The sound was the first thing to penetrate his slumber. A single wheel creaked, once every rotation. The noise chased the blackness from his brain.
Jinnaari tried to move his hands, but they wouldn’t budge. Working his jaw, he felt the gag. Opening his eyes, he raised his head and hit it on something solid. He was in a box of some kind.
The wheel creaked again.
Shifting, he felt the rough wood against his scales. Was he naked? That didn’t make sense.
“Dyointy hai, Diak,” a female voice said. Jinnaari didn’t understand the language that was spoken. He tried moving his hands again, testing the rope that tied them together. The smooth fiber cut into his wrists, but held fast.
He tried moving his leg, but the top of the box was too close for him to raise it more than an inch. Still, his feet weren’t bound. That was something. He could run if he had to. But he had to get out of the box first.
The wheel creaked again, and the cart stopped.
“Louyoika gov,” another woman’s voice barked an order.
Something jabbed into his skin. His head began to spin as whatever drug they injected into him took hold. Sleep beckoned, and he couldn’t resist the call.
The wheel creaked again, then went silent.