I hate the rain, I really, really do. I know that’s a ridiculous statement to come from one of the inhabitants of Seattle, but if you were two and a half feet tall, covered in fur, and were as sensitive to orders as I was, you’d be feeling things a bit more my way. It was raining now, well, sprinkling actually, which was worse, in a way, a steady drizzle like it was right now meant the dirt and slime and worse from the roads and sidewalks loosened, splashing and speckling my coat, while a driving rain would wash most of that out. I’d be soaked to the bone but cleaner, as it was I’d be spending hours washing the disgusting filth out of my coat, if you think it’s awful to be covered in it, imagine if the only way to be rid of the filth was to lick it off…. Not that I’d be doing that, I’d be getting a bath at ____ after this delivery was over.
The delivery today was from Crime lord Edda Luciano-Gotti to Lady Sylvia Demus. Mrs Luciano-Gotti was, very rarely, a client of mine. As far as I know she is entirely vanilla, not even ‘In the Know’. So, as I hurried down the grimy streets I wished I’d asked Marlon more about what may have precipitated this journey. I was more interested in trying to make this delivery before night fell, my delivery path led through some… unpleasant territory. Not to mention the danger inherent in making any delivery to Lady Sylvia. I’d always avoided house Demus as much as I could without causing insult. No need to put any fuel on Lady Demus’s fire. I wonder if Felicity will be there…
My musing was interrupted by my hackles raising, the feeling of be watched pervaded my more intangible senses. Trying not to alert any would-be stalker into taking action I tried to find the source of my alarm. The sound of grinding gravel by a heavy weight, nothing I wanted to deal with. I picked up my pace, if I got somewhere more public, well someone would call animal control on me…. But the creature following me would have to break off pursuit of expose itself to the vanillas.
There was the ear-shattering sound of heavy metal bending and warping that abruptly cut off in a silent-breathless moment, then the silence shattered as a giant industrial dumpster crashed down in front of me, cutting off my escape route. I skidded to a halt, sluing around arching my back and hissing at my attacker. Then I saw it, 12 feet tall, skin of stone scales, enormous and powerful. My not- unformidable claws wouldn’t even scratch this thing. I took off running.
I’m fast, really fast, there’s a reason I make all my deliveries in my feline form, I can make inner-city traffic look like power wheels™. So, taking the better form of valor I took off at top speed. It wasn’t long before I heard the creature’s footsteps fading behind me, it let out a roar of rage as it fell vastly behind. Then something went wrong. My limbs suddenly felt heavy, like I was trying to run through freshly-poured sidewalk (Don’t ask!). My steps slowed until I felt myself fairly dragging my feet forward, hardly able to even lift them for how heavy they’d grown, until finally I came to a halt. I stood there, paws stuck to the ground as though someone had anchored them to the earth itself, and watched as the creature came charging toward me like a freight-train. Nothing I could do.
I braced myself for impact, about twenty feet away it pulled back a massive arm to deal me a running blow and an almost too calm part of my brain debated whether my feet would remain stuck to the pavement as the rest of me went flying down the alleyway.
There was a terrible impact. I felt my ribs cave and I felt something give in at least one of my legs. Then I bounced off a brick wall, my skull impacting, sending bright lights shooting through my vision. I don’t remember hitting the ground, but after what seemed like an eternity I realized that while the world whirled and bucked around me, I was no longer, myself, moving.
I heard and felt the thunderous footsteps of the creature approach me, I played dead, not that it was that big of a stretch, I wouldn’t survive another hit like that, although, I had no assurance that I would survive the previous, it may have already killed me. I smelled blood and was having quite a bit of trouble drawing breath.
The thing stopped in front of my crumpled form and I worried it was going to make sure it had done the job, when I felt one of its hands painfully rip my specialized backpack off my back with a sound of tearing fabric. I cracked open an eye and saw the behemoth work the zipper open. It lifted the pack to its face and inhaled deeply. A horrible smile split the things face and it bellowed “Money!” It turned to me and I had to keep from flinching. “You died for money!” it turned away from me, my backpack looking tiny in its enormous hand. It walked off, earsplitting, raucous laughter trailing behind it. I glared at the monster’s retreating form.
This wasn’t over.
This wasn’t over by a long-shot.
The darkness invading the edges of my vision finally took over.