Warning: This story contains furry micro vore. If that bothers you, nobody's forcing you to read it.
Light shines through the open window of your room, rousing you gently from your sleep.
You sit upright, eventually. Today is the day you finally get off this island.
Not that your time here wasn't decent, but whispers of Syringes preparing to make their presence know here are growing louder and more common, and wisely, you figure it's best not to stick around any longer.
Not that you've had that option for a while. Ships willing to take passengers haven't been pulling in for the past week or so, and you've been getting a little skittish. It hasn't been uncommon to hear of people disappearing in the night, and you shudder to think of what's become of them.
And now you've got a chance to leave and spare yourself from whatever horrible fate that those less-fortunate people have met.
The Stormrunner is not a well-known ship, but it's not too obscure. After asking around for a while, you've heard that this is an island that it regularly docks at, and passengers are usually accepted.
It came in last night, and is not scheduled to leave until tonight.
But one doesn't simply walk onto the ship and ask; there are certain things on that ship that shouldn't be stumbled upon.
But there's always one member of the crew that can be found lurking about on land when the ship pulls in.
Anyone who knows of the Stormrunner most definitely knows about Yhana Iyalesh. A rather dangerous figure. Most people are pretty sure she's a bit insane.
But you're determined to find her, and arrange something. There's no way she could be worse than a Syringe.
You get out of bed, feeling something close to awake now. You didn't get a lot of sleep last night; too anxious to get more than a couple of hours of rest.
You get your things together as quickly as you can, and exit the room, heading downstairs. You've had a nice stay at the inn, but you won't be requiring its services anymore.
You don't bother to make eye contact with anyone as you leave the building; you're trying to draw as little attention to yourself as possible.
The sky is cloudy, but sunlight still peeks through; its light shining on the waveless ocean. Chill winds breeze across the port town, but that's normal. Paliputra is not a warm world, and it's surprising that it's even this warm at this time of year.
You stay close to walls as you wander the streets. You only have an idea of where you're going, and even then, it's not a helpful one.
Yhana likes to find quiet places, so you've heard. And today, the entire island is quiet. There's hardly anybody else out on the streets; no sound other than noise from electronic speakers can heard from inside the gray buildings. Fog surrounds the area, giving a feeling of isolation.
You're smarter than that, though. You know you're not alone here, that several eyes are on you, and that at any given moment, some crazy zombie surgeon with needle hands could step out of the alleyway and inject you with something unpleasant.
That idea brings back thoughts of yesterday. Wandering about; one of the only people out in the evening, and then she just walks by you like she's nothing out of the ordinary.
Almost eleven feet tall, covered in metal plates, and that hairless tail with the oversized rusted nail at the end, like some kind of stinger. But most prominent was her face. Or lack of one, to be more precise. In place of it was a metal, multi-jointed mask, with two black lenses set into it.
You made the mistake of making eye-contact with her. Just a brief look into her eyes brought a feeling of weakness, fear, and fatigue. But on the bright side, at least she didn't do anything more than look at you, nod, and be on her way.
You hope to yourself that you won't be running into her again today.
Of course, Syringes aren't the only threat. Any Xeeok- the anthropomorphic animals who widely populate this world -can be a problem as well. Many develop cravings for living, struggling prey, and more than a few will minimize and swallow just whoever looks good enough.
All Xeeok can become this way. All it takes is a taste of blood to set them off, and there's no going back.
That's not to say that some predators aren't genuinely nice people; a lot of them are, and they do their best to keep their hunger in check, so as not to hurt anybody.
But some fail, and some willingly give in. And that's something to worry about. Because you don't know who around you is or isn't a ticking hungry time bomb.
You keep walking, not bothering to ask around, because you know nobody will be able to supply you with any useful information.
"She likes quiet places" is all anybody has to go on, really. And that's what you have to work with right now.
You turn at a corner eventually, now far from others. Well, far from others who aren't trying to hide. It's dead silent here; on a street lined with brick buildings and abandoned shops. A few places are still open, but they don't seem to get much business.
You shudder, getting a glance from someone in an alleyway. Thin as a corpse; and actually, he probably would have been a corpse, save for the generous amounts of cybernetic enhancements in his body. Human, like you, though some people would not regard him as such.
You keep walking, picking up your pace. That feeling you get when you're being watched is strong now. You turn around suddenly, and find the streets behind you to be totally empty. Realizing you're hyperventilating, you do your best to get ahold of yourself, taking deep breaths and getting yourself to turn around again.
Nobody there, either. You start walking again, refusing to let the cold or the feeling of dread get to you. But you don't try to convince yourself there's nobody around. You know there's somebody near. Syringes are like that.
Sometimes they just watch. But it's better to assume that each and every one of them is out to get you, and turn you into something else in their secret lab or something crazy like that. Because that's really not a crazy thought; that's being realistic.
Just the rustling of discarded paper being picked up on the wind makes you jumpy. And rightly so; failing to react to the quietest of sounds has resulted in the untimely demise of many on this world.
You try to take your mind away from morbid thoughts. You're here to find Yhana, and that's what you should be thinking about.
An hour passes; a rather uneventful one at that. You resist the temptation to stop anywhere for breakfast, you don't want to become even more lost than you already are.
Never have you come to this part of the city before, and it feels like an entirely different place. The cheery, portside section is probably a bit livelier now that it's later in the morning. But this is where nobody sane would go unless they had business here.
Rounding another corner, you find a small park. A few trees here and there; still healthy and alive. The playground in the midst of them all, however, appears to have recieved no service or use in quite some time.
Part of you wants to turn and leave. But curiosity grips the other part; and you're tempted to go near.
The area is quiet, save for the sound of the wind in the trees. And it's a pleasant place as well, albeit just a little ominous.
Ignoring your better judgement, you go near, stepping off of the asphalt and onto the slightly-raised plot of grass. You continue past the trees and towards the playground, and step onto the gravel, holding your breath.
And then you hear the sound of someone landing hard on the ground.
Your heart pounds in your chest, and you spin 180-degrees on your heel, and begin marching the other way.
You find that you're unable to take more than just a few steps before you feel a hand on your shoulder.
"Great day to get lost, isn't it?"
You turn slowly, and the owner of the hand draws back a bit so as to let you.
A jackal Xeeok, standing at about seven-and-a-half feet tall, stares down at you grinning.
She matches the description you've heard; the height, the subspecies, the curling black facial markings, and most notably, the humanlike red hair draped around her shoulders, stopping at the middle of her torso.
"Yhana Iyalesh, I presume?" you say after clearing your throat. You do your best to sound unintimidated, but it's hard, being this close to a potential maniac with an obvious size advantage.
"That'd be me," the jackal responds. "You wanted something?"
"Transportation," you reply.
"Of course; everyone asks for transportation. Well, sorry to to tell you this, but the captain isn't taking passengers at the moment. We're in a bit of a rush here; we have to get some cargo out of here and deliver it by tomorrow night, and he really doesn't want any interference."
"Ah..." you say, your hopes dying. "Alright then. Thanks anyway."
"Sorry. I know Syringes are about to make a move here and all but..." she shrugs.
"It's fine." You turn, and then start to walk away.
"Syringes shouldn't be your biggest worry though."
"Hm?" you say, turning around. But Yhana is no longer there. Feeling a bit jumpy, you turn again and continue on your way out.
However, spotting a figure leaning against the other side of the tree, previously obscured from view, causes you to jump and sets your heart racing again. You manage to calm yourself, realizing it's just Yhana.
"You scared me there..." you say, emanating a breathless, nervous laugh.
She seems to ignore your statement, and cocks her head at you, taking her weight off of the tree and approaching you. "No, your biggest concern should be the fact that you won't be walking out of here."
You begin to back up; warning bells going off in your head as she strides towards you. Daring to look away, you turn yet again and break into a run. But again, after only a few steps, she stops you.
You feel a jolt on the back of your neck, and suddenly, you experience a drastic change in perspective.
You find yourself falling towards the ground, along with a cascade of black ooze; and then suddenly, Yhana's hand dives in and snatches you. It's apparent now that you've been shrunk; your excess materials have been shed off of you.
Yhana at least took enough care to minimize your clothes as well so they still fit, but that hardly mattered in your current situation.
"What are you doing?" you demand, pushing outwards in all directions, trying to loosen her grip.
"I had imagined it would be fairly obvious," she says as she distorts the space around the black ooze and moves it to a remote storage space. "You really have no clue?"
She crouches and picks up your knapsack, slinging it over her shoulder, and heading for the swingset and then sitting down.
She gives you a disconcerting smile, and holds you against her stomach through her shirt as lets out a long growl.
"You can't be serious," you say incredulously.
"Oh, yes I can," she says in return, laughing a little. She lifts you up, opening her canine maw, breaking strands of saliva.
"Wait a minute; maybe we can talk this over?" you suggest quickly. And of course, she doesn't listen.
She lets you go, and you fall in, snapping her mouth shut over you once you're past the point of no return.
You struggle defiantly as she caresses you with her tongue and rolls you around, getting your taste. Before long, your clothes are damp with saliva, to say nothing of the rest of you.
Now that your entire body is nice and slick, Yhana tries to swallow you; though your frantic squirming and kicking makes you difficult to suck down. But exhaustion sets in, and as your resistance grows weaker, she tilts her head far back, and swallows you in a single gulp, taking you down her throat.
The walls of the narrow, moist pink passage caress you from all sides; the sensation would have been an enjoyable one were it not for the fact that it would soon be followed by a rather excruciating death.
You take a short drop into a wider chamber; not exactly spacious, but larger than the throat and enough room to move around some. It doesn't take a genius to guess that it's Yhana's stomach.
You summon up some strength and kick at the walls, but it doesn't seem to hurt your predator; in fact, her gentle murring indicates that she's actually enjoying it.
Eventually, you hug your knees to your chest, feeling hopeless as the stomach walls continue to expand and contract around you. There's nothing you can do but wait here until you're killed off by the digestive process.
Your moment of self-pity is interrupted by the sound of laughter. You look up and snarl, "You think this is funny?"
"I'd think that you could guess that fairly easily," Yhana replies.
You kick at the walls again, but it only evokes another little happy sigh. You spend several moments tensed-up, and then curl up again, beginning to form tears.
"Well, good for you, then..." you say, finding no other words at the moment.
"Oh, cheer up," she says, patting her soft belly. "I'm not actually going to hurt you, you know."
"You expect me to believe that after you just snacked me?"
"Well, due to the fact that you're not screaming in agony right now, you've either got nerves of steel, or my digestion is disabled right now."
"You can do that?" you ask.
"Oh yes; it's a fairly simple technique. Just a bit of alteration through spells, and I can switch it on and off whenever I feel like it."
"So... you really aren't going to kill me?"
"That's correct. I was just playing around."
"It didn't seem like you were just playing..."
Yhana laughs again, causing your surroundings to shake a bit. "Well, I've had plenty of time to get good at what I do."
"So, you do this a lot, then?"
"Yep. You're not the first person who's been kept in my tummy, and you certainly won't be the last."
"And... why did you eat me in the first place?"
"Ah, this is how we'll get you onto the ship," she says. "I can just walk in, and if you stay relatively quiet, everything'll work out just fine. I'll let you out for air and meals and stuff, though."
"That's actually a really good idea..." you admit.
"Well, partially. I was also doing it because I haven't eaten anything else, and I need you to tide me over until I can find something I won't feel bad digesting. You've got nothing to worry about, though. I'll consider this my payment."
"Okay. I guess..."
"Aww, what's wrong? Don't you like it in there?"
"Bit of an odd question, don't you think? Considering I could have died in here."
"It's a perfectly fine question. Considering you didn't."
"But I could have."
"I wouldn't let that happen. So, one more time. Don't you like it in there?"
You take a moment in silence, just to try to really get the feel of your surroundings for the first time.
The walls of Yhana's stomach are softer than any bed, but give some firmness after sinking into them enough. The warm fluids around you are a bit strange to think about, but you've already been covered in it, and they're not hurting anything. The air is heavy but warm, and surprisingly odorless.
And the sound of her heartbeat resonates throughout the chamber, bringing a sense of tranquility.
"It's sort of weird," you say, "but if I told you I didn't, I'd be lying."
"There, you see? Everything's fine."
You smile, and stroke the walls gently, coaxing another long murr from Yhana.
"You're good prey," she says. "Most people don't warm up to me so fast."
"Well, maybe if you didn't act like you were gonna kill them, you'd get a better response."
"Aww, but where's the fun in that?" The jackal stands, and starts walking. "Anyway, now that I've got you with me, we should probably get to the ship."
"Yeah," you agree, yawning. That yawn reminds you instantly of how sleep-deprived you are.
"Tired?" Yhana asks.
"Exhausted," you reply.
"Well, go ahead and doze off. I'll keep you safe," she promises, giving her belly another affectionate pat.
"Thank you." The words escape your lips slowly and quietly; you're finding it hard to stay awake, especially in this environment.
You truly do feel safe here; just a few minutes ago, you wouldn't have believed that to be possible.
But here you are. Inside of a stomach, and everything's alright. Everything's better than alright.
You're warm, safe, and you've met someone who could potentially end up being your good friend, after a while.
People call her a lunatic. And it's true she seems a little crazy, but she's a good person, and you know it now.
Sleep comes to you gradually as Yhana heads back through the streets and towards the port. You've only been up for a little over an hour, and already it's been an eventful morning.
The rest of your time with Yhana will probably be interesting as well. But that's yet to come.
You shut your eyes and sleep, knowing you're going to be just fine.