Chapter 19: Taming Impulses
It certainly seemed like a good idea at the time, but Jewel was regretting her decision now. Her fur was all sticky from sleeping with Nick coated in blueberry juice. She didn't even know how his fur became in such a state. Now, she really wanted a shower.
Of course, Nick had her in a grip that she couldn't easily dislodge without causing a great commotion as if he was holding some sort of stuffed toy. She struggled against him, trying to wake him up or loosen his grip without waking the rest of her siblings sleeping nearby.
"What's happening?" Nick asked with fright.
"You tell me. Did you go swimming in blueberry juice or something? And why's Jill covered in tomato juice?"
"Oh right, forget about that."
"Anyway, let me go so I can take a shower."
Finally, Nick loosened his grip so she could leave. Although, what she didn't expect was Nick getting up from the bed which caused the rest of her siblings to wake up.
They went into the shower together. Jewel took the opportunity to play with Nick. Jewel noted that even though Nick didn't refuse her advances, he was afraid. Every movement of her paw made him shiver with fright. This wasn't what she wanted in their relationship. It reaffirmed her resolve to give Nick some time and space away from her so he could recover from the trauma she inflicted. What made it worse was that Nick genuinely enjoyed the touch of her siblings.
"Nick, I'm going to live somewhere else in Foxhaven starting today. It's the best for both of us," Jewel said.
"I understand, I'm also afraid that you'll kitnap me in the middle of the night. At least if you're living here, it's less likely for you to do something drastic."
"That's why Janna and I will keep watch, taking turns," Judy said. "There's nothing for you to worry about. Oh, and Jewel, promise me that you won't try to pull any of your stunts."
"Of course," Jewel said easily.
It shouldn't be this difficult yet Jewel was already having second thoughts. The idea of giving Nick some time and space was her own yet she already wanted to go back to his side. Not even two hours passed with Judy as her rotating jailer. The plan was that she would live far away from Nick with one of her siblings watching over her, so she couldn't do anything drastic. Nick needed time and space since he was afraid of her very presence and she didn't like that at all.
Jewel retrieved a tranquilizer dart from her bag. She liked to be prepared for emergencies thus she had an array of weapons on her just in case. Her paw shook as she fought against her instincts to stab Judy. "Please stab me with this. It's a struggle to not use it on you."
"Really?" Judy said.
Jewel expected that she would be surprised that she had a tranquilizer dart in her paw ready for use, but instead, Judy seemed nonchalant. "Yes," Jewel replied. "If you don't, I might stab you soon. Please don't let me do something I will regret."
"We're halfway to the place we're going to stay and I'm not dragging your body around the entire time."
"Keep arguing and I will turn on you."
Judy sighed. "Try it and you will regret it. What a perfect time for you to practice self-control. If you try to overpower me, forget being apart from Nick for only a month. We can make the arrangement permanent."
"I have difficulties controlling myself, I need help. It's always a struggle when I need to fight my impulses because I know better."
"And you have no problem acting on them when it suits you."
"I know!" Jewel yelled. "I can't control myself, my mate fears me, and now I'm fighting my instincts not to stab you! Please take it and stab me."
"Stab yourself. Rest assured I will be taking care of you."
The idea of losing Nick permanently was too much to bear, so Jewel stabbed herself with the dart she held. She knew that if she turned on Judy, it wouldn't end well for her even if she won and that wasn't worth the price despite how much she hated being away from Nick.
"Judy?" Jewel called out while staring at the ceiling. She couldn't move at all. Restraints were keeping her in place.
"Finally, you're awake. Took you long enough. "
"Can you set me free?"
"What if you have another one of your episodes where you can't control yourself? No, this is safer. The only movements you'll have is to use the restroom and that's with a shock collar in case you try to pull anything. At least three foxes will be there every time you need to leave the bed."
"You can stop scaring me now." Jewel didn't believe Judy's words.
"Oh, this is for real."
"Fine… how do I earn your trust again and regain my freedom?"
"If I reveal that, you'll just game the process. You're manipulative and dangerous. It pains me to do this to you since you're my sibling but we all have limits. And I don't want you to do something that we'll both regret. Work with us Jewel so we can be a happy family again."
"It's not like I have a choice."
"But you do – we can set you free and exile you from Foxhaven. As much as I don't like this option, it is available."
Normally, Jewel would've tried to manipulate Judy, but she sounded serious and sorrowful at the same time. Crossing her at this point likely wouldn't end well for her even if she did succeed. "Fine, I'll play your game."
A few minutes after Judy left her alone in the room. "Can you set me free?" Jewel shouted, hoping that the foxes nearby would listen.
"Sure." The fox went and removed her restraints. "Just so you know if you commit crimes within Foxhaven we'll take action. I don't care too much about your domestic disputes. Word of advice: you might not want to do whatever it is you're planning."
"Just to be clear, you're not going to stop me?"
"Why would I free you then? Once Judy returns, it should be entertaining enough."
"Weren't you on her side? As one of my captors?"
"It was a verbal agreement, nothing more."
Jewel debated on what she should do next. She was free for now, with the ability to leave this place, but that would more than likely screw up her relationship with her siblings. "Bye." There were places nearby she wanted to check out. The walk-in counseling clinic wasn't far and visiting that might placate Judy's wrath.
She arrived there after walking for about ten minutes.
"Hi, is anyone available?" Jewel said as she walked inside.
"One moment," the receptionist replied. "Please go to room four."
Inside room four, Jewel found a fox sitting in a chair. The fox remained silent as she sat on the couch. What surprised her was that the fox remained silent even then, she supposed that the fox was waiting for her to speak. "So, I have this problem. I enjoy hurting and terrorizing mammals. Unfortunately, that someone happened to be my mate, and now he's scared of me."
The fox scribbled a few words on the notepad. "It's not every day I get such a high-profile client. What do you want to do about your problems?"
"Well, for one I'm living away from my mate and hoping that time will help. He's terrified of me yet since I'm away, from him, I'm also thinking of elaborate plots on how I can kitnap him. So far, I haven't acted on that impulse yet. A distraction would be welcome."
"Have you considered video games?"
"Well, given how advanced technology is, you can experience something similar to hurting and terrorizing mammals. It might help you scratch that itch without harming anyone."
"Never even considered that."
"Would you be willing to give it a try?"
"Why not? What should I play? And what platform?"
"Well, I recommend Exotic Pursuits on the computer. I think you would enjoy it. You can visit the website to download it. Let me know if it's to your liking."
"Thank you for your time."
Jewel left with a new goal in mind. It was unlikely for a mere video game to satisfy her desires, but it wouldn't hurt to try. She returned to where she was supposed to stay. Once she arrived, Judy was furious.
"Well? Is there something you want to say?"
"I visited the counseling center nearby, and I'm following their suggestion. Relax."
"Uh-huh. Pretty sure you're going to find a way to sneak back to Nick. Now, I can't take my eyes off you, and still needing to be careful that you don't turn on me and escape."
It was true that Jewel could escape if she tried, but that would complicate other things. "That's true, but that wouldn't end well for me in the long run," Jewel said.
"And yet it's something that you still think about doing."
She nodded. "Anyway, they recommended that I should play video games and see if it helps. So, I'm going to do just that."
The computers were all in one room with multiple foxes playing various games on them. One fox let her use the computer that he was currently using. Foxhaven had a special interest in them since they had knowledge concerning Bunnyburrow. She navigated to the website as instructed. It contained various screenshots of someone torturing animals. The game was a way to potentially satisfy her desires without harming anyone.
"You're playing that?" Judy said.
"Do you have a problem?" Jewel asked.
"And I still have to watch you and make sure that you don't try anything."
"Or you could just trust me."
"Knowing you, you're going to do something that you regret if I don't stop you."
"Even if you tried to stop me, you wouldn't succeed."
Judy took that as permission to tranquilize her.
Jewel found herself bound to a bed once more. Once again, she couldn't move any of her limbs.
"So, do I need to completely restrict your freedom?" Judy said.
"You didn't have to do that," Jewel remembered why Judy tranquilized her.
"Uh-huh, this time you're not getting free, and I'm going to make sure that no one will set you free either. It's only a matter of time before you do something that you regret, and you do have the skill to surprise me so keeping an eye on you isn't sufficient."
"What can I do to regain my freedom?"
"I will accept nothing less than a contract written in blood. Not that I trust you to follow it, but it's better than nothing. Even then, I will still need to watch you like a hawk. Can't wait until it's Janna's shift for this."
"Fine." Jewel somewhat expected this would happen. It was in her nature to provoke mammals just to see their reactions. She did go a bit too for unintentionally, but she couldn't fault Judy for being on edge. A contract that she would try to adhere to would reassure her sibling. "Set me free once you have everything." This would all be worth it once Nick truly loved her.
Judy used a gag on Jewel before walking away, leaving her unable to speak.
There wasn't much for her to do except stare at the ceiling and wait for Judy to return. Unlike before, she couldn't yell for someone to free her. She struggled against the bindings, hoping to make a ruckus so that someone would set her free but no one came. Her mind couldn't help but come up with elaborate schemes to get even, even though she knew that it was a bad idea. She hoped that the game the therapist recommended would help her. A distraction would keep her out of trouble until it was time for her to meet Nick again.
After what seemed like an eternity, Judy finally returned. "If you curse at me, you can forget about this."
Jewel tried to indicate she understood with her limited capacity for movement. Slowly, Judy removed the gag, giving Jewel the ability to speak again. "You don't need to worry."
"That remains to be seen," Judy said disbelievingly. "Once you finish writing everything in blood, you'll have freedom during the day, and I'll restrict your movements at night."
"So, I'm still a security risk, just that you're willing to take it."
"Yes, better than nothing I suppose. You know that I like to make others feel afraid."
"And that includes everyone, which is part of the problem. You're skilled, deadly, and perfectly capable of acting out your fantasies. Remember, you're here to give Nick some time and space as well as try and change yourself."
"Oh, I know, it was my idea, remember? The idea of Nick living in fear of me while wearing a shock collar of his own volition was a bit too much. I just didn't expect the separation to be so difficult, or so boring."
"And it hasn't even been a day, how will you manage without doing something that you'll regret over the span of a few weeks? Anyway, I'll set you free so you can write the contract. Don't you dare try to escape." Judy turned towards the entrance. "Come in William and Elijah."
Two foxes walked inside.
"They're here as a precaution."
"You really don't trust me," Jewel said.
"Oh, I do, but I know that it's hard for you, and you'll give in to your desires sooner or later."
"Don't suppose this absolves me of responsibility?"
"Not at all, so don't even try it." Judy started removing the restraints until Jewel was free. She placed a sheet of paper on the desk, along with the phlebotomy equipment she obtained. "There, now you can write, and you better write something acceptable."
Jewel had to get this right, she had one shot at it. If she failed at writing stringent enough rules for herself to follow, it wouldn't end well. Losing her freedom was heavily implied, yet she didn't know what exactly Judy had in mind. The contract had to be harsh enough that she could follow, yet light enough that she wouldn't rebel against its restrictions. For normal mammals these restrictions would be common sense and very easy, but she wasn't normal.
Little by little, she kept scrawling commitments on the piece of paper with her blood. What she would do and what the consequences would be if she failed. By the time she finished, an hour passed. "Is this acceptable? I will rewrite it if it isn't." Jewel passed the piece of paper to Judy. Despite rewriting the entire contract would be impossible due to the blood it took, she offered it regardless. Her best shot was hoping for leniency with the desperation in her voice.
Her heart pounded with each passing moment while Judy looked over the contract.
"Are you joking?" Judy said. Her eyes glanced over the penalties section.
"What's wrong with it?" Jewel asked. "Please, I thought of everything."
"Let's see: You plan to infiltrate Bunnyburrow as a punishment if you violate certain clauses. This would more than likely result in your death. Do you think I don't care if you die?"
"I can rewrite it."
"If you try that, you'll die from blood loss."
"Janna would accept it."
"I'm not Janna, and I value your life."
"Are you implying that she does not? It's not going to happen anyway, you can rest easy, trust me. I need something like that as a deterrent else I won't take it seriously. Plus, it helps our goal of eventually toppling Bunnyburrow or something."
"Fine." Judy relented.
"And you two are still here." Jewel glared at the foxes. "Without even making noise."
"Would it be better if we expressed disapproval of your grisly traditions instead?" Elijah said. "Judy asked us to watch and that's what we're getting paid to do."
"Prisoner in all but name. Things can't return to normal soon enough." Jewel noticed the time and how hungry she was. "Anyway, it's time to eat."
They headed towards a massive dining room where there was enough space for every fox that lived in the den. Aside from Judy as well as the two guards she found, everyone else didn't watch her as if she was a threat. As they ate, she noted that they kept stealing glances at her, wary that something might happen in such a mundane setting.
"The more you all watch me like that, the more I want to play," Jewel said. "A test for my skills, a game for fun."
"Thankfully, that's something you vowed not to do. Along with the indicated penalty of a day confined in bed."
"Precisely, a penalty that I could afford." Jewel smiled. There were a lot of things she could do to agitate them until they did something interesting. "My actions have consequences, I simply listed what they were. Not that I wouldn't try to do anything I listed. Not to worry, I won't try to do anything on your shift this time. Oh, and I want to know Nick's reaction to all this. Tell me what happened once it's your shift again."
"What makes you think that I'll tell him?" Judy said.
"That's even better. I can tell him myself once this is over. He can't be too pleased about you invoking our ancient blood contract traditions. Oh, and I wonder how Janna will react too."
"Just shut up."
Jewel grinned. It wasn't right, but making others suffer was so pleasurable. She wished that her desires to cause suffering didn't extend to her family sometimes. If other mammals suffered there wasn't any element of guilt.
After they finished eating, it was finally time for her to try the game the therapist recommended. Every so often, she turned her head around to look at the mammals following her as they headed towards the computers. They were prepared in case she tried anything.
"Oh relax, I won't try anything today."
She turned her attention to the game. It reminded her of the days she worked for the industry where she had to torture and kill mammals just to survive. One of the modes was as if she was the director creating a movie – much like what she did in the past except it wasn't real. The mode was about creating a boring animation loop except it was high quality, the sounds were rather realistic.
A suppressed growl nearby caused her to turn her head. The foxes watching her weren't pleased which made her smile. She created a loop featuring a rabbit like herself as close as possible and two foxes like the ones assigned to watching her. The rabbit tortured the foxes in the shot over and over. It was a way to threaten the foxes without saying a single word. One of her guards averted his eyes from her which made it worth it.
"Excuse me," William whispered to Judy. "I don't feel comfortable with this, could you replace me with someone else?"
That was the sweet sound of victory. The guard was asking for a reprieve as a result of seeing her animation. She could hear the shame in his voice.
"I understand," Judy replied. "I'll arrange for a replacement tomorrow."
Even though Judy sounded indifferent, it was likely that Judy was uneasy with the game she was playing. Jewel thought of a way to accentuate that effect. Oh, sure real animals weren't harmed, but it looked as if they were with high-quality graphics. The loop went on long enough that she decided to change it since her audience didn't display anything interesting.
Jewel's next creation featured Judy torturing her with various instruments. Not that it was something that she wished would happen in reality, but it was worth seeing if there was a reaction from Judy. There was nothing visible on her face, so Jewel decided to ask, "What do you think?"
"Are you satisfied with this game?" Judy said.
There was no hint of annoyance or fear in her sister's tone at all. She took a moment to think, the game was realistic and attempted to replicate what she wanted to do in reality, but it did fall short since it was only a flawed copy.
"Not exactly, real mammals aren't suffering. It's all virtual. There's no thrill of breaking someone down before they beg for mercy. All it has is a list of programmed responses. Lacking, but it should keep me entertained for a few days. Then I guess I'll go to the therapist for another recommendation. Does the animation loop I created make you uncomfortable?"
"Yes, yes it does."