Welcome back to Fiction Friday. Each Friday I’ll be releasing another short episode introducing each of the characters. Once you’ve met each cast member, the story will unfold…
If you want to catch up, here’s the first episode: Kiss The Kitties Episode I
Tough, orange, and angry William roamed the Los Angeles city streets and ate out of dumpsters. He had his pick of the best. The dumpster behind In n’ Out burger on 3rd offered a five star feast. Humans swarmed In N’ Out, but its dumpster sat behind a tall, heavy, brown fence with spikes, so William was free to roam among the steaming meat patties piled high without the interference of human eyes. The Southern California sun kept the meat hot and fragrant throughout the night as he gorged himself by the glow of the red and yellow neon sign. Roaches didn’t bother him, but other tomcats did. When they came sniffing, he’d scratch their damn eyes out. Those fights were bloody. He lost his own eye in one, but you shoulda the other guy. Anyway, it was worth it. Every night he brought a new date and it was cool if she had some friends. He partied hard and slept all day. He ruled.
But that all changed a few nights ago when a big white windowless van rolled up and stopped right in front of the dumpster. Humans jumped out and caught the girls. William escaped, but only narrowly. Since then white vans patrolled the neighborhoods and dumpsters were traps. Whoever was in charge of this operation was more focused and better adept at catching cats than any human he’d ever seen. William wondered if maybe they were cats, bigger, faster, human cats. A whole battalion of them. He’d heard of that, but everyone thought it was just legend.
He partied hard and slept all day. He ruled.
A week passed. William was starving. He hadn’t eaten much beyond what bugs he caught. One of the girls he used to hang with once told him there were some humans who fed the wanderers and freedom fighters (that’s what they called themselves on account of being free) in an apartment building nearby. He hated humans, hated their food, hated their big hands and their teeth. They looked like aliens with their round eyes and furless arms. What was that about? But his stomach groaned and his ribs jutted out like razors from his flanks. He’d just slink over to that there apartment complex and see what was up. Maybe, if there was some food around, he could grab some when no one was looking. Get in, get out. That was always his motto. He was the king of slink, which is why he hadn’t been caught, or poisoned. Oh yeah, that’s right. His hunger clouded his reason. Humans poisoned cats. He’d seen that horror more than once. He didn’t care for most cats, but it’s terrifying to come across corpses scattered within a 20 foot radius of human dwellings.
He’d have to hunt, a disgusting last resort. Rats carried diseases and tasted like butt. Nevertheless, as I said, he was starving. A horde of rats lived below the city and carried out their complex business pursuits in the subways. There were the Orange, Yellow, Red, and Blue lines that criss crossed the city, not with any kind of efficiency, mind you, but that was a human problem. The Orange line was a good place to start. As night fell, William descended the stained and dusty pavement steps that led down into the raging tunnels. The rush of the trains terrified him. His nerves were on edge. He trembled. But hunger drove him forward. Remember, king of slink. He told himself. You’re invisible. But to who and to what exactly William did not know, and that was the problem. These walls had eyes. And fangs.
Rats carried diseases and tasted like butt.
A homeless human groaned out his sorrows. He hit is paws on a big black box with white teeth. It made such an awful howl he didn’t see the massive black Rottweiler sitting next to the man. The dog jumped up and barked wildly at William, his fangs dripped with starvation’s saliva. William leapt in the opposite direction without looking and flew down a tunnel. It brought him directly on top of a rat’s nest. Pandamonium. Screaming. Rat apocalypse. William scrambled to catch and grab. Rats ran and screeched. The babies. Go for the babies. They’re clean fresh and easy to carry. He snatched up several at lightning speed, some died, some didn’t and as he turned to carry the bloody squirming mess out of the subway, he realized to his horror, he had no idea where to go. Fluorescent lights flickered overhead, but no whiff of fresh air, no scent from the outside came to greet his nostrils. The place smelled of rat feces and human filth.
And now he could hear the swarm. Legions upon legions of rats formed a wall behind him. Idiot. Amateur. His dumpster diving made him soft. He’d forgotten how to hunt. You don’t attack a rat on his territory. You hunt, identify your prey, stalk it and when it’s away from the group, you spring. He was surrounded. The rats hissed. They planned to tear him to shreds. He dropped his booty of dead and near dead babies and looked up, the only way out. Rats cannot jump. They could climb. Could he make it in time? How high was that man hole grate? The rats advanced. He heard a drum beat in the distance, smelled wrath on their hot breath. He took what few feet he had left and sprang into he air just as the rats closed in. He strained toward the grate with every last molecule of his little being. There! Success, but barely. His claws saved him. Razor sharp and long he clung just by their strength. William hoisted his whole body up, but he couldn’t fit through the spaces in the grate. Despite how thin he was, it wasn’t enough. The rats streamed up the sides of the wall.
Just then, a voice. “Ah ha!” A white, hairless human arm yanked up the grate and pulled William by the scruff of the neck. “Got you! I’ve been looking for you for weeks, you little dumpster scum. Yeah, you. You used to eat from the In N’ Out over there on 3rd street. You didn’t think I’d forget you, did I?” The arm belonged to a massive human male with bulging eyes and bald head. His breath smelled like rancid fish (incidentally William hated fish.) “You’ve gotten skinny. Thought you mighta died out here.” He spit a gray splat of mucous on the ground. “Sure glad ya didn’t. I got plans for you, tough guy.” Then he laughed a wicked, joyless laugh and threw William into a cage in the back of his white van and slammed the door.