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The Maw of Cronos

Inside Cronus Amalgamated Machinery, a plot was in the works. In one of the offices, a balding, grey haired man stopped looking out the window, and spun to look on the person who had just entered.

"Do you have a report on our activities to date?"

The woman who had entered looked irritated. "Yes, I do. According to what little pre-apocalypse data we had, we knew Seattle was to be a focal point, where a protest had gone rampant, and some two hundred protesters. We sent in our best people for the job, and was able to infiltrate both sides of the crowd."

She looked inside a folder, read the report within it, and scowled. "According to the news and our inside sources, we were unsuccessful. In fact, the boys in Research and Development pointed out in their report that we actually might have caused what we were trying to prevent."

"They have been harping about that the whole time. Tell them they were brought back here to stop events from unfolding. Instead of trying to push this immutable time issue, they should try to get cracking on a solution."

"They have found a few more focal points. We have agents ready in Tokyo ready with launchers and warheads, as well as several other key cities."

"Standard fusion bombs?" he asked, one eyebrow raised.

"No. The tech boys were able to make several neutron bombs. It should sterilize the cities, instead of completely destroying it. Our agents there will not be able to get clear, but they all are from the disposable assets we have built up."

"I still don't like the fact we are using people from the past in this."

"I agree, but the Matrius wasn't powerful enough to bring enough of our own people back. Better to use what measures we can."

"All right. Activate them, have them sterilize their main objectives. I assume they have been told it is something other than neutron bombs?"

"We used the usual story of weather survey equipment. They will serve well enough."

"And the Seattle situation?"

She looked through the papers in her folder. "Seems most of the Risen from the protest are in some area hospitals. Research states we should be able to get some falsified orders through the CDC, and get them into one facility. Once we do that, if we demolish the building, we should be able to stave off the incident that will be happening in a few days."

"Yes, the incident where the Risen overwhelmed a facility and got loose, then cause Seattle to be overwhelmed and lost, even to this day."

He spun in his chair, and looked out at the city. "Get it done. We did not come back to fail."

She turned, and walked out, grim face trying to decide what had to be done.

The Asencion of Phobos

"Impeach the President!"

"No War for Oil!"

Other shouts rose up ans signs and placards of every hue of the rainbow sprung up in the crowd. Seattle was ready for the President to arrive, and wanted it clear, they wanted him out of office. Police stood by, just out of sight, but riot gear in hand.

Upon the signal over their radios, the police stepped around the corner, ready to disperse the crowd violently if necessary. One officer shouted over a bullhorn. "This is an unlawful demonstration in a restricted area. You have one minute to begin dispersing, or arrests will be made. If you resist, force will be used."

At this, a wave of angry shouts swarmed from the protesters. A few began to disperse, not wanting to get arrested. But from deep within the crowd, a glint of orange launched, smacking against the transparent curve of a riot shield, and exploded in a loud cough of flames. The officer dropped his shield, and started punching and battering his own head and face, which had caught ablaze.

A few more of these launched, then several fell from gunfire shot from the crowd. At this, the police puled their sidearms, and began shooting into the crowd. Lead filled bags, rods of wood, and slugs made of rubber flew straight into the crowd, intending to stop this vicious and uncharacteristic onslaught from what was known as some of the most peaceful protesters in the nation.

The violent ones ducked fast, and crawled out of the crowd quickly, hoping they wouldn't get caught in the crush or by the police. As they did, one wooden baton, fired from a shotgun, whizzed over one's head, and slammed into the chest of a pretty blond teen. She went down, holding her ribs where they had broken with several dry twig branch snaps. She fell, and immediately panicked, wanting to avoid getting stampeded. She started to get up, when one panicked protester kicked her broken ribs. One wickedly sharp fragment pierced the left ventricle of her heart, causing her to lose consciousness and die.

Also unknown to the police force at large, several of the less than lethal clips of ammunition had been tampered with. The first round or two were the riot control ammunition, the rest regular ammo made to appear like the nonlethal variety. Many more protesters fell dead.

Finally one officer realized something was seriously wrong, and screamed for a cease fire. The crowd had dispersed, but it looked like the death toll was going to be disastrous. At least seventy bodies littered the ground, appearing dead. twice that many were screaming in agony, coughing up blood, or holding onto various limbs. One large fellow was trying to hold his intestines inside of him, where a dummied up 12 gauge slug had ripped him open from the backside.

As the police slowly advanced, to see who could be saved from this nightmare, a blond girl slowly lurched up, and started staggering towards the police. Others that they could have sworn were mortally wounded rose as well, and began wandering. Some seemed to go to friends close by, while others went to the police, hands outstretched, eyes pleading for help. All were moaning and groaning, as if in severe pain.

One officer realized something wasn't right, and raised hig gun, but choked back a green wave of vomit, as he saw the pretty blond girl reach the man trying to hold his insides where they belonged, and start pulling them out. He spewed forth his egg sandwich into his gas mask as he saw her start shoving the intestines into her mouth and begin tearing at them, trying to eat them.

One officer went to a pair of other girls, one with half her face obliterated from another gunshot, and went to try to calm her down. They both caught a hold of him, and started biting and ripping at his gear. With a choked gurgle, he felt one finger pierce his Adam's apple, and rip his throat wide open.

Reluctantly, the police, who were in shock, tried helping the kids as best they could. Some fell, others wounded, and a few pulled their sidearms and recommenced firing.

When the ambulances arrived, the death toll was at forty three, and well over a hundred were taken to hospitals for treatment. Another ninety eight were taken to mental facilities around th city, as something in their minds snapped, and they attacked anyone that came near them.

On most of these patients were small crystals pinned to their jackets, crystals that were found on a shrub like sculpture they had passed on their way to the protest.

Racing Mars

The phone started ringing, and Ben stopped what he was doing and answered it. "Hello?" Ben said, a little out of breath. He had been taking some sheet metal and plywood, and layering it, making something to put in his front window, and was out of breath.

"This is your landlord here. I'm getting several complaints of noise late at nights from your neighbors."

"Oh. I apologize. I've been working on something, a little hobby project. I haven't realized what time it gets to be. Please let the neighbors know I apologize for the disturbance, and will make sure to shut things down around 8pm."

"Well, if we get too many more complaints, I'll have to evict you. I'm already upset because you replaced your door with a steel one."

"Oh that. Well, the old door got a crack in it. Rather than pester you and maintenance, I just went and bought a new door. I reused the locks though, so those are the same."

"Still, I'd appreciate any further changes in the future to be cleared by this office first. Any more of this, and I'll have to ask you to move."

"I understand, and it won't be happening again."

Once done, Ben hung up, and swore quietly to himself. He needed to hurry. The internal alarm clock was blaring. He knew he had to get things done faster, but none of his preparations would do him any good if he got evicted.

"Ok, just calm down. You've got plenty of food, plenty of supplies, plenty of guns. Got enough stuff here to make enough explosives to blow up the Space Needle. Won't need anywhere near that for my plans, but that's ok."

With that, he looked outside, and saw the landlord was watching his apartment from the office. He saw the landlord look at the maintenance guy, and loop his finger my his head, clearly showing he thought someone was crazy. With that, Ben decided to play quiet, and do his shopping more towards the evenings and night, so he didn't have people watching him.

He was hearing that idea from the neighbors too much, that he was just a little crazy. But he had to hurry as much as possible, before his nightmares awoke and came after the world.

If I Should Die Before I Wake

Doctor Stephens was extremely puzzled by the case he was looking at. "Well, I suppose I should call you Rasputin, eh?" he said to the black cat within the cage. According to the record, the city pound had tried a lethal injection, then had tried gassing the cat. Instead of dying like he should have, Shadow kept living, and had wounded three of the staff there.

The doctor wasn't about to take a chance, as within hours after getting bitten, people were getting sick. He donned a pair of puncture resistant Kevlar and leather gloves, and an apron made of finely linked chain maile. "Now it's time to figure you out, my little friend" he muttered at the cat, which was clearly agitated.

He used several hypodermic needles to take samples of blood, and noted the blood was brackish, and even partially clotted. "Now, that is strange" he murmured, and set the samples aside to be studied later. He made sure the patient was firmly secured, then took out his stethoscope. After several minutes, He backed away,, puzzled.

He left the exam room briefly, and went to track down Mr Boobers, the office cat. The grey and white poofball of a cat looked at him, and murred for a treat. He absentmindedly reached over to the jar nearby, and popped one into the mouth of the cat. Purring, he allowed his pet man to place the stethoscope on him. Sure enough, Doctor Stephens heard a loud rattling sound of purring through them, as well as the lub lub sound of the cat's fast heartbeat.

He went back into the exam room, and checked the enigma within. Nothing, except some sounds from the cat's digestive tract could be heard. "Well, my friend, they said you need to be put down for a rabies test. Maybe they didn't use quite enough on you." He decided against trying to put an IV into the cat's vein, opting for an intracardial injection. He loaded a syringe with sodium pentobarbital, enough to put down five cats, held the cat as still as he could, then slid the needle into the cat's chest.

He made sure he was in the right area, then began pumping the cat with the fatal dose. He removed the needle once the plunger was fully depressed, and watched. To his shock and amazement, after five whole minutes, the cat was still alive. In fact, it acted as if it had never been injected.

He scratched his chin, and reluctantly came to a decision. His clinic kept an old gassing chamber, that was only used when an injection was not possible. Carefully, he unstrapped the cat, and holding it by the scruff of the neck, took him to the clear chamber. Holding him by the one safe place, the scruff of the neck, he opened the door, and got the wild creature into the chamber. The entire time, Shadow just fought madly, which puzzled Doctor Stephens. Normally, cats went limp, and stopped fighting, out of instinctive reflex.

He checked the gauge on the carbon dioxide canister, and found it was completely full. With a reluctant face, he opened the valve fully, and watched the cage as the hiss of the gas began feeding into the nearly airtight cage. At the top were sealable vent holes, so one could make sure the regular air was vented out, fully gassing an animal.

The oxygen light flickered from green to yellow, then went to red. At the same time, Another light gauge for carbon dioxide went from red to green. Once the CO2 light was green, and the O2 light was red, he knew the animal had to be breathing pure carbon dioxide. He stood there and watched in puzzlement as he saw the cat continuing to attack the cage. He picked up the phone, and had his secretary run to the supply store then and there, and pick up another bottle of gas.

The place was just down the street, selling welding and medical gasses. She came back with a small metal bottle, and handed it to him. He swapped out the gas, and repeated the procedure. Again, the sensors went like they should, But the cat kept clumsily slamming against the transparent wall of the cage.

Carefully, he removed the cat, and placed it in the nearby holding cage. The cat actually tried biting the gloved hand, and the doctor marveled at how it had hurt, even through the glove. He then went into the other room, and came back with a small white mouse, that he kept on hand for the snakes he often got into his care. He placed the mouse within the chamber, and tested it. Sure enough, the mouse died quickly, falling asleep then stilling within a short period of time.

He decided to put the cat back, and analyze what he had for blood samples. As he puzzled over this, he failed to note the small tear in the glove the cat had bitten, nor the shallow scratches the cat's teeth had placed on the skin underneath. The cat's fang had found a sloppy seam, and the scratch was crawling with death.

Unaware of his coming mortality, Dr Stephens started working on other animals in his clinic.

Blood On the Moon

Rotted arms swirled, trying to grasp him. He ran, ignoring the pain in his hip and knee, knowing if he succumbed to the pain, he was as good as dead. Mouths yawned wide, lips pulled back in a snarl, the dead pursued him through the streets. Every side street he looked down was clogged with the walking dead. Every fire escape was crawling with the dead, trying to sup upon his living flesh.

He ran further ahead, and just as he thought he was free from the horde, he slammed into another wall of clutching hands. He tried pulling away from the throng, only to be sucked into it. He screamed as he felt the teeth shred into his flesh, and rotted fingers plunge into both eyesockets, as well as shred open his abdomen and spill his intestines all over, for the unholy feast to begin.

With a start, Ben lept out of bed, screaming at the top of his lungs. He came down on the floor with a thump, and collapsed in pain. "Not again. Please." He muttered as he lifted himself into his wheelchair. With a frustrated rolling, he managed into the bathroom, and grabbed a bottle of morphine pills. He dry swallowed two of the pale green pills, ANd went to look at his bank balance again.

Sure enough, the royalties were there. Never did he imagine he'd be able to make a living off his nightmares. They had subsided for a couple of years, but he had monkied his way through it all. From the book sales, he had made a tidy sum of cash. More than enough to afford his tiny one bedroom apartment, as well as keep him in a middle class dream lifestyle for the rest of his days.

But the new nightmares he had been having lately brought with them a new sense of urgency. Deep down, he had always known the hellish visions were of things to come. With a shyaky hand, he called down to the gun range he visited.

"Yeah Sharkey, it's Ben. You still selling your guns? Yeah? Ok. How much again? Yes, I also want the AR-15, and that p-90 you have. How much ammo you got for it? How soon can you get more? Well, get all the rounds you can in 48 hours together, and I'll buy the lot. Yes, I know it'll raise eyebrows with people. Just do as I ask Sharkey. Dude, quit being an ass. You know me. Like I'm pulling a Columbine here. Just throw in that Five seven. Yeah. I know you have debts to pay off Sharkey. Tell you what. get it all done, and there's an extra five grand in it for you. Good. I'll be over today to get what you have, and in 2 days to get the rest. Later."

Sharkey was nicknamed that because of severe gambling debts that had caused him to go to a loan shark many times. He knew most of the weapons he was buying were probably either stolen or of questionable legality, but he also knew SHarkey would keep his mouth shut. With that, he called a cab.

Fourteen hours later, he came home, most of his at the ready money spent. He logged into his bank account, and slid everything from his savings accounts, into his checking account. He also called the twenty four houtr customer service hotline to ensure them it was him making those purchases. Then, with a sigh, he began getting his purchases put out of the way, and installing some of the hardware he had also bought.

With luck, the generator would be there soon. The outside closet would allow air in and out, but muffle the sound of the generator going. He started getting things he knew would be useless soon, and hauling them all to the dumpster. He needed room for things for survival, not comfort.

Before he went to bed, he replaced the front door with a solid steel door. From a distance, noone would realize it was any different than the other doors. With that and the inner shutters he had installed on the front window, he felt he'd be relatively safe. With a gasp of pain, he swallowed more pain medicines, glad he'd stockpiled extras of all his medicines, and collapsed in a sweat laden ball on the bed, still wearing the clothes he had started the day with.

Wildfire-Second Iteration

"And now for a look at the international world, here's Marc."

"Thanks Jenny," then man replied, chipper and dazzling. "Near Hong Kong, some farmers accidentally discovered an unknown tomb of some kind. Archaeologists are exited, and it could possibly be the royal crypt of an unknown royal figure. But they'll research the place extensively.

In other news there has been a recent rash of violence.........."

The invader slept for many years. It was related to the virus that caused the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, only it was so old, most humans, birds, and pigs were not immune to it's effects. It had destroyed an entire Dynasty that had been eluded to, but never talked about, for fear it would come to pass.

It saw it's escape in a small child, handling objects and dropping one that contained it. the airtight jar, that held the remains of a pig, smashed and doused them all with the dust of the animal's flesh, as well as thousands of dormant virii. At that time, they left the place, and contacted the authorities. Of course, none of them dared breathe a word about the gold they had pocketed, not even to their city slicker cousin.

But none of them had time to do more than dream of a better life. Of them all, not one had gone without getting infected. They were all laid up in their home, unable to even summon medical assistance.

And the child that had dropped the jar was struggling with getting the next gurgling, frothing breath. The influenza had ravaged his lungs, and he had not long to live.

In Hong Kong, Chen was laying in the Hospital, with similar symptoms. The restaraunt was closed down, but because all the workers were also sick. One doctor looked at the charts and records, and shook his head. All he could hope was this wasn't some totally new virus. With a shaky hand, he wrote on the whiteboard where they were noting things about the disease, and with a squeek sound, wrote a number.

Then number was 30%, and it went next to the Mortality rate. If this got out into the world, millions could die. And from what they gathered of the restaraunt, it had easily jumped borders, and was about to cause a disaster of the likes noone had seen.

Or ever been prepared to manage.

Widlfire- First Iteration

The remains of the planet had been traveling for many, many millennia. While it's original home was around Epsilon Eridani, the planet was destroyed after life evolved far different from our own. As the planet had many more extinction level events, the base form became one of tough crystals instead of the normal throughout the galaxy.

If any of the intelligent people from the world were alive, they'd rejoice. much of their planetary debris was contaminated by their viruses and plant life. Life that was evolved to withstand the rigors of repeated fire and cataclysm found to be able to thrive with little to no atmosphere, needing only sunlight and nutrients to grow.

These forms of life became spores of the old world. three planets around Sirius were now taken over by the more primative life the spores could create. However, none of them had enough of an atmosphere to allow much more to thrive. one hundred years ago, spores slammed into several moons and planets. While the ones impacting Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus were crushed and destroyed, the one that landed on Titan flourished. Had the Huygens probe landed elsewhere, it would have discovered a small area of slowly growing crystalline life, though entirely pale crystal plants. It was too cold, and little light was there to grow, or it would have taken over the planet.

Another spore hit the surface of Venus a mere three years ago. even with the intense pressure and heat, the plants began to thrive in the carbon dioxide atmosphere. A probe breeching the clouds now would not see a barren world of hellish sulfur dioxides leeching out bare earth. Instead, the planet would be seen as a lush jungle. However, conditions prevented anything else from being able to spawn, and would remain so for a few hundred years. Eventually, the plants would convert the planet into something almost earthlike, though on the hotter side than what inhabitants of Earth would find restful.

On January of 2008, something noone from any planet could have predicted happened. A large spore struck USA-193, a satellite around a lush, blue-green world. A few chunks broke from the parent spore, and went into a decaying orbit. The main spore itself remained hooked into the spacecraft, unseen by eyes on the ground.

Of these chunks, only one entered Earth's atmosphere. The others drifted away, to possibly seed Mars in the future. It landed, and found conditions perfect for not only starting shoots of plant life, but hyper evolution into animals as well. What took millions of years on Earth only took the planet around Epsilon Eridani years to accomplish. And having living creatures already upon the surface, the process could happen even faster.

If the spores could think, they'd plot to remove all life, replacing it all with it's own. Instead, all it knew was to grow in this surprisingly rich and fertile place it found itself in.


On February 21, a missile streaked up and destroyed the satellite. It also broke the large remaining spore into a thousand small fragments that seeded themselves all over the world. no continent remained free of this peppering, and many regions were free of the animal that dominated this planet.

But, not a few landed in cities. Boston, Moscow, Miami, Havana, Sydney, Tokyo, Beijing were all hit by the seeds of destruction. But, being of such small size, and most landing on rooftops that were oft ignored or overlooked, and were allowed to grow unremarked.

The opening salvos of the invasion had begun.

I Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep

The ICU ward of Tacoma General was unusually busy. Normally, there were only a small handful of patients, recovering from surgery, or spending their final days after some horrible accident. Mille flopped on the couch in the ICU break room, to get off her feet. The ICU ward was overflowing for the first time in the five years since she had started working there.

Twenty-eight patients were in there at present. They had an upper capacity of thirty. Some would already have been shipped over to Western State Hospital, but they too seemed to be getting an unusual amount of patients, not to mention the fact that many of these people were too delicate to be moved much at all. All Mille knew was she got suddenly assigned on a double shift, something unheard of in her time there.

Then she heard the alarm. All staff in the ICU knew that meant another of their patients had succumed to the Grim Reaper's call, and would be meeting their maker. She sighed, and got up to look at her boards.

The patient was Chad Knibb, 42. According to his records, he was there because of an animal bite. That alone seemed unusual to her, but she passed it off. It wasn't any worse than the child slowly dying of an inoperable brain tumor. She had thought to herself the man would likely make it, but the child didn't seem to be faring well.

She looked at the monitors, and saw he had gotten out of bed, and his leads had disconnected from the machine. She sighed in disgust at the dark thoughts she was having, and went to go get the man back to bed. Usually by the time they made it to her ward, they were unable to get around at all, so she took it as a good sign that he was on the mend.

As she turned to go get the man back in bed, she heard another alarm. This time, it was little Peter Mallar, the boy with the brain tumor. Mille picked up the intercom, and called "Code blue in ICU. Code....."

She dropped the handset in horror at what she saw. The man was bent over the boy, then flipping up, obviously chewing on something with delight. She saw the man smile greedily, then plunge his hands inside the child's belly, then pulling out a steaming, spurting handful of writhing snakes that were intestines. She choked back a gag, then she bolted into action. "Doctor Allcome to ICU stat. I repeat, Doctor Allcome to ICU stat!" With that, she hit the panic button for Security as well, as she wasn't sure if they were going to be needed or not.

As the code was meant, every available doctor, nurse, orderly, and even the janitors came on the bounce. All Mille could do was watch in horror at the unholy feast Chad was having, unable to look away. One doctor came around to her and demanded to know what was going on. All she could do was point to the monitor, unable to utter a noise.

As several attendants and nurses entered the ICU room, the boy sat up, and Chad suddenly spat out the mouthful he was worrying. They decided the boy must still be alive, but in a state of severe shock. Deciding to take care, they tackled and restrained both the boy and the man. They were finally able to do so, and they carried the child to the operating room, in the hopes to save his life.

Several of the staff walked away with scratches, and three were bitten more than once.

As I Lay Me Down to Sleep,

John and Razihk were both in the truck, pulling up to the place. "112 East Farrington. This is the place." With that, both of them got out of the truck, and put on their gloves. Razihk looked to the other man, slightly nervous. "Don't worry. Just a tough kitty in there. We'll just have to be more careful than Bub did. He's down at the hospital now, dealing with those rabies shots." Razihk chuckled nervously, and grabbed the long poles. "It may just be a cat, but I'm not taking any chances." The older man smiled, nodded at the younger man, and clapped him on the shoulder.

They opened the door, and smelled the shorn copper smell of fairly recent spilled blood. Not a mere little bit from a small animal bite either,, but lots of it. "My god, Bub wasn't bit that badly. It smells like someone gutted themselves a fucking hobo in here. Come on Raz. Let's bag us a hairball and get the fuck out of here. I'm thinking the cops might want to check the place out.

They heard scratching on the door down the hall. After slipping up, they saw a black cat pawing at the door, clumsily. Each man gave the other a puzzled look, as the door was streaked in blood from the cat's paws. They decided not to fool around, and get right to business. John lifted one pole, with a special slip noose on the end. Razihk lifted his, which was little more than a padded crook at the other end, to pin an animal in place, making the slipping over the neck of the noose easier.

Razihk was disgusted to see a few of the cat's nails had been ripped out and still was embedded in the door's wood. Stifling a gag, he pressed the end of his pole against the cat. The cat started clumsily jerking, with surprising strength. "Hurry John. This cat's got some balls to him"

John expertly flipped the rope around the cat's neck, and tightened the noose down. With a nod, Razihk let go of the cat, and watched. John fought with the cat nonstop to the truck. However, instead of the cat trying to bolt away from him, it actually seemed bent on attacking him. "Oh no you don't, my little friend. After putting 2 guys in the hospital, you're coming to get gassed and get your brain pan examined." With a grunt, he slammed the door on the cage, then released the black terror within.

By then what remained of Shadow wanted nothing more than to get at the tender and delicious flesh on the other side of the cage. He had eaten a lot, but he didn't feel it. His only feelings were of nothingness and an all consuming hunger. He struggled against the bars, but to no avail. In life, he would have given up and laid down, or cleaned himself. But the new Shadow only had one thought, which was to get at the food at any and all costs.

Razihk was marveling at the blood still on the door, and noticed that there was even more blood that seemed to have flowed from something on the other side. He started to reach his hand out when the door rattled. Someone or something slammed against the door. With that, he quietly said "Fuck this. I know the movie. This is where the little Arabian guy gets eaten, or dragged through a doorway, or some shit. Fuck that noise." He bolted, and knocked himself on his ass when the pole caught across the doorway.

John laughed when He saw it, but only a little. He had also seen the blood, and didn't need a closeup to figure what laid on the other side. He had also seen the blood on the cat, and the blood on the door. He realized that Bub had not been drunk or high. The cat was a killer, and he got the jump on poor Bub. The lady of the house, from the decorations they had seen, was likely dead on the other side of that door.

"get your skinny ass in the car and let's get the hell out of here. I'll call this in to Dispatch, and let them handle it. Me, I hope to Christ I'm wrong. But I think the cops definitely need to take a look at what lies behind that bedroom door."

"Would you open that door?" Razihk said nervously.

"Honestly, not unless someone put a gun to my head. Cats and dogs are one thing, but I'd rather not look at a dead person. Seen too many over there in the Gulf War."

Razihk nodded, and they drove to the pound.

Killers

Shadow looked for a place to hide. The man coming into the place smelled of bad. If he was human, he'd describe the balding repairman as smelling of beer sweat, but he lacked the words or knowledge. Seeing the guy was going to his favorite hiding place, Shadow settled for trying to make himself as inobtrusive as possible in his kitty day bed, and watched the man work on the sink through the doorway leeding into the living room.

"No one told me there'd be a lousy fuckin cat in this place," Chad groused. His head was still aching from the binge last night. He pounded brews with his buds, but it never seemed to fill him, only numbing him to his empty life. He knocked back a six pack on his way into work, had another six pack for his lunch, and planned on getting hammered once again at the bar after work. It was his life, and it helped him face each day of grousing tennants, broken plumbing, and other things.

Like today. He was alergic to cats, and tennants were supposed to lock them away before he showed up. "That frigid bitch left her worthless furball out on purpouse." He had asked her out several times, but she rejected him. From the disgusted look he got back when he tried checking out her ass, he decided she was either a virgin, or a lesbo. He crawled under the sink, and started working on the leaky pipes.

A few hours later, he decided it was Beer o clock, and got his lunchbox. He knew he had the place to himself, sat back, and started drinking in ernest. Amber liquid flowed from small openings into his open mouth. As each can was sucked dry, he crushed them, then popped them into the lunchbox. Last thing he needed was someone wondering where six cans of cheap beer came from.

After four of them, he felt good, tingling and wavy. He decided to look around the place, and see what this high and mighty woman wore to bed. He slowly slipped into the bedroom, carting his lunchbox. He flopped the lunchbox onto the floor, and started looking through the top drawer of an old, heavy dresser. "Oh, and what do we have here? Miss High and Mighty has sexy underwear." He lifted each in turn, getting an eyefull and thinking of what those garments covered.

Shadow saw the strange man. He smelled he was drinking bad stuff, that made his nose cramp from the stench. He peeked out from over the rim of his plush day bed, and saw the foul man was notwhere he had been all morning. He looked around, and glared after the trail of rotten smell into his Mistress's bedroom. Instinctively, he knew the man was not where he was supposed to be at. He glared angrily into the bedroom, and slowly slunk his way after him.

He was grinning fiercely, and thought of slipping one pair into his pocket, when he heard a loud MROW right under his feet. It made him leap straight up into the air, and land on his not steady feet. He flailed a moment, trying to grab anything to prevent him from falling, and clutched the hard wood of the dresser drawer. Instinctively, he knew not to lean down on it, and instead pulled at it outwards, dropping it as it came out.

He landed on the floor, but heard a sharp crunch. He winced, knowing that he had broken something. "Shit. I hope I didn't break that. Hopefully I can pass it off as her fault." He started getting to his feet, and looked. The drawer sat, with everything looking almost still in place, only jumped from the landing. But he noticed the drawer had landed on something, and he noticed a small tip of a tail poking from under it. He lifted the drawer, and looked at it first. It was whole and intact, but had a small bloodstain on the underside.

He looked on the floor, and saw what happened. "Shit. That fucking cat." He looked at it, and saw there was a small rill of blood. The cat's head landed on a pair of pristine white panties, which bloomed small flowers of blood soaking into the fabric. He checked the cat, and saw it was dead, twitching in death. Quickly, he picked it up, and rabitted to the day bed. He checked under the panties, and found they soaked all the blood. He crammed them into his pocket, and made sure noone would realize he had ever been in the room.

He quickly finished his work. He wanted to get out of there fast, and not have to come back for some time. The panic had cleared his head, and he stopped goldbricking the repair job. As he was putting his tools away, the cat clumsily walked into the kitchen. "So, you didn't die, you little shithead. Let me see if you're all right." He reached down to check the cat, and felt it. The cat seemed a little cooler than what he thought an animal was, and felt its neck. As he did, the cat lurched, and sunk his teeth into the webbing between his finger and thumb.

The blood flowed freely, and Chad saw a chunk had been ripped out of his hand. He kicked the cat hard, sending it across the room. He held his hand to his chest, and hurriedly grabbed his toolkit and lunchbox. Cursing loudly, he slammed the door behind him, not caring about the small puddle of blood he left on the kitchen floor.

Shadow looked at the door blankly, and swallowed the chunk he had ripped off of the man's hand. It tasted better than anything he had ever had before. He barely remembered tuna, but this beat it by far. He smelled something still in the kitchen, and he muddled in slowly. He smelled the rich smell of something tasty all over the floor. He stumbled down, and began lapping at the blood all over the kitchen floor.