief to hear. That may explain why Harper came after me again.
Despite the fact that I deserved no punishment, Harper saw some reason
to make me suffer. When the law wouldn't punish me, he took the duty
upon himself.
It was less of a pleasure when, after the police left, my boss,
Daniel Fouke, called me into the office and privately asked me to start
looking for another job. I snarled and started to reply, when he held
up his hand and said, "No, Aaron, you misunderstand, I have no intention
of firing you. Please hear me out." Dan explained that as long as I
was here, Harper could come after me again and endanger the other
workers around me. Dan wouldn't fire me, but he said it might be safer
for all involved if I switched jobs so Harper would have a harder time
finding me again. Dan told me, "Relax, Aaron, you can continue to work
here until you find another job; I won't leave you hanging. You're a
good worker, a lot better than some. Your SCABS means nothing to me; I
don't want to lose you; this suggestion is simply in the interests of
safety." I'd heard that one before, boy had I ever, but at least Dan
sounded sincere. Somewhat reluctantly, I acknowledged Dan's words and
said I would consider it. However, I had a somewhat different plan
already forming in my head. But to be successful with that plan, I
would have to swallow my pride and do the one thing that would be a
terrible blow to my ego. I hated it, but it had to be done.
I would have to ask for help.

Chapter Three

Getting help, of course, meant going back to the Blind Pig and
apologizing for the incident with Phil; the lapine counselor was the
only one I knew of that could get me the help I was reluctant to admit I
needed. I didn't want to just walk in on a busy crowd; I was still
convinced that they would kick me out on sight. So I walked into the
bar shortly after opening time, when Donnie was one of the only people
there, and, getting right to the point, apologized for my outburst that
had scared Phil. It was a pleasant surprise when Donnie (using notes
because I don't know Sign) told me not to worry about it, accepted my
apology, and gave me a friendly pat on the shoulder. I felt much better
after this exchange; I would later learn that feeling better after
talking with Donnie Sinclair was a very common happening at the Pig. He
told me that Phil would probably be there later, around 5 or so, and I
resolved to wait for him. Before I could solve my problem with Harper,
I needed to straighten myself out, and letting Phil help me seemed to be
the best course of action. I left the bar, came back about 4 o'clock,
and sat in one of the booths in back, nursing a beer while I waited.
Yeah, I know, I don't like beer, and the alcohol has virtually no effect
on me. But I needed all the calming effect I could get, and even a very
small bit of relaxation was better than nothing.
When Phil finally came in, around 5:15 or so, I felt a little sick
with shame, both because I had to ask him for help, and because I was
still kicking myself for scaring the hell out of him before. Donnie
signaled Phil immediately on sighting him, and exchanged notes (or Sign,
or whatever, I was doing my best not to look at them) for a minute or
so. I smelled Phil a couple seconds before I saw him, as he hopped into
the seat across from me. "Hi Steel," he said. "I'm glad to see you
came back. I was worried about you."
Astonished, I said, "Worried about me? Why would you care? I
scared the living shit out of you, alienated myself from...." Phil
interrupted me, abruptly saying, "Hold that thought right now mister."
That startled me. Hearing a decisive, authoritarian voice out of a
rabbit-morph is the last thing one would expect. Phil went on. "You
didn't alienate yourself from anyone. Did you think you're the only one
who made an outburst like that? Hell, it happens all the time. Most of
us around here, we accept it, we forgive it, we forget it. As for
scaring me, I'm a rabbit, I scare easily. Not your fault. You've been
under a lot of stress, I can tell."
"I don't know what to say," was my response. I should have
realized this from Donnie's reaction to me, but I was still wallowing in
self-pity and not exactly thinking straight. After a few seconds of
silence, Phil spoke again. "All right. Steel, this isn't really the
right time or place for this. Are you ready to let me help you? If so,
come to the West Street Shelter two days from now. I'm not busy, we can
My cynical attitude coming up a bit again, I said, a little
sarcastically, "What's the cost?" Phil just looked at me and shook his
long-eared head. "No cost. If you don't want to call it a counseling
session, then we won't call it a counseling session. Just think of me
as a friend to talk to."
"Fuck. All right, what the hell." I said after a few seconds of
thought. "I'll be there. But what do I do in the meantime? I sure
could use something to take my mind off my problems, and I can't get
drunk." Looking a little confused, Phil echoed me, "Can't get drunk?"
I waved a paw in dismissal, saying, "Never mind, long story. Anyway,
any ideas?" Phil had a suggestion ready, of course. A minute later, as
he hopped out of his booth and headed back to his usual spot at the bar,
I called out to him. "Yes?" he said, ears rotating in my direction.
"Thanks." I said.
I spent the next three hours playing poker, filling in for one of
the Lupine Boys who had cancelled out that night. Gotta admit their
enthusiastic greeting howls made me smile a bit. And a good thing that
real money wasn't used, either, 'cause I would've dropped about $5000
that night. Don't know if it was because I was distracted, or just a
bad poker player. The important thing was that I had fun, didn't have
to think about my worries for a while, and best of all, I was in a place
where I was accepted despite my musteline appearance. I definitely had
to come back here again.
Two days later. I was here as I promised. The West Street
Shelter; a beacon of hope in an area that looked to have been without it
for decades. I admit, I was more than a little apprehensive about
walking here, but I figured my car, piece of shit that it is, would
still have been either stolen or stripped to the frame within minutes
had I driven it here. I had the means to defend myself, and the ability
to heal any wounds I might have taken, but it turns out I didn't need
them. My trek to the Shelter was surprisingly uneventful. Anyway, here
I was. I opened the door and, with some apprehension, walked in.
My first impression of the shelter, I'm ashamed to admit, was What
a dump. Paint peeling, dings and dents in various surfaces, and various
vague foul odors were collectively my first impression. My second
impression, an instant later, was This isn't as bad looking as I
expected. Considering the dingy, run-down appearance of the rest of
West Street, I guess I expected more of the same here. But, from the
relatively clean and intact condition of the place, I realized that
whoever ran things around here must put in a helluva lot of effort to
keep it that way. At that moment, I met that very individual.
"Gimme your name and business, guy," said a harsh female voice
right behind me. Startled, I barely avoided jumping, and instead
turned around to greet a tall redhead, standing with arms crossed about
three feet from me. A SCAB, obviously, due to the scaly appearance of
part of her skin, which faded even as I watched. How did she sneak up
on me like that? She was very comely, but the frown and the 'Don't fuck
with me, Fred' attitude that practically radiated off her in waves
ruined the beauty effect a bit. "Uh, I'm here to see a Phil Geusz," I
stammered out.
The redhead said, "Oh, you're the guy calls himself Steel, right?
Follow me." And without further ado, she turned on her heel and headed
deeper into the Shelter, like I had no choice but to follow her. I
guess she was right about that, so I did. She led me to a tiny little
office, said "Go right in," then walked off without even giving me a
second glance. All business and rudeness, she was, but I didn't really
mind. I figured life had taught her to be that way. I shrugged and
walked into (sort of squeezed into, actually) the office, where Phil was
waiting for me.
"Hi Steel. Don't mind Splendor, she's always like that," Phil said in
greeting, rocking his ears back in forth in what I realized was his best
approximation of a smile. "Hi Phil," I returned. I sat down in the
cramped little chair, which fortunately had a slot for my oversized tail
(which it would, of course, a lot of Phil's 'patients' were SCABS). A
bit apprehensive, I said, "I'll try to work with you, Phil, but I'm
really nervous about being here, 'cause I don't accept help all that
well." Phil replied, "Ok, Aaron, I understand. All I'm asking for is
for you to be open-minded about this. Now what would you like to talk
So I talked. Hesitantly at first, but pouring out of me faster and
faster as I recalled the shit I'd been through, the words I spoke
described how horrible my life had been since I was afflicted with
SCABS. I told Phil about the hate, the prejudice, the inability to get
or hold down a decent job, the trumped-up legal problems I'd had, the
physical and psychological curses of my condition. I even told Phil
about Harper, and how the guy was trying to kill me for twisted reasons
of his own. During this monologue, Phil spoke not a word, except once
to halt me for a moment and calm me down when it appeared I was getting
too wound up (A sensible precaution, I'm ashamed to admit, considering
the incident at the Pig). When I finally finished 15 minutes later,
Phil just sat there on his haunches for a few seconds, thinking (and
chewing a bit of cud, guess it helps him to think, sorta like smoking
with some people). Then he spoke to me.
"All right. First problem of course is how to get Harper off your
back. Believe me, we will address this issue before you leave here.
But before you can fix your problem with Harper, you have to fix the
problem with yourself." Thinking of each and every problem I had, I
answered, "Don't you mean 'problems', plural?"
"There's your problem, Aaron," Phil said. "Your only personal
problem, besides Harper, of course, is that you don't have any problems;
you just think you do." Confused, I simply said "What?" Phil
immediately returned with, "Hear me out. The hate and prejudice stinks,
of course, but did you think you were the only person to deal with it?
Throughout history, so-called 'normal' people have always rejected what
was different. Jews, blacks, mentally handicapped people, overweight
people, and many others. SCABS is simply the next minority to face down
a load of short-sighted bigotry. You're not alone. But you have to let
others help. SCAB and norm, those who can see past the prejudice, are
there to help you out, as you are there for them. You just have to be
willing to assist, and to be assisted." Phil paused for a moment, and I
spoke again.
"Alright, I can understand that, and I'll think on it. But what of
all my other problems?" I said with a little despair in my voice. Phil
shot back: "There you go again. You see all the things SCABS has given
you, and you're too pessimistic to see them as blessings, not curses.
You've got to be positive. Think! You mentioned your wolverine traits
reflect what you used to be. That's a lot more fortunate than many of
us. Look at me! Do I look like I used to be a tough Union rep in an
automobile factory?"
Looking at Phil's cute, furry white lapine body made this
revalation a considerable shock, and I was too speechless to say
anything, so he continued. "You heal wounds and neutralize toxins at an
incredible rate. I can do something similar, but my healing ability
isn't nearly as effective. You most likely won't ever have to worry
about being crippled in any way. Oh, yes, so that ability might be
preventing aging? Look at all the research, and fantasies, and theories
on trying to reduce or reverse aging. Like some chronomorphs out there,
you found the fountain of youth! You have what many can only dream of."

And more: "So painkillers don't work so well. You simply
introduce more for the same effect; the doctors who treated you before
didn't, by your own admission, know much about SCABS, but I know a
couple doctors who never would've made that mistake." Phil had begun
speaking in a slightly mocking tone, because he must've realized how
much it was helping to get through my thick skull. He was mocking my
pessimistic outlook, trying to get me to see the SCABS in a different
light. Truth to tell, I needed it.
Phil threw even more at me: "Surgical correction won't work, eh?
Why bother; they can't restore everything even to a SCAB who can't
regenerate. All that would do is mutilate your appearance anyway. You
got lucky, Aaron, many SCABS only change partway, and are crippled in
some shape or form. You're properly proportioned for a morphic version
of Gulo Gulo from what I can tell, and don't have to deal with that.
You weren't rejected by your family...."
Phil continued on in this vein for several more minutes, his words
hitting me with the mental equivalent of cannon blasts, battering down
the wall of pessimism I had erected around myself. When he finally
finished, I realized just how stupid and selfish I had been, thinking
only of myself and not realizing just how well SCABS had treated me,
when compared to some others with the syndrome. Probably explained my
poor job hunting skills and awful person-to-person relation skills a lot
more than any SCAB prejudice, I understood now. My bad attitude toward
people, especially potential employers, was probably about as obvious as
flies on shit. Sufficiently humbled, I just sat for a few minutes,
thinking. Phil said not a word now, probably because he realized I
needed those few minutes to sort out my thoughts.
"Okay," I finally said. "You've given me a lot to think about. I
understand a lot of what you said, and as I think about it, I'll
understand more, I know. But this still doesn't get to my little
secondary problem. What do I do about Harper?" Phil replied, "You say
the police are already looking for Harper?" I nodded.
In a reasonable voice, Phil advised me, "You have to give them time
to do their jobs, Aaron. They'll find him eventually; because I know
they're taking his attempt on your life seriously. I know a couple
people in the police department, and I'll ask them about your
situation." I asked, "So I just go on like nothing happened? And wait
for him to try to kill me again?" Phil said, "Hardly. I figure the
police are going to stake out your home, and follow you around
discreetly, so they can stop Harper if he shows up again."

Chapter Four

It wasn't a satisfactory solution to the problem, but I accepted
it, reluctantly, because I knew the police really couldn't do anything
else until they found Harper. Still, I worried. Harper had already
proven himself adept at staying undercover, probably using his wealth to
hide more easily. You would think a rich guy would have a harder time
hiding, but maybe he took pains to keep a low profile. I wouldn't know,
I'm not a rich businessman. All I know is that he seemed to be pretty
good at keeping out of the spotlight, so to speak. The bastard may be
insane with illogical hatred for me, but he had an animal-like cunning
that scared the hell out of me. I feared that I wouldn't know where he
was until too late, and that my police 'shadow' would be equally
surprised. An alternate fear that crossed my mind was that he would
bide his time, watching me secretly, until the police watching me grew
bored and gave up the task, at which point he would come to take my
I don't know why I was surprised when he made his final attempt on
my life, a mere three days after my talk with Phil. I'm actually
thankful that he didn't draw out the suspense any farther.
He took both me and my police escort by surprise, of course; the
SOB had proven himself adept at doing that. Besides, I hadn't yet found
a different job, and was still working for Mr. Fouke, which must have
made it easier for Harper to lay for me one final time. I was on my way
home from work. Harper, driving some beat-up tank of a Lincoln, shot
out of a side street, aimed right for the driver's side of my car. I
saw him immediately, and floored the accelerator, but Harper still
caught the back end of my Tempo, peeling away the rear bumper with a
loud screech of twisting metal that was torture to my hypersensitive
ears. The police were just as surprised as I was; none of us had
expected Harper to be so bold. I shot forward as fast as I could, and
Harper gave chase while the unmarked police cruiser brought up the rear;
doubtlessly calling for backup. I couldn't generate much speed, and the
rear tires were making an awful racket; something was rubbing against
one or both tires. The chase was over in less than a minute.
Harper managed to ram me twice from behind; the second hit happened
on a sharp street curve, and I lost control of the Tempo. I managed to
brake to about 30mph before I slammed into the telephone pole, buckling
the front hood and throwing me hard against the seat belt. Almost
casually, Haprer pulled to a stop about 20 feet to one side of me, and I
knew I was in deep trouble; the seat belt was locked and I couldn't run.

"You're too pessimistic to see them as blessings, not curses...."
Phil's words came back to me suddenly, and I realized that my so-called
'curse' would save my life. Not everyone carries a knife. I didn't.
But I didn't need one. The claws extended, I ripped apart the locked
seat belt (no air bag to fuck with, thank God), and scrambled out the
passenger-side door (the driver's door was jammed; besides, Harper was
on that side). There was a terrific BOOM! and I heard the new safety
glass on the driver's door disintigrate loudly. Harper must have fired
without even checking to see if I was still there; if not for my claws I
likely would've been dead. Deja vu: The same scene from the parking
lot at work was happening again. But this time Harper had a shotgun;
and was taking a wider circle around my car to avoid being clawed
again. I heard the characteristic click-clackof a second shotgun round
being chambered. Just as Harper came into view, there were sudden
screeching tires and howls of sirens; Harper, my car, and I were
suddenly surrounded by four or five police vehicles.
I was a sitting duck. But for some reason, Harper didn't open
fire; perhaps the police's sudden arrival had startled him into
indecision. I didn't move a muscle; he could have blown me in half
before I managed to reach any effective cover; the angle was wrong for
me to duck behind the car again. Harper approached to about 10 feet
away, shotgun up and pointed at me. He looked directly at me; he had
only wavered a bit as the police arrived, but now our eyes might as well
have been attached to each other by cable.
"Drop the fucking gun!" About six or seven cops had their weapons
out, pointed at Harper, who acted as if he hadn't heard a word the
police said. Now I knew why Harper had gotten closer; both to make his
own weapon even more effective, and to prevent the police from opening
fire on him. I was too close. I didn't really hear what the police
were doing or saying, either, my attention was riveted on Harper.
His face was a mess. The claw wounds I had afflicted on him were
covered with bandages, but I could smell the blood from them and knew
they were still open and festering. His broken nose hadn't been set and
was beginning to heal crookedly. But it wasn't just the injuries that
caused his ugliness; I could see and smell a stew of emotions coming off
him; hate, fury, sorrow, and confusion were the foremost. The only
chance I had was to try to calm him down, if that was possible.
Besides, I had no other options. So I talked.
"Why, Harper?" I asked. Harper didn't answer for a few seconds;
didn't even move a muscle. Then, in a low, intense voice: "Your
fault. SCABS' fault but yours most of all. My sons, both my sons, your
fault." I tried to reason with him: "Harper, I didn't even know you or
your sons until you tried to kill me. Why? Why did you pick me for
your pursuit of hatred? I didn't do anything!" Harper's eyes wavered a
bit, even though the shotgun didn't. Was I getting through to him? I
continued, "It's not my fault, Harper. It's a disease that took your
sons, a disease that stole my humanity, just a disease. I'm already a
victim and so are you. If you pull that trigger, we both just become
victims again. Would your loved ones want to remember you as the killer
of an innocent?"
Harper sank to his knees, and began to sob. He still had the
Remington 12-gauge pointed at me; I could do nothing but continue to
talk, to get him to save both our lives. "Please, Harper, put the gun
down. Please. For yourself. For me. Most of all, for your sons.
Please. Don't dishonor their memory." I thought I had won. Damn.
Sometimes the hurt, and the hate, someone feels is just too much.
Harper suddenly straightened, his eyes blazed with fury, and he
screamed, "FUCKING SCABS!"
I had heard of it before. People who wished to commit suicide but
who couldn't find the courage to pull the trigger themselves sometimes
goaded the police into doing the dirty deed for them. I knew in an
instant that this was Harper's intention, but he still wanted to take my
life as well, to lash out at something, no matter how useless the
gesture was. I dodged, but not fast enough; Harper tried to track me.
His shotgun roared at the same time the police opened up. I felt a
hammerblow somewhere to my right side, and as I went down; in something
of a daze I watched Harper being torn apart by .38 and .45 caliber
slugs. He fell, a dozen holes in his torso, and collapsed on his side.
Through all the gunfire, our eyes remained locked together; I watched as
the hate and fury finally drained out of them. I watched as Harper's
mouth worked, trying to say something; blood bubbling up on his lips.
Then the life faded from those eyes, his unknown last words never
spoken, and I was finally free to look at something else.
The lower half of my furred right arm, lying five feet away.
Harper's one shot, at close range, had blown off my arm at the elbow
joint. I could actually see the claws extended from that lifeless
paw-like hand, and other details of that shredded piece of meat, with
exquisite clarity. Amazingly, I felt no pain. The physical kind,
anyway. I gazed upon Harper's lifeless form, and shed bitter tears at
my failure to save him. I had no fear or hate left for him, just pity.
For the next few minutes, as the police and the paramedics scampered
around me, I alternately wept or laughed at their movements, which
seemed so much like insectile scurrying around. I don't think I was
entirely sane at that time, but that's understandable, considering the
shock I had just been through. Then, as the paramedics lifted me on a
stretcher, my cloak of detachment suddenly lifted. Blazing pain roared
through me, through the stump of my arm and through the multitude of
tiny holes in my right side. A scream ripped out of me, stripping my
throat raw, and I fainted.


I'm alright now.
Phil was right; I was too pessimistic. I still maintain some of
that negative outlook now, but that's more real-life weariness showing
its ugly head; I'm not nearly as bad with the pessimism as I used to
be. I now saw some of my so-called curses as true blessings, and with
good reason: Though Doctors Derksen and Bob couldn't save my arm, it
turns out they didn't need to. I have that little regenerative power,
don't forget: My arm completely regrew itself in two weeks. The holes
in my right side healed up the very day I'd been shot, and there wasn't
any difference from before; the arm was completely functional, like I'd
always had it. The good doctors, with my permission, took a great deal
of samples from my body in an effort to understand my regenerative
power; I hope they can do some good with it. Maybe someone will benefit
from the research someday.
One major surprise while I was healing up: Phil, along with
several other regulars from the Blind Pig, stopped by the hospital to
see how I was doing. As used as I was to being a loner, getting
attention like this was almost embarrassing; I wasn't used to it. I
didn't realize just how worried about me some of them had been. After
all, I hardly knew them; I had barely spent any time in the Pig at all.
I guess Officer Perry Dayton had been right: Sometimes we SCABS have to
stick together.
Oh, yeah: I have a new job, one that I enjoy a great deal. I'm
the newest mechanic at Archie's Automotive, downtown, a SCAB-friendly
auto repair shop that features an all-SCAB staff. Remember how much I
like working with machines? Well, turns out another mechanic, name of
Bix, finally got his acting career back on line, and that opened up a
slot on Archie's roster. Phil, bless his lapine heart, dropped Archie a
suggestion, and made me a suggestion, and BAM! Just like that, I'm back
doing what I do best. Not quite the same kind of machinery, of course,
but it's still something I enjoy a lot. Oh, and it pays better than the
temp agency I was working for. It's not the extra money that I'm happy
about, though it's nice to have. I can now keep my head above water,
financially speaking, and don't have to hunt like an animal to
supplement my diet. The extra cash, in other words, helps me to be more
human, in a manner of speaking.
One final thing that needs to be mentioned: I actually out-drank
Jack DeMule the other night. It was some sort of running challenge I
had just heard of; Jack's legendary thirst had defeated all challengers
so far, and though Donnie didn't allow real-money gambling in the Pig,
it still gave Jack considerable bragging rights. Well, Jack had no idea
about how my power neutralizes toxins and drugs. Even with that
capability on my side, it was still awfully close. Jack finally KO'ed
at twenty seven shots of whiskey, and I managed to stay on my feet for a
mere thirty seconds after that before I joined him. Just as I went
down, the entire bar erupted in applause, whistling, and (from the
Lupine Boys, of course) loud howls. I, of course, was awake only a few
minutes later, only to find my fur was stark white and stank of some
sort of chemical, said condition lasted three days until I managed to
get all the dye washed out. I never have figured out who pulled that
prank, or how they managed to do it so quickly.
Doesn't matter. It was worth it.



Tell me why are we
So blind to see
That the ones we hurt
Are you and me?

-Lyrics from Gangsta's Paradise, by Coolio and L.V.-

I'll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time
Will open up again
I'll be back in the high life again
All the eyes that watched me once
Will smile and take me in

-Lyrics from Back in the High Life Again, by Steve Winwood-

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been
What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

-Lyrics from Unforgiven, by Metallica-

Copyright 2000 by Kodiak. If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask for permission first. Thank you.

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