A Story About Animals Intro

January 9, 2018 at 9:27 pm (Uncategorized)

A Story About Animals

 

Intro

No one ever notices the cat. At least, not when it could save their lives. Traditionally, we’re considered more clever than other animals, more self-reliant, and overall more resilient than any other creature ever to have lived on this planet. What other animal supposedly has nine lives? A dog? I don’t think so. I’m still not convinced dogs even have one life, let alone nine.

Granted, I can tell you firsthand that cats don’t actually have some magical power that allows them to continue living after they die. They don’t even generally have better luck than other beasts, not counting the myths about the black ones. The only thing cats have over other animals is that they’re elevated to an almost mythical level in the minds of humans. Some ancient cultures even worshipped cats like they were gods, as crazy and wonderful as that sounds.

But the thing is, it doesn’t matter if society views cats as wonderful beings. Not if society has been wiped out. Without humans as a reference point, cats simply are. They aren’t smarter-than or more-clever-than, they’re just there. Just another creature in the world trying to stay alive. There are smart cats, just as there are moronic dogs or masochistic horses. Have you ever seen a masochistic horse? Good god, I hope you don’t have to encounter any.

This will probably sound like the ramblings of a mad man, delusional in his final moments, but I assure you, it isn’t. These are the ramblings of a mad cat, about to be snuffed out in a very unconventional and unfair finale to his life. I am that cat. You can call me, well, whatever you’d like because I’m a cat and I’m not going to respond to it either way. But for this story, you can think of me as…Finn.

Chapter 1 – Finn the Cat

 

For a cat, most days are uneventful. Even if you’ve got some human notion that something big is happening, we’ll probably disagree. Tuesdays are like any other day for a cat, and I was going to treat today’s with as much reverence. My only plans are to sleep, lick myself, knock something off of the counter at an inconvenient time, and maybe lick myself again if time allows. Beyond that, my day is wide open.

I have a good space and a good agreement with my owner. Way back when I was a kitten, my owner found me huddled in the gutter like a sad scrap of trash. He figured I needed a home, and he was right, but he also understood that I didn’t want to keep things exclusive. Just because you don’t want to sleep in storm drains doesn’t mean you want to spend your entire life in a box in the sky.

If I had to take a guess what my master’s name was, I’d probably get it wrong. Sure, that’s self-centered, but it never came up and I never found it useful to listen when his other human friends were over and talking loudly and obnoxiously. English is not my first language, and all things considered, I don’t know why people think I’d want it to be. So many grunts and slurs and generally incomprehensible sounds. I picked out “food” because it became extremely relevant to me, and “Finn” because I’m a cat and as such, my name was hurled at me in thousands of vain attempts to communicate.

The rest of my understanding of human language is pretty limited. I figured out that “cat” was the name for my people, “dog” was the name of the assholes in the sky boxes next to ours, “bath” was some bastardized form of cleaning humans delighted in, and “vet” was a funny joke my master and I had between one another where he’d accidentally say the word and I’d pretend to run around like I was a mouse and he was the cat. I guess I’m just sentimental like that.

Oddly, I also understood the word “zoo” since our sky box was just a few pounces from the city zoo, which was a local hangout of mine. I understood all the words associated with my friends living there, including “rhinoceros,” “leopard,” “bear,” and “crocodile.” A scattershot of fellow creatures, but what’s life if not a chance to meet interesting animals? Oh, I also knew the human word for “trumpet,” but I can’t for the life of me explain why and how that was ever relevant to my life.

My owner…maybe “Fronck” or “Patter” or “Grog” or something…he was one of those male versions of a human. Not overly dominant, but he knew how to groom himself to the point that he didn’t shed more than me and he didn’t turn away females. He kept our sky box tidy and was good enough to remember not to shut the skylight in the corner room since that was my door in to and out of the rest of the world, as per our agreement. The deal was, I snuggled with him when it felt convenient to both of us (I never asked him when was convenient for him but I assumed our schedules matched), and in return, he let me wander the city whenever I got bored.

Ah, the city. The big place that humans call home. What a total wasteland of clutter and lights and things that assault the senses all hours of the day. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s full of distractions and excitement and all-around wonderful things if you’re the type of creature who prefers the thrill of the hunt to actually catching his prey. Some nights I’d just wander across the rooftops, ignoring anything lower than my upward gaze, and other nights I’d slum it on the streets, taking care to avoid the black smoke of the rolling monsters. You know, those “cars” that humans have to use.

I just remembered that I know what “cars” are in the human tongue. Generally there are two types of cats, with the first class being like me and understanding that a cursory knowledge of cars can be extremely beneficial, and the second class being ex-felines, as morbid as that may be. Despite navigating the streams the cars use, I figured out pretty quickly that they weren’t something to mess with. The stifling odor they belched was all the warning I needed, though seeing a handful of my friends rolled under the feet of the car solidified the image of “car equals bad.”

With my owner sufficiently busy for the day at his tap-click box, and with him so rudely coughing all morning, I figure it’s time to explore a bit. I know that as long as he’s sitting with his fingers moving, I’m not going to be much interest to him, and vice versa. This should give me about five hours, or roughly the time between lunch time and dinner time, so it feels best to do my afternoon rounds.

A quick hop down from the table, some light steps around the snack crumbs (not my favorite, honestly), and then a leisurely stroll into my room and past the delightfully large mirror. I’m not a self-centered cat, nor am I a stupid one. I know my reflection when I see it, and I like it, but not enough to linger for more than a minute. Three at tops. It’s important to check myself in the mirror, make sure all my white fur is where it should be, and if any black stripes decided to fall off. Then inspect my paws for irregularities–nope, all six toes on the paws in front and four on the paws in back—and I’m about ready to move on. I still have to turn my back to check my tail and see if the square kinks have straightened out, which they have not. I’m starting to wonder if cats are supposed to have so many kinks in their tails…but that’s not important. One last look at myself in the mirror, searching for any ways to free myself from that prison, and then I’m gone. I always try, but I fail. Again, I know what a mirror does; I’m not stupid. I’m just not able to perform miracles. Goodbye for now, mirror self.

I’m a fast climber, due in part to my strong front paws, so getting to my skylight window is simple. My owner knows not to move my seating pole, otherwise he’ll have to get a yowl-full before bed. No pole, no exit for me. Thankfully, he’s not being careless today, so I’m able to scurry up and out to enjoy some nice, cold, smoggy air.

Have you ever tried looking down from a tall structure at people below? It’s extremely exhilarating, let me tell you. Some of the neighbor cats told me stories about kittens getting stuck in trees because they climbed too high and were afraid to climb down, but I never quite bought into that story, on account of it either being something momma cats told their kittens to scare them, or just some misinformation. Cats are most comfortable when they’re high, and the higher they get, the more comfortable they become. It only stands to reason that I’d be most comfortable so dizzyingly high. Besides, cars can’t get up here, and while I’m not afraid of them, I’m also not really looking for something thought-intensive at the moment, hence why I’m going to see my friend, Cheese.

As cats go, Cheese would squarely land in that second category that I mentioned before, assuming he had the wherewithal to squeeze himself out of his sky box and learn how to climb down anywhere near the cars. For his sake, he’s too fat to bother more than a few plods around the roof before retreating back to his bowl.

It’s really difficult to judge other cats, especially because judging others is something humans do, not cats. We assess, and by my assessment, Cheese is a stupid, fluffy waste of a cat. However, he is great company. I don’t like competition when it comes to anything, and so Cheese, thankfully, will not be a problem in that regard. I can out run him, out think him, out climb him, and out claw him. The only thing he does better than me is eat, but as long as I have my own food bowl back home, I never have to worry about that.

Cheese lives only a few roofs away, which is nice because I can easily get to him within five short minutes traveling at a leisurely pace. Up a few storm drains, down into a flower box or two, and I even have time to stop of in that human kitten’s sandbox to take care of business before I’m looking down the clear ceiling into Cheese’s sky box.

“Hey! Cheese! Hoist your tail up here and come out!”

I scratch at the surface like I always do to attract his attention and then meow to annoy his human, just for the sport of it. But his owner doesn’t look up. It doesn’t even throw something in my direction like it usually does. It just sits there in a heap on the floor, looking like a lazy dog.

“Oh, hey, Finn. You don’t have to yell, I’m already out.”

“What’s up with your human?”

“Don’t know. It’s been like that all day. First I tried pawing it to make it get me some food, but it just coughed and pushed me away. Then when I meowed at it, it just sort of curled up in a ball on the floor and ignored me.”

“How long’s it been doing that?”

“Since breakfast. I haven’t eaten all day. I’m dying here!”

“All day? Who cares, you could miss breakfast all week and not feel anything.”

“You gotta help me! Please! I can’t reach the food bag!”

I look him up and down, then lick my own chops just to emphasize that I’ve eaten recently enough to warrant a cleaning.

“Why can’t you reach the food bag?”

“It’s on the top of the freezy food box.”

I push past him and trudge toward his owner’s room, where the ceiling opens up. I don’t have any trouble slinking through the opening, but Cheese’s fur fluffs up and barely allows him to squeeze in. After some clumps of yellow and orange hairs dislodge, Cheese comes flopping in after me.

“So if it’s on top of the freezy food box, can’t you just hop from the counter? It’s not that far.”

“Not for you, but I…”

I eye his gut scraping the carpet as he walks.

“I get it. No jumping for you.”

Bounding is fun. It just is. Sometimes I bound through our sky box just because it’s more fun to jump from one thing to another than it is to walk in a straight line. I’m almost hoping the counters will be taller than I remember just to give me a reason to try harder.

As we walk past the big room in the middle, I see Cheese’s owner still lying there.

“Why isn’t it moving? Did it eat as much as you did?”

“I don’t know. It might just be tired. I could hardly sleep all night with how much noise it was making. Must have had a hairball or something.”

“Humans don’t get hairballs. They just get sick.”

Once in the kitchen, it was pretty clear that the counter was, sadly, short and simple. One hop onto that, then a second hop onto the top of the freezy food box.

“I don’t see any food up here.”

“It’s in the little room up top.”

“Which one? Right or left?”

“They’re the same one. Just bat the doors open.”

Funny how humans always put their things in these little rooms. My owner stuffs his with food, bottles of sweet-smelling liquid, and little crackers that he keeps putting into his “TV” thing. Cheese’s owner seems to be content with just the food aspect.

“Hey, there’s no cat food up here. Just human stuff.”

“I know! It tastes better!”

“No it doesn’t. It’s no wonder you’re so useless as a cat; you keep trying to eat like a human.”

“Just knock it down here! I’m starving already!”

“Fine, fine.”

I slip behind the container and nudge it out over the edge, then give it a good shove. It topples onto the floor and explodes, popping dusty, salty scraps all over the place. Cheese doesn’t even remember to thank me. Instead, he’s already crunching the stuff between his jowls and forgetting I exist.

This is all his owner’s fault. If it had been doing its job, I wouldn’t have had to bother. I’m not Cheese’s mother and I don’t want to be. That owner is getting a stern talking to, so help me.

Hopping down to the floor is just as easy as getting up, solidifying my theory that scared little kittens in trees is a myth. Cheese still hasn’t looked up to notice me, so I walk around him, careful not to get crumbs on my paws, and make for his owner.

The thing is still there, unsurprisingly. “Hey!” I yell in its face. “Hey! You’ve got responsibilities! You think owning a cat means you get to just laze about?” I push at its face, and still it won’t respond. “I’m talking to you!” The claws pop out and in they go. It’s quick, just a light scratch on the face to get it to pay attention to me.

Nothing. Nothing at all.

“Hey, Cheese? Does your human bleed when you scratch it?”

After a moment, Cheese comes into the room, filthy with bits of food stuck in his fur. “I don’t know; I don’t have claws.”

“You don’t have claws? Seriously?”

He flexes his front paws to show me. Apparently he’s right.

“That explains a few things…” I turn back to the owner. “But your human knows how to bleed at least, right?”

“I guess so. Don’t they all?”

“Yeah. They do.”

“Then what?”

“Then why isn’t this one?”

Cheese’s eyes narrow as he looks intently on his owner’s face. He quietly, carefully inches up to inspect it, sniffing the spot where I scratched its face.

“You clawed my owner? Ooh, Finn, that’s a big no-no.”

“It isn’t moving though. And it isn’t bleeding.”

After another moment, Cheese shrugs and plods back to the kitchen.

“I don’t like this.”

That’s when I’m hit with a thought. It’s a crazy thought, but I can’t ignore it. I leave Cheese to his business and rush out of his sky box, past the sandbox, over the flower boxes, down the storm drains, and over to my home in time to see my owner…still at his tap-click box. Relief washes over me in a way that I hadn’t fully expected.

Suddenly I don’t really mind waiting until dinner to see him again. I slip back inside and nuzzle up to him, pushing my way into his arms and forcing him away from his work. It takes a bit more effort than I’m used to, but he finally relents and falls back to let me onto his lap.

He doesn’t say much except cough, but that’s OK. It’s actually somewhat soothing, feeling him vibrate against me. I vibrate back in a long, deep purr until we both fall asleep. When we wake up, any worry I might have will be gone.

One of us never wakes up.

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KNOCK KNOCK

January 9, 2018 at 9:23 pm (Uncategorized)

KNOCK-KNOCK

EXT. Shadowy Gotham Rooftop. Night.
Wind blows hazy fog around the cloudy night. The faint sound of fabric flapping in the breeze punctuates the stillness.

A faint metallic tapping begins tink-tinking.

BATMAN’S VOICE

What’s the first thing I taught you?

Robin (Tim Drake) hops down from a chimney, pole in hand.

ROBIN

Technically, I think the first thing you taught me was that the world isn’t fair. After that, probably the art of stealth.

Batman emerges from the shadow behind Robin.

BATMAN

And part of stealth is silence.

ROBIN

Silence is boring.

BATMAN

Silence is everything.

ROBIN

I thought justice was everything.

BATMAN

The first Robin didn’t see the need to make every metaphor literal.

ROBIN

Hey, fresh Robin, fresh perspective on life.

The two share an awkward silence. Robin turns away and looks out over the edge of the rooftop toward the city.

ROBIN

Sorry, I’m still getting used to this whole brooding thing.

BATMAN

That’s where the silence helps.

Robin checks his watch.

ROBIN

It’s almost 3 am.

BATMAN

I know.

ROBIN

I figured–I’m making conversation.

More silence. Robin lazily flips his pole around.

ROBIN

You think our guy’ll show up?

BATMAN

Yes.

ROBIN

He’s stayed on the east side for the past week. Why would he come west tonight?

BATMAN

Because we’re here.

ROBIN

You know the guy’s story at least?

BATMAN

Some new thug with a gimmick, same as all the other thugs with a gimmick.

ROBIN

What was the guy’s name?

BATMAN

I stopped keeping track. They’re all basically the same.

Robin stretches a bit.

ROBIN

I guess they can’t all be The Joker or Two-Face or some other guy with an original backstory.

Robin looks over at Batman.

ROBIN

Have you even moved in the last five minutes?

BATMAN

The fact that you aren’t sure means you’re not paying attention.

ROBIN

Or that you’re just that good.

Batman betrays a slight smirk.

ROBIN

Aha! I saw that at least. OK, how about we try a joke.

Batman’s smirk vanishes, as does he.

BATMAN’S VOICE

I don’t do jokes.

ROBIN

Aw c’mon, everyone does jokes. At least a knock-knock joke. You’ve GOT to know one of those.

BATMAN’S VOICE

No.

ROBIN

Knock-knock.

No response.

ROBIN

Just go with this. Knock-knock.

Still no response.

ROBIN

Can you please just say, ‘who’s there?’

BATMAN’S VOICE

No.

ROBIN

Why?

Batman appears over Robin’s shoulder.

BATMAN

Because I am the one who knocks.

Pause.

ROBIN

Was that a Breaking Bad reference? Did you just make a joke and reference pop culture at the same time?

A loud shotgun blast rips through the moment, coming from a rooftop one building over.

ROBIN

There’s our guy.

Robin vaults over the ledge in pursuit while a bat-shaped blur whips past him. A thug dressed in a glowing yellow suit keeps firing a shotgun down at a roof hatch.

THUG

Come on! How hard is it to bust open a frickin’ lock with a shotgun?

The thug suddenly finds himself hurled to the floor and disarmed in one motion.

THUG

Oh crap! It’s you!

Batman allows his face to come into focus, looking down on the thug, boot planted firmly on the thug’s face.

Robin kneels down next to the guy, holding the shotgun.

ROBIN

So, glowing suit, but you use a shotgun? I don’t get what you’re supposed to be.

THUG

The gun’s just a tool, not everything’s gotta be part of the act.

ROBIN

So get to the reveal. Who’re you? Lightning Bug? Flashlight Man?

THUG

The name’s The Dynamo, and don’t you forget it!

ROBIN

The Dynamo? Why?

THUG

I’m still working on that part.

Batman reaches down and grabs the thug by the collar, lifting him up.

ROBIN

So tell us, why this building, why now?

THUG

Because I’ve been working the other side uh town. Who’s gonna suspect I’d suddenly strike the opposite end of Gotham?

Batman pulls the thug close to his face.

BATMAN

Me.

Robin dismantles the shotgun, letting the shells fall out the back of the gun.

ROBIN

This isn’t even a good model.

THUG

It’s a family heirloom, all right?

ROBIN

See, Heirloom would have been a better villain name then.

THUG

I told you, it’s just a tool.

ROBIN

Then how about The Toolmeister?

THUG

Because I’m named The Dynamo!

ROBIN

Why?

THUG

Because I–!

Pause.

THUG

Well I boosted this suit a month ago and I figured it’d do something cool.

ROBIN

Does it?

THUG

It glows. That cool enough?

ROBIN

Glowworm, gotcha.

THUG

Hey, is The Bat gonna just hold onto me, or is he gonna say something?

ROBIN

Up to him; I’m not the one in charge.

BATMAN

Tell me–

ROBIN

See? He speaks.

BATMAN

Where’s Riddler hiding?

THUG

Riddler? Hah, I don’t know what you’re talking about!

Robin walks over to the guy and pats his cheek.

ROBIN

See, the thing is, I think you do. And if I think that you do, it means my partner here knows that you do. Why else would he bother with some light-up crook?

THUG

OK, maybe Riddler hooked me up with this suit, and maybe he told me to start nabbin’ art pieces of old dudes on horses, but he never said why.

BATMAN

I already know why. I want to know where.

THUG

You know why? Dude, you gotta tell me, I’m dying to know!

ROBIN

You are easily the worst villain I’ve ever seen.

BATMAN

Tell me where Riddler is hiding.

THUG

I can’t do that, he’d totally take this suit back.

Batman starts walking while dragging the thug.

THUG

Hey, whoa! Not so rough!

Batman reaches the edge of the rooftop and slings the thug over it, still holding him tightly.

THUG

What are you doing?! Let me go!

ROBIN

Let you go? Sounds like poor word choice.

THUG

I don’t mean it like that! You wanna know where Riddler is?! Some warehouse on 72nd!

ROBIN

I don’t know, 72nd is awfully vague.

THUG

OK! OK! It’s the old Mathison Shipping Company warehouse! 72nd and Wilson! South part of town! SOUTH!

BATMAN

Knock-knock.

THUG

What? Huh–who’s there?

BATMAN

The Dynamo.

THUG

The Dynamo who?

BATMAN

Exactly.

The thug lets out a scream as Batman drops him from the building.

As the thug is about to hit the ground, his glowing yellow suit suddenly inflates, safely breaking his fall. The thug waddles around on his back like a tortoise that’s been flipped over.

THUG

HAH! HAH! So THAT’S what this thing does!

Camera looks up from the thug’s vantage point to see Batman’s fist cocked and ready.

BATMAN

Knock-knock.

Fade to black.

Sound of a knockout punch.

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Eclipse Star: Genesis Chapter Sixty-Four

May 4, 2010 at 4:15 am (Eclipse Star: Genesis, Uncategorized) ()

Eclipse Star: Chapter 64

“Sense and Sensibility”

Recap: While Syrus busily studies Chris’ technique, the boy himself goes in search of his grandmother’s whereabouts. Finding a Charles Robotics facility where his house used to be, things become more complicated when a team of Hex-Duo 6 robots suddenly attack. The fight is halted by Charles, or rather a robotic version of Charles. He assures Chris that his grandmother is safe but urges him to stay out of the next conflict. Chris leaves for the Northern Lodge once more as Charles tells Syrus of his findings. Things are about to get crazy, today, on Eclipse Star!

-The group is up in the mountains during a normal training session with Joshua. Most of the group is actively engaging in warm-up drills while Joshua gives pointers. Jack, however, remains in his usual spot off to the side, leaning against a tree with his crutches under his arms.

Joshua: That’s good guys, real good. I want all of you nice and loose for today.

Lindsey: What’ve you got for us today?

Kyle: Please tell me it’s not just more hiking.

Joshua: Nope, not exactly hiking. Today’s a test.

Danny: Test? TEST?! I didn’t know I was supposed to study for one of those!

Joshua: Haha, calm down Danny, you should be more than ready.

Scott: So what’s up?

Joshua: Oh it’s very simple. I’d like all of you to play hide and seek.

Leena: That doesn’t sound too hard.

Joshua: Well, all of you are hiding and all of you are seeking.

Leena: Okay, that’s impossible.

Joshua: I work best under those conditions.

Clinton: How will this drill work?

Joshua: First, everyone’s getting blindfolded. After that I count to ten and tell you all to scatter. The goal is to take out everyone else without being taken out yourself. Sound simple enough?

Derek: I assume we’re using Pulse Sensing abilities then?

Joshua: Precisely. This wouldn’t work if you didn’t.

Kyle: Okay, but I see a general flaw with this drill: Even if I attack someone first they’ll still take me out.

Joshua: Hmm, okay, the Kyle Rule is in effect: No one’s allowed to hit Kyle as hard as they’d hit Derek.

Kyle: I like this rule.

Leena: I don’t.

Austin: So any other limitations?

Joshua: Nope. I assume I don’t need to further explain how to play this game best, but just for clarification- (Danny smiles) –you will need to balance keeping your Pulse strength low enough to avoid detection with raising it quick enough to knock out your opponents.

Kyle: Except for Kyle!

Joshua: Right, except for Kyle. Just give him a pink belly until he gives up.

Kyle: I suddenly don’t like the Kyle Rule.

Joshua: Oh, and Glitch, I’m sorry, but you can’t play since you’ve got special scanners anyway.

Glitch: Yeah, I figured about as much.

Joshua: You’ll be the clean-up crew. Bring ‘em back as they knock each other out. Sound good?

Glitch: (Salutes). Sure, can do!

Joshua: Excellent! Ready to get blindfolded everyone?

Everyone: Hoorah!

Joshua: Ooh, no, nope, that isn’t going to work. We need a new group cheer.

Lindsey: Cowabunga!

-Everyone just stops and looks at Lindsey.

Lindsey: What? I like it. It sounds cool.

Joshua: Might I suggest “Hallelujah”?

Derek: Too religious, not powerful enough.

Joshua: I’ll have you know that it’s very powerful, thank you.

Jack: (Deadpan). How about just “Ha”?

-Everyone is somewhat surprised to hear Jack speak.

Joshua: (Pause, then). I like it!

Group: Ha!

-Everyone is fitted with a blindfold. Joshua counts to ten as they scatter.

Jack: How long you think before this is over?

Joshua: (Laughing). Oh no, I don’t think you’re just going to sit there and gloat. I’ve got a job for you, too.

Jack: Does it involve my legs finally working?

Joshua: I’ve told you, that is entirely up to you. No, I assume you’ve been paying attention to the lessons?

Jack: To a certain point.

Joshua: I know when you’re lying. Jack, you’re the best with this ability.

Jack: I’ve picked it up but nothing special.

Joshua: Tell me how far away Chris is.

Jack: (Rolls his eyes). I don’t-

Joshua: Jack.

Jack: (Pause). Roughly three miles south-southwest.

Joshua: I want you to describe everything as it’s happening to me.

Jack: How does this help you?

Joshua: This helps you, not me.

Jack: Fine, if you say so. (Jack closes his eyes for a moment). Alright, so far Danny’s the easiest to sense since he’s not suppressing his Pulse whatsoever.

Joshua: Oh that Danny. Maybe I should have told him about the test beforehand.

Jack: No one has made contact with anyone else just yet. They’re keeping themselves at a cautious distance. Derek’s making a move toward Kevin right now. And Kyle seems to be making a conscious effort to move away from Derek’s position. He’s almost completely out of range for everyone else.

Joshua: Not a bad tactic. Keep going. Don’t stop updating me. (Closes his eyes and sits down, relaxing, cross-legged).

-Out in the woods, Derek is moving between trees rapidly, keeping low but moving fast. He approaches Kevin rather closely.

Kevin: (Whipping around in Derek’s direction). I know you’re back there, Derek!

-Derek, however, is gone.

-Kevin moves his head around, listening carefully and trying to feel Derek out.

-Derek comes down on top of Kevin’s head with both feet, plowing Kevin into the ground.

Austin: Got you!

-An energy blast shoots at Derek as Austin comes rushing in with more.

-Derek leaps at Austin, underneath the energy blasts, and boots him in the stomach.

-Austin gasps but takes a mad swing with both hands, clonking Derek in the side of the head.

-Derek staggers off for cover.

Austin: Hah, hah, alright then, I see how it’s gonna be.

Jack: (Back at the Lodge with his eyes closed). Kevin was nearly knocked out for a second. He moved clear when Austin attacked Derek, though. He’s moving erratically right now. I think Derek’s hit has him confused.

Joshua: Good though, he’s still got enough sense to get away from the fight. He’s been listening to me pretty well.

-Kevin continues stumbling between the trees, running into a few without meaning to before stopping to rub his head.

Kevin: Man, how’d he hit me that hard without me feeling the Pulse spike first?

-Danny shuffles about, trying to stay busy doing something, but he can’t seem to find anyone.

Danny: Wow, everyone’s doing a really good job right now. I can’t find anyone. Unless…maybe they’re scared of me! (Epiphany). That’s right! I forgot! I’m super strong, aren’t I?! I’ll just let them come to me!

-Danny stands his ground and raises his Pulse level.

Jack: For whatever reason, Danny just decided to let everyone know exactly where he is.

Joshua: Ooh, that’s not a bad idea.

Jack: Oddly, it isn’t, at least in this scenario. I assume Danny thinks he’s really strong but what he’ll end up doing is cause everyone else to meet up and start weeding each other out.

Joshua: And then Danny gets out somehow. Genius!

-As Jack predicted, multiple others begin flocking to Danny’s position, with Derek, Scott, Lindsey, and Clinton moving toward a collision course, each expecting to be the first to intercept Danny.

-Scott is suddenly hurled into a tree, courtesy of Derek.

-Danny hears this and fires a blast at the direction of the noise, hitting Scott pretty hard.

Danny: Aha! I got someone!

-Clinton comes up behind Danny and nearly knocks his head off.

-Derek slams Clinton unexpectedly in the side of the head with an elbow.

-Danny turns around and fires another large blast, pegging Clinton really easily.

Danny: I got another one!

Clinton: (Taking his blindfold off). Of course you got me. I was right next to you when Derek hit me.

Danny: Aha! I can hear you!

Clinton: What?

-Danny begins firing more blasts at Clinton, believing he’s got him on the run.

Jack: Well, somehow Danny hasn’t completely messed this one up yet.

Joshua: Ahahaha! This is wonderful!

-While Danny is busy chasing Clinton off, Derek moves in for the kill.

-Before he can strike Danny, Lindsey has tackled Derek.

-The two careen off in another direction wrestling about in mid-flight.

-Austin breaks the two up, kicking one and uppercutting the other.

-Lindsey and Derek snap back to take out Austin, managing to hit each other incredibly hard.

-Austin is situated off to the side of the two, having missed being hit entirely. He grabs the two heads and slams them together before grabbing them and throwing them into the air.

Derek: Damn it!

-Danny stops chasing Clinton and turns his attention upward.

Danny: That sounds like Derek!

-Danny charges up and fires another large blast in Derek’s direction, making a direct hit.

-Lindsey manages to move out of the way before Danny can sense that she’s there, too. She drifts silently back into the treetop covering and fades off anyone’s radar, save for Jack’s.

Jack: Danny almost knocked Derek out with that last attack.

Joshua: (Kicking his feet in excitement). Oh isn’t this just fun?!

-Derek turns toward Danny and angrily throws a super-powered beam in his direction.

-Danny stops and begins to suspect something’s up.

Danny: Wait a minute…that felt like Derek throwing something really big and really painful at me. But he’s scared of me, right? Why’d he do that?

-Before Danny is exploded, Willy has pulled him out of the way to safety.

Willy: What d’you think you’re doing Danny? Derek almost killed you!

Danny: Willy? I found you!

-Danny places his hands on Willy’s chest and fires a forceful beam, launching Willy out of the woods and into the air.

Danny: (Beaming). I’m doing really good, aren’t I?

-Willy sails over the trees and into the clouds.

Jack: I’d say Willy’s pretty much done.

Joshua: Yup. Still, he did good keeping Danny safe. He passes the test nonetheless.

-Glitch flies up to Joshua and Jack carrying Clinton.

Joshua: Clinton, you’re out because you looked.

Clinton: I know, I know.

Joshua: Feeling alright?

Clinton: Yup, just kind of stupid.

Joshua: Glitch? You mind catching Willy before he hits the ground?

Glitch: You got it!

-Glitch flies off to get Willy.

-Chris finally shows up.

Chris: What’s up?

Joshua: Ah! Chris! You’re back so soon. How did it go?

Chris: I’ve got news. What’s everyone up to? I’m feeling Pulse spikes everywhere.

Joshua: Training. Hey Clinton, hand Chris your blindfold.

Clinton: Here.

-Clinton gives his blindfold over to Chris. Chris doesn’t quite understand.

Joshua: Well? Put it on.

Chris: Oh. (Puts it over his eyes). Now what?

-Joshua grabs Chris and hurls him into the woods, flailing like an idiot.

Joshua: There, that should give everyone else a slight handicap.

Jack: Well, at least he’s figured out the point of the exercise. His Pulse has already dropped to the “stealth” range.

Joshua: He always was a fast learning.

Clinton: Now that you mention it, there’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask.

Joshua: About how Chris made so much headway in three days’ training?

Clinton: That’s the exact question.

Joshua: I could tell you, but that’d ruin the surprise.

Jack: It was just what needed to happen. Nothing more, nothing less.

Joshua: Actually, I like that answer better.

Jack: By the way, I think Kevin’s about to be out.

-Deep in the woods, Kevin is being hammered with quick strikes from Lindsey and Leena. By the time he turns in the proper direction to attack one, the other is coming up from behind. Still, he’s enjoying himself.

Kevin: Ha, ha, okay, so how should I do this?

-Lindsey comes at Kevin from the right as Leena closes in from the left.

-Kevin shrinks himself instantly to the size of an ant, allowing the two girls to smash their faces into each other at full speed.

Leena: OW!

Lindsey: Dang it!

Leena: You weren’t supposed to run into me!

Lindsey: Then where’d Kevin go?

-Kevin reappears at quadruple his normal height the very next instant, grabbing at the two.

-Neither can break free, though Lindsey liquefies herself and slips through Kevin’s fingers.

-Leena, literally on the other hand, is launched way into the air.

Leena: This is why you don’t have a girlfriend…!

-Lindsey reforms herself and runs off through the woods again, hiding her power.

-Leena comes down in the middle of the woods while yelling.

Leena: Yaaaaaa…!

Danny: I know that voice! That’s Leena!

Leena: What? Danny? Oh no.

Danny: Ultra Beam Blast Cannon!

-Danny points himself at Leena and fires, hitting her with all his strength.

Jack: Well, Kevin may still be going, but Leena’s out now.

-Glitch flies to the starting location carrying Willy.

Joshua: Willy, how are you?

Willy: (Coming to, rubbing his head). I’m alright. Dumb, but alright.

Joshua: Don’t worry, you did good. Glitch? Leena’s gonna need a catch, too.

Glitch: Right.

-Glitch flies off to grab Leena.

-Meanwhile, Scott has located Kyle and proceeds to track him through the woods.

Scott: C’mere Kyle, I know you’re out there.

Kyle: (Whispering to himself while hiding behind trees). Dang it, how does he know?

-Kyle takes a step out from the trees and steps on a twig.

-Kyle looks down at the twig and then over towards Scott, who’s also noticed the sound.

Kyle: Oh come on, how cliché is the old twig gag?

-Scott lunges at Kyle. Kyle braces himself for something big.

Kyle: Okay, make it quick…!

-A swift flash and Kyle is left alone, still bracing for the attack.

Kyle: Okay, any time now. (Unbraces). Anyone there?

-Scott is reeling through the trees after getting struck by something or other.

Jack: Okay, whatever just hit Scott totally knocked him out.

-Glitch flies down with Leena.

Joshua: Glitch, Scott, please?

Glitch: Sure thing.

-Kyle “looks” around, wondering out loud what happened.

Kyle: Huh. I guess I must have done something unexpected just there, like a secret well of power.

Chris: You owe me. (Gone).

Kyle: Yeah that makes more sense.

-Austin and Derek continue to scuffle every now and then, trading blows as they sneak around one another.

-Derek finally decides to end it by closing the gap between him and Austin and detonating his energy, causing a fairly large explosion.

Leena: (Sees the explosion in the woods). Whoa, what was that?

Jack: (Still with his eyes closed). Derek started to get impatient. He pushed his power up suddenly near max and hit Austin pretty hard.

Leena: Yeah but Austin’s alright, right?

-Glitch comes flying in carrying Scott.

Joshua: Glitch, could you please go find whatever’s left of Austin and bring him in?

Glitch: I’m on it. (Flies off again).

-Kevin stops, having felt Derek’s huge power increase.

Kevin: Great, Derek’s not playing anymore, is he?

Chris: It doesn’t feel like it.

Kevin: That you Chris?

Chris: Yup. Austin’s out. What say we stop Derek from doing something like that again?

Kevin: Agreed.

-The two fly off towards Derek’s location.

-Danny, however, is as confused as ever.

Danny: Okay, I heard that come from that direction, but Derek was over in the other direction just a few minutes ago. Is he trying to trick me? (Stops and thinks for a second). He has to be. I won’t stand for that!

-Danny pushes his strength up to max, shaking the trees around him.

-The others still participating seem to view this as a signal to close in on Danny once more.

-Derek comes in low and quiet, anticipating Danny won’t notice him while charging up. He gets right up to Danny before talking.

Derek: Alright Danny, game’s over for you.

Lindsey: Think again, Derek.

Derek: The heck?

-Lindsey leans out behind Danny, having hid on the other side while also charging.

-She fires a beam at the same time Danny fires a beam at Derek, with the two beams combining and hitting Derek at the same time.

-Derek throws his hands up to block but is still hurled back against the force of the beam. He struggles to get control again.

Derek: (Through gritted teeth). I thought it’d be obvious I wasn’t playing nice anymore.

-As Derek finally gains control of Lindsey and Danny’s combined beam, another combined beam hits him from behind.

Chris: No way he’ll back down from this.

Kevin: No, I’m pretty sure we’re just making him mad again.

-As the brightness of the four beams colliding fades just enough, Derek appears to be holding the two combined beams at bay, one with each hand.

Derek: Hah! Is that the best you can do?!

Kyle: You sure look like you’ve got your hands full, huh?

Derek: What? Kyle?

-Kyle proceeds to continue charging his own attack in one hand, what appears to be a strange whirl of wispy smoke.

Kyle: Okay just hold still for a moment please.

Derek: (Freaked out, still struggling with the other blasts). Kyle! If you fire that I’ll hurt you so-!

Kyle: (Grandiose voice). TRAIN SUMMON!

WHOO WHOOOOOOOOOM!

-Kyle lets loose what appears to be a ghost train from his hand. The beam hits Derek and carries through him, obviously doing a lot of damage.

-Derek finally loses control of everything around him after getting thrown backward with the Train Summon.

Kevin: Heh, I think Kyle got him.

Chris: Excellent.

Kevin: Count to three then go?

Chris: Yup.

-The two leap away from one another before trading blows every so often.

-Danny and Lindsey both let out a sigh, though Danny still doesn’t seem aware that Lindsey is right next to him.

Danny: Wow! I did it! I did-!

Thak

-Danny’s eyes slowly close as he falls face forward, still smiling, before hitting the snow and passing out completely.

Lindsey: Sorry Danny, but you’ll just hurt yourself if you keep this up.

-Lindsey disappears after Chris and Kevin.

Leena: So what’s the status report? I just saw a big train shoot out of the woods and now nothing.

Jack: Derek is now officially out, thanks to the other five hitting him all at once.

Joshua: Teamwork! Excellent!

Jack: But then Lindsey knocked Danny out with a simple chop to the back of the head, so he’s out, too.

Joshua: Oh how sad. I really thought he’d win. But oh well, he did pretty good anyway. Glitch?

-Glitch is just flying in with Austin.

Glitch: Yes?

Joshua: Please go bring Danny in, but just let Derek sit unconscious in the snow for a while. It might help him cool down.

Glitch: Right. (Flies off again).

-Chris and Kevin continue hitting quick and fading into cover with neither showing significant leverage over the other.

-Kevin sends a punch that collides with Chris’ face, throwing him through some foliage.

-Kevin chases after a bit, pushing some bushes out of the way.

Kevin: I know you’re back there. I can sense your Pulse, Chris!

-Kevin moves some more brush aside, revealing a glowing energy ball.

Kevin: Uh-oh.

BLOOM!

-Glitch flies in with Danny.

Danny: (Sleepily waking up). Danny do good?

Joshua: (Smiling). Yes, Danny do very good.

Jack: That leaves just Chris, Lindsey, and Kyle left in the woods.

Scott: Alright, takin’ all bets! That’s right, takin’ all bets! Lemme hear a hundred on Lindsey, the girl with the twirl! Any takers?!

Leena: Right here.

-The group huddles around Scott, placing bets. Even Joshua steps up with a few bucks.

-Lindsey finds herself finally having a hard time in the exercise now that Kyle is pretty much untraceable and Chris has been keeping himself hidden.

Lindsey: Shoot, I don’t even know who’s left.

-She starts to feel a huge energy spike as Chris rockets towards her at an alarming speed, his power climbing rapidly.

-He pulls back with a huge punch but stops inches from her face right as she turns around, having felt who’s in front of him.

Chris: Lindz?

-The two stand confused for a second before…

Plip!

Chris: Oops.

-Energy appears between Lindsey’s thumb, index, and middle fingers.

Lindsey: Sorry.

SHRACKOW!!!

-Chris is hit with a powerful explosion and sent careening through trees, ripping through them when hit.

Danny: What just happened?

-The group hears a faint yelling sound, which soon becomes very obvious when Chris explodes out of the trees, carried through the air from the force of the explosion.

-He skids to a stop in the snow right in the middle of the group as they just stare downward at him.

Chris: Ugh.

-Pause.

Joshua: (Points down). Chris, you’re out.

Chris: Good grief.

Jack: That means Lindsey and Kyle are the only two left.

Kyle: Yeah, and she has no clue where I am.

-The group, all without blindfolds now, are staring dumbfounded at Kyle, still in his blindfold, standing quite blatantly among them.

Joshua: Um, Kyle?

Kyle: (Points). Yes, Josh, question.

Joshua: Shouldn’t you be off trying to knock Lindsey out?

Kyle: Not a bad tactic, but I do believe I have a better chance letting someone else knocking her out for me.

Leena: You’re the only one left besides her.

Kyle: So where’s Chris?

Chris: I’m right here.

Kyle: Oh crap, so I really knocked Derek out?

Austin: Heh, yeah, I saw that. That was sweet.

Kyle: (Panicked). Oh jeez, he’s totally gonna kill me now! He’s not right here is he?

Joshua: Nope, I figured it’d be best to leave him alone for a bit.

FOOM!

Joshua: (Deadpan). Is that Derek?

Jack: That’s Derek.

Joshua: That’s Derek. Alright, but he’s still out.

-Derek flies up above the trees to a point where the group can clearly see him.

Joshua: Oh yeah, he’s not even wearing a blindfold; he’s totally out.

-Derek starts to charge something huge.

Joshua: (Facepalm). Dang it Derek, why do you do this?

-Lindsey shoots up from the trees and slams her head into Derek’s chin.

Plip-SHRACKOW!

-Derek is sent flying toward the group. Glitch catches him in mid air before he hits anyone.

-Lindsey takes off her blindfold to see what’s happened.

Lindsey: (Yelling to the group). Did I win?!

Leena: Put your blindfold back on!

Kyle: What? Oh! Oh! No blindfold! She’s disqualified! I win by default! (Whips his blindfold off).

Joshua: Oy, I think this training session is over.

-After a short breather, the group has settled down and are ready to hear what Joshua has to say.

Joshua: I’m extremely pleased with how you all handled that last test. Glitch, you were a huge help by the way.

Glitch: Thanks.

Joshua: And Jack, excellent job as well.

Jack: Yeah.

Lindsey: (Nudges Jack). C’mon, savor the compliment.

Derek: So who technically won?

Joshua: Winning wasn’t the point.

Lindsey: Yeah but if you had to pick a winner, who was it?

Joshua: Uh…me.

Group: What?!

Joshua: Because I embodied the true spirit of passivity and non-violence. Now enough whining, I have one last thing I’d like you all to do. Is everyone sufficiently rested?

-Nods all around.

Joshua: Good. I want to see who among you is the strongest. I want to see who can top the charts here, so hold absolutely nothing back.

Austin: The usual way? Powering up?

Joshua: Yup, you’ve got the idea. I’ll go down the line here. Danny, you go first.

Danny: Because I’m so strong?

Joshua: Hahaha, yes, because you’re so strong.

Danny: Alright!

-Everyone takes turns pushing their Pulse energies to maximum strength and beyond until only Chris and Derek are left.

Joshua: Alright Chris, could you please do the honors and let these guys know if they’re really past where you left off a few months ago?

Chris: Sure thing.

-Chris crouches low clenching his fists. He begins to make a slight growling sound as his power rises along with the volume of his voice. The nearby trees start swaying slightly and the ground suddenly quakes as sparks shoot from Chris the louder he becomes.

Joshua: Good, don’t stop!

-Chris’ Pulse reaches the state it had been when he fought Hex-Duo 6, signaled when it looks apparent he can’t power up any further.

-He stops yelling and looks around.

-To his relief, instead of the fear he had noticed the last time this happened, the group seems at ease, almost happy.

Leena: That’s it? Are you sure you’re maxed out?

Chris: (Struggling a bit). Yeah, pretty much.

Leena: Okay, that’s not where he was three months ago.

Jack: No, that’s exactly where he was three months ago.

Lindsey: So that means we really did learn how to do what he did?

Joshua: Does this level of power seem strange to you anymore?

Lindsey: No. This is about what we’re doing during intense training sessions now.

Joshua: Good! Then I’ve made a difference, haven’t I?

Jack: He’s still the strongest one here, though, but the difference between Chris and everyone else isn’t as radical.

-The wind picks up suddenly from behind Chris.

Austin: Hey what’s up?

KOOM!

-Intense light momentarily blinds everyone as the quaking begins again, this time blowing the nearby trees so hard some of them crack and split down the middle.

-Everyone, including Chris, is having a hard time keeping their footing, finding themselves at risk of being blown away from the force coming from Derek.

BRAK! BRAK!

-Pulse discharges surround Derek as he stands maxed out, the snow around him completely melted.

Chris: (Finally gets a good look at Derek. He smiles). Dang Derek, you just couldn’t let it go, could you?

Derek: (Also smiling). You know me.

Joshua: Alright! Enough, enough! Before my house blows away already!

-Derek lets out a sigh and returns to his normal state of calm.

Joshua: I think that’s all for today. Oh wait! Chris, you said you had news, correct?

Chris: Yeah it-

-Chris suddenly stops and remembers what Charles had said to him.

Charles: Wherever you and your friends are hiding, and I don’t want to know where that is, but wherever that may be, just stay there… if you fought right now, you’d expend a lot of units, making the full-scale attack severely lacking and cause me to have wasted my time. I was okay with the Locust Virus being a waste, and the Hex-Duo robots weren’t something I was proud of, but this time it needs to happen. The sooner this is all over…well the sooner this is all over.

Chris: I’ll consider the option for a by on this fight.

Charles: Please do.

Chris: Your robots attack me again, I’ll be fine. I can handle that. They attack my friends or someone else, then we have a problem.

Charles: Stay as far away from the city as you can for as long as you can.

Chris: I can’t and won’t make promises to someone who’s most likely an enemy, however nice he may be at the moment.

Charles: Then you really are perceptive.

-Back to the present.

Austin: Hey Chris, speak up man. Is there anything we should know?

-Pause.

Chris: No. Nothing all that interesting. I’ll tell you later.

-The group heads into the Lodge to rest as Chris continues thinking how easy it would be to just avoid the next conflict altogether.

-To Be Continued…

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Welcome To The World

December 13, 2008 at 1:41 pm (Uncategorized)

Eclipse Star LogoWhat would you do if you had limitless power at your disposal?  Would you choose to help others, or would you choose to help only yourself?  For the past 10 years I’ve been thinking about how I’d respond to that, and right now all I can say is, “I do not know.”

The result of my wonderment is Eclipse Star, a story that seeks to accomplish more than the sum of its parts.  Throughout the course of the story, dozens of issues are brought up relating to all sorts of topics, including religion, politics, love, hate, vengeance, destiny, God, sex, violence, the human soul, family, pianos, and everything in between, (every good description has “and everything in between” at some point).

Eclipse Star isn’t for everyone.  Some of you might not enjoy it.  Some of you may downright despise it.  But then again, some of you may love it, and like me, some of you may find that you need it.  It’s an ongoing project that takes ridiculous time and monumental effort, and I’m beginning to hit my limit for how much of that can come from me alone.  It’s a continuously evolving world and the only way for it to continue down any given path is for more interaction from anyone willing to give of themselves to the project.

So that’s the gist.  It’s heavy-handed, but only if you want to see it like that.  I just want you to enjoy something I’ve written.  I want to change the world, but only a world I can create.  Welcome to my world.  Welcome to Eclipse Star.

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