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Night Stalkers


Daniel R. Menage


Throughout time there have been multiple cases of what we can describe only as lycanthrope. Little is known about this dark corner of humanity, why can only some humans become animals, why is it hard to find two lycanthropes with the same animal, what makes or breaks a powerful one. It seems to come around in puberty, usually associated with a time of stress or anger. In the past they were called werewolves or were cats, creatures that on a full moon could turn into a part wolf or part cat creature.

When cases of strange and unusual murders started turning up in the streets of large cities, witnesses babbling on and on about a strange creature that came lurking from the sewers on full moons, they were dismissed as drunken loons or stoners. As more and more cases of odd murders and strange close calls became more frequent the government began to take notice.

Somewhere around 2000, some ten years after the first lycanthrope murder, the government had turned area fifty-one into a lycanthrope testing and breeding lab. They had convinced the media that it was never used as an alien storage facility and denied all extraterrestrial contact. They had gone public with the lab.

2010 a law is passed that all lycanthropes will be shot on the spot if transformed.

2012 Canada has passed the same law that the US did in 2010.

2013 United States president has signed another law: lycanthropes will not have any right to vote.

2014 other countries have taken notice of the North Americas problem of Lycanthropes; they themselves don’t what them there so they pass the same laws as North America.

2017 reduced Lycanthropes to below ground. If any were found out by the government, they had two choices: one, give up safe house locations or if they had not been living below ground have a chip inserted in their brain to stop them from transforming. Or two, have the government stage a death and make the lycanthrope work for them. Neither of these choices appealed to most.

2020, the government is running low on agents, lycanthropes that don’t want to go peacefully and quietly are a handful, usually skilled in one or more ways of fighting, or if transformed fit with sharp teeth and most of them have a good set of claws.

2023, more types of lycanthropes are showing up in the streets, several editions have been made to the tree of lycanthropes on the governments mainframe computer. They include breeds like:

Bear: height 2 - 2.5 feet taller than the person, five times weight increase, heavy build, large claws, wide shoulders, hunched back, average paw diameter, fifteen to twenty-five centimeters fur colors. Brown, gold, black and mixes.

Mole: Height usually the same as the person, longer arms same shoulders, two times weight increase, long claws, average claw length five to eight centimeters, average posture, decreased resistance to light, fur colors: brown or gold.

Ape: Height shorter than the person, longer arms, shorter legs, wide shoulders, larger hands, longer toes, weight increases by four times, fur colors: black or silver.

These breeds were added to the main frame computer, for several purposes, some classified.

2026, after a constant three year battle and countless losses for both sides the government has fully abandoned their earlier hopes of robots controlled via satellites; they have switched to cloning their remaining agents. They still get new recruits in, they train them and then clone them. Slowly they replace their numbers.

2028, all robots have been decommissioned, the government is pushing cloning harder than ever.

2031, a new breakthrough has allowed the government to store memories of trained soldiers.

2033 new technology out of Japan has allowed a killed soldier to return to the battle field that day.

2034 A new leader has stepped up in the lycanthrope resistance. His name is Gado, a young lion. His fighting skills were better than anyone before.

2036 the government has trained 150 psychics to roam the streets of major cities in search of anyone hiding something. The psychics are so powerful they can delve deep into the subconscious mind of anyone and draw secrets that hide there.

There once was a poem written:

With great power,
There is great corruption,
Great danger,
And even greater desire.


Chapter 1: This is me

My name is Alex. To tell you just a little bit about my self I am a quiet boy that never says anything to disagree with the group. I have always had strange eyes, well almost always. That came about after my first fight with the school bully; they are almost cat-like. I got contacts to counter it or I wear streamlined sunglasses to hide them. I know how I got them but I never could figure out how to get rid of them. A long time ago I got into a fight with the school bully.

On the day of the fight, I wore a so-called "girl’s" coat to school. It had bright fluorescent yellow strips on the shoulders, and it did look like a reject from the 80's. The school bully couldn’t stop picking on me so after school I showed him a thing or two about picking on people smaller than him. I took him down in one crushing blow. He fell with a crunch; I kept beating on him with the ferocity of a wild cat, same amazing power, and same blinding speed. My friends have told me that I did in fact become a tiger except I still stood on two legs. I guess that after the fight my adrenaline or whatever caused the chain reaction never completely left my system. Because I kept my eyes. Some think its cool but some faint when I just wear my sunglasses and take them off to wink. On to my life, the story beyond that point.

I have lost many friends and people I cared about due to my condition. One of these so-called friends I lost was closer then all that came before and probably will ever. But when she learned of my problem she disappeared.

Five years later, seventeen years of age. My friend, Thor is like me, a so-called lycanthrope.

Thor has the power of a leopard. In fact he can turn into one. At fair to middle height, roughly six foot four inches, and approximately 270 pounds, he can be a challenge to take down.  Like most Lycanthropes he has the innate ability to take extreme levels of pain.

Over the years we have gotten into our fair share of "scraps."  Closer to full out fights, but we heal quickly. Yet none of these "scraps" has come close to making us transform. One thing is for sure - this year is going to be one to remember.

It was getting close to 9:00. We figured we’d defend some five-year-old kids. Two reasons why - one, they don’t deserve to be beaten into little pulps, two, we needed some practice on keeping our beast tamed in a scrap to save up adrenaline for a big fight as with each other. The poor little kids were being picked on by some “freaks of nature.” One was all bandaged up and the other one had a weird hair-do. We walked up only to be shot down by the little kids. It turned out they were lycanthropes too, in fact so were the two freaks. One difference between them and us was they were man-created freaks and we were just born this way. After a heated argument, more of a yelling match, we decided to leave them at a tormented peace. We figured that we would go terrorize some 10-year-olds.

We had succeeded in terrorizing them; their mom came storming out of the kid’s house and walked over, mad as a bat out of hell. She took one look at our shades and trench coats and stormed away. A few minutes later two cop cruisers showed up. We were nowhere to be seen. Boy do I ever love freaking people out. We were hiding in a person’s yard.

Roaming the streets later we saw a mole lycanthrope crawl from the sewers, morph back to human, and go into a house where we ran. A few short seconds later he answered the door. We asked “where did you just come from?”

He answered with a snort, “None of your business, human! ” And proceeded to shut the door.

Thor stuck his foot in the door and said “Human? We are not human, thank you very much.”

He opened the door and said, “You are Lycanthrope?”

“Yes. Yes we are,” I replied.

“What breed?” Was his response.

“Can we come in and talk?” I asked politely.

“Okay, fine,” he said letting up and sounding open, and leaving his post at the door. His place was dark. There were lots of creepy things hanging from the wall, cow skulls, and shelves full of old cars under low light.

“To answer your question I am a Tiger and my friend here is a Leopard,” I said

“Ah, felines eh?” he said. “You should go see Gado. He is the one in charge of the fur balls,” he continued.

“We are not fur balls!” Enraged, Thor was getting ready to transform.

“Easy there, spots. I’m sure it was just a harmless joke,” I said, sarcastically. Thor and I headed home. We thought we would skip school to go see this Gado guy tomorrow.

Next day, I woke up and biked to Thor's house. We went to the spot that the mole mentioned last night. Just before we left we heard a strange man's voice calling to us from the shadows. It was Gado. He was hiding because the public hated him, as he was a known lycanthrope. We on the other had were not known or registered as lycanthropes.

Gado was a tall big man. He had sharp facial features, blond hair that was spiked out the back. His arms were big and powerful. He was a large man but he seemed on edge and almost scared. He spoke in a gruff, uneasy tone, very quiet. He said, “are you the two who wanted to see me?"

In reply, I said in a whisper, "Yes we were looking for you. Gado is it?"

"Let me see your features, as my friend said. It is just to prove you are whom you say you are" Gado said in a softer tone.

I looked at Thor and said, "Okay, you ready? Remember, don't transform, just show your human features." I carefully pulled my tail out and took my contacts out. Thor took his contacts out and then in reply that we were finished, I said "Take a good look, I don't do this often and this may be the last look I give you."

He said, "Fair enough." Then he whistled. We heard footsteps. They were definitely not human. They were lycanthrope, ten, maybe fifteen or twenty. If a few could keep silent enough and step when others stepped they could be silent and stay undetected. They came out all around us. Boy it was a good thing we didn't lie; we would be dead maimed and slaughtered.

Now I was scared. I asked, "Friends of yours I take it?" He didn't answer. Something hit me on the back of the head. I fell unconscious, didn’t see if Thor got the same ‘loving’ treatment.


Chapter 2: The Underground

We woke up in an underground shelter. It was definitely Gado’s place, I could tell because there was mewing from down the halls and I could hear people fighting. There were lights hanging from the ceiling that looked like they would fall any minute, triple bunks on the left side. The hall curved to the left as well. The walls were made of limestone; it had millions of little cracks in it. Baby cries emitted from down the other way. Someone from behind me called my name, I turned with cat-like speed and ducked, expecting a fight from the person behind, also a punch the second I showed my face to him.

I got turned around to see it was Thor. He said in a sarcastic voice, "Nice place."

"The best!" I replied in a more sarcastic voice, with thumbs up.

Then suddenly Gado's voice behind me. "It is the only thing we have."

He was so silent it almost made me wet my pants, which wouldn't be the greatest idea because I had only the pair. Gado obviously knew how to control himself very well. He led us down the hall. We came to a steel door, almost like that of a ship or submarine. He twisted the valve-like handle then pulled the door open. Inside, the room was filled with jungle gym or gymnastic equipment. Beams, bars, vault, box horse, mats, and a couple of ropes.

Gado turned so he faced us, after he shut the big steel door. "This is the training ground. No nets, no safety harness, no one to catch you when you fall. just like real life. I can show you around, you have to know what to do with the equipment in here. Because if you don't it could prove harmful, even fatal."

"Okay, so pay attention," I said in a sarcastic voice.

"Just remember this conversation as you fall to your doom, or get caught by the police." He said, in a serious teacher voice.

"Well Thor what do you want to do?" I asked inquisitively.

In a good Yoda impression he said, "Decision, it is yours, yes." Just then a blond haired boy wandered over.

"I will gladly show you around, if you want," he said.

            I replied, in a confused state "I thought Gado was going..." just then the door shut.             "to show you around, um... not if he's gone, so how about it?" He said, sarcastically.

"Hey, um what is your name?" I asked.

He replied in a bad boy tone, "What is it to you...Outsider!"

"Huh, what in hell?" I asked genuinely puzzled. "Oh, you mean that you don't like people from outside. Well too bad you don't like us, we are going to be down here a long time. So if I were you I would learn to tolerate us, or we could run into problems and down here or out there no one likes problems! So what is your name?" I said enraged. Finished, I took a big breath.

He replied in a defeated voice, "Okay don't get testy, I am Nate." and then he offered his hand, to be friendly.

"I just don't like problems, I have had way too many with my life and topside..." I said.

Then he cut me off. "So, who is your friend?"

I answered him, sort of embarrassed at my manners "Oh that is Thor..."

Again he cut me off. "He is what?"

I said, a little miffed, "Listen, I am really getting tired of you interrupting me. And he is..."

This time it was Thor that cut me off. "A Leopard and Alex is..."

This time I cut him off. I was pissed off now. I said "I am a Tiger!" I made a growling noise, then lifted my hand and scratched at him like a kitten. He fell down laughing, loud and hard.

I said, “Here I am thinking that you don’t have a sense of humor, down here.” He stopped laughing, got up, and gave me a stern look, as if to say, 'make a joke like that again and we can take this outside.'

"Well do you want a tour of 'Down' here?" He said, with emphasis on down here. This time I started to laugh. Nate here, he was clearly from topside at one time.

"Well, actually, why, yes we would like a tour." I said, after my little laugh. Thor nodded his head in agreement. Nate lead us across the training area to another big steel door, this one had a valve top handle huge poles that came out to the wall. As he turned it the steel poles came slowly towards the center. He pulled the door open; it creaked and made a scratching noise the came flying open. Nate waved us through then came through himself. Once the door was closed it was almost pitch black inside. Fights and scraps could be heard through the door ahead, of which I could see with improved vision that let me know where we were going. I think was the living quarters. This door was different it was like a front door to a house. Inside was a strait hall with a ninety-degree right corner at the end. Triple bunks lined the walls right up to the corner.

Nate said, "This is the kid living area, ages 1 to 10."

"Ok so where is your bed?" I asked.

"Around that corner," he said. We followed him around the corner; the next hall was longer and wasn't really a hall at all, it was like a room. Four rows of triple bunks, two against the walls on either side then two rows down the center. Nate took off around the corner and into the room, I followed close behind, Thor behind me. We came around to see him laying on a bunk at the end and against the wall. It was the top bunk; it figured.

He said from a lying position, "My bunkmates are girls, Samantha, and Danielle."

"That figures," Thor and I said at the same time. We looked at each other, like two sitcom actors who had their line stolen by another actor. We narrowed our eyes, then realized what we did, and we laughed. Nate gave us a look from the bed, like what in hell are you doing. He was sitting up now, still with that look.

I stopped laughing and looked straight at Nate and said, "If you knew us better you would understand."

Thor said, "Alex, no one understands you."

"Ha Ha and a bonus ha" I said in reply. Nate was the one laughing now; it was time for Thor and me to give him the what in hell look. When he was done laughing, it took about thirty seconds, he jumped down, landed, stood up and said, "Shall we?"

In reply I said, "But I don't know how to tango." We all laughed and slowly walked out of the room letting Nate lead. The next door was a steel door and a big one, hydraulics to multiply the force you give it, one lever to the left of the door and a huge wheel in the center. Nate walked over pulled the lever down, then walked to the center and pulled on the wheel that was there; it didn’t budge. He waved us over to him and then as soon as we got a good grip on the wheel he said, "Go push that lever there."

So I walked over and pushed the lever up. "Like this?" I asked.

"Purrrrfic," he said. Again we laughed. He pulled the door open; inside was a machine shop, welders, engine hoists, mechanical arms, conveyor belts and a whole pile of things I didn't know. As well as four or five people working there, some with torches and welders, a few on the heavy machinery and others who were not visible at the time.

We walked in and Nate closed the big steel door that looked like a vault or safe. He told us that this is the place where the armor and weaponry is made. The armor was mainly just shoulder pads with spikes on them. There were a few bullet proof vests, like the type that the SWAT team members wear. The dark blue with all the pockets for different ammo storage, under the cool blue exterior there was the heart of the protection, Kevlar plates. Kevlar is a soft metal that is flex able and is hard to pierce. There were also some more homemade experiments with armor.

One thing that puzzled me was a cryo storage and being curious I asked, "What is with that cryo chamber?"

Nate didn't answer me. "Did you hear me Nate!" I almost yelled to be able to hear my self. It was really loud to me with all the machines going.

He turned to me. "Yes I heard you," he said, "I just didn't want to answer."

As we walked through the noise got louder. About midway through we found the weapons shop. Here the real fun started; I could see a target range at the far end. I could see some sawed off shotguns, a pistol, an old Ruger .44, .03-.06 and a nice assault rifle. Ammo was stacked under each set of guns, neatly organized in boxes or standing rows; these were only normal street guns in a glass case. A few others that were not so normal were on the other side - things like Uzi's, clips haphazardly thrown around the bottom shelf. Sniper rifle polished and black, shells dumped into a box and left open. A nice magnum definitely polished; it shone in the dim light like a small lightning bolt, with all the power and fury of one. Shells from these guns scattered around the shelf and the chamber of the gun left open, exposing half the chambers loaded. The rest were thrown into boxes and the boxes left open. There was one gun missing, the clips scattered on the floor and around the glass case.

Just at that moment I heard several gun shots ring out in the large room. I looked towards the back of the room. There was someone standing there with a gun in his hand. It was a large machine gun; he had to hold it in two hands and press it against his shoulder and fire short controlled bursts. I'm sure any more than 10 or 20 shots would knock him over. I barely heard it but I heard Thor say, “Well there’s that missing gun.”

Nate walked towards the back and disappeared into a crowd of machines and workers. There were more than five workers in there; it looked like there was about twenty or more. I started walking up to the man that was shooting and lost sight of where I was going but continued walking in the same general direction. After a five-minute walk I appeared out of a crowd of workers. Thor was right behind me. Nate was standing to the left and behind the person shooting.

For the first time I noticed that the man shooting was not a man at all but was in fact a woman. She looked like to be 18 or 19 years old. Her arms were like tooth picks. Her legs were skinny and looked weak. She was in cameo shorts and a white tank top. She had short red hair that covered her ears. It looked like a ten-year-old boy’s type of cut, scruffy and wild. The gun she was holding had a cord coming out of it. I tried to follow it but lost track of it.

The woman in the tank top fired a couple of shots out of the monstrous gun. She must not have noticed us come around. After this round she took the cable out of the back of the gun and dropped it on the ground. She turned, surprised to see us standing there. Her red hair flew aside to reveal beautiful blue eyes deep and mysterious. She looked like an angel, perfect face. I could see that her tank top was torn in a few places on the collar. I recognized her but couldn't put a name to the face.

Nate said, "I think you know each other."

I replied, "I don't know any angels Nate. Even you should know that." I looked at her again, still couldn't remember her name. She looked kind of intimated by us.

"The devil takes many pleasing shapes," Nate said, "and as far as angel goes, can't you see the horns?"

She dropped the gun and ran towards me, arms open, NIKE shoes pounding the pavement of the machinists’ floor. I opened my arms in welcome; we obviously knew each other. She had seemed too happy to be meeting a perfect stranger. She jumped into my open arms, her arms around the back of my neck. I nodded my head for Nate and Thor to lead the way out. I followed still with this stick angel in my arms.

It took about ten or fifteen minutes for us to get to the door. I had to put her down in the armor section. We got to the door; Nate walked up to her and said something to her and she flipped the switch to release the door. Nate and Thor pulled on the door. She walked over from the switch and grabbed my hand.

When we got out my ears were still ringing but I heard her say "I finally found you."

Nate and Thor walked ahead towards the bunks. As we walked through the kids bunks the girl and me had our arms around our shoulders and were almost hugging. The kids were there now and they started making woo hooing noises and jokes that we were sitting in a tree. I reached up and cuffed one of them in the side of the head and when they were look at that kid sneaked out with her.

Nate and Thor sat down on the bottom of Nate's set of bunks. She and I sat on the bunk across from them. “You might not remember me,” she said “but this should refresh your memory,” and with that she kissed me.

“Um I still don’t know you, but can you do that one more time,” I said jokingly.

“No,” she said sarcastically, and she kissed me again, “but here is a picture that should do it.” I looked at the picture. It was old, but in it I could see me and, Oh my god it is her, Josely, my long lost love that had been missing since Jr. High.

Josely was my Jr. High crush but when she learned of my 'condition' I never saw her again. That was several years ago know. She was flat, scrawny, and short when I knew her. Her hair long and shining in the sunlight. I remember it going past here butt and to her knees. I looked into the bunk and saw there hanging like a limp tail from some poor animal all of that beautiful hair a full 4 feet hanging there, French braided, blue elastic at the end and a shiny red scrunchy at the top.

I asked her, "Why did you leave without a word and didn't talk to me ever again till today?"

She looked at me; for the first time I noticed that she was crying. They weren't tears of anger or disappointment they were what my mom at one point called happy tears. Cheeks streaking with tears, her blue eyes producing an ocean to match the color of them, a quivering smile on her face. She fell foreward against my chest, hot tears soaking my shirt. There she lay, arms as tight around me as she could manage, face pressed against my chest.

I put my right arm around her and patted her back with my left hand. After being like that she sat up still crying and said, "I got scared, I was taken off guard by what you said that day." She wiped her eyes clear. "Scared if they saw me with you, I would have been captured along with you." She leaned towards me and put her face back in the now wet part of my shirt. I patted her on the back while saying things like "Josely, I had no idea." She sat up and looked me square in the eye, “I just got scared.”

“If you too where a lycanthrope, why did you run?”

“At that time I wasn’t.” She reburied her head in my shirt, I began to pat her back once more. She sat up and said "Please don't pat me on the back I am still sore."

"From what?" I said. She turned her back to me and lifted up her shirt. What I saw scared me. I don’t mean some phony scare like you get from a horror movie. But really scared me like the feeling you get when you're in a old house, upstairs in the attic and a chair goes flying across the room. Then it suddenly gets cold and you can hear footsteps and breathing and you know there is someone there but you can’t see them. That kind of scared. Her back was covered by bright red streaks still healing. Well maybe not scared but surely shocked. 

Nate spoke up for the first time since we left the machine shop, "If it were not for the picture on the head of the bed I would have never walked up to you guys."

I looked towards the head of the bed where I saw her with her long flowing hair and blue eyes, being cradled in my arms, her reaching up and kissing me. It was our 'fake' wedding. I didn't know about her but it felt so real to me. For the first time I started to cry. My semi-cat eyes swelling up with salty tears. I put my head to her hair to see if she had the same sweet smelling strawberry shampoo she used to use. No go, it smelled like normal shampoo but it was still comforting. She looked up at me and smiled; she had stopped crying. She leaned towards me and whispered in my ear, "Will it be like before I left?"

"No," I said, "We can do better." I whispered back.

She leaned back and looked at me like that little girl that I originally fell in love with and said, "Sugar promises?" Sugar promise was short for all that sticking a needle in your eye baloney.

I said "Sugar promise." I did so in a confident sounding voice even though I really wasn't confident we could have it any better than we did before. Just then I heard an explosion and the bunk beds shook. I grabbed Josely and rolled onto the floor. Nate landed on the floor stealthy as any cat and walked around to my left side. Thor landed next, equally as quiet and walked to my left side. They asked at the same time, "Are you all right?"

"Yea. You, Josely?" I asked.

"Yes I’m fine," she said.

"Okay lets go and kick some agent butt." Nate said, almost like he wanted revenge for something terrible they did. Not like I thought agents were incapable of terrible things look - what they did to the love of my life. If they captured one of us we would be tortured into giving the location of all the other safe houses for lycanthropes.

Nate started transforming, gold brown fur rippled across his arms and back. He took of his shoes and tried to take off his shirt; it burst open before he managed to get it off. His arms and legs doubled in size but his feet stayed almost the same. His hands looked more like paws than hands. Claws showed slightly out of the tangle of new fur.

Josely had also started changing. Black fur rippled across her exposed stomach and the top of her breasts, her arms got to be the size of mine and her legs looked like that of a professional bicyclist. Her beautiful blue eyes changed to bright green and her head changed. She now weighed over 200 easy. She stood up beside Nate and asked Thor and me, “You coming?” their voices gruff and almost inaudible.

I stood up and by the time I brushed the dirt off my clothes they were gone, all of them. A bunch of kids came running around the corner and I knew where Thor, Nate and Josely went. I started into a run and started to change. I kicked my shoes off and finished my transformation. Once transformed I had heightened senses and could react faster. I jumped, and bounding off the wall to take the corner, I caught up to my comrades.

Thor barreled ahead and knocked the door down. I jumped up and flew through the open door. I looked up just in time to see a SWAT team member come sailing toward me. I turned my tail like a rudder and raised my paws to grab him out of mid air and caught him by the shoulders and did half a flip and landed on him. Probably breaking his ribs and spine.

Nate and Josely came rushing out of the door and towards a giant hole from which SWAT weere pouring out. Thor and I followed them. On the way I found a SWAT. I grabbed him by the shoulders with one paw, made him face me and raked him in the chest with the other paw. I then dislocated his shoulder; with my heightened hearing I could hear it pop out of joint. One thing was sure that was a lot easier to do at this time. I kicked him the shin; he was now hopping on one leg and holding his shoulder. I picked him up and threw him against the closest wall, shattering his skull.

I ran towards the large, gaping and still smoking hole. Doing as much damage as I could with my massive strength and bulk, plowing over these cops like a small child being hit by a freight train. Finally I reach the hole; men are pouring through like bees from a hive though Nate, Thor, Josely, a few others and I were holding them at bay. Some of us were showing signs of exhaustion, but just when a break formed in the front line someone else would show up to fill it. It was a stalemate; we had enough men to hold off their army, they had enough men to keep us at bay.

Finally the flow seemed to end. I could see only about 50 or so left. I started to put more effort into my kills and make my blows harder and more precise. Some screwball is running from out of the hole and into my path of destruction. I coil ready for a leap. My legs were tense waiting for the right time to spring into action, at the moment I could hit him but I want to wait until he is out in the open more. There, now is the right time; he is out in the open and can’t quite see me. I release springing into the air and sailing like a rocket towards my unsuspecting victim. As I close in on him I can see he is carrying a shotgun type weapon in his left hand. He looks right at me but it’s already too late, I am on him like shit on a blanket. I sink my claws into his meaty chest and my teeth into his neck. He is dead in a matter of seconds.

Just as I look up I see a man come running out of the dark gloom and into my field of vision. There is something different about this one; first his armor is older than the rest, which means that he has been with the service longer than 2 years - something I heard at one point or another and remembered for some reason. Second, he has no gun just a long whip with tassels on the end which he is swinging madly about. He is swearing and cursing something in French about his long dead son and wife and family. I took some French in grade 8. He is sprinting straight for me now. I leap off the corpse the moment where his whip is inches from my feet, threatening to knock me out of the air, and send me crashing to the ground. And my lumbering mass suspended in perfect strike position to send him flying back through the hole where he came from. Then I caught some thing trickling down his cheek, a tear.

As I started to come down behind him he spoke some clear English “You murdered my family and now I will whip you for it just like that red head.” I knew what red head he was talking about, Josely.

That b*****d! I tried my best to speak, “You're going down you b*****d, and you're going down fast and hard.” He must have understood me because he acted surprised. At this point I focused upon remembering my three years in martial arts training to take this guy on. There was no savage biting or clawing for him; he hurt her of all people her. I said, “Listen you up you creep. You stole the love of my life and five years of my life you are going to pay for all that. Plus you whipped her and that is above even that of criminals.”

“Bring it on, you b*****d,” he said in French. I made a fist as best as I could and took my stance. He bounced in and out of the reach of his whip. As I went in he went to hit me. I snatched the whip out of the air and pulled him into the reach of my massive arms and my kicks. He tried to resist which made his problem only worse. I managed to pull the whip from his hands, then through it into the crowd now gathered behind me. I realized that this was the last man standing. Then I closed my paws again and began to circle him. He closed his hands and made hard fists.

We circled for about 30 seconds then he threw first. I called on all my reflexes; unfortunately for him he missed me. Now off balanced from his miss I punched. My frying pan sized fist nailed him squarely in the chest knocking him back. Out of breath he staggered back, just out of reach of a hit. He took up his stance still gaining breath. He threw a left but it was a fake, his right came out of nowhere but he missed me again. With cat like reflexes and intelligence he couldn’t hit me. Though I didn’t want too get cocky about it. With my luck that would be when it all change.

He had now promptly fallen on his big fat French speaking butt. I picked him up; I still wanted to fight. He waved me away and said, “Please end the pain.”

I now spoke in French as best I could so I wouldn’t be understood by my peers and said “Listen I don’t want you to die and if I had been there I probably would have saved your family but shit happens so get up.”

He repeated, “Please end the pain.”

What else was left? I broke his neck. But I did say that if I had a choice he wouldn’t be on the front line. He told me to cut the bullshit and kill him. I did, but I regret it. I changed back to my human form, everyone changed and let loose cheers and whistles. Josely came up and gave me a big, long, tonsil tennis kiss. I kissed back, ran her fingers though my sweat soaked hair and I ran mine through hers. We finished kissing and I put my hand around her waist and she put her arm around my shoulders.

We parted the crowd with the rest of our crew behind us. We walked though the door that Thor so conveniently knocked down. Nate picked it up and closed it as best he could. Josely and me walked close, the sweat off my hair and side on my face dripping on her tank top. Her head was against my shoulder, hair soaking the only dry part of my tattered T-shirt.

The adrenaline wore off and I felt all the scrapes and bruises and the pain almost brought me to my knees. I stopped at the corner in the hall between the sets of bunks. Took my hand off her waist and leaned on the wall. The soreness in my muscles from being worked that hard was unbearable, I was so hungry I could have gone back into the training room and ate a swat member.

I looked at Thor. He said, “You look like shit.” I looked at my hands, they were scraped up my arms must have been hit by some ricocheting bullets. I could feel a cold sweat rolling down my legs. My vision is starting to blur; things I could normally have recognized were smudges. I looked at Josely; her beautiful face now only a blur of red and the almost white color in her face. I looked at Thor. The problem was getting worse I couldn't tell which one was Thor and which one was Nate. Then I saw one of them faint, which was probably Thor. I knew why this was happening; we don't transform often to avoid detection by police. Since our bodies were not used to the stress they were giving out. I was getting 'tunnel' vision now (tunnel vision is where you can only see straight ahead). My legs were giving out and I probably would go down pretty quickly.


Chapter 3: Battered, Bruised, Standing

"Guys he is awake." That was Josely's sweet voice I heard. I opened my eyes, I still could only see blurs but it was steadily clearing. Not fast, but steady. I tried to put my arm around Josely to sit up but I was so sore I couldn't move.

"How long was I out?" I said, tired and still very hungry.

"A few hours at least," Nate spoke up from the other side of the room. He was probably caring for Thor, which didn't surprise me at all. Josely probably would have knocked him out so she could care for me.

"Is there anything to eat around here, or am I going to have to go top side?" Thor spoke up from the other bunk.

Josely looked up, "No you don't even have to get up, and I will fetch it for you guys. And something special for you." She bent down and kissed me lightly on the cheek. Obviously the last part was directed at me. She got up and slapped me on the leg, wouldn't have hurt much had I been in better condition, I let out a moan of pain. Josely just looked back into the bunk and smiled, I think my vision is not quite clear yet but it is getting there.

"I wish I had a girlfriend like that." Thor said. "And something special for you..." he was mocking her.

About five minutes passed before Josely stepped though the door she had left. When she did she was carrying two large TV dinner trays piled high with peas, mashed potatoes, with a tray which I could not see the contents it was probably gravy. Clamped between the trays was a whole turkey. She asked Nate, "Little help?" Since he was the only one capable of walking in the room, he grabbed the turkey.

I tried to sit up, I managed but my head still hurt. At this point I was starving so didn't care. Thor sat up, wobbled back and forth for a couple of seconds. Once he stopped wobbling he put his pointer and middle fingers against his temples and rubbed in a circular motion. Josely brought one TV dinner plate over and sat it down on the bed. Then put one on the lower bunk on the other side, and said "Now you two boys share, or I will have to hurt you." She waved her fist in Thor's face. Any other time and Thor probably wouldn't have stood for that. But if he was as sore as I was he couldn't have done anything.

She and Nate ripped the turkey in half. Nate and Thor shared half and Josely and I shared half. She brought half the turkey over to me. I could see that Thor's large shoulders nearly took up half the bed. While me and Josely together didn't take up half the bed. The four of us feasted. When it was all over and done with, Nate offered to take the dishes back to the cafeteria. On his way out he said, "Gado wants to see you two ASAP."

I was still a little weak, but walking and little bits of activity were still possible. As I got up Thor also got up from the other bunk. I asked Josely to escort me to where Gado was most likely to be right now. She stood up. Thor was to my left and Josely was to my right. I put my left arm around Thor's neck and his around mine. My right arm slinked around Josely's right hip and came to rest there. She in turn put her arm across my shoulders, and asked if it was okay to put her head on down again. I said, "Yea by all means go right ahead, sugar."

"Not sugar honey, spice." She said. That was our little joke, no one else understood it. We walked, the three of us. When we entered the training area, the hot stench of gun powder and blood were still in the air. People were still busy mopping up blood off the walls and carrying bodies out. In fact on our travels across the gigantic room four or five teams of people carried bodies out. As we passed the hole I could see people busy welding bars and placing rocks behind so another break in would be heard.

We went to the direct opposite side; there was the door we originally came in. Nate had now caught up with us, since we walked slowly and he ran fast. Nate went to Thor's left and steadied him a little bit more. There the four of stood, next to a rusted old door, leaning on one another. We looked like a bunch of war heroes, minus our tails and my eyes. We walked through the slowly curving hall. The lights hanging and swaying, it almost mimicked being on a ship in the middle of the ocean. We walked, Thor and I limping a little, Josely and I scratched all to hell. And all of us covered in sweat.

As we neared the end of the hall a group of people was standing there, saying things like, "Oh my god," and "It is them." Others stood there, just stood there mouths agape, eyes staring blankly at us. This intrigued me, the way they stared at us almost like a mix between a deer in the headlights of a vehicle or a dumb blond in a horror movie, and like they had seen something that was clearly an act of god.

They backed to the beds on the inside corner to give us room to walk by. Some little kids play fighting in the hall stopped and crawled into some corner in the dark where they couldn't have been seen. Finally we reached a door at the end of the hall. Josely stepped away, opened it and promptly returned to my side. As we walked through she said, “Good, not much farther.”

"Yea, I am getting tired," Thor said.

"And did you see the way that those people looked at us in the hall back there?" I said in my I am almost scared voice, too tired to show expression in my face. Though I was scared.

This hall was steel with rivets the size of my thumbnail. We came to the end, where there stood an elevator. Nate left Thor's side and pressed the up arrow. After a few seconds I leaned up against one of the steel walls. The steel was cold and biting but I didn't care it was rest, and at this point I would have settled for a bed of spikes.

Josely was at my right still with her head against my shoulder. Her hair had dried considerably. I heard the humming of the elevator. I leaned back upright and away from the cold wall. The doors opened; there was a tightening sound as we entered, as if the cable wouldn’t hold but Nate and Josely reassured me that was normal. Nate pressed B4 and the doors closed and the long trip started. At about B2 I heard music. It was 'Leaving on a jet plane' by Aerosmith. Josely started singing, her beautiful voice echoed the faint music of the song. Then I started in. I knew this part. I mean how could I forget, this was our song.

Thor looked up from the floor at us, and raised one eyebrow in question. I looked at Nate; he did the same thing. I stopped singing and said, "This is our song, has been since we met." Then I continued with the chorus. Josely suddenly let go and started dancing.

I said, "Please don't, please." There was a chuckle in my voice.

She held her hand out, and politely said, "May I have this dance kind sir?"

"Why yes young lady, you may." I said, and grabbed her hand and we went into a slow dance. Her arms went around my neck and mine around her waist. We spun in slow circles, swaying gently her still singing. Then something wet on my shoulder, Sweat? No, tears. She looked up at me, and said, "One more time let me kiss you."

Still in tune I said, "Yes my lady I would love th..." My words were cut off by a bombshell of a kiss; I tried to talk for a few seconds before giving in to the embrace of her lips. The elevator stopped and the doors opened. There standing half in shadow was Gado. Josely saw him first and her eyes opened wide and she stopped kissing and pulled away. Followed by a very military, "Sorry, sir."

He replied from his dark corner, "That is all right. I realize the circumstances."

We stepped out of the elevator and the closing doors cut off the music. I almost turned around I was so jumpy. Gado stood up, sharp features exaggerated by the low light. He spoke in a low tone, "You fought for our cause, more than that you took down more than even I had strength to do. And the martial arts style in that form. You have something, whether it be rage or talent it is something powerful."

"Thanks. It is neither talent nor rage." I said in a quiet tone.

"Well than what? If not talent or rage,” he said. He spoke very methodically, almost Shakespearean like.

"True love," I said quieter now and facing Josely. She gazed deep into my yellow green eyes and I into her blue eyes. They appeared now as they always had to me, like the ocean deep and just as mysterious. And the deeper you look the more mysterious they get. Our tails waving behind our backs, mine striped, hers black as night.

Gado, while looking at us, appeared to look beyond us to a time when he held someone like I hold Josely now. He gave us our moment then said, "Listen, all I am saying is would you like to train and live here?"

"Well can I have the night and give my yeah or nay in the morning?" I said, Josely's eyes holding mine like fishing line.

"Why not sleep on it? You had a rough day." Gado spoke, then he looked down and sat back into his chair.

"Well I do have a life topside," Thor said, "But I would gladly join my dear friend Alex if he decides to stay."

"Then it is settled, you will come to me when you are both awake and give me your final answer," Gado said from the dark shadowed area where he sat unseen. Nate ran quick as any animal and pressed the button for the elevator.

"Why so eager, Nate?" Josely said, a little chuckle entered her voice. Nate pressed the button repeatedly mocking what she said. Every one laughed, and out of the laughter I thought I heard Gado chuckle, even if it was only a split second it was there.

As we entered I heard the tail end of Leaving on a Jet Plane. We danced for the last thirty seconds of the song, which was all it took for us to get to the top. The steel doors hissed open and we stepped out. I was still a little sore but it was a manageable walk. Men were still working to repair the gigantic hole. They hadn’t gotten much done. I had no doubt that it would be repaired by morning.

We walked through the kiddy bunks. I put my arm around Thor’s neck and my other one around Josely’s waist. Thor reciprocated by putting his arm around my neck and around Nate’s, Josely but her arm around my neck and we walked off and around the corner to where we would spend the night. I would have been content sleeping out in the mountains at this point in the game. I was tired, not only from the fight earlier tonight, but also from the walking to and back from Gado, the dancing in the elevator, me having to hold Josely’s frail form from falling.

When we got to the bunks, Josely took her top sheet off and one of her stuffed animals, and threw them at me. Nate climbed to his bunk and a sheet came flying over, followed by a pillow. Thor said, “How come you have two pillows and none of the other people do?”

“Well,” Nate said, “That is because I too, like the other plebes, only have one.”

“But,” Thor started then thought about what he was going to say next. Finally from his gaping mouth came some speech. “Listen, Nate, I can’t take this if it is your only one.”

Nate reciprocated with, “Oh yes. You can, and only you, it don’t matter if it is my only one or if I have a thousand. You are our guest and guests deserve better treatment than those who live and work here, so take the stupid pillow.”

This took Thor by surprise, he must not have expected such a noble response from someone who has lived under ground for his entire life. “Well I guess that is settled you get to have a pillow tonight Thor,” I did my best, ‘You have just one a million dollars’ man voice. Thor shrugged his shoulders and flipped the pillow behind his head and lay down to sleep. I put the stuffed, tiger behind my back and lay down. I was awake for no more than five minutes before I fell asleep.

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