2011 Story Submissions

Print PDF

Skip to a story:


"Walking Through Fire"

by Samantha "Bryndel" Sly

Smothered in soot and reeking to high heaven, I stood sullenly before two master magicians. Both of them were scowling at me.
The one on my right wore deep orange robes, a massive wolf colored pure ebony with dark brown eyes. His name, appropriately enough, was Coalfur. His expression, like a brooding thundercloud, made his eyes seem almost black; they were focused on me as his rumbling voice addressed the white rabbit in blue robes beside him.
"...And that, Master Aqua, is the result of this morning's activities. I leave it up to you to decide the fate of ...those parties involved." His dark eyes bored into me. I busied myself staring at my feet to avoid the accusing gaze, glumly noting the lack of title or name when he referred to the... (ominous pause) ...parties involved.
Ohhh boy, was I in trouble.
The rabbit was white, tall and slender, with even longer ears than most. She regarded me with a grim but thoughtful expression. "I see," she said flatly. "Well, Master Pyro, have you anything to say for yourself?"
I tried not to squirm. Is there anything I can say that won't just dig me in deeper? ...Probably not. Adopting a mulish expression, I finally lifted my face and eyed the pair of them directly. "I did what I thought was right," I told them both with as much defiance as I could muster. And then tried not to cringe as ire flared up in Aqua's cerulean eyes.
"You did what you thought right?" thundered Coalfur, the brewing storm within breaking at my words. This time I couldn't help but cower a little as a single black-furred digit snapped up to point unerringly at me. "You know how the rest of the world thinks of us! And still you thought it right to risk the existence of Takhurra, the very lives of everyone here, for the sake of rescuing one girl?!"
"-Coalfur," cut in Aqua repressively. "That is enough." The wolf subsided, glowering, while I bit my tongue and glowered right back. "The last thing we need is for you to start a shouting match. But Master Coalfur is right," she continued, transferring her gaze to me. For a supposed prey animal, it was amazing how threatening her stare was. "As he said, your thoughtless actions have endangered us all. If someone had suspected a mage's presence at that fire there'd have been real trouble. Furthermore-"
I couldn't stand it any longer. "She would have died!" I shouted. "If I hadn't grabbed her, she'd b-"
"Master Pyro, HOLD YOUR TEMPER," snapped Coalfur.
"Perhaps so," said Aqua, replying to me. "But consider how many more might suffer because you saved her by bringing her here."
"I couldn't just sit by and watch her-"
"You could and you should have," rumbled Coalfur. "Let their own do the rescuing."
"There was no one else around!" I spluttered. "No one saw me."
"You can't know that!" he said. "Even the least apprentice knows better than you do, it seems, Master Pyro!"
"But-!"
"-Enough," said Aqua again. "The rest of Takhurra is waiting for us. The deed is done, and no amount of arguing is going to undo it. Pyro, we will discuss this matter further later. For now-is she sequestered?"
"Yes," I mumbled.
"Good. It seems reasonable to me that you be the one to go and keep an eye on her. For now, don't tell her any more than you have to-make something up if you must-and do not, under any circumstances, allow her to leave that room."
"A burning house fell on her," I reminded Aqua. "She's not in much condition to go anywhere, right now."
"Nonetheless. Watch her! I'll be with you as soon as I can. Coalfur-" Aqua indicated that he precede her to the door. He obeyed with alacrity, but his footsteps pounded out his frustration. I tried not to feel guilty as their quick thudding echoed in my ears, though I knew in my heavy heart he was right to be angry.
He paused as he passed me, fixing me with a penetrating stare. "I suggest you ask yourself why you thought it permissible to risk our secrecy and hence our lives, Pyro, for the sake of a complete stranger-huh, and a non-magical one at that! I doubt she'll feel either understanding or forgiving, no matter what those reasons." He strode out the door before I could reply.
Another wave of guilt assaulted me. "Aqua," I said as she moved past me, following in Coalfur's footsteps. "I- I know this will create a lot of problems for you. And... I'm sorry."
Aqua sighed. "You have a good heart, Pyro." She paused in the doorway and looked back at me. "Just-please, try not to let it get us all killed."
I watched after them a long moment, then sighed and dragged my leaden feet in the direction of my room.
Ask myself why I'd risked it, Coalfur had said. Well, what I'd said to Aqua was true-I was sorry that I'd caused them so much trouble-
But I'd be damned if I was going to apologize for saving someone's life.
I leaned my forehead against the cool wood of my door. Yes, I know it was a risk-but I couldn't just stand there and watch her die. I couldn't.
So no. I couldn't regret my actions, however rash they might have been. It hadn't just been a victim of that fire who I'd saved: it had been some small piece of myself, as well. Surely that was worth the risk.
But I could only hope I wouldn't come to regret my decision in the days to come, and-as my mind wandered back to the soot-smeared gray face of the girl I'd rescued-that she could forgive me, for saving her life.
Humph. This hero business wasn't all it was cracked up to be.


The Return of the Unlucky Gun

By Ralley

Edited by Sidian

The city sprawled out below Tommy like a bright beacon against the twilight sky. The sun's rays
shot out over the horizon from behind them and spread its light to the furthest reaches. The people
below looked like ants, scurrying off to their places of work while the bustle of cars, buses, trucks, and
trains rang out loudly among them.

Tommy looked up, he knew he could not fly on his own but he felt a pair of paws clutching him
tight against a strong chest, he smiled at what he saw above him. The cities last hope, its beacon of
light, and the one dog who saw that those who do evil would be herded into the pen of justice.

Wow! It's The Herder, Tommy thought to himself with much glee.

The form above him was athletic and huge, nearly seven feet tall with big chiseled muscles that
would make any action movie star insanely jealous. It was obvious that The Herder was a canine, a
German shepherd to be exact. His identity was hidden by a yellow mask that covered his eyes and
wrapped around the back of his head, something in the mask made his eyes appear white and almost
glowing. His body was covered in a form-fitting neon-yellow jump suit. In the middle across his chest
was his emblem: a giant red H in a white oval. A red belt lined his middle; while most heroes had tool
pouches along their belt for various gadgets and gear, The Herder was content with only his own powers
and that's all that he needed, most of the time. He had an odd cape, when he was seen in flight you
could see what could best be described as an aurora borealis where his cape would be. The moment he
landed though, there was nothing there.

"Good morning little one," said The Herder, his voice deep, booming, and confident. "I was
lucky to get you out of there safely, the entire farm exploded from a build-up of methane gas. What
were you doing there anyway, so far from home?"

Tommy blinked a few times, he could not remember a farm or wherever he was in the past few
hours. The last thing he remembered was walking home from school. He met up with someone, his
head hurt when he tried to think about it more.

"I... I can't remember," Tommy said, "the last thing I remember was going to the park on my
way home from school."

"We'll try to jog your memory," said The Herder, he looked down at his passenger with a
smile, "I'm going to take you to see a friend then we'll go to the police and they'll take you home."

Tommy clutched tightly at The Herder's arms as they started to lose altitude. He knew The
Herder would not drop him but Tommy held tight against The Herder and shivered. Heights never
bothered Tommy but falling always did. The feeling of falling brought back memories of a time when he
was very young and had fallen out a second story window while he was chasing a butterfly.

They dipped quickly between skyscrapers, birds and surprised office workers in buildings buzzed
by rapidly as the pair shot like a speeding bullet through the downtown skyline. It looked like they were
about to collide with the side of a brown building when The Herder pulled up, they climbed half the
length of the building rapidly before slowing and gently landing on the roof.

"It's not wise to drop in unannounced, Herder," a grizzly voice said from the shadows of a tool
shed sitting on top of the skyscraper, "especially this early in the morning. And you brought a guest! I
should smack you."

"My apologies, BP," said The Herder. "My young friend here has been through a lot this
morning. I thought I'd bring him to meet his favorite hero."

Heavy footsteps creaked at the wooden floorboards of the shed as a dark figure walked out into
the light, bending to exit the shed. He was even bigger than The Herder, his chest at least two feet
broader and his height at least 3 feet taller. His fur was un-kept, not appearing to be matted in any area
but it seemed to go off in all directions like he really needed a brushing. His fur was one solid color, a
hay-blonde. Around his middle was a loincloth with a few buttoned pouches. His paws were massive,
humanoid fingers with talon-like claws stretching an inch or two from the tips of his digits. White
athletic tape had been wrapped between his elbows and his wrists as well as below his knees to his
ankles. A pair of massive fangs hung down slightly from his muzzle.

"Beast Punch!" Tommy screamed with joy as he ran with his arms outstretched towards his
favorite hero.

Beast punch got down one knee and embraced the tiny form tightly. The young pup knew from
Beast Punch Chronicles #47 that, despite the hero's menacing appearance, he had a soft spot for kids.

Tommy turned his head towards The Herder.

"Wait, how did you know that Beast Punch was my favorite hero?" Tommy asked, perplexed.

"Nice shirt there, kid" said Beast Punch as he flicked a claw across the cotton fabric. The hero
laughed softly and reached between the pup's ears to ruffle his hair.

Tommy looked down and blushed, realizing that he was wearing his Beast Punch T-shirt. His lips
formed in an 'oh' shape but he did not make a sound.

"Listen kid," said Beach Punch, "there's something we have to ask you to do."

Tommy's ears perked up. He was ecstatic at the prospect of helping one of his favorite heroes.

"When Officer Chuckles asks your name don't answer at all." Beast punch said plainly.

Tommy's world began to spin out of control, it was as if he was dizzy but he knew that it was the
world that was really was spinning around him. The rays of the morning were suddenly replaced by the
darkness of night.

"A hero is looking for you Tommy" A female voice rang out from the sky. "Just hang on a little

Tommy groaned as he opened his eyes. Everything was fuzzy and blurry and the noises in the
room all sounded muffled as if something had been stuffed in his ears. Several feet above him was a
bright light source, it stung slightly at his eyes when he looked up towards it. There was something else
the pup couldn't identify, it felt like a sense of dread that made him want to run away as fast as his legs
could carry him, but he couldn't fathom why.

A man appeared before him, Tommy had to squint to get a good look at him. He wore a black
collared shirt with a gold badge pinned to his breast pocket. He had brown fur which was spotted black
all over. He opened its mouth to speak but all Tommy heard was muffled sounds.

His vision was slowly getting better, the figure before him was a hyena in a police uniform.
Tommy started to relax somewhat, he lowered his shoulders down and groaned once more, his head
felt funny. The Officer turned and said something to another figure in the shadows before he turned
back to Tommy and laughed a bit before ruffling Tommy's hair. He seemed to have a grin across his face
that didn't quit.

"Kid? Kid?" asked the Officer, "Can you tell me what happened to you?"

Tommy lifted his head slightly but it felt like he was lifting an elephant.

"I-I was walking home," Tommy slurred out, his speech still erratic but growing clearer, "saw my
fra-fri.. buddy in the p-park. I w-went to go p-play catch... with... him."

Tommy heard a figure behind the Officer speak but it was heavily muffled. The Officer turned
towards it and shouted something back before turning and laughing loudly once more. There was
something off about this hyena, like it was as if this was all some kind of game to him. Tommy wasn't
sure what to think. He needed help and he knew his best option was the police.

"Okay," said the Officer, "can you tell me what happened next?"

"I-I'm not sure," Tommy slurred, " I tossed the ball to.. who did I toss it to? But.. there was...
white smoke everywhere. I choked and fell."

The Officer was chuckling under his breath, holding a finger up at the edge of his snout, beneath

his nose to try and conceal his giggling. Tommy looked down at his uniform, he had all the markings of a
police officer and his name tag read 'MacKenzie.' That sense in the back of his mind fired off once more,
the feeling that he should run away but he did not know why and he felt far too weak.

"Can you tell me your name, kid?" asked the Officer. He reached his right paw down towards
his waist as if readying to grab something.

Tommy's senses returned suddenly and the fog in his head cleared away in an instant. He knew
why his instincts were telling him to run. The smell of old blood was permeating the room. People were
slaughtered here in droves, maybe not all at once but the smell made chills run down Tommy's spine.
He felt his skin crawling under his fur.

When Officer Chuckles asks your name don't answer at all, the voice of Beast Punch echoed in
his mind. He looked back to Officer MacKenzie who was still grinning and looked as if he was holding
back a few laughs.

Tommy shook his head and looked around. He was in a weird wooden room; he guessed that it
was probably a barn. Everything he could see inside looked old and rusty. He leaned off to one side,
nearly falling out of the chair he had been placed in. The Officer grabbed Tommy's shoulders and
straightened his balance.

"Careful kid," said the Officer, "we don't want you hurting yourself-Haha! I will be right back,
just have to talk with my.. hehe... supervisor."

Tommy watched the Officer walk away into the darkness. He tried to get up from the chair but
felt his knees give out from underneath him and he toppled like a rag doll to the floor, yelping in pain.
Panic set in as he realized that he couldn't get out of here on his own. Before he could sprawl to his feet
a pair of massive hands lifted him back onto the chair.

An older rhino appeared from behind him wearing a t-shirt, leather vest, and jeans. His horn
was jagged as if it had been broken and hacked off. His face was a roadmap of scars and old burns.

"Easy there kid," said the Rhino, "Officer MacKenzie still has some questions for you."

Tommy wiggled against the grasp but found it was futile to fight it. The old Rhino reached
beside the chair and began to wrap a length of rope around Tommy's chest and over his arms.

"What are you doing?!" Tommy shouted, "I want to go home! Let me go!"

"Can't have that just yet, pipsqueak," The rhino replied.

Tommy tried to squirm under the rope but found the old rhino had tied it tight and expertly. He
fidgeted, wiggled, and swayed to and fro but, no matter what he did, the rope did not give in.

A large door opened about 10 feet in front of Tommy. Several men and Officer MacKenzie

walked into the light a few feet away from where he sat. There was a cheetah with a scar running down
his left cheek, a pair of ferrets with menacing looks on their faces, and an old corgi dressed like a
gentleman. The corgi was hobbling on a cane. The rhino came out from behind Tommy and joined the
other men.

They stopped at the edge of the light and talked amongst themselves for a moment. The old
corgi walked close to Tommy. He was short and his fur was greying in many places. The smell of wine
and old cigars seemed to marinate his fur. He wore a striped grey suit and matching fedora. Tommy
was reminded of his grandfather by the smell.

The old man reached for Tommy's chin and grasped it. He looked into the pup's eyes and
scrutinized him. Tommy growled and showed his teeth. The corgi responded with a laugh and then
slapped Tommy across his muzzle hard. The pup felt the sting of the blunt blow against his muzzle and
yelped in pain. The geezer turned towards the other men and walked a few paces before stopping. He
leaned on his cane and sighed, reaching his suit to retrieve a cigar.

"Well, you idiots got the wrong kid," said the old man.

The men began to shout and tried to speak over one another to blame the others and explain
themselves. The old man had no part of it and simply raised a paw to silence them.

"Relax, gentlemen" the corgi said calmly. "This is all part of 'plan b,' we want the district
attorney to know we're serious and since we did not get his kid, we will kill this child to further prove
our intentions."

The old man turned on his heel and reached into his suit once more, pulling out a black and
silver pistol. Tommy's eyes went wide as he saw the barrel of the gun pointed right at him. He started
to shake, tears started to well up in his eyes and wet the fur along his muzzle.

"No! Please," Tommy begged, "don't kill me. Someone help me!"

The end of the old man's cigar lit up red for a few seconds as he took a slow drag off of it before
tossing it aside and cocking his gun.

"I'm sorry son," said the old man, "there's nothing personal in this. It's all entirely business."

"No!" Tommy shrieked as the seconds seemed to turn into minutes, he could see the trigger of
the gun slowly being depressed. He closed his eyes.

There was a loud bang. Tommy opened his eyes to see the men scurrying away from a cloud of
white smoke that had just appeared in the middle of the group. They all were reaching for their guns
but before any of them could fire off rounds there were more bangs and the smoke cloud grew bigger.
It completely enveloped the men in Tommy's view. His eyes scanned left and right rapidly in panic. He
heard a rustle above him followed by something heavy hitting the floor within the smoke. Tommy

leaned forward, straining to see or hear anything.

A sound like a boxing glove hitting a punching bag echoed off against the walls, followed by a
faint grunt and the sound of a body hitting the floor.

Tommy leaned back in his chair and started to shake in fear as a figure emerged from the
smoke. He was 6 feet tall and canine; a border collie with black and white fur markings in a knee-length
black coat and black tights. A holster was belted to one thigh; the chrome of a gun's handle seemed to
sparkle in the light, his other thigh had a buttoned pouch buckled to it. Beneath the jacket he was
wearing a tight black shirt. A belt adorned with buttoned pockets lined his waist. He wore a mask over
his eyes and had a strange apparatus attached to it that led over the bridge of his muzzle and covered
his nose with a mesh fiber. A black bandanna kept his hair in check, his ears poking through holes in the
fabric. He looked old, his muzzle was greying and a few strands of black hair with grey ends spilled out
from under his bandana.

The figure was catching his breath as he slowly walked towards Tommy. The pup flinched away
in fear, but as he got a better look at the figure his jaw just dropped.

"You-you're," Tommy stuttered.

"The Unlucky Gun," the hero said with a smile, "at least that's what the reporters call me."

The Unlucky Gun knelt over Tommy and pulled out a knife from inside his jacket, he cut the rope
holding the pup. The hero then knelt at eye level with Tommy as the pup sat. He placed a mask over
the pup's muzzle that covered his nose.

"This will help you breathe through the gas," The Unlucky Gun said. "Can you walk?"

Tommy shook his head and started to cry, tears of sadness and joy welled up and spilled down
over his cheeks and muzzle.

"The knock-out gas they used on you must have a paralytic agent," said The Unlucky Gun as he
reached for Tommy and stroked the pup's hair softly, "just relax, Tommy. It should wear-"

There was a bright flash behind Unlucky Gun followed by a bang. The hero gasped, cried out,
and lurched forward, collapsing against Tommy. The young pup yelped loudly as he was crushed a bit
under The Unlucky Gun's weight.

The smoke had dissipated. The four men and Officer MacKenzie were all collapsed on the floor.
Tommy saw the old man leaning on his cane heavily and there was a stream of smoke coming from the
muzzle of his gun. The old dog was grinning as he started to hobble towards them.

"I must really be losing it in my old age," said the Corgi, "I was aiming for your head, but it looks
like I only grazed your thigh."

The Unlucky Gun lifted himself from Tommy and turned. He sat at the pup's feet, clutching his
own thigh. There was a trickle of blood between his paws.

"You know, once an old man starts talking and knows he has a captive audience, he can be very
hard to shut up" the Corgi said. "You must be wondering why I'm not collapsed in a pile like the rest of
my goons."

"Aside from the wound on my thigh, it's the only thing on my mind," The Unlucky Gun replied,
grunting in pain.

"I had heard you retired, Gun," the old man said, snickering. "I thought I could own these
streets once more. I had learned valuable lessons from our past encounters. I figured out how to
counteract your knockout gas and started inoculating myself with an immunity agent. I also made my
own version of your gas, something with a little extra kick to make my victims stay in place even after
the gas had dissipated.

"And now, I'll be even more infamous by killing the pain-in-my-side 'Unlucky Gun.' You should
have stayed hidden and retired."

Tommy could see The Unlucky Gun's paw groping under his coat for something at the small of
his back. His left paw shot out from under his coat as something silver flew from his paw and knocked
the gun free from the old man's grasp, sending it skittering along the floor in the shadows.

The Unlucky Gun was up on his feet and running with a limp towards the old man. In the hero's
right paw was a set of chrome-colored metal knuckles. He threw his fist towards the old man's face but
only grazed the corgi's cheek. The villain yelped in pain but swung his cane around towards the hero.
The Unlucky Gun yelped and whined as the edge of the cane made contact with his face. He covered his
eyes with a paw. His mask had been peeled away by the old man's cane.

"You're pretty spry for an old dog, Jack Calloway," The Unlucky Gun said. "You never knew
when to shut up either."

The old man laughed and said, "Aw, you remember me after all these years. I'm really touched.
Now die!"

Calloway growled and pulled the head off from his cane, revealing a long knife that seemed to
shine under the bright overhead light. He thrust like a fencer towards the hero.

The Unlucky Gun's left forearm deflected Calloway's wrist. Before Calloway could react, the
hero's right fist upper-cut the villain, lifting him a few feet off the ground with the strength from the
blow. Calloway yelped as he landed on his back, his head had snapped back and hit the floor hard.

The hero limped towards Tommy. He took the pup up in his arms and started to hobble towards
the big door of the barn. Another shot fired from behind them, leaving a small crater in the wooden

floor to their right. The Unlucky Gun turned in surprise and saw that Calloway had gotten up. The old
dog was a bloody mess and had a look that just screamed 'crazy.' He rushed towards them with gun in
paw, screaming.

The hero drew his gun and fired in one fluid motion. The bullet ricocheted off wood and metal
in the barn but Calloway was still charging at them. There was a flash and sudden eruption of fire from
behind Calloway. The bullet had hit a stack of gas barrels hidden in the back of the barn. The fire roared
towards Calloway and he disappeared in the flame.

Tommy's view was blocked as The Unlucky Gun quickly turned away from the flames, knelt, and
wrapped his coat around them. The pup could hear the flames roaring around them, but they were safe
from the explosion. However, he could feel the sweltering heat from the fire outside. Unlucky Gun
slowly crawled away from the flame, clutching Tommy in close as he kept the coat wrapped around
them.

The coat was tossed away as The Unlucky Gun got up onto his feet and carried the young pup
across a field adjacent to the now burning barn.

"It's a fire proof coat," The Unlucky Gun said, "but it still gets damned hot."

Tommy looked up at his hero, seeing that his mask was gone. He gasped as he recognized the
hero holding him.

"Cecil?!" Tommy shouted in surprise.

Tommy's memory all came back at once. Once school was out he went to the park. There, he
found his friend Daniel and Daniel's butler, Cecil. He was playing catch with Daniel in the park while
Cecil kept a watchful eye on them while leaning against the side of Daniels' family luxury car.

Daniel had rich parents and was home schooled. Whenever he could, he would escape to the
park for fresh air and to get his paws dirty. Tommy had often played with him in the park and they
argued about whose favorite comic book hero would win a grudge match. Cecil would sometimes
prepare sandwiches for them and he was always there to keep an eye on Daniel.

As they played in the park, a white van drove up onto the grass in and came to a stop near
them. Cecil was only 20 feet away and rushed towards them shouting, but before he reached them a
cloud of smoke from the van enveloped Tommy and Daniel. It choked at Tommy's lungs and caused him
to collapse. Everything went black.

Cecil nodded, groaning a bit as he tried to walk further but fell onto his knees. He kept Tommy
clutched tightly against his chest, a sad look spread across his muzzle as he gazed at the pup he held in
his arms.

"I'm so sorry, Tommy" Cecil said. "I only had enough time to grab Daniel and run. I'm resistant

to most knock-out gasses but what they used nearly had me out cold.

"After the police left, I looked everywhere for you and scoured the park for clues. I didn't find
much and I feared the worst. Daniel was utterly distraught and hasn't said a word since he found out
the attackers took you. Officially, Daniel is my charge but he considers you his closest friend. I wanted
to protect you both, but I couldn't reach you."

Tears streamed down Tommy's cheeks. He hugged Cecil tight and buried his muzzle into the
hero's chest. Cecil patted the pups head and gently brushed his hair with a paw, trying his best to
reassure Tommy that everything would be alright now.

"I did something today that I swore I would never do again," said Cecil. "I donned my old
costume and resumed my life as a vigilante. The costume is a bit tighter than I remember. It has been
15 years since I last wore it. I had to find my old friends to help find you. Obsidian Lynx came to you in a
dream and helped me locate you."

A police car pulled out onto the field before them with its lights flashing. Both doors opened.
On the driver side was a short old ocelot with a bushy mustache in a police uniform. On the passenger
side was a tall Lynx in her middle ages wearing a casual dress. As she looked at them a smile spread
across her muzzle.

"Hello Barbra, Officer MacGinnis" said Cecil.

"I see you're up to your old tricks of causing property damage" Officer MacGinnis said.

"I can't help that my gun never hits its intended target, Officer" Cecil said. "I was aiming for
Calloways chest."

The Officer walked forward and admired the flames in the distance, he scratched at his head.
Barbra took Tommy and sat him on the back seat of the police car.

The pup was relieved. He could wiggle his big toe and the feeling in his legs began to come back
slowly. After a few minutes he was able to move his legs again. He started to walk around the police car
with a limp.

Barbra turned her attention to Cecil's leg. She wrapped a bandage around his thigh and helped
him up on to his feet. He leaned against Barbra, wrapping his arm over the Lynx's' shoulder. She led
him over towards the back seat of the police car.

"Does this mean you're coming out of retirement?" MacGinnis asked.

Cecil thought about this and saw Tommy's gaze looking towards him inquisitively.

"Nah," said Cecil, "I'm too old for this shit."
It has been several years since Allister's mother passed away and, since then, he has
walked the rough paths leading to the distant booming city, even on the day of her death. He
walked slowly with dull eyes and his ears lowered to block out the usual squeaking coming from
the other animals walking the path. His right paw softly edged against the railing as water
crashed into the earth below, the sounds of seagulls and the balming soliloquy from the city
mixing into a sweet harmony. The smells of cheap food and salt made his whiskers twitch and
his nose scrunch up into a sneeze.

The path was made of tightly packed dirt, but it was still loose enough so that his foot
paws shuffled some pebbles out of place, its' sound lost in the mix of nature. Every so often
the path winded away from the sea so that everyone could walk the path without being in
danger of falling in. Allister looked up into the sky, parting his long black hair away from his
eyes, and couldn't help but notice that this night was darker.

The moon still hung from the sky, but it's radiance that usually graced the world was
somehow lost from its view. Even the city, ever so colorful, was now dull and lifeless; the usual
star speckled painting now replaced with tall gray skyscrapers with dull white lights. Even so,
he continued along the path with his mother's last words echoing in his head: "Live your life for
others."

He scrunched up his nose and gave his long white tail a twitch at these words. He
always did try to live his life for others when she was alive, that's how she taught him, but
everyone always rejected him. "If I live off my mother's last wishes, then I don't have any point
of living at all," he muttered to himself.

"Now that's no way to speak," an old dog let out as he passed Allister, pulling the hat
from his head down to his chest and giving a slight bow as he passed. "You should look at the
sea, it's always refreshing."

Allister followed the dog to the edge of the land into a crowd of other animals. His tail
swayed side to side hitting the back of his calves as he leaned over the rail to watch the
crashing waters. To him, the water looked darker, blacker, but he didn't pay much attention to
it. After all, this was the first time he really looked at the water. A gentle breeze made his ears
perk up as it told him minute-old warnings.

Allister let out a small sigh as the dog put his paw onto his shoulder. "Refreshing, isn't

"Yeah...I suppose so."

"Don't be so shy kid, we're all friends here." The dog then disappeared into the crowd,
his creaky bones and the loud bang of his walking stick slowly following.

The gentle sounds of nature and the squeaking of its' visitors was drowned out by a loud
bubbling noise coming from the sea. True to his feline nature, Allister flicked his head left to
right trying to find the source. Out in the distance, black bubbles were popping continuously.
The waves seemed to be getting bigger and closer to land with each second.

A giant hand made from black ooze burst out of the water and swiftly grabbed the
mouse next to him. The poor mouse burst out screaming and flailed his thin tail around in
hopes to escape. The hand's fingers wrapped around the animal's torso and tightened and,
with one last call to his wife and his kids, his tail went limp. His wife burst out crying, screaming
his name into the sky and Allister backed away from all the horror, all the sadness.

More hands of melted night then pressed through the water into the crowd, picking up
a few more animals, their tails frantically dancing. The hands tightened their grip on the bodies
and the tails went limp. Allister was far back enough, behind all of the other animals, so that
the hands never went for him. He could still see the terror in perfect sight however. The giant
hands that were holding the previously alive carcasses were slowly pulled towards a giant black
glob that now hovered over the sea. It opened its mouth, showing its shiny obsidian teeth, and
the hands just tossed the bodies in.

A whizzing from the air interrupted the commotion and brought the creature's full
attention to it. The giant hands transformed into sharp spears and started piercing the sky,
moving frantically trying to stab at whatever it was making the noise. Allister strained his eyes
in order to see what it was the creature was trying to get at, but before he could make it out, a
blue light hit the black creature and sent it back under the sea.

The whizzing object then came down into the crowds, cracking the earth beneath his
feet. "Don't worry citizens, no more will die tonight," he yelled into the night sky, the other
animals cheering for him. The superhero was wearing a red uniform that fit closely to his big
lion build. He had only short brown hair, but it sparkled even in the moonlight free night and
his thin tail whipped the air separating the dust particles. The creature burst out of the water
interrupting the cheering, its whole being screaming and the cries of the insane and innocent
perturbed the air as the black ooze repaired itself.

The superhero whizzed off again just as Allister reached the bundles of trees that was in
the background. He knew he would be safest there because he could blend in the shadows. He
slowly let his claws slide into the wood as he climbed quietly to the upper most branches. He
then made a clearing so he could still see the action. The superhero, prideful and confident,
and the creature were both fighting diligently. The creature sent black spears to the hero, but
he hit them away with a flick of his hand. The hero returned the attack by sending blue energy
orbs into the monster, only for them to be absorbed. It seemed to be an evenly split match and
it was wearing them both out.

The black ooze then spit out a thousand needles at the hero. He dodged them in a
brilliant combination of twists and turns, but he was so focused on the needles that he didn't
notice the dark spear headed directly for his heart. He let out a scream that could be heard for
miles away as his body dropped into the sea. The spectators called out in horror and shook in
terror because their hope was now dead. It was this moment that Allister realized this was the
moment his mother was talking about; no one would refused his help this time.

He jumped out of the tree and yelled to the other animals. "The creature is weak, we
can overtake it!"

"It's impossible!" The wife of the mouse that was killed first squeaked back, holding her
two children near her breast.

"Nothing is impossible, if you put your mind to it that is," the old dog replied at the
mouse's defiance.

After some bickering back and forth, Allister finally got enough people to throw stones
at the creature. It once again let out its horrifying scream, but this time it was in pain. With
one last effort, it sent out its needle spears and pierced the bodies of all that hurt it, and then
sunk into the sea, taking the bodies with it. Allister sighed as he was pulled underneath the
water, whispering words out into the air. "I guess the real heroes are the ones who give their
lives for others."


Omega Cat

The space station "Earth's Eye" floated calmly on its orbit around the Earth, monitoring
the activities down on the planet's surface. The year was 3625 A.D., and much had changed on
the Earth. The main population of the planet now consisted of furries, the human race having
combined their DNA with that of animals in order to survive as a species. This change began a
century earlier when the planet had the first encounter with alien life forms; unfortunately, the
aliens that had come into contact with the humans had been carrying a lethal alien disease.
Many humans were affected, and millions died from the epidemic. It seemed like all was lost
until an influential scientist made an important discovery.

Dr. Roger Newburg, one of the leading scientists in the field of genetics had been able to
contain the virus in order to run experiments. He discovered that animals, particularly mammals,
seemed to have immunity to this disease. Upon further experimentation, it seemed that the
answer lied in their genetic code. It seemed like the plague was a genetic disease and that the
humans were affected since their genetic code was similar to that of the alien race, which made
them vulnerable. Most animals had a genetic code that was different from both species,
however, and so were unaffected. Upon making this discovery, Dr. Newburg was able to devise
a way to splice human and animal DNA, creating a new humanoid species that was immune to
the virus.

By this time, the last strains of the virus had been exterminated. Recently, there'd been
word of experiments to reverse the splicing process so that full humans would be around again.
It would likely take some time to get them integrated back into society, however, since a lot of
the furries felt that their animalistic nature was an improvement on humanity. There were a lot
of them who didn't want to be fully human, while others were biased against full humans. There
were groups of furs who wouldn't have minded being turned fully human, but it seemed that
they would meet controversy as long as there was this bias.

As it was, they had other problems. The crime rate in the world had skyrocketed during
the epidemic as many people, thinking they had nothing to lose, turned to crime as they thought
that their lives would be ending soon anyway. This crime spree was still going strong despite the
transitions from human to furry that Earth's inhabitants went through. Part of the solution had
been this space station itself, Earth's Eye. It had been sent into orbit to watch over the planet,
watching the surface through a series of cameras planted on the surface. Many workers were put
on around the clock surveillance so that the station's elite task force could be dispatched to any
location if something was going down.

Someone else was currently watching the Earth as well, though for different reasons.
Lucas Lancaster, one of the janitorial staff at work onboard the station, sighed as he gazed
wistfully at the planet. The young cat was in his late 20's with brown fur, red eyes, and thick

black hair. He was wearing his work clothes, an orange jumpsuit with his nametag. Although he
was supposed to be mopping the hallway he stood in, he'd stopped, leaning on his mop as he
stared at the Earth. He'd taken the job because it had seemed to be the only job open, as the
economy on Earth was rough, and no one was accepting. He was already regretting his decision,
since there was little else up there for him other than the job.

One thing about space; it was lonely. Most of the people onboard never really gave him
a second glance, and no one was really interested in him. Being a janitor was a thankless job as
well; there were any number of disgusting messes he'd had to clean up. Still, he had to admit, it
was better being alone up there than being broke and homeless on Earth. As he heard people
approaching in the hall, Lucas quickly stopped daydreaming and got back to work.

Later on in his nightly cleaning rounds, Lucas found himself outside of laboratory 5A,
where a demonstration was taking place. It seemed like it was nearly over as he looked in
through the clear window that was in the door. Inside the lab, Professor J. Recter, one of the
station's resident scientists, stood before a group of people observing the demonstration. The
professor was a tall, thin wolf wearing a lab uniform with a pair of round spectacles. As Lucas
watched, a soldier clad in a high-tech blue and yellow battle armor stepped beside the Professor.

"Last, but not least, we have our latest development; the Omega Suit!" Professor Recter
addressed the crowd, gesturing to the armor the soldier was wearing. "This new suit will
revolutionize law enforcement on the planet's surface! It's long been known that certain
mutations resulting from the transition from human to furry have lead to certain individuals
receiving extraordinary powers...Well, the Omega suit was built to counter the powers of those
who use them for evil!"

As he said that, the soldier stepped forward, showing the suit to all in attendance. It had
five separated pieces of armor consisting of gauntlets, boots, a chest plate, and a helmet. The
five armor pieces were blue with yellow streaks, and the helmet included a yellow visor over the
eyes of the user. He turned around, giving the audience a good view.

"Not only do the five separate pieces of the suit allow for freedom of movement and
agility, it provides full protection with its virtually indestructible design! Plus, this suit increases
the user's speed and strength tenfold!" the professor continued. To demonstrate this fact, the
soldier turned around and lifted an entire table with a full chemistry set high above his head
before setting it down.

"This suit can also allow the user to withstand the harsh vacuum of space! Of course, it's
not quite ready to be mass-produced for field use just yet," the professor said as the soldier
removed the five pieces of the suit, setting them back on the mannequin that was in the large
metal and Plexiglas display case behind them. "There's still testing to do with it to make sure

the suit is safe for any law enforcement agencies on the Earth's surface, but we're confident that
the Omega Suit will be ready for mass production within the next several months!" he
concluded. As the group departed, the professor went over and closed the display case, about to
lock it with the keypad lock on the door. However, he was called away by someone in the group
who'd had some questions, and left the room with them as they talked.

As soon as the room was empty, Lucas stepped inside, beginning to start his job. As he
prepared to clean some of the test tubes on one of the tables near the display case, however, he
suddenly tripped, staggering forward as he slammed into the front of the display case.

"Ow! Man that really...Huh?" as Lucas looked up, he suddenly discovered that the door
had opened when he slammed into the case, having never been locked. "Guess the professor
forgot to lock it...Oh well, I guess I should just close it until he can get back and lock it," he
decided, closing the door and turning back to his work. After a moment, he slowly turned
around, staring at the suit.

"Yeah!" moments later, Lucas was literally bouncing off the walls, using the increased
jumping ability he received from the Omega Suit to jump from wall to wall. "Whoohoo!" he just
barely avoided smashing several pieces of lab equipment as he jumped around the room, not a
care in the world. However, he soon noticed something strange happening as there was a strange
glowing spreading from his chest.

"Huh? What's going on? Is this another one of the suit's features?" he wondered as the
glowing continued to spread until his entire body was glowing. Then there was a bright flash,
and everything went back to normal, leaving Lucas rather bewildered.

"What was that?" he wondered, confused by the whole experience. He heard footsteps
and realized the Professor was returning. He quickly took the suit off, putting it back in the
display case and shutting the door. He got back to work right as the professor opened the door,
trying not to give away how nervous he was. The professor went over, typing the code to lock
the display case door into the keypad.

"There we go...Nobody else came by when I was out, did they Lucas?" the professor
asked him. Although they didn't talk too much, the professor was the closest thing he had to a
friend up there, and Lucas felt that the professor trusted him. Lucas quickly shook his head.

"No, doc, I was the only one here," he replied.

"Ah, good, I'm glad there was at least someone here to make sure no one tried to take the
suit," the professor told him. "Well, I guess I'd better turn in for the night, it was good seeing
you again!" he replied as he left the lab, and Lucas breathed a sigh of relief.

The next day, Lucas was relaxing in the small dorm he'd been assigned on the station,
not doing anything in particular. Since he didn't have to go about his janitorial route for a while
now, he was wearing his usual outfit consisting of a pair of jeans, a thick brown jacket, and
a blue t-shirt with a lightning bolt emblazoned on the front. He thought back to the previous
night when he had tried on the Omega Suit. What had that flash been when he'd worn it? He
would've asked Professor Recter about it if he weren't worried about what he might have done if
he found out that he'd been wearing the Omega Suit without permission.

Lucas' thoughts were scattered as an alarm suddenly started to ring through the base. He
jumped up, running out of the room and saw people in a panic as he looked around.

"Warning, hull security breach! Warning, hull security breach!" a voice rang through
the base, accompanying the alarm. Elsewhere, multiple large figures were boarding the station
from a large ship that had attached itself to the outside of the hull. As the figures stepped out,
they were revealed to be tall, muscular humanoids with purplish skin, elongated ears, and long,
angular faces. They almost seemed like oversized goblins, and the sight of these inhuman
entities seemed to add to the panic.

"Halt! You are not authorized to board this vessel! Leave immediately, or face the
consequences!" several guards in armor approached the beings, pointing their blasters at the
intruders.

"Hmmph, how quaint!" the leader said as he smirked, taking out a small cylinder-shaped
device and pressing a button on top of it. A loud high-pitched sound soon filled the area, and
everyone within earshot screamed, collapsing on the floor and covering their ears, trying to keep
the sound out.

"To think that this would've barely affected you if you pitiful apes had kept your original
form! With what your race has become, your heightened senses may give you strength, but
they're also your greatest weakness!" the alien leader said, smirking. He pointed, directing his
cohorts in a certain direction. "Go, retrieve this weapon they call the Omega Suit!" he ordered,
and the other aliens rushed off into the station to retrieve the suit. There were more guards who
tried to stop them, but the aliens were too fast and strong for them, quickly overpowering and
disarming them before they could do too much damage with their weapons.

Eventually, the aliens and their leader made it to Lab 5A, bursting inside. Professor

Recter, who'd been working on another project within.

"What in the world? You can't..."

"Move aside, you pathetic whelp!" the leader said, effortlessly knocking the scientist
aside. "The contents of this lab are now the property of the Fahzen!" he told him. The Fahzen
leader then took out a strange blaster, pointing it at the display case that held the Omega Suit and
shattering the Plexiglas with a shot from the blaster.

"At last, now one of the most powerful weapons recently created in this galaxy will be
mine, and there will be no planet we cannot plunder!" the lead Fahzen commented as he quickly
grabbed the pieces of the suit, putting them on and activating it. He looked over to one of the
other Fahzen, beckoning him over with a finger. "Come, I wish to test this suit's power!" he
commanded. The other Fahzen was a little nervous, but he did as his leader commanded. His
leader then drew a fist back, delivering a sharp punch to his comrade's chest. The Fahzen
staggered back, but didn't seem to take that much damage.

"Hey boss...That wasn't nothin'!" the Fahzen he'd punched said, blinking. "Ya sure yer
doing it right?"

"Hmm...Perhaps another try," the leader commented, drawing his fist back and punching
harder than before. The Fahzen he was testing it on grunted, staggering back again, but still
seemed to have minimal damage.

"WORTHLESS!" the Fahzen leader ripped off the suit, slamming the pieces to the
ground and breaking vital parts in them. "This worthless piece of spijak is useless to me!" he
then saw the professor cowering in a corner in fear of the fearsome alien race.

"YOU!!" the leader ran over, grabbing the front of the professor's coat and raising him
off the above his head before slamming him into the wall. "Where's the REAL Omega Suit?!
Where are you keeping it?!" he demanded.

"I...I don't know what you're talking about, really! The suit should've worked, but it
seems to have shorted out, I don't understand it!"

"Ergh..." the Fahzen leader tossed the professor aside, turning back to his subordinates.
"He's lying, the real suit must be here somewhere! Go, search for it!" he ordered, and the other
Fahzen spread out to go and search for the missing suit.

In another area of the ship the Fahzen hadn't yet infiltrated, Lucas ran through the halls,
trying to find some of the intruders to see what was going on. That's when he ran right into the
back of one of the Fahzen as they searched around for where the "real" Omega Suit might've

"Oh, sorry, I...I...Aye-yi-yi!" Lucas looked up at the hulking figure before him, his ears
flattening against his skull in apprehension.

"What're you looking at, twerp?" the Fahzen demanded, leering down at him. Lucas
regained his composure, standing up to him.

"An ugly overgrown grape, if I'm not mistaken," Lucas shot back as the Fahzen glared
down at him.

"Why you little..." he suddenly picked Lucas up and was about to hit him before he
suddenly stopped, laughing. "Heh heh, letting a little runt get to me like that...Yer not worth my
time!" he replied as he threw Lucas roughly down to the floor before turning to leave.

"Hold on!" Lucas suddenly got up and ran in front of the Fahzen with his cat-like
agility...Which almost seemed to be faster than usual now that he thought about it. "I don't care
who or what you are, but I'm not letting you go so easily!" he proclaimed valiantly. The Fahzen
growled, taking out a blaster like the one his leader had been using, pointing it at him.

"I don't have time for this...Say bye bye, kitty!" the Fahzen taunted as he pulled the
trigger, and Lucas closed his eyes as he waited for the invitable impact. There was a large
explosion in the hallway, dust flying everywhere.

"Good, now I can get back to...WHAT?!" as the dust cloud cleared, the Fahzen was met
with a most unusual sight; although the area around him was wrecked, Lucas still stood there
completely unharmed, even his clothes remaining intact. Slowly, Lucas' ear twitched as he
opened his eyes, looking down at himself.

"What the...I'm alive?" he asked, just as surprised as the Fahzen. "How?"

"I dunno, but you won't be livin' after this!" the Fahzen retorted, setting the blaster to
rapid-fire and blasting him. The rapid blasts kept hitting Lucas in the chest, but he simply stood
without budging an inch as they hit him, a bewildered expression on his face. Then, Lucas
suddenly smiled, realizing that this new invulnerability might not have been the only thing he
was capable of now.

"Well, since you are having a hard time killing me, it's my turn!" Lucas told him,
running quickly towards him and jumping up to deliver a flying kick square on his chest.

"GUUOOOOH!" the Fahzen flew backwards, the force of the kick sending him flying
straight back through a wall. Lucas ran to the hole in the wall the Fahzen had made, finding him
unconscious.

"Whoa, what the heck IS this?" Lucas asked, looking down at his hands as the gravity of
what he'd just done hit him. "This is incredible! It's almost as if I'm wearing the Omega..." he
cut off short as he suddenly realized; it was EXACTLY like the Omega Suit's power!

"Oh man, I better get back to the professor, quick!" he realized, speeding down the
hallway with his newly-found speed. He rounded the corner, only to meet the fist of another
Fahzen as it slammed into his face, knocking him back.

"Ouch...That hurt!" Lucas commented, shaking his head as he got up again. It seemed
that he wasn't completely invincible after all, especially considering the immense strength the
alien race possessed. The Fahzen who had just hit him was dumbfounded.

"Hey, how're ya standin' up after THAT?" he asked, wondering how anyone could stand
up to a punch as strong as the one he'd given him.

"How about I show you?" Lucas suggested, running up to punch at his chest. The Fahzen
blocked it with a meaty forearm, and staggered back, but quickly recovered and swung at Lucas
again, but Lucas backflipped out of the way.

"I guess sending that other guy through the wall was a lucky shot," he murmured to
himself, looking around. He found a blaster that had been dropped by one of the guards when
they were attacked, and grabbed it. There was a small flash as he picked it up, but he ignored it
as he pointed it at his opponent and pulled the trigger. The blaster, however, refused to fire.

"Wait, one seco..." Lucas held up a finger surprised as a laser blast actually shot out
of his finger as if it had been from the blaster. "Well, THIS is new!" he said, looking over to
the mystified Fahzen, and blasting him with another shot from his finger. He ran off, blasting
several more Fahzen with his finger blasts until he finally reached Lab 5A.

"All right, show's over!" Lucas shouted, pointing his finger at the Fahzen leader, but it
didn't fire a blast this time. Lucas looked at it, realizing that whatever had made it do that must
have worn off.

"Cute," the Fahzen Leader snarled, raising his blaster, apparently not amused. "And
you're right, it IS over...For you!" he said, letting loose a laser blast, but Lucas just smirked and
crossed his arms. The blast hit him, but like before, it didn't even faze him.

"You'll have to do better than that!" Lucas retorted cockily.

"All right then, how about this?" the leader asked, switching his blaster to maximum
power. Lucas decided that it would probably be a bad idea to get hit with the increased power
of the blaster as he'd already found that there was a limit to his newfound power, and quickly

ducked under the blast, which blew a large hole in one of the walls. He kept dodging as the
leader kept blasting at him, being careful to keep away from any of the hull walls in case his
opponent accidentally breached the hull and got them all sucked into space. He didn't have to
wait long, however, before there came a loud high-pitched sound and the Fahzen leader's blaster
suddenly exploded from overheating because of the prolonged use of its maximum power. The
leader cursed in the Fahzen language before he took out something else, a pair of gloves with
sharp claws attached to the ends of the fingers.

"I don't know what kind of freak of nature you are, but I'm going to finish you right here
and now!" he retorted, pulling on the gloves and brandishing the claws towards Lucas.

"If your blaster didn't work, I don't see how...AAAAGH!" Lucas jumped back,
clutching his shoulder as the Fahzen leader suddenly slashed it with his claws, leaving a long red
gash.

"As you may have guessed these aren't just ordinary claws!" the leader started to explain.
Ng, some of the sharpest claws in the galaxy!"

"Geeze, I guess there ARE a lot more things that can hurt me!" Lucas commented as he
flipped out of the way of another slash. He used his speed to his advantage, slipping past and
devlivering a sharp punch to the Fahzen Leader's gut. The Fahzen leader roared and grabbed
Lucas, throwing him clear across the room into a wall, but Lucas landed on his feet and quickly
dashed towards him again.

"You insolent little monstrosity!" the leader cried as he unsuccessfully tried to slash
Lucas several more times. "You honestly think you can stand up to ME?"

"Well, SOMEONE'S getting testy!" Lucas replied as he went in for his final attack. "So
I'm putting you down for your nap!" so saying, he ran up to the leader, delivering a sharp punch
to the chest. He followed this up with a rising uppercut, then spun around in mid-air to deliver a
kick to the side of his head, and finally grabbed his shoulders and drove both feet into his chest.
These attacks were all delivered in rapid succession, and the defeated leader finally collapsed
into a pile at his feet.

"This...This is extraordinary!" the Fahzen have been long rounded up and imprisoned in
the space station's holding area, Lucas had gone back to Professor Recter's office to see if they
could discover what had actually happened. After numerous tests, it seemed that they had some
conclusive data about Lucas' newfound ability. He'd already admitted to wearing the Omega
Suit as he now possessed all of its abilities.

"What's going on, doc?" Lucas asked, eager to discover exactly what had become of
himself.

"According to this data, it seems that your DNA can now be directly affected by outward
sources, particularly technology...So, theoritically it seems that you can temporarily absorb all of
the capabilities of any technology you come in contact with!" the professor explained. "It might
have been a dormant mutation in your DNA until something triggered it," he concluded.

"Well, if it's only temporary, why do I still have all of the Omega Suit's abilities?" Lucas
asked curiously.

"Well, it seems that the power the Omega Suit possessed was so great that exposure
to it not only awakened your dormant ability, but its capabilities became part of your DNA
itself instead of merely altering it. This, in turn, permanently gave you all of its abilities!" the
Professor explained.

"Whoa, this is insane...I mean, what am I supposed to do with powers like this?" Lucas

"Well, you could carry on the suit's original purpose," the professor suggested. "I
created the suit to be the start of the end of all crime...Thus, I called it the Omega Suit, after the
Greek character symbolizing the end. I hope that you might potentially do that job better than
the suit ever could; you can't be stolen like the suit almost was, and you have morals, so you
probably wouldn't use the suit for evil," he explained.

"Hmm..." Lucas looked out the window back to the planet the station was orbiting. Then
he smiled as he realized something; he would probably be able to go back!

"Yeah, I could see it...I could go and join one of Earth's law enforcement agencies, and
they'd have to accept me after they see what I'm capable of doing!" he decided. "I could protect
other planets as well; since the Omega Suit can withstand the void of space, so could I!" he
continued.

"Yes, those are splendid ideas!" the professor admitted. "Though it might be suitable to
have an alias to go by...I'm sure a name like Lucas won't do much to strike fear into the hearts
of criminals," he suggested.

"I already have a name," Lucas replied, looking back to the Earth. "It's obvious, isn't it?
I shall be...Omega Cat!" Lucas said valiantly. "And with my power, some day we may truly see
the end of crime!" he concluded.


~The Watchdog: Birth of the Hero~

Eddy was just a student living a normal life getting through school, until he witnessed the caped Captain Doom. He watched as he hid behind some trash cans as the masked boy rob toys, calculators, and lunch money from his schoolmates . Before the villain was apprehended he gave a few simple flirting words to his captors and made his escape in their stuttered response.

His fists shaking and clenched, Eddy finally fought his body into leaving his hiding spot. The kids whose toys were stolen cried, the teachers were dumb-founded, and slowly they all dispersed without another word on the issue. Eddy knew he was just as useless as they, walking around with their heads down as Captain Doom went on causing havoc and disarray unpunished. Eddy went into the hallway bathroom and stared himself in the eyes, seeing his fear dripping away as his need for justice overwhelmed him. He knew what he had to do.

He gathered his equipment that weekend and trained for almost two weeks using the school's gymnasium. As he pulled the mask he had made himself over his eyes, Eddy felt his heart racing. The utility belt around his waist was heavy with equipment and slightly more bulky than he had thought it'd be, but he didn't pay too much mind as he looked himself up and down in the mirror. Even though it was cold that night, his fur-matching grey shirt was form-fitting and tight around his chest, the dark paw-print insignia on his chest simple and memorable. His pants were just as tight, but were as dark as the night outside, held up by the heavy belt he had stitched together himself.

Eddy flexed to himself, his new muscles pleasing to him and hopefully to anyone else who valued the justice he vowed to serve. As Eddy watched himself and looked into the bright determined eyes, he knew that as he wore his mask he was no longer the simple school-going Eddy Holmgren. He was The Watchdog. Protector of the weak, and arch nemesis to evil whereever it may be.

His bare feet made no sound as he walked to the window, twisting the light bulb in his desk lamp to darken his room and setting his alarm for the morning. In seconds his room was empty, the curtains settling against the wall after being tossed by a soft night breeze.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Watchdog glanced down, his eyes glowing with the green illumination from his high tech wristwatch he found in the pawn shop. It was only a few minutes until midnight, when he was sure Captain Doom would surely strike somewhere. Something about midnight was just so super-villain, he was sure Captain Doom would love the poetic justice of it all...

He reached back and pulled a long tightly woven dog-leash from the back pouch of his utility belt, letting it unravel enough to clip the leash end into a sort of lasso loop. He tossed it effortlessly over the fence to catch on the handle on the other side. Giving a few test pulls, he began to climb, his bare hands and feet making no noise as he climbed over the fence and jumped down to the other side, crouching into the shadows. Looking around, he decided his best bet would be going through an open window or vent... he collected his leash-lasso and started looking for a way in.

It wasn't hard to find a way inside the large school building, and as Eddy...ahem, i mean Watchdog... as Watchdog looked through a large vent, he saw quite a few men with large equipment belts and dark uniforms. One pressed something on his chest and spoke into a small microphone, mumbling soft enough that the Watchdog couldn't hear.

'These must be Captain Doom's henchmen.' Thought the fighter of justice, rubbing his chin as he thought how he could get past. 'I could go straight to the locker room where no-doubt the infamous Captain Doom shall be lying in wait for me, but one whistle could call all of his men to corner me... I should deal with them first, and leave me to battle the boss one-on-one.'

His plan set, Watchdog reached back and checked a few pockets, making sure all of his super awesome watchdog-weapons were ready to go. He slipped out his special tool, a heavy black paddle with his pawprint carved into the head, and held the cloth wrapped handle in his mouth. Pulling a tennis ball and a tightly wrapped cloth ball out his belt, he held one in each hand and readied himself to jump from his hiding spot.

The guards walked calmly from one side of the hall to the other. There were five that the defender of justice could see in this hall, three felines and two canines. This was perfect, as he wanted to say to himself dramatically, but kept silent instead. He waited for a few seconds until he saw all the henchmen coming close to each other, chatting to each other unaware that their evil would soon come to an end.

The strike came fast and hard. The masked hero fell from the ceiling, landing crouched in the center of the ring of henchmen. He slammed the cloth ball on the tile ground hard, making it explode into smoke. Squinting through the smoke, Watchdog saw three of the men falling to the ground squirming and pawing the air, the catnip laced smoke doing its job even better than expected.

"Command, come in command, we have a-" One of the guards had picked up on the situation fast and was trying to call for backup, but the hero was prepared, throwing the tennis ball hard and true. The light fuzzy ball caught into the dog's jaws, silencing him while stunning him long enough for Watchdog to drop his 'Doggy-paddle' from his mouth and into his hand, jabbing the handle into the henchman's side, dropping him fast. The second dog wasn't as fast on the attack, but was finally coming to his senses and running towards his fallen comrade.

"Down Boy!!" Watchdog cried out, swinging his weapon down onto his enemy's head, knocking him unconscious. "Yes!"

Watchdog took a moment to breath heavily, grinning from ear to ear about how well he was doing... but soon his expression drained back to that of a man with a mission. He still needed to find Captain Doom before he could be victorious, and so he ran silently down the hall, leaving his incapacitated foes behind.

There were two more henchmen left, guarding the door to the locker room. Captain Doom must already be inside, but how to get past these two? If he went straight in, the hall was long enough that he would loose his element of surprise. Feeling around in his utility belt, Watchdog grinned as another plan formed. He pulled out a laser pointer, and began dancing the small red beam in front of the first guard, another feline.

Intrigued by the light, the henchman followed, provoking confused calls from his teammate, but nothing could quench the cat's curiosity...and you know what they say about that.

"Doggy-Paddle!" Just as the cat passed Watchdog's hiding spot, the hero swung his paddle and made quite the dog paw mark on the henchman's forehead. "Heel!" A low sweeping kick made the cat fall far from on its feet. "Stay!" Another strike from the paddle made sure this henchman wasn't going anywhere soon.

"Hey! Stop!" The other guard was running towards the commotion, but one-on-one was just fine with Watchdog. He reached back for a more distance-oriented weapon, some small disks he had used for Frisbee-golf, but they were made thick and heavy, and they dawned the insignia of their user. Eddy had spent lots of time playing catch with his dad, and quickly flicked both of his wrists, expertly sending two disks flying at his opponent. One clipped the ground and came back up to just miss the henchman's side, catching the radio cable and unplugging it as it flew by, and the other was deflected from the man's face with a swatting hand. The second disk, however, was only a distraction as a third disk slipped under the running dog's foot, making him slip forward and fall right onto his chin, knocking him out of the fight.

Watchdog spun in place and flexed into a pose! "Yeah! Justice prevails again! And now, for Captain Doom!" He quickly went to the locker room doors, then back to the henchmen to borrow his keys.

The locker rooms were so quiet, it was easy to pick out where its only other occupant was rummaging through picked lockers. Watchdog slid across the smooth tile to look past the low wall of the showers to see the back of a black cape and orange head of his wolfen enemy moving in front of an open locker. Captain Doom held up a hand held game and cackled softly, slipping it into his large pack he had on the ground.

"Soon," the gentle seductive voice whispered, "Soon I'll have enough to put my true plans into action."

'True plans?' Watchdog felt for his tools and thought of his strategy, but before he could come up with a battle plan, Captain Doom turned towards him holding another toy, a transformer, in his hand. The Evil doer noticed the other boy and gasped, forcing Watchdog to make his move.

He stepped from behind the wall and pointed to Captain Doom. "Stop! In the name of justice, put the toys you have stolen back!"

"You!" Captain Doom pointed just as dramaticaly back at the hero. "...Who are you?"

A grin spread on the grey mutt's face as he flexed, pulling out his doggy paddle and posing heroically. "I am the guardian of the petty and weak, the fighter for justice against evil. With the power of love and righteousness I strike from the shadows unto my foes. I am the batteries that are not included! I am the Watchdog!"

Captain Doom seemed impressed at first, but then tilted his head. "The batteries not-"

"Hey! I was caught up in the moment, shut up!"

"But...but how did you find me?! No one knew I was going to be here."

"HaHA! But your trail of henchmen lead me straight to you! You may as well have put up signs to mark your presence!"

Once again, Captain Doom tilted his head in confusion. "Henchmen? I don't have henchmen, I fight alone! Having henchmen is just begging for betrayal and failure."

The Watchdog looked unsure for a moment, but regained his pose. "Nice try, Captain Doom! Then how do you explain all the uniformed men with weapons outside in the hall?"

For a moment, the evil doer looked like he might not answer, but then he cackled into his evil laugh! "You fool, you have done away with the guards of this school I had snuck past! Hahaha!"

"B..but I...you..." whoops... as he thought back, that would make perfect sense... but the hero shook his head. "N..never mind! I still have you right where I want you!"

"Oh you do?" Captain Doom dropped the transformer into his bag, pushing his cape away from him in great evilness, relieving his scant clothing. The tuxedo thong bulging around its ruffle and his bow tie did almost nothing to cover the fine slender body of its wearer. "You will still have to defeat me in battle if you hope to win this day!"

Eddy was too busy stuttering at his opponents skimpy outfit to make a heroic response, but came back to reality when he heard the sound of a spinning motor thing! Captain Doom seemed to have his own gadgets, tossing small helicopter-things his way. The gadgets twisted and turned in mid flight, making them impossible to catch or dicern their movements, but the Watchdog knew that as he was being distracted Captain Doom would escape! Pulling out his final throwing disk, he took careful aim and glanced off of one copter to the other, breaking both down and leaving no distractions between him and the fleeing Captain Doom!

Eddy thanked his need to retrieve his leash-lasso from the beginning of this adventure, and quickly whipped out the tight sturdy rope and swung it hard towards his foe. Captain Doom's Cape might have been such an awesome piece of costume, but it came to his fall as the lasso looped and tightened around the cloth, stopping the evil doer in his tracks!

"I got you now Captain Doom!" The hero pounced and grabbed after a quick pull of his rope, but caught nothing but cape, landing on the hard tile, moaning and whimpering as he rubbed his nose. He quickly looked around but couldn't see Captain Doom, but knew he couldn't have gone far. Then the sound of hissing made him turn.

The growing hissing sound was the showers turning on, and the steam meant they were on full heat. Quickly, the room filled with thick steam, and the tiles began to become slippery, though the bare paws of both Captain Doom and the Watchdog were hardly affected. The larger dog began creeping through the steam, the hissing deadening his hearing, the steam filling his nostrils and misting his eyes. He was trying to find a spot of black and orange through the steam when he stepped on a pile of marbles, slipping onto his back just as an orange streak flew over him, dashing for the back of the room.

"You have failed, Watchdog! And you shall know the taste of defeat against Captain Doom!"

Captain Doom slid easily through the vents, his slender body dripping lightly from the showers, but his lack of cape gave him an even greater speed. He went quickly down hallways unseen by the moaning guards far beneath him. The orange wolf cackled as he neared the exit, thinking of applauding his fallen enemy for dealing with all of his opponents on his way in, leaving his escape that much simpler. He turned and slipped a rose seeming out of thin air, posing it between his teeth as he jumped back out of the vent to make his final decent into freedom.

Captain Doom was prepared for a hard landing with a quick roll to break his fall, but the fall ended much softer than he had expected. He looked up, feeling the strong wet arms of his 'fallen' enemy under him as he was held bridal style. The dog glared down, water dripping from his nose as the evil doer grinned, chuckling in nervous defeat.

The clicking of the handcuffs sunk Captain Doom's heart, feeling the cold chill of the night air flow through the bike rack he was now attached to. "Poop... how did you get up so fast? Or know where I was going?"

The Watchdog rubbed his head and tried grinning through the pain he felt as his hand rub over a large bump. "I've taken worse fall than that before. And Those vents were how I got into the building to begin with. I just had to sprint through the halls and wait for you to fall."

"Blah..." Captain Doom shook his hands against his restraints and looked at his wrists curiously. "...Why do you use furry handcuffs?"

"Sh...shut up! They were all I could find..."

Captain Doom grinned. His Captor was a bit cute and stupid... a good combination in his head. "You're such an amazing hero, Watchdog, to have caught me on your first try."

Eddy felt his heart lift with the compliment, even from his arch nemesis. "Yes well... you made me fight really hard."

"Well I do have an image to uphold. Um... Mr Watchdog?" Captain Doom looked slightly to the side as if embarrassed. "I don't have my cape, and I'm getting cold... I got wet in the showers when I was trying to escape..." The Watchdog was trying to look on like he didn't hear, but the blush spilling across his nose was a dead give-away that Captain Doom had another chance to escape. "Please, Watchdog... I'm just cold... can you give me a towel maybe, or just keep the wind off of me for a while?"

The Watchdog gulped and moved a bit closer, not wanting to cause even his enemy to become ill. He might as well keep him warm until he thought of what to do with him. He stood closer to the evildoer, blocking any wind.

Doom grinned to himself, and then forced a shiver from his body, his skin prickling in the cold. "Brr... please, Mr Watchdog... I'm so cold...come closer please?"

Watchdog glanced over at his barely dressed prisoner and blushed deeper, seeing the boy twist his body just so he could almost see... He closed his eyes and got just a bit closer. He waited, then felt something moving up his leg. his eyes went wide as a lump grew in his throat, noticing it was Captain Doom's foot slipping between his thighs, pulling him closer.

"I..I uh..." The Watchdog couldn't find the words he was trying to say, but found himself slowly nearing his prisoner more and more until his side brushed against the evildoer's fur. "Y..you're...."

"Mhmm...very." As Watchdog turned to look questioningly at Captain Doom, his enemy did the unexpected. Leaning forward, he caught the hero's lips with his own. Eddy felt his legs almost turn to jelly as his eyes widened and then started to droop. He couldn't help himself, turning to face the orange wolf. He'd never felt something like this, and wasn't thinking of Captain Doom as he slipped into the warm fuzzy feelings filling his chest.

As the soft gentle lips slipped across his own, the Watchdog didn't think twice about the hand on his chest, the other pressing to the front of his belt. As his mind drifted to many images of the masked man's lips dragging across his neck, he didn't notice the cold steel of the bike rack on his back, or the sudden tightness of his wrists.

"Mmm~ You're not bad, hero. I hope you try to catch me again. Here's something quick to remember me by..." The sudden but gentle pain on his neck made the mutt whimper and weaken, panting softly... but as he realized he wasn't being held anymore,he opened his eyes. He was gone... Captain Doom was gone!?

The Watchdog tried to stand, but his wrists were held to the bike rack by his own cuffs, and as he glanced around he found the keys a good ten feet away. His jaw dropped as he slouched against the bike rack, feeling so strange... raged that he had let Captain Doom escape, but so confused about what the villain had done to him...

He wasn't sure himself how he was finally able to escape, but Eddy was almost asleep before he felt his cool pillow against his sore bumped head. His mask and costume were stuffed unceremoniously into a trunk at the end of his bed, and his tools were all put into a small lockbox in his closet safe and sound. He sighed heavily and looked at his clock. he only had three hours to sleep until he had to get up for class tomorrow...

'Thus is the life of a super hero,' he guessed.


Snowfall

It wasn't easy being different. Being special. Being 'gifted'. Having powers of any kind was always a double-edged sword, and for Corlen, it always seemed more bad than good.
"You've got a special gift," his parents would often tell him. But half the time, he thought of it as more of a curse. In fact, he felt like a freak.
Why me?
That was the thought that constantly loomed in the snow leopard's mind for years. He was all too aware of the fact that there were millions of people who would have given anything to be telekinetic or have some kind of 'superpower'. Corlen, on the other hand, was one snow leopard who would have given it away, if he could; he wanted to be normal, live a normal life, and be a normal person.
But, that was impossible.
He largely kept his 'gift' a secret, known only to his parents and close friends. His parents, of course, tried to console him, and his friends always stood in awe of his powers, but even they didn't make things easy for him. Some of them had even come up with the most absurd of ideas-a superhero.
What was meant to be another relaxing hang out in their usual, quiet and secluded corner at Winter Leaves-Corlen's favourite coffee shop-suddenly turned into a collective effort to get him something he never, ever imagined himself doing.
"I don't think so," Corlen said tersely before taking another sip of his cappuccino.
"Come on, man, why not?" Denton, a clouded leopard threw back. Denton was among the most outspoken and supportive of the idea. He was always that sweet guy, the perfect person to have at your side whenever you needed someone, and Corlen actually liked him a lot more than he let on. They were just friends, though; he never imagined himself being in a relationship with someone who... didn't know what it was like to be him. It would just have made things complicated.
"I think you could really do a lot with those powers," Nikky, an otter, chimed in.
"Alright, how far would I get? How many people could I save? How long until I get killed or the cops decide to stop me for being some retarded vigilante? It's just stupid." The snow leopard almost banged his fist on the table. He'd yelled a little louder than he intended, but he didn't want to hear this kind of crap.
"Well, with the police being the lackluster force they are, I think they can use all the help they can get. You could make their jobs easier," Karey, an artic fox grinned.
Corlen just growled and that quickly shut the vulpine up.
"Well, hold on, guys," Gavin said, holding up a paw. Corlen could already predict what the spotted hyena was going to say. "Maybe we're jumping ahead of ourselves, here. We don't even know if Corlen has full control over his powers, yet."
The feline averted his eyes. Apparently, his predictions were off. And why not? They all thought highly of his powers, and it was true: logically there wasn't much reason not to use such powers to help people.
But Corlen just wanted to be normal.
"I can control my powers, just fine." He gave a stern look.
"Then why not go for it?" Denton continued, "This is Toronto, the biggest city in Canada. Do you have any idea how many people could use a helping hand?"
"Denton..."
"Seriously. The police can't be in every place at once. What about all the people who get mugged or have their stuff stolen, and the police are either too late or just can't help them, for whatever stupid reason? And let's not forget about all those stupid hate-crimes against gays... I've always liked the idea of a gay superhero. Being part of the Gay-Straight Alliance only gets me so far. This is exactly the kind of thing we need, what everybody needs: a hero." The rocky-furred feline was rather adamant. "You could do so much, Corlen."
The other three nodded in agreement, with the inevitable 'yeah' and 'totally' in support of Denton's sentiment.
Nikky then laughed. "Gay superhero, I like that. I've already got a name for you, too: Snowfall."
Corlen scoffed. "Are you serious?"
"Sure!"
Even though they were in their usual secluded corner, Corlen was beginning to feel somewhat embarrassed. He looked around and found several others at another table giving them rather funny looks. It was more like they were glaring, though.
"Hey, I like that. You're a snow leopard, so it works perfectly." Karey raised his coffee with an enthusiastic smile.
"...It's retarded."
"Well, regardless of the name, dude... I think it's a great idea, too. You could even have a side-kick or something." Gavin chuckled.
"Alright, will you guys just quit it? I don't want to talk about this anymore. Seriously."
"I'm just saying, Corlen, you could really make a difference. A big difference."
"No," Corlen snarled, finally getting up from his chair. "I couldn't."
"Aww, come on, don't be like that..." Nikky frowned.
Before any of them could say anything else, the leopard cut them all off. "Forget it, guys. I'm no hero. I'm not a saviour, or any stupid crap like that. I'm just a cat with extra features that he never wanted in the first place. I'm out of here."
"Corlen-" Denton started.
"Forget it."
And with that, the snow leopard grabbed his drink and walked out of the shop, much to the dismay of his friends. He hadn't caused too much of a scene, but several people did have their eyes on him as he left. Corlen didn't care.
They'd stayed at the shop a lot longer than he thought, because it was already nightfall. He didn't want to leave like that, but he was sick of hearing the same thing over and over; he just wanted to get away. Perhaps take a walk. He needed time to himself.
The others weren't entirely wrong in their argument, though. Walking around alone at night wasn't always the safest thing to do, especially in the bigger cities. Granted, Canada always had a reputation for having a relatively low crime rate, but this was still Toronto.
That's not to say Corlen couldn't handle himself if he got into a skirmish; he most certainly could. However, he wasn't entirely forthright with his friends.
After finishing his drink, he intended to throw the cup away, but instead decided to fiddle around with it. As he walked, he opened his palms and extended his fingers, using his power to let the cup float a couple inches above his paws. It didn't take much to do manipulate something so small; it was the bigger, heavier, or otherwise complicated things that Corlen had trouble with with.
"I can control my powers, just fine." His own words echoed in his head. Of course he could, but but he hadn't mastered them by any means. That was all the more reason why he gawked at the notion of himself as a superhero; no one's going to want a hero who hasn't fully mastered their own powers.
He also noted how adamant Denton was, over the others. Truly, the clouded leopard had a fiery passion for the things he believed in, and he was quick to voice his opinions. That was just one thing Corlen liked about him, coupled with how supportive and generally sweet he was. Just to humour himself, he wondered if Denton would make the perfect side-kick.
A humourous thought, indeed, and probably the only time he managed to chuckle all night.
"...Crap!" he yelled out, instantly remembering that he left his bag back at Winter Leaves. He quickly threw the cup in the nearest bin before turning tail and heading back toward the shop.
He wondered if his friends would still be there. That'd be just what he needed, another long lecture from them, and that's probably what they'd give him. But he wasn't hearing any of it, he was just going to get his bag and leave.
It didn't take the feline long to get there, and just in time, too, because they were about to close. He was surprised to find his bag still at the leg of the chair where he'd left it, but his friends were gone. "Guess they went home."
With that, he quickly grabbed his bag and set off, again.
Corlen's bag contained some of his traditional art supplies, since he usually liked to draw whenever he got the chance, especially in the comforting and tranquil atmosphere of a coffee shop or bookstore. He also contemplated what he'd say to his friends next time he saw them. It was inevitable that he'd see all of them at college, tomorrow. An apology for storming off like that was definitely in order; Corlen often didn't burst out of places like that.
"Maybe I'll buy all the drinks, next time," he chuckled, shaking his head.
As he walked, a shuffling noise gradually became louder in his ears. What was that? It sounded like two people, and it was quickly attracting Corlen's curiosity as he came closer and closer with every step.
The noise soon became clearer and sounded more like a fist fight. Probably just two idiots fighting over something trivial. You could find that all over the place in Toronto, and it didn't surprise Corlen, in the least. Yelling, grunting and exertion soon followed. Eventually, the only sound permeated the air was that of something being beaten. Nothing more. Just incessant beating.
Apparently one of the fighters had lost. Clearly.
The leopard's eyes went wide when he turned an alleyway to find a rather large lion-one of the very same guys who gave him those glaring looks back at Winter Leaves-beating on a another downed feline with a wooden bat. A rocky-furred feline, it looked like.
It was Denton.
The clouded leopard's face was bloodied, bruised and battered, and his fur was matted barely beyond. His clothes were also torn slightly and stained with his own blood. And he eventually stopped moving as the superior feline continued beating him with the bat.
Corlen stood frozen while a myriad of emotions flooded him at once. Anger, shock and confusion; his body was shaking, ready to explode.
"Get off him!" he yelled, jumping on the lion's back, pulling him away from Denton's beaten body. He struggled against the bigger cat, trying to wrestle him to the ground, but the hooded feline put up a challenge. He elbowed Corlen twice in the stomach, loosening the snow leopard's grip before quickly coming loose, turning around and punching him in the face. Corlen fell to the ground, groaning as he clutched the left side of his face. The lion packed so much power, Corlen wondered why he even had a bat.
"You're about to join this fairy," the behemoth said, panting slightly as he reached for his bat.
Corlen snarled and held out his free paw, extending all five fingers toward him. Suddenly, the assailant's body tensed up and froze, much to his surprise. "What the hell?!" he cried out while struggling against the leopard's telekinetic grip. Corlen bared and gritted his teeth, using all his efforts to keep the lion in place; he'd never manipulated another being before, and this guy being as big as he was made it all the more difficult.
"Denton... didn't deserve that..." Corlen's said through clenched teeth, still trying to maintain a full grip while his anger surged with every second.
"Let me out of this, faggot!" the lion growled, almost dismissing Corlen's words.
That was probably one of the worst things he could have said, and Corlen proved it as he growled back and swept his paw downward, consequently slamming the lion face first onto the hard ground.
A stream of painful yells and groans spewed forth from the other cat's muzzle as he desperately tried to free himself from Corlen's grip, but the snow leopard didn't concede. He eventually raised his paw, drawing the lion back up and holding him in mid air, once again.
"What are we, to you? Just trash for you to kick and throw away?"
Even through the immense pain, the lion not only smirked, this time, but managed to snicker, as well. This was hopeless. What was Corlen thinking, believing he could change the mind of some random homophobe on the street? There was no changing people like him. There was clearly no remorse, no sorrow, not even conscience for what he did; he actually delighted in it. It was disgusting, and the lion's subsequent snickers (or attempts at such) catapulted Corlen's growing indignation.
"Fine," Corlen said curtly with a cold look in his eyes. He then swiped his paw as hard as he could-like he was throwing something-toward the building to his left, sending the other feline crashing through the wall in a bloody mess of fur and debris.
Corlen finally let his paw down, his left one still clutching the side of his face as he panted with exhaustion. He was a little shocked; he'd never used so much power before, especially not enough to send someone through a wall. Perhaps he was more powerful than he originally thought. His body was fatigued and aching; he'd definitely overexerted himself, and his body was paying for it in addition to the pain brought on from that lion. "Guess I'll have to be careful with that..." he groaned.
He immediately brought his attention back to Denton, who just laid there, lifeless. Corlen's eyes flooded from the mere sight of him and, it took almost as much effort not to look away as it did to manipulate that lion. He hoped with every bit of his being that the worst hadn't happened.
"Denton..." he said in a tender voice, patting the clouded leopard's arm, only to find that it was broken. "God..." His vision blurred from the onslaught of tears. "Come on." He tenderly scooped the broken feline into his arms, picking him up from the cold ground. They were roughly the same size; Denton was actually a bit slimmer, but with Corlen having just overexerted himself, it was difficult to carry someone of similar weight. He didn't care, though.
He finally stood back on his feet, taking a deep breath as he emerged out of the alleyway, with Denton in his arms.
"Hey! A-Are you alright?!" a Husky called out from across the street, quickly drawing Corlen's attention. Before he could even answer, the dog ran over to him, worry and concern brimming in his light blue eyes. "I saw what happened... you were amazing, man. Are you alright, is... there anything I can do to help?"
Corlen glanced back at the battered feline in his arms, pausing for what seemed like an eternity. "I'll be alright." His breathing was still a little heavy. "I need to get him to a hospital," he said as he started walking.
"You sure there's nothing I can do?"
Corlen glanced back over his shoulder. "Call the police on that lion."
"What do I... tell them?"
"Tell them... he got what he deserved."
And with that, Corlen continued down the street, intent to rid himself of this night as quickly as his legs would allow him.
"Will do! Hey, you're a hero, you know? A hero!" the Husky yelled out once more.
Corlen didn't look back this time, he just kept walking.
A hero... The thought briefly permeated the snow leopard's mind, once again. He didn't have time to think about it now, though.

"How is he doing?" Corlen asked, walking up to an older, female clouded leopard and peering through the window at a bed-ridden and bandaged-up Denton.
The older feline stood silent for a while, at a loss for words.
"Maybe I sho-"
"The doctors say he's in a coma. He was beaten pretty badly... a couple broken ribs, his left arm broken in several places, bruises everywhere... they don't know when he'll wake up, but say it could be anytime, now." she finally said, with a heavy and somewhat shaky voice.
Corlen just lowered his head, trying not to let his eyes burst again. "I'm sorry..."
The older feline quickly and firmly placed her paws on Corlen's shoulders. "No. You shouldn't be sorry, sweetie. If it wasn't for you, Denton...wouldn't even be here. He could have... " She paused again, taking a deep breath and trying not to cry, herself, "He could have died if it wasn't for you!"
"I just..."
She then drew him into a tight hug before he could even finish. "I know I said it before, but I can't think you enough for what you did, Corlen. Denton's extremely lucky to have friends like you. Really."
Corlen tried to smile. He tried to... but he just couldn't. He did embrace the older feline, though. "Thank you, Mrs. Rockley."
She smiled and sniffled. "Honey, you saved my son's life. Please, call me Jen."
Corlen just nodded when she released him.
"I'm... gonna go get some coffee. Do you want anything, hon?"
"I guess I could use a cappuccino... but you don't have to do that..."
She smiled and ruffled his hair. "I want to. I'll be back in a bit, alright?" And with that, she took off down the hall.
Corlen just turned his attention back to the younger, unconscious leopard in the next room. He'd never seen Denton like that before, so it was understandably hard to look... however, it was considerably better than the earlier sight of him back in the alleyway.
It was nice to finally talk to Denton's mother, though. She was very sweet. The rest of his family had fallen asleep outside the emergency room. Some of Corlen's own family, along with Nicky, Karey, and Gavin were also there, asleep as well. And rightfully so, because it was two in the morning; it was almost surprising to see that Jen was still awake.
Corlen's eyes intently watched Denton's body, almost as if he felt a responsibility to watch over him. A coma... Again, it was hard to see him like that. But, it was infinitely better than the... alternative. He hadn't left Denton's side, either; it had been thirty-three hours since he'd brought him to the hospital, and Corlen stayed as close as possible, the entire time.
Finally, with a deep breath, he quietly entered Denton's room, seeing the clouded leopard up-close for the first time since they'd arrived. A of couple tears immediately rolled down his cheek, but he wiped his eyes and pulled up a chair next to Denton's bed.
"Hey..." he said gingerly, despite knowing that Denton wasn't going to respond. He felt like an idiot for even saying anything, but his emotions were getting the better of him, and he couldn't think of anything to do otherwise.
"I don't know if you can hear me...," he started, "But...God, I don't even know what to say, right now. Part of me still finds it hard to believe that we're even in here. That this could happen to someone as...wonderful and sweet as you. I never told you that..." He sighed heavily, burying his face in his paws for a moment. He then gently took hold of Denton's paw, giving it a soft squeeze as he continued. "I never told you how much I really liked you. I should've. You're...amazing. You may not even believe that from me, but...it's true. And, to see you here, like this...I can't stand it. On top of that...I'm sorry for storming out on you and the others like I did. And that all this...even happened. Somehow, I feel like this is my fault...like I did something to cause this..." Corlen had to pause again, because he was on the verge of breaking down. "I'm sorry," he finally concluded.
His head immediately perked up when he felt a sudden weak, yet tender squeeze in his own paw, for a change. He looked up to see tears streaming from Denton's face and nearly jumped out of his seat.
"Denton!" he yelled, quickly getting up and delicately running his paw through the other feline's hair. "How are you feeling?! A-are you alright?!"
"I've had better days..." Denton gave a weak smile.
Corlen laughed stupidly in relief as more tears flooded his own face. This time, they were tears of joy.
"I heard what you said... thank you. Really."
"I was just being honest..." Corlen squeezed his paw again.
"It was very sweet." Denton's smile widened, despite his voice being weak. Still, his personality was fully intact.
"Don't feel responsible for this, though. This isn't your fault, at all." Denton sighed. "Still...who knows what might have happened if you hadn't been there to save me."
"You remember that?"
"The last thing I remember is you pulling that lion away from me, and...then I think I blacked out."
"Right..."
"If it wasn't for you, Corlen...well...I'd be a lot worse off. Thank you." He squeezed once more. "My hero."
"Denton-"
"No, please... don't fight me on this. You saved my life, Corlen. I don't know where I'd be right now if you hadn't. You are my hero," he said solemnly. "Thank you."
Corlen tried to scoff, but ended up uttering more of a relieving chuckle.
"I see you're coming around..." Denton giggled weakly.
"I guess..."
"Well, come here," the clouded leopard gestured with his finger.
Corlen immediately knew what he was hinting at and he finally smiled for the first time in days as he leaned forward, letting his tongue and muzzle connect with Denton's. Despite the fact that Denton wasn't in much of a position to reciprocate, the rocky-furred feline still made an effort, and their tongues happily swept over in each over in their kiss. It was just as good as Corlen hoped it would be. Perhaps better. It felt so amazing to finally kiss him, but even more so since Denton initiated it.
"That was...wonderful," Corlen said when they parted. Denton just chuckled a bit.
"So...how do you feel? Still don't... like the idea of being a hero?"
Corlen took a deep breath, shifting slightly in his chair. "...I'd like to help people. But I don't know if I can...always be there for everyone."
"You'll do your best. And you'll always have the desire at heart. That's all people can ask."
"I can try..." Corlen squeezed Denton's paw, again.
"That's good enough for me." Denton smiled.
Corlen nodded, his own smile coming back. "...I'm gonna need a name."
"A name, huh?"
"Yeah. And I think I've got one that fits quite nicely, too."
Denton's smile widened. "What's that?"
"Snowfall."

 


When Death Makes a Hero

By Elisa Saphir

It has been several years since Allister's mother passed away and, since then, he has walked the rough paths leading to the distant booming city, even on the day of her death. He walked slowly with dull eyes and his ears lowered to block out the usual squeaking coming from the other animals walking the path. His right paw softly edged against the railing as water crashed into the earth below, the sounds of seagulls and the balming soliloquy from the city mixing into a sweet harmony. The smells of cheap food and salt made his whiskers twitch and his nose scrunch up into a sneeze.

The path was made of tightly packed dirt, but it was still loose enough so that his foot paws shuffled some pebbles out of place, its' sound lost in the mix of nature. Every so often the path winded away from the sea so that everyone could walk the path without being in danger of falling in. Allister looked up into the sky, parting his long black hair away from his eyes, and couldn't help but notice that this night was darker.

The moon still hung from the sky, but it's radiance that usually graced the world was somehow lost from its view. Even the city, ever so colorful, was now dull and lifeless; the usual star speckled painting now replaced with tall gray skyscrapers with dull white lights. Even so, he continued along the path with his mother's last words echoing in his head: "Live your life for others."

He scrunched up his nose and gave his long white tail a twitch at these words. He always did try to live his life for others when she was alive, that's how she taught him, but everyone always rejected him. "If I live off my mother's last wishes, then I don't have any point of living at all," he muttered to himself.

"Now that's no way to speak," an old dog let out as he passed Allister, pulling the hat from his head down to his chest and giving a slight bow as he passed. "You should look at the sea, it's always refreshing."

Allister followed the dog to the edge of the land into a crowd of other animals. His tail swayed side to side hitting the back of his calves as he leaned over the rail to watch the crashing waters. To him, the water looked darker, blacker, but he didn't pay much attention to it. After all, this was the first time he really looked at the water. A gentle breeze made his ears perk up as it told him minute-old warnings.

Allister let out a small sigh as the dog put his paw onto his shoulder. "Refreshing, isn't it?"

"Yeah...I suppose so."

"Don't be so shy kid, we're all friends here." The dog then disappeared into the crowd, his creaky bones and the loud bang of his walking stick slowly following.

The gentle sounds of nature and the squeaking of its' visitors was drowned out by a loud bubbling noise coming from the sea. True to his feline nature, Allister flicked his head left to right trying to find the source. Out in the distance, black bubbles were popping continuously. The waves seemed to be getting bigger and closer to land with each second.

A giant hand made from black ooze burst out of the water and swiftly grabbed the mouse next to him. The poor mouse burst out screaming and flailed his thin tail around in hopes to escape. The hand's fingers wrapped around the animal's torso and tightened and, with one last call to his wife and his kids, his tail went limp. His wife burst out crying, screaming his name into the sky and Allister backed away from all the horror, all the sadness.

More hands of melted night then pressed through the water into the crowd, picking up a few more animals, their tails frantically dancing. The hands tightened their grip on the bodies and the tails went limp. Allister was far back enough, behind all of the other animals, so that the hands never went for him. He could still see the terror in perfect sight however. The giant hands that were holding the previously alive carcasses were slowly pulled towards a giant black glob that now hovered over the sea. It opened its mouth, showing its shiny obsidian teeth, and the hands just tossed the bodies in.

A whizzing from the air interrupted the commotion and brought the creature's full attention to it. The giant hands transformed into sharp spears and started piercing the sky, moving frantically trying to stab at whatever it was making the noise. Allister strained his eyes in order to see what it was the creature was trying to get at, but before he could make it out, a blue light hit the black creature and sent it back under the sea.

The whizzing object then came down into the crowds, cracking the earth beneath his feet. "Don't worry citizens, no more will die tonight," he yelled into the night sky, the other animals cheering for him. The superhero was wearing a red uniform that fit closely to his big lion build. He had only short brown hair, but it sparkled even in the moonlight free night and his thin tail whipped the air separating the dust particles. The creature burst out of the water interrupting the cheering, its whole being screaming and the cries of the insane and innocent perturbed the air as the black ooze repaired itself.

The superhero whizzed off again just as Allister reached the bundles of trees that was in the background. He knew he would be safest there because he could blend in the shadows. He slowly let his claws slide into the wood as he climbed quietly to the upper most branches. He then made a clearing so he could still see the action. The superhero, prideful and confident, and the creature were both fighting diligently. The creature sent black spears to the hero, but he hit them away with a flick of his hand. The hero returned the attack by sending blue energy orbs into the monster, only for them to be absorbed. It seemed to be an evenly split match and it was wearing them both out.

The black ooze then spit out a thousand needles at the hero. He dodged them in a brilliant combination of twists and turns, but he was so focused on the needles that he didn't notice the dark spear headed directly for his heart. He let out a scream that could be heard for miles away as his body dropped into the sea. The spectators called out in horror and shook in terror because their hope was now dead. It was this moment that Allister realized this was the moment his mother was talking about; no one would refused his help this time.

He jumped out of the tree and yelled to the other animals. "The creature is weak, we can overtake it!"

"It's impossible!" The wife of the mouse that was killed first squeaked back, holding her two children near her breast.

"Nothing is impossible, if you put your mind to it that is," the old dog replied at the mouse's defiance.

After some bickering back and forth, Allister finally got enough people to throw stones at the creature. It once again let out its horrifying scream, but this time it was in pain. With one last effort, it sent out its needle spears and pierced the bodies of all that hurt it, and then sunk into the sea, taking the bodies with it. Allister sighed as he was pulled underneath the water, whispering words out into the air. "I guess the real heroes are the ones who give their lives for others."