Short Story: Subject 12

Subject 12 has no name. At least, not one her ancestors bothered to record. She’s tried asking him directly, but his teal lips haven’t said a word for longer than she’s been alive.

“I’m going to give you a bath,” she says as she dips the wash cloth into a basin.

Glassy eyes don’t react as she runs the soaked fabric over his body, not even when she rubs his remaining horn, an intimate part even spouses think twice before touching. It’s a sorry state for a dragonoid, whose long life, complete regeneration, and immense power make them the envy of all races.

Her ancestors did this. Kidnapped a youngling and hollowed him out with drugs and torture into a blank shell.

If their roles are reversed, she won’t want to see another human for the rest of her life. But the council decided it was her family’s responsibility to fix the problem they created, and her family decided generations of servitude was better than death.

After towelling him dry, she sits two horse lengths away and cracks open her notebook, filled with dragonoid names that are as long as their lifespan. She’s been collecting them in her free time so that she can read them out loud to Subject 12. It started with the hope that if she calls out his name, it’ll rouse him out of the wall he’s built around himself, now the familiar lilt of their names is a comforting song to fill the silence between them.

He might never wake up in her lifetime, but if he can relax enough to show her a small smile on his lips or a faint glimmer in his eyes, she’ll be satisfied.

~End~

Genre: fantasy

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