Cruelty to Animals
"Good. There should be a spare cage out the back somewhere."
The room was dark and greasy, and filled with the smell of blood and vomit. Quiet whines and mews, sad and pathetic sounds, sang a muted and pain filled song. The air was heavy with the hopeless despair of animals. Occasionally a cage would rattle, but not often. They had given up.
A large bird lay strapped on the table quivering with the shock that would kill it long before its opened body could become infected.
The large beefy man in the apron rubbed his hands together.
"Great! Fantastic! Mad's always good for a few cats. Keep them separate, would ya?"
His companion had a sharp face, but it wasn't a cruel one. It was just... blank.
"And bring in some of those winged eye-things and a clean bucket. Some phoney wizard's decided the goo in their eyes is important for a spell." He snorted to show what he thought of that idea.
"Yes boss." The blank faced man lugged his screaming and hissing sack to the back room. After a couple of minutes the cats, or possibly the rusted cages, started shrieking. The beefy vivisectionist got back to work on the raptor on the table. It was a rare beast, nowadays. The Wing Eyes had stolen their niche. He was lucky to have found it.
He almost didn't hear the scratching at the door.
When it finally penetrated, he didn't even bother stripping off his black rubber gloves, which were more for protection from the animals than to keep the juices off.
He opened the door. There was no one there.
Something made a strange little mewling noise, and the man looked down.
What luck. Another cat. And he didn't have many yellow pelts.
But what an unsettling grin...
Most of the crowd noticed the raptor swinging on the thermals, swooping through the smoke, alive and loving it.
But no one noticed the powder yellow cat washing its paw on a patch of grass a block away from the fire.
And they wouldn't have thought much of it if they did.