I’m a booster. Just a not so ordinary thief. I have a day job, a more or less mundane life. I hide in plain sight, indistinguishable from all the other sheep in this overcrowded city of just over a million. I steal to supplement my income. I steal food, clothing and shiny things that catch my eye. It’s not a psychological issue. It’s my form of protest. What I’m protesting isn’t too clear in my mind, I just know I’m a rebel with a cause. Cause I like to fuck with businesses that make their money ripping us off.
After work when people are wandering to and fro, gathering their nuts to take back to their nests I prey on the merchants. I go in dressed in my camouflage. A collar shirt, clean faded jeans and a pleasant expression. The secret is my shoes. They are clean and nondescript sneakers. It seems that if your shoes are good so are you. Not fancy, just serviceable and clean. I walk in and grab my booty and nonchalantly traipse out without hurry or a look back. I’ve only been followed out once. It was a pretty lady who handed me my cell phone which I had dropped.
Why am I telling you this? That is a good question. A worthy question. I’m telling you this because I made a mistake. A grave, terrible mistake that will haunt me for eternity. I do mean this, I’m damned. Damned for eternity. Are you ready and willing to sit for a bit and hear my story? I hope so. It’s a sad and tragic tale more suited for pimps and whores to laugh at than such well read and shiny, happy people such as you. But, I need to tell, maybe it’ll be a lesson. Maybe a warning. Maybe it’ll help set me free.
Like most predators I have established hunting zones. I have many twisted paths to those sacred areas where I roam supreme in my bailiwick. It’s like reconnaissance, I approach my target sniff the air and feel the vibes and make my plans. I’ve never had any problems or trouble. I’m invisible or at the least dim. On one particularly dull, rainy day where a pall seemed to hang over the Earth like doom I was gliding down the sidewalk sensing, gathering my will and focusing my energy for s tricky boost. I needed a new iPhone. They’re under glass and even better have a clerk attending to their protection. The spice to the meal. I had mapped out my plan, and just was finalizing the small details of my set up to a challenging boost when I looked up at a store. The Twisted Path. Your store for more. It wasn’t here before. I might have missed it before but, I doubt it. A mystery. That name… I approached, the phone and my plan forgotten I was beckoned into a nightmare, a doom I never saw approaching. It gathered me in like a mouse into a trap. I never stood a chance.
It was like walking into a dream. Unreality washed over me. There was a feeling of age, wisdom and sorrow. It permeated into me from everywhere. It was like, (home) nothing I’ve ever felt before or ever felt since. “Meraow… Meep, mearow.” A beautiful long-haired black cat with the most gorgeous blue eyes greets me by jumping onto my shoulder. “Welcome stranger. We’ve been expecting you. Scratch me and feel free to wander around. Let it go and let us lead you.” There were no words, just a feeling. In that dream like trance my feet lead me to my fate. Hours, years, aeons later I walk out. What happened? What the fuck happened? Beautiful girls, women. Glimpses of faces watching, judging. None approached, none spoke. I felt like something was missing. A piece of me had disappeared. Stolen. Something is gone. What? What the fuck was that. I turn around to find my missing piece of me to see, nothing. An old record store closed for what might have been years. Big surprise. I have a bad feeling about this. I walk up anyway. I look in. It’s abandoned. Fuck it. I kick in the glass window and tear into the shop u heeding of the looks, gasps and calls behind me from the sheep on the street. Nothing, empty… Not quite empty. On the floor in the centre of the room is a miniature treasure chest. It’s small enough to fit into my hand. A tiny silver key almost too small to see sits on top of it. (My path, my Twisted Path) I pick it up and a flash of lightning hits me with millions, maybe billions of volts of electricity.
I awaken in a dense corpse of trees. I’m not Anywhere on Earth. Unless the sky has turned blood-red with a blue sun. I’d believe that I’m high on acid, magic mushrooms or MDA. Maybe mescaline. There’s only one hole in this hypothesis. I don’t do those drugs. At least not recently. I get up and take a long, slow look around. I’m sensing, taking it all in. I may be somewhere unfamiliar under a blood-red sky but I’m still a predator. I still must survive. It’s not s dream. This is real, no matter how impossible it seems to be. This is reality. “Yes. Yes Monster this is real. Now you are real. It’s taken us decades to find you. Your camouflage was almost perfect. Almost. Big cat sees through all though. You can’t fool or hide from your best friend.” Theres laughter and sorrow in this/ these voices. A crashing furious noise approaches from my right. A huge black missile leaps at me from the shadows. Bright blue eyes and long silky fur knock me down and tear into me. I’m being cuddled to life. Big cat!!! Oh my big cat. It comes rushing at me from all directions. I’m The Monster. I am protector, hunter. Killer. My magic is not in magic. It’s in control over the physical realm. I hunt. I prey. I am Death. “You are an asshole and a quitter!!! You left us all!!! No word, no goodbyes nothing. Why?” The rage is tempered with a sorrow palpable and too real. I must reply. “4600 years. Give or take a few hundred. I’m tired of this. I though that I could change things. I thought no one would notice my disappearance.” I’m knocked over and shaken by Big Cat. “Bite me!! The Sisters spoil you. Look at yourself. You’re getting fat!!!” Time to run, fast!!! The chase is on. Things are back to their usual full throttle scream.
After an eternity of to-ing and fro-ing Big Cat and I slow. Walking side by side comfortable in our companionship we come to the chasm. The end of this realm. The beginning of the next. The sign says, The beginning is nigh. I know it well. I put it there a millennium ago. This is where I fought a Daemon and lost. This is where I met with my fate. Eternity. An eternity of moving on in a purely physical form. Damned to a universe dominated by Einsteins physics. A Monster stuck into a morass of sameness and consistency. There are great benefits. Big Cat, my Sisters. Damn it all!!! I’m more than that!!! I am a creature of the cosmos!!! Light speed is not my limit!!! I am all!!’ I am everything and nothing. I AM!!! I AM NOT!!! This is what I’m trying to escape… this is not my limit.My rage builds. It becomes something inexpressible and all-consuming. I need to rage against it all. I can’t. I’m restrained. No longer can I ram into a star at hyper speeds destroying a solar system and moving on at an even higher speed. Destroying everything within parsecs of my path.
“You are our Monster. Face it, you lost. You can’t be made human. You aren’t quite human. You can be humane but, YOU LOST!!! You’re stuck here!!! The laws of space-time are your laws. Light speed is your limit. Ha!!! You can’t even reach escape velocity. You can jump on The Twisted Path and lose yourself for a few decades or maybe even a century or two if we’re busy. Big Cat will make you pay for every minute of it. Because. YOU LOST!!!” Their laughter chases me into the next realm. Arriving at the keep I head down into my rooms. Big Cat leaps up onto the balconies leading the way to the sitting room. Here I can find solace in a book or just look at pictures of Diane Foster.
My frustration has gotten the better of me. I feel like an animal in a cage. Hell, I am an animal in a cage. It’s just a bigger cage and the bars are unseen. I pace up and down wandering around the keep. I’m actually crawling the walls, using my Monster camouflage. I’m not invisible, I’m dim. If I stop and remain silent I’m almost perfectly hidden. My problem is that stillness and quiet are not my strengths. My Sisters chide me over and over that the only way to silence me is with duct tape. And chains. Lots of chains. I come upon one of my Sisters. It’s hard to tell them apart. Except for the feelings they emanate I have a difficult time separating one from the other. As for names… Futile. Names of course are secret things, full of wonder and power.
She’s doing something with a chest of some kind. She hasn’t heard nor spotted me. Hmmmmmm, DING!!!! Play time!!! It’s chase the Sister and get the chest time!!! I’m coming together you, I’m coming to get you, I’m coming to get you. You’re going to get got!!! This song, limerick whatever goes through my mind as I start to stalk my prey. At times like this I imitate the owl. Silent and speedily I come upon my prey. She’s going to get so gotted!!!! I have to be quick my eyes glow with the light of my mischief. It’s all I can do not to start laughing. I pounce!!! My sister never sees it coming. Off she goes in one direction, off I go in another with the chest!!! Now the laughter starts to roll from my chest. It’s a highly infectious laugh that always gets them going too. “You Big Dumb Dopey Monster!!! Give that back!!! NOW!!!!!!” It’s Majesty. My Princess. She takes herself very seriously. I don’t. I’m The Monster. She’s prey. Off I hurl into the depths of the keep with my booty. “You’ll never take me alive!!!!” I holler through bursts of laughter. “I don’t want you alive!! I want my chest back. NOW!!!” Her fury is palpable. The halls of the keep seem to reverberate with anger and frustration. Now this is fun.
“Get your fluffy ass back here with that chest. NOW!!!!” This time it’s an epic roar, shattering glass globes and rocking the stone keep. I bet I got her Gruntle along with the chest. Still laughing I reply with all my wit. “No. Nanny nanny boo boo.. Come get me Hamster Brain!!!” Knowing I’ve just poked the Dragons ass I go into overdrive deeper into my demises. I built this keep over the centuries and misplaced the schematics. Even I can get lost in its labyrinth of passages and halls. Knowing Magesty that seems prudent. She’s upset. Silly girl. After a while, I can still hear her ruckus.I find a small passage near the ceiling I tuck the chest away. No evidence, no crime. I’m so smart. I sit for a bit being smart, and hungry. Time to nap then forage. I wake to a familiar chuffing and a big wet nose pushing on my face. Big Cat. Time for food!!! We finish up our greeting and start looking for the hearth. There the food will be.
After a lot of turning and mostly following Big Cat we emerge into the main part of the keep. Duchess is there. She’s my favourite. I adore her. A cold-blooded killer with a heart of pure platinum. She rescued me from the prison I was trapped in and has never let me down since. “Majesty is going ballistic. Popcorn? You know she’s even summoned Scythe to get you.”handing me popcorn and grinning mischievously she leads me to food. She knows me well. “You’d better eat light. Me thinks there’s going to be a battle.” Her eyes light up my life and provide me with extra energy. She’s a truly magical creature of the realm. “Bad Monster. You just know the secret of how to bring out the psycho in your Sisters. Stay out of the main library!!! You three are not wrecking it again.” I head into my favourite passage. This leads up to the tower. A spire that leads up to the very heights of this realm. The air up here is thin and always cold. In human measure we are just over a mile and a half high. I sit back and slowly nod off again.
I awaken rather abruptly as I feel the rush of wind from claws intent on disembowelling me. Scythe. Here we go!!! I leap straight up about 35 feet in the air to stretch and fully wake up. There will be no negotiation. She’s in full kill mode. Yaaaah!! More play. Scythe is fury personified. She only knows kill, maim, destroy and feed. I like her. There’s something so sexy in her attitude and actions. Men, women and all of humanity don’t know of her. She causes fear so deep and all-consuming even nightmares can’t conceive her full being. In short, my type of creature. I land about 12 feet from her exposed back. Quick as a bolt of lightning she whirls and is striking. Just a bit quicker I leap again, kissing her nose as I clear her head upside down. I land and start my sprint down the spiral staircase at what might be close to the speed of sound. I don’t look back, she’s behind, close behind. The laughter bubbles out of me as we race headlong into the keep two blurs of fury and motion. The laughter serves two purposes. First, warning the unwary of our approach. Second, pissing off Scythe into an even greater fury and hopefully into a mistake
Deeper into the keep we descend at a headlong pace that makes it difficult to negotiate a purposeful route. Planning has never been a big priority with me and Scythe is used to being in control of her prey. This will be a novel experience for her. I put on an extra burst of speed ducking into a small alcove near the floor. I go dim. A burst of wind and movement hurtles past me. Time to start the hunt. I crawl up the wall and stay to the darkest corners. Scythe is no fool, she’ll figure out that I’ve ducked out soon too. There she is, still as a statue all senses attuned to movement. She’s scanning every millimetre of passage for me. Now the real fun begins. Will it be the Lady or the Monster. I freeze. Not even my heart beating. She can feel the blood pumping through the hunted. No fool is she. I’m up against an apex hunter. At first it’s a stale mate. Neither side moving. Neither side blinking. Both waiting…
“Monster, I know you’re watching me. I know you’re near. Hand over the chest and I won’t hurt you, much.” Her voice is a dusky whisper. Tempting, I won’t reply. She’ll zoom in on me and I’ll have to run. I want to get her, get her in a state of helplessness. No, not to hurt her. To destroy the superiority she feels she has over everything. It’s nice to have goals.
I’m ready. I have a plan, I’m going to destroy . I know just what to do. “Both of you are going to stop right this instant!!!” It’s a group of voices, they are in perfect unison. Oh shit. The Sisters. All of them. Not even if Scythe and I fought side by side could we hope to defeat them all. Not that I’d try. They’re too valuable. “Scythe, to Majesty. Monster. The hearth.” Neither of us move. The tension builds. “We are not going to repeat ourselves. This match is over. Now.” Slowly Scythe starts down the corridor. I leap down and stand beside her. “You are beautiful and have my utmost respect.” I put a claw out in a gesture of friendship. Startled she looks at me, deciding. “You are a Worthy opponent. I look forward to battling you another time.” The comment looks like it hurt her to say out loud. “That will be fun.” I smile and leap away. No sense. In pushing things too far.
I proceed to the hearth, my nose leading the way. Food!!! I’m just starting to realize how hungry I am. It takes a lot of energy to move like I do. It’s all here, all my favourite things. I dig in. My Sisters appear and disappear coming and going as they are wont to do. I get hugs, scratches and a kiss or two in passing. I’m home, I’m loved. I forgot how good this feels. Soon enough I’m stuffed. I sit back watching Big Cat wrestle with what might be a dinosaur bone. He’s up on points but tiring. I know the feeling.
I make my way down the labyrinth to my private rooms. I’m very tired. I need to rest. Fighting, running, playing is hard work. I worked hard today. Keeping one eye peeled for Scythe another for sneakers,(you may not believe that they exist but, they do) I reach my nest and ready myself for sleep. Undressing and placing candles around forming my circle of protection. The keep is supposed to be safe from Daemons and hostile magics, nuclear bombs as well. I built well. But, better a little extra never hurts. I leave my outer doors open. Big Cat never hesitates to express his displeasure at being excluded from sleeping where and when he wants.
Coming Soon Part 2: Monster and the Gopher
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