A shower of sparks sprayed into the cage as the acetylene torch bit and sliced through the door. Spegg squinted, guiding the fiery blade through the weld, the metal popping sporadically as the seal  broke open.

When it was done, the giant fish pulled the door open and dragged me out by my feet into the middle of the room. I felt nothing as I laid there paralyzed, the deafening noise of his device blaring in my ears.

Spegg stared down at me, his massive black eyes reflecting my own, the abrasions on my face, my dry lips.

“I will spare you, Chikushou,” he said, licking his tiny, pointed teeth. He took from his case a small white tube, unscrewed the top, and squeezed a dollop of white paste into his palm. “But you will help me find my people.”

The hell I will, I thought.

Spegg leaned in and rubbed the paste into the knife wound in my arm, dabbed a little on my face, then slathered it on the bite on my calf. Unable to move my neck, I strained to watch as the burnt flesh on my shoulder slowly lightened and the wound began to cleave, little sutures of pink tissue bubbling up from the edges of the cut and fording the gash like little fleshy tendrils. Seconds later it was closed.

Bad move, fish.

“Good,” Spegg said and showed me a syringe filled with pink liquid. “And this should make you a little more… obedient.”

I leaped up and grabbed the fish by the throat, wrestled the syringe out of his hands, knocked him to the floor, and beat him in the face until his bulging eyes burst open and spewed intraocular fluid all over the room. I tore at his flesh with my fingernails, ripped off his arms, his legs, his head, dug my fingers into his chest, rip—

Spegg jabbed the needle into my arm and plunged the pink syrup into my vein. I took a deep breath. Spegg’s long face brightened into a wide smile and he reached over and clicked the button on the white remote. The noise stopped.

I sat up.