Where am I? That’s how my morning started back then — slowly coming to consciousness. I tried to open the eyes only to see some blurry shapes. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get them into the focus. The head ringed with pain, the tips of my ears almost burning with fire.

A slow, deep breath in. The panic was close, but I couldn’t let myself into its cold grasp. The air brought myriads of scents. Something strong, chemical. An antiseptic. It was all around me. Smells coming from afar, light tones of something sickening sweet — the odour of unhealthy bodies. My world narrowed down to the nose, closing my eyes and ignoring the pain I was able to feel things from the distance. Burning hair. More chemical things. I realised I’m in the hospital. The certainty of this guess flushed over the mind. I perked up the ears, slightly moving them back and forth to catch the surrounding sounds. The place was noisy, now that I realised it! People were talking, crying and shouting. Mechanical beeps, a phone, ringing in the distance, quick steps in the corridor. More people rushed past my door, accompanied by the screech of wheels.

My ears! I plunged upright, reaching with my hands to them. Something grabbed the left wrist, clinking against the bed. A ring of cold metal securely held my hand in place.

Adrenaline rushed through the body. The room was small, walls coloured in pastel tones, a city look outside of the window, a single chair in the corner, a small table with an empty glass vase. The door was closed. I examined my handcuffed arm, noticing an IV needle. Following the immediate urge, I pulled it out with my free hand.

I released my tail from under the blanket, letting it hang down loosely. There were good reasons to handcuff someone looking like me; I surely can’t object it. A guard was outside of the door too, now that I focused on it I could feel the scent of his sweat mixed with gun oil.

I let the animal rage loose, trying to balance on the wave of the pain that was rushing through the body. There was no margin for the error, lead in bullets was very unpleasant in large quantities. The sound of my bones breaking felt horribly loud for the moment, the pain following it kept me aware just enough. I suppressed the need to shake myself and pulled the handcuff off the paw, helping myself with the jaws.

The room was too high above the ground; I couldn’t just hop out of the window. I eyed the vase, still retaining the smell of flowers in it. There were lilies in it just a few days ago. A little distraction was all I could rely on back then.

A kick to the table sent the vase down while I curled in the corner behind the door. I could perfectly feel the guard outside. The moment the glass shattered his scent became anxious. The door knob turned, the door slowly opening. The man peeked inside, cursed and unholstered a gun, making a few steps in and staring at the empty bed. I tried to be a ghost as I carefully left the room.

The corridor was white and clean. Big window illuminated the white wall. People scents were coming from the left, so I rushed to the right, claws clacking too loud against the floor. There were elevators and a door to the stairwell; my weight was enough to push against it. The stairs were cleaned recently, smelling of the same chemical detergent as the corridor. I urged down, tail wagging high and happy. It was a miracle no one was in my path, and the miracle didn’t hold for long as I crashed into a doctor walking up. I hopped over the body and rushed inside the building again, dodging human legs, pushcarts and a loud cry, “stop that dog!”

I followed my nose to find the way out. The reception should have an exit and wait rooms should have been close, having most intense smells. I snarled at a nurse trying to grab me. He jerked back, losing the balance and falling into a pile of metal containers. More noises following me on my way out!

Finally, I made my way through the mess of humans, cries and smells, the sight of my maw was enough to stop them from trying to grab me. The wide corridors had plenty of space to sprint, even with all the people wandering around. Someone opened a door, light shined from the outside and I charged, kicking another doctor off her feet and, at last, escaping the building.