“On your feet, arshole.”
Thomy barely had time to register his new owner’s voice before he felt the chain attached to his collar pulled hard, forcing him to his feet. His eyes bulged slightly as they tried to switch focus from sleep to reality, his vision blurry. His right foot did not hold his weight well and he almost took a knee but he was quickly jerked back up. Behind him, his master unlocked the deadbolt tethering the chain to him and at once Thomy felt nearly ten pounds drop off his throat. He sucked in cool air quickly.
A tall man stepped into his still sleep blurred vision, his red hair slicked to the side with too much pomade and his pale, watery eyes bore a hole into Thomy’s face. Mathias MacFarland was not much of a looker, his nose was crooked and he missed a few teeth in his smile, the smell of booze usually heavy on him. Unfortunately, tonight MacFarland was far from drunk which made him all the more dangerous to Thomy.
“You better win some green tonight, we’re not playing anymore.” His open palm smacked the side of Thomy’s face, not hard enough to be a slap but enough to hurt.
Third strike, yoooooou’re outta heeah! Thomy thought to himself, the voice of a northern umpire ringing through his head.
MacFarland wasn’t one for long conversations and he allowed Thomy to follow behind him as they left Thomy’s room. He pulled his hood up while they walked so he didn’t have to see the leering eyes of others. They all knew about his other strikes, they snickered and whispered about it and his foot.
His first strike had been such a spectacular failure Thomy wasn’t sure anyone had ever lost a fight in less time. She had been huge and built like a tank, she had loomed over him but he hadn’t been afraid. He hadn’t been built like her but he had assumed being scrawny meant he was faster. He had also assumed that fighting her would be like the legal rings; he had expected it to be sporty - fair fists thrown at each other with breaks. Instead, someone had yelled for it to start and she had launched herself at him like a freight train, teeth and claws tearing into him like he had been made of paper. She’d pulled most of the skin off of his left arm by the time she was called off of him.
“I thought I came to fight, not play with bait.” She’d stood over him, feet on either side of his hips, and curled her lip; her voice had a whispery quality to it, someone had damaged her throat at some point.
Those words had loomed in the back of his head when he’d been thrown into the ring for his second fight some weeks later. The sounds and smells of the ring had made his stomach turn and he barely could look at his opponent. His first adversary had been bigger, she’d been a refrigerator of a grem2, but the new guy had been built more like him. Sleek, filled out in the right places, a cocky smile that said he knew everything that was going to happen. A fire had ignited in Thomy’s stomach the moment he saw him.
They had released both of them and Thomy had thrown himself at the other. Rather than meet him in a clash of teeth and claws, his opponent had side stepped him and leapt onto his back. Wind had been knocked out of him, he hadn’t stood a chance. When they had called the other off, Thomy had been dragged back through the crowd. Taunting jeers and cacophonous laughter made his face burn beneath his fur and he lowered his head until it nearly touched his chest.
Behind him, he heard his foe call out. “Name’s Umpire, kid! Remember it, because next time you hear it you’re going to die!” His laughter squealed out behind him.
They weren’t headed back towards his room as he’d anticipated but instead to a room near where MacFarland kept his bait grem2. Thomy was shoved hard into a lone chair in the center. He watched MacFarland pace; his face was redder than his hair, his eyes so wide the whites were bigger than his iris, his nostrils flared. Thomy shrank in his seat and did not move, he trembled as MacFarland finally came to a stop.
“You know how I mark the grem2 I employ as bait?” He asked, his voice eerily steady.
Thomy nodded. Those few grem2 MacFarland kept as bait were unfortunate things, crippled on the right side so they could not run or pose a threat. He removed their left and right outer toes so they had to learn to balance on almost nothing. Not being able to run fast enough to escape broke a lot of them. They didn’t survive long.
MacFarland had crossed the room after Thomy nodded and grabbed a lopper. An aggressively large tool that made Thomy draw his feet up towards his chest in fear; he’d seen them in his grandmother’s garden, used them on the trees to remove branches. The pruner’s big, bad cousin was gleaming at him and made his insides turn to ice.
“Stick out your foot.”
“N,Naw I wan’ lose again, you jus’ watchin’, souple,” his voice went up a few octaves, his toes curled under him.
“You arguing with me, boy?”
Boy. He hated that word, he’d heard it before with Grandmother’s nephews. Men calling them boy, telling them what to do, he despised it. He stuck his foot out, the nephews had always told him not to fight back outright, fight back in little ways. Like miscounting the wood they stacked so the ones who used the harsh words got less. He'd disagreed fundamentally, but he never argued with them.
The lopper went around his outer toe and Thomy thought for sure he would faint, the sound of flesh cutting and the twist to break bone making him scream. His nails dug deep into his seat and he sat teary eyed as he watched the stump on his foot bleed blue on the floor. Sharp, nervous noises had come out of his throat but MacFarland didn’t go for the other toe. He had wrapped one meaty fist around Thomy’s snout, holding it closed as he pushed his face in close. His breath had smelled rotten.
“You get one more shot. You lose and you’re joining the others.”
He had one more shot.
The chicken fencing around the ring was bent from an earlier fight and he entered only when the gate opened and he was allowed. Yellow blood coated the ground; grem2 blood had a different scent than human’s and it made his stomach turn. He could see money being passed around outside the fencing as bets were being taken before they were officially released.
When he spotted his foe, his stomach dropped. The same Grem2 as the last time stepped out, his mane combed, his smile bright. Umpire had lost a bottom fang in the few weeks since Thomy had seen him, but it didn’t make the bastard stop with his wicked smile. His laugh, a hearty sound that went right into Thomy’s bones, rung out.
“Again? You’re going to die this time, boy.”
Thomy felt his blood shifting around inside his body; it was a strangely enthralling feeling. Don't fight back, they'd told him. Be crafty. Not this time, this time he'd make someone regret degrading him. He felt heavy but wild and he bore his teeth, the rumble in his chest escaping as he spoke,
</i>“Bòn chans, salaud.”</i>
The cheering and roars from spectators filled his ears, an inescapable din. He forced his eyes to focus. Umpire was crafty, waiting for Thomy to charge. When he didn’t, the other looked confused and started to circle Thomy.
Defense de best offense, Thomy thought, realizing why his opponent was cautious.
Thomy limped with every step and Umpire flinched like he considered lunging. The spectators were getting antsy that no blood drawn yet, their voices sounding angrier by the second. A plan hatched in Thomy’s head and he hardly suppressed a smirk. The next step he took on his right, he faked a stumble, lurching forward. As expected, his foe launched at him and Thomy twisted his upper body to catch him, claws finding purchase in soft sides.
Neck fur filled his mouth as he dug is teeth in, attempting to get at thin skin beneath. He felt teeth on his shoulder and brought his legs up under them to kick, claws digging into his opponent’s underbelly. The reward was immediate, the teeth in his shoulder released and he heard a squeal of pain in his ear. All at once it was as if fire ants were running through his veins, every part of him felt lighter and more aware of it’s own presence. His feet dug into his opponent’s stomach again and he readjusted his teeth to sink into the joint where neck and shoulder met. Blood filled his mouth and he just bit harder, holding his enemy in place with his arms in a bearhug.
At first Umpire thrashed in response, then placed sharp bites, kicking and flailing to get free, but Thomy held on tight until he could feel no more movement. Thomy’s entire body felt wet when he was suddenly aware of something looping around his neck. It tightened as soon as he noticed it and dragged him out from underneath Umpire with a painful jerk. At first he flipped himself over and lunged at the human holding the pole but he stopped as he realized it was over, he was being removed. He dropped his arms to his side and the loop was cautiously loosened, and then taken off his neck. The sounds from the ring side seeping back in, screams, angry or happy he couldn’t tell, were so loud he was sure he’d hear them in the grave.
Thomy turned his head nervous to look at the wicked smile of Umpire, but saw none. There were only eyes, wide and unseeing, stared directly at him. Organs never meant to taste air pooled around the other grem2, parts of them still torn and stuck to Thomy’s toes. Something in his chest loosened and breathing became a little easier. He felt good.
Dey was doubtin’ you, mon cher, see dem lookin’ now. Now hopin’ dey have no money no money on dis one, Thomy grinned and lifted his arms above his head.
Pain erupted at his shoulder and he looked to see he’d suffered some serious bites. As he left the ring, MacFarland found him and grabbed him roughly, his face alight and his speech fast. He was promised food, companionship, whatever as long as Thomy kept it up.
A stranger stepped up next, thumping his good shoulder with a fist. He joked with MacFarland about how messy Thomy was, "Real killer, this one," he said.
“Naw, tee, I didn’ like his smile.” Thomy replied when asked what had changed in him.
The human had gotten a huge payout betting on Thomy, as had MacFarland. Thomy was finally allowed back to his room after a few shots with the stranger and he hurried through the crowds to avoid the angry faces. They’d lost money on him, he’d ruined their nights, but he’d lived.
“So, I’ll send the doc and, hey, what kind of company do you like?” MacFarland’s voice was still too quick, hard to process, as he reattached the chain to Thomy’s collar.
“I wan’ ta eat. We talk over later, now eat.” He replied before forcing MacFarland out.
He slammed the door on MacFarland’s face and sat down slowly beside the chain that held him. He knew he’d pay for slamming the door, but he didn’t exactly care. He pulled his feet to him and used his hand to clean them off, but his hand was also covered in blood and just furthered the mess. He’d felt good. He’d felt powerful, he had killed and he felt good about it in the moment. But here, in the pressing silence of his barren room, he realized Umpire would not smile again. He would not eat or drink or laugh. Thomy had seen to that. Pressure built in his eyes and, finally, he pulled his knees to his chest and wept.
This content is intended for mature audiences.
or, enter your birth date.*
Please enter a valid date format (mm-dd-yyyy)
Please confirm you have reviewed DeviantArt's Terms of Service below.
* We do not retain your date-of-birth information.
Aaah, this is FABULOUS! I stumbled across your lovely piece when my GremCorps batch came along, and I couldn't stop reading! I hope it's not too much to ask, but I'd LOVE more of these! Thank you so very much for this wonderful work! <3 <3 <3
Oh my gosh, this is such a nice compliment thank you!! It means so much to me for you to say that!
I will certainly try to put more out with Thomy if people are interested, I enjoy writing him a lot!
I will certainly try to put more out with Thomy if people are interested, I enjoy writing him a lot!