Saturday, June 12, 2010

It Started With the Cat -- complete

(I promised you guys that I'd post the "completed" work, so here goes. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Everyone here at MGC hopes you had fun with it. If you did, post in the comments to let us know and to let us know if you would like to do this again. Edit: Mike, I just saw your last comment. Sorry I didn't include it, but I'd already compiled and set to post what had been submitted. Keep it and we'll try to use it in the next round. -- Amanda)

It started with the cat. Well, kitten really. A sweet, fluffy little ball of yellow and white fur. Who could have turned away from the forlorn look or the unmistakable disdain for Mother Nature being so foolish as to rain on the fur ball? Besides, the one blue eye and one green eye seemed to captivate me. Little did I know that rainy evening in June that my life would never be the same. Well, how could it be when that's the night the world ended.

I couldn't possibly help the poor thing. I just couldn't. After all, I was allergic to pet hair. And my lease specifically forbade pets. None of which seemed to matter in the least when I looked into those mismatched eyes. As soon as we made eye contact I was lost, as lost as she was.

So I decided to get an electric razor. I confined her in my little patio area and went to buy a razor. Only thing to do. If I could just shave her down, I could have her in the apartment. And I could say she was an alien, not a pet. Nothing in the lease said anything about aliens! Only on the way to the store, I met zombies. No, I'm not joking, real zombies, like in night of the dead again or whatever it was. Here I am, in my best stiletto heels and mini-skirt, just having come off my shift as a dancer at the Wet Dog Cafe, and my car gets surrounded by all these guys.

Not that this is unusual, but these guys... well, first I thought their sense of fashion was really bad. They were wearing double breasted wide-lapel suits, for crying out loud. And some of them had fedoras on. Others had like... wide ties. It was a nightmare, I thought. And then I noticed their faces.

Hey, I went through high school with this kid, Poindexter Archimedes, who ought to have been in the Guinness Book of World Records for worst zits ever. I flashed back to that horrible party where someone spiked the punch and I kissed Poindexter. Only these guys were worse. These guys were Poindexter times ten. I slammed my car into reverse and hit the gas. Suddenly allergies and leases seemed unimportant. The two zombies behind the car jumped up on the trunk. I spun the wheel, slapped the gearshift and pretended I was driving a race car.

I drove a mile. Then another mile. The two zombies on my trunk were moaning "brains... BRAINS!" And that's when I saw the road in front of me. It was littered with squirrels. Zombie-squirrels. The HORROR!

I smashed the gas and ran them over. ALL of them. It sounded like thousands of watermelons being hit by a snow plow.

I hurled my car into my parking space and rolled down the window. The cat jumped in. I floored it and we fled down the highway, thousands of zombies and zombie-squirrel bodies crushing under the tires. The two zombies were still on my trunk and smashing through the rear window...

What could I do? The cat looked at me with those eyes, and I could see that he was both arching an eyebrow (a cat eyebrow!) and inclining his head slightly to the left...I looked in the direction he was indicating, then threw the Mustang (did I mention the Mustang?) into a hand-brake turn, flinging the zombies into the dirt. We laughed, the cat and I, and thundered off into the night.

The 24 hour Walgreen's was just down the road. I told the little fuzzball that I would be right back and wiping my watering eyes and running nose I ran in the store and headed straight to the decongestants. Securing a handful of nostrums I hurried over to the hair care aisle and grabbed a Wahl Home Hair Cut kit. My boy friend would never believe the scratches on his car came from a zombie horde. But a fur-less, alien cat?

Done deal.

Unfortunately the WalGreens was located near a "green area". Lots of bush and shrubbery.Good cover...for critters.Worse than zombie. Cyborg Possums.One was sitting on the trunk of the car looking into the passenger compartment. Even from a distance I could see the laser diode in it's eye...blinking...blinking....

That's when the kitten showed its true nature. One minute, a sopping wet mop of yellow and white fur, with one blue eye and one green eye. Then a breath later, a dragon, with blue scales and green scales in a strange pattern on its body, sat there. It turned its head toward me, and one yellow eye and one white eye looked at me. Then the yellow eye winked. And the dragon launched itself in a dive at the cybernetic monstrosity.

The dragon kitteh . . . hugged the cyberpossum?

Daiquiri stared in disbelief as the two odd animals had a sort of beeping trilling conversation. They swapped nods. The cyberpossum trundled back into the woods. The Dragon shrank, contorted, the colors inverted, eyes going blue and green, fur yellow and white.

"Mrrow?" It looked at me with the level of innocence only a very bad kitten is capable of. It hopped casually back into the car and curled up in my lap. Purring.

I put the car back in gear and drove down the road, peering right and left, waiting for the next weird thing to leap out at me. As I rounded the curve, I could see all the way down the hill to the Bridge. The bridge wasn't the only way out of town, it was just the only one that could get you anywhere a sensible person wanted to go, in a reasonable amount of time.

There was a big black semi parked crossways across the road, completely blocking the bridge. I could see people dressed in black and or camoflage standing guard on the truck. Or more likely, the bridge. Others were grouped around a bunch of equipment.

"Oh, oh, I think they're from the government, and I'll bet they're here to help us."

I pulled up to the road block and rolled down my window. Never take me for a shrinking violet or pale pansy or whatever the heck. True, some people might be a bit intimidated by a bunch of hunky guys wearing night goggles and setting up machine guns on tripod stands but what part of "hunky guy" are they missing, huh? The cat hopped over to the passenger seat and hissed as tall dark and handsome #1 leaned down to look in the window.

Daiquiri rolled the window down, and hissed, "Jump in the back, quickly!" Tall, dark and handsome looked surprised, until he turned and looked where Daiquiri was staring. The black tentacles from the river were quickly dragging the rest of the people and equipment over the sides of the bridge and into the water. The semi was gouging holes in the road as the blown tires crumbled. The body of the truck was crumpled where the black tentacles wrapped around it. The sounds of the semi and equipment scraping along the ground drowned out most of the screaming.

Tall, dark, and handsome pulled the door open and dove over Daiquiri into the back. Daiquiri slewed the car around in a u-turn as tight as she could manage, then floored it and drove into the night as the door slammed shut. The kitten hissed at the backseat, where thumps and groans indicated how hard it was for a tall, well-muscled man hung with equipment to fit himself into the backseat of a Mustang. Actually, Daiquiri would have sworn it wasn't possible, but apparently whatever that was that came out of the water had made him willing to force the issue.

Daiquiri looked at the kitten. "Where should we go?" The kitten winked both eyes, then stood up in the seat and put its paws on the dashboard, looking out the window. After a moment, it looked right, and Daiquiri squealed the tires as she took the turn on two wheels. The kitten meowred.

There was a head in the rearview mirror. Daiquiri glanced at the wide eyes, and said, "Hi. I'm Daiquiri. Who are you, anyway?"

He growled, "I think that's my question, Miss."

He was very large and agreeably ugly. Well, ugly. There was something stenciled across the breast of his uniform. Daquiri tried to read it backwards in the mirror while driving. Ar...chi...

She hit the brakes and skidded to a halt, turned around and stared from name to face. "Poindexter?"

"Who else?" He looked at me with those dangerous blue eyes and I tried to see that pizza faced kid I'd kissed. Problem was, I'd spent a whole lot of time trying to forget that. "How you been, Daquiri?"

The gravel on the edge of the road scattered as I jerked the car back between the yellow lines. How could I get him out? He'd burst into howling laughter. He was mad!

"All those years, Daquiri, and no one loved me for myself, but I've gotten back at you all!"

I sent a desperate but wordless plea to the cat. If a cyber-possum rated a dragon response, what did Poindexter rate? There was movement in my headlights. Not more of them!

"Dex," I hollered as the first double breasted zombie bounced off the hood of my car, "as revenge goes, the zombies are just plain sloppy."

Then the car crested a hill, and I saw it. I slowed down and stopped. In the glare of circling military helicopters, it sat on the former site of our town high school, which was a bit of a relief, because we hadn't lost anything important. But...

The ground had erupted, and what looked altogether too much like a green jello volcano was gleefully blowing penguins all over the place. Well, I have to admit, I don't know if it was really gleeful, since as Dr. Smythe used to tell us in English class, objects don't have emotions, only people do. But it certainly was shooting penguins all over the place.

Even Poindexter quieted down, looking at that amazing green jello volcano. I mean, who knew that you could get that much green jello in one place?

And then he started babbling. "I didn't do that. No way. Sure, you can blame me for the zombies, even for the Cthulu in the river, but I did not do that."

"And it's really the government's fault! I was too brilliant, too well self-educated! I didn't need to go to college, but then I couldn't get a job. And, well, I thought the Army would cure my nerdness." He stuck his arm in my face. "And they did! Feel that bicep!"

"What does that have to do with zombies?" I was frantically looking for a way out. The kitten was listening with narrowed eyes, not interrupting.

"They made me a guard on a Top Secret Biowarefare lab. I pulled a lot of night shifts, me an Cthulu got pretty friendly, shared a late night snack, whenever I was there. Loves pretzels. The zombie juice was just supposed to influence mens fashion sense - the director of the Lab is this man eating hag. The skin and mental side effects were unintended. Honest. Then they were going to terminate Cthulu. I decided it was time for a bit of revenge. I sprayed those stuck up scientists who wouldn't ever listen when I told them what they were doing wrong. Then I sprayed the teachers at the High School.

"Those wretched squirrels chewed a hole in the side of the sprayer, last I saw they were raiding a doll store for cloths. So I'm out of juice. Pity. I was really looking forward to you getting worse zits than I ever had."

I removed my eyes from the jelly volcano long enough to glare. Then I looked back at the sight. "Did it pop up out of the ground, or did it crash there, forming a crater? If I wasn't afraid of sounding a looney as you, I'd think that just might be a spaceship."

The kitty meowed and I looked back at him in sudden realization. "The Biowarefar lab? Bioware? You worked for BIOWARE?"

I slammed the car to a stop next to the jello volcano-spaceship-underground base thingie and lept out (momentarily coming to a hault in my leaping to undo the seat belt which had decided to respond to my leaping by strangling me).

I pulled him out of the car. "There was no excuse for how bad Dragon Age was! Bioware knows better than that!"

Fist met face as I punched-flung him toward the jello volcano. He would have hit it, head first, but a door in the side magically splush-sucked open. A pleasant fragrance of orange jello wafted out. Followed very quickly by a cute, cuddley, mutant-zombie kangaroo with lasers (of DOOM!).

Needless to say I was at a loss for words. The kitty meowed.

The mutant zombie kangaroo jumped Poindexter. It stood on its tail and whapped him with those big feet. Bam, bam. Poindexter managed to get his hands up, and grabbed one leg, then the other leg. He grinned at the kangaroo. "What you gonna do now, big boy?"

That's when the little joey popped out of the pouch and punched Poindexter. You could hear his stainless steel cup reverse its curve with a sharp ping. The little joey had quite a punch!

Poindexter lost his grip on the legs, and folded to the ground.

The mutant zombie kangaroo turned around. It started to hop toward Daiquiri. She didn't wait for it, she took two quick steps, then leaped. A grand jete, straight up, and a high kick at the top. Ping! One stilleto heel, placed right in the mutant zombie roo's left eye. And with a twist of her ankle, she ground it deep into the brain of the beast. "That's why I get the big tips at the Wet Dog Cafe!"

Then she slipped her foot out of the shoe, leaving it in the roo's head.

But when she lightly touched down, the kangaroo just kept coming. Apparently mutant zombie kangaroos don't depend on their brains.

The lasers of doom were starting to pulsate. Daiquiri turned her purse upside down, and scrabbled through the pile that cascaded out. "Lipstick, mascara, blusher... oh, that's where that credit card went..." Then she grabbed her makeup mirror and looked up at the kangaroo. "Go ahead, make my day."

The laser blasted. And Daiquiri flipped the mirror into the beam, and carved the kangaroo into huge hunks with the reflected fire.

Poindexter looked up from the ground. His mouth flopped open as he stared up at Daiquiri standing over him on her one stilleto heel and mini-skirt.

She looked down at him and said, "What do you think you're looking at?"

I jumped back into the car and backed it off a few hundred feet. Driving had just taking me into deeper weirdness . . .

Poindexter caught back up with the car and reached for the passenger side door. I hit the lock. The kitteh nodded her approval.

All around, penguins were biting zombies. They were having a bit of trouble with the squirrels, but in zombie form at least the squirrels weren't climbing trees. The bitten zombies appeared to be disoriented. I could barely hear the background chant of "Brains, brains" any more. The penguins were being attacked in turn by various cyber animals.

Poindexter ceased pounding on the window, and watched with his back to the car.

"I don't suppose you could tell me what happened here?" I eyed the kitteh.


Synova said...

Oh, I think this misses the last entry.

Amanda Green said...

Synova, I noted in the edit to the intro that I'd already pulled the post together and had it scheduled to go up before Mike put his entry up. We'll find a way to use it on the next round robin if he wants.

Mike said...

No problem by me. I misunderstood- thought you were asking for a wrapup, so I tried a couple of different ones. Use or not - although the "it was all a test" bit makes some folks grit their teeth. We could actually try having people write alternate endings. That could be a fun exercise, too.

Mike said...

What, no comments? Personally, I think we needed to get more characters into the storyline -- Daiquiri and Poindexter are fine folk, but a character or two more would have helped us, I think.

Synova said...

We're supposed to critique it?

Are you sure? :-)

Anonymous said...

Well, it's hard o critique a story round. I mean "Too much of that Deux ex machina stuff, what with every new writer gleefully throwing in yet another Bad Thing" isn't a useful critique, in as much as throwing stuff in is nearly a requirement to the game.

You'll only get something useful if someone has Absolute Editorial Authority, and can use, abuse or ignore any and all input. (Or is it Absolut that is needed?)

This, for instance, could be turned into a biological warfare lab accident, with the town isolated while the government tries frantically to both stop the zombie plague and cover up the accident. But then you'd have to really work to avoid the cliched ending of dropping a nuke on them.

Or you could go traditional zombie, and bring in more voodoo practices.

Or Sci-Fi it. Or . . .

But you just can't do _everything_ and that what this was.

Mike said...

Just thinking about ways to make it run smoother next time. Not so much critique as pondering what might make it better next go around.