JULY 8TH, 2011
She stared out into the long, wide stretch of broiling desert. There hadn't been rain in years. Any grass she could see was brown and dying…or dead. Everything was dead. The earth looked like it was sizzling in the heat. Off in the distance, the single innocent living thing in the vicinity, a baobab tree, seemed to bend over and slowly die.
Seline sighed. She'd have to step out from underneath the shade of her tarp sometime soon. Her 'masters' wouldn't be very happy if they found her slacking off. They'd be livid. She grit her teeth and glared out into the baking golden land.
She hissed when the bottom of her foot touched the ground. Even though she'd lived in the Algerian desert for the past fifteen years, she still wasn't used to the temperature. She moaned and dragged her feet along the ground and sulked over to the corral where her masters kept all their cows. She glared at them over the top of the fence, disgusting and foul. They would have all been long gone if it wasn't for that confounded ankle monitor. And boy, was she hungry. She climbed onto the wooden fence to get her feet off of the ground and counted the cows in her head. There were 47 of the big, ugly things, and she had to feed and water them.
Wait…there were only 46 cows. She gasped and jumped off of the fence and counted them again. Yep, forty-six. That was not good. She looked around to make sure nobody was watching. Nobody was in sight, but she was definitely going to be blamed for the one that was missing, even though she was positive she hadn't done anything. There would have been law enforcement officers surrounding her if she did. She bit her lip and quietly crept over to her masters' water pump. It was difficult to get water to this area of the desert, so she had to share her own water with the cows…and the regular humans.
She yanked on the pump handle and filled up one trough with lukewarm water, then dragged the trough back over and into the corral. She had to do this six more times until all the troughs were filled and all the cows were lined up at the fence, quenching their thirst. Seline counted them again. Still 46. She was going to be in such big trouble. Thankfully, there wasn't any need to feed them. There was a large haystack inside the corral from the previous week. The bovines would be fine.
She crawled back underneath her tarp and sighed once again. There were just better things out there she could be doing instead of taking care of animals that were just going to be slaughtered anyways.
"Seline! What are you doing, you lazy animal!?"
It was her male master, an Algerian man named Purvis Jameson. He was standing in the sun in front of her shaded area. "Well? Don't you have chores to do? Couldn't you go into the city and buy my family a meal? Just look at you, RESTING." He waggled his walking stick at her threateningly.
Seline looked up at her master through her rusty colored hair and snarled at him. "Last time I went into the city, they chased me out with pitchforks." Her voice was raspy and shrill, yet she muttered to keep her tone comfortable enough so that she wouldn't be beaten or shocked. Any time her masters felt threatened, they would just have to press a button on their own personal remotes and it would send an electrical shock into Seline's ankle monitor. Sometimes they even pressed the cursed button for fun.
"Get used to it. As long as you have that despicable disease, you have no better future than to be chased with pitchforks." He curled his lip as he spoke, clearly disgusted by being in the same 20 feet as his underling.
If only that ankle monitor wasn't attached to her, she would definitely have torn open that man's throat by now. "Yes, master Jameson. I'll return shortly from the market."
"That's a good girl."
Seline stood up, several inches taller than her regular ol' human master, and pulled up her hood over her face. It'd be better if nobody had to look at her.
Mr. Jameson was going to be very upset when he found out one of his sweet little pets was missing. But off she went to the market anyway, without telling him about it.
The first strain of the virus broke out in 2008. Nobody truly believed that lycanthropes existed until they saw what the virus could do.
Entire families were murdered. Riots erupted in the streets. Businesses shut their doors permanently to keep the infected out.
Even the most brilliant scientists couldn't explain the conditions brought on by the virus. Nothing of this nature had ever afflicted the human race. And nobody could figure out how to cure it.
Seline Jackson was one of the infected. She'd been carrying the virus since July 2008 -early on, when most of the world was unaware of it. Seline was studying wildlife in the Nigerian desert. She specialized in the studies of hyenas and African wild dogs. On several occasions she would film them for wildlife documentaries, in which she would have to get very close to them. If only she had been more well-protected...
The virus was transferred through the hyenas, via being bitten or scratched. Reports had also gone around that the virus could be sexually transmitted once a human being had contracted it from the hyenas. It was quite bizarre, to say the least. The virus would take over the human body, discoloring the skin and bending the bones and stretching and swelling and growing…until there was nothing human left. Nobody knew yet how long it took for the virus to completely transform a human being into an animal. Nobody knew yet how long it would be until there was a cure.
The infected were segregated from the uninfected; split apart, hated and looked down upon. Seline was unfortunate enough to be bought and used as a slave for the Jameson family. In Algeria and many other parts of Africa, any person who was found to be infected was forced to wear an ankle monitor and be under constant watch by their 'masters'.
Seline grumbled. Having that monitor attached to her mangled and disfigured leg made it even harder to walk. She pulled her hooded cloak around her body so that nobody would stare at her. It was very unlikely that any of the shopkeepers in the market would sell her a thing, but she trudged up to a small stand and tossed a few coins onto the counter.
"My master wishes for me to purchase his family a meal."