The Traveller by Bassam Imam - HTML preview

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THE TRAVELLER BY BASSAM IMAM

COREY AND DADDY

Corey and I gawked at our slab of meat for a moment then we glanced at each other. It was an incredible site. We were drooling like hungry Bengal tigers.

“Corey, son ... before we eat, I have something very important to tell you. Please believe me ... Corey you’re me son and I love ... like umm ... love ... I mean, I care about you very much; more than anyone else in the whole world. I’d never betray you, nor would I ever care about you any less because you’re not a humanoid. You’re my own flesh and blood.”

I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t successfully convey the 3 golden words (I love you) to my son. Maybe it was my ego that was stopping me. Anyway, I inherently knew that soon I’d have to muster up the courage to tell my son ‘I love you’. Somewhere in my cast-iron heart was a soft spot.

“Corey what part of the slab of meat would you like?” “Umm dad, I want the entrails in the freezer. I can smell those beautiful ‘insides’.

The entrails are the first thing that lions eat when they’re feasting. You see, entrails are jam-packed with powerbuilding nutrients and blood. You can have this slab of meat, dad.”

I grinned at my son, stood up, and then casually walked over to the freezer. After pausing for a moment, I opened the freezer, sunk my arm deep into it and then pulled out a large plastic bag with ‘chunks’ of meat derived from gazelle entrails. Mind you, it wasn’t enough to feed a lion. Corey was much smaller than a lion, of course, but I didn’t want to make a big issue about it.

Surprisingly, the food in the freezer had been thawed out. For some unknown reason Corey had known. Anyway, I carried the plastic bag back to the kitchen table, ripped open the bag, and then placed the food in front of Corey.

True to his wild feline instincts, he didn’t acknowledge my presence or my favour; he ripped through the entrails using his incredible teeth, jaws, neck muscles, and claws to do the job.

I in turn dug into my food. We both feasted like beasts growling and licking off any traces of animal blood on our mouths and on the kitchen table. In fact, a splatter of blood dropped to the kitchen floor. Corey eyed it but I quickly gave him a ‘no’ nod. I didn’t want him licking blood off the floor. That’s not very sanitary.

But then, I was proud of my son. He knew how to eat entrails. It only took us 15 minutes to finish off our food. Afterwards, we burped and then grinned at each other. Corey, being a true feline licked off the remaining blood from my face. He smiled at me in the process, but I knew better. He wanted the blood smeared on my face; that’s why he smiled at me.

But in all honesty, I felt a bit apprehensive while Corey was licking my face. I mean, like, umm ... he could’ve forgotten himself and bit a chunk out of me. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

“Dad that was the most incredible meal I’d ever had in my whole life!”
“Corey, I’m always glad to see you in good spirits.”
“Dad, please don’t say ‘spirits’! You’ve probably forgotten but that’s another word used for high alcohol content drinks. I can’t help it but like umm ... I still get cravings now and then for a shot of booze. In fact, on a few occasions I actually had a seizure.”
“Corey, one of these days, you and I will have to work on ‘boozed desensitization’. You can’t go on like this. That creep Jeff and his fraternity brothers really did a number on you. They took you in under their wings, indoctrinated you into their fraternity, and then changed your behaviour for the worse.
Corey, let’s do something fun and interesting to get our minds off this stressful subject.”
“Dad, why don’t we go to the game room and goof off for a while?”
“Corey, that sounds like a good idea! But, we must wash up first. Is that okay with you?”
“Of course it’s okay with me, dad!”
My relationship with Corey appeared to be blossoming. But I wasn’t getting my hopes up too high just yet. Any sudden shocker could easily have devastated our relationship.
Just before we decided to walk to the restroom to wash up, Corey yanked on my pant leg 3 times to get my undivided attention. I knew what he wanted. Just looking at those pretty little kitty eyes of his was almost hypnotic. Underneath those eyes was a message; dad carry me in your arms if you love me to death.”
I felt kind of embarrassed about opening up to my son so I tried to brush it off. My Planet X, big shot, masculine ego got the better of me. But it was a terrible mistake indeed.
“Dad, you know exactly what I want! You don’t love me because I’m just a little kitty to you, a slab of talking meat. You want to be left alone so you can continue your interdimensional travels. Dad, why can’t you love me?”
“Corey ... umm ... I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
“Okay, but on the condition that you carry me to the restroom and kiss me between the ears. Then, I want you to stroke me between the ears, make me a vanilla malted consisting of a giant mound of vanilla ice cream, 2 scoops of sherbet, 2 bananas, pineapple, chocolate syrup, ground nuts, marshmallows, maple syrup, and a teaspoon of honey. I want my dessert to weigh at least 2 lbs.”
“Corey, you’re really pushing it. How about I just carry you to the restroom and then we’ll decide upon our next move.”
Corey agreed, but very reluctantly. Tears were dripping down his cheeks but being a father is very serious business. I had to raise my son to be a kind, but ferocious lion at times (if need be). Indeed, he had to grow up.
I leaned over, hoisted Corey unto my chest and then kissed him between the ears. He in turn bit my left earlobe.
“Corey, why did you bite my earlobe?”
“I want more. I want you to begin stroking me between the ears. Then, I want my dessert.”
Apparently, Corey had changed his mind. He was no longer content without his food. Deep down I felt guilty, so I promised him that he’d get what he wanted after ... and only after we washed up.
Corey and I marvelled at the incredible carpet, wall paintings and chandeliers in the hallway. It was an amazing site, especially the beautiful paintings of nature strewn on both sides of the hallway.
“Corey, let’s go to the restroom, wash, dry up and then we’ll go to the game room to have ‘our’ dessert. You made me hungry with all that talk of ice cream and multiple toppings.
How does that sound to you?”
“Dad, I love you. I hope you love me too.”
I grinned and then nodded my head in agreement. I was signifying that I too loved him. Unfortunately, I was unable to verbally convey the 3 golden words to my son.
I kissed Corey on the sides of his face, hugged him ever so tightly, and then caressed his sides. Afterwards, I slowly walked to the restroom.
Meanwhile, Corey’s eyelids appeared to be getting heavier and heavier by the moment. I knew that he felt content with me holding him. I liked that.
As I was walking, a sudden jolting thought overtook me. I’d realized that sooner or later my son and I would have to leave the castle. Furthermore, we’d have to have aliases just in case our true identities were to cause us problems.
I stopped dead cold in front of the restroom and then carefully placed my son on the carpet. It was time for a short daddy lecture.
“Corey, as you’re well-aware, we must be very careful about not telling people where we’re really from. Planet X is a secret place. Most people think it’s only a myth, a legend, or something in fantasy or fiction stories.
Corey, you’re a very handsome short-haired cat. Physically, you look like an American shorthair. Therefore, it’s imperative that you tell people that you’re an American. You don’t sound southern so you can’t tell them you’re from the Deep South. I recommend you tell people that you’re from a big city. You can lie about the details.”
“Dad, I’ll say that I’m from New York.”
“Why did you choose that city?”
“The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was established there. Besides, Henry Bergh, the hard-working animal welfare activist was born and raised there.”
“Okay, that’s nice Corey. I’ll tell people I’m from Montreal. I lived there for a while and know the streets, alleys, and circuitous routes in the entire area.”
“Dad, you don’t love me. You don’t want anyone to think that we’re from the same city because I’m not a bipedal humanoid like you.”
“Corey, no, that’s not it. Listen up! If we tell people that we’re from the same city they’ll drill us with questions. Many of their questions will be unanswerable. I’m the elder of the two and also your father. Let’s stick to different cities. Is that okay with you, or do I have to explain it in deeper detail?”
“Okay dad, I’m sorry for pouncing on you. Now, let’s clean up so we can eat our delicious ice cream.”
Corey and I entered a lavish restroom with clean, beautiful decor, shiny floors, spotless mirrors and a fresh scent in the air. Neither I nor Corey had ever seen anything like it before.
Corey and I cleaned up. Afterwards, we decided to take a shower. I gently carried my son to the nearest shower stall (there were 6 of them in all).
In a jiffy, warm water was streaming down Corey’s entire body. I made certain that he closed his eyes when I cleaned his body with soap and his hair with kitty shampoo.
After the shower I dried Corey off with a fresh towel, but told him that next time he’d have to take his own shower ... alone. All was well. Corey accepted that.
After disrobing, I entered another shower stall and took a nice long hot shower. Roughly a half an hour later I turned off the water and exited the shower stall then dried off.
“Corey, are you game?”
“Yep, I certainly am. Now, let’s go to the game room and have our super sundaes.”
I was very happy that Corey was in good spirits. Any decent father will tell you that they want all of their kids, whether they’re sons or daughters to be very happy and successful. I’m like those typical fathers.
Corey and I slowly walked to the game room. Our craving for a sugary snack was overwhelming. In fact, both of us were drooling like hungry lions.
“Corey, we just have a little more to go. I’m so excited about our ‘oncoming food’. Wow, it’s like we’re on a tropical island with free food around us and all the other amenities.”
“Dad, it’s odd that you used the term ‘amenities’. I know exactly what you mean. Amenities are women. Am I right?”
I didn’t want to answer Corey so I took his mind off the topic at hand.
“Corey, run into the game room and take a seat near the counter. The ice cream and all of the toppings are located behind the counter.
Don’t worry Corey. These seats are ‘kitty friendly’. They swirl.”
Corey sprinted to the game room like a cheetah on a hunt. I couldn’t believe how fast a runner my son was. He certainly didn’t get his running skills from me. Well, there was no use in pondering about the matter so I followed him at a steady walking pace.
A short while later I reached the entrance to the game room. But as I peered therein I noticed my son resting on one of the pool tables. I figured he wanted me to cater to him while he was lying on his back. Well, I didn’t want that. I wanted us to eat together on the counter. So, I called out to him.
“Corey, I want you to come here! Please, I don’t want to eat apart from you. I want the two of us to eat from the same bowl like father and son. How about it ... does that sound good?”
Corey didn’t budge. So, I had to use another tactic. I figured a few right words would get him up and running to me.
“Corey, ice cream sundae ... I can smell it from here!”
As I expected, Corey shot up like a rocket, leaped onto the carpet and then leaped towards me. The force of his leap was so incredible it actually knocked me to the ground. I didn’t take it personally. Corey wasn’t trying to hurt me. He just wanted to eat one of my specially prepared sundaes.
Corey ended up hovering over my head. I was out for a minute or so from the banging of my head.
Corey’s mouth was wide open and tears were streaming down his cheeks. In fact, one of them landed in my eye. I wriggled my eye and then spoke my mind.
“Corey, I forgive you. I know that you weren’t trying to hurt me. Right, I mean, like, you love me, right?”
Corey came back with a blunt answer.
“Dad, I love you as much as you love me. I mean, like, when was the last time you told me that you loved me?”
Being in a tight spot I had to think fast. Luckily, I knew exactly what to say.
“Corey, there isn’t an ice cream making machine in this game room. Besides all of the toppings that are needed here either.
Corey, you and I must hustle down to the nearest snack bar. That’s where we’ll find the ice cream and whatever else we need.”
“Dad, you’re so awesome! You’re right. Let’s go to the snack bar. Actually, we passed one on our way here.”
Corey and I exited the game room and then headed straight for the nearest snack bar. Thankfully it was only a few rooms down.
Upon entering the snack bar I dashed straight to the ice cream maker located behind the snack bar counter. There, I’d find all the toppings necessary for our sundaes.
Corey instinctively sat on a swivel chair. Unfortunately, the chair was too low for Corey. So, I raised it several inches.
The first thing I did was open the fridge. I figured there’d be something of use therein. Well, I got the shock of my life. Inside the fridge was a mini ice box full of ice cream. Now, we were ready to go but I wanted to know exactly what my son wanted.
“Corey, how about we settle for Neapolitan flavour (Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry)?”
“Dad, that sounds just fine! Now don’t waste any more time. I’m dying here! I’m craving for a magnanimous, gargantuan ice cream sundae.”
I removed the large container of Neapolitan ice cream and then placed it on the counter. Then, I reached under the counter and grabbed hold of a gigantic bowl and a ladle.
Thereafter, I piled on an incredibly large heap of ice cream. I opened up the toppings lids and then piled one scoop of topping from each lid.
We ended up with ice cream, ground nuts, pistachios, chocolate sprinkles, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, honey, maple syrup, pancake syrup, the contents of an entire can of pineapple slices (including the juice), a cup’s worth of low fat milk, liquid marshmallow and a dozen chocolate chip cookie. Of course, I crushed the cookies in the process.
“Corey, how much do you think the contents in this bowl weigh?”
“Dad, I think we’ve got ourselves a good 20 lbs. worth of food. Please carry the bowl to that table over there. I don’t want to end up speaking so long that our sundae melts.”
I carried the gigantic bowl to the table that Corey had pointed at. But as soon as we sat down I felt that I’d forgotten something.
“Dad, we forgot something. We forgot the spoons.”
“Corey, you know something. Look, you and I are flesh and blood, from the same planet, and there’s no one around. Why should we have any table manners? Look, let’s eat our sundaes as though we were lions feasting on a wildebeest carcass; no utensils, no table manners, no nothing.”
Corey and I dug deep into our sundae. Our faces became smeared with the contents of the bowl. But then, Corey stopped eating. Naturally, I stopped too. I wanted to know what was wrong.
“Corey, why did you stop eating? Is my food preparation not to your liking?”
“Dad, listen up. I want another topping on our sundae. But, it only comes in liquid form. Now, if you don’t like this topping we can split our sundae in half.”
“Corey, you’re scaring me. Judging from the tone of your voice and your mannerisms something appears to be dead wrong.”
Just then, Corey fell onto the carpet and then began to convulse. My son was having a seizure!
I stood up and then walked over to my son’s side, knelt down and then got to work.
I managed to carefully turn Corey’s head and body to the side so he wouldn’t swallow his own tongue or choke to death on his vomit or saliva.
I gently stroked Corey’s legs and body speaking to him kindly, softly, and slowly in the process.
“Corey, you’re going to be all right. Daddy won’t leave you, neither will he stop caring about you any less. Please get better. Daddy is counting on you.”
Thankfully, only a few seconds later Corey’s convulsions simmered and then abated.
Thankfully, it wasn’t too long before my son’s state of health improved drastically. It was then that I asked him what’d happened.
“Corey, what happened? I just want to know. I know you don’t have epilepsy.”
“Dad, can we pour a bottle of Peach Schnapps ... and maybe a bottle of red wine into our bowl too?”
“Corey, we can’t do that! Please, Corey, don’t let booze overtake you at any time in your life regardless of where you’re at or what you’re doing. I know as a fact that the fraternity brothers really did a horrible number on you. They ‘convinced’ you to party with them.
Corey, just relax all of your muscles. For the next few minutes think about booze ... but try to be strong and ‘reject’ your convulsions.”
Although I really cared about my son our sundae was melting ever so gradually. I noticed that Corey glanced over at the bowl every so often too.
Thankfully, a short while later Corey and I resumed our sundae gorging. It was a very tasty snack indeed.
“Corey, don’t worry about cleaning up. It seems like this castle self-cleans itself. You’ll see if we ever return to this snack bar it’ll be shiny clean. Even the ice cream will be replaced. Now, let’s go to the restroom to clean up. Afterwards, we can go to bed. Tomorrow will be a new day for us.”
“Dad, can we travel to another dimension tomorrow? I like travelling with you. You’re my father and I love you a lot. I know that deep down inside you also love me but you find it hard to open up to anyone because you were a big shot, powerful, feared, and respected man on Planet X. I know that you weren’t supposed to show any signs of weakness or emotionality. Almost like a Vulcan or a Romulan.”
I offered to carry Corey to the restroom but he refused, sighting that he had to be his own lion. He didn’t want to become a sissy. He wanted to grow up to be a powerful feline.
But before we exited the snack bar we admired the decor, counter, swivel chairs, the paintings on the walls, and even the eating tables. They were made in 1950s style. Even the salt and pepper shakers were old fashioned. How the heck this came about was a big mystery.
Corey and I exited the snack bar and then headed to the nearest restroom. Our stay therein was uneventful. We did the usual; brush, floss, wash and then dry up. Afterwards, we walked to the nearest bedroom and then crashed out on a giant King Size bed. Boy was it relaxing!
Corey and I ended up sleeping like babies. I awakened roughly 8 hours later refreshed. But there was something deeply set in my mind. I knew that there must’ve been a master doorway of sorts; a super-doorway to be found within the castle of course.
Unfortunately, I’d have to find it on my own. I couldn’t quite trust Corey for the time being. He wasn’t mature enough to keep that kind of a secret.
The bedroom we’d slept in was gargantuan. It was fit for a king. Therein was the most awesome brown carpet I’d ever seen. Chandeliers that were mind boggling, a 100 inch giant T.V. screen with a remote control containing countless options, a stereo system, beautiful paintings on the walls, a mirror 10 feet high with the same width, an incredibly pleasant aroma, a 10 foot high fridge and a mini-fridge that contained bottles of booze and cans of beer. All alcoholic drinks were off limits to Corey and me.
As a member of the high elite on Planet X I was strictly forbidden to use or consume any mind altering drugs. Junk foods and caffeine were permitted. I understood the reasoning.
The devastating effects of booze and other psychotropic (mind altering drugs) were apparent on many planets in many different dimensions. Hardly a fleshy creature can tolerate large quantities of these drugs.
Before exiting the bedroom I made certain that Corey was sound asleep. However, I forgot to do something. The consequences were to be felt by me upon my return to the bedroom.
I crept out of the bedroom and then strolled through the hallway. I wanted to clear my mind before searching for the master doorway. It took me a whole hour to clear my mind and to think of a good game plan.
Judging from the basic design of the castle I came to the conclusion that the master doorway would have to be below us; deep below us, like in a special, hidden basement. A second option, although I doubted it very much was would’ve placed the master doorway on the highest floor.
I scanned the area from left to right to make sure that no one, especially a creepy person was lurking in the shadows. As soon as I determined that the coast was clear I descended down the stairs several levels. Now, I was roughly 100 feet below ground level. But I inherently knew that I’d have to either go further down or find some kind of a secret chamber.
The level I was on contained countless museums, each to be entered through a barnyard sized door.
I decided to walk by as many museums as possible, and maybe in one of them I’d find my answer.
After walking past 30 or so museums I took notice of something quite amazing. It was an art museum of sorts. Masterpieces from the Mona Lisa, to Van Gogh’s paintings were all too present. Paintings of humans, animals, and nature were stacked in rows and hanged on walls.
I’ve never been an artist but the paintings looked like originals and better.
I casually strolled through the museum eyeing the best of the paintings until reaching what appeared to be a gigantic wheel of sorts. The wheel appeared to be computer operated or manually operated. The choice was the users. It was very large and made out of gold, wood, and some silver.
Just an inch beyond the peripheral of the giant wheel was numbers and letters. It looked like some sort of coordinates control center.
As I was gawking at the giant wheel I suddenly heard the voice of a man to my right. I was so startled that I actually jumped up into the air. But when I turned to my right towards the direction of the voice I saw nothing out of the ordinary; only the paintings in the museum.
I took notice of a large painting ... a painting of Corey and me sleeping in the bedroom. Even the clock beside our bed was painted. The time appeared as 8:30 P.M. That’s only a few minutes after we hit the sack. How in the heck could this painting have been drawn, brought to the exact museum that I was to later enter, and then placed in the correct place and position? I asked myself.
Then, the voice called out to me again. This time I felt my knees buckle, like a boxer who’s going down for the count. And, expectedly, that’s exactly what happened. I fell onto the blue carpet and was out cold for a short while. When I came to I heard the voice again. But this time to my utter shock I saw who was speaking to me.
“Bassam, come here. I want you to listen up very carefully.”
“You can’t be real! You just can’t! You’re a freaking painting! You’re a painting of an old man with a white beard!”
“Bassam, I’m real! Can’t you see my mouth and facial muscles moving? I’m a real live painting and you must believe and accept it at all costs. Now, I want you to listen up very carefully.
Only a select few individuals are permitted to find this floor. And even a smaller number this museum, and a miniscule number that I would even consider talking to.
I know that you and your son Corey are inter-dimensional travelers. But you, Bassam, are ‘the traveler’. You come from a special stock from a special place. Your son has your tenacity, intelligence, and drive but he’s still immature and a bit hotheaded. Not to mention his alcohol and dope problems.
Bassam, the giant wheel before your eyes is a super control system. The doorways that you saw in this castle pale in comparison to this wheel. This wheel is a master doorway with more precise controls. Those letters and numbers are coordinates.
You can operate the wheel manually through the numbers and letters by turning the arrow to your proposed destination and then pressing down on the center of the wheel. Or you can use the computerized version of the control system.
You must not tell anyone about this wheel except Corey. But for now, if you bring him here he must be blindfolded. As I said before, he’s immature and hot headed. Those characteristics are unacceptable for an inter-dimensional traveler.
However, my existence can never be disclosed to anyone even Corey. You must keep this secret between us. Finally a word of advice to a father of a cat, go back to the bedroom immediately. You need to be with your son!
I stood there flabbergasted for a moment not quite understanding what the ‘painted’ old man meant.
I thanked him and then proceeded to exit the art museum. As I was walking through the hallway the old man’s words kept ringing in my ears. As I proceeded to walk I felt my pulse and blood pressure gradually rise. Deep down inside, in my mind, I understood what the statement meant but for some unknown reason my conscious mind was blocking it.
Anyway, I picked up my pace and then ran up several flights of stairs until reaching the level of the bedroom. As I entered the hallway I peered to my left and then to my right making sure that the coast was clear.
A moment later I entered the bedroom. All to my surprise I now understood what the painted man was trying to tell me. I saw my son drinking away.
Corey had poured a noxious mixture of booze into a giant bowl and proceeded to have his fill. Just for your information, the booze was very potent. I’m talking about 120 proof and higher. I almost felt like crying, but my pride stopped me dead. Here was my beloved son drunk as a skunk, drinking away and only pausing to burp, hiccup or breath.
“Corey, what are you doing?”
“Dad, do you want to join me?”
“Corey, I’m your father and I demand that you stop drinking right now!”
My son’s eyes were bloodshot, like Count Dracula’s. And I was certain from his slurred speech and demeanour that a puking incident was imminent.
Well, I didn’t have to wait long; only a few seconds later.
“BARF! BARF! BARF! BARF! BARF!”
After Corey puked away much of the booze in his stomach I approached him head on, snatched the bowl of booze from right under his nose and then carried it out of the bedroom to the nearest restroom. Therein, I poured the contents into the sink and then waited until it all passed down the drain. I then turned on the hot water faucet and waited for 10 seconds. Afterwards, I turned the water off. My intent was to eliminate the stench of the booze completely.
Now it was time to have a serious discussion with my son. And boy was I ticked off.
I exited the restroom and stormed back to the bedroom intent on having my say. But as soon as I entered the bedroom I saw Corey on the bed sound asleep and snoring. I didn’t want to awaken him. At the time I figured it’d be better to have him sleep off his drunken state. Better asleep than awake and throwing a fit.
My plan was to come down on him really hard as soon as he awakened. He’d have to listen to my lecture while having to endure a terrible hangover. Maybe, that’d teach him a fine lesson.
Meanwhile, just looking at Corey sleeping made me drowsy. I decided to catch a few winks. I took off my pants, slid off my socks and then crept into our bed making sure not to awaken Corey in the process.
I must’ve slept a good 10 hours or so because by the time I awakened I felt like an eternity had passed. Meanwhile, Corey had awakened and had already taken a shower.
As soon as Corey entered the bedroom I scented kitty shampoo and kitty body soap. At least my son smelled nice. But that fact wasn’t going to help him evade my conversation about his boozing it up.
“Dad, I have a headache and I feel nauseous. I don’t know if I can move around today. Maybe, I should take it easy.”
“Corey, I’m your father and I demand that you come here, leap into my arms and listen to my lecture. I’m very upset with you.”
“Dad, you don’t love me! You think I’m a two-bit kitty who doesn’t deserve to be your son. You think I’m an alky-cat who can’t hold his booze.”
“Corey, I’m not going to ask you again! Come here and then leap into my arms!”
The second time around Corey understood for certain that I wasn’t kidding. I was dead serious about what I’d said to him.
Like an agile leopard Corey took 3 steps towards me and then leaped into my arms. As soon as I held him I felt awed at his incredible streamlined, muscular and beautiful body. My son was beautiful physically and I inherently knew that he was a true hero in every sense, mentally. But the booze and the dope problems were hampering his climb to super cat-hood. And I, as his father wasn’t going to stand by and watch that happen.
I held Corey tightly in my arms, giving him 5 big kisses between his ears to re-assure him that ‘daddy’ still loved him.
Corey in turn, cupped my face with both of his paws and then proceeded to lick me, in an upwards and downwards pattern. Then, to end things off Corey rubbed his scent glands on my face. Although this was an instinctive act, he was doing it out of possessiveness. He was telling me that he loved me, that I was his and only his, and was warning others not to intrude into his personal space and property.
“Corey, please don’t drink again! I’m your father, I’m older than you, and I have more experience in life than you do.”
“Dad, thanks for rubbing it in. I’m not a little baby. I’m a very strong kitty who’s experienced life too.”
“Corey, I want you to always be in your prime. I didn’t forget your heroism during the Jeff and Cynthia gang-rape incident. Although I wasn’t a witness to it I know the details of the event.
Corey, son, you risked life and limb to help save Cynthia. Now, you and I can save others in despair. But why are you harming yourself with booze?”
“Dad, I had a horrible night terror about Cynthia. She was gang-raped again by Jeff and his buddies. I woke up screaming and calling out for my daddy.
Dad, where the hell were you! Now you understand why I went on a drinking binge.”
“Corey, I apologize for leaving you. I was tensed up and had to stretch out a bit.”
But something strange happened while I was speaking with Corey, I took notice of 2 cell phones on a table just 20 feet away from us. The strange thing is that one of the cell phones was suited for my hand size while the other was suited for Corey’s paws’ size.
“Corey, look, over there! Those 2 cell phones are ours for the taking. Hold on a minute. Now, I’ll place you on the bed and then I’ll retrieve our new cell phones.
I took hold of the cell phones, brought them back to our seating place and then Corey and I made sure that our new merchandise was functioning properly. Incredibly even our phone numbers were pasted on each cell phone.
“Corey, memorize your phone number, I’ll record it in my cell phone and you do likewise with my number. Hereafter, if there are any emergencies or problems and we’re not together we can call the other person. Now, how does that sound to you?”
“Gosh dad, that sounds swell!”
I grabbed hold of Corey, gave him a big Italian style hug and kiss and then gently placed him on the bedroom carpet. After pondering about what to do with my son I came up with a good idea. However, all was not well. This idea of mine had a painful lesson for Corey imbedded within it. But I couldn’t tell Corey about it.
“Corey, do you want to play catch?”
“Sure dad, I’ve always wanted to be a little league ball player. But where can we find a baseball and 2 southpaw gloves, one for your hand and the other for paw?”
“Corey, don’t worry about that. The last time I was in the castle I spotted a room with athletic gear on a lower level. I’m sure that I saw a baseball and gloves somewhere in there.”
Corey’s eyes lit up like giant candles. I was happy for him. I convinced him to follow me down the hallway and then to the exit leading to the lower level.
Corey and I exited the bedroom and then slowly walked down the hallway. Meanwhile, we noticed that the colour of the carpet had somehow changed. It was now burgundy coloured and the strands of fibre appeared longer. Not that I was complaining or anything but I had to make the point known.
In addition, the colours of the walls, the paintings and even the chandeliers had changed shape and design. No problem, they were still beautiful.
As soon as we reached the exit door leading to the stairwell I motioned Corey to enter first. And as he entered and I was about to take my first step into the stairwell I caught a glimpse of a scurrying object roughly a quarter of a mile down the hallway to my right. If I’d been alone I probably would’ve armed myself and then chased after the person or thing. There was no telling what kinds of dangers were looming within the castle. Up until then, most of what I’d seen was good. But where there’s good there’s usually some evil nearby too.
As soon as I entered the stairwell I told Corey to descend 3 levels down and to be careful. He grinned and then whispered to me that I was the best father in the whole world.
We descended until reaching the floor of the art museum. After entering the hallway I told Corey to follow me to the art museum. He did as I asked.
Upon reaching the door of the art museum I couldn’t help but scan the area. I just wanted to make sure that there were no creeps lurking in the shadows. Thankfully, there were none. However, I goofed up big times. I was supposed to blindfold Corey all the way until we reached the giant wheel.
It was too late. But then, Corey was my son and I certainly didn’t want to keep him in the dark about the location of the giant wheel. Perhaps someday in the future he’d need to return here. Anyway, I disregarded the old man’s request and opted to enter the museum with my son.
As we walked towards the giant wheel I noticed that the paintings weren’t the same as those on my previous visit. But that was inconsequential as I had a more pressing thing to do than to ponder about the change of the paintings.
As soon as we arrived to the designated spot I got the shock of my life. Beside the giant wheel was a large painting perhaps 20 feet in diameter. It was an image of the old man. He was glaring, pointing and looking straight at me (like the famous American Uncle Sam Photo) and underneath his chin were the words
‘YOU WILL BE SORRY!’
“Corey, I want you to step aside. Actually, please stand over there in the far corner next to the painting of Mt. Everest. I have something very important to do.”
Corey did as I asked without any hesitation. As soon as he was a safe distance from me I picked up the painting of the old man and began to smash it mercilessly. Then, I ripped it apart. By the time I was done with it there was nothing but shreds left.
Later, I motioned Corey to come back to me. But there was something unusual about the expression on his face. My son was shocked by something.
No wonder, all of the other paintings had mysteriously disappeared. They were replaced with shelves full of books, thankfully all of them in English. Above each shelf was a sign that indicated the subject of the books therein. I only spent a minute or so admiring the books and the shelves. I had a more urgent matter to attend to.
As far as I was concerned the old man was dead and long gone. I neither wanted to speak to him or see his ugly face.
“Corey, you’re a very special and dear person to me. Now, I’m going to tell you a very big secret ... actually, it’s the biggest secret in the whole world.
You see this giant wheel, it’s a super-doorway. We can coordinate our movements into new dimensions either manually through the use of the large wheel or through a computerized system. The controls for the latter are right there on the wall.
Corey, I hope that you’re game. I mean, I want us to continue our travels through other dimensions together. When we’re all rested up we can come back and then leave again.”
“Jeepers dad, that sounds very nice! But unfortunately, I can’t go now I still have a horrible hangover from all the booze that I drank.”
“Corey, I don’t feel up to it at the moment either. We’ll return when we’re all rested up. Okay?”
It was then that I remembered about my painful but beneficial game plan for Corey. I convinced him to do something that would guarantee another puking bout.
“Corey, do you want to play catch? As I told you earlier I know where there’s an athletic room with all the amenities in it. I’m certain I saw baseballs, baseball gloves, bats, and other athletic equipment therein. Are you game?”
“Jeepers dad, let’s go right now!”
I was flabbergasted. My son had taken the bait.
Corey and entered the athletic equipment room a short while later. Luckily, the equipment we needed was straight in our line of vision.
Corey didn’t say a word. But he did sprint to the kitty baseball glove that he had his eyes on. It was a Wilson glove. Wilson has been a good name for baseball gloves decades on end. I was proud of my son for choosing a good glove.
I gracefully followed Corey eyeing a southpaw glove for myself in the process. Mind you, Corey’s also a southpaw.
I was also lucky to find a Wilson baseball glove. But that wasn’t enough. We needed a baseball. And a baseball we got. I took notice of a cube-shaped box with a drawing of a baseball on it. Naturally, I took hold of the box and then ripped it open to get my hands on the prize inside.
The baseball was shining white, but was a peculiarity indeed. It had my signature on it. How the heck that happened I didn’t know. Anyhow, I wanted to play catch with my son. My suspicions would have to be placed on a backburner at least for the time being.
“Corey, wait, one more thing! We forgot our baseball caps. Look, they’ve got kitty caps on the shelf over there to our left and beside them are adult ones.”
Corey and I decided to choose baseball caps with the word ‘LIONS’ stitched on them.
“Corey, you look like a real professional ballplayer with your cap, glove, and expression. Let’s pass with the uniforms, all right?”
“Sure dad, now let’s go to the hallway to play catch. I’ve been waiting to play catch with you for quite some time now. Maybe some time in the future we can enter a dimension where cats are allowed to play ball. That’d be very nice, indeed. I’d like to be a first baseman.”
A short while later Corey and I were in the hallway playing catch. And boy was it fun.
“Corey, c’mon throw me a curve ball. And don’t worry about me I know how to throw and catch a baseball.”
Corey threw a beautiful curve ball. And then several more, until I asked him to throw a screwball and then a makeup throw something that only cats can do.
It was very nice. Corey and I played catch and talked about interesting topics for roughly a half an hour before I decided that it was time he learned his lesson about not getting wasted on booze.
I knew that Corey’s stomach was empty and that he still felt nauseous. So I asked him to do something that would guarantee a puking fit. But before you judge me, remember, Corey was my beloved son and I really cared a lot about him. I did what I did for his benefit.
“Corey, I want you to put down the baseball and your glove for a moment. Now, I want you to run to me as fast as you can and I want you to slide chest and stomach first. Consider yourself sliding into home.”
Corey did as I asked. By the way, his slide was absolutely perfect.
Immediately after Corey slid he grunted, turned to his side, and then puked his brains out. I played stupid.
“Corey, are you all right?”
“Barf! Barf! Barf! Barf! Barf! Barf! Dry heave! Dry heave! Barf!”
Apparently, there were still very tiny traces of booze and other food particles in Corey’s stomach. However he only puked tiny amounts, though. I patiently waited until Corey stopped barfing before gently carrying him to the nearest restroom. I made certain to hold him gently in my arms, not squeezing his insides. That would’ve made matters a lot worse.
As soon as I entered the restroom I went straight to the shower stalls. I looked over Corey intently and earnestly. Finding nothing serious wrong with him I gave him a nice long, hot shower. Then, I brushed his teeth and helped him gargle with mouthwash.
“Dad thanks a lot for the beautiful help. You’re really kind, considerate, loving, trustworthy, and reliable. Now, I need to put something into my mouth. My stomach is completely empty and I’m feeling some serious hunger pangs.”
“Corey, don’t worry. I have the right meal for us. How about vegetable soup, salad, pop, milk, and pudding? I figure something light in calories and weight ought to be just fine for us.”
Dad, how about we just have ourselves a giant fruit cocktail each and we can down it with a mug of super caffeinated pop. I need something to wake me up too ... not to mention a good caffeine buzz.”
“Corey, that’s swell. But I have something important to ask you; did you learn your lesson about staying away from booze?”
“Yes, I certainly did. Next time I’ll drink less booze and at a slower pace.”
“Corey, I’m your father! I demand that you stop drinking booze forever and I won’t take no for an answer!”
“Dad, sometimes you can be very pushy and obnoxious.”
I decided not to continue on our present path, rather I convinced Corey to follow me to the snack bar so we could eat our giant fruit cocktails and drink our pops.
We slowly walked to the snack bar but on our way there I decided to clean him up a second time. I still smelled puke on his breath and body. I had to do it before snack time.
After telling Corey what was on my mind he agreed with me, but he also added that I should clean up too.
We entered the nearest restroom without incident. I cleaned off Corey’s mouth and face, brushed his teeth for him and then helped him with the mouthwash. Afterwards, I dried him up.
After cleaning Corey I asked him to go to the snack bar and then told him that I’d follow him after I cleaned up.
“Corey, go ahead to the snack bar. I’ll follow you as soon as I’ve cleaned up. Just give me a minute or two. Soon, you and I will be enjoying our tasty snacks.”
“Dad, you don’t love me! You’re going to double cross me. As soon as I leave you’re going to run off with a young, attractive woman and then you’ll tell her that you’ve never been married and that you have no kids.”
“Corey, please, I’m not going to run off. As you can see, I must clean up too. Remember, you were the one who convinced me to clean myself.’
“Okay, dad, I understand, but I want you here as soon as you’re done cleaning yourself off.”
Corey finally calmed down. I noticed tears dribbling down his cheeks but didn’t want to make an issue out of it, as that would’ve caused a giant raucous. Anyway, a short while later I was all cleaned up and ready to go to the snack bar. I figured we’d have to begin our inter-dimensional traveling soon afterwards. How soon depended on preparedness; I had to ensure that Corey was ‘cured’ from his alcoholism.
Corey and I went to the snack bar with high hopes of consuming a very tasty snack. And thankfully, that’s what we did. And a bonus therein; there was a giant screen television on a separate counter for the viewing.
“Corey, what do you want to watch?”
“Dad, let’s watch something low-stress. I want to enjoy my snack while watching a nice but calm show.”
I turned on the television and then pressed the command for the guide. I kept scrolling down the guide until I found ‘The Food channel’.
The chef on television was preparing a gargantuan birthday cake. And boy did it look nice! We caught him after he’d finished with all of the work. Now it was time to hand out generous pieces of cake to members of the audience. I could tell from the way Corey was salivating he wanted a piece of that birthday cake; strawberry and banana flavoured. What an incredible combination. But we couldn’t eat a cake, at least not for the time being. Corey was still a bit nauseous therefore, a snack was called for.
The snack bar was about the size of your average Burger King or McDonald’s Restaurant, but not as lit up. The lighting is a sales gadget. The ‘corporation’ wants you in and out of the restaurant fast. Posh restaurants often have dim lighting. They want you to eat and to take your time so you can order an expensive dessert and drinks afterwards.
Thankfully, there were a dozen cans of fruit cocktail already in the fridge. I didn’t have to cool them off. I opened each can, placed the contents into a gigantic bowl and then carried it to a table nearby. Afterwards, I prepared our pop drinks and then placed them beside the bowl. It was a splendid sight indeed!
“Corey, considering that I’m your father let’s go ahead and eat out of the same bowl. I mean, you really do have 50 percent of my DNA. Isn’t that swell?”
“Dad, yes, now can we gorge on our food?”
I realized that Corey wasn’t in the mood to socialize. So I shut my mouth and dug into our incredibly tasty snack. And boy did we enjoy it. With a plethora of sliced, diced, and chopped fruits including pineapple, apple, banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberry, cherry, pear, mango, fig, peach, plumb, dates and at least a dozen exotic fruits I’ve never set eyes on we certainly had to enjoy it.
The giant bowl we ate and sipped from was sky blue, smelled fresh, and had a maximum capacity of 100 lbs. of fruit cocktail. Although we had much to eat it was nowhere near 100 lbs.
Things went just fine between Corey and me for the next few hours. We made certain to digest our food in the quickest way possible; we strolled through the hallways on 3 different levels. Mind you, we didn’t walk the entire length of any of the hallways. They went on and on further than any naked eye could ever see. At the time it didn’t occur to me to look for a telescope. Horizontally positioned, the gadget may have given us an idea of the length of the hallways.
As soon as we’d had it with hallway strolling Corey and I decided to exit the main entrance into the fog. We weren’t going to leave through there we just needed to get outside for a little while.
“Corey, how about you and I go outside for a while? We’ll leave the castle through the main exit but we won’t leave the fog. You and I need to go back to the giant wheel soon. Remember, we’re inter-dimensional travelers.”
“Dad, let’s go right now! I’m in the mood to get some fresh air. Not that the air conditioning is bad in here. Actually, it’s just right, neither too cold nor too hot.”
Corey and I proceeded to walk to the main exit. We descended 2 levels and then entered the hallway leading to our destination. But as we were walking to the main exit I got a sudden case of the jittery jumps. Someone was watching us. I just knew it.
“Corey, go ahead and descend the steps leading to the giant door.”
“Sure dad, but, like, umm, you look pre-occupied. Are you all right? Is there anything wrong?”
“No Corey, I ... no problem. Everything’s just fine. I want you to go first because you’re my son.”
Corey’s eyes sparkled in delight and he had a million dollar smile on his face. He was a good son, he truly loved me.
As soon as Corey began to descend the steps I quickly looked right and then left. I’m certain I caught the faint image of a shadow down with the corner of my eye, some distance down the hall on my left. Someone had leaped from one room to another. The problem is that it was pretty far down the hall and I didn’t feel like going there. Besides, the hallway is so long depth perception is altered. I mean, theoretically, the shadow could’ve been a mile away or maybe 100 yards away. Who knows?
I followed my son down the steps and then gave him a nod indicating that it was time to push the door open and leave. Thankfully, we were able to open the door quite easily this time.
As soon as we took our first step outdoors we got the shock of our lives! Something incredibly unusual had happened. Before our eyes was vast emptiness. It looked like the planet Mars but with sufficient oxygen. Somehow, my son and I had altered too much of the known universes and dimensions.
“Dad, what happened to the fog?”
“Corey, I have no idea, but things have been altered significantly. For now, this exit passage has been completely negated. We must now return to the castle. I’m getting the jittery-jumps.”
“Dad, I thought that only female rape victims got the jittery jumps. You know what I mean ... like Cynthia Corbett.
Cynthia Corbett! Where is she! Dad, can we find her tomorrow?”
“Jeepers Corey where the heck did that thought come from? C’mon Corey, you’re giving me an ulcer.”
My response caused Corey to go nuts, jumping into the air like he had giant springs attached to his paws, crying his brains out and telling me the same line.
“Dad, you don’t love me. You don’t care about me. You don’t want to see Cynthia because deep down inside you think that she wanted it, that she was smiling during the act, and that’s she’s probably being mounted at this minute by a dozen guys.”
“HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!”
I couldn’t help but laugh my brains out because of what Corey had said. It was outrageous for me to even remotely think that Cynthia liked being mounted by a bunch of guys, against her will, while she was falling in and out of consciousness, with Jeff leading the pack.
“Dad, you’re almost a Vulcan sometimes. You don’t have a heart. Unless you come with me in search of Cynthia and her daughter Alexa I’m leaving you for good!”
I didn’t want to tell Corey at the time but he’d just shot an arrow into my heart. How could my own flesh and blood, my son ever think that I doubted Cynthia Corbett’s account of events on that horrible gang-rape day. I believed her wholeheartedly. My feelings went from laughter-like to sorrow and depression.
“Corey, I’m your father! You owe me an apology right now! And if you don’t give it to me I’ll leave you forever, got it?”
“Dad, you’re being mean and scary. I don’t like it when you get this way. I’m only asking you to escort me back in time so we can prevent Cynthia from being gang-raped. And maybe, you and she can get married and we can live happily ever after.”
“Corey, I’m your father. I’m smarter than you. I’m more intelligent than you are. I’m stronger than you. And, I’m wiser than you. Life’s not a joke. We can’t just decide to go back in time on a whim and well, correct a horrible incident. What about the other changes that’ll ensue. Did you think about that?”
“Dad, you don’t love me! I want to save Cynthia!”
Corey was now throwing another fit. The tears streaming down his cheeks were in fact ‘Niagara Falls tears’. That’s how badly he was crying. I didn’t want my son to suffer like that so I made a compromise.
“Corey, yes, we can go back and save Cynthia. But I WILL NOT MARRY HER; WE NEED TO PLAN OUR ACTIONS; AND WE SHOULDN’T TAKE ANY UNNECESSARY RISKS; FURTHERMORE, WE MUST TAKE A PLEASURABLE VACATION FIRST.”
“Dad, like what do you mean pleasurable vacation first?”
“I’ll decide the meaning of ‘pleasurable’ and the meaning of ‘vacation’. Take it or leave it, I won’t budge on this matter.”
Corey puffed out his chest and said he’d take the deal but indeed he felt a need to enhance his ego.
“Okay, but afterwards, you and I must go off to save Cynthia.”
The situation simmered down to a dead calm. That’s when Corey and I decided to head back to the bedroom and take a deep, long sleep.
The following morning at 8:00 A.M., I awakened with a strong urge to have a nice vacation. I glanced over at Corey, and as soon as I was ready to give him a kiss between the ears he awakened.
“Corey, let’s clean up, eat a nice brunch, and then get ready for our vacation.”
“Dad, where are we going?”
“Corey, I’m in the mood for a carnival. I’m craving for some cotton candy and a snow cone, and like ... umm ... a sloppy Joe sandwich.”
“Dad, you’re from the older generation. You must’ve loved snow cones when you were young. What’s your favourite flavour?”
“Corey, it’s any snow cone that tastes good while I’m eating and sucking on it. I’m not picky. In fact, it’s hard to screw up with a snow cone. Anyway, let’s do what we have to and then we’ll be off.
Don’t worry Corey, I haven’t forgotten about my promise. My promise is stronger than steel, it cannot be broken. We shall soon return to Gramson and intercept Jeff from committing his heinous act. But this time you’ll have reinforcements; I shall be by your side to help you.”
Corey grinned at me and then crawled unto my chest. He made certain that his head was positioned directly above mine.
After pausing for a moment Corey pawed my face several times, then he cupped my cheeks and kissed me on the forehead.
After our playtime we got out of bed, cleaned up, and then I put on some fresh clothing.
“Corey, let’s go light regarding our meal. We don’t have to eat a full brunch. Why don’t have a large bowl of corn flakes each, with slices of banana in the bowl.”
“Dad, that sounds just fine. Now, let’s get going.”
Corey and I left the bedroom and then headed to the nearest snack bar. Therein, I prepared 2 large bowls of corn flakes, milk, and slices of banana.
Knowing that we had an important trip ahead of us we took our time at breakfast. In fact, after eating and cleaning up, Corey and I sat down for a one hour father and son gathering. We talked about everything from Cynthia Corbett to our vacation. I inherently knew that Corey loved Cynthia dearly. He first met her at a fraternity party at Gramson State College. Both of them were surrounded by booze, dope, sex, and other things that take studying off the minds of students.
I was very thankful that Corey’s bum foreleg had somehow healed. Or maybe it was the inter-dimensional traveling or the change in the timeline. Who knows?
After our hour long conversation we decided to exit the snack bar and head downstairs to the giant wheel. That wheel was our meal ticket and passage to countless dimensions.
As soon as Corey and I were within a few feet of the entrance to the giant wheel room we both stopped ourselves dead cold. It was an incredible milestone in our lives. Corey and I were very nervous. In fact, for a minute I thought that Corey was going to puke his brains out.
Fast thinking on my part averted any accidents. I calmly picked Corey off of the ground and then gently pressed him against my chest. I kept him in this position for a whole minute before kissing both of his forepaws.
“Corey, are you game?”
“Sure dad, let’s go in.”
THE NEGATIVE DIMENSION

As soon as we entered the room we got the shock of our lives. There was a large Jacuzzi in the center of the room and the book shelves were gone.

“Dad, we made a mistake.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Dad, it’s not this room that we’re supposed to enter it’s

the next one down.”
“Oh, Corey, umm, I knew that. I just wanted to see if you
also knew that.”
I could tell by the expression on Corey’s face, he didn’t
believe me. I let it go at that.
We exited the room and then entered the next room down.
Thankfully, everything was as I remembered it to be. I focused
on the giant wheel and then continued onwards motioning Corey to
do likewise.
As we walked through the room I couldn’t help but notice
the incredible selection of books on the shelves. I could’ve
sworn there were more books and more shelves than the previous
time.
“Corey, I’m going to fiddle around with the computer system.
I’ll set us up for a good carnival town. But I want you to stand
clear. I’ve never used one of these gizmos before and just in
case, I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Dad, I’m not a baby! I want to stay here near you, okay?” “Corey, all right stay here but keep on the alert. I’m not
even sure what’ll happen to me.”
“Dad, wait. I want you to cradle me like a baby while
you’re punching the controls.”
I obliged Corey. He certainly was acting like a baby but I
kept my mouth shut. I think if I’d said what was on my mind he
would’ve physically attacked me.
“After hoisting Corey into my arms I asked him to hold onto
my chest as I needed both hands to use the control system. But
then, Corey glared at me. I guess he wanted me to cradle him in
my arms and use the controls, but a moment later he changed his
glare into a grin. I guess he realized that I couldn’t do both
at the same time.
After taking a close look at the control panel I glanced at
Corey and asked him if it was okay for us to go to CARNIVAL #5.
We had numerous choices of carnivals, dimensions, and time
frames to choose from but I’d made it clear to Corey that we
shouldn’t complicate matters too much. The easy straightforward
way is the best way.
“Dad, yes let’s go to the carnival.”
I went ahead and scanned the proper controls. As soon as I
was done I instinctively took several steps backwards.
Thereafter, the giant wheel lit up into a shiny blue colour.
Then, a door appeared behind the giant wheel.
For a few seconds thereafter Corey and I could do nothing
but stare in amazement. Then, the door opened. It was a
spectacular event in our lives. We’d never seen anything like
it, ever.
Before our eyes was a tunnel with an oval shaped roof.
Judging from its appearance the tunnel was a good 30 yards long.
I gently placed Corey onto the carpet and then we were on our
way.
“Corey, for now we must always stay together, side by side.
We don’t know exactly what we’re getting into. Hopefully, it’s
something good.”
“Dad, let me zoom in on the end of the tunnel. My
incredible feline vision can now be used to our advantage.” Corey zoomed in and then determined that there was a wide
open space just ahead of the tunnel. To me, that sounded like
good news. I was afraid he was going to see a large ocean of
sorts. The accuracy of the giant wheel had to be tested by us.
We were like military test pilots.
We continued walking through the tunnel until we reached
the end. Outside, was a giant grassy field, but on the horizon
we saw what appeared to be giant carnival rides. Our first
endeavour appeared to be a success. Now, all we had to do was
walk to the carnival.
“Corey, let’s go to the carnival. But I must warn you to
keep an eye out for danger at all times. We don’t know how many
other creatures are in this dimension. There could be a sabretoothed cat nearby, and he/she could be famished. In that case,
both of us will turn into a tasty lunch.
Corey, it’s a beautiful day. The sky’s partly cloudy,
humidity feels low, and there’s absolutely no breeze. As soon as
we arrive I want to eat.”
“Dad, look, I’m in the mood for sloppy Joes, potato chips,
pop, snow cones, and cotton candy.”
It’s funny because I was craving for the same thing. Well,
Corey was my son after all and we were 50 percent ‘the same’. We continued walking towards the carnival for an additional
25 minutes before reaching the peripheral. Up above us was a
sign that read THE CARNIVAL. What a nice generic name. Corey and I were flabbergasted at the incredible array of
carnival rides in sight. Not to mention the incredible beauty of
the trails. In addition, there was greenery like I’d never seen
before. This was a special carnival and judging from its
appearance it was a permanent fixture not something that was
moved along as soon as the contract was fulfilled.
“Corey, we’ve got roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, see
saws, freak houses, food stands, beautiful trails, incredible
wooded areas, water fountains strewn across the carnival
grounds; what else could we ever ask for?”
“Dad, let’s go to the MIRROR HOUSE first. I want to see
what kind of mirror’s in there. Maybe it’s one of those carnival
mirrors that’ll make us appear short and obese.”
Corey and I entered the carnival grounds and headed
straight to the MIRROR HOUSE. To tell you the truth I had the
jitters. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not afraid of your everyday
amusement park or carnival. However, there was something
different about this place. For one thing, we were the only ones
there. Also, the sheer size and complexity of the place was mind
boggling. But then, I felt that someone was watching us. I had
no proof and I didn’t want to spook Corey.
As soon as we were within spitting distance to the entrance
of the MIRROR HOUSE Corey and I looked at each other briefly,
and then we each took a deep breath. Afterwards, we entered the
MIRROR HOUSE together.
The first thing we saw was a tunnel. It was ‘semi-dark’
with cob webs on the walls and bones of animals strewn on the
left and right of the path. Corey and I assumed that the animal
bones were just part of the show. However, as we continued
walking we came across human bones. That’s when we became
apprehensive.
There was no time to turn back. The mirror was within
sight. Anyway, we had to find out what kind of mirror it was. As soon as we were within a couple of feet of the mirror I
sensed that something was wrong, or at least very different. For
a few seconds I was stunned but came out of it very fast. “Dad, look, our reflections are wrong. We’re both guys. Why
are our reflections female! It’s totally wrong. I’m not a girl,
I’m a damn boy!”
After Corey had spoken we got the shock of our lives. The
reflections spoke to us.
“Hello, Bassam and Corey. How are you guys doing? What are
you doing here? Why have you come here? Do you know who we are?” “Wait a minute. You two females are very peculiar. There’s
something quite strange about you. In addition to your being
inside a mirror and speaking and moving it has to do with your
appearance.
Somehow, you ... the female on the right, you somehow
remind me of myself. And you, on the left, why do you remind me
of Corey?”
“Dad, I know what they are. This mirror houses the negative
dimension. In reality, the two females before our eyes are our
‘gender counterparts’.
“Dad, I’ve heard about the negative dimension before, but I
didn’t believe it for one single second; now I’m a believer. “Guys my name is Basma, and this is my daughter Corina.
Basma is the feminine version of Bassam and Corina is the same
for Corey.
Yes, guys, we’re your gender opposites. You must let us out
of here so we can become best friends in the whole world.” “Wait a minute! I want to speak to my father alone.” Corey asked me to follow him back into the tunnel. First, I
excused myself and then did as he asked.
As soon as Corey motioned me to stop his expression turned
to one of apprehension. Naturally I asked him what was wrong. “Corey, you’re my son. I want to know what’s wrong. You
look apprehensive and ... well ... kind of terrified.” “Dad, those two gender counterparts absolutely can’t enter
our dimension under any circumstances. There’s no telling what
would happen to our dimension, or our entire universe. I know
for a fact that they’re up to no good. We must destroy the
mirror at once!”
“Corey, I have to be honest with you. As soon I took notice
of our gender counterparts I felt a jitter throughout my entire
body.
Even if nothing happens to our dimension or universe if
they enter and stay herein, they’ll literally have to kill us
both. We can’t be together; ‘negative reflections’ and ‘positive
reflections’ can never be in the same place at the same time.
We’re in the right place. This is our home.”
After our brief conversation the thought of destroying the
mirror rang in my head but for some unknown reason neither I nor
Corey followed through, at least for the time being. I think it
was because we were really awed and flabbergasted at the
prospect of looking at our gender opposites. I got to see my
female counterpart and Corey his.
I didn’t think that my female version was attractive.
Actually she was a bit on the weird-looking side. Or, maybe it
was the distorted reflection. But Corey’s opposite was very
cute. She looked like a typical cutie-pie American shorthair. We returned to the mirror and standing intently in front of
gender counterparts.
“Guys, do you notice the image behind us?”
“Yes, so what’s the big deal with it?”
“Corey, I thought as my opposite you’d be a bit more
intuitive and intelligent. The background is exactly like yours
but in opposite. You too, Bassam, I figured you’d be more
attuned to things.
Guys, get a little closer so you can see something very
special. It’ll knock your socks off. Wait, Bassam, you can stay
back. One at a time is better.”
At the time I didn’t think much of it. But I guess I would
later on. They caught us off guard.
All of a sudden Basma and Corina grabbed hold of Corey and
began to pull him into their dimension. I was shocked. Our
counterparts had become extremely aggressive. Further, the
expression on their faces and their growls made them appear like
monsters.
“Dad, help me right now! I can’t pull back! Dad, I’m
slipping away!”
Immediately, I grabbed hold of my son’s body and pulled him
towards me with all my might. Meanwhile, our counterparts were
pulling Corey like in a tug-of-war match. Maybe all opposites
are evil I wondered.
Although I was pulling Corey towards me with all my might
he was slowly being pulled into the negative dimension. It
seemed like time had frozen in place. I could feel my face
gushing with blood, my hands writhing in exhaustion and the
muscles in my upper body as tight as a noose.
I was, for the moment, in dire straits. With no ‘strength
options’ it appeared as though I was going to have to follow my
son into a hell-hole. I was ever so certain our counterparts
would commit evil acts in our dimension.
My big break came as soon as I took notice of a painting of
an American Pitt Bull Terrier. The dog was biting down on a
stick. So, I imagined that the 2 arms and 2 forelegs pulling my
son were sticks.
I bit down on Basma’s right arm with full force. The
initial bite made her shriek in pain but I didn’t let go for a
good 30 seconds. I went into bull terrier mode.
Thankfully, both she and Corina backed off. But in my
initial haste I turned my back on them and then began to walk
away. That was a terrible mistake, indeed.
Before I knew it everything went blank. I don’t know how
long I was out for but when I came to I was on my back and Corey
was licking my face and saying sweet things to me.
“Dad, please wake up. I love you so much. Please don’t
leave me. I can’t live without you. I know that deep down inside
you do love me but the ‘lion’ in you won’t allow you to open up
to me. Don’t worry about the 2 devils we were fighting. I took
care of them once and for all. What I mean is ... they’re dead.
They put up a horrendous fight but I had to kill them both.” As soon as I opened my eyes I waved Corey aside. Then, I
slowly and laboriously got onto my feet and then noticed a
blood-splattered floor. Both of ‘them’ were dead and were
engulfed in blood. Corey had blood on his face, but thankfully
it wasn’t his.
“Corey, I think that we should destroy this mirror. It’s an
evil mirror that can bring us nothing but bad luck and
suffering. The last thing that I want is for more of their kind
to appear. No doubt, there’ll be other travelers like us
entering the Mirror House. Next time, the people in the negative
dimension may win the battle. Then what’ll happen.”
As soon as I finished my statement Corey ran towards the
painting of the American Pitt Bull Terrier, leaped up onto the
tunnel wall and snatched it. Then he descended onto the floor.
Without any delay whatsoever, he hurled the painting, which by
the way was very large, at the mirror causing it to shatter into
countless pieces.
To tell you the truth before he hurled the painting I had
reservations about the effectiveness of this method. I assumed that the mirror was made of extra strong material. Thankfully, I
was dead wrong.
Shards of mirror glass were strewn across the floor.
Thankfully, we were a safe distance away. But there was more
work to be done.
“Corey, see that Kerosene lamp over there I want you to
hurl it at the wall that has now replaced the mirror. I want to
burn this place down to a crisp. We can’t take any chances with
the shards. Maybe, as soon as we leave they may recompose.” “Dad, consider the job done. But I want us to be standing
as far away as possible and we must run out of this hell hole
and not even glance back.”
“Wait, Corey, I’m still a bit groggy. Let me walk ahead of
you, when I give you the ‘okay’ hurl the lamp.”
I walked away until I’d reached the entrance to the MIRROR
HOUSE. As soon as I gave the okay signal to Corey he hurled the
kerosene lamp into the wall and then he sprinted out of the
tunnel leading to the outside.
As soon as we were a safe distance away we saw billowing
smoke seeping out of the entrance to the MIRROR HOUSE and then a
moment later the place burst into flames. Thankfully, the fire
didn’t spread.
For some unknown reason, the black smoke neither stunk up
nor polluted the surrounding area. In fact, to our shock and
amazement as soon as the MIRROR HOUSE burned down everything
therein vanished, even the smoke. Then, another building
appeared in its place. Thankfully, it wasn’t another MIRROR
HOUSE. It was a shooting gallery.
“Dad, can we shoot at those wooden ducks?”
“Son, of course we can. Shooting galleries are a fixture in
most carnivals.”
Corey and I walked to the shooting gallery. Thankfully,
there were rifles in all sizes, even for kitties.
I shot first, hitting every single duck in the side of the
head with each shot. Corey got onto the counter, shot at 12
ducks but only hit 3.
We played this game over and over again for an hour.
Afterwards, we were in the mood for some food. We seemed to
instinctively know what the other wanted to eat.
“Corey, let’s go to that food stand over there. We can eat
our hearts out in joy.”
Corey and I walked over to the food stand but then
remembered something. We had to wash our hands before eating.
Luckily, there was a sanitary towel dispenser on the counter. We
each pulled a towel and cleaned up; in my case hands, in Corey’s
paws. Anyway, we were now ready to eat like hungry lions. Corey, let me fix us a nice meal. Look, how about sloppy
Joes, potato chips, beans in sauce and pop. If we get through
this plethora of food afterwards we can have ice cream cones,
snow cones and cotton candy.”
Corey grinned at me indicating his pleasure and agreement.
We were drooling like hungry lions. Thankfully, there was a pot
of sloppy Joe sauce nearby and everything else that we wanted to
eat. It was like someone or some persons had beaten us here.
They knew exactly what we wanted to eat. Not that we were
complaining or anything.
Thankfully, I was able to prepare a nice meal for both of
us. Corey was ‘conveniently’ sitting on the food stand counter
staring at the giant pot of sloppy Joe sauce ever so intently. Good food’s always a delight to prepare. Back on Planet X
when I was a big shot I got to eat the best of foods; sweet,
salty, sour, bitter, and anything in between or different. It
was astonishing that I didn’t become obese.
As soon as I finished my work, I placed the plates of food
and cups of pop on the food counter. Then, we dug in. Corey appeared to be enjoying every morsel of food, even
holding his sandwich like a pro.
“Corey, I like the way you’re eating your sloppy Joe; a paw
firmly holding the sandwich and the other paw scooping up chips.
And every so often you’re setting your sandwich down so you can
have a drink of pop.
Corey, you take after your dad. I like that.”
Corey was so tuned into his meal he didn’t even glance up
at me. I took the hint at heart so I shut my trap until we’d
finished the main course of our meal.
“Corey, did you enjoy the meal?”
“Jeepers dad I certainly did.”
“Okay Corey, now its dessert time. Let’s see, would you
like to bypass the snow cones and cotton candy for a super-sized
vanilla ice cream cone?”
“Dad, I’m still very hungry. In fact, I’ve got the sugar
munchies in my system. I want all 3 choices right now. “ I ended up preparing snow cones, cotton candy, and a supersized vanilla ice cream cone for Corey and me. The latter was
eaten last.
As soon as we started licking the ice cream from our cones
Corey and I decided to stroll through the carnival. It was a
nice way to burn off some of the extra calories that we’d
consumed.
We also decided that roller coasters or any other freaky
rides were off limits too. We ate well and didn’t want to end up
puking our brains out. It would’ve been a terrible waste. Corey and I walked passed many stands, even freak show
stands with pictures and drawings of freaks supposedly hidden
behind the walls.
Corey and I learned our lesson the hard way, no more
chances. So, we continued to walk for another hour or so until
we took notice of a merry-go-round. Our walking helped speed up
the digestion process. Corey and I looked at each other and then
back at the merry-go-round. It would’ve been a shame if we
hadn’t ridden the merry-go-round.
Corey and I decided to approach the merry-go-round with
caution. Sometimes, those things start up without notice and
they keep going faster and faster until the riders either puke,
collapse, or die.
As soon as we reached the control panel I noticed that
there were 10 different speed levels numbered in that sequence.
I looked at Corey and then pointed to the #1 speed option. He
grinned at me and then cuffed my face in his paws. Afterwards,
he kissed me on the forehead and said ‘yes’.
“Corey, I want to place you on that stallion over there,
okay. And I want you to hang on really tight until the ride is
over.”
“Dad, I’m not a little baby anymore. I’m a full-grown cat
now, please respect my feelings. And no, I don’t want you to
place me on that horse over there. I’ll place my own self on
it.”
I didn’t want to get into a ramble with my son so I kept
quiet and allowed him to leap onto the horse.
As soon as I punched in the #1 speed option I quickly
leaped onto the nearest horse in sight which thankfully was near
Corey’s.
The merry-go-round was going in circles at a nice, slow
pace. It was very smooth and comforting to know that at least
one of the carnival rides was slow and easy.
“Corey, how’s this pace for you? Are you feeling dizzy or
nauseous?”
Corey was so attuned and in love with the ride he didn’t
hear me, so I kept quiet for a full 15 minutes. That’s all I
could handle. I leaped off of my horse and then slowed down the
merry-go-round to a halt.
After Corey got off his horse and then walked away from the
merry-go-round we resumed our strolling through the carnival
site. It was very clean, nice and quiet. Strangely, there were
no birds or insects in the entire area. Even the paths in the
wooded areas were void of any life except for plants. After a long walk Corey stopped me deep into a wooded area
by pulling on my pant leg. He pointed to a bench nearby. I got
the message, so I casually strolled to it and then sat down. Corey leaped onto the bench and then leaped onto my chest. I found myself face-to-face with my son. He gently cupped my face with his paws making certain his claws remained retracted. I’m
sure he didn’t want to hurt his dad.
“Dad, remember your promise to me?”
“What are you talking about, Corey?”
“You know, about finding Cynthia Corbett ... going back to
the past and preventing the gang-rape, but this time doing it
right by killing Jeff.”
“Corey, I’ll keep my promise. But first, let’s ride the
train. We’ll have to backtrack to the open area. We’ll ride the
train for a half an hour or so and then we’ll head back to the
castle. Once there, we’ll form a game plan, rest up, have a nice
meal and then we’ll take off. How does that sound like to you?” “Dad, that sounds just right! Now, let’s head back to the
main carnival grounds so we can ride the train.”
Corey and I slowly headed back to the main carnival grounds
but by the time we go there sleepiness hit us like a ton of
bricks. Besides, the sun had descended and incredibly the area
lit up. Not as bright as a ball field during a night game but
enough for us to see our surroundings.
Corey and I walked to the train haphazardly and then we
boarded it. Thankfully, the controls were easy to operate. I
informed Corey that we should ride the train to the peripheral
of the carnival and then from there we should return to the
castle. Also, I made it clear to Corey that darkness in a
carnival area was often a terrifying ordeal. There’s no telling
what kinds of monsters would come out; perhaps we’d be a special
dish on the menu.
We sat in the front cart where the controls were. After
pausing for a moment I turned on the controls, which ran on
electrical power, and then we were off. As expected the ride was
wonderful. And the scenery was out of this world.
As soon as we arrived at the peripheral of the carnival we
disembarked the train and then began our walk back to the
castle.
As soon as we left the Carnival grounds we began to hear
rustling and scurrying nearby. This got our undivided attention.
But shortly afterwards, we heard terrifying noises. I’m certain
they were coming from monsters of sorts. We were so lucky to
have left the carnival. Staying would’ve been a horrifying
experience.
As soon as we entered the cloud a soothing rush of relief
ran through our bones.
“Corey, I know you heard those monsters screaming. But do
you know something; as we were walking back to the castle I
glanced back intently.
Corey, hereafter, we must never enter a carnival, sideshow,
or circus site. I saw the most terrifying looking creatures
ever. They were all staring at us with menacing eyes drooling
crazily with the intent to kill and eat us. Their canines were
razor sharp and their claws were several inches long. Also, hair
covered their entire bodies. And oh boy, were they tall, and
powerfully built.
“Corey, being an inter-dimensional traveller is serious
business. You and I were so pre-occupied with the pleasures of
the carnival we lowered our guard; and that my son is sometimes
a fatal error.”
Corey and I entered the castle relieved and obviously
thankful to have made it back in one piece. The castle was an
incredible rest stop and safety zone. Well, I still hadn’t
forgotten about the scurrying, shadowy creature that I’d seen
from the corner of my eye. I had a good game plan to neutralize
the shadowy figure, but first things first. We needed rest, food
and water, and then a nice long shower. The former had to be
first.
Corey and I went to the nearest bedroom, entered it and
then dived onto the nearest bed. Expectedly, we were out cold
for many hours.
As soon as I awakened the first thing that I noticed was
Corey hovering over me. His paws were on my chest and he was
licking my face. Well, I understood that this was ‘a friendly’
feline action. However, I told Corey that I preferred a rub of
faces.
“Corey, can you rub the side of your face against mine.
Then, I want you to rub the side of your body against my face
and do whatever else you can to mark me. I’m your father and
other cats and animals must understand that. I’ll do the same to
you, okay?”
“Jeepers dad, I love you more than anyone else in this
whole universe. I hope you feel the same way about me.” For some unknown reason all I could do was smile at Corey.
I didn’t give him a verbal answer to his question. Anyway, he
went ahead and did as I asked.
Before long we were out of bed and ready to shower. This
time I carried Corey into the shower and bathed him and myself
at the same time. I was intent on saving time because we were
both drooling like hungry jaguars, with thick strands of saliva
dangling from the sides our mouths. Believe me, it was an ugly
site indeed.
“Corey, close your eyes while I shampoo, rinse and then
wash off your body.”
“Dad, I’m not a baby. I know exactly what to do. And
remember I want you to use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. But, anyway
... go ahead and wash me up. It’s not because I’m a baby. I did as Corey asked. But for myself I used Head and
Shoulders Shampoo. For my body I used Irish Spring Soap. It was
well worth the effort because after we were done we felt clean
and fresh.
After I put on some fresh clothing I asked Corey to follow
me to the dining hall. We were due for a real meal of sorts. And
thankfully, that’s what we got.
Corey followed me to the dining hall which was roughly two
hundred yards down the hallway.
As soon as we entered the dining hall we took notice of a
mini-waterfall in the center of the eating area, the vast array
of plants, the beautiful chandeliers, wall paintings, incredible
tableware, seats, tables, real silver utensils, the salad and
sandwich bar, desserts bar, and the pre-cooked lunch plates on
the counter.
“Corey, let’s not waste any time. You can sit down on the
table next to the artificial waterfall and I’ll do the rest.
Today, you’re getting first class service.”
Corey didn’t even bother to answer me. He ran to the table,
leaped onto it and then waited patiently for his food and drink. First, I filled a large bowl of salad and topped it with
Ranch dressing then I went to the meal counter and placed a
large plate of spaghetti on my tray. After pondering for a
moment I snatched 2 large slices of lemon meringue pie and
placed them on my tray. In a few quick moves I filled up 2 extra
large cups with pop (lots of ice but also lots of pop), a bowl
of fruit cocktail and finally 2 large glasses of chocolate milk. I carefully carried the tray back to our table and then
placed it in front of Corey’s drooling mouth. He in turn, hissed
and growled at me. I waved him down with my hand and then told
him to wait for a moment until I put everything in its proper
location.
Before long, Corey and I were eating and drinking with joy.
Our meal was incredibly tasty and satisfying. However, there was
one small problem; I noticed that Corey kept glancing at the
‘booze bar’. I know for a fact that he was first and foremost
into the Schnapps drinks. Unfortunately, he had a drinking
problem that was induced into his body and mind by a bunch of
horrible fraternity brothers. Those Gramson frats were a
disgrace to the numerous good fraternities around the world.
Therefore, I hold absolutely no grudge against fraternities per
se.
While Corey and I were eating our pies I felt a strong urge
to confront him about his frequent glancing routine.
“Corey, I know you’re still in eating mode and you don’t
like to be bothered at this time but I’m your father and I care
about you dearly. I noticed that you keep glancing at the booze
bar. Are you feeling an urge to drink?”
“Dad, there’s no way whatsoever that I’ll ever conquer this
problem forever. I’ll always have a craving of sorts. Those
frats brothers really did a number on me, especially Jeff. The gang-rape of Cynthia, my suffering and the countless
women who’ve suffered at Jeff’s hands justifies us killing him.
And it should be done harshly too.”
“Corey, now that we’re in the talking mood we can draw up a
plan of action regarding this matter. One thing we know; we have
to get there before the gang-rape. But I recommend that we
arrive there on the day of the gang-rape. We should go straight
to the fraternity party, preferably late in the afternoon. Now Corey, we shouldn’t make any waves. We’ll tell the
party animals that I’m a Philosophy major. I’m sure not one of
the fraternity brothers or sisters at the party will be a
philosophy major. This way, they won’t drill me with a hundred
questions about my major. And you can tell them that you invited
me to the fraternity party.”
“Dad, you don’t love me! You don’t want anyone to know that
I’m your son; your own flesh and blood!”
I heaved Corey to my chest and held him very tightly. Tears
were streaming down his cheeks. I wasn’t trying to hurt his
feelings, really.
“Corey, we don’t want to blow our cover. I’m your
BIOLOGICAL FATHER, how can I be ashamed of you?
You didn’t allow me to continue onwards with what I was
going to say. Now, there’s one more thing that’s a bit more
complicated.
Corey, you’re going back to a time and place where ‘Corey’
was a fraternity brother and resident of the fraternity house.
Will you meet yourself in that time period? I doubt it. Will
you, in effect, be that person? That is, the Corey Jameson that
the fraternity brothers and sorority sisters recognize? I think
that there’s a good chance for this scenario. So, if you’re
not recognized you will be Bassam’s cat and best friend in the
whole world. Remember, I’m a philosophy major. If they do
recognize you, we must go with the flow. In this scenario I
shall be your friend, and of course a philosophy major. Please,
Corey, under no circumstances whatsoever, should you forget what
I’ve just told you.
One final note: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL YOU DRINK ANY
ALCOHOL, SMOKE ANY DOPE OR USE ANY KIND OF PSYCHOTROPIC DRUG
(MIND ALTERING DRUG) OR INHALE, SNIFF OR CHEW ANY TOBACCO
SUBSTANCE!”
I released my bear hug on Corey and then kissed him between
the ears. Afterwards, I gently returned him to his place. “Okay, dad, I got it. I understand the game plan, and I do
understand that you’re going to be my friend either way.” “Corey, let’s finish off our pies so afterwards I can get
some more pie, this time a large slice of apple cinnamon pie for
each of us. We can enjoy it with our pops.”
I was thankful that Corey and I had made amends. As soon as we finished our lemon meringue pies I went to
the desserts bar and was just about to scoop a large slice of
apple cinnamon pie when Corey yelled out to me. He asked me to
bring back a large slice of mincemeat pie instead.
I did as Corey asked and then we enjoyed our desserts ever
more pleasantly.
“Corey, are you game? Are you really ready to go back to
the past and change a horrible incident? But you do understand
that there are risks involved. Jeff and his buddies are
dangerous folks who wouldn’t hesitate to kill both of us in one
sweep.
When lions are eating or mounting their lioness, be careful
not to interrupt them.”
Corey and I exchanged ideas for a short while and then we
got up and exited the dining hall. We went straight to the
restroom, cleaned up, dried up and then began our trek back in
time.
A MILLION TIMES OVER

Corey and I exited the restroom and then walked to the nearest stairwell. It was a very tense walk for me. As for Corey he had an earnest and intent look on his face. After all, he was much closer to Cynthia than I ever was. In fact, he was the one who told Mandy Wilson (Jody Wilson’s mother) about the gang-rape incident. He told her while they were in the cargo section of a passenger airliner.

As soon as we reached the stairwell Corey and I glanced at each other. We knew that this was it. There was no heading back whatsoever. Thankfully, part of Corey’s confidence spread to me. But also, I can say unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to alleviate some of the deep felt fears I had.

Corey was all the family that I had. I was terrified at the prospect of him dying on me. What would I do then?
We descended the stairwell to the level of the giant wheel and then entered the hallway. I asked Corey to wait before entering the hallway. I had to scan the entire area from left to right in order to ensure that there were no dangers lurking in the shadows.
After assuring Corey that the coast was clear we entered the hallway and headed straight to the room housing the giant wheel. With each step I took my jitters became more and more pronounced.
Just before we entered the room I knelt down and then slowly lifted Corey to the level of my face. After giving him a kiss on the cheek I told him that regardless of what happened he was always going to be my son.
Corey appeared dumbfounded. He couldn’t believe that I, a big shot and a once extremely powerful humanoid could say that to anyone. But I did, and the person I said it to was my son.
“Corey, we’re here! Now, we must be very careful and slow in our actions. The last thing that we want to do is to screw up. This dimensional travel will most likely be the most important one in our whole lives. So much so we must be together when we program the controls.”
I placed Corey on a counter beside the computerized control panel and then reviewed the procedure with him. Because Corey’s paws were steadier than my hands we decided that I would narrate the commands and he would gently and carefully press the controls.
“All right, Corey. Now, please type in GRAMSON STATE COLLEGE IN CALIFORNIA.
Okay, fine. Now please type in 55599009 – ABD – 88909.
Corey, please leap onto the carpet and stand next to me. We must brace ourselves and see what happens.”
Just a few seconds later the door encasing the giant wheel opened up. Corey and I didn’t bother to ponder about what’d happened. We reflexively entered the door leading to the tunnel.
Thankfully, we entered the tunnel without incident. We continued walking through the tunnel until we reached the end. We braced ourselves and we each took a deep breath. We still weren’t sure about the accuracy of the giant wheel.
After taking a few steps into the new dimension we saw a large sign up ahead. It read WELCOME TO THE FRIENDLY CITY OF GRAMSON.
Corey and I were flabbergasted. So much so he leaped into the air and gave me a high-five. The accuracy of our new gadget was mind boggling. Now, we had to proceed with our game plan.
“Corey, I’ve got 500 dollars in American money in my shoulder bag. Here, take 5 twenty dollar bills and keep them in your kitty pouch. We must always have money on hand.
In case anything goes wrong open my shoulder bag and take my copying machine. Print out as much money as you want and need.
Corey, let’s enter Gramson’s campus and then head straight for the fraternity house. Oh, and something else, is this how you remember Gramson?
“Dad, it’s a decent replica, not perfect but recognizable. However, there may be a slight difference in the calendar year. I noticed that the year posted on the city sign read 2011. Either way, I think things will play out the same except for the gang-rape ... hopefully.”
Corey and I took in a deep breath and then entered Gramson excited about being super-heroes.
We walked through Gramson for 10 minutes before spotting an elderly woman of perhaps eighty years-old, taking her Boston terrier for a walk. Thankfully, Boston terriers in general have a sweet temperament.
We crossed the street and then approached the elderly woman.
“Madam, how are you and your dog doing?”
“Hello guys. Robert and I are just taking a walk. You look like you’re searching for something. May I be of assistance?”
“Yes madam, could you please tell us where Gramson’s fraternities are?”
“No problem, guys. You’re already on the right path. Go straight until you reach the Library turn right for 150 yards and voila, you’ll see the Gramson sign right in front of you.”
“Jeepers ma’am thanks.”
We smiled at the elderly woman and then continued walking. It was a tactical move to allow Corey to speak to the elderly woman. He’s a real cutie-pie and looks quite innocent.
Corey and I walked to the library and then turned right, walking roughly 150 yards. I could see the remnants of student housing on the horizon; dormitories, frat houses and sorority houses. Thankfully we were almost there.
Now all we had to do is find the big party and I suspected that it would be a cinch to do.
“Corey, let’s find this party fast so we can get down to business. Please do as I ask, I’m your father.”
“Sure dad, look, why don’t I ask that girl over there.”
“Okay, but make it snappy. Remember, we must get there before the gang-rape incident occurs.”
Corey and I approached a geeky-looking girl. She was a late teeny bopper, freckled-face, wore thick lens glasses, dressed conservatively and looked like she was suffering from an eating disorder. Gosh we could see her clavicles and her Adam’s apple.
I grabbed hold of Corey’s scruff and told him that I wanted to speak to the young woman. I felt a need to change my mind.
“Miss, could you tell us where the big party is?”
“I wouldn’t know anything about that. I’m studying advanced Calculus today. I need to get A’s in all my courses.”
“Wait miss, isn’t it Christmas break?”
“Yes, I got straight A’s for the Fall Semester but I need to do the same thing next semester. I want to get a doctoral degree in statistics. I love to solve problems and study for hours on end.”
The young woman was indeed very studious but Corey and I sensed that she was an anorexic of sorts. I noticed that she had tooth-induced scrape marks on her knuckles, she had barf breath and she suffered from low self-esteem; it showed in her voice.
Although Corey and I were in a rush we couldn’t leave the young woman in that state. We had to raise her spirits.
“Miss, you’re very beautiful. You probably have 10 boyfriends and more guys are actually waiting in line.”
“Oh, no, kitty, I don’t have anyone.”
“Listen, honey, please don’t stick your finger down your throat. You’re an intelligent, young, attractive woman.”
“Oh ... kitty, you’re so sweet. If you were a man I’d marry you right this minute.”
“What about my father? Why don’t you marry him?”
Instantly, I glared at Corey. He was placing a gargantuan burden upon me. I wasn’t even sure if we were going to come out of the ‘Jeff ordeal’ in once piece.
“Oh, no, I think that I better, I mean ... I’m in so much pain. Please help me! I stick my finger down my throat at least twice a week. I know it’s dangerous but whenever I’m in mental distress it feels good when I induce vomiting. You see, during the act I’m all alone and I have full control of the situation. And when I puke I think about nothing but my heaving, be it dry or wet. The world’s problems can be forgotten.
I can’t find Mr. Right. I know there are other college women like me out there; thumb suckers, barf bags, lonely hearts. Some of them are ‘boyfriend-less’ like me, most are average looking or better. Yet, even drop dead gorgeous women, some as pretty as Paris Hilton think they’re fat and ugly. I’m not quite like them. I know I’m an ugly young woman. Kitty, you flattered me by telling me that I’m an attractive woman, but I knew you were only being nice. You feel guilty about having to see my decrepit face and body.
Please help me! I need to be loved and to love someone!”
“Miss, an introduction is at hand. This is my son Corey Jameson and I’m Bassam Imam. What’s your name, please?”
“I’m Linda Peterson and I’m originally from Milwaukee. I’m here for school and after I’m done I’m going straight back home. I’ll do my graduate and doctoral degrees there. I came here for a change of atmosphere.
As you can see, the sky is beautiful blue the trees look very lively we have greenery all year round and no snow whatsoever. The days, for the most part are predictable with no hurricanes, tornadoes or storms.
Our campus is very beautiful too. We have beautiful buildings strewn across this vast area. Over there is the main administration building and the white building beside it is the Morrison Math and Science Building. That’s my favourite building.
I live in a girls-only dormitory. I don’t want any peeping toms living near me. Jefferson Hall houses up to 150 undergraduate women, it even has a small 24 hr. Cafeteria on the lowest level.
Right now, I’m just taking a stroll through the campus. It’s past lunchtime. Look, the main cafeteria is just over the hill. If you don’t have student I.D.’s I’ll pay for your meal?”
“Linda, Corey and I have urgent business to attend to. We’re going to the big party today, if we find it, that is.”
“Look, I don’t know where the big party will be at but I do know that the ‘Lion’s Fraternity House’ is the biggest party animal house on campus. The frat brothers have a solid reputation for being party animals. I don’t see any problem with you guys going to their party.
They have food at hand in their parties. They love to drink, get high and eat the munchies.”
“Linda, please focus on your studies, change your attitude and also your walk.”
“Corey, please show Linda how a pretty woman should walk.”
“Dad, I’m not a girl! I’m a boy!”
“Corey, I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just that I want Linda to walk like a female feline. Also, you’re a lot more athletic than I am.”
Corey took the ‘flattery bait’ quite well. He strolled like a female back and forth a dozen times.
After he finished I motioned Linda to do the same. Thankfully, she walked the walk quite well. Now, we had to leave but before doing so I had to give Linda a good word of advice.
“Linda, look up study hard and look forward to a good life. You’re not a loser. Also, most university campuses in North America have counselling centers. It’s not shameful to go there. You’re too good a person to suffer like this.”
“Oh ... you’re so sweet! Bassam, will you marry me?”
I motioned Linda to wait while I hoisted Corey off the ground by his scruff and then carried him to a corner. I was pissed off as hell at my son for placing me in what appeared to be a quite difficult situation.
“Corey, you can’t just invite any woman to marry me, vice versa. It’s not that simple! Marriage is not a frivolous or joking matter. Just look around you, the divorce rate is high everywhere.
Corey, if I say ‘yes’ to Linda I’ll either be lying to her or placing myself in an extremely odd situation. If I say ‘no’ to her she’ll probably stick her hand down her throat within the hour and that probably won’t be the end of it. It’ll start a downward spiral, perhaps ending in a nervous breakdown or maybe in the severest of cases, a suicide attempt.”
I carried Corey back to where we were standing before and then we smiled at Linda.
“Well, I’m waiting for your answer.”
“Linda will you accept a rain check regarding the marriage proposal?”
“I’ve heard that line before. You don’t love me.”
Corey interceded during our heated conversation.
“Linda, both of us love you dearly. We’ll get back to you on this matter within 24 hrs. How does that sound to you?”
“That sounds just fine. I told you my name, the dormitory that I live in, and now I’ll tell you what room I live in; it’s room #15. I expect both of you to be there within 24 hrs. And as for you, Bassam, I want you to slip the ring on my marriage finger the next time that we meet. I don’t believe in engagements. I want to get married fast!”
After hearing those words I decided to say goodbye to Linda. She presumed Corey and I were going to return. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Corey and I resumed our walking for a few more minutes. Now from our vantage point we could see much of the Gramson campus. We noticed a large congregation of students standing in the lawn of one of the buildings. Also, the faint sound of music came from that point. We were almost certain it was the fraternity house.
“Corey, let’s go to that house on the horizon. I’m quite certain that’s the place where the big party is taking place. And partying we’re going to see. Its midday and many of the party animals began their drinking in the morning. I can’t imagine what they’ll be like tonight, let alone tomorrow when they suffer the effects of their hangovers.
Corey, I’m sorry for going off on you that way. But please understand we have an important and potentially dangerous job to do. Assuming that we’re successful we’ll have to return to the castle alone. We can’t take a chance altering the timeline for this dimension. We have no idea what the consequences will be.”
We took several steps towards the fraternity house before I felt a sharp pain throughout my body and mind. That’s right the pain wasn’t just physical it was mental too. I felt guilty and horrible about leaving Linda stranded; it was like we left her in the middle of the ocean without a lifeboat or any other lifesaving device. Besides, after pondering about her physical appearance I realized that she was very beautiful. It was her genius look that caught me off guard.
I knelt down and then gently hoisted my son to my face. I gave him a grin and then kissed him between the ears. Afterwards, I gave him important instructions pertaining to Linda.
“Corey, we left Linda out to dry. Look, you’re a lot faster a runner than I am, your senses are more acute and my tagging along with you will only slow us down. Corey, use your speed, agility, incredible sense of vision, acute hearing and olfactory sense to find Linda.
Please get her email address and phone number/s. I don’t want any texting or other fancy communication addresses. Our contact must be straightforward and intense. I changed my mind about leaving her. I want to save her but we must do so only after we’ve killed Jeff. Corey, I must repeat myself; the only way to end this Cynthia Corbett rape incident once and for all is to kill Jeff. Jeff is literally the snake’s head.
Without saying a word Corey leaped onto the ground and then sprinted towards the place where we last saw Linda. I was proud of my son. Being a super-cat he was faster than a cheetah.
I waited attentively on a bench nearby hoping for good news. A short while later my attentiveness faded resulting in my falling asleep on the bench. I probably looked liked a wino to the birds that were perched on nearby trees.

Shortly after I fell asleep I began to dream about Planet X. It was a very nice dream. I was a big shot minister and the citizens of my hometown respected me very much. But as soon as my dream began to pick up I felt a powerful itch on my face. It was so powerful the force of it actually awakened me.
It was Corey. Apparently, he’d returned and then leaped onto my lap, got on his hind legs and proceeded to lick my face.
“Dad, here’s Linda’s email address and her dorm room phone number. She was happy to see me. And dad, she asked about you.”
I was very happy with the outcome. But now, we had to continue our journey to the fraternity house.
We walked towards the congregation cautiously but also optimistically. With each step taken I reviewed our actions to the letter.
As soon as we were within a block of the fraternity house I asked Corey to stop for a moment.
“Corey, we need a quick review. Look, if you belong in this dimension they’ll call you by your first name. Go with the flow and then introduce me as a Philosophy major. If on the other hand, they don’t recognize us I’ll still be a philosophy major and you’ll be my friend Corey Jameson.”
Corey and I were in agreement about our cover stories. Now, there was nothing else to do but continue our walk.
A short while later we reached the peripheral of the fraternity house lawn. I motioned Corey to wait for a moment. I was certain that if Corey was in fact a resident of this particular dimension someone would recognize him. After all, he’d certainly be recognized as a full-fledged member of the fraternity. It didn’t take long to get the answer.
“Corey, where have you been? Kitty, you took off early this morning without even telling any of the frat brothers. Man, we thought you either left us or got into some kind of a jam or something.
Corey, we’ve got your favourite drink in the fridge as you requested earlier; Peach Schnapps, fruit punch and pop with a slice of lime and lemon. Corey, c’mon buddy, come on kitty, we miss you. I mean ... like ... umm ... don’t you dare tell anyone ... I love you, kitty!”
“Friend, Corey’s been having some stomach problems lately. He has an appointment with the veterinarian next week. For now, he must stay away from all booze. And that includes beer too.”
“Jeepers Corey, that totally sucks. Anyway, can I have your drink?”
“No problem, Steve. And by the way, how’s the wide receiving?”
“Corey, well, coach Jenson says I’m slowing down a bit. Well, as soon as break’s over I’m cutting down on the booze for sure. Otherwise, my scholarship and the multitude of women who adore me will certainly wither away.”
Steve was a handsome jock. He had the surfer boy look and sounded like he was from southern California. He was muscular, broad-shouldered, holding a Heineken beer bottle in his hand and wearing a #69 football jersey. The number on his jersey explained what he was looking for from this party; I mean in addition to the booze and free food.
“Corey, and like umm ... who’s your friend again?”
This is my friend Bassam. He’s a philosophy major.”
“Corey, do you think Cynthia Corbett loves me? I mean, I know that Jeff’s got his eyes on her but ... I’ll treat her like a princess. You know what I’m talking about?”
“Let me bud in for a moment. I know for certain that Cynthia Corbett is engaged to be married to a guy back in her home town. I even heard her say that she’d never do anything with any other guy. Actually, she’s saving it until marriage.”
“Bassam, that’s a total bummer. Actually there’s something else I want to tell you but don’t you dare tell anyone that I told you. I’m only opening up to you guys because this is my 6th Heineken.
“Look, some of the jocks and frat brothers are intent on getting some off Cynthia. They want that ‘locked thigh’ wench today or tonight because some of the guys are leaving for good in a few days. They don’t want to leave Gramson with a degree only. They want to score big times with Corbett. She’s the most beautiful girl in this whole school and the thing is ... she always says no.
You guys know what I mean. They’re intent on breaking her in so she can say ‘yes’ for a change. But I personally think it won’t happen until late in the night when the guys are plastered off their wits.”
“Steve, don’t tell me that you’re going to join those guys?”
“Corey, c’mon, you know what kind of guy I am. I’d never join them. I just don’t do that kind of stuff. When I score I score big in private. Then afterwards, I tell all my close friends what I did. It turns out good that way. I become more popular and I get another name added to my black book list. She has to say yes ... always!
Corey, you don’t seem the same. There’s something unusual about you.”
Corey and I froze in apprehension. Thankfully, a group of party animals crossed the street and then proceeded to stick their fingers down their throats. They weren’t anorexic or bulimics, they just wanted to show off their party animal skills.
Their puking took Steve’s mind off his question. While Steve was distracted with the vomiting routine Corey and I sneaked away from him.
We were now within steps of the entrance to the fraternity house. But, there was one major obstacle to our entry. It was the scent of food, much of it.
“Corey, I know you’re like me, you want to have a couple of burgers, chips and a drink. Am I right?”
“Dad, let’s go to the barbecue and ask for some food.”
Corey and I walked over to the barbecue where a skinny guy with red hair was barbecuing hamburger patties and hot dogs. The sight and scent of the food was overwhelming. We had to eat.
“Corey, frat brother, c’mon, I’ll fix you your regular. Is that all right with you?”
“Sure, Stan, and fix my friend Bassam a regular also. I’m sure he’ll like it.”
I frowned at Corey because he took for granted what I’d like. I would’ve liked it if he’d asked me first.
“Corey, how’s it going? Are you guys enjoying the big party?”
“Sure, Bassam and I are really having a blast. But first we have to eat and then we’ll enter the frat house.
Now Stan, do you know where Cynthia is?”
“Corey, I saw her an hour ago. Man was she plastered. She was so drunk. But don’t worry about her. She’s with reliable friends watching out for her; Jeff is the leader of the pack.”
I didn’t like the way Stan winked at us after he finished his statement. It was like he knew about ‘the event’ to take place later on today.
One good thing about Stan is his generosity. He placed 2 fully garnished sandwiches on each of our plates; some chips, baked beans in sauce and coleslaw. As soon as I took hold of both plates he asked us to ‘take a seat’ on the grass while he brought us our drinks.
I was proud of Corey. He was very popular in school and he knew how to behave around everyone without drawing suspicion.
As soon as we sat down Stan left his barbecue station and then he brought over our pop drinks. Corey and I thanked him dearly and wished him the best of luck in his academic endeavours.
“Corey, do you want me to open your pop can?”
“No thanks dad, I can do it myself.”
Corey and I ate our meal in earnest, not caring about anyone or anything around us. Horrifyingly, we even forgot about Cynthia. But then, after we finished our meal we began to take notice of the goings on around us. For some unknown reason the lawn suddenly became a major attraction. Droves of students, mostly males flocked to the area, particularly around a dunking stool of sorts.
“Corey, why is there a dunking stool in the far corner of this lawn? And why are those 6 females who are wearing tight Tshirts standing next to the dunking stool?”
“Dad, they’re getting ready to have a wet T-shirt contest. I think it’s time for us to leave. You don’t want to see this because it may interrupt your concentration and line of thought. Remember what we came here for.”
I took Corey’s advice with earnest. I stood up and then took our plates and empty pop cans to the nearest garbage bag and dropped them all into it.
We were now ready to enter the fraternity house. Thankfully, the music wasn’t turned up too loud. I think that if that were the case students in the area who weren’t partying would’ve called campus security. It’s true all college students aren’t party animals.
Corey and I entered the frat house and were instantly shocked at how many people had been shoved into that place. It was so jam-packed there was barely any elbow space. But, we had an important mission to accomplish, and overcrowding wasn’t a problem to stand in our way.
The first thing that we did was try to squeeze our way through the first group of students in order to be deeply entrenched into the frat house. And thankfully, after considerable work we reached the living room.
“Hey, Corey, how’s it going,” said a young pony tailed woman who also had the prettiest cat eyes I’d ever seen in my life. She had milk white skin, she was tall and confident looking, freckles all over her body and she appeared to be quite intelligent.
This young woman was wearing a beautiful blue and white dress that reached the middle of her lower legs and a blue shirt that looked incredibly nice on her.
By golly, in my utter shock I didn’t realize who it was. It was Cynthia Corbett!
I gave a quick nod and a wave to Cynthia and then I knelt down and told Corey that I was going to roam about and that we should meet in the study room in an hour. Corey understood my hidden message; I was going to search for Jeff. Keeping an eye on the predator and the prey was necessary.
I elbowed my way through the droves of party animals in search of Jeff. After much effort I reached the staircase. Thankfully, it was wide and easy to move through. Although there was a guy and a girl making out on the first step there was plenty of room to manoeuvre around them. So, I did just that.
The girl caught a glimpse of me then gave me a smile and a wave indicating that she was interested. I smiled back at her and then continued ascending the staircase. Unfortunately, I had no time to play around. My immediate mission was to make a cursory search of every single room in the frat house. I knew that sooner or later Jeff would strike. Although Cynthia Corbett was downstairs with Corey there were other young women that Jeff could harm. I was making sure that they weren’t being harmed at the moment.
As soon as I reached the 2nd floor I scanned the area on my left and then on my right. The place reeked of booze, dope, semen and vaginal fluid. Not to mention puke. Someone had puked a few feet to the right of the staircase. I had to keep an eye on that blob. But thankfully, much of the puke was on the wall. I decided to go right first. As I strolled through the hallway I peered into each and every room on my left and my right ensuring that there were no problems in sight. Thankfully, there were no gang-rapes in progress. The coast was clear.
However, I did see some major partying in room #25. Four guys and a young woman were playing poker. They were seated in front of a round table with several lines of shots glasses.
A short while later I’d find out what kind of poker game they were playing. I noticed that the young woman was in the nude and the men around her were smiling at each other. But that’s not all; they were giving each other hand signals when the young woman wasn’t paying looking. I know I shouldn’t have stood there gawking at them but something didn’t seem right.
As soon as the young woman turned her head to face me I walked away. I began my stroll to the other side of the hallway. The last thing I wanted to do was get into a rumble with any of the students.
As I was strolling down the hallway I kept thinking about one of the guys in room #25. Although I didn’t get a really good look at him I felt as though I’d seen him before. Anyway, as I continued my stroll through the hallway I heard a voice call out to me.
“Hey, Mister, do you want to play strip poker with us?”
Now I was absolutely certain what they were doing; playing strip poker. The hand signals proved that the young men in the poker game were cheating. No wonder, they were all still fully dressed and grinning at each other. The young woman had been duped.
At first I didn’t know what to do. If I told the young woman about what those guys were doing to her they may respond by making mince meat out of my face. However, I did understand that Corey and I came to this dimension to prevent an injustice. How in the heck could I allow this to happen? I decided on a compromise solution.
“Miss, could you please come here. I have something very important to tell you.”
“Why don’t you want to play strip poker with us? Do you think I’m ugly?”
I didn’t give her a verbal answer but I did put on a serious face and motioned her to approach me. This time around she understood that I was dead serious.
As soon as she approached me I placed my index finger vertically on my lips, indicating that we should keep the ‘volume’ down. She understood what my gesture meant.
“Honey, my name is Cassandra. And, I love you very much. Will you marry me?”
“Cassandra, please, this is no time for playing. I want to inform you that those ‘fellows’ are cheating. They’re giving each other hand signals when you look away. Doesn’t it seem odd that they’re still fully dressed and you’re naked? How much does the loser of this game have to give away?”
“Actually, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’d just lost everything, including my right to say no. If I hadn’t seen you I would’ve had to let them have their way with me. All of them, and Jeff was to be the ring leader.”
I got a sudden urge to storm back to that room and give Jeff a punch in the nose. Unfortunately, he and his buddies would’ve beaten me senseless in retaliation. Besides, although we were on the 2nd floor I could hear rumbling coming from the T.V. room. Apparently, some of the students were trying to convince Corey to join them in their keg drinking. I could hear their appeals and Corey’s response. It was imminent that I had to stop Corey before he made a horrible mistake. All I could do for Cassandra was give her some good advice.
“Cassandra, calmly go back to the room put on your clothes and tell them that you know for a fact that they were cheating. Make certain that you’re standing beside the door and no one can block your exit or pull you in. Also, tell them that if they lay a hand on you you’ll scream and then call the police.”
As soon as I finished with my advice Cassandra stormed back into the room and bitched out the other poker players.
“You freaking creeps, you cheated, you almost raped me! Now to get even with you I demand that each and every one of you strip down completely!”
“Fat chance honey!”
With that response I assumed that it was over. Actually, I was hoping that it was over; I had my son to worry about too.
I descended the staircase and then elbowed my way to the T.V. room. As I was heading there a quick glance up at the clock above the entrance gave me some shocking news. It read 4:00 P.M. Time had literally flown by. Unfortunately, there was no time to ponder about it. I had an urgent matter to attend to.
As soon as I entered the T.V. room I got the shock of my life. The frat brothers and sorority sisters were watching a drinking contest. There were 3 contestants in all and a 500 dollar first prize. A hose was attached to a giant keg of beer. Naturally, the drinker wrapped the tip of the hose around his lips and then drank the gushing beer.
Two of the contestants had already drunk their fill. The so-called score keeper logged in the number of ounces that were drank in a 5 minute period. Yes, 5 whole minutes of boozing it up. That’s a recipe for death.
Shockingly, it wasn’t Corey’s turn to drink yet. And from what I could tell he’d have to drink his own weight or more in beer to win the contest. At that moment I couldn’t have given a damn about the stupid first prize, even if it’d been a million dollars tax free.
I was very worried about my son. I want to repeat what I’ve just said but in a more elaborate manner; my son was my flesh and blood and I didn’t want anyone or anything in any dimension to harm him. I knew more than he did because I was his father and I had more experience in life.
Those party animals at the frat house wanted to see a combative drinking match. And of course, being that my son was a cat, it would’ve been that much more entertaining.
“Corey, I forbid you from drinking out of that hose! I demand that you come here immediately!”
As soon as I spoke I realized that I now had numerous enemies within the frat house. They didn’t like what I’d said but then I couldn’t have cared less either way.
“Hey, dimwit, what’s your problem? You can’t bother any of the contestants. If you don’t like what you see shut up or get out of the freaking house!”
The fellow who was mouthing off to me looked like a linebacker. He was mean spirited, weighed roughly 300 lbs. and had muscles of steel. But that’s not all. Many of the men and women ‘around me’ were on the heckler’s side. Even Corey was glaring at me.
“Dad ... I mean ... Bassam! Leave me alone! I want to win this contest! Besides, I want to drink up a storm!”
As soon as Corey had spoken the entire crowd save a few good souls came down on me like a ton of bricks. I’d never been verbally attacked by so many people before. But even with this happening, I didn’t let up. My son wasn’t going to fall off the wagon!
I was forced to pull out the big guns and use them too. Amidst the shouting and raucous I shocked the entire group through the use of a calculated verbal strike.
“I want everyone in this frat house to know that I am Corey Jameson’s father! And as such, I demand that he be prevented from drinking from the keg. In addition, he’s underage. If he drinks out of that stinking hose I’m calling the police and I’ll personally guarantee that you never have any parties here again. Wait ... I’m not finished! I’ll petition the president of Gramson and the dean of students to close this frat house down. And if that’s not enough I’ll take ‘the fraternity’ and ‘the sorority’ responsible for forming this party to civil court and I will win hands down!”
It wasn’t the lawsuit that shocked the party animals but the fact that I was Corey’s ‘daddy’. I could tell by the expression on Corey’s face he was about to explode on me. He was so pissed off his claws appeared twice as long and his canines looked like they belonged to a sabre tooth tiger. Not to mention the drool that was dangling from his mouth.
I waved Corey over to me and as he walked people parted space for him but they also looked astonished. That astonishment only lasted for a few seconds. In the background I could hear people heckling Corey in a low voice. No doubt, Corey heard them.
“Corey’s going back to daddy. He can’t party because his daddy says so. Corey’s got to be home. He’s got to have his cookies and milk before his daddy puts him to sleep.”
Shockingly, Corey turned to face the crowd and hissed at them. Thereafter, no one dared say a provocative word against him. He was menacingly strong and they knew it. Furthermore, as a feline he had permission to also attack females. The ‘don’t hit girls’ routine only applies to male humans.
Although a significant portion of the party animals had decided to leave there were still many of them who were present. But at least now we could walk without having to bump into anyone.
Because it was a family affair I motioned Corey to follow me outside. And that he certainly did.
We cut through the lawn and then walked several blocks away from everyone. Now we were alone.
Corey and I were now face to face and as soon as I opened my mouth to speak he pounced on me so hard I fell backwards onto the ground. When I came to Corey was drooling over me. He gave me a light slap across the face and then gave me a retaliatory lecture.
“Dad, you humiliated me in front of my friends and all of the party animals! Don’t you have any tact? Now how am I going to go back into the frat house and save Cynthia? Didn’t you think of that before you humiliated me?”
“Corey, I’m your father and I care about you. I can’t see you fall off the wagon again. You need to take responsibility for your own actions.”
Corey was crying but I acted like I didn’t notice it. I dared not say a single word pertaining to the matter. Tears were dribbling down his cheeks landing on my shirt. If I dared speak, Corey would’ve physically attacked me.
Corey hovered over me for several minutes before he leaped off of my chest. Believe me I felt relieved.
Corey walked back to the frat house and I followed him like his shadow. By the time we got back it was already dark. As soon as we entered the frat house I glanced up at the clock. It read 6:30 P.M. I couldn’t believe how fast time was flying. Anyway, Corey and I were in the mood for some pop.
We went to the kitchen and then I fixed us a couple of super-sized pop drinks. I placed them on the kitchen table, one in front of me and the other in the middle of the table. Corey leaped onto the table and then began to lick his pop. I in turn began to drink mine.
I made certain that our drinks were loaded with caffeine. I wanted Corey to have a caffeine buzz. That’d lift his spirits.
As we were drinking our pop a young man of twenty years or so knocked on the wall beside the entrance.
“Guys, can you come here for a moment or two. We’re taking pictures and downloading them onto our website. Please, we want to get everyone’s pictures for nostalgia sake. One day when we’re old we’ll look at these pictures and cherish them.”
I looked at Corey in astonishment and confusion. To tell you the truth I had some suspicions about the young man. His body language and tone of voice were off beat. But then, I shrugged it off. Corey and I had just endured a very stressful experience. When you’re stressed out it’s easier to misunderstand other peoples’ intentions. So, I motioned Corey to follow me. But I also told the 4 women in the kitchen that we were returning soon and that our drinks were reserved. They agreed.
Corey and I walked over to a congregation of ten men and women. We were told by the woman taking the picture to stand on the far right of the congregation. We did as told. But there was a slight delay of sorts.
“Corey, honey, please don’t stick your tongue out. Now Corey, don’t frown at me. I’m only trying to take your picture.”
After the woman took several pictures of us in different poses she thanked us dearly and said the pictures would be on the fraternity and sorority websites within few days.
Corey and I returned to the kitchen in high spirits. The picture taking was a good diversion, or was it?
As soon as I sat down and Corey leaped onto the kitchen table we noticed that the four women were gone. Considering we were in a party house we figured they were in another part of the frat house or maybe they went home.
“Corey, I apologize for humiliating you in front of all of those people. You know something I lost all sense of tact as soon as I saw you beside that gargantuan keg. Those party animals aren’t related to you, they’re not flesh and blood like you and I are. I don’t want anything bad to ever happen to you.”
“All right dad, but you know what, we’ve completely forgotten about Cynthia and Jeff. It is why we went back in time and entered re-entered this dimension.”
Corey was right. We decided to restart our work after we finished our pops. Corey was a much better tracker than I could ever be.
We enjoyed our super-size drinks. Corey put a big smile on his face and said that all was well between us. I inherently knew that my son would calm down. But, I also knew that there would be a storm first. And I was very thankful that storm had come and gone.
As soon as we stood up to begin our search something unusual happened. Corey and I felt groggy. It was odd because our blood was engulfed in caffeine.
Then, everything went blank. We were out for quite a few hours because as soon as I came to after looking at my son I glanced up at the clock over the fridge. Unbelievably, it was now 2:00 A.M. We were drugged. Who the perpetrator was I had no idea. I vaguely remembered 4 young, beautiful women standing around doing nothing. We were the only persons in the kitchen at the time.
Corey and I fixed our own pop drinks. In a flash, I realized that we did indeed lower our guard briefly. We were away from our drinks while our pictures were being taken. Either we were deliberately diverted or the perpetrators were in the kitchen.
I gently nudged Corey several times and then kissed him between the ears. Afterwards, I carefully lifted him off the kitchen table and then pulled him to my chest. I caressed him for a minute or two before he opened his eyes.
It took roughly 15 minutes for us to ‘almost fully’ recuperate from the drugging effect. Anyway, we realized that there was no time to waste. It was now 2:17 A.M. and for some unknown reason the entire ground floor was empty. Not a soul in sight.
“Corey, let’s first check the lawn and the back of the fraternity house. We must ensure neither Cynthia nor any other woman is being assaulted.”
Corey and I walked through the fraternity house dodging an unbelievably multitude of beer cans and bottles, cups and bottles of hard liquor. Not to mention the occasional shoe in our path.
As soon as Corey and I exited the frat house we noticed a dead calm; seeing nothing hearing nothing. The stench of booze and vomit permeated the air. But that wasn’t what we were sniffing for.
“Corey if you smell semen or vaginal fluid, follow the trail, and I in turn will follow you.”
“Dad, which trail do you want me to follow? I’ve picked up more than one semen and vaginal fluid trail.”
“Corey, let’s bypass the back of the frat house. Please follow the freshest trail; better yet, an ongoing one.”
“Dad, I pick up a trail! I recognize the vaginal fluid, it’s from Cynthia. That’s not all. I’ve picked up Jeff’s semen trail. It’s right next to Cynthia’s!”
“Corey, please do as I say. I want you to run to the hallway where the trail is emanating from but under no circumstances shall you enter the room. You must wait for me and then we’ll go at it together. Remember, we’ll have to roll up our sleeves. There will be combat soon.”
In a flash, Corey entered the frat house and reached the 2nd floor. His incredible speed made the wind whistle; I was proud of my beloved son.
I followed Corey. And by the time I reached the 2nd floor hallway Corey was squatting, claws extended and canines bearing. He was ready for some serious combat.
But there was a serious problem. Right before we were supposed to dash for the gang-rape room I knelt down and grabbed Corey by his scruff. Then, I hoisted him into the air.
“Dad, what are you doing? Let me go! I want to save Cynthia Corbett! Why are you delaying our intervention!
Dad, you don’t care about Cynthia! You’re a fake! You want her to be gang-raped! Let me go or else I won’t be your son ever again!”
Corey was wrong on all counts. I did care about Cynthia and whoever else was being victimized in the gang-rape room. I could hear Jeff bragging about his conquest to his friends. And the stench of semen and vaginal fluid was horribly strong. Truth is I was worried about Corey. Although I cared about Cynthia Corey was my flesh and blood. As far as I was concerned, he was the best person in the whole world.
However, I had no choice in the matter but to release my grip from Corey’s scruff. As soon as I did he ‘flew’ to room #25. Yes, room #25 the strip poker room.
I wanted to follow him immediately but couldn’t because I received a sudden jolt of grogginess. The drug wasn’t quite out of my system yet and at the time I realized that my ‘dosage’ was considerably higher than Corey’s considering our size differential. Our drugging was a carefully plotted conspiracy.
I fell onto the hallway carpet then everything became fuzzy. For the time being I could only listen to the ongoing fighting between my son and the gang-rapists.
By the time I was able to get up and fully recompose myself the fighting had died down but I did hear laughing, chuckling and giggling. With that in mind I was certain Jeff wasn’t acting alone. Not that he ever did.
I walked to room #25 and as soon as I was at the entrance I took notice of two powerfully built football player types who elbowed their way passed me. I ignored them because my target was roughly 20 feet directly in front of me. It was Jeff! He was holding Corey up by his scruff. But for some unknown reason Corey looked glassy-eyed and totally out of it. In effect, he was defenceless.
Room #25 contained two beds, obviously built for a roommate kind of housing. Horrifyingly, there were three nude women on the beds, two on one bed and a lone woman on the other bed. It was at that moment the stench of death hit me really hard. The women were all dead. They’re complexions had already changed.
I noticed that Cynthia was one of the dead women. There was nothing that Corey or I could do but enforce justice. The only thing to do was kill Jeff. He was an inter-dimensional traveller so we couldn’t take the chance of allowing him to leave alive even with a stiff prison term.
“Hey, Bassam look ... I’ve got Corey by the scruff. Look at that syringe dart on the carpet. I shot Corey with it. It contained peach Schnapps, a present for Corey.
Your son, the creep gave me a black eye and a bloody nose. I took it personally! I’ve finished off Cynthia, Andrea and your ‘girlfriend’ Cassandra. Yes, Bassam, I was the chief cheater in that poker game. You ruined it for us. We wanted to mount Cassandra the conventional way but because of what you did I had to kill her first.”
Corey came to, puked then his mind but puked first. Thankfully, some of his puke landed on Jeff’s arms.
“BARF! BARF! BARF! BARF! BARF!
Dad, don’t make any deals with Jeff. Just see for yourself, he mounted ‘them’ AFTER he killed them. He’s a real lunatic.”
“Jeff, you can’t get away with this. There are bound to be witnesses to your heinous act.”
“No, Bassam, there were no witnesses because while you sleepy heads were out cold I ‘conveniently’ pulled the fire alarm. As soon as the police and firefighters arrived they ordered everyone out of the fraternity house except for the residents, including yours truly, and for the party to end immediately.
As soon as the smoke cleared the only persons left were three fraternity brothers. Two of them left the room a short while ago and I am the third person. The two guys who left the room are on their way home. They, like me, graduated from Gramson.
You can’t stop me because I carefully calculated the Corey’s dosage, the timing of this special event and my victory speech, which I’m giving at the moment. I graduated with a double major; organic chemistry and pharmaceutical science. I’m sure your ex-lover Cynthia told you that Jeff’s a brain. My lab skills enabled me to calculate the exact number of millilitres needed to keep Corey in the state he’s presently in.”
“Corey, don’t worry I’ll save you!
Jeff, you better not hurt Corey. I’ll kill you with my bare hands if you do.”
“No, Bassam, you couldn’t defend yourself against a fly. Take two steps towards me and see for yourself.”
I took one step and with the second I ended up falling onto my face. I barely managed to get on all fours. But still, I was dizzy and unable to defend myself let alone protect my own son.
“Bassam, do you remember hearing about me throwing Corey through a window? Yes, I’m sure you do. Well, this is a repeat but with a modified outcome; an outcome that’ll surely cause you immense pain, agony, frustration and anger for the rest of your pathetic life but it shall be poetic justice for me.”
Corey was able to spurt out a few words. He appeared dazed and haggard, but intent on speaking.
“Dad, I love you very much! Dad, I’ll miss you while I’m dead! Dad, you’re the best inter-dimensional traveller in the whole universe! Dad, if I say I love you a million times over it still won’t be enough times!”
That was the last thing that Corey said to me; I mean the last time ever.
“Bassam, now it’s payback time!”
In a quick sweep Jeff hurled himself out of the window. Sadly, he was still holding Corey by the scruff. At that point I froze in shock. For a whole minute I could do nothing but stay on all fours. Then, I was able to stand up. I took another look at the three dead women. I couldn’t imagine what their parents would say and think if they’d seen them in this state. As for Cynthia, I had no idea where her real parents were, let alone her extended family. Technically, everyone has family. I mean, you can’t just appear out of nowhere.
I walked to the window and peered downwards. I had a close call with death because I lowered my head too a bit too much and I was still a bit groggy. Suddenly, I found the upper half of my body heading downwards. Thankfully, I was able to pull myself back but not before I got a really close look at Corey and Jeff. They were both bloodied.
I slowly walked out of the gang-rape room and headed downstairs. Believe me, the walk seemed like it lasted almost forever.
As soon as I exited the frat house I circled back to the other side of the house. And as soon as I got there my worst nightmare had come true. While I was heading downstairs I was hoping that somehow Corey would come to, even damaged. I just wanted my son to awaken. I wanted it more than anything else in the whole universe. I would’ve gladly taken Corey’s place. Unfortunately, Jeff would never have accepted. Also, hindsight is always 20/20. During the event you don’t have the privilege of going back and correcting your mistakes.
I scanned the area to make sure that Jeff’s buddies weren’t around. Gosh there was absolutely no one around. Although it was still dark there were dim lights in the area and my eyes had already adapted to the dark.
As soon as I was within a foot of Corey I totally lost it. I fell onto my knees and had a horrible cathartic experience.
“Corey, I love you more than anyone else in the whole world! Corey, I beg you to forgive me for not conveying the three golden words (I love you) to you as a father should! Corey, please wake up, I love you so dearly! Corey, please let’s go back to the good ole days! We can go back to the Castle and I promise to fix you an incredibly large ice cream sundae. Corey, I promise if you awaken I’ll convey the three golden words to you a million times over! I promise I’ll be the best father in the whole world! I promise I’ll search for Planet X and you’ll be by my side the whole way through. Corey, I promise that I’ll find your mother!”
I noticed that Corey had a blob of blood that’d emanated from his mouth. Although I wanted to believe that it was only a dental injury deep down inside I must’ve known it was caused by severe internal injuries.
I massaged Corey’s forelegs and then his hind legs. When that didn’t work I massaged the rest of his body speaking to him softly during the process. But as the minutes passed and even CPR didn’t work I finally gave up.
“It’s not fair! It’s not fair! It’s not fair!”
I must’ve shouted the aforementioned phrase a hundred times over but without any result. I was now absolutely certain that the only thing to do was to bury my son in a nice safe place.
As soon as I took notice that dawn was fast approaching a large crow descended beside me. At first I was apprehensive, thinking that he wanted to eat my son. Thankfully, I was dead wrong.
“Bassam, I send my condolences to you and all of Corey’s relatives. Indeed, he was a brave kitty. You must be proud of your son; and it’s very nice that you love him so much.
As for Jeff, he’s a no-good beast. You can’t imagine how many women he’s hurt; tons of them. The lucky ones leave crying. But there are many buried in that wooded area to your right. After each event, Jeff and his buddies would carry the corpse which was always in a black garbage bag, to the wooded area and then bury it.
That’s not all though; he was a no good cat and dog killer too. He killed countless animals to punish their owners. Jeff targeted animals owned by young attractive women. Well, look at him now. He’s dead and there isn’t a person around who’ll give him an atom’s worth of respect.
Bassam, take your son deep into the wooded area, at least 100 yards into it. Make sure that your ditch is at least nine feet deep. Place a hidden marker near the plot but certainly not on his plot. Maybe, Jeff’s friends may decide to exhume Corey’s body out of spite and revenge.
If you need any help burying your son we can call out several very strong racoons. They’ll do the job for free. Jeff sometimes played target practice with his buddies. They’d fire pellets at racoons.
Or you can go to the garage near the front lawn and get a shovel. It’s not light out yet and most of the people in this neighbourhood will be sleeping off their hangovers. I can’t imagine them awakening before noon. “
“Please, tell me what your name is.”
“I’m Cornelius and those five crows perched on that tree branch are my best friends in the whole world.”
“Cornelius, please ask your friends to call forth as many racoons as they can. And if there are rats in the area them too. I think it’ll be poetic justice to ‘donate’ Jeff’s body to the animal kingdom. Besides, I want to make sure that he stays dead forever.”
Cornelius gently rubbed his beak against my chin and then obliged me. I was thankful to have a good friend at such a sad moment.
I scurried to the front lawn and then to the garage. After searching earnestly for a shovel I found one that suited me right. I wasted no time carrying it back to the scene of the crime.
Upon my return I couldn’t help but notice a large congregation of animals taking chunks of flesh out of Jeff’s body. Apparently, the crows had begun with Jeff’s eyes. I was in no mood to feel sorry for him. DON’T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CAN’T DO THE TIME; and this is Jeff’s time.
As soon as I picked my son off of the ground all of the animals stopped eating at once. Each and every one of them conveyed condolences to me. I thanked them and then got back to work.
It took me two full hours to dig the plot and seal it. I’d had a change of heart beforehand. I refused help from four powerfully built raccoons.
Luckily, I did the job just right. There was no way that anyone could ever know where my son was buried.
I returned the shovel to the garage and then returned to the 2nd floor of the frat house. I walked over to the nearest bathroom disrobed and then took a nice long shower.
Amazingly, there was fresh clothing nearby that I was able to put on after drying myself off. Now, all I needed was to eat a nice brunch and then I’d leave the dimension forever. I didn’t want anything to remind me of the horrible killing of my son or the gang-rapes of a multitude of women by none other than Jeff and his ferocious buddies.
I re-entered the frat house walking straight to the kitchen. I know it sounds unusual for me to have a big appetite at such a time but the drug had dehydrated my body of nutrients and water. In effect, I was famished and extremely thirsty.
I fixed myself a pancake and egg breakfast with some milk and juice on the side. It was very tasty and well-needed. My meal went without interruptions. Afterwards, I cleaned up and then roamed the frat house searching for more evidence of crimes committed. I had a gut feeling that there was more to it than just a few survivors. I delayed my return to the castle once again.
While searching around I happened to glance up at a clock in the living room. It was now 8:30 A.M. Time had flown by and I’d over-extended my stay. I decided to call the police and tell them what had happened.
When the dispatcher asked for my name I used an alias for a response. But then, she began to ask me suspicious like questions. Instantly, I hung up the phone and left the frat house. I wasn’t in the mood to be interrogated by the police let alone become a suspect. After all, my finger prints were strewn all over the place, I used a shovel to bury Corey, and I had no acceptable reason to be at the frat house. I certainly couldn’t tell the police that I was ‘a traveller’. They’d think I was a nutcase therefore I’d probably end up being the prime suspect.
It was now time for a quick exit. I wasn’t sure exactly where the Gramson Police Station was. But as I crossed the street to begin my return to the castle I heard a faded siren roughly 6 blocks away and the vehicle sounded like it was getting closing in on the frat house. Naturally, I sprinted for several minutes away from the frat house. When I finished running I noticed that I was really panting heavily. I was no longer the young man of old; a strong man who could endure much sacrifice.
But I continued walking towards the castle and thankfully a short while later I was within visible range of the tunnel leading into the castle. But then, I got a shocker. In all my haste, not once did I even consider glancing back just in case there was danger nearby.
“Hey, put your hands up and stop right there or else I’ll shoot you in the back!”
As soon as I turned around I pulled a fast one on the officer who was pointing his gun at me; I went ahead and raised my hands but began to walk backwards. By the time the officer took notice of what I was doing I leaped into the tunnel and the rest is history.
I was almost certain that someone had called the police and informed them of my whereabouts. I understood that there were at least two other gang-rapists, and perhaps they had sympathetic girl friends.
As soon as I entered the tunnel I went straight to the castle. Alas, I was finally home free!
The first thing that I did as soon as my feet were firmly fixed onto the hallway carpet was collapse. I lost all semblance of etiquette. I was exhausted and couldn’t have given a damn about what anyone else thought.
I slept for roughly eight hours, dreaming about Corey in one dream after another. I just couldn’t get my mind off of him.
When I awakened I fell into a very deep depression. Nobody in the whole universe could’ve filled the void my son’s death had caused. Corey Jameson was part of me. I felt like I’d lost a big part of myself; a part of myself that I couldn’t imagine ever regaining.
Thankfully, the drug was excreted from my body and although I was depressed my mind and body were cleansed.
I was bummed out for the following three weeks, so much so I didn’t leave the castle even once. I strolled through the floors eyeing a multitude of rooms hoping that the answer was therein. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the answer.
As the 3rd week came to an end I decided on a major change of venue. I’d choose a doorway and enter it blindly hoping that whatever was behind it was better than what I had here in the castle. But I wanted to give myself 48 hours before making my move.
There was one thing on my mind that I just couldn’t shrug off. Every so often I’d see a shadowy figure a few hundred yards away at the other end of the hallway. I was intent on finding out exactly who or what it was. The sheer number of times I saw the shadowy figure convinced me of its existence. I wasn’t imagining anything.
I decided to prepare myself by entering the exercise room on my floor. I changed into workout sweats, warmed up and then drank two large energy drinks. And for insurance I grabbed hold of a Louisville slugger baseball bat.
I exited the hallway at 1:30 P.M. ensuring that I’d have a long walk ahead of me without altering my sleep.
I strolled through four separate floors before seeing the shadowy figure again. As soon as it crossed from one room into another I sprinted to the general location. But I made certain not to pound the carpet too hard as to give up my location and warn whoever was watching me.
I ran like a stallion keeping my eye on the general location of the entry room. And as soon as I got there I entered what appeared to be a bedroom. Now, I was ready to confront the person/s.
I used my senses to try to sniff out the hiding person/s. I sensed nothing until I heard a faint scratching sound coming from the bedroom closet.
Initially, I assumed that it was rats or raccoons, but then I remembered that the castle was clean; rats or mice didn’t have to hide. They could come out and greet me or whoever else was in the castle. I was absolutely certain that someone or something was behind the bedroom closet.
“Come out of the bedroom closet right now! I’m fully armed, willing to use whatever means necessary to flush you out and have no more patience regarding you snooping on me.”
Lo and behold I got the shock of my life. The person inside the closet decided to open the sliding door and confront me.
“Daddy, I love you! Daddy, do you love me? Daddy, I’m sorry for snooping on you. I didn’t know how you’d react to my presence.”
“Alexa, gosh it’s you! Please, honey, leap into my arms right now!”
Alexa leaped into my arms, began to purr and then she licked my face.
“Alexa, what happened to you? What’ve you been doing these days?”
“First let me say that technically you’re my father. You were ‘with Cynthia’ when I was born. Do you accept me as your full-fledged daughter?”
I’d just lost a beloved son. One of the biggest regrets that I had was not opening up to him. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.
“Corey ... I mean ... Alexa, I love you very much and there’s no way that I could ever stop loving you.”
“You called me Corey first! You don’t love me! You don’t think I’m your real daughter because I’m not a bipedal ape like you!”
I cuddled Alexa in my arms, gave her a kiss on the cheek and then told her that I loved her for the umpteenth time and that she was indeed my full-fledged daughter. Thankfully, she believed that I was dead serious about what I’d said. The love I felt for Alexa inside me engulfed my ‘physical being’, like a giant beam.
Just seeing Alexa, my daughter raised my spirits to the clouds. In all the mumbo jumbo I actually forgot about my own daughter. Yes, she certainly was my daughter and I was very proud of her.
Alexa was a very beautiful short-haired cat. She looked like an American Shorthair just like her brother Corey. I felt that I had to make up for time lost with Alexa.
Alexa and I spent the next several days chatting with each other and strolling through the interior of the castle. But sooner or later we had to leave. She was an inter-dimensional traveler like her father. But I must say it wasn’t all a piece of cake. Case in point, we’d just eaten lunch and I was fuller than ever. All I could do afterwards was walk to speed up my digestion. But Alexa, being the precocious young kitty that she was wanted to play around. We’d just exited the snack bar and I wanted to stroll through the hallway for at least 30 minutes. Alexa had something else in mind.
“Daddy, can we play hopscotch?”
“Alexa, I’m full to the point of almost bursting at the seams, I’m tired and just want to take a long nap after I walk off some of this food. Sorry, honey, I can’t play with you.”
“Daddy, you don’t love me! You don’t want to play with me because I’m not a bipedal ape like you! I don’t walk on two’s like you, I’m a ‘four-legged’ and you can’t stand it. You’re ashamed of me.”
“Honey, Alexa, please don’t say that! You’re being like Corey!”
Alexa rolled over onto her side and began to cry like a little baby. Naturally, I made it look like I ‘didn’t’ take notice of her crying but it was necessary to stroke her side and sing her a lullaby. I kept repeating the same lullaby over and over again for a good half an hour. Then, I noticed that Alexa was sound asleep. Taking advantage of the situation I carefully carried her to the nearest bedroom and placed her on the left side of the bed. I always sleep on the right side of the bed.
Seeing my daughter sound asleep made me groggy. I couldn’t fight the urge to sleep, so I went ahead and closed my eyes. Surprisingly, we ended up sleeping for 12 hours straight; no interruptions whatsoever.
Upon awakening I began to gently stroke Alexa’s left foreleg. It didn’t take long for her to open her eyes.
“Alexa, would you like to travel into another dimension with your daddy?”
“Yes, daddy, this kind of traveling is in my veins. I can’t shrug it off. I want to see as many dimensions as possible so we can choose the best one to make our permanent home there.”
“Okay honey, I’m going to carry you to the snack bar. We’ll have some orange juice together. We have a tough day ahead of us. Alexa, I have a surprise for you too, but I can’t show you until it’s time to leave.”
“Dad, carry me in your arms. Most cats like that unless they’re pre-occupied with another matter.”
I carefully carried Alexa to the nearest snack bar, which by the way was next door.
After entering the snack bar I motioned Alexa to leap onto the counter and to wait patiently. Thankfully, she obeyed my request to the letter.
I managed to find two cold one litre cartons of orange juice in the fridge. Alexa snatched one of the cartons from my hand and then she poked two holes into it. I guess she wanted to be treated like an adult.
“Alexa, you look like a lioness licking the juice that’s dripping from the carton. I’m very proud of you.”
Alexa was too pre-occupied with her juice drinking to answer me. I didn’t take it personally so I went ahead and pulled the tab of my orange juice carton and began to drink.
The orange juice was delicious indeed. Alexa and I could’ve had another carton each but we passed on that.
“Dad, please let’s not leave yet. I want to have a father and daughter chat.
I need to tell you something about mom. It’s been a whole month now since I’ve left home. She was driving me crazy. Dad, mom’s a real nut case. I don’t know what to do about her. She’s very paranoid, thinks that every man in the whole universe wants to take advantage of her and that every woman is envious of her. Dad, she was making a scene on a daily basis. I found it hard to even go to the mall with her.
The last straw came at the local Donut House. The cashier asked my mother if she wanted to have her order take out.
Mom called the cashier a little tramp who liked to torment other women and sleep with their husbands. She also called her a marriage buster. Dad, I couldn’t take it anymore. Mom kept shouting and shouting, then she started up with some major obscenities. I didn’t even say goodbye. I casually walked away and haven’t returned since.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell Alexa that her mother was dead. I think it would’ve devastated her. Corey’s death was also another secret to keep.
“Dad, it’s going to be a very long time before I see mom again. As for my brother Corey, do you know where he is?”
“Honey, Corey’s like his dad, he’s an inter-dimensional traveller. I think he wants to be his own lion. In other words, he wants to grow up.”
“Dad, can we go now? You said that you had a secret to show me. My cat curiosity is gnawing at me. I want to know what the secret it.”
I decided not to blindfold Alexa. Although the location of the giant wheel was supposed to be a secret I had to trust someone. Besides, the old man in the painting was long gone. He was the one who told me to keep its location a secret.
Alexa followed me out of the snack bar and to the stairwell. As soon as we were about to go downstairs I informed Alexa of the importance of keeping our little secret and that under no circumstances was it to be divulged to anyone regardless of species, gender, age or location. She agreed.
As soon as we were at the doorstep of the giant wheel room I braced myself and then took a deep breath. Noticing what I did, Alexa copied my actions. She was a good daughter, at least for that moment.
“Alexa, I want to show you a gizmo that’ll knock your rocks off! It’s a gizmo that’ll enable us to control exactly where and in what time frame we want to enter.”
“Dad, umm ... there’s something I have to tell you. Like umm ... I promise I won’t ask for it again, but I need to drink some milk.”
I took one close look at Alexa and knew that she absolutely had to have some milk. The expression on her face was that of a sad little kitty. Not to mention, the tears that were dribbling down her face. But, I suspected that there was more, and time would prove that I was right.
“Dad, there’s one condition though. And like, umm ... I’m not a baby. But I want my milk in a baby bottle.”
“All right, Alexa. You can stay here while I get the bottle of milk. I assume that you want your milk warm and fresh?”
“Yes daddy, I also want the bottle to be very large.”
I ran upstairs and then through the hallway of the floor just above us. I was lucky to come across a snack bar. But there was something quite unusual about this snack bar. On the counter was a very large baby bottle full of milk. I must say, the bottle held at least 48 ounces of milk. That’s too much to drink, even for me. However, I had no time to empty it out. So, I snatched the bottle and then quickly returned to the giant wheel room. Thankfully, the bottle felt warm.
The bottle was so massive I had to carry it with both hands. It was fit for a baby walrus.
“All right, Alexa, here’s your milk. However, I must apologize for the brute size of this bottle. I simply had no time to empty part of the contents. Now please leap onto the bookshelf to my right. There’s a gap in the books on the 3rd tier. It’s roughly 2 feet wide and 2 feet long. You can cuddle up therein. In addition, it’s the right height for me. I can help you hold the milk bottle.”
Without any delay Alexa leaped onto the bookshelf and then rolled onto her back. She opened her mouth wide and extended her forelegs and claws. I in turn slowly slipped the baby bottle nipple into her mouth. Instantly, my daughter began to suck on the nipple.
At first everything appeared normal. But then Alexa kept on drinking and drinking. Out of sheer love and empathy for my daughter I slowly pulled the baby bottle out of her mouth. Instantly, Alexa went into rage mode.
“I want my milk! I want my milk! I want my milk!”
Naturally, I put the baby bottle back into Alexa’s mouth. I kept it there patiently until it was empty. Alexa sucked every drop of milk out of the baby bottle, burping a total of twelve times in the process.
Alexa was content and happy. I understood that it was now time for Alexa to be held in my arms and sung a lullaby.
I carefully grabbed hold of her, pulled her up against my chest and then walked over to the nearest chair. As soon as I sat down I began to sing the lullaby; Alexa’s favourite one over and over again until she was sound asleep.
Although I loved my daughter dearly I now had second thoughts about having her accompany me in my inter-dimensional travels. Maybe she wasn’t mature enough? I had to wait and see to get a definitive answer.
I carefully laid Alexa down on the table and then exited the room. I needed to stretch out a bit. I decided to stroll through the hallway going back and forth. I did this for roughly an hour before I heard Alexa call out to me.
“Daddy, where are you? Please come back to me!”
I instinctively returned to the big wheel room and then walked straight to the table and then cradled my daughter in my arms. Although I was thankful to be so close to my daughter I was also extremely apprehensive about taking care of her. I simply wasn’t qualified to do so. Besides, not to take any love away from my daughter but if she was to behave like a baby she’d be extra baggage.
“Honey, let’s get going. We need to do some heavy duty travelling.”
Alexa was behind me one hundred percent. I could’ve sworn that she’d gained a pound or two in muscle mass. It must’ve been that load of milk she drank. I wanted her to grow up fast so she could become a great asset to me not a liability.
MAPLESVILLE: THE FROZEN TOWN

“Alexa, this is the giant wheel. On the peripheral of the wheel are the manual controls. The panel beside us is the computerized, high-tech option.

Alexa, we can virtually enter any dimension, place or time frame within the reach of the control system. This is a dream come true. The doorways, however, should not be forgotten. They serve a good purpose too. And the castle, as long as it stands it’ll be a place of secure refuge for us.

Alexa, where would you like to go?”
“Dad, at least for now I want to go to a very quiet, peaceful little town without any dangers. I want to eat much so I can grow up to be a strong kitty. I don’t want to be a burden on you.”
“No, honey, you’re not a burden on me! I love you more than anyone else in the whole world.”
I couldn’t tell Alexa what was really on my mind. It would’ve devastated her. Besides, if she did grow up quickly she would’ve become a great asset for me.
“Okay, for our choices I must use the computerized controls. Here, Alexa, leap onto the panel and keep your eye on the monitor, it’ll give us some of the choices available.
I turned on the computer and then typed in the exact requirements needed for our new dimension. In a flash, over one hundred options were indicated. We only needed one so I entered additional requirements. Now, we had only 10 options.
After Alexa and I carefully studied the options we decided on Maplesville, Ontario, a nice peaceful name, indeed.
“Alexa, is it final? We’ll go to Maplesville, Ontario?”
“Yes dad, let’s go right now. I’m very anxious to get a respite from the troubles of the worlds. Besides, if we really like it mommy and Corey can come and join us. We’ll search for them and that’ll be it. We’ll live better and happier lives than the Cleavers.”
We now had a choice, use the computerized controls or the manual ones. We opted for the latter because they were easier and mistakes were less likely to be made.
I turned the arrow on the giant wheel to the correct coordinates and then manually punched COMMAND. Afterwards, I pressed down on the center of the wheel signifying the final command.
I took several steps backwards and then Alexa and I waited for the tunnel to appear. Voila, within a few seconds we got our wish.
“Alexa, do you want me to carry you into and through the tunnel or do you want to walk beside me?”
“Dad, I’m not a baby!”
That was enough of an answer. I motioned Alexa to follow me into the tunnel and eventually through it. Thankfully, she followed me like my own shadow.
As soon as we exited the tunnel I felt a rush of excitement. There was hardly a breeze, it was sunny and lush on both sides of the path. Up ahead roughly a mile or so was a large sign that read WELCOME TO MAPLEVILLE ONTARIO.
“Alexa, let’s keep on walking and not stop until we’ve entered Maplesville. I have a feeling that this is going to be a very peaceful and beautiful experience.”
“Dad, you’re ... I mean ... even from our location I sense that there’s something unusual about this town. Dad, I feel apprehensive.”
“Honey, our rush of excitement didn’t last long. But I hope that your hunch is off.”
Alexa and I continued our walk to Maplesville but as always on the alert for possible dangers lurking in the shadows. And shadows there were with a forested area on our left, and another our right any dangerous creature could’ve lunged at us with ease.
Thankfully, though, our path was easy to walk on. Besides, it’s always nice to see greenery. Greenery on land equals life. The sun in this dimension was almost identical to ours. Anyway, a short while later we were standing at the peripheral of town. I told Alexa to take a deep breath and then to follow me. I backtracked a bit, because initially I wanted us to keep walking without pause until we entered Maplesville. However, as soon as we were at the peripheral of town I felt that it would be better to brace ourselves first.
As soon as we entered Maplesville I realized that my daughter’s suspicions were correct. There was something quite unusual about this town. But what that unusual thing was we still didn’t know.
We continued walking until we got to the downtown core. It was then that we realized what was wrong. By golly there was no one around. The town was void of occupants. Where had they gone to? Or, what happened to them?
“Alexa, I want you to keep your incredible feline senses on yellow alert. Please do not place yourself on red alert unless it’s absolutely necessary and only as long as needed. Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out and then I’ll have to carry you back to the castle.
We strolled through the downtown core deciding to stop at an ice cream store. Maybe we’d see someone inside.
But as soon as we entered the store it was the same ole thing; no one in sight. In fact, there wasn’t an insect on the ground or in the air. No birds, no nothing!
“Alexa, let’s see if there’s any ice cream in the freezer. Okay, follow me.”
Alexa followed me to the freezer and then I opened it. Voila, to my utter shock there were gallons upon gallons of ice cream.
“Alexa, go over there and leap onto the counter while I make us a couple of ice cream cones. Oh, what flavour do you want?”
“Dad, I’m in the mood for some chocolate Ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and along with maple syrup.”
“Alexa, you have some real peculiarities. The chocolate syrup I can understand, but the maple syrup I can’t.”
“Daddy, you don’t love me!”
I regretted spurting out my last statement. Alexa started crying. I felt like a real fool.
“Honey, I’m sorry. Please, just wait a minute for your ice cream. But Alexa, I must warn you that you can’t eat your ice cream in a cone. Syrup will be too drippy for you to lick off. Besides, it’ll make a big mess.”
Alexa pouted, so I took it upon myself walk over to her and then give her a big hug and a kiss. Afterwards, I positioned her to face the giant mirror behind the counter.
Thankfully, everything went fine thereafter. We ate our ice cream, cleaned up and then left.
I scanned the area and then took notice of a clinic nearby. I asked Alexa to follow me there. I was hoping that I’d find what I was looking for.
We crossed the street and then entered the HAMILTON CLINIC. This was once a three story clinic, clean and with all the modern amenities. But I had to find out what’d happened and the answers would be therein.
“Alexa, please be careful at all times and be on the alert. If anything goes wrong run away as fast as possible. If I’m captured do not come back to get me. Go back to the castle and forget me.
However, if I start running away and then notice that you’re captured or for some other reason left behind I shall return for you.
“Daddy, I love you. How can you ask me to leave you like that! I won’t do it!”
“Alexa, as you father and also as a man who is stronger than you I command you to obey me on this matter!”
“Dad, it’s not fair. I won’t do it.”
“Alexa, we can’t be captured together. It’ll be the end for both of us; that is, if there are really bad people lurking in the shadows.”
Alexa was now crying like a little baby. I had to calm her down. So, I withdrew my commands.
As soon as Alexa and I entered the clinic we took notice of several stacks of medical files a foot long each. Naturally, these files had much needed information for us. For one thing, we could possibly find out what happened to the inhabitants of this town.
Alexa reflexively leaped onto the counter and then opened up one of the files. In capital and bold letters we saw the word PLAGUE stamped on the first page of the first file. I felt my heart beat a bit faster. But one file isn’t considered research. So Alexa and I began to open files two at a time searching for the answer to this big puzzle.
But each and every time we opened up a file the word PLAGUE would appear on the first page.
“Alexa, we don’ have to open any more medical files. Now it’s time to look for a possible cause for this problem.
Alexa and I skimmed through one medical file after another searching for an answer. It didn’t take long to find it. Apparently, a horrible plague had killed off 90 percent of the population of Maplesville. The remaining 10 percent survived with horrible disfigurements.
One of the symptoms of the plaque was that it ate away at the skin of the infected person. But there was more, and it was terrifying.
Many of the survivors went insane because in the latter stages of the plague the brain chemistry is altered in a very adverse manner. Furthermore, offspring are born with genetic defects and with an innately violent personality.
The photos of sickly persons in the medical files were horrifying. Not only were they all ugly they appeared extremely dangerous.
“Alexa, although the medical files have given us much information we still need to find out what happened to the survivors and where they went. I don’t believe for one second that they all died off. That’s highly unlikely.
“Alexa, let’s go to the city library. Maybe, therein, we’ll find our answer.”
“Dad, I’m really scared! Can we go soon?”
“Honey, yes, we can go. I promise, but please ... let’s go to the Maplesville Public Library.”
“Okay dad, I’m game. But afterwards, we go straight back to the castle and next time we must insert more data into the giant wheel. We goofed up this time but never again.”
Alexa and I exited the clinic and then walked a couple of blocks to our right.
“Dad, it’s late in the afternoon. We mustn’t forget about the time. You see, the clock up there ... above the bank reads 5:00 P.M.”
We hustled into the library heading straight to the reference librarian’s desk. We found nothing on the desk so we used the catalogue. Again there was no result. And for the next hour or so we frantically searched for an answer. Finally, Alexa found a copy of the last printed newspaper of the town. It was placed on one of the book shelves. Thankfully, my daughter had a keen eye.
“Dad, come here please! I found something very important!”
Without hesitation I ran to my daughter. As soon as I was within reach I gently pulled the newspaper out of my daughter’s paw and then began to read.
The headline read: ALL SANE PERSONS MUST LEAVE MAPLEVILLE! PLAGUE VICTIMS TURNING INTO FLESH EATING MONSTERS!

“Alexa, I think it’s imperative that we leave this dimension. But I just want us to read the article together. Is that okay with you?”

“Yes dad, I’m curious too. I want to know what’s going on here.”
The article was three pages long, well written, detailed and scared the living daylights out of us.
Indeed, the plague victims who survived became monsters. They returned to town only to seek out the flesh of the noninfected. As their numbers grew they moved to a forested area five miles from town.
Plague victims preferred night over day. Their eyes were oversensitive to light. That’s one of the symptoms of the plague.
“Alexa, we must leave this place at once! Especially, before it gets dark!”
Alexa and I exited the library and to our utter shock saw the last remnants of the sun. It was now sunset and shockingly Alexa told me what I didn’t want to hear.
“Dad, I can feel rumbling underneath my paws and I can hear terrifying sounds of creatures several miles in that direction. Dad, it’s the direction of the forested area housing ‘the monsters’.
“Alexa, to exit this town we need to run in that direction. We can see the back of the welcome sign from here. But, do you want to keep on running without stopping until we reach the tunnel or do you want to leave this town and then hide in the forested area that we passed through. Remember, it’s the forested area several miles in the opposite direction that the monsters are approaching from. Or, Alexa, we can hide in this town.”
“Dad, no, if they can smell as efficiently as a cat they’ll sniff us out. Not to mention their intuitive sense. I think they’ll sense that we’re here. Dad, let’s just go! Let’s sprint back home and if we puke when we get there it’s all right.”
Unfortunately, our conversation cost us much needed time. Now, even I could hear them. In fact, the monsters were so close I could actually smell their ‘stench scent’ and feel their pounding feet on the ground. But even I noticed something strange about their pounding feet. I couldn’t quite tell what it was so I asked Alexa, but first we had to save our hides.
Alexa and I sprinted out of the town running past buildings that we hoped to have seen but couldn’t. Thankfully, Maplesville wasn’t a large city. If it were we would’ve had a much longer run.
As soon as we left city limits Alexa changed directions. I was shocked! She ran to her left in the direction of the forested area. I assumed that we’d be running straight to the tunnel. Anyway, I figured she had an imperative reason to do that so I followed her.
We entered the forested area and ended up hiding behind a gigantic tree. Thankfully the area was heavily forested. As we were panting our brains out I found enough energy to speak to Alexa.
“Alexa, why did you veer off into the forested area?” But as soon as I finished my question Alexa gagged my mouth with her paw. I had to breathe heavily through my nose.
It was that Alexa motioned me to look out to the treaded path. Therein, I saw beast-like creatures, similar in appearance to King Kong but not as tall and with the ability to walk on twos or on all fours. They were very large, muscular, with prominent canines and visible claws.
Somehow, the humanoids in this dimension had quickly evolved into beasts. Plagues can do this.
Worse yet, the beasts were very fast runners, considering the dozen or so we saw each weighed over 1000 pounds each. They were definitely carnivores and intent on finding the two prey hiding in the shadows.
Alexa slowly pulled her paw away and then began to roll in the dirt and then she smudged her whole body with dirt and grass. I did likewise and thank goodness for that.
The beasts were sniffing the air in search of food. No doubt, they’d seen and scented us from afar. Alexa and I weren’t betting on their auditory sense being weak. We assumed that they could hear a whisper from a hundred yards away.
Alexa and I were so terrified there was nothing to do but stay put and wait until the beasts left.
A short while later, the largest of the beasts grunted an order to the other beasts. Every one of them entered the forested area on the other side of the path. But Alexa and I weren’t fools. It could’ve been a trick. So, we stood idle for roughly 15 minutes until the beasts exited the forested area. They appeared to be frustrated at not having caught their supper.
The beasts were very powerfully built. Although their primary method of motion was on four legs they were able to stand on their hind legs, though for brief periods. Their fur was reddish-brown in colour and they seemed to have lost all remnants of friendliness.
After sniffing the air for roughly a minute the beasts headed for Maplesville. I was just about to leave the forested area when Alexa pulled on my pant leg. In fact, she pulled so hard I fell onto my back. I was out cold for a few minutes. And when I came to Alexa was crying. She was standing on my chest and licking my face.
“Alexa, what happened? Where are the beasts? Did they leave?”
“Dad, everything’s okay. I’m sorry to have pulled so hard on your pant leg but you were hasty in your attempted exit of the forested area. Although the beasts are ugly and stupid looking, they’re still hunters at heart. They tried to deceive us when ‘they’ left the forested area on the other side of the path. There were still two beasts in the forested area waiting for us to appear. I waited patiently for half an hour; that’s when they decided that their dinner had escaped.
Dad, I think that we should walk through the forested area in the direction of the tunnel and when we get really close to it we can sprint there without looking back. How does that sound to you?”
“Alexa, I’m proud of you. I love you more than anyone else in the whole world and baby ... you’re also my best friend in the whole world.”
“Daddy, I love you so much! I want to stay with you forever; if that’s all right with you?”
“Yes, Alexa, you can stay with me forever. I’m your father and I’ll protect you and I’ll stand by you through thick and thin.”
We walked until we reached the peripheral of the forested area roughly fifty yards from the tunnel. But there was something strange in the air. Both Alexa and I suspected serious danger nearby.
“Alexa, you and I sense an ominous presence. I think it could be one of those beasts. There are always stragglers and also super-predators in every group. I think this guy’s the alpha beast. But before we make a run for the tunnel I wasn’t sure why we smeared and smudged dirt and plants on our entire bodies.”
“Dad, cats are smart. I was trying to ‘demolish’ our natural body odours and replace them with dirt and plant life. Those beasts are obviously die-hard carnivores. They wouldn’t be caught dead eating vegetable matter.”
“Alexa, you’re the best daughter in the whole world. Thanks for explaining to me the significance of dirt and plant life. Now, this is what we’ll do; you shall leap onto my chest and hold onto me with your hind legs. When you’re securely fastened to me I’ll kneel onto the ground and grab two handfuls of dirt and you can grab what you can with your paws. After I stand up I’ll run to the path and be ready to throw my dirt into the face of the beast/s.
Now, Alexa, this is very important; you must aim for the face especially the eyes. Otherwise, your throw will be a waste. We can’t afford two misses, if there actually is a beast nearby. We can’t take on an adult beast, even in our best of fighting days.”
As I was running towards the tunnel I heard a fearsome horrible sound coming from somewhere behind us. Almost immediately a gargantuan beast, no doubt 15 feet tall and very powerful, came charging at us. He had a musculature like no other animal. His fur couldn’t hide the incredible muscles underneath. His canines were as large and massive as a sabre tooth cat. But this particular fellow could’ve killed any known feline even a gargantuan primitive one.
The beast roared and growled with horrific intensity. If my daughter wasn’t with me I probably would’ve surrendered my life rather than fight. But then, a fight would’ve been useless for me.
“Alexa, aim good and keep your eyes open until the dirt is out of your paws.”
In a flash we threw our dirt and hit four bulls-eyes. The beast was temporarily halted. Without delay Alexa and I ran into the tunnel and then into the castle.
As soon as we successfully entered the castle I went straight to the giant wheel room. Therein, I deleted the settings for the Maplesville dimension. I replaced them with an alternative one. Now, no one could ever enter that dimension. Or better yet, it was gone forever.
THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN

After I finished my work with the computerized controls I motioned Alexa to follow me. There was no doubt where we were going. A short while later Alexa and I each hopped into the shower stall and cleaned ourselves off intently. Thereafter I’d be more careful and attuned while operating the interdimensional control system.

After we showered and dried ourselves off I decided to go straight to bed. Alexa was so sleepy I had to carry her to the bedroom. I made certain to gently place her onto the bed.

We slept for roughly eight hours and awakened fresh and vibrant. We decided to have a nice brunch and then afterwards roam the hallways of the castle.

Thankfully, things went just fine for the following days. However, lying idle in the castle was only a temporary state for us. We were inter-dimensional travelers.

We decided to leave on a Friday early in the morning on a Friday. The day of our departure the clock above our bedroom read 7:00 A.M. That was all we ever got in the castle. With so many doorways to different dimensions and time zones it would’ve been confusing to have a calendar on the premises.

Alexa and I fully awakened, took a long hot shower, dried off and in my case put on a pair of clean fresh clothing.
“Alexa, what would you like for brunch?”
“Dad, I feel like having Corn Flakes with tons of milk and a large bowl of fruit punch. I don’t want to eat too heavy this morning. I have a feeling we’re going to have a very busy day.”
“Honey, if that’s all you want then we don’t have to leave the bedroom. We’ve got a fridge right here with plenty of milk in it, bowls in the first drawer, and a dozen brands of cereal stacked on the bookshelf and fruit cocktail cans in the fridge.
Alexa, stay in bed while I prepare our tasty brunch. Turn on the television and please don’t play around. Food preparation is serious business.”
As soon as I headed to the fridge I saw Alexa stick her tongue out at me. I decided not to confront her this time. But if it ever happened again there’d be trouble.
“Alexa, our brunch is ready. Unfortunately, I need a food tray. I guess I’ll have to get one from the snack bar down the hall.”
“Dad no, there’s a food tray on top of the fridge!”
“Thanks, Alexa I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
My daughter was something else. I loved her to death and she was very intelligent too.
Although I was thankful we had everything we needed in the bedroom I couldn’t help but wonder about the ‘who’ and ‘how’. Who placed the milk, Corn Flakes, fruit cocktails, bowls, utensils and tray in the bedroom? And how did he/she creep into the bedroom unnoticed and then exit too. I could’ve sworn that someone was creeping around the castle while we were sound asleep.
We ate our delicious brunch and then went straight to the restroom and washed up.
It was now time to enter another dimension. After we washed up I had a serious discussion with my daughter.
“Honey, it’s time to enter another dimension. This time we’ll be more careful about the when and where of it all. Last time, we had a very close call. This time I want to enter a dimension with a very advanced civilization. I want all the amenities of luxury and technology. Are you game?”
“Yes dad, I want technology and comfort. I want to live in a gigantic mansion with many servants. I’m like other cats; I know what’s good for me.”
I admit that Alexa went overboard a bit but at least she agreed with me on the high-tech option. All said, we exited the restroom and then went straight to the giant wheel room.
“Alexa, are you excited?”
“Yes dad, I really am! But I’m also apprehensive because there are never any guarantees.”
“Don’t worry, honey, I feel the same way. We should always look on the bright side, strive and be confident. Look, wherever there are people you’ll find good somewhere therein or nearby. I promise you from the bottom of my heart it’s true!”
“But dad, that’s one side of the coin. The other side guarantees evil, cruelty, sadism and any other horrible things imaginable. “
We continued our walk to the giant wheel room until we reached the entrance. I gave Alexa a long look to make sure that she didn’t want to back down. Thankfully, she gave me a grin and a paws-up.
After bracing ourselves we entered the room and then headed straight to the giant wheel. After pondering for a while I decided to use the manual controls. Alexa backed me up one hundred percent.
We decided in Earth standards the year would be 100,000 C.E. (Common Era; an Alternative to Using A.D.).
I turned the wheel ensuring that the arrow pointed to the proper place and then manually punched in the coordinates. As soon as I was done I pressed down on the center of the giant wheel. Alexa and I took several steps backwards and then braced ourselves for a grand opening.
An opening appeared leading into the tunnel. We were awed by the sight. However, there was no time to waste. We entered the tunnel and continued walking to the end of it. It was a very unusual walk because my legs became rubbery and my knees buckled twice. Alexa seemed to be all right. I had no idea what was in store for us. But my physiological responses indicated that I sensed something quite eerie. This ‘sense’ is a drawback from my humanoid ancestors on Planet X. Before we became haughty, proud, powerful, and conceded we were beasts, like the primitive Hominoids (ape-like creatures) on pre-historic Earth.
Instead of stopping dead cold, which under the circumstances we should’ve done, we continued walking instead.
As soon as we reached the peripheral of the tunnel we noticed a vast grassy field, but on the horizon were the silhouettes of a grand civilization.
I glanced at Alexa to see if she was okay. Afterwards, we began to walk through a pathway dug into the grassy field. The pathway was perfect. My feet and Alexa’s paws felt a natural cushioning underneath us. No doubt, the people who built the pathway were highly advanced.
A short while into our walk Alexa sensed something or someone approaching us. Not wanting to take any chances we dove into the grassy field. Thankfully, the grassy area to the right and left of the pathway was several feet high. We were able to hide and see for ourselves what was approaching.
A moment or two later, a giant saucer-like spacecraft appeared out of nowhere. No doubt some sort of cloaking device was used.
The spacecraft hovered roughly 100 yards away from us at an altitude of perhaps 500 feet. Then, it disappeared. I had doubts about the occupants not seeing us. The spacecraft appeared to be at least several thousand years more technologically advanced than Earth’s. But we figured if ‘they’ wanted to harm us the job could’ve easily been done. So, we continued our trek to the advanced civilization’s home base.
It was roughly thirty minutes later before we came across a sign that read ‘WELCOME TO THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN’.
Zoological garden, what the hell did they mean, Alexa and I wondered. Well, there was only one way to find out; enter the zoological garden. But as soon as we entered we were met by an unusual occurrence.
“Dad, look, all those Gray-type aliens, they’re staring at us. And look throughout this place, there are countless cages with unusual-looking creatures therein. But not all of them are unusual. Many of them are from Earth. Dad, something’s awfully wrong here! I think that we should leave this place and never return!
As soon as I nodded my head in approval we lost consciousness. It happened like a bolt of lightning. In other words, we didn’t know what his us. As soon as we awakened we discovered that our lives and ‘our worlds’ were turned over.
Alexa and I awakened simultaneously. I think that it was planned that way.
Upon opening our eyes we found ourselves in an unusual enclosure. We had a roommate who was no doubt from Earth. He was a tiger, but we couldn’t tell exactly what sub-species he belonged to.
“Guys, I’m Alexander Katoff. I’m from Earth. More specifically, I’m a Siberian tiger. You’re my new roommates. Although I’m saddened to see you here as roommates I was going nuts living here all alone.”
“What the hell do you mean cage mates!” shouted Alexa.”
“Guys, you’ve been free for far too long! Take a look behind you.
Alexa and I turned our heads simultaneously. And I must say we were shocked beyond belief. So much so both of us fainted. I think we were out cold for only a minute or two but still it takes a whole lot of shock to knock out a humanoid and a feline simultaneously.
Alexander wasn’t kidding when he referred to us as cage mates. And now, I understood exactly what the sign meant; we were entering a zoological garden; a super-zoo habitat of sorts. This zoo contained creatures from various planets in the galaxy and perhaps from other solar systems. As for dimensions, I didn’t know where the other caged creatures were from. Furthermore, I certainly didn’t want the Grays to find out where we were from or of the presence of the tunnel leading to the castle. They’d wreak havoc on every nation they came into contact with. These Grays are worse than the Borg.
We were caged ‘creatures’. Every part of our new residence was walled except for the display area. That was enclosed by cage bars so the onlookers, who’s numbers were increasing geometrically could see us. Alexa and I were the new zoo exhibits.
As I slowly approached the cage bars the zoo patrons backed away in fear. Although these beings’ facial expressions were undetectable, not to mention their horribly menacing lifeless large black eyes, their backing away in such a manner indicated extreme fear. It was like the three of us were extremely dangerous wild animals.
In front of the bars was a moat that appeared to border the entire peripheral of the zoological garden, but inside the premises rather than outside. Obviously the Grays believed that we were unable to swim. I kept that fact a secret for a rainy day. One way or another there’d have to be an escape.
“Daddy, I want to go home! I don’t like it when those mean ugly-looking creatures stare at us!”
For the time being I didn’t bother to answer my daughter. It was evident that we’d be stared and gawked at for quite some time before escaping.
Amongst the zoo patrons were children. But it wasn’t they who I hated it was the adults who certainly knew better. Not to mention the criminals who ran the damn place.
“Sir, because we’re roommates I’d appreciate an introduction of sorts”
“Alexander, please forgive me. It’s normally in my nature to introduce myself. I’m Bassam Imam and this is my daughter Alexa Corbett.
What exactly is this place?”
“It is as you believe it is. This is a zoo and we, my friends are the star attractions.
My story is simple and straightforward. I was treading along in the dead of winter in the Russian north when all of a sudden I felt a presence. I didn’t smell or hear anything but my feline senses were somehow warning me of imminent danger.
I scanned the area over and over all to no avail. But then, I decided to look up. That’s when they sent down a horrible beam like light. I was forcefully transported up to the spacecraft.
I was out cold until I came to right here in this hell-hole of a cage. I’ve tried to bend ‘those bars’ a million times over, all to no avail. The Grays who run this zoo know exactly how strong each one of us is. They’re thousands of years more technologically advanced than the Earth that I left. I was abducted in the late 1920s. Boy do I miss home!”
“Alexander, do they know how strong all three of us are together?” asked Alexa.
“Alexa, that’s a fantastic question. We should waste absolutely no time, but let’s whisper so those beings staring at us don’t hear what we’re saying. And don’t let them read our lips or suspect that we’re conspiring to do something. Otherwise, they’ll insert a listening device into our cage.
Alexa, Bassam, if you’re hungry go ahead and take what you want from the fridge. They feed the zoo exhibits very well here. But don’t be fooled. It’s not out of love or empathy. This zoological garden is a big business enterprise, very entertaining and is used for field research in the science departments. Even children come here for science class. Every single time they come here I feel like a gorilla on display. That’s kind of unusual coming from a Siberian tiger.”
“Alexander, when does it die down in this place? I mean, look, you, Alexa and myself can focus on one particular cage bar. We’ll work on it when this place dies down.”
“Bassam, thankfully they have an Earth-like 24 hour day in this particular dimension. This place opens at 10:00 A.M. and closes at 7:00 P.M. every single day including holidays. In case you haven’t noticed there’s a clock above the fridge.
Sleeping quarters are here, visible to the patrons. Thankfully, we can urinate and defecate in a special room through that opening over there in the wall.”
I noticed that it was almost 5:00 P.M. I couldn’t wait until closing time. But first we’d have to endure an incredible crowd of patrons. I was under the impression that they were getting impatient with us. They wanted us to behave like beasts.
But there was something about the ‘hidden expression’ on their faces. These Grays were hiding something from us. But I couldn’t tell what it was. However, I did notice that they appeared to be reading a sign of sorts in front of the cage bars.
As soon as I approached the cage bars, the entire crowd backed away in utter fear. Honestly, I would’ve done so too if I were one of them. These beings were scrawny. We were like powerful beasts by comparison to them.
I noticed the object they were reading was a plaque. I managed to squeeze part of my face through the cage bars and to my utter shock and dismay read the caption for a full description of the species encaged: EARTHLING APE; GIANT FELINE MONSTER; MINIATURE FELINE MONSTER.
I was enraged! How the hell could these beings call me an ape? I lost my cool. But even in my ‘lost cool state’ I dared not tell them that I was from Planet X.
“I’m not a freaking ape! I’m a man! I’m a big shot; a true ‘humanoid’! I have feelings! I demand that you let us go! Alexa and Alexander are not feline monsters! They’re good people who deserve to be free!”
But more shocking to me was an unexpected response by the Grays ... each and every one of them smiled. Apparently, they thought my behaviour was amusing. Indeed, they were cunning. This kind of ‘zoo animal’ response must’ve been normal or at least common. They made appear like they had no feelings, like Vulcan’s, until appropriate. But their smiles were very wicked, indeed. Their horrible looking gargantuan dark eyes with no visible whites made them all the more eerie. In addition, their scrawny bodies and large heads added a touch of horror to it all.
I knew for certain that we had to get out of that hellhole. When I stuck part of my face through the bars I also got a glance at how large the place was. I simply couldn’t see the end of the cages on my left or right. And of course, it’s not including the countless streams of cages behind ours which we could never see because of the wall between us.
I walked back to my new cage mates all to be interrupted by the voice of an effeminate male Gray. Another shocker indeed, they could speak.
“Honourable patrons of the Zoological Garden, may I have your attention please. As you can see our brave scouts have acquired two more specimens, an ape and a ferocious miniature feline who were spotted together on our beloved planet.
Now, we all know what these beasts do on their planets, but imagine what they’d do on ours if they ever conquered us. We are an advanced civilization, no doubt many thousands of years ahead of these beasts. As such, we have an inherent right to place them in ‘appropriately designed’ enclosures.
Our trainers and scientists know exactly what these beasts want and need; food, clean water, shelter and safety from all predators. They’re lucky, indeed! No work, no worries and adequate beast medical care.
For those of you who are here for educational purposes go ahead and educate yourselves. But I warn you beforehand, never trust a beast. They think about themselves at the expense of others. There’s no mercy in their hearts, only aggression. What I’m trying to say is DO NOT EVER CLIMB OVER THE RAIL AND CROSS THE MOAT TO TOUCH THE BEASTS! THEY’LL BITE YOUR HAND OFF!
Now, as for the people in our tour group follow me to the next enclosure. You’ll see four lizard people; brace yourselves they’re even uglier than these beasts. If you’re weak and can’t stomach anything uglier than this skip the next enclosure.”
Thankfully, a large number of the onlookers moved on. Otherwise, we probably would’ve gone nuts from the stimulus overload and gawking.
“Bassam, Alexa, that Gray was a tour guide. He’s been here before. Don’t mind him any. He’s only following orders and I’m sure he’s too dumb to realize that it is he who’s in the wrong not us.”
We chatted for an hour before we decided to hit the sack. Thankfully, the crowd continued to shrink considerably. We closed our eyes and fell asleep in a jiffy.
But a few hours later, at 1:00 A.M., I was awakened by Alexander. He and Alexa were ready for something. I was still groggy and red-eyed therefore they had to explain to me in detail what was up.
Apparently, I’d forgotten about our ‘cage bar bending’ agreement. As soon as they reminded me I wiped my eyes and stood up for attention.
“Okay, Alexander, Alexa, we must be very careful. Our eyes, ears, and wits must be on alert at all times. The last thing that we need is to be spotted. If that were to happen, no doubt they’d split us up. That, my beloved ones, would be a torture far worse than death.”
We knew that there were very high tech cameras, extremely sensitive motion detectors and infrared lights throughout the zoological garden especially near the cages. No doubt, there were sentries posted in sensitive areas too. An escape plan would have to take into consideration the aforementioned and other possible dangers. As is the case, we’d only have one escape attempt. Punishment would no doubt be swift and incredibly painful.
I noticed that these Grays were different than the ones spoken about on Earth. This ‘sub-species’ had five fingers including an opposable thumb, they spoke, had visible teeth and were capable of showing facials expressions. We saw their sadistic grins. I couldn’t imagine what their ‘enraged faces’ looked like.
We carefully approached one of the cage bars, grabbed hold of it and then pulled it towards us as hard as we could. This manoeuvre lasted four roughly 30 seconds. After releasing our grip we gripped that cage bar again and pushed it to the left. We repeated the process over and over again until we couldn’t grasp, pull, or push anymore. Our game plan was to somehow loosen and weaken the actual cage bar and the foundation.
Alexa seemed hopeful. However, Alexander and I knew better. We were older and wiser. If we were super-lucky it would take hundreds or even thousands of attempts to complete the job. And I’m referring to the best case scenario. We still had to wade through the moat and then somehow crawl up the incline and escape the security apparatus therein.
“Guys, it’s really late so I guess we’re done here. As such, I recommend that we hit the sack until the barrage of Grays comes to visit us.”
“Dad, you’re absolutely right. We’ll do the same thing tomorrow.”
And tomorrow ‘we did’. We repeated the process for thirty consecutive nights without any let-up. The strange thing is when we awakened in the morning there would always be fresh food and water in the fridge. The food, much of it strange nevertheless tasted really good. The liquid drinks were very satisfying also. No doubt, it wasn’t for our own benefit but for the Grays. We brought in much ticket revenues.
We repeated this procedure over and over again. After roughly six months into our stay Alexander and I noticed a change in Alexa’s behaviour. She seemed less energetic, not attuned to what was happening around her. She looked sickly.
When I could bear it no longer I approached the cage bars and shouted to the keepers that Alexa was very sick. In fact, she was on the floor unable to get up.
“Help us! My daughter is very sick! If she doesn’t receive proper medical care she’ll die! Please, I want to see the director of the zoological garden!”
The patrons, now congregating heavily around our cage were once again showing their true faces. They were grinning, like they were told what was going to happen beforehand. It was then that I suspected Alexa was poisoned. If the poison was targeted at her the assailants must’ve entered our cage while we were sound asleep. She was poisoned.
From the very first day of our imprisonment I noticed that the Grays’ eyes almost always focused on me or Alexander. It was like they preferred larger beasts. If that were the case then Alexa was a liability to the administration of the zoological garden.
Thereafter, I did nothing but breathe. But then, my rage escalated to a level I could no longer contain. Like a beast on a chase I charged the cage bars. But this time, the force was a hundred times greater than my other charges. Like an enraged gorilla I grabbed hold of two cage bars, violently pulled and pushed on them and then shouted at the onlookers.
“You bastards listen to me carefully! Alexa is my daughter! I love her very much and I demand that she be given proper medical care immediately! I know that the bastards in the administration poisoned her! We’re not beasts! We’re living beings! We’re people like you! Why can’t you people freaking understand that!?”
As soon as I finished shouting I stood there staring at the patrons. But instead of seeing empathy, sympathy, compassion and understanding they grinned even harder. Some of the patrons, especially the youngsters were eating snacks from their bags. They reminded me of my Planet X days whenever I went to a zoological garden. But therein, the beasts were apathetic like most of those on Earth. Enrichment helps a lot. But we didn’t have any enrichment at all in our cages.
Alexander called out to me but in a whisper. Then, he waved me over. It was now imminent that my daughter was going to die. I ran back to her. Meanwhile, Alexander was cradling her in his left paw.
“Bassam, I know you love your daughter ever so dearly. Please, say what you must immediately.”
I understood what Alexander was trying to say; my daughter was at death’s door and it looked like no one was going to help her.
“Alexa, I love you more than anyone else in the whole universe. Alexa, you’re my daughter and I’d give my life up for you in a jiffy. I wouldn’t even think about my own life in the process. Please hang on because I’m sure that the doctor will arrive very soon.”
The latter statement was a lie. However, I couldn’t tell her the truth for obvious reasons.
“Daddy, I love you. Please tell mommy and Corey that I love them too. I love them very much, just like I love you.”
After her statement, her head flopped over onto the side and blood appeared from her mouth. Alexander and I noticed a glazy blank stare in her eyes.
I tried to give Alexa CPR over and over again without any response. Finally, Alexander calmly shielded Alexa from me. My worst fear had come true. Alexa, my beloved daughter had died.
“Alexa, please wake up! Alexa, look ... if I say I love you and please wake up a million times over you’ll do just that, right?
Alexa, I love you ... please wake up ...!”
I uttered those words only a dozen times before Alexander calmly cupped my mouth with his paw. Immediately, I stopped speaking for several minutes.
I got up and then ran towards the cage bars, but this time instead of making a full charge I stopped midway, fell onto my knees, pounded my fists against the floor and then lost control of my emotions.”
“It’s not fair! It’s not fair! It’s not fair ...!”
I must’ve uttered the aforementioned phrase at least fifty times before I took notice of Alexander. He pointed at the Grays. As far as I could tell every single one of them was grinning. This life form was pathetic, no doubt deserving of immediate destruction.
They continued grinning for an additional fifteen minutes. It was unbelievable. Even on Planet X our worst sadists would stop grinning after a half a minute or so. I had nothing but utter hatred and rage for the Grays.
As far as I could tell Alexander felt the same way. He after all was a cage mate and a feline like Alexa. Now, there was only one thing to do; think of an incredible escape plan. The pushing and pulling of the targeted cage bar was too slow. We needed an ally on the outside. But who amongst these Grays would even consider us real people?
I waited like what seemed forever until the zoological garden closed. That’s when I asked Alexander to do the unthinkable.
“Alexander, I want you to do something for me and my deceased daughter Alexa. I want you to dispose of her body completely by digging a hole in the back of our cage floor, putting her in it and then sealing the hole. I know what those monsters want to do to her body. They’ll use her tissue and cell matter for experimentation. I don’t want them to mutilate my baby.”
“Bassam, you’re asking me to do the unthinkable! Please ... she’s your daughter! I have an alternative plan.”
I braced myself for the alternative plan. Thankfully, it was good.
“Bassam, look, I’ll wrap Alexa in a towel, drop her into the moat and if tomorrow ‘they’ ask us what happened to her we’ll tell them that I ate her.”
“That sounds like a good idea. Alexander although I feel terrible about us being here, you’re a really good roommate. Without you and Alexa, I would’ve gone out of my mind in this hell-hole.”
Alexander did as he told me and then we waited until the next day. Upon awakening in the morning we saw a message intended for us.
I WANT OUR CADAVRE! IF YOU DON’T GIVE IT TO ME I WILL ORDER THE SLICING IN HALF OF YOUR FOOD AND WATER RATIONS! IF THAT DOESN’T WORK I SHALL ORDER MORE DEPRIVATIONS! BEASTS, YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS IN THIS ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN, AND DON’T YOU DARE EVER FORGET THAT!

WORST WISHES,
THE ADMINISTRATOR

“Alexander, she’s my daughter not yours. Therefore, it would be unjust for me to expect you to go through this. I’ll tell them what they need to know. At least we tried to hide her.”

“Bassam, look, let’s try to bend the bar we’ve been working on. If we can’t bend it by bedtime tomorrow morning I’ll tell the nearest zookeeper the true location of Alexa. I don’t mean to be cold, because I’m not, but realistically they can’t harm Alexa. She’s no longer in this world.”

“Okay that sounds nice. But let’s work on our favourite cage bar. Who knows, we may bend it, indeed.”
I didn’t make an issue out of it but even breaking all of the cage bars was no guarantee. We’d have to escape not only the zoological garden but make it all the way back to the castle. Therein, I’d make certain to punch in some major changes for this dimension.
We began to work on the cage bar in earnest for three hours until we couldn’t do any more. We walked back to our beds and then crashed out. As soon as I closed my eyes sleep hit me like a ton of bricks.
I awakened at 9:00 A.M. to the voice of a zookeeper. Judging from the tone of his voice and expression on his face and body posture he really enjoyed what he was saying.
“Creatures, listen up. The Administrator has ordered the reduction of your food and water rations. So, as of today, you’re going to be on a strict diet. Unless you tell us where the cadaver is in three days you two shall be separated. Each one of you will be placed in a separate cage with a new roommate.
In case you’re wondering, both of your new roommates will be from the Reptilian Race. To them, you’re tasty food.”
I glanced over at Alexander and to my astonishment he was wide awake and had heard the warning. Now, we were in a state of extreme apprehension. We knew that the cage bar work was something of a mental booster. We needed to feel as though we were doing something constructive. But deep down inside, we knew that our work was being done to no avail. The steel used for the cage bar was at least ten times as dense and strong as the steel on Earth or Planet X. Who the hell were we kidding? We needed a dramatic change in luck. And it had to be very soon, indeed.
The next day was spent in a state of panic and anxiety. Alexander and I had to come up with a very impressive escape plan but our time frame was almost non-existent.
“Alexander, we’re lucky. In all their haste they forgot to empty out our fridge. We have tons of food, but maybe they know something that we don’t.”
“You’re right, Bassam. Maybe, they’ve already made up their minds about transferring us. I think they’re planning on double crossing us. I mean, like, if we were to tell them where Alexa was our leverage would dissipate. Remember, we’re nothing to them but zoological anomalies. We must leave this place tonight!”
In truth, we were so bummed out when 11:00 P.M. arrived we could give nothing to ourselves but more pity and apathy. It was so bad Alexander and I agreed that we’d give each other a big hug every half an hour so we wouldn’t go mad.
By 2:00 A.M. even our anxiety and stress couldn’t keep us awake. So, we hit the sack thinking that the game was indeed over.
But something unusual occurred at around 3:00 A.M. Alexander awoke me but he did so with his left paw ‘gagging’ my mouth and his right paw was pointing in the direction of the cage bars.
Because I was still dazed I thought Alexander had gone mad. I certainly couldn’t understand why he’d awaken me so abruptly. But it only took a few more seconds to figure out what was going on.
Unbelievably, there was a Gray calling out to us in a soft voice. Instantly, I jolted out of bed and then ran to the cage bars. I motioned Alexander to do the same.
“Listen to me very carefully. And above all else speak in a low and soft voice. Otherwise, the sound detectors or the armed and deadly sentries will notice us.
I know for a fact that you guys aren’t beasts. Actually, even the Administrator knows you’re not. I want to make a deal with you. I know exactly how to get you out of this hell-hole. But there are three conditions that must be met or else I shall walk away and hereon you’ll be beyond anyone’s ability to help you.
First, you must take me with you; we’ll leave this entire area; the planet or dimension wherever you guys originally came from. I know that you guys are either inter-planetary or interdimensional travellers; if not both of you than at least one of you.
Second, you must destroy this entire planet, or dimension if possible. I couldn’t care less; actually, if you can destroy both quickly and decisively it would be all the better.
Third, you ... Bassam, must adopt me as your nephew. I need you to be my beloved uncle. I want to be your little baby.
I’m one of the last remaining humane Grays left on this planet. If anyone were to find out what I was doing they’d report me to the authorities. Humiliation and then execution would be the result.
Now, tell me what your answer is. And by the way, we must make our move within minutes. This is the optimum time for escape. No one, not even the Administrator would ever suspect an escape attempt at this particular time.
Bassam, I felt horrible about what happened to your daughter. Actually, her death was deliberately induced. Your actions were taped and recorded. In fact, many of the patrons who were gawking at you were students in the behavioural science department. The youngsters amongst them were given special permission to see your responses. These youngsters were gifted in the academic sphere.
And just so you’ll believe that I’m sincere I know where you hid Alexa. She’s in the moat. Alexander wrapped her in a towel.
You’ll receive no mercy from the Grays. You see, it’s written in our history books and in ancient folklore that eons ago the Grays were a peaceful people. The problem was that my ancestors were occupied by one race of beings after another. In response, they had to build up their military and scientific industries geometrically. Unfortunately, they also began a ‘phase-out’ program. The weak in mind were killed off.
As you guys can see for yourselves, the incredible level of technology we’ve achieved has turned us Grays into physical wimps. We’re weak and fragile. Might is technology.”
“Are you sure you want me to be your uncle?”
“You don’t love me! I’m going away!”
“I was shocked. I knew that this Gray was young but I didn’t think he’d resort to thumb sucking and crying.
Alexander and I stood there for a whole minute until we realized that by doing nothing we were dooming ourselves to hell for life.
“What should we call you?”
“My name is very difficult to pronounce. Choose a name from your native planet.”
“How about Toby, is that a name you can live with?”
“Call me Toby hereafter.”
“Wait I need to know why you’re so willing to leave your parents and your fellow Grays?”
“My father is the Administrator of the Zoological Garden. You don’t know how much it hurts me to be his son and to watch the thousands of beings rot in their cages. You can’t see them from your vantage point however I can see many of them.
In fact, your neighbours who are so quiet are in reality reptilians. They eat flesh and love blood. However, they’re very quiet. One of you will probably be moved next door. And in that case, I don’t have to tell you what their next meal will be.”
“Toby, are you certain you can get us out of here?”
“Yes, remember, my father is the Administrator. I know exactly where the controls are. How do you think the keepers keep filling up your fridges and ensuring that your water is clean? I’ll show you if you decide to escape.”
We jumped on the deal. There was nothing in the cage that we deemed necessary to bring with us except my shoulder bag. Thankfully, it was very comfortable and non-intrusive.
Toby walked over to his right approximately fifty feet, waved his hand over a panel and then waited for ten seconds. Afterwards, he punched in some controls and then a giant ramp slowly extended from the other side over the moat and then clamped onto a peg just beyond the cage bars.
Toby was carrying a bag but at the time it seemed inconsequential. We wanted to escape immediately!
Thankfully, the cage bars opened and immediately, Toby motioned us to follow him. Judging from his behaviour he also wanted us to be quiet and stealth-like. Under the circumstances, it was understandable.
We briskly walked through much of the Zoological Garden and then Toby motioned us to stop roughly fifty yards short of the exit.
Toby then pulled a gadget about the size of a flash drive, pointed it at the security office and then voila, the office collapsed, turning into dust. The thing is, not a sound was heard. Immediately afterwards, Toby motioned us to stay put. There was more work to be done. He pointed the gadget at what appeared to be a master control box, black in colour and no larger than an ice cube tray. In a flash, it’d melted away.
“Guys, we’re in the clear for exactly two minutes. Thereafter, the safety alarm will go off, the place will be lit up and then all hell will break loose. There’s never been an escape from this place and I’m absolutely certain that my father will take it personally.”
We ran like hell out of the Zoological Park and then Toby suddenly stopped.
“Bassam, Alexander, it’s now your turn to give the directions. We need to leave this place completely. Please, don’t waste any time.”
Although I was dazed from months of incarceration I did remember our walk to the Zoological Park. I gave Toby and Alexander directions to the tunnel. In a flash, we were running for our lives.
Toby was right. Two minutes later we heard the most terrifying alarm. Furthermore, the entire area lit up for miles on end, as far as the horizon.
Alexander and Toby were much faster runners that I was. I was a middle-aged man way beyond my prime and not used to running much. Walking was my thing. But in the end, it didn’t matter much. As I approached the tunnel I noticed Alexander and Toby pacing the area nervously. I entered the tunnel first and my two best friends in the whole world entered after me.
As soon as we were well secure in the castle Toby didn’t wait long to give me his opinion.
“Bassam, please, you absolutely must destroy this entire dimension, the planet and this Gray sub-species. They’re so far advanced it wouldn’t surprise me if they found the tunnel and then entered the castle sometime in the near future.”
“Okay, guys listen up! I’m going to run to the master control area and do exactly as told. Now, I want you guys to go to the lounge room over there. I’ll be back in a jiffy. Don’t worry I’ll fix the three of us a really nice burgers and fries meal. Toby, in case you don’t know what that is it’s a very tasty meal.”
“I’m not stupid! I know what that is! I’ve read much about other dimensions. My father’s library was full of books and contained several super-computers. We were able to access other planets’ computer systems and sites.”
Meanwhile, Alexander was drooling like a true Bengal tiger. Indeed, he needed much meat.
I ran as fast as I could to the giant wheel room. As soon as I arrived I wasted no time, backtracking what I did and then deleting the coordinates, the dimension and everything else therein. And as usual, I replaced the dimension with another. Thankfully I worked in the nick of time. You see, I had a very eerie feeling inside me. I felt that the Grays were on the verge of entering the castle. If that’d happened, they would’ve controlled many dimensions, galaxies and even universes; a horror indeed. In that case, there would’ve been nothing to live for. We would’ve become slaves for the Grays; everyone from Earth to any other inhabited planets. I can’t tell you what the Grays would’ve done to the animal kingdom. Anyway, there’s no use in pondering about that.
KULAKS

I collapsed onto the carpet from exhaustion and relief. I was so happy to have left the hell-hole we were forced to live in. Thereafter, I’d try to be more careful when entering a new dimension. But at the same time, I wouldn’t hesitate in deleting a hostile one. After all, I was an inter-dimensional traveller.

It was a nice walk, knowing that Alexander and Toby were waiting for me. Also, the mere thought of those juicy burgers, thick and long fries, beautiful drinks and dessert were added comforts.

As soon as I entered the lounge room I noticed that my two buddies were really getting along. I think it was for the better. Being a lone traveller was just that; often lonely. Having a reliable companion was nice, having two was even better.

“Guys, stay where you are and I’ll fix us a nice meal.”

I went to the mini-kitchen behind the counter and then proceeded to open the freezer and remove three large patties. I placed them on the skewer, turned on the power and then washed my hands well with soap and water.

Afterwards, I continued working on the meal at hand. It was fun fixing a tasty meal. The smell of those patties was driving us crazy, especially Alexander.

Roughly fifteen minutes later I placed all the food on three separate plates, and then put the plates and three giant pop drinks on a tray. Voila, I was now ready to go!

As soon as I began my way back to our table I remembered something very important; dessert. How could we eat a gigantic, tasty meal without dessert?

I backtracked, putting the food tray on the counter and then going back to the kitchen and taking out a whole lemon meringue pie. I went ahead and sliced it into three pieces, placed each slice on a plate and then put the plates on the tray. Now, I was certainly ready to go.

After placing the plates of food and the large cups of pop on our table we began to eat without conversation. We were like three hungry lions eating a zebra carcass.

It wasn’t until we were deep into our meal and our sugar levels had risen completely that we were able to glance at each other. And by the time we were eating our desserts and drinking our remaining pop everything was swell. We smiled at each other often and spoke about whatever came into mind.

“Listen, how long do you guys want to stay in the castle before we enter another dimension? With the Gray dimension obliterated forever we’ve managed to remove one potential problem.”

“Bassam, whatever you and Toby want I’ll accept.” “Uncle Bassam, can we stay here for a couple of weeks before leaving? I’m very tired, both emotionally and physically.”
“I guess we can stay here for a week. Until then, we can enjoy our stay in this beautiful and enormously large castle. No predators or enemies around to harass or harm us.
No guys, we’re finishing off our food. So, I’d like to make sure that you’re palates and stomachs are satisfied.”
“Yes, Uncle Bassam, I’m full to the rim”
“Bassam, I’m full too. I really needed that gargantuan juicy burger. The fries, pie and pop were incredible bonuses. Our next meal should include pizza and tons of ice cream.”
“Toby, do you know what ice cream is?”
“Alexander, I’m not a baby! I know what ice cream is. You guys keep ganging up on me!”
“Toby, Alexander wasn’t trying to gang up on you. He loves you the way I love you. Really, Toby, we love you and we care about you.”
Toby grinned and then continued eating his pie and drinking his pop. Soon afterwards, we got up and then went to the nearest restrooms to clean and then dry off.
While we were in the restroom I couldn’t help but notice that Toby was fixated on his face. It was like he’d never seen a Gray before and maybe there was something else to, but I’d have to be patient to find out.
After drying ourselves off we exited the restroom and then strolled through the hallway. But as we were strolling I whispered in Toby’s ear and then Alexander’s. I asked them to keep an eye on the end of the hallway just for today. Any scurrying creatures would’ve been chased down that day.
The days and nights passed quickly. Although we didn’t go out much our circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles) ‘notified’ us when it was time to sleep and then when to awaken. Thankfully, we did so together in unison. It really seemed like we were going to get along with each other well.
On the 6th day of our stay I decided to go up several floors and then stroll through the hallway. Initially, it was fun and without stress. But then, something shocking occurred.
As I entered one of the restrooms on the floor I saw Toby holding a razor. Upon noticing me he froze stiff. I couldn’t let that go. My nephew’s safety and well-being were of the utmost importance.
“Toby, why are you holding that razor in your hand? Furthermore, you appear stunned, it’s like I stopped you from doing something very devious.”
I was terrified at the prospect of my nephew turning out to be a self-mutilator. It was then and there that I realized that Alexander and I were too cold and non-comforting to Toby.
“Toby, I love you. Please be honest with me; I want to know exactly what you’re doing with that razor?”
Toby dropped the razor and then began to cry. I’d never seen so many tears dribble down a person’s cheeks. Yes, my nephew was crying. But there was no time to waste! I had to know what the root cause was.
“Uncle Bassam, I want to be like you. I want to have a beard and moustache.
“Toby, don’t worry about that. It’s all humanoid stuff. Your species can’t grow facial hair.
Toby, are you sure there’s nothing else?
“Uncle Bassam, you and Alexander have been very cold and callous towards me. I want someone to say some kind words to me. My parents, extended family and the entire planet and dimension I called home have now ceased to exist.”
Toby was in the right. It was very callous of me and Alexander to ignore Toby’s horrible suffering.
“Toby, I’m sorry. I was cold and callous. Please forgive me. I want to do something but first I want you to pick the razor up and give it to me. Afterwards, we’ll meet up with Alexander. I promise you things will get much better.”
Toby and I exited the restroom and then went downstairs in search of Alexander. After searching for fifteen minutes we finally found him. He was eating an orange flavoured Popsicle.
“Alexander, are you enjoying your Popsicle?”
“Yes, but I would’ve preferred to eat it in the company of my two best friends in the whole world.”
Toby and I waited until Alexander finished off his Popsicle. Afterwards, I convinced him and Toby to follow me to the lounge room.
A short while later we reached the doorway of the lounge room. After taking a very deep breath I entered the lounge room and then motioned my friends to follow me to the resting area.
Each of us leaped onto a separate couch and then waited attentively. A short while later I spoke my mind.
“Toby, Alexander and I love you deeply. So much so Alexander would love to be your other uncle. I mean, if you’ll accept the invitation.”
“Bassam, Alexander, yes I absolutely accept the invitation. Now, I have two uncles; yeah!”
But right after Toby spoke he cried his brains out. Shouting phrases like ‘it’s not fair’ and ‘I need to be loved’.
I cut Toby’s crying by turning his body to face me. Afterwards, I gave him a kiss on each cheek and then hugged him ever so lovingly.
As soon as I released Toby I took a long look at him. Thankfully, he appeared in better spirits. But there’s more; taking advantage of the situation Alexander stood on his hind legs, placed his forepaws on Toby’s shoulders and then kissed Toby on each of his cheeks and then on his forehead.
“Toby, I, Alexander, take an oath to make you my beloved nephew forever. Bassam and I will protect and care for you forever.”
Instantly, Toby shoved his thumb into his mouth. I figured he was going to do it sooner or later.
“Toby, I don’t mind you sucking your thumb. However, I want you to be mature and strong whenever we get into a mess or danger. I want you to be cool like you were when we escaped from the Zoological Park.
Guys, just take a long look at this beautiful hallway; the incredible red carpet, chandeliers, wall paintings and more. We must cherish it before our departure tomorrow. We’ve got some catching up to do.”
The three of us were glad to be in the castle; a very large, beautiful place that contained everything that we needed but the outdoors.
That night we slept like babies. Upon awakening each of us took a long hot shower, put on some fresh clothing and then ate a tasty and nutritious brunch consisting of eggs, cereal and milk, toast and jam, juice and milk. Afterwards, we cleanup up and then headed to the giant wheel room.
I’d made up my mind that Toby and Alexander should know exactly where the giant wheel room was. In addition, they were to be taught how to operate the controls. There was no guarantee that I’d outlive them. Toby was now my nephew and Alexander was my brother. I was very lucky to have two close relatives from different species.
“Guys, listen up! I can’t go back to Planet X for a long time, if at all. Toby, you’re never returning to your planet. Now, I recommend that Alexander decide where we should go.”
“As I stated before, I was brutally snatched from my habitat which is in Siberia, a part of Greater Slavia. I miss home very much. However I don’t want to go back to the same place. Hunting and trapping of ‘my kind’ was becoming more rampant. I want to go to a different part of my homeland.
Bassam, Tobey, let’s go to western Greater Slavia. I want to go back a few years later. You see, prior to being abducted a tenacious tiger hunter had been pursuing me for more than 1000 miles. Going back a little later in time and to the other end of home will alter the timeline just enough for a successful evasion of the creepy hunter. Besides, I’m sick of the super cold weather. I don’t mind cold, but Siberia is a windy ice box.”
“I agree with Alexander. Toby, do you have any objections?”
“No, Uncle Bassam. Now, let’s get on with it!”
I made certain that Toby and Alexander watched my every move. I went through the motions three times without actually touching or scanning any of the controls.
On the 4th time I actually did what I was supposed to. I inserted the coordinates for Greater Slavia and I made certain that we’d be a safe distance from Siberia.
After performing all of the required actions I asked Toby and Alexander to take several large steps backwards. Although Alexander had paws he knew exactly what I meant. I joined them at a safe distance away from the opening of the wall.
As soon as the opening leading to the tunnel was visible I gave a wave of my hand motioning a ‘go’. And, that’s what we did. We entered the tunnel and continued walking to the peripheral. That’s when Alexander asked us not to enter the new dimension until he told us something very important.
Bassam, Toby my beloved nephew, I need to get something off my chest.
Look, this is my home. Never mind it’s not Siberia, but Greater Slavia is the bigger picture. These are my people and as they often say in many dimensions ‘HOME SWEET HOME’.
I’ll stay with you guys until it’s time to leave. That’s when our formal departure will be.”
Although Toby and I were sad to hear the aforementioned words, we were happy for Alexander in that he knew what he wanted.
We scanned the area and saw nobody. The terrain was rich. The land appeared to be rich. A farmer could grow much wheat and grain. But we weren’t here for that.
“Alexander, where do you think we are?”
“We must be somewhere in the Ukraine. During my day it was the bread basket of the ‘commie world’. But unfortunately, the Ukrainians, along with other nationalities suffered horribly as a result of Josef Stalin, the tyrant who used communism to spread atheism, slaughter, torture, injustice, forced ‘Russification’ and the forced transfer of millions to the GULAG Archipelago.
Bassam, what year did you say this was?”
“I placed the controls on the year 1932. I’m not sure of the geography of the area but the nearest city to us is Kiev. Is that in the Ukraine?”
“Yes, Bassam, but I’m very terrified about something. I don’t quite remember. It had to do with a rumour of sorts regarding the Ukraine.”
“Toby, here, I’m going to remove my copying machine from my backpack. This machine can be a money maker and is also a super computer of sorts. Please find out our exact GPS (Global Positioning System) and try to do some research regarding our present situation. If there’s danger interrupt me regardless of what I’m saying or doing.”
We continued to walk through the countryside not knowing exactly where we were heading to but nonetheless behaving like full-fledged travellers.
It only took a few minutes for Toby to discover our location; although I’m sorry to say it was too little and too late.
“Uncle Bassam, we’re in the Kuban region and I notice that there’s a flashing light in the middle of the screen. What exactly does that mean?”
“Alexander, Toby, this is an emergency and imminent danger warning. It is a level #10 alert. We must leave this place immediately; I mean right now and without any discussion or delay!”
As soon as I finished my statement we got the shock of our lives. In fact, our lives would change forever.
“Kulaks, hands up! You ... you’ve been eating too much for your own good!”
Three armed soldiers approached us directly with cruelty and meanness expressed on their faces.
“Look, sir, we’re just walking around. We don’t mean you any harm. Please let us go and we promise never to return.”
“Shut up, tiger, you three Kulaks must come with us. You’ll be taken to Kuban Village to spend your days there. Consider yourselves lucky. It’s lunch time for us and we don’t want to take you to the central station to be transported to a Siberian GULAG. Next time, regardless of the circumstances, you’ll be sent to a Siberian GULAG!”
“But ... we didn’t do anything!”
POW! POW! POW! POW! POW!
The lead soldier, visibly so because he did all of the talking shot five bullets into the air. He need not have shot any more. We got the message.
We were forced to march to a village that was roughly five miles away. The central station was probably much further away; all to our benefit.
As we were walking, Toby whispered something terrifying into my ear. Luckily, the soldiers didn’t mind us talking with each other.
“Uncle, these are hardcore communist soldiers who’ll shoot us if we try to escape. They’re taking us to ‘starvation’.”
I couldn’t quite understand what Toby was trying to tell me. I pondered about it for a short while until we began to see dead humans and animals strewn across the countryside. There were so many of them, and the closer we got to the village the more we saw.
The expression on their faces and their meatless bony flesh indicated absolute famine. This was a nightmare that I never thought I’d ever see.
As we continued to walk we saw half-starved people forced to dig up mass graves to bury mounds of skeletal like corpses. I was so terrified my knees buckled several time before I could regain my composure.
The stench in the air was now getting worse. But what caught my attention even more were the ‘almost dead’ persons who were part of the mounds of dead. They were so weak and disparaged they couldn’t even muster up enough strength to make a sound.
Worse yet, the soldiers that were in the area were wellarmed, cruel and merciless. Everything was controlled. We’d soon find out what was really going on. I was puzzled, why didn’t the human world of the day do anything? Did they know, or was there some sort of a cover up?”
As we continued walking two starving children, with bony cheeks and quite visible rib cages tried to approach us to beg for food. No doubt, they noticed that we weren’t starving like them.
These unfortunate children were filthy, starving, had head lice and were probably orphans. No one in the area was willing or able to help them.
“Sir, please give them some food. At least some bread!”
WHAP! WHAP!
One of the soldiers smacked Toby with the butt of his rifle. Naturally, I took it personally. So I lunged at the soldier.
As I did so the commander shoved the muzzle of his rifle against my temple. That stopped me dead cold. After a brief pause I knelt down and helped my nephew to his feet.
Meanwhile, Alexander had his own problems. The 3rd soldier had viciously jabbed him in the side. Alexander was forced to the ground.
“Tiger, you’re too fat for your own good. You’ll be going on a very ‘intense diet’ soon. Comrade Stalin knows how to take care of you Kulaks.
“But we’re not Kulaks! What are Kulaks, anyway?”
“They have more wealth and success than they’re entitled under our communist system. Comrade Stalin has ordered that more grain supplies be shipped to the ‘Motherland’.”
“He can’t do that! It’s not his grain to order its confiscation. Besides, I know there’s more to it than that. With so many dead and dying people it’s obvious.”
“Yes, little ‘Gray Boy’ it certainly is. We must destroy Ukrainian Nationalism, individualism, freedom, Culture, the whole Ukrainian Renaissance and the individual farmers. They must be part and parcel of a giant commune of farmers. No farmers, not a single one, especially from the Ukraine, can be successful. The Party must control everything. Besides, this is the bread basket of Greater Slavia. Comrade Stalin doesn’t want any one nation, except for Russia proper, to yield this much potential power.
We killed many of you before; we’ll do it again. Now, I must say that you’re very lucky. The questions you’ve asked me are almost always subject to immediate arrest, transfer to Siberia, or a bullet to the head. If you know what’s good for you, shut your mouth hereafter.”
Toby was an outspoken proponent of justice and human rights. After enduring life on his other planet, he could take no more; if he’d only known.
We continued walking and on our way we continued to see more and more dead people. But as we approached Kulak village we began to see more and more blood and slabs of flesh belonging to humans. But they weren’t complete bodies.
“Okay, Kulaks, in case you’ve forgotten the rules, there shall be no more grain entering this village. As you can see with your own eyes, there are sentries posted around the peripheral of the village and don’t get any ideas about stealing food from that field over there. The sentries guarding it will shoot you or anyone else on sight for ‘stealing’ even the minimal quantity of grain. Or, you’ll be sent to a GULAG.
We’ll check up on your physical appearance regularly. Inhabitants of this and all other encircled villages must appear starving. You better lose much weight fast or else ... There shall be no exit from this village or any entry by anyone except members of our military. I don’t wish you good luck and I don’t care about you. Comrade Stalin will break your spirit at any cost.
As soon as we began our entry into Kulak village we took notice of two horse carcasses stripped down to the bone. There were swarms of flies, countless fleas and maggots eating the remains. Also, frozen fecal matter was located just a foot away from the carcasses. It was a horrible scene indeed. But I had to know what was really going on here. My copying machine was a computer that gave me access to educational sites; even those from Earth’s timeline. Therein, we could understand the depth of this horror.
As we proceeded to walk through the village we saw a dead elderly woman. There were four starving adults hovering over her. I didn’t want to imagine what they were thinking. But under horrible conditions many humans will resort to cannibalism.
We continued walking until we reached what appeared to be a run-down home. Naturally, we walked to the door, knocked and knocked a total of twenty times without hearing an answer.
As we were about to move on a scrawny old man called out to us. Actually, his voice was very weak and squeaky. But nevertheless, he was really straining just to speak.
“Guys, the occupants of that house are all dead. There were twelve members of the Lostik family. Ten of them died of starvation, the 11th one a baby was baked in the oven. His mother, like another mother in a nearby village had literally gone mad. She thought her son was a giant roast turkey. Naturally, in her starvation state she wanted to eat it. There are horrible things going on. Please don’t go outside unescorted and especially at night. I’m heading back home immediately.”
As soon as the elderly man turned I called out to him. Please, sir, spend your night with us.”
“No, there are three of you; younger than me and stronger than me. I know what you want from me. You want my flesh. Maybe, you’ll eat Ukraine roast for breakfast tomorrow.”
“No, sir, please ... just look at us. Do we appear starved, or even half-starved?”
The elderly man grinned at us, tears streaming down his cheeks and then he approached us.
“Youngsters, I apologize wholeheartedly. I was afraid. But you must understand that the Ukrainian people are being exterminated. Stalin, Molotoff, and Kaganovich are all war criminals. They’re beasts! But I hate those bastards who’ve wholeheartedly supported them too (the Soviet Union was wholeheartedly accepted into the League of Nations) negating any previous sufferings (which happened to be in the millions; starvations, executions, expulsions and transfers to Siberia) and paving the way for more horrific atrocities.
I Dmitri give you my word of honour; they ... the so-called leaders of the free world and the defenders of freedom will not raise a finger against Stalin, not today or tomorrow. They’ve essentially given him a green light to starve us to death. I’m an old man who’s about to croak. I can speak my mind. I’ve seen and heard much in my life.
Russia and much of the western world has taken our grain at our expense. Look around you, listen up, do you hear any birds singing? Do you hear any dogs barking? Do you hear any cats meowing? Do you hear any equines? Other than my voice, do you hear any life whatsoever?”
The elderly man brought us to tears. We knew that he had more stories to tell. Having Dmitri around was a bonus. Thankfully, he followed us into the house.
As soon as we entered the house we noticed that the door to the ice box had been pried open. It was nowhere in sight. I think the occupants went mad. But hopefully, we wouldn’t end up the same.
“Dmitri, why is it dangerous to go outside? Oh, my name is Toby, and that’s my uncle Bassam and my other uncle Alexander. We’re really glad to have met you.”
“Toby as I said earlier, cannibalism, especially of the young and elderly should be taken seriously in a situation where people are dying of absolute starvation, by the droves. By the time this thing is over millions of people, especially those of Ukrainian extract will perish. Not to mention, the executions, transfers, property confiscations and the many ten year sentences to GULAGS.
Listen, no matter how hungry you are DO NOT try to take any food from any grain field. Do not smile, ever! And do not look like you’re satiated. You must appear to be starving. Hereafter, you’ll have to pull in your stomach and walk like an elderly man whenever you see a soldier. Also, if by some miraculous event you do come upon food, don’t eat too much, don’t tell anyone, and poop in a secret hiding place. There are stories of soldiers inspecting the fecal matter of people. If they detect grain in your feces, you’re finished.
Eat anything you can, from grass which my friends, is disappearing quite fast, to tree bark, leaves, bugs, and whatever else just to keep yourself alive. Even rats, mice and other creepy animals can become food. And actually, one more thing; non-contaminated dirt does have nutrients in it.”
“Dmitri what about your family, where are they?”
“I’m eighty years-old. My wife was five years my junior. She died a few weeks ago. The townsfolk were more numerous then. As for her burial site, I’ve never asked. I’m afraid of the answer I’ll be given.”
“Dmitri, are all the felines, dogs, birds, rodents and equines really gone?
“Yes, and much more. But let us not be obsessed with this matter.”
We spent the following several days eating only one handful of grain each per day. Thankfully, the previous occupants had forgotten, probably because they went mad, that there was a storage room in the cellar. We were lucky to have grain hidden in our house. For this violation death or a terribly long sentence to the GULAG would be the outcome.
But as time continued to pass we noticed that our energy reserves were rapidly dwindling. We craved for the other foods that we once took for granted. Even liver, asparagus and sour kraut would’ve been a treat.
Everything we did, say or think of reminded us of food. By now, Dmitri was in dire straits. He was bedridden and hallucinating. It was only a matter of time before death struck him. Worse yet, my nephew, Toby was beginning to weaken considerably. He had less fat reserves than the rest of us.
We were under immense stress. Every single night contained one terror or more. We always made sure that our door was securely locked and that a wooden chair was placed at an angle to ensure that the door couldn’t be barged into.
At night we often heard the terrifying shrieks of people who’d simply gone mad. But there was something much more ominous in the air. And this was attested to by Dmitri and our auditory senses. Sometimes children were abducted by family members or strangers; to become a roast of sorts.
We also heard gunfire (executions), arrests and the horrible transfers. Absolutely no one was safe. We exited our house during the day, looking and behaving like we were dying of starvation.
There was one incident that really stuck to my mind. A group consisting of seven soldiers stopped us, inspected our bodies, and then one of them ordered me to pull up my shirt. Thankfully, I was able to pull in my stomach enough to satisfy the soldiers’ cruel curiosities.
Unfortunately, only a week later, on a sad wintery night Dmitri died of starvation. By then, the three of us were so hungry madness was almost within sight.
I glanced over at Alexander and then at Toby; each of us had the same expression on our faces. We were actually contemplating eating Dmitri. Thankfully, we just had enough sense not to. But at the same time, we knew very well that ‘the corpse’ would have to be buried or disposed of in secret. We had no strength reserves to bury anyone let-alone an elderly man in a starved village.
Kulak village was emptying out every single day. Piles of dead people were taken away by carts led by a haggardly ... well ... half-starved horse. Thankfully, this particular horse got a reprieve. He was needed to drag out the dead. Otherwise a horrifyingly terrible epidemic would’ve occurred. It was so horrible we forgot what day or even month it was.
We were well-aware that the so-called leaders of the free world had wholeheartedly accepted Josef Stalin and the horrors of the Soviet Union. He was given a green light to do whatever he wanted to. Being accepted into the League of Nations was a great gift to the Communist Party. But there would be another handing ‘a handing’ of a gargantuan swathe of land and nations after the Second World War. I came across this while using my copying machine, which can also be used as an inter-galactic wide web.
“Guys, we need to bury Dmitri. He’s a human being ... a person and every human being has a GOD-given right to a burial. Where in the heck can we bury him?” I said.
“Bassam, last week when I was taking my grudging walk I took notice of a pond. It’s behind the hill facing the back of the house and it roughly the size of two swimming pools. I don’t think that we can bury Dmitri. Just talking to you is using up too much energy from my miniscule reserves,” said Alexander.
“Alexander ... I hate to say this, but you’re right. We’ll wait until tomorrow night. Let’s say midnight, we’ll take Dmitri to the pond and then dump him.”
“Guys, Dmitri told me a story a few days ago about some people who dug up a horse carcass. They were so crazily starved they cooked its flesh. Shortly afterwards they got sick and then died. We just need to ensure that he’s not seen or is in a state of extreme rot and decomposition that no one but a maggot would ever touch him,” said Toby.
“Toby, my nephew, I love you very much. I know for a fact your uncle Alexander feels the same way.”
It seemed like the mere act of speaking used up much of Toby’s energy reserves too.
By now we were so energy deprived even getting up to urinate felt like an incredible burden. We drank excess amounts of water to try to fill our stomachs, but as for the stench we had to live with it. It worsened considerably whenever we opened the door.
We were so emaciated and tired all it took was for us to close our eyes and we were out cold until the following day. We ate our miniscule supply of grain, which was lessened to a half a handful because of shortening supplies.
We waited very patiently until midnight to make our move. But like countless other Kulak residents we had a rude awakening.
At 8:00 P.M. a half a dozen soldiers broke our door down without notice. In fact, we were so startled Toby fainted. Unfortunately, that only brought out laughter in the soldiers.
“Hey, where’s your hidden store room? We know you have food in here! Now, where is it? I’m not talking about that dead Kulak in the corner over there. If you want to eat him, you can’t! Comrade Stalin is against all forms of cannibalism.”
Before we could say anything the soldiers proceeded to ransack our home. They were so vicious we dare not say a word. And I must say they believed that we were really starving. Otherwise, we would’ve been transferred to Siberia.
The episode lasted roughly ten minutes but felt like a hundred years. Before they left one of the soldiers spat in Toby’s face. He called him a Gray-skinned ugly Kulak who deserved to die. Unfortunately, I was too emaciated to put up any kind of defence. And in this particular case it was better to let the soldiers have their way and leave.
Toby didn’t take it well, however. He began to cry, but only after the soldiers left.
“Toby, are you all right?”
“Yes, Uncle Bassam, I feel okay. A spit in the face and a stupid insult by an idiot isn’t enough to break me.”
I sensed that Toby was now in a potentially lifethreatening weakened state. I was now adamant about escaping Kulak village. Either we died of starvation and the associated diseases or we made an attempt at escaping.
We sat there staring at nothing but air and imagining that we were eating the best foods in the whole world.
But the horrible stench of Dmitri and death outside would bring us back to reality, and very sharply indeed.
The following day we waited anxiously until midnight. When it arrived Alexander and I decided to go at it alone. Toby appeared to be falling asleep again (I was to later discover that he wasn’t falling asleep).
Alexander and I mustered up all of our energy reserves to kick, push, pull and roll Dmitri outside. Thereafter, our plan was to work stealthily.
But as soon as we exited our house Alexander and I dropped to the ground then lost consciousness. We were out cold until late in the morning. When we awakened we realized that Dmitri was no longer there. We should’ve known better.
Roughly fifty yards down the alley I saw a skeleton-like young woman eating what appeared to be a slab of meat. Her face was masked with blood and the slab of meat she was eating had been cooked. It looked like a human’s arm but even so I didn’t want to know any more. Alexander felt likewise.
As soon as we re-entered the house we took notice of Toby. There was something unusual about him. I couldn’t quite tell, so I had to ask Alexander. His feline senses were considerably more acute than mine.
It didn’t take long for Alexander to realize what’d happened. He placed his paw on Toby’s heart, felt his forehead with the back of his hand, and checked for breathing.
“Toby, please ... don’t do this to us! I love you more than anyone else in the whole world. Uncle Bassam and I enjoy your company. Now, please ... I’ll say I love you a million times over and then you must come back to life!”
Alexander had placed so much stress on his words he collapsed immediately after finishing them.
I was now certain that Toby had died. It wasn’t fair. But I too had to speak to him before we discarded his body.
“Toby, I love you from the bottom of my heart. I’m saddened that you were only my nephew. I wish that you were my biological son. The first time we spoke was a ‘happy moment’ in my life.
And ... Toby, I’m very sorry about what has happened to you. Evil humanoids are just as bad as evil Grays. And I’m also sorry for not doing my research. I should’ve done more research before entering this dimension. Toby, it’s true; THERE ARE BAD PEOPLE IN EVERY FAMILY, TRIBE, CULTURE, GROUP AND NATION.
You helped us escape the Zoological Garden, and we brought you here, to a most sadistic, barbaric, cruel and calculated HOLOCAUST (the word holocaust wasn’t extensively used until later but I use it here to stress a horrible mass crime) against a nation and its people. A horror-fest that the world will hide for decades on end and many will deny it ever happened.”
I couldn’t speak any more. My hands began to tremble and I felt extremely nauseous. Thankfully, I managed to kiss Toby on both cheeks hold his hands and tell him that I loved him one more time.
Alexander and I slept for several hours, awakened for a few minutes and then closed our eyes again. For the time being, there was nothing worth waking up for. We were the people of death, the dead living, the living dead, the zombies, the walking ghosts and other creepy beings. Our mental state was now on the borderline. We needed a change soon or else we we’d go mad.
I abruptly awakened from a bad dream. But this dream had a temporary adverse effect on my mental state. It was only later when I was able to recompose myself that I understood what’d happened.
“Alexander, look around us! I see much good news. I see food everywhere. Our house is in reality a giant gingerbread house. We can eat it. Please, let’s begin with the door. After we eat the door we can eat the gingerbread man beside us; he’s a Gray and I think his name is Toby.”
Alexander shot up and then stared at me blankly. After pausing for a moment he tried to bring me back to reality.
“Bassam, this is not a gingerbread house! This is a real house made of material that is inedible. If you try to eat this house you’ll break your teeth and then get sick and die. We’re not termites, we’re fleshy beings.”
“No Alexander, you don’t see what I see. You don’t see the light. Can’t you see and smell the gingerbread? It’s so powerful I can almost taste it. By golly, I’m starting to froth at the mouth. I must eat the gingerbread!”
I stood up and then walked towards the door. I was intent on eating the ‘gingerbread door’ and that was final.
But just as I got to within a foot of the door I was violently turned and then smacked on the face. In effect, Alexander had mustered enough energy to smack me across the face. In case you don’t know, even a starving Siberian tiger can hit ferociously hard.
I was out cold for several hours before coming to. I felt a wet object rub against my face. When I opened my eyes I realized that it was Alexander licking my face. After noticing I’d awakened he pawed my face several times and then backed off.
It took me several minutes to regain my physical and mental composure. Thankfully, I knew exactly what’d happened.
“Alexander, I’m sorry for going nuts on you. But now, thankfully, I feel much better now. However, my starvation pangs haven’t subsided one bit. I can actually feel my stomach churning itself.”
By then, we were so emaciated the short conversation we had was enough to put us to sleep.
We awakened an hour later to a pecking noise at the door. At first we were extremely apprehensive, but then we realized that the pecking wasn’t coming from a soldier but someone much smaller in stature; perhaps a little boy.
I managed to stand up and head to the door. With much strength exerted I opened the door only to find a beautiful Kiev Tumbler bird staring at me.
The poor guy looked gaunt, emaciated and was crying. Tiny teardrops were pounding onto the ground. Expectedly, I invited him into our home.
But as I was closing the door I couldn’t help but notice the dead humans strewn across the village. Now, the people were so weak and tired they simply couldn’t bury the dead. They didn’t even have enough energy to eat the dead.
But in all the horror I did see an elderly woman and what appeared to be her grandchild sitting on the ground praying for food. This was it for them. I don’t think any of their relatives had survived to this point. Unfortunately, neither I nor Alexander could lend a helping hand.
“Please, my newly found friend, come into our house. You’re welcome to stay here as long as you wish.”
“Please, for GOD’s sake give me something to eat. I notice food on the table!”
“What food? There’s nothing there.”
The bird was able to muster enough energy to ‘leap and fly’ onto the table and then peck and lick the dusty sized, tiny subparticles of grain that I mistook for dirt and dust.
The poor fellow was so desperate to eat we felt sorry for him. We felt the likewise about ourselves. However, he was so small and cute, black and white coloured, slim and long-bodied and long-beaked, it made Alexander and me want to cry.
We could do nothing but watch the bird eat. And after he finished he collapsed onto his side. He was in such dire straits I could actually hear him panting. After a half a minute of panting he began to hyperventilate. That’s when I mustered enough energy again to pet him three times and then I gave him a kiss on the head.
Immediately afterwards, I collapsed onto my knees. I was so pained there is no word in any language that could correctly describe what I felt like; it was that damn awful. But, worse news was to come straight from the birdie’s mouth.
“Guys, I’m in so much pain, I simply stopped tearing. I cried and cried and cried but now my tear ducts can’t put out any more. But please, listen to my story before it’s too late. I too have been through the hell of absolute starvation. But there are many others who’ve been through much worse. A whole slab of the Ukrainian countryside has been virtually decimated through the most horrific and unimaginable means. Those monsters who are giving the orders aren’t stupid. They’re humans, mammals who must eat on a daily basis; yes, up to several times a day. They know that even if a person lives as a king in a mansion, if food is completely withdrawn from him/her it won’t take long for death to occur. My Ukrainian brethren have had to endure a much worse horror.
As you probably know, I’m a Kiev Tumbler. Under normal circumstances I can hover high up in the air for extended periods of time. I can virtually peer down at the humans and animals below me.”
I found it necessary to interrupt the bird because we needed a formal introduction before he proceeded with his story, which by the way I knew had a sad ending.
“Wait, we must formally introduce ourselves first. I’m Bassam and this is my brother and best friend in the whole world Alexander. As you can see, that poor youngster over there who we haven’t been able to bury is our beloved nephew, Toby.”
“I’m Roman Kievsky. And, I’m very thankful and happy to have met you. Now, I must get on with my story. And please, you must remind me of the warning.
Throughout the Ukrainian countryside I saw it all; grain and livestock confiscations, beggars in need of anything even one filthy morsel, rags, torn and filthy clothing, sickly children many of them with toothpick legs and distended stomachs with gigantic looking heads, mass apathy and depression, solitude, madness and terror, psychotic behaviour and delusions, cannibalism (children being dragged off to be killed, cooked and then eaten; often done so by their own kin), exhuming of livestock to be eaten, dog-eat-dog behaviour, eating of pets and also rodents and many frogs, tree bark used as food, and also leaves, plants and insects that were eaten.
I saw people who’d drink water way beyond their capacity to ‘fill’ their stomachs.
The behaviour of the soldiers was nothing short of monstrous. I saw executions of people who were only trying to get food from the grain field even if it was legally theirs. Beatings, confiscations and transfers were common too.
I couldn’t leave my home. I was too attached to it. Other birds who could escape the carnage did. But if you didn’t you became food for the villagers. So, I’ve been dodging emaciated humans and also soldiers, some of whom (the soldiers) would’ve shot me because I took pity on the villagers. Or maybe, they would’ve suspected me of being a Kulak spy, watching their every move and listening in to what they were saying.
But I did manage to see a few birds that’d travelled the entire country. They heard rumours about purges to come. Even die-hard communist party members will be at risk of execution or deportation. These members, of course, are my Ukrainian brethren. This horror story is about demolishing Ukrainian nationalism, awareness and pride. It is about economics; greed for control. And it’s about free grain. It’s about breaking the will of the Kulaks.”
Suddenly, Roman stopped talking. We knew that he had more to say but felt like he needed to take several deep breaths first.
“Guys, the saddest thing that I heard in this affair involved a child on a train. This poor boy was starving to death. Apparently he’d taken notice of a western reporter who was eating. The western reporter had tossed a large bread crumb into a spittoon. Expectedly, but to the shock and bewilderment of the western reporter the child scurried to the spittoon, dunked his hand into it and then pulled out the ‘moist’ bread crumb. He gorged on the crumb without any hesitation whatsoever. Now, you’ve got to be beyond famished to do that.”
“Roman, you’ve brought us horrible news. But we’re thankful that you’ve told us about it. Perhaps, many more people will learn the truth.”
“Guys, millions of people have died already. An estimated 25,000 people are now dying daily. That’s what starvation does. And there’s more. I heard some officers talking about sending more people to Siberia. For Comrade Stalin they are free labourers who aren’t worth anything. If they die it’s no problem. They can be replaced easily and quickly.
Bassam, Alexander we must leave immediately. And thank you for the nice food that was on the table.”
“Why go now? There’s nowhere to go.”
“Bassam, you don’t understand me! The soldiers are on their way, snatching males like you guys and transferring them to Siberia. You guys are machines without any rights or feelings.”
At that, Alexander and I mustered enough energy to stand up and walk to the door. By now, it was mid-afternoon. But we couldn’t wait until nightfall. The soldiers would no doubt arrive before then.
I opened the door and then we were out. Kulak Village was now empty of inhabitants except for us. I had a gut feeling that something was going to go wrong.
Roman had hopped onto my shoulder and then we proceeded to slowly walk to the center of the village.
“Alexander, please, use your incredible feline senses to find the general location of the tunnel. If was could just make it there I think that everything will be just fine.”
Alexander scanned the entire area then he lowered his head. Initially, I thought he’d given up. But thankfully, he knew exactly where the tunnel was. It was straight to our right. We had no idea if it was north, south, east or west. We were in another dimension. Left, right, behind and in front generally work as ‘primitive substitutes’.
“Guys, once again, I’m very happy to have met you! The grain bits that I ate will aid me considerably in flying away.”
As soon as Roman was up into the air, perhaps 100 feet or so we received another shocker.
“BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!”
The same bastard of a soldier who’d tormented us in the past had returned. But this time he was alone.
“Too bad, you’re friend’s not going to get his wish of leaving! Now, isn’t that very funny?”
Alexander and I frowned at the soldier and then looked away. Obviously, he didn’t like that. As a result, he felt a need to humiliate us into complacency.
“Listen up! This is my rifle and as such I’m an expert marksman. If you try to run away I won’ kill you. That’d be too easy. I’ll shoot you in the leg and then force you to march to the main station to await transfer, transfer to Hotel GULAG.
Now I must say that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my whole life. And as for you tiger, they’ll work you like a dog. You’re bigger and stronger than any human. Naturally, you’ll be ordered to do more work. Besides, there are many soldiers who’ll enjoy gunning you down as soon as you’re no longer able to work. You’re a big game animal, a Siberian tiger, your hide, claws and teeth are worth much on the market.”
We were forced to march to the station. Thankfully, the soldier changed directions. He decided to walk to another station, which was conveniently in the direction of the tunnel.
As we continued to walk Alexander and I became more and more anxious. We could now see the outline of the tunnel. And thankfully, our moment came.
“Listen up! You must stop right here and not move or else I’ll gun you down like the beasts that you are. I need to take a leak. Remember, my rifle will be in my right hand and my left hand will be steering my pee. Don’t take any chances with me. I can and will shoot you if you make any attempt at escape or attack. I have no sympathy or love for you Kulaks.”
There was something strange in all this. If Alexander was a Siberian tiger how the hell could he also be a Kulak. But as I was pondering about the situation I realized that anyone in this area could be called a Kulak. Kulaks were basically the enemy of the state. And without any due process anyone can be accused of anything. Alexander and I understood that an escape plan was a must and it had to be within a minute or two or else we’d lose it forever; we’d end up dying in a Siberian GULAG as worthless trash. Besides, we were on borrowed time. We simply had no more energy reserves left. We were now burning up pure muscle tissue and it was only a matter of time before we’d start losing our hair. Our bodies were on the verge of going into sleep mode. Non-essential body-parts and services were to be placed on low or no use.
“Alexander, when that creep finishes peeing I want you to do trip him by the ankle. Remember how cheetahs trip their intended prey. Do it like that but DO NOT telegraphy your punch. Furthermore, make a sweeping punch from behind his ankle. I want that creep to fall onto his back and to then thump his head onto the ground. That way, he’ll be out cold. We don’t want to kill him lest his ‘co-soldiers’ find out. And speaking of them, look, I see them roughly a quarter of a mile away. We must act fast or else.”
The soldier finished peeing and then pulled his pants. Alexander, taking my advice slowly walked to the soldier without showing any hostility or energy reserves.
In one incredible sweep Alexander had successfully done as I’d asked him to. The soldier was now on his back and out cold. Alexander yanked the soldier’s shoulder back away and then ripped it open like a mad man.
Therein were 2 small loaves of bread, cheese, Vodka and some milk. We bypassed the Vodka and shared the bread and cheese. We ate the food like lunatic madmen. I then told Alexander to drink the milk fast and that we were on our way to the Tunnel very soon.”
Thankfully, there was no need to explain to Alexander about the tunnel or inter-dimensional travelling. Alexa and I had filled him in on everything while we were at the Zoological Garden.
But then, a group of soldiers that was already approaching us were now too close for comfort. There were 6 of them and they became too observant of us. At this point they couldn’t quite see the soldier.
Without saying a word I picked up the soldier’s rifle and then shot every single approaching soldier in the chest. Thankfully, they all went down really fast. I didn’t want to kill or maim any of them but under the circumstances we had a right to defend ourselves.
Alexander and I forced ourselves to march quickly to the tunnel. Meanwhile other soldiers ‘caught ear’ of the shooting. And believe me they converged upon the scene like army ants. But thankfully, Alexander and I were able to enter the tunnel. Mind you, we weren’t fooled by the possible danger at hand. IT’S NOT FAIR!

We continued onward until reaching the perimeter of the tunnel and then we entered the castle. Immediately, the opening into the tunnel was closed off.

As soon as we were firmly established inside the giant wheel room we collapsed onto the thick brown carpet. Thereafter, we were out cold for at least 12 hours. And when we came to we had one thing on our mind; food! And that’s what we strove for immediately.

“Alexander, although under normal circumstance we could easily go to any snack bar, lounge room, cafeteria or dining hall, this time it’ll be quite difficult.”

“Bassam, let’s not waste any time. We’ll walk part of the way, lie down and rest and then continue onwards until we get to the nearest ‘food room’.”

“Alexander, you’re a brilliant Siberian tiger! I’m very thankful that you and I are best friends in the whole world. Sadly, neither Toby nor Roman can be here to enjoy this moment with us.”

Alexander and I did as we planned to do. But as soon as we exited the giant wheel room I took notice of something that never caught my eye before. It appeared so irrelevant beforehand I must’ve sunk it deep into my sub-conscious. It was an elevator!

As soon as I pointed out the elevator to Alexander we tried to give each other a high-five, but collapsed onto the hallway carpet instead. We grudgingly got up and decided to continue our trek instead. It was a stupid thing to do; waste valuable energy on a high-five. But my keen eye had served us very well.

Thankfully, we were able to enter the elevator, press the #3 button and wait patiently. Believe me, I had a few incredibly terrifying fears; but under no circumstances was I to tell Alexander. What if the elevator malfunctioned or jammed up? What if there was a fire within the castle; would the elevators automatically go back downstairs to where we started from? What about other problems like the elevator doors; what if they jammed shut?

Thankfully, we arrived at the 3rd floor without incident. Instantly, we walked to the nearest snack bar like elderly men, unable to run or properly raise our legs. But thankfully, all the hard work paid off.

As soon as we entered the snack bar I told Alexander to sit down. I was going to get us a bunch of hamburgers. After our hamburgers were eaten we could take our time and eat whatever else we wanted and could. Understandably our iron, amino acids, protein and flesh cravings and needs had to be satisfied first.

Alexander sat down beside a dining table and waited patiently for ‘the order’. Meanwhile, I opened the fridge door, pulled out a bunch of hamburger paddies, buns and dill pickles and got to work. There was no time to fry or cook the ground beef, so I went ahead and placed raw meat between the buns, placed them on two separate plates, added 2 giant dill pickles onto the plates and then poured ketchup and mustard on our sandwiches.

I was barely able to place the plates on a tray and take them to our dining table. The whole universe had temporarily disappeared except for the snack bar. Nothing else meant anything to us.

As soon as I placed the tray on the dining table we glanced at each other signifying that there would be no talking, looking at each other, or smiling until we finished our burgers, which by the way numbered a total of six for each person.

We gorged on our hamburgers like they were each one single potato chip. Thankfully, after we finished our first order we felt much stronger. But still, we needed much more food. So, I went to the snack bar sink, washed my hands well and then dried them, prepared the remainder of our meal which consisted of two of each of the following: potato chips barbecue flavoured bags (170mg) , pop (50oz.), milk carton (1 litre), fruit punch bowl (giant sized), Garden salad (giant sized serving, ranch dressing), pumpkin pie (1kg.), filtered water (1 litre), fruit cocktail (500mg) and afterwards we enjoyed cherry flavoured snow cones.

By the time we’d finished our smorgasbord I could’ve sworn that we’d gained 100 lbs. each. But anyway, we stood up and then left the snack bar to burn off and digest our food properly. There was simply no way we were going to sit like giant walruses and wait it out. Digestion for this particular meal had to be aided by walking.

Alexander and I strolled through the hallways of several different levels. It took roughly an hour for us to feel that it was safe to lie down. So, we headed to the nearest bedroom.

As soon as we entered the nearest bedroom, which thankfully was a short distance away, we each dove onto our respective bed. I don’t know how long we were out for, but I suspect it was for two or three days. I awakened several times, scanned the area and then closed my eyes. Alexander and I had some major rest time due for us. Indeed, we’d gone through hell and back.

Don’t get me wrong, I never forgot Corey, Cynthia, Alexa, Toby or Roman. Their memories were deeply ingrained into my mind and body. I just wished that at least one of them had been there with us. Alexander was an incredible feline but his presence wouldn’t fill the void of my other ‘loves’ existence.

Alexander and I awakened at the same time. But in all the good that came about in the end I couldn’t help but feel that something was terribly wrong. I knew as a fact that I’d forgotten to do something. Besides, we were sound asleep for so long anything could’ve happened in that time period. Someone could’ve drugged us or set some kind of trap for us. I wasn’t sure if part of it was paranoia or something else. Time would certainly tell.

We decided to a couple weeks off from our travels. We needed the rest and had to form a game plan to help prevent another catastrophic occurrence.

And thankfully, for the following couple of weeks we ate well, walked around, watched a lot of nice television shows and regained our physical strength completely. Now, it was time to hit another dimension.

“Alexander, we’ve had a nice brunch, washed up and we’ve rested up just fine. Are you game to enter a new dimension?”

“Bassam, it all depends. When will we enter the new dimension?”
“Alexander, I’m ready right now!”
“Okay Bassam, so am I. Now let’s not waste any more time. We need to go the giant wheel room immediately.”
We wholeheartedly went to the giant wheel room anticipating an entry into another dimension. But as we were walking there I remembered what I’d forgotten. I’d planned on destroying the dimension we were previously in. I’d anticipated that the future for that dimension would be more wars, treachery, lies and deceit, genocide, racism, discrimination, prejudice, pollution and much pain and suffering for the animal kingdom. I’d run a simulated timeline on my computer after inserting what I know about the particular dimension.
This particular dimension, a place where a horrific genocide where millions, an estimated seven million and a maximum of ten million people perished, mostly Ukrainian could be killed with the knowledge and ‘unofficial consent’ of the socalled leaders of the free world had no place in any timeline. The dimension had to go and that was final.
I informed Alexander of my findings and intentions right before we entered the giant wheel room. Thankfully, he agreed with me wholeheartedly.
As soon as we entered the room I went straight to the giant wheel and computerized control system. Although I noticed something quite shocking (the re-appearance of the pictures including the one with the old man who’d given me a stern warning) I somehow blocked it off. As far as I was concerned I had a more pressing concern at hand.
As soon as I began to scan the necessary controls I asked Alexander to help me. I told him exactly what to do. But then, that’s when I took notice of the painting of the old man. However, this time he had a nasty grin on his face. Naturally, I walked over to the painting, forgetting about Alexander in the process.
“Why are you grinning at us? You appear to be conspiring against us.”
“I gave you a stern warning ... last time you didn’t take it seriously: YOU WILL BE SORRY!”
Just then, the entire castle began to shake. It was like a 10.0 on the rector scale. And as the foundation of the castle continued to shake, the old man fell into a fit of laughter. The intensity became so unbearable the foundation of the castle began to crumble. Then, chunks of cement began to fall and collapse everywhere. I don’t know exactly what happened but I apparently fell or was struck by an object forcing me to fall onto the ground and lose consciousness for quite some time.
As soon as I awakened I got the shock of my life. I scanned the area and then grudgingly got up. The entire castle, including Alexander and the painting and whatever else had crumbled. It was no more!
I was shocked and enraged at what was around me. Not only had the castle collapsed the entire area around me was desolate. I was now on what appeared to be an asteroid, planet, moon or other celestial object that was essentially lifeless. As expected, I went nuts for a moment.
“It’s not fair! It’s not fair! It’s not fair! I can’t believe it! It can’t be happening to me! Please, Alexander, don’t leave me! I promise to love you and to be a real best friend in the whole world to you! Alexander, if I say I love you a million times over you’ll return, right?”
I repeated the aforementioned phrase over and over again and guess what? It didn’t change anything. As such, I began to shout and scream but this time I got physical. I dropped to my knees and began to pound my fists on a stone. Apparently, I was so into my rage I’d slowly smashed the stone.
When I returned to my senses the thought of sustaining me became the biggest issue. There was no visible life in the entire area as far as the horizon. Not only that, but the sun appeared to be intent on frying me to death, or at least dehydrating me. But I was very lucky to have been well nourished. Alexander and I had eaten and drank quite well. Maybe, that’d give me several extra hours of sustainability.
Another big problem was choosing the right direction to walk in. I had no idea where south, north, east or west was. The sun in this particular place could rise or set in any of the aforementioned directions.
I decided to walk in the direction that I was facing. Either way, I could see no indication of life anywhere. Water and food would soon become really big issues as time passed. Furthermore, if I did survive for several days, absolute boredom and loneliness would certainly begin to take their toll on me.
As I began to walk I felt beads of sweat streaming down my temples. Worse yet, even my nose had been sweaty. Under normal circumstances, humidity of this sort could mean a body of water nearby. However, I didn’t know what the rules of nature were therein.
I removed my copying machine and then punched in for the temperature and humidity level. Shockingly, it was 140 Degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level of 100 percent. It was now apparent to me that water would have to be sought after before anything else. In response, I placed all of my senses on red alert in search of water. Thankfully, I always wore a cap, even on Planet X. I tilted it downwards to protect my eyes from the glare of the sun. I had no idea how strong the UV rays were. But given the circumstances, I had more pressing concerns at hand.
I walked for roughly two hours before seeing the first remnant of a cloud. Mind you, it was thin and long but wasn’t a rain cloud by any means whatsoever. Without pausing for a moment, I continued my trek hoping that there’d be some kind of relief soon.
I continued walking for another two hours before I noticed that the sun was setting. I understood that the temperature would drop to a reasonable level but then it could very well become very chilly at night. Also, if there were any predators in the area no doubt they’d come out after dark. And being a humanoid made me a very easy and tasty prey for many species. But that was only conjecture. I hadn’t seen anything up till then, even a single plant; cactus or sagebrush. Not even a fly or a vulture. But there were scattered, tiny spurts of oil seeping out of the ground. They were scattered throughout the area as far as the eye could see. Indeed, it was a ‘black gold’ paradise. But herein, I couldn’t utilize this awesome treasure. If I’d been on Earth and could return to civilization I would’ve become a billionaire.
Shortly afterwards I decided to camp beside an area engulfed in rocks and boulders. I stuffed my pockets with rocks (to be used as possible weapons just in case) and surrounded ‘my space’ with more rocks and small boulders. I needed a safe resting place with weapons (rocks) at the ready. I’d have to be prepared for any and all enemies otherwise I’d be a dead goose.
Although it took me quite a while to fall asleep, considering my extreme apprehension I finally ‘went under’. Thankfully, the desert I was in was like the Mohave Desert on Earth. If the daytime is home so is the night time but of course without the sun’s rays or glare.
But even in my sleep I was still sweating. I knew that sooner or later I’d have to eat and drink. Upon awakening the first thing I thought of was food and water. How nice, sweet and comforting the castle had been. It was like a ‘memory paradise’ that could never be attained again. Anyway, I was never one to sit around and self-pity myself without doing something constructive. Even self-pity isn’t that bad as long as you continue to strive. And, being where I was, I got up, scanned the area and then continued my walk. I made sure not to walk in circles. Although I couldn’t label the directions I knew very well that the location of the sun should be on my left just at an angle hitting my left eye.
I could hear nothing but my own movements and my shuffling of the dessert floor. In that regard, there was some advantage. Any creature that tried to sneak up on me would be detected. The rocks still in my pocket and those scattered throughout the desert would be my primary weapons. I’d aim and then throw very hard. In essence, my throw would be to kill. Any skirmish would be a do or die situation.
I continued walking until I could no longer walk any more. I needed a rest. But before I rested I could’ve sworn that I saw a village or some kind of living space on the horizon. At first, I shrugged it off as a case of mental exhaustion or hallucination. Or it could’ve been a mirage of sorts. Anyway, I sat down to rest, but found myself taking a long nap.
I figured at this rate I’d have until the next day before the physical and mental stress would really take its toll. Why and how in the hell did this happen to me, was the question ringing in my head. I thought about it over and over, but couldn’t come up with an answer.
I became so desperate I briefly considered drinking my own sweat. But then, I realized that sweat and tears contain a significant amount of salt; which would certainly worsen my predicament. It wouldn’t be as bad as drinking sea water but nevertheless I wasn’t going to try it.
After spending another hour walking and losing more fluids from my body I felt an urge to urinate. This was the final ‘heave’ of any urine that would come out of my body unless I was to somehow come across water or eat a juicy food.
Anyway, it was now so sweltering hot and lonely (for me) I peed without even scanning the area first. The last drops of urine were finally ejected from my body. I was now so dehydrated and thirsty I almost mistook my urine for freshly squeezed apple juice. I was starting to lose my mind.
As soon as I’d finished with my business I continued my walk. I decided to continue towards what I believed to be a village or some kind of living place.
A short while later I took notice of someone approaching me. I couldn’t tell if it was a male or a female. The person was out of my range of vision however, the silhouette was easily identified as a bipedal humanoid.
Regardless, I got a sudden surge of adrenaline. I felt like I’d been suddenly awakened. But as I got closer and closer to the person it became apparent that it was a female. Her posture and manner of walking indicated a friendly demeanour. However, I wasn’t taking any chances. My throwing hand was in my pocket and at the ready. In case of attack there’d be no mercy on my opponent; indeed it can become a dog-eat-dog world regardless of the time frame or dimension you’re in.
Finally, I could see the young woman who was approaching me. My eyes were fixated on her because she was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen in my whole life! There was absolutely no woman anywhere who could even come close to matching her. She was roughly six feet tall, had incredibly shiny straight jet black hair, purple eyes, white skin and beautiful freckles, especially the ones on her nose. She was wearing tightly fitting pants that extended just below her knees, blue T-shirt, white and gray shoes. Her hands were so beautiful I couldn’t believe my eyes. This young woman was too perfect to be true! But there was something very unusual about her too. Her purple eyes reminded me of our women on Planet X; purple was considered the most beautiful eye colour for any woman.
As soon as I was within spitting distance of the young woman she spoke her first words to me.
“Hello, I’m Candy. I’ve been living in that town over there for many years all alone. I’ve had no one to talk to. I’m very lonely can you be my best friend in the whole world?”
“Miss, I mean ... like ... at least let me get to know you first. I can’t make that kind of a commitment to a total stranger. I mean, like, umm you’re really beautiful and all but I don’t know what kind of person you are.”
“You don’t love me! You’re mean and scary!”
I couldn’t believe my ears. This young woman got onto her knees, folded her arms and then began to cry.
“Hold it, please! Why are you crying? Look, I just freaking met you. Please, let’s become friends first then if everything goes just right we’ll be really close friends and then best friends, and finally best friends in the whole world. How does that sound to you?”
Thankfully, that got her to stop crying. She stood up, slapped away the sand and dust from her body and then smiled at me. Afterwards, she motioned me to follow her.
“Hold it! Look, there’s something unusual here. Now look, if you want me to follow you I need to get some answers first. What kind of humanoid are you and where do you come from?”
“I was originally programmed to fall in love with a man. That’s the way I am. Why don’t you love me?”
I figured this young woman to be some kind of a nut case, or maybe she’d been brainwashed. But still, there was something unusual about her and I certainly had to find out.
“All right, look. I’m famished and very tired. Can you direct me to food, water and rest?”
“Yes, just follow me to my village.”
I decided to go ahead and follow her after all. The shock of seeing her had phased out. Food, water and rest were of imminent concern to me.
I continued following Candy until we were under the town sign which read ‘WELCOME TO BARBOOK’.

Now why did that name sound familiar? I hadn’t been to this dimension before but the name did sound familiar. I had to be patient, maybe I’d remember soon.

We entered the town and then headed straight for the main street. Kings Road was clean, beautiful and quiet. But for the moment I needed food and water.

“Candy, are we going to a snack bar or restaurant?”

“Right there, you see it, Randy’s Snack Bar. Just follow me. I promise I’ll fix you the best meal ever.”
We continued walking towards Randy’s and I’ll tell you, drool was dangling from my mouth. I really felt bad about that. Luckily, I was able to spit it out right before we entered Randy’s.
Upon entering Randy’s I was shocked to see that everything was already prepared. The food plate, pop and dessert were on the counter in their respective places. Now, I had to know what was going on.
“Candy, how did you know that I was coming?”
“Please tell me your name so I can love you more.”
“If I tell you my name you’ll love me even more?”
“Yes, honey, I certainly will. I was programmed to love my husband.”
“Husband, just wait a minute, we just met a short while ago. Who told you that I was your husband?”
I regretted saying those words because Candy took them personally. Tears were streaming down her face and I was under the impression that she was about to suck on her thumb. Not wanting to take any chances with that I gently held her hands, gave her a big smile and then kissed her on the cheek.
Somehow, her hands were too soft, her cheek to smooth, beautiful and comforting and her attitude too loving to be true. But first I had to eat and drink.
“Candy, aren’t you going to have anything to eat or drink?”
“No, I’m full to the rim. I just ate a short while ago.”
I went ahead and gorged on my meal, asking for a second plate of hamburger, fries and also for another drink. Afterwards, I asked for two slices of cinnamon apple pie.
As soon as I finished my meal Candy directed me to the restroom where I could brush, floss and clean up.
As soon as I exited the restroom I approached Candy head on and began to ask her some serious questions.
“Candy, when and where were you born?”
“I was manufactured eons ago, just before the beginning of the ‘BIG WAR’.”
“Candy, I took notice that there was no one else in town.” Something happened here and I was intent on finding out. But first I had to find out who Candy really was.
“Candy, you used the word ‘manufactured’, what exactly do you mean?”
“You still haven’t told me your name. You don’t trust me or love me either.”
“Candy, I apologize for that. My name is Bassam Imam and I’m glad to have met you.”
“Thank you, Bassam. I’m not a real humanoid like you. I’m a fleshy android. I can do anything that a woman does, even have babies.”
“You’re an android! You’re not a real person! I can’t love an android! I don’t care how beautiful you are I’ll never love you, I can’t love you!”
Candy fell onto her knees. She approached me walking on her knees, began to cry and then kissed my hand. I was confused.
“Candy, you’re crying and I sense that you’re in much distress. I apologize. I promise not to hurt your feelings again.”
As soon as she got up I kissed her on the lips. But this kiss was very long, indeed. I realized that even though Candy was a fleshy android it was possible for me to love her. She was extremely beautiful, kind and had a good temperament. Besides, we were all alone and it would be wise for me to get along with her.
But things weren’t that simple. And as time passed I’d realize that loving a fleshy android was like loving a humanoid woman, maybe even better.
For the following three months Candy and I did everything that a married couple did, even fall in love. I’d really fallen in love with a fleshy android, and my love was stronger than steel.
One particular morning we awakened together at 8:00 A.M. and of course we madly in love with each other. I shot out of bed and then scurried to the shower stall. Candy stayed behind wanting to wait until I’d finished before taking her own shower. In case you’re wondering, fleshy androids have to take showers too. They have sweat glands like humanoids.
I took a long hot shower and then afterwards dried up and put some fresh clothing on. Meanwhile, Candy had gotten out of bed deciding to fix both of us a nice breakfast. For the previous three months we were living in a giant mansion that had a large lawn and swimming pool.
I descended to the main kitchen located on the ground floor all ready to eat up a storm. As soon as I entered the kitchen I saw our breakfast already on the table. Pancakes, fried eggs, hash browns, toast and jam, margarine, pancake syrup, milk and juice.
I dashed to our dining table, sat down and then gave Candy a peck on the cheek. She in turn smiled at me.
“Candy, you know that I love you so much. I love you more than this entire dimension. You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
I gently held Candy’s hand, raised it up to my face and then kissed it ever so gently. Candy loves you and I loved the breakfast that you prepared for me!
Candy, in turn, cupped my face with the palm of her hands and then kissed me on the lips. It was one long lip-lock, and I certainly wasn’t complaining.
Whoever manufactured Candy did one hell of a job. Making love to her was incredibly sweet. She must’ve been the prize fleshy android.
After we finished our breakfast I informed Candy that I had a serious discussion with her. She answered in the affirmative but on the condition that we clean up and do the dishes first. I accepted.
After we finished cleaning ourselves and did our chores I directed Candy to the study room located on the 2nd floor. She followed me like my own shadow.
I sat down on a Lazy Boy chair and Candy sat on a large leather brown sofa. We were now alone and ready to begin.
“Candy, before I forget; what kind of maintenance do you need. I mean other than food, water, hygiene, shelter and love what else do you need?”
“Bassam, do you see this tiny circle roughly two inches to the right of my belly button?”
“Yes Candy, I certainly do, but what does that have to do with maintenance?”
“Bassam, I must be oiled once every 10 years.”
“Candy, when was the last time that you oiled yourself?”
“Bassam, I did so today. But please remember that I must be oiled at least once every ten years and not a day later. The scientists who invented the MODEL #555-A were geniuses. That’s my model number.
Oiling me is easy. We have oil throughout the desert area. More still, any oil will do, even olive oil or other cooking oils. These oils are prevalent throughout Barkbook, my beloved home town.”
I was flabbergasted! One oiling every ten years, I could be with the woman of my dreams and never have to worry about her aging or dying on me. This was upbeat news considering what I’d been through earlier. I wasn’t ready to endure another death of a friend in my lifetime.
Candy and I continued our love life in Barbook without any incidents. We did everything that a couple could do. However, I was contemplating on asking her to marry me. Because there was no way to make it official I had to think of a compromise. And thankfully, it came to me in a sweet dream.
The day of our marriage began at 9:00 A.M. when we awakened from a good night’s sleep. I asked Candy if she wanted to eat breakfast and then head to the carnival. I wanted to ask her hand in marriage in a ‘locale of fun and play’.
“Candy, let’s eat breakfast. And afterwards, I mean, if you’re game, we can go to the carnival and spend the whole day there. I’m in the mood for rides, carnival food and walking around.”
“Yes, Bassam, I want to do that! Let’s eat breakfast. Yesterday, you told me that you wanted to prepare breakfast for us today. So, go for it.”
Candy and I each showered in separate shower stalls located down the hallway. I was one for long, hot showers and Candy enjoyed ice cold showers, short and to the point. Maybe, it was a fleshy android thing.
After we showered we dried up and then put on some fresh clothing. I walked to the snack bar down the hallway. As I stated before, we chose to live in a gigantic mansion. This mansion contained much of what the castle did except of course it was much smaller and there were no supernatural objects.
As soon as I entered the snack bar the first thing I notice was Candy. She was wearing an incredibly beautiful purple dress identical to her eye colour, her jet black hair was tied in a pony tail, her freckles were perfectly spaced throughout her body and her beautiful white skin was shiny.
“Candy, I want you to have a seat. I’ll bring everything to you and then I’ll place it on the dining table. I feel like having a French toast breakfast. As usual, lots of syrup, a large mound of margarine, milk and Corn Flakes, fruit cocktail, and pop. How does that sound to you?”
“Umm, whatever you want ... Bassam.”
For some reason, I detected that she didn’t want to have French toast.
“Candy, are you sure you want French toast? You seem apprehensive.”
“No, that’s not it. It’s you. You seem a bit jittery. Have I done something to upset you?”
“No, Candy, you’re the perfect wife ... I mean ... the perfect friend. I’m just very happy to be with you.”
I almost gave it away. The word ‘wife’ was ringing in my head and ears. Thankfully, she didn’t detect it.
It took me 25 minutes to fix our breakfast. It looked and smelled really nice. All we had to do was eat it. So, I placed the tray onto the dining table, removed all of the plates and placed one of each kind for each of us. We basically ate and drank the same foods, even in quantity. That’s how much I loved Candy. But don’t be fooled. We didn’t do that always, only on special occasions, well, like on that day.
We ate our breakfast in delight. Thankfully, I prepared it correctly and we had no problems therein. By the time we were done both of us were fully satiated and feeling just fine. I unintentionally burped up a small amount of French toast but then swallowed it.
We placed all of the plates and utensils in the dishwasher and then Candy turned it on. It was really nice to have a dishwasher at hand. Cleanliness of our mansion was imperative. Living in a dirty and shabby home is stressful indeed. It would be a terrible shame to leave a mansion in that state.
After we brushed, flossed and washed up we decided to go to the carnival. Thankfully, the carnival was a 20 minute walk from our home. The walk would aid our digestion considerably. Therein, we’d stroll through the carnival and have our food snacks.
“Candy, are you ready to go to the carnival?”
“Yes, Bassam, let’s go!”
Candy and I left our mansion in high spirits anxious to spend the entire day and if possible much of the night together loving each other ever more every single day.
As soon as we began our stroll through town I eyed the It beautiful homes in the area as I’d done earlier every single day. Thankfully we lived in a very posh neighbourhood. And for some apparent reason nothing rotted or went bad. The paint was still clean and shiny in every home, cars were in good condition, but most incredibly the grasses and trees did not overflow the area. Every single day I walked through the neighbourhood.
It was a very nice day; sunny, hardly a breeze at all and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The day was made specifically for the occasion. But although everything appeared to be going just fine I suddenly got the ‘jitters’. I think everyone who’s ready to propose to his/her true love must endure this. But why was I getting the jitters? Did I somehow think that Candy was going to say ‘NO’, I don’t love you, I never loved you and I’ll never love you?
While walking to the carnival I became so jittery I actually stumbled 3 separate times in a 3 block radius. That raised Candy’s eyebrows.
“Bassam, are you all right?”
“Yes, honey, I’m always all right when I’m with you.”
“You’re not being honest with me! If you love me you’ll tell me what’s going on. I know very well that something is brewing inside you. Please tell me or else I’m going to cry.”
I gently held Candy’s hand, kissed it and then gently pulled her body to a complete halt. I got on my knees, kissed both of her hands and then told her that I was nervous about the carnival trip and that I loved her more than the whole world.”
Thankfully, it worked. Candy gently tugged on my hands indicating that she wanted me to stand up and continue our trek to the carnival.
As soon as we were at the ‘doorstep’ of the carnival I notice that Candy had a large teardrop in her left eye that was about to dribble down her cheek. It wasn’t an allergy teardrop but a cry baby teardrop. Naturally, I stopped her cold.
But before doing that I couldn’t help but admire the gargantuan sign up ahead that read ‘WELCOME TO THE BIGGEST CARNIVAL IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM’. The sign was so large it would’ve taken at least 2 whole minutes to walk from the first letter ‘W’ of the sign to the last ‘M’. And once again, I got a memory flash. I knew that somewhere, sometime in my life I’d heard about this sign. But when and where did it happen?
The entrance to the carnival was even grander than its sign. Below the sign was a large dome and on the ground just past the dome were 3 paths each containing carnival sites and stands on the left and right side. Candy motioned me to walk on the path immediately in front of us. And I must say the end of the path was at least a mile away.
“Candy, what’s the matter? Why do you look so sad?”
“You’re supposed to hold my hand at least part of the way. Do you know how it feels like to walk with the man you love and not have your hand held by him?”
“But Candy, we’ve talked about this earlier. I don’t like holding hands for too long, especially when I’m walking. But I can hold your hand for 5 minutes if you want?”
Candy agreed, so I got right to it, I extended my right hand to her left hand but she pulled back. I realized that she was a bit ticked off at me, so I didn’t press the issue. Besides, I was certain that she’d love the ring that I had in my pocket. The diamond on it would’ve been worth at least a million dollars on Earth or on Planet X.
We strolled through the carnival site for a short while before Candy pointed to the gun range. I was all for it. She gently tugged on my shirt sleeve and led the way.
“Bassam how about a shooting match; we’ll see who hits the most number of ducks?”
I smiled and then nodded my head indicating that I agreed with Candy. Candy in turn stood ready to commence firing at the moving ducks.
As soon as I pressed the ‘START BUTTON’ the conveyer belts began, moving the ducks from right to left. Instantly, Candy began to fire her rifle, hitting 10 ducks out of a total of 24. Not bad for a novice.
As soon as we switched places I got at the ready and waited patiently for the ducks to be moved by the conveyer belt.
As soon as Candy pressed the START BUTTON I aimed and fired. When ‘the smoke’ cleared it became clear that I hit every single duck. And when I turned for a kiss Candy folded her arms in a show of envy and defiance.
“Candy, you and I are supposed to be in love. How can you stand there like that? You should congratulate me.”
“Bassam I love you more than the whole world that we live in. I’m not angry with you. In fact, I’m very happy to be with you. I’m disappointed with myself for not doing any better.”
“Okay, Candy, let’s try it one more time but let me hold your hands and properly position you while you’re firing at the wooden ducks.”
Candy agreed to my request. A short while later she began firing her rifle. When ‘the smoke’ cleared it became apparent that every single duck had been shot. I knew my love could do it. But next time, she’d be on her own. I didn’t want her to become over-dependent on me.
Candy and I continued to stroll through the carnival stopping every now and then to admire what we saw. The carnival mirrors drew out much laughter in us. We looked obese and also toothpick thin depending on where we stood in relation to the mirror.
We weren’t hungry for the time being but nevertheless, the food therein smelled awfully good. I kind of wished that we were hungry. Sloppy Joe’s, chips, baked beans, pop, snow cones, ice cream cones and cotton candy engulfed the air. Not to mention the chilli dogs and hamburger patties.
After strolling through the carnival for nearly an hour I asked Candy if she wanted to ride on the merry-go-round. Initially, I planned to pop the big question there, but as soon as the merry-go-round started it became apparent that that wasn’t a good place to ask Candy’s hand in marriage.
“Candy, let’s go to the merry-go-round. We can ride on those horses and then afterwards, I want us to walk over to the mini-park to sit down. I have something very important to tell you. But please, don’t ask me what it’s about, please!”
“Bassam, you don’t love me! You’re keeping secrets from me! I want to know exactly what you’re hiding from me, and I want to know right this very minute!”
For a moment I lost my cool. It was the first time I’d ever done that around Candy.
“Candy, for once just listen to my words! Please, don’t ask me to tell you before the right time! Can you understand that?”
“You’re not being nice to me! I want to go home right now!”
“Okay, I’m sorry. Please, trust me. I promise you’ll love what I have to say, but I can only say it after we ride on the merry-go-round. If I’m wrong about how you’ll feel you can go ahead and punch me in the face as hard as you can; but only once.”
“You’re certain about that, Bassam?”
“Yes, honey, I’m certain.”
Candy and I casually walked past two dozen carnival stands before veering off to our left into a semi-secluded area where a very beautiful merry-go-round stood waiting for us. No one else was around, making it that much more romantic and enjoyable. And as soon as we got there I asked Candy to sit on a designated black horse. I was to sit on the auburn one beside it.
As soon as Candy was securely mounted on her horse I grabbed hold of the remote control switch, and then mounted my horse. Now, all appeared well.
Thankfully, the remote was the size of an Earth cell phone. I set the speed at very slow because I didn’t want any accidents especially since I was seated next to the woman whom I loved more than anyone else in the whole world.
As soon as the merry-go-round started moving the music automatically began. Thankfully, it was soft music that was just fine for a romantic encounter.
“Bassam, how long should we stay on this merry-go-round?”
“Candy, how about 10 minutes and not a second more?”
“Yes, that sounds just fine. I can’t handle any more otherwise I’ll puke my brains out.
As we turned and turned our surroundings began to shift in different directions. After 5 minutes of moving I asked Candy if she wanted to stop. Thankfully, she answered in the affirmative. I punched in the necessary controls to gradually stop the merrygo-round. And when it did stop we were very thankful, indeed.
As soon as we disembarked from the merry-go-round we sat down on a nearby bench and waited for 15 minutes, not taking any chances on getting sick or losing our balance.
“Candy, I apologize for this shenanigan. We should’ve gone elsewhere instead. Do you forgive me?”
“Yes, Bassam, and I love you too! In fact, before you speak to me about anything I have something to say to you; actually, it’s a very important question.”
“Yes, but Candy, remember I told you that I wanted to talk to you after our ride? Just give me a minute to finish and then you can say whatever you want to.”
‘Bassam, you don’t respect me because I’m a fleshy android! You don’t think that my words are as important as yours!”
“Okay, wait! Please, Candy, don’t cry on me. Let’s walk to the mini-park at the end of this walkway.”
Candy folded her arms, frowned and then began to walk away. Thankfully, she was heading in the direction of a mini-park, which was obviously a former lovers’ lane. Countless teens and youngsters had their version of a good time therein.
As soon as we arrived at the mini-park I motioned Candy to follow me to a beautiful gazebo 50 feet away from us. Now, this gazebo was made for lovers. The 2 sofas under the roof were designed for couples.
We walked to the gazebo and as soon as we got there we sat down and then faced each other, making continuous eye contact. It was a match made in heaven. I felt like I was on top of a hundred worlds. All Candy had to say was one word, ‘YES’ and then I’d be set for life. Now, all I had to do was endure whatever Candy had planned to tell me. Hopefully, it was good news. Two good things to happen in one day would be splendid, indeed.
“Bassam, there’s something that I’ve wanted to tell you ever since I first laid eyes upon you. I love you so much.”
I opened my mouth to say that I felt the same way about her but she gagged my mouth with her right palm while holding my right hand with her left. I knew what that meant; shut up and don’t interrupt me because what I have to say is much more important than anything you could ever imagine saying to me. So naturally, I shut my trap.
“Bassam, I was waiting for you to send me the 3 golden words (I love you) and you did so many times over. I was waiting for you to hold my hand and kiss me and you did so many times over. I was waiting for you to eat with me and you did so many times over. I was waiting for you to watch television with me and you did so many times over. I was waiting for you to make love to me and you did so many times over. Finally, I was waiting for you to ask you to marry me and you didn’t do it, so I’ve taken it upon myself to ask you ... Bassam, I love you so much ... will you marry me?”
“Umm ... umm ... umm ...! For some unknown reason I temporarily lost my ability to speak.
“Bassam, you don’t love me! You don’t want to marry me!”
Finally, I used what wits I had, I nodded my head, grinned and then got on my knees and kissed Candy’s hands. By that time her gagging grip had already been released.
And thankfully, after kissing Candy’s hands I regained my ability to speak.
“Yes, Candy, I will marry you! And I too loved you from the very moment that I laid eyes on you. I think that we’re meant to be together, perhaps forever. And one more thing, I’ve retired from inter-dimensional travelling, effective immediately. I don’t want to leave you or this dimension. I think that we’ll be able to live her unmolested by anyone. We have an indefinite supply of food. Also, we don’t have to worry about unexpected pregnancies, baby food or diapers. Isn’t that incredible?”
Oops. I made a goof-up. Candy’s smile was turning into a frown. I’d reminded her about her inability to conceive. I decided to change the subject really fast, causing her to become distracted and to forget.
“Candy, what should we do now?”
“Bassam, I want to make a gigantic wedding cake and then I want us to eat it, to chip away at it for many weeks or months.” “Okay, we’ll bake ourselves a beautiful wedding cake. The time we invest into it will be well worth it. It is for our wedding.
Candy, you do know that technically we’ll be ‘pretend married’ right? I mean, we’ll be a pretend married couple because neither you nor I are authorized to conduct an official marriage.”
“Bassam, you’re officially my ‘pretend husband’ and I’m your pretend wife. How does that sound to you?”
“Candy, it sounds just fine! Now, let’s go back home and make love.”
We dropped everything that we were doing and then headed back home. We held hands the whole way back and gave each other a kiss every so often. We were extremely lucky to have each other.
While we were walking back to our mansion I imagined myself with Candy 20 years into the future happy and content without any reservations whatsoever.
By now, the beautiful sun was setting. The horizon was an incredibly awesome. And because I was holding Candy’s hand and walking with her I enjoyed the scenery ever more, and so did she.
As soon as we entered our neighbourhood I felt a gush of astonishment. We were lucky to be living in such a posh neighbourhood. And with no one else around we had free pickings. Mind you, our mansion was top-grade, but with many others around the temptation to move was always ringing in the air.
The tree lined streets, beautiful automobiles, spotless streets and sidewalks, the calmness in the air, the well-trimmed grasses and well-designed hedges added calmness to the air. But as we continued walking on Grove Street I suddenly got the jitters again. So much so I actually stumbled onto the sidewalk.
“Bassam, you’re getting the jitters! I know so, because my knowledge banks are filled with examples of men like you.”
“Candy, women go through this too. Check your data.”
“I never said that women don’t go through this. Anyway, is the marriage still on?”
“Of course, Candy. I told you that I love you more than anyone else in the whole world. Besides, you’re also my best friend in the whole world.
Now that we’re ‘pretend married’ we’ll probably be getting into a skirmish or two every now and then. Don’t worry, as long as we make up before hitting the sack everything should clear up. We should only be thankful to be living in such a beautiful neighbourhood, ‘own’ an incredible mansion and are together.”
As soon as we reached the perimeter of our mansion we sighed in relief, having spent an incredible day at the carnival, getting ‘pretend married’, and returning home in one piece.
We entered our mansion and then headed straight for the bedroom. We did what any normal pretend married couple do on their honeymoon night. We ended up sleeping at 5:00 A.M., happy but also exhausted.
We awakened at noon, ate a nice brunch and then headed out to the supermarket. Thankfully, the walk was very nice and there were only a few clouds in the air and a mild breeze.
As soon as we were at the doorstep of Mack’s Supermarket Candy and I scanned the area, just in case and then did what we had to.
As soon as we entered Mack’s we headed straight to the dough section, thereafter we proceeded to snatch whatever we needed to bake a gargantuan wedding cake. But then, we realized that we’d forgotten something important; our grocery cart. I ran back to the front of Mack’s, snatched a grocery cart and then ran back to Candy.
Thereafter, we filled out grocery cart and then left Mack’s delighted. Our grocery cart was overflowing with articles, but there was no other way around it.
We returned to our mansion ready to go. Thankfully, our mansion contained a gigantic kitchen, large enough for any restaurant. It contained 4 large fridges, 2 freezers, 2 ovens (one conventional and another for special purpose baking), 3 large microwaves and 2 dishwashers. Our closet was spacious and filled with all sorts of non-perishable food items. Best of all we had a freezer room used for storing meat or any other food items. Because the room was empty and spotless we’d be able to cart our wedding cake therein and then pick off large pieces daily to eat and enjoy.
“Candy, we need to use that cart over there, to push our wedding cake into the freezer room. Also, we’ll need a ladder. I have a feeling that our cake will be at least ten feet high and neither of us will be able to reach that height on our own. Where, by the way, is the ladder?”
“Bassam, we have 3 ladders in the garage. I think it would be a good idea to bring back two of them just in case one of them breaks down. We’ve got a whole lot of work to do and the last thing I need is a goof-up.”
“Candy, I’ll get on it right away!”
I briskly walked to our garage, located both ladders and then proceeded to carry them back to our mansion kitchen. I didn’t have any time to waste.
As soon as I returned with the ladders Candy motioned me to put them in the corner, out of the way for now. And it was then that I got another spurt of the jitters. I’d realized that our wedding cake was simply going to be too large. It would end up weighing more than Candy and me, at the least. But to tell you the truth, I dared not reveal my apprehensions to Candy. Besides, I could’ve been wrong. Maybe, a gargantuan wedding cake was what we really needed? I’d have to wait and see.
“Candy, I’ll make sure that all our utensils and baking instruments are here. Also, I’ll double check to ensure that the pots, pans, ingredients and that our steel-based table is set in the freezer room to house our wedding cake. Honey, don’t worry, everything will turn out just fine.”
“Bassam, I’ll be honest with you; I really thought you’d be apprehensive about this giant wedding cake thing. But thankfully, you’re as psyched as I am.”
“Sorry, Candy, remember to do your research on your computer. We need at least the best recipe for each tier (layer) of cake. I’m already drooling like a hungry lion.”
It took Candy and me three additional hours to correctly prepare ourselves to begin the job. Meanwhile, Candy had downloaded and then printed out the best recipe she found on the ‘inter-galactic net’. This net also included archives from this planet, whatever it was previously called. I never found it necessary to ask Candy what the name of our planet was. I figured it was irrelevant. When all the pre-preparation was finished Candy ‘summoned’ me to the kitchen table. She gave me instructions and then read off a list of required flavours and tiers for the wedding cake. It was long but I endured it anyway.
“Bassam, I want a multi-tiered wedding cake consisting of the following flavours; coconut, pumpkin slice, chunky monkey, marble, Neapolitan, snowy white, vanilla, carrot, chocolate, dark chocolate, fudge, caramel, orange, strawberry, lemon parfait, peanut butter, chocolate peanut butter, raspberry, cherry, banana, multi-fruit, apple, cinnamon, and apple cinnamon.
Remember, no doubling up! I want one tier for each flavour between every comma. Here’s your copy of the instructions. And, I won’t tolerate any deviation from my instructions!”
I just about fainted. I couldn’t believe what Candy had just told me. Was she sick or what? No, maybe I was sick. Anyway, my apprehension showed on my face.
“Bassam, you don’t want to help me bake our wedding cake! You don’t love me! You’re mean and scary! You’re abusing me! Don’t you love me more than the whole world?”
“Oh, gosh, Candy, yes I do love you more than the whole world. I’ll certainly help you with the wedding cake.”
After ensuring that everything was set in its place we started our big job. And boy was it a big job. Each tier required much labour and preciseness. It kind of drove me up the wall.
The entire job took us about a week of hard work. If we were baking a cake of the same proportions but with on flavour, like say vanilla or chocolate the job could’ve been done in a couple of days at most. Mind you, it still would’ve taken much work.
“Candy, look at our incredible wedding cake. It came out higher than 10 feet. Now, we must each take a gigantic piece, quickly put it on our plate and then exit the freezer room. I think if we preserve this wedding cake very well it’ll last for a whole year without getting spoiled.”
“Bassam thank you very much for all the help that you gave me! I love you so much!”
I couldn’t answer Candy’s complement because I simply had no more energy. I passed out cold.
When I came to Candy was hovering over me like a giant hawk. It took me a half a minute to fully recuperate. Until then, I’d forgotten who I was. But thankfully afterwards, I remembered who Candy was.
The following months went by with no incident. We were in a relatively happy marriage, stuffing ourselves with the most tasty wedding cake slices in any galaxy and loving it.
The cake took us slightly over a year to finish. And when we had our last slice each, we decided on cookies the next time. Although our wedding cake brought us closer together it almost broke us physically too.
Thereafter, the months turned into years. Time was passing us like a cool breeze. We basically had a blast every single day of the week. We walked everywhere and did everything that a married couple could ever want to do. However, I made a horrible mistake that I’d never forget, ever: DO NOT FORGET A WARNING OR AN ACTION THAT ABSOLUTELY MUST BE DONE, ESPECIALLY IF THE DEADLINE WILL CAUSE IRREPARABLE DAMAGE!
Candy and I had been together for just under ten years and loving every single day of it. It wasn’t until Candy began to wake up in the morning with nausea that I began to worry a bit. At first it was mild but then it gradually increased in intensity and frequency.
My first thought was food poisoning or flu. But after I took Candy’s temperature I realized that it was something else. For several straight days I found it very difficult to eat or sleep.
It wasn’t until one day late in the morning that a thought flashed in my head. Although it was highly unlikely to occur I decided to investigate. I returned to our bedroom where Candy was taking a nap.
I looked at her for a whole hour, not taking my eyes off her for a second, until she awakened.
“Candy, I’m all washed up and I want you to do the same. I assume you’re not hungry.”
“I’m not hungry. Is there anything wrong? You seem a bit apprehensive.”
“No, but please shower up, put on some fresh clothing and then you and I will each have a very large bowl of fruit cocktail and then go to town. It’s imperative that you trust me. Please, I’m your husband and I love you ever so dearly.”
Candy agreed to my request, got out of bed and then headed to the shower stall.
Thankfully, everything went according to plan; shower, fruit cocktail and then we were off.
Our trek to town was very stressful and terrifying for me. I was wrong about what I thought was Candy’s problem we’d either have to find a way to leave the planet or dimension and then enter another one that has easy access to good medical care.
A short while later I asked Candy if she wanted to go to Mack’s supermarket. Thankfully, she agreed.
On our previous visit I noticed that there was a nonprescription drugs section. Hopefully, we’d find our answer there.
As soon as we entered Mack’s Candy raised her eyebrows in wonderment, stopped walking for a moment and then continued to follow me to like my own shadow. I searched intensely for a specific item and as soon as I found it I yelled ‘eureka’!
“Bassam, why do you have a pregnancy test kit in your hand and also why did you yell out that word?”
“Candy, please take the test right now and without any delay!”
Seeing that I was dead serious Candy went to the restroom, stayed there for a short while and then came out with the results in her hand. The pregnancy test result indicated a positive. Gosh Candy was pregnant with our child! I couldn’t believe it!
“Candy, we’re going to have a baby! Aren’t you happy?”
“Bassam, I’m not happy, I’m flabbergasted!”
Candy’s nausea and puking spells disappeared instantaneously. For the following several weeks I watched Candy’s stomach grow in amazement and joy, day by day. I made certain that Candy ate the best foods, drank plenty of cool water and rested well. I made sure not to piss her off. I held my temper on several occasions fearing that angering Candy would somehow affect our child’s state of health.
Sadly, the dreaded day arrived only a few weeks before Candy was scheduled to give birth. We were taking a nice walk in the neighbourhood and enjoying the beautiful trees when suddenly Candy collapsed in my arms. I was shocked, but then I assumed that she needed to rest because she was so close to having our baby.
But no, that wasn’t the case. Candy began to repeat the same phrase over and over again ... “I need oil ... I need oil ... I need oil ...
I was absolutely shocked! I suddenly remembered that we passed the ten year mark. Oil is what Candy needed.
I ran home as fast as I could, not slowing down for even part of the distance. Thankfully, it only took me two minutes to get home. I quickly entered our garage, snatched a can of motor oil and then raced back to Candy. But by the time I got there she appeared frozen in place. She was lying on her back, her eyes and mouth were wide open and her right arm was extended in a frozen position.
I refused to believe that Candy was dead. I tried whatever I could to resuscitate her. I tried to give her CPR then I opened the hole beside her belly button and then poured motor oil into it.
When that didn’t work I tried to plead with her: “Candy, please wake up! I love you more than the whole world! You must wake up because we’re going to be parents real soon! Our baby will be happy to see our smiling faces! Candy, look at my can, I have a can of motor oil in my hand it is empty because I just poured the entire contents into your body. This entire planet is engulfed in oil.”
I continued pleading with Candy, even kissing her on the forehead and holding her hand. Finally, I tried to give her a massage. When that didn’t work I realized that it was really over. My wife and child-to-be were dead and there was nothing I could do about it.
I began to pound my fists on the sidewalk ignoring the pain and the shock of pounding on ‘ground cement’.
“It’s not fair! It’s not fair! It’s not fair ... It’s not fair ... It’s not fair!”
I repeated the aforementioned statement over one hundred times without any change in rhythm. I had a few options at hand; stay in town, leave town and then continue onwards through the barren desert hoping to find something better, or search for another castle or doorway of sorts. Because of my state of mind I decided to wait for a few days in order to get myself together and to allow my adrenaline level to drop to normal. In addition, I needed a mourning period because I didn’t only lose my wife but also my child to be or perhaps children to be if there were twins inside her.
Thereafter, I’d be very careful about forgetting things that were of optimal importance. My love for Candy and of course her love for me overwhelmed us so much we’d completely forgotten about the mandatory oil job every ten years.
As the days passed I decided that I needed considerably more time to recuperate. I judged a month to be just right. Having buried my wife in the local cemetery, a twenty minute walk from home gave me easy access to her burial site. I visited her at least once a day, but on several occasions twice. However, one of the days I visited her four times. I’d become so bummed out and lonely. But thankfully, I had all the necessary requirements for basic survival; food, water and shelter. THE HALLOWEEN PEOPLE

On the day of my departure from Barbook I decided to return to the barren desert and continue onwards for a maximum of two days. Naturally, I’d bypass the suburbs of Barbook and continue onwards. Barbook and its suburbs was a place that was somewhat unusual. In essence, it was an oasis of sorts. Anyway, I chugged along five days’ supply of food and water for a round trip and one day extra in case I ran into problems. In addition, I brought along a basic First Aid kit. I carried my essentials in a backpack.

I made certain to eat a very healthy, large supper before leaving. It was logical to begin my trek shortly after nightfall. I packed two flashlights and a super-lantern.

As soon as I exited ‘our mansion’ I turned to face it and then stared at it for close to a minute. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to see it again. Then, I turned away and began my trek.

It was a calm evening, no trace of a breeze whatsoever. I had a creepy feeling that someone was watching me. In fact, it was the first time I’d ever felt this way in Barbook. As I continued walking through our posh neighbourhood I brushed off the feeling as being nerves, or just plain ole loneliness. After all, I had absolutely no one else to talk to. I certainly wasn’t going to converse with myself or with my shadow.

Soon I was out of our neighbourhood and then entered a middle class one. Although the houses were still nice they paled in comparison with any mansion I’d lived in.

Shortly afterwards, I reached the peripheral of Barbook. I was now officially beginning my trek. I scanned the area to my left and to my right and then behind me. I wanted to pick up a habit of knowing my surroundings.

The moon on Barbook appeared very large, lighting up much more of the surface area than Earth’s moon. I was thankful for that. After satisfying myself that the coast was clear I decided to walk to my right as far as far as my eyes could see and further yet.

The first step that I took out of Barbook scattered dust underneath my legs. I’d basically forgotten how to walk on desert sand. Thankfully, it only took me an hour to regain my ability to walk properly on desert sand.

I walked for three whole hours before camping near a rocky cliff. I wasn’t going to be a fool and scale the cliff as that would use up too much energy and I could easily fall in the process. Although I had a First Aid kit with me I certainly wasn’t a medical man. I only knew the basics of First Aid.

I surrounded my camp with rocks and boulders. After pondering about what to do next I decided to build a small fireplace instead of using my super-lantern. Fires can scare off many, but not all predators. I was taking precautions.

I sat down for an hour enjoying the night sky before deciding to hit the sack. I unzipped my backpack and then removed a comfortable sleeping bag.

Thankfully, it only took me a few seconds to fall into a deep sleep. I had one dream after another, all containing Candy in them. She was my wife and she gave birth to my son. I was so happy in my dream that nothing could ruin it except awakening and that’s what happened on four separate occasions. I basically had to urinate.

I made sure to walk at least one hundred yards from my camping site before finding a spot to urinate. The last thing I needed was a urine-stench campsite.

I think I slept for at least twelve hours because when I awakened it was near dawn. After eating a small but healthy breakfast I decided to walk as much as I could before the scorching sun made its ‘heated appearance’.

Thankfully, I was able to walk for two hours before I began to feel the heat of the sun.

But after resting for a short while, I regained my ambition to walk and did just that. I added an additional two hours of walking before stopping for a rest. The sun’s heat and rays came down on me really hard, especially onto my left side.

I scanned the area carefully, making a slow but calculated 360 degree turn in the process, but saw nothing that resembled a humanoid settlement. Nor did I see a body of water. Only desert and much more desert. There were, however, scattered rocky hills but unless there was some kind of advantage in scaling one of them I passed the opportunity. ‘Action economy’ was a necessity at the very least.

Thankfully, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart and from every single atom in my entire body, I saw a rocky mound with an over-hanging cliff. This cliff shaded the area underneath it from the sun’s fierce heat and rays. Expectedly, I walked to it, dropped my backpack and then collapsed onto the sandy ground. As soon as my sweaty body pounded onto the ground a large array of sand dust blew into the air.

It was so scorching hot I decided not to move, except to close my eyes for a nice long sleep. Thankfully, I slept for several hours.

Upon awakening, I scanned the area then decided to eat and drink. I ate three canned items and drank a litre of water. Afterwards, I drank a litre of caffeinated pop to get me going. After I finished my meal I continued my trek to wherever my legs could take me.

I still had plenty of food and water on hand, thereby clearing one potential problem. But I couldn’t forget that if I found nothing within the allotted time frame, I’d certainly return. Survival was of prime importance.

Along the way I kept getting flashbacks of Candy, the love of my life. I just couldn’t escape her memory. And as I continued to trek a thought entered my mind; if she really was a fleshy android could I find an expert to regenerate her? Was it possible? If so, would she remember me, I mean would her memory banks have to be reconfigured?

The loss of my child was another problem to deal with but it paled in comparison to the loss of Candy. I never saw my child therefore I had no memories of him/her.

As I was thinking about Candy and her death another shocking thought entered my mind. I’d assumed that when Candy had died so did my child. Now, I was wondering what I would’ve seen if I’d opened her stomach up and removed the foetus. It was too late for anything to be done so I began to concentrate on the issue at hand; I had to find a humanoid settlement very soon. I wanted to start a new life.

I was able to walk for another three hours before I noticed that it was late afternoon just before sunset. I had no time to ponder about this because I caught glimpse of what appeared to be a ‘non-desert area’. I say non-desert area because I couldn’t quite tell what I was looking at but I was absolutely certain it wasn’t a barren desert.

I stopped walking and just stared at the horizon for a minute or two. Then, doubts filled my mind, from being absolutely certain to doubtful. Was I looking at a mirage? Was I going mad? Was I so exhausted I was seeing things? There was only one thing to do, walk towards it.

Nothing in the entire barren desert meant anything to me, except the ‘thing’ that I barely saw on the horizon. As I continued walking towards it any doubts that I’d previously had were beginning to dissolve. Tiny silhouettes of trees and other plant life slowly began to emerge.

When I was within a quarter of a mile from the object it became clear that it was a forested area; if not a good-sized wooded area.

Shortly afterwards, I saw something very shocking. It appeared to be pacing back and forth, not a typical plant life motion. I kept a keen eye on the object. As I approached it I saw a silhouette of a bipedal creature.

As soon as this thing took notice of me it stopped pacing. It was too late to run back. Actually, I had nowhere to run to. I pulled out a Bowie knife from my backpack and then shoved it deep into my back pocket. I was ready to kill the bipedal creature if need be. I was however, hoping for a peaceful meeting. Thankfully, that’s what I got.

As soon as I was within thirty feet of the bipedal creature I realized that it was a primitive version of our (Planet X’s) humanoids.

The bipedal creature was over six feet tall, very powerfully built, hairy all over, had short claws and incredible teeth including prominent canine and razor-sharp carnassials. Its jaws were massive and its head was solid and large. It had no crest on its head negating a close relationship to Earth’s gorillas. However, its forehead was slightly protruding, it had an incredibly wide chest, massive arms and legs and an apparent demeanour of confidence. This led me to believe that it was a sentry of sorts, obviously guarding the peripheral of a border.

For a moment we stared at each other then the bipedal creature raised his head, scented me, and then broke the silence.

“You, you’re one of us! You’re from Planet X, aren’t you? Yes, I know exactly who you are. You’re First Minister Bassam Imam. I’ve seen pictures and images of you. You left during the Great War, right? In fact, you were one of the high commanders ... or some kind of a minister, were you not?”

I must say, I was utterly shocked! How the hell could I be hearing those words from a primitive bipedal?
“This must be some kind of a magical joke or something. How the hell did you really know my name?”
“Like I said, Bassam, I’ve seen pictures and images of you in our special archives.”
“Now, what did you say your name was?”
“I’m Steven Forester, and as you can see for yourself I’m a sentry.”
“Supposing that this really is Planet X, not that I believe you or anything but what’s with the barren desert and the forested area?”
“Bassam, as you know there was a horrible war, a gargantuan war of epic proportions on Planet X. It was fought for greed; both sides were greedy. They wanted a precious ‘item’ in the neutral zone. So, now you’re wondering what happened? Okay, Bassam, I’ll tell you!
The fighting raged heavily and the more casualties that were lost the more desperate and ruthless both sides became, until one day they both decided to use their ‘ANNIHALATION BOMBS’ on each other. In essence, each side decided to nuke the other side first. What resulted was an incredible devastation of Planet X; so devastating it actually caused our planet to stop revolving, pause and then revolve in the opposite direction.
That was the death-knell of our high tech world. In effect, our planet is going through a period of ‘reverse aging’ or you could say it’s regressing. Time is going backwards, not forwards.
Bassam, you do remember in grade school being taught that countless eons ago our planet’s land mass was covered in forests, right?”
“Yes, I do remember that, but I need more to believe you.”
“I’m guarding the peripheral of the forest. Every single day this forest expands a few feet. The barren desert is slowly shrinking, but given the size of our planet it’ll probably take many millions of years for the forest to cover the entire land mass.
Now, Bassam, you can see for yourself I’m one of those primitive humanoids you studied about in science class. Not only are there people like me out there but I heard that on the other side of our forest there are dinosaurs creeping around. Soon, they’ll need more food and habitat. That’s when we’ll have to fight tooth and nail.
Look over there on your right. Those are my sleeping quarters. My weapon of choice is a machine gun, pistol and bowie knife. I read about the high-tech weapons our predecessors used. I hope that we never get to that level of military technology again. We’ll probably end up doing the same thing over again.
Bassam, there are a total of five forested areas on Planet X and they’re not yet connected. Either there’s a barren desert between each of them or an ocean. Thankfully, our oceans have always had always housed vast supplies of seafood. We’re like all other creatures, we need water to survive.
If you come back with me you’ll see people like me and similar races, but you’ll also see humanoids like yourself. The Great War didn’t destroy everyone or everything. But I must warn you; you’re considered a war criminal by some common folks.”
“What! I didn’t do any of those monstrous things!”
“Yes, Bassam try telling them that. Our archives indicate that both sides had their share of war criminals and you happen to be one of them. Remember, you were a big shot in our government during the time of the Great War. Someone has to be blamed for the carnage, and it isn’t going to be the common folk.”
“What are your habitats like in the places where you live?”
“We have cars that can travel up to 35 mph. Our technological level is advancing at a steady pace. It’s only a matter of how many years before we develop our first superbomb.”
“Steve, what do you recommend that I do?”
“Well, you can go back to where you came from. Obviously, you were living in an oasis somewhere on this planet. Or you can return to Planet X’s capital city with me. I guess that’s out of the question because you’ll be ripped apart as soon as you’re discovered. Someone somewhere will certainly recognize you.
Or, you can take the third option. However, it’s not as straightforward as the others. I’m telling you this because I personally don’t blame you for initiating or sustaining the Great War. It was bound to happen considering how our predecessors behaved.”
Steve turned to his left to face the forested area and then pointed to a small, inconspicuous break in the density of trees. It appeared to be an entrance of sorts.
“Bassam, you can enter the forested area through that very narrow opening and then walk the treaded path. This will lead you away from the barren desert and any and all of our cities. I’ve heard rumours about this path, that it was used by ‘escapees’ of sorts to disappear. Lest I warn you, no person who’s ever walked the path returned. I have given you three options to choose from. It’s up to you now. Let me invite you to a nice supper. We can enjoy it while the sun is setting. Darkness is a beautiful time in these parts. Don’t worry about dangerous animals; we cleared all of them years ago.
Bassam, you mustn’t tell anyone about the secret pathway or that I was the one who told you about it. It’s a big secret.”
I didn’t like what he said about clearing the animals from the desert. He used a code word for annihilation. That word was used when I was living on the other Planet X.
Steve gently held the back of my upper arm slowly leading me to his eating quarters. Therein, he fixed me a roast rabbit sandwich, potato chips, tea and cookies supper. He refused to accept any of my food offerings stating that I was his guest and a traveller too. He couldn’t face himself if he took valuable food from a traveller.
After eating I thanked Steve and then went to sleep. I chose a clean area nearby, closing my eyes and instantly falling asleep. I was that exhausted.
When I awakened Steve was nowhere in sight. However, he did place a note on my chest indicating that he’d gone home for his weekend break and that another sentry would be replacing him at noon. Apparently, security of the peripheral area was lax at best. But also in the letter was a stern warning by Steve about the sentry scheduled for the next shift.
It was made clear by Steve that the replacement sentry would be very hostile to me; that he may even consider me a war criminal of sorts. This caused my stomach to squeeze in on itself. So, I quickly grabbed hold of my belongings and left the area heading straight to the pathway
The replacement sentry was exiting the forest as soon as I entered it; thankfully I entered the forest far enough away to evade detection, but nevertheless he ‘almost’ saw me.
As soon as I entered the pathway I heard treading of feet nearby. Naturally, I crouched down and glanced back to see two more sentries appear. Now there were three all together and they were well-armed too. They appeared to be searching for someone or something. I was too fearful to stay around so I cautiously began my trek into the treaded path, but was careful not to rustle or crush any leaves, at least until I was deeper into the forest.
I had no idea how fast those great apes could run. I ended up slithering away for over a mile before I returned to my normal walking routine. By then, the peripheral of the forest was nowhere in sight. I continued walking along the treaded path for another two hours but finding no relief yet, so I decided to rest for a while.
I sat down beside a giant tree. It must’ve been five hundred feet high. But there were trees nearby that were even taller. Anyway, I closed my eyes and fell asleep. I must’ve been out cold for several hours because when I awakened I felt refreshed.
I ate three cans worth of food, drank some water and then drank a litre of pop. Now, I felt fresh. There was nothing to do but continue my trek.
I walked for another two hours before spotting what appeared to be a very large cave on my right. It was roughly twenty feet off the treaded pathway.
I looked straight ahead and saw a very long valley with a shallow stream just as long. They extended at least as far as the horizon. I now had options to choose from, the cave or the valley. Deep down inside I felt that both options were potentially dangerous. This was a decision that needed deep thinking and pondering.
I sat down, resting my back on an unusual looking tree. It was only five feet tall and had a thin trunk.
The valley was open and probably led to something however, because it was a vast and open land a large predator could’ve easily pounced on me. In addition, the valley contained no trees whatsoever negating any chance of cover or camouflage in case of danger. On the other hand, the cave was enclosed. If there was danger therein I probably wouldn’t be able to run left or right, only out in the direction of the exit.
It took me roughly an hour to decide upon entering the cave. I’d never been in a cave like the one that was before my eyes. However, I’d seen many valleys before.
I stood up, took a deep breath and then exhaled. I was now ready to enter the cave. To tell you the truth I had the jittery jumps. I almost felt like I was wearing springs under my shoes. The muscles in my thighs and calves were twitching awfully hard. But I continued walking, nevertheless.
Upon entering the cave I was awed by the incredible oval shape of the interior, the smooth walls and the long corridor in front of me. But as I continued my walk I noticed that there were other caves therein aligned throughout the corridor on the left side and the right.
I wasn’t sure what to make of it so I continued walking for another fifteen minutes. It was then that I decided to enter one of the other cages, but not before I took notice of a sign on each cave.
The sub-cave or what I thought was a sub-cave at the moment that I chose had a sign that read THE CAT TRAIL. After glancing up at the sign for a second time I went ahead and entered the sub-cave. I continued walking through it but felt quite unusual. Somehow, the ground appeared to be closer to my face than earlier. Furthermore, I could’ve sworn that the ceiling of the cave was much lower. It was one of those strange things.
Soon afterwards, I reached the peripheral of the tunnel. Now I was about to enter what appeared to be a modern day Earth city, perhaps sometime during the early 21st century.
I took my first step into the city a bit confused and weary of what I may encounter. But once again, I felt like something in me had drastically changed. But the biggest shocker was the people who were walking on the sidewalk. Gosh the people were giants, or maybe I was a little person.
I made certain to keep my head low and not make any waves. Also, I took notice that I was on Elgin Street West near Thomas Barber Shop, just in case I had to flee the area back to the cave.
Speaking of the cave, I glanced back at it, thankfully, it was still there. This was my new tool for inter-dimensional travel.
As I continued to walk an elderly woman stood in my path, gave me a big smile and then knelt down and petted me. I in turn rubbed the side of my head and body against her ankle and then walked away. Now, I was really confused! What the hell was going on here? I asked myself.
As I continued walking on the sidewalk more and more people began to smile at me, some of them referring to me as ‘kitty’. I had to know what was going on so I backtracked, running to Thomas Barber Shop. Although it was full that didn’t stop me. I had to see myself in the mirror.
But as soon as I reached the entrance, several of the patrons told me that cats weren’t allowed in the barber shop. Instantly, the barber brandished his scissors at me and then told me off using not so kind words.
“Look, kitty, this is a respectful barbershop. I Thomas Harrison will never allow a kitty of your colour to enter my shop. Got it?”
It was then that I saw my own reflection in the barber shop window. I was shocked beyond belief. I’d somehow transformed into a cat.
I turned and then ran as fast as I could, anywhere as far away as possible from the barber shop. I ended up running a total of seven blocks. Although I enjoyed the speed of my ‘cat running’, I did notice that my endurance had faded considerably. Cats have incredible stamina but lack in endurance.
The rules of the game had changed considerably. I had to keep a keen eye on cat haters. But there was another thing. Right before I left the ‘barber shop incident’ I noticed that it was October 28th, a bit too close to Halloween. In fact, the cruelty of this putrid day often begins a week or so earlier and then extends after the end of October for a day or two, or sometimes more. The only person more unlucky than a stray cat on Halloween is a stray cat who’s black.
I continued on Elgin Street but picked up my pace a bit. Elgin was a very nice clean street with countless stores aligning both sidewalks. The scent of food, especially a bakery nearby awakened my appetite. That’s when I realized that my shoulder bag containing the copying machine was still attached to my body, however it too had shrunk. With the copying machine I had inter-galactic internet access, a money maker, credit card manufacturer and whatever else I needed. If need be I could punch in a control to enlarge whatever was ejected from my copying machine. At least in this regard I was very lucky.
I walked to Sam’s Bakery but still apprehensive regarding the human passersby. Although many people do really love cats some of them hate cats at a cruel and unusual level. Furthermore, some smiles are sadistic smiles. Either way, it was heads up.
As soon as I was about to enter Sam’s Bakery a young man, perhaps in his early twenties, medium height and build with red hair and blue eyes approached me. He appeared dishevelled and not too clean. My first impression was of a mentally unstable person. I placed myself on red alert not knowing what this fellow was up to.
“Hey kitty, how’s it going? Would you like to join me for a sweet roll and coffee snack? I’m a bit bummed out now. I seem to be bored with life. I need a new friend. Do you want to be my friend?”
Right there and then I knew that the guy was a wacko. However, being that I didn’t know anyone and could use the snack I nodded in approval, but didn’t make an official acceptance at that point.
It wasn’t until he spoke again that I noticed how mentally unstable he was. He skipped over into another topic not related to anything we should’ve been talking about.
“That little witch kept pissing me off over and over again; she complained about everything, especially me. I’m so beautiful and perfect no one has the right to insult me!
Kitty, I’m Gary Carmichael. I’m a doctoral student at Hapsburg University, one of the best in Pennsylvania.
Guess what, I’m studying abnormal/clinical psychology. There are too many nut cases out there and I think I’m the one to fix them up.”
Although I was glad that Gary told me where we were I also felt quite uncomfortable around him. The thought of the sweet roll and coffee faded away, at least with Gary that is. But then, he asked me another unusual question.
“Bassam, let’s go to the mini-mall, actually it is called University Mall and it’s just a few blocks away. In fact, listen, I’ll treat you to a nice fish dinner and you can have all the pop and dessert that you want. I’m very happy to have left that little witch, Agatha. Come to think of it she was too fat and ugly for me. I deserve better, don’t I?”
“Oh, yes Gary, you deserve the best woman in the whole world. Now, umm ... you know something, I just remembered that I have an urgent matter to attend to. Have a beautiful day and see you ... I mean ... I’ll see you around, okay?”
Gary’s body language indicated a sudden attack. I was prepared to punish him severely if need be. But then, I was saved by the ‘siren’. A police car zoomed to the area with siren blasting away. The driver swerved and then parked his vehicle right in front of us. Without any hesitation whatsoever both officers exited the vehicle, ran towards Gary, frisked him, cuffed him and the dragged him back to the vehicle. Afterwards, one of the policemen approached me and then spoke.
“Kitty, you need to come to the station with us, okay. We need to get a formal statement as to ...”
But just then, Gary began to throw a fit. This guy was so crazy he was actually able to break loose from the handcuffs. His adrenaline level was certainly abnormal.
He exited the police car, proceeded to attack the officer who was talking to me and then he did an about face, as though he knew what the officer was doing. In fact, the other officer was in the process of calling in for help.
Gary picked up a trash can just a few feet away from us and then hurled it at the windshield of the police car. Expectedly, it shattered the windshield causing incredible harm to the officer inside.
Meanwhile, the officer near me was struggling to get up. He had a bloody nose and perhaps a few broken ribs. He was barely able to get up. And believe me, by now a humungous crowd had formed. But where in the hell were the good citizens of Hapsburg? They stood there gawking at ‘the event’. I for one had good reason to scram. I wasn’t from this dimension, I was a stray cat and I was fearful of being sent to an animal shelter.
I slithered away from the raucous like a leopard in the night. Not a single person in the crowd took any notice of me.
I walked for a whole block but then I felt an urge to turn and see what had happened. Gary was pointing a gun at one of the officer’s head. I scanned the area, took notice of a pay phone and then ran to it as fast as I could. There was no time to be a super-hero. I really couldn’t help either of the two officers except by calling the police.
But by the time I leaped up onto the telephone the crowd had become so large I was no longer able to see either of the officers. However, I used my incredible feline auditory sense to zoom in on what the officers were saying. Unfortunately, only one of them was speaking, or maybe I should say trying to speak.
“Please, someone help me! Please, someone call for backup!” Then, it was Gary’s turn to speak. And boy did he speak. What ensued was a horror story for me.
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
“One officer is down, another to go. Now, I want all of you to pay attention to what I have to say before this confrontation ends. Consider this a death bed confession of sorts.
Yes, I’m a ruthless criminal; I murdered, raped, mutilated, robbed, extorted, cheated, abused and kidnapped my share of people. I’m the Hapsburg Boogie Man that all of you know about. I’ve been terrorizing the East Coast, especially Pennsylvania for five years now.
And do you want to know something else, I had a partner. Sure, how else could I have been so proficient at what I did? My accomplice ... his name is Bassam Imam and he’s a stinking black cat. He has beautiful kitty-green eyes, stream-lined body, is very athletic and cute and he’s extremely dangerous.”
I was utterly shocked by what Gary had said. That creep had implicated me in perhaps dozens upon dozens of heinous crimes. These heinous crimes that I had nothing to do with would instantly turn me into public enemy number one.
BANG! BANG!
This time I only heard two shots. But that was enough to do the job.
I leaped onto the ground, exited the phone booth and then scurried across the street to an isolated alleyway. Mind you, I didn’t enter deep into the alley. I kept myself positioned right behind the corner of a wall enabling myself to peek and listen to what was going on at the scene of the crime. I had to know because I was now the new Boogie Cat.
“I saw what’d happened! The Boogie Cat was standing right here talking to Gary. He must’ve been planning the murders with him. I tell you the Boogie Cat had claws six inches long and canines as large as a Sabre Tooth cat’s. He was menacing, mean, scary-looking and cunning. If it hadn’t been for the police I would’ve taken them both on,” said an elderly woman.
The elderly woman appeared dishevelled, wrinkly as a prune, ugly and obviously a cat hater. But there was more. Now sirens were going off in all directions. I understood that the cops were now closing in on the area and of course they were worried about two of their own. No doubt, an ambulance was on its way too.
I wasn’t sure if the entire area was going to be cordoned off or only part of it. Not wanting to take any chances I casually slipped deep into the alley.
I took notice of a dumpster and decided to hide behind it. Hereafter, I was to be known as Boogie Cat. What a horrible name and even worse timing. With Halloween around the corner every single black cat in Pennsylvania would probably be chased down and killed.
Meanwhile, returning to the cave was temporarily out of the question. There was no way in hell I could slip through the neighbourhood without being detected.
I rested up for an hour or so then cautiously got up. Thereafter, every move I made was calculated. I didn’t know who was watching me; perhaps someone from the 5th floor of a building, or maybe from a higher or lower floor.
I noticed a giant blob of menacing clouds fast approaching. That meant a severe rainstorm. I had to find a good place to hide and very soon.
I continued walking through the alley scanning the area from left to right. I was searching for a hole just big enough for a kitty. Suddenly, I heard someone call out to me.
“Hey kitty, come here! I promise to shelter you. Don’t worry I’m not an undercover agent. Actually, I’m wanted by the local, state and federal authorities because I’m a mouse. Once again, don’t worry, I won’t kill you!”
As soon as I turned my head in the direction of the voice I heard a vehicle fast approaching me. I tried to shove my body through a mouse hole but found myself stuck therein. I tried to wriggle my body into the hole.
Surprisingly, a mouse pulled me in towards her using all her might. Although I was stunned by her behaviour, I wasn’t complaining any.
“Thanks a lot! Wow, do you live here, underneath this building?”
“Yes, but remember, I’m a mouse. Mice are very versatile animals.
I’m the last of my kind in Hapsburg. Two years ago Governor Smith declared an all-out war against rats and mice. Exterminators from neighbouring states were also called in to implement the ‘Final Solution’ as the governor termed it.
The vehicle that was fast approaching you was a patrol car. I think it’s safe for us to peer through the hole but to evade detection at the same time.”
The mouse and I caught a glimpse of the patrol car slowly driving through the area. Shockingly the driver of the patrol car slowed down and when he turned his head and faced us, we instinctively pulled back our heads. For a whole minute we did nothing but breath. That’s how horrified we were.
A short while later the coast became clear. I was now certain that there was an all points bulletin (APB) out for me. In addition, a handsome reward would be offered for my hide; dead or alive!
“Mouse, what’s your name?”
“I’m Kara Edwards. I’m delighted to meet you. I’m going crazy with no one to talk to and being in a state of apprehension all the time.
There’s a 5000 dollar reward for my hide, dead or alive. The authorities know that there’s one more ‘female mouse’ left in the state. They know that I’m hiding somewhere in the downtown area.”
“I’m Bassam Imam. And I really sympathize with you. But I too am wanted.”
After telling Tara what’d happened she agreed wholeheartedly that there was an APB in effect and a handsome reward for my hide, dead or alive.
“Bassam, you and I must be very careful hereafter. There’s no mercy out there for people like us. The reward money alone will entice many individuals to seek our capture. For them, bringing us back dead is a guarantee we won’t escape.
I’ve been here so long I don’t even know what day or year it is. Mind you, I do have other hideouts however this is my best one. Nobody will ever suspect that there’s a wanted mouse underneath an apartment building inhabited by the Governor’s mother.
Agatha, the governor’s mother, is a staunch hater of mice and cats. So in that regard, you and I must be ever careful whenever we leave or enter this building. Talk is she likes to peer out her balcony in search of someone to call the police on. Remember, if you see an elderly woman carrying a cane and wearing a blue, green or brown bonnet and is wrinkly, ugly and has a witch’s pimple on her nose it’s her. If she lays eyes on you you’re finished in this building. By golly she’ll call her son and he may send the National Guard after you. Cats, especially of your type are hated throughout much of the world, especially during Halloween.”
“Tara, it’s almost Halloween. It’s October 28th. I guess I should be extra careful about where I go for the following few days.”
“Bassam, I’ve got some Swiss Cheese, cheese curls and crackers over there in the corner. Would you like to join me for a snack?”
“Kara, I’m famished! I can’t stay like this for another hour otherwise I’ll get flashbacks about the great famine I had to endure in the past. Look, I’ll get you a real meal. Anyway, I do owe you for pulling me into safety, right?”
“Bassam, I understand that you’re really hungry, but let’s wait a little longer, it’s almost dark.
I know a beautiful place that we can hit. Arnold’s Snack Bar closes at 6:00 P.M. daily. Arnold has been in business for over forty years. He and his wife run the business alone; taking orders, cooking, cleaning, accounting and whatever else is needed.”
“Kara, our walk to the deli will be slow and cautious therefore, we should leave immediately. How does that sound to you?”
“Bassam, you’re absolutely right! Let’s go right now!”
It was dark out making it easier for us to head out and make it to our next meal.
Kara and I cautiously peeked out of the mouse hole scanned the area and then we determined that that coast was clear. A moment later, we exited our home and then walked towards Baron Street which was a block away from Elgin Street. As we were walking the sound of a lone siren startled us so badly we both pooped on the ground at the same time.
After pooping we took cover behind the same dumpster that I used before entering the building. The driver turned off the siren, but he didn’t fool us for one second. We could hear faint tire traction slowly approaching us. I’ll tell you, we were both terrified. Considering we were both wanted; most likely dead or alive, but preferably dead it was the expected response.
But as the patrol car got too close for comfort I motioned Kara to slither underneath the dumpster. She did as I asked.
Now, we had a bird’s eye view of what was going on. Moving or talking was totally out of the question.
“Dispatcher, this is Officer McCoy speaking. We’ve gotten anonymous reports that Bassam was seen in the vicinity of Yale Apartments. I think he’s hiding somewhere nearby. The best way to flush that ‘Boogie Cat’ is to bring in the Bloodhounds. They can smell a kitty from a mile away. Furthermore, we may be able to kill two birds with one stone; Kara was seen in this sector a few days ago. The witness claimed that she’ll remember exactly where as soon as soon as the reward money is in her hands; and may I add it is a hefty five thousand dollars!”
Officer McCoy got out of his patrol car, approached the dumpster and then took a leak right beside us. Unfortunately for us droplets of urine splattered on us. Now, we were stinky and dirty. There was no way in heck Kara or I could eat.
After Officer McCoy finished his business he returned to his patrol car and then asked for a couple of Bloodhounds ... pronto.
Kara and I looked at each other in utter shock. But there was something else to be told. I felt that Kara was hiding something very important from me. I’d have to wait until we got out of our predicament to ask her point blank. Cats don’t like to be left in the dark.
“Dispatcher, honey, listen up, I’m going to drive over to Barney’s and grab myself a sweet roll and an extra large coffee. This is going to be an intense shift. I want to be loaded up with sugar, caffeine, and carbohydrates.
Look, I’ll return to my sector in a short while. Until then, if anything important pops up just give me a holler.”
As soon as Officer McCoy drove off we decided to run to the end of the alley as fast as we could, scan the area and then head straight to Arnold’s.
We slithered out from underneath the dumpster all stinky and greasy and then we did as planned. Thankfully, a short while later we were standing in front of Arnold’s Snack Bar. In fact, we could see him remove all of the money from the cash register.
“Bassam, in all my haste I made a terrible mistake! We shouldn’t be in front of Arnold’s, but in the back. Remember, we want to sneak in through the back without being detected by anyone. All it’d take is one witness and we’re history. The police won’t hesitate to use live ammunition, with a shoot to kill policy.
Arnold’s was an oldies style snack bar; specifically it looked like a Rock N’ Roll teeny bopper snack bar containing all the amenities; burgers, fries, shakes and desserts at the ready. The ketchup bottles, salt and pepper shakers and the sugar shaker were all of the oldies style.
A beautiful teenage love song by DION AND THE BELMONTS was playing from the juke box. I felt like hearing the entire song before going to the back, but that wouldn’t have been a smart move. Arnold would no doubt have spotted us.
We scurried to the back of Arnold’s passing by large black garbage bags and a lone racoon perched on a tree nearby. His eyes were fixed on the garbage bags.
Kara and I tried to ignore him not making sustained eye contact. The last thing that we needed was for anyone to tag along with us. If we declined the police would no doubt receive an anonymous tip of our presence.
“Bassam, we must keep walking until we reach that large tree beside the dumpster. We need to hide soon because Arnold will no doubt have to throw his garbage away; right beside us!”
I agreed with Kara’s assumption wholeheartedly. So, I led the way to the tree.
As soon as we were within spitting distance of the tree I scaled it and then waited patiently for Kara to follow me. She hesitated, glanced at the racoon that was now slowly descending onto the ground and then she told me that the coast was clear and that we could now enter Arnold’s.
“Kara, are you sure we can do that?”
“Yes, the racoon gave me a nod indicating that we could now enter Arnold’s. Apparently, he was trustworthy.
I know that we weren’t supposed to be seen by anyone, but racoons are different from other people. They’ve endured hell and back many times over in the form of human persecution. I’m sure he won’t tell anyone. Besides, he’ll be pre-occupied with his garbage supper.”
I descended from the tree and then followed Tara to the back door leading into Arnold’s. It was a comfortable walk knowing that the coast both in and around Arnold’s was clear.
“Bassam, I’ve done this before; we must leap onto the window panel, pull open the window and then squeeze our bodies through the tiny opening. The alarm will not go off unless the window is opened more than six inches. That’s why we must be extra vigilant and careful when we enter. I hope I’ve made myself clear.”
“Yes, Tara, I hear you loud and clear. Now, let’s enter Arnold’s so we can enjoy a large tasty supper.”
I followed Tara onto the window panel and then we pulled on the window using all our might.
A moment later we managed to open the window three or four inches. I didn’t want to take any chances. Both Tara and I already had more than enough problems as is.
As soon as we entered through the window opening we leaped onto the kitchen floor. I used my incredible night vision to scan the area. Thankfully, there were no goblins or creeps lurking in the shadows.
“Tara, we must act fast. Please, get on the counter and wait for your order. I’ll fix you whatever you want.”
“I want a burger with all the garnish, giant order of fries, an extra large pop (diet) and a slice of pumpkin pie.”
I remembered ‘her order’ and then thought about my own order. But then, I got a sudden, sharp pain in my stomach. We’d made a blunder regarding our order.
“Tara, we can’t cook burgers here, nor can we fry fries. Arnold would no doubt discover that we were here. He’ll call the police and then after the smoke clears they’ll convince him to upgrade his alarm system. You see, we’re better off having a cold cut sandwich, potato chips, pop and a desert each. But after we eat everything must be washed. Arnold’s must look exactly as it did when he and his wife left.”
“Bassam, I told you that I’d been here before. I know exactly what we must do before leaving.”
I got to work in the kitchen preparing our cold cut sandwiches, chips, drinks and dessert. It took me roughly fifteen minutes to complete the job. Thankfully, Arnold’s had stockpiles of paper plates and cups and plastic utensils. I didn’t bother using regular plates and utensils as they were heavy and breakable.
Incredibly, I carried everything in my forepaws and walked on my hind legs. As soon as our food and drinks was on the counter we began to gorge.
“Bassam thanks a lot for this beautiful meal. I too was famished but didn’t want to make an issue out of it. I’m sure you noticed my prominent ribs and my gaunt look. Anyway, enough with the chatter, let’s eat!”
I managed to place everything on the counter in its proper place. The cold cuts on each of our sandwiches were six inches high. The potato chips had been fried the night before, the pop was fizzing with joy and our dessert was spectacular.
We ate our meal uninterrupted. The cold cuts and pie were especially good. Kara insisted on doing all of the cleaning, so I wholeheartedly agreed.
After Kara finished cleaning up, we turned on the television but kept the volume level low. Before we could even turn the channel to watch a favourite show we noticed that the local television channel had a ‘Breaking News’ story. Naturally, we wanted to know what was going on:
“Ladies and gentlemen of Hapsburg, Pennsylvania, Governor Smith made an important announcement a few hours ago. Here are the particulars: The Boogie Cat is still at large, hiding out somewhere in or near the downtown core. He’s described as a streamlined black cat, green-eyed, very cute but dangerous. We have determined that he does not have valid Pennsylvania Identification. In effect, his origins are elsewhere; another state in the union, or maybe he’s from Canada.
Furthermore, we strongly suspect that Bassam is being aided by someone who lives in the downtown core. Otherwise, he’d eventually starve to death or die of exhaustion. Like all other Boogie Cats Bassam needs food, water and shelter in order to survive.
A reward of five hundred thousand dollars, TAX FREE and absolutely no questions asked will be given by the State of Pennsylvania for the capture of the Boogie Cat.”

Kara turned off the television in disgust because she understood what I was going through.
“Bassam, I know exactly how you feel. I have a bounty on my head too, dead or alive but preferably dead.”
But in all my haste and shock there was one aspect of the public announcement that I didn’t take notice of. This was a big mistake on my part.
‘Bassam, it’s October 28th and with Halloween so soon we need to be extra vigilant.”
“Of course, I know that! I’m a cat! Cats, especially black ones are the target of sadists and creeps.”
“Bassam, you don’t understand what I mean! Halloween is quite different in Hapsburg. This town is unlike any other town in any other city anywhere on Earth!”
I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen. It was apparent that there was frightening news to be heard.
“Bassam, in Hapsburg on Halloween every single person must wear a creepy costume, as he/she will become that creepy person, but only as long as the costume is worn. Anyone who isn’t wearing a costume and is seen by costumed people will be attacked and brutally eaten.
Bassam, I know for a fact that you and I cannot purchase a costume. We’re both wanted by the authorities. You see, On October 31st at the stroke of midnight the horror story will begin.”
‘Kara, I don’t understand this! You mean that anyone who isn’t wearing a costume, like say us or a man or woman will become a target?”
“Yes, Bassam, that’s absolutely right.”
“So, if someone is wearing a Dracula costume but takes it off when he/she goes to bed (on Halloween Day) then this person will become a potential target?”
“Yes, and there’s more. In Hapsburg Halloween, I mean ... the entire 24 hours of it will be dark. There’s no dawn or dusk, just plain ole darkness. And that’s what makes it all the creepier.”
“Okay, then we’ll stock up on food from now. A one day supply ought to do it and some. Don’t worry, I know my math.”
“Bassam, it’s not that simple a matter. Let me elaborate on the night-time. Halloween night in Hapsburg lasts an entire year! Following the year it’ll be November 1st. The rules of nature are different in Hapsburg.”
“You mean to tell me that you and I will have to endure Vampires, Frankenstein’s, Zombies, Zomboids, Creeps other monsters and whatever else ... for an entire year?”
“Yes, and that’s not all.”
“Please, Kara, don’t tell me there’s more bad news on the horizon?”
“Yes, I’m sorry but there is. During Halloween Hapsburg is completely isolated from the rest of the world. That means no one can find it, enter or leave it. ‘Our’ one year is like a day elsewhere. Do you understand? And even if we could get a hold of two costumes it would make no difference anyway. Animals can’t transform!”
“We must to leave this damn place immediately. I must retrace my steps and get the hell out of this horrific city. Living in a city of the dead would be a piece of cake compared to Hapsburg.
By the way, what do these people call themselves on Halloween?”
“Bassam, they refer to themselves as the ‘Halloween People’, and rightfully so. Hapsburg on Halloween is the epitome of what a real-life Halloween is supposed to be like.”
I was so shocked I fell over on my side and then convulsed. The news I heard would shock a lion too.
Thankfully, I had Kara there to calm my nerves. From what Kara told me my convulsions only lasted a half a minute or so.
Anyway, I decided on an escape plan from the dimension. I needed to know if Kara was willing to go with me.
“Kara, I plan on escaping this place soon. I want to tell you a big secret; I’m an inter-dimensional traveller. I arrived in Hapsburg through one of the caves within a giant cave.”
“Bassam, you didn’t enter a cave! Technically, you entered a ‘terrestrial wormhole’. And this worm hole contained countless other wormholes, or sub-worm holes. Rodents know a lot about these things. Many of our brethren and friends from other species live underneath the ground, in caves and in quite unusual places, thereby seeing and hearing things that humanoids don’t.
I can’t leave this place. I’ll probably die instantly. This is my home. Besides, I was born in Hapsburg. Even leaving this city would be quite painful.
Bassam, please don’t leave me, I love you ... I mean ... umm ... I need your company.”
I wasn’t quite sure what Kara was trying to tell me, she was teary-eyed, thereby indicating internal pain and sadness.
“Tara, I can’t survive in this place! I’m an interdimensional traveller. Somehow, I must slither past the authorities late in the night.”
“Okay, Bassam, I understand.”
“There’s another thing; can animals like us wear masks?” “No, I’m afraid not. Only humanoids can wear them.”
That sealed the coffin for any chance or thought I had of staying. Now, I had to prepare for a major operation. But first, I had to stockpile our food reserves.
“Kara, how about we bring home two large bags full of food and drinks. It should last us through the night until just before Halloween.
Kara, you do understand that I have to leave, right?”
“Yes, I understand, and umm ... I apologize for lying to you.”
“What do you mean ... lying to me?”
“Bassam, I originally told you that the rodents were eradicated from Pennsylvania by order of the governor. That’s not exactly what’d happened.
You see, the Halloween People ate all of the rodents and animals in the city. Whoever amongst the animal kingdom is left during the year is eaten on Halloween night. And there’s a fresh supply every single year because after Halloween, it’s business as usual with people buying companion animals, birds returning to nest, flock and perch on our trees and whatever else.”
I convinced Kara to eat another meal with me. I wanted to stuff myself crazy because I ... I just felt like it; damn it I was terrified as hell! Even Arnold and his wife were going to go mad like the other Halloween People.
“Kara, is there any way that a person like myself can kill one of these people?”
“The best thing to do is to burn them, kill them and then chop them up and then scatter and destroy their flesh. Or, you can give the carcasses to wild animals. But the animals should eat the flesh. Or, you can attack them with a ferocious intensity. For instance, to kill an average human you can shoot him once in the heart or in the head. Halloween People should be shot several times in the heart or head. You basically have to kill one of them by using more intensity and barbarity.
After eating our second meal we went ahead and got hold of a large black garbage bag. By now, it was already 8:00 P.M. signifying that there would be less people walking on the streets and driver on the road.
I opened the Hefty Bags box pulled out a black garbage bag and then dragged it to a table in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Kara was taking notes in her head regarding what was needed.
When all was done we filled the plastic bag with tons of food, paper cups, plates; and plastic utensils.
The clock above the jukebox now read 9:00 P.M. We were ready to go, but I noticed that Kara had a large teardrop in her left eye. I had to know what was bothering her.
“Kara, what’s the matter?”
“Bassam, I’m thankful to have all of this food with us but ... as you know, it won’t be enough to last us for an entire year. What will we do after this food is gone?”
“Kara, don’t worry, everything will be all right.”
As soon as I finished my sentence Kara raised her left foreleg and then gently pawed my face. Then the teardrop fell onto the floor.
“Bassam, I wish you were like me or vice versa. I love you so much. Why couldn’t we have lived in a more ideal world?”
I was utterly shocked and stunned. Here I was, a cat listening to the ‘three golden words’ (I love you) coming from a mouse. I felt really bad about it. There was no way in hell, even if I really was a cat, could ever be with her in that way. So, I brought Kara down really easy, or I guess I thought I did until she went ballistic on me.
“Kara, we don’t belong to the same species. I’m a cat and you’re a mouse. We can be good buddies of sorts.”
“Bassam, you don’t love me!”
As soon as I was about to respond to Kara’s outburst we heard a car approaching. We hit the deck really fast and didn’t utter a sound.
We ended up underneath a swivel chair in front of the counter. We saw a light scanning Arnold’s restaurant. It was, no doubt a police vehicle on patrol. We weren’t sure if it was a general patrol or an actual 911 call. Either way, I indicated using sign language to Kara that if anyone knocked on the door, tried to enter or claimed to be the police we’d have to flee the area from the back and as soon as we exited Arnold’s we’d have to split up, meeting an hour later back home.
We froze for a good ten minutes before realizing that the coast was clear. It was a close call. However, Halloween would be a million times worse.
“Bassam, let’s go back home, okay?”
“Yes, Kara, I agree with you wholeheartedly.”
Kara and I returned home, very carefully scanning the area countless times. I dragged the black garbage bag using my powerful teeth, jaws and neck bones. The hard work paid off. Although our trek back home was slow and energy consuming we finally arrived.
As soon as we were underneath the apartment complex we collapsed onto the ground, closed our eyes and then zonked out for roughly twelve hours.
From the time we awakened until 9:00 P.M. October 30, I tried to return to the terrestrial wormhole a total of eleven times; my effort was a horrible failure. Meanwhile, I’d convinced Kara to come with me.
Unfortunately, with only three hours left until the stroke of midnight we were in deep trouble. How in the heck were we going to survive surrounded by droves of Halloween People? To them, we were nothing but food and objects to kill. Furthermore, we weren’t formidable fighters either. I had to find out more about the Halloween People so I asked Kara.
“Kara, you already described to me a few ways to kill Halloween People but do you think that there are other ways?”
“Of course, all I told you were the ways that I knew of. Certainly, but it’s not a piece of cake. Last Halloween I saw quite a few dead ones. I guess you could smash its head in with a boulder or run it over with a car or rip out its jugular vein. The aforementioned are not to be perceived as guaranteed kill tactics.”
Kara and I talked until 11:59 P.M., not feeling the time passing by us, but thankfully remembering about it right before the stroke of midnight.
“Kara, we need to stay together, okay?”
“Yes, we certainly do. Hereafter until Halloween’s over, we shouldn’t eat too close to our mouse hole. It’s better to be deep inside the building. And if the need arises, we can go underground. The Halloween People can’t go everywhere. They’re too darn big to squeeze into a mouse or cat hole. However, we mustn’t forget that the Halloween People will be dressed up as monsters, thereby ‘receiving’ and ‘acquiring’ the strength, endurance, senses and any other advantages of the monster or creature of their respective costumes.”
The countdown was very tense and terrifying. And when the clock did strike midnight Kara froze in fear. I froze too but only to imitate her. I figured she knew something that I didn’t.
Boy, was my hunch correct?
Instantly I started hearing moans, groans, shouts, screams, grunts, and growls coming from outside. In effect, I was now ready to go to the interior of the building, anywhere away from the fear outside. But before Kara and I were able to go anywhere, the struggle of a lone woman struggling to get away stunned us. She was screaming her brains out trying to plead with the Halloween People, telling them that her costume was in her purse. Unfortunately, it was all in vain.
The Halloween People ate her like real beasts. We could even hear their teeth crunch and crush bone, muscle and other tissue ‘belonging’ to the woman. Worse yet she kept screaming and screaming. I never thought any humanoid could survive for that long under the circumstances. I must say, it must’ve taken her a whole minute to die. Considering the Halloween People ripped chunks out of a person, sometimes pulling away entire limbs, she must’ve held a record of sorts. At least, that’s what I thought until later on. I’d eventually discover that the Halloween People do have a sadistic nature, indeed. They enjoy cruelty and sadism. The shrieks of their victims are all too amusing and pleasurable. And I had to endure an entire year of this and in the dark too?
We barely had enough time to realize it was midnight and look what happened. It became apparent that some kind of an escape attempt was necessary. We needed to eat and drink like everyone else.
I followed Kara deep into the building and into a hole (thankfully just big enough for me to squeeze through) that led us to a secret passageway. We walked for roughly five minutes, swerving left and right until we entered a large room located deep beneath the ground. Therein to my utter surprise were four fridges, a stove, microwave oven, giant screen television set, stereo system and a cupboard containing everything necessary to cook and eat with.
The room was vast, perhaps a hundred yards long and wide and approximately ten feet high. There were a dozen mattresses therein and brown wall-to-wall carpeting. I didn’t quite understand how this came about so I asked Kara.
“Kara, how did this all come about?”
“Bassam, before the other rodents died off I’d heard stories about an underground safe haven of sorts located underneath this apartment building.
This place was previously used by humans and their companion animals. It was a safe haven for Halloween night. But unfortunately, one of the occupants, for whatever reason betrayed the others, who numbered about a dozen or so individuals, not including their companion animals. From what I hear they didn’t even survive a single Halloween night.
The Halloween People waited for the humans in the room where we initially entered in through the mouse hole. Thankfully, they don’t know about this place, or about the mouse hole. As soon as they killed the humans in that room they returned for several days to feast on the leftovers, even licking off the blood from the ground. But nowadays, that room is safe. The Halloween People forgot about its former usage.
It took me two weeks of massive scrubbing, cleaning and spraying to clean off the entrance room to an acceptable level. It’s imperative that we not tell anyone about this place regardless of his/her circumstances.
A person may be good but could be forced to wear a Halloween mask as a lifesaving act. Then, he/she will turn into a beast or monster retaining the memory of our secret hiding place. If they enter the hiding room while we’re in here it’ll be over. We can’t run or hide from them and they in turn will have no mercy upon us.”
Kara had made her point quite clear, it was she and I and absolutely no one else! It was apparent that even between us it was an each person for him/her self under ‘emergency circumstances’.
We decided to hit the sack for a while, awakening at 10:00 A.M., but of course it was still dark outside. As I got up, the first thought that popped into my head was breakfast ... breakfast!
“Kara, are you aware that we forgot the black plastic bag on the other side of the wall of the mouse hole? We were supposed to bring in the bag from the front entrance and then go downstairs to the basement and then slither into our home!”
“Bassam, the Halloween people have eaten our food. There’s simply no way whatsoever that they’d leave it out there. Their senses become more keen and acute when they’re wearing their costumes.
That bit of information is only the bad news. I still have to tell you about the horrible news.
Bassam, by leaving the bag of food in front of this apartment building we’ve basically cordoned away much of our home space. Furthermore, I don’t know how to get to our mouse hole using another route. But thankfully, we have a good supply of food herein. It should last us for a couple weeks. Until then, we need to think of a game plan to allow us to leave this building, acquire food and then haul it back here without being seen, let alone noticed.”
We ate an eggs, milk and fruit cocktail breakfast. Afterwards, we drank some pop. I was so bummed out and terrified nothing could’ve brought up my spirits except leaving the dimension and entering the terrestrial wormhole. I understood quite well that I hadn’t entered a cave. No cave could lead to countless dimensions.
Kara and I exercised in our large room by strolling back and forth, jumping around and wrestling with each other. Although I really liked Kara I think that she had a ‘puppy love’ crush on me. It simply couldn’t work. I was a cat, at least in this dimension, and she was a mouse.
We counted the days by marking an X on our calendar every morning. In the beginning two weeks seemed almost like forever. Unfortunately for us, it simply wasn’t.
We managed to stretch our food supply for an additional day making it fifteen days in all, but then we had nothing left to eat, not even a cracker or ... even diet pop.
We decided to leave at midnight hoping that some of the Halloween People’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) was still in motion.
We exited our room slowly and very carefully. We simply didn’t know for sure how close the Halloween People were. Naturally, under the circumstances we didn’t want to take any chances.
“Bassam, please ... DON’T TRUST ANYONE ON THE OUTSIDE! I’ve been through this routine before. Another category of people includes the cunning. They portray themselves as non-Halloween People, obtain your trust and then stab you in the back while they’re all alone with you. In effect, they want to eat your flesh alone, not sharing with their brethren.”
Kara and I continued walking until we reached the basement. Herein, we’d have to go upstairs, exit the front door and then make a break for it. I suspected that we’d be spotted by at least one Halloween Person and then all hell will break loose.
Kara and I had an understanding that if one of us were to be captured the other should try to do whatever it takes to get away. Otherwise, both of us could die.
“Kara, we’ve reached the ground floor. The elevators are right there and so are the front doors leading into the apartments. Shall we creep to the doors or run, open them and continue running?”
Bassam, I think we should go about this very quickly. But, at the same time we should try not to make a raucous. Otherwise, we’ll certainly be spotted.”
We ‘quickly crept’ towards the apartment building doors slowly opened them and then walked to the sidewalk. After scanning the area we decided to run across the street, preferring to stay on the dark side, as if that was going to help us.
As soon as we reached the other side of the street at least twenty Halloween People appeared from behind a dumpster. Every single one of them was staring at us. I noticed Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Zomboids and two serial killers.
They all let out a shrieking noise that absolutely terrified us. I’m telling you the truth without any hyperbole or even an atom’s worth of exaggeration; they sounded terrifying and extremely dangerous. I wasn’t sure what’d happened. Could they have been waiting for us hour after hour, or was this a spot that they picked whenever they were hungry.
Although running in general automatically turns on the predatory drive in a predator, for the time being that was our only viable option. Right before we ran I whispered into Kara’s ear that we should meet at Arnold’s two hours later. She agreed and then we were off.
We ran like all hell without stopping, block after block terrified of being captured by even one of those creepy monsters. We could hear their feet pounding against the pavement, their heavy breathing and their stench. Not to mention, their horribly terrifying ugly faces. Their eyes were creepy and heartless, their strength was enormous. One of our pursuers, a werewolf was closing in on us. As soon as we decided to cross the street diagonally and make a harder target he leaped over a van with relative ease.
I must’ve run a good six blocks before realizing that I’d gotten away. As for Kara, I’m sorry to say but in all the raucous she was captured.
I circled back for a block, making sure that I was out of eye’s view, ensuring that I peeked at them from behind a building. I saw the werewolf rip apart Kara and casually eat her like a tiny slab of meat.
Although I was utterly devastated by the sight there was no time to mourn or even stop to ponder about what’d happened. I was running for my life.
Regarding the werewolf, he had the ability to run on two legs or on all four legs. It made him and the other monsters that much more terrifying. In essence, their hands were free like a higher primate’s. But if they chose to run faster they could move on all fours.
Soon, I saw more indescribable horrors. A bit further down the street I took notice of a young man who for some unknown reason removed off his face mask but left his body costume on, negating his Halloween People status immediately.
Two indescribable monsters and a red-eyed vampire had their way with him. As a last minute grasp for life he tried to reach over and grab his face mask but one of the indescribable monsters kicked it away.
What ensued was the most horrid blood-fest I’d ever seen. Even lions would gasp in horror of this sight. Their blood splattered faces and hands gave them an ever terrifying look. Not that they needed that blood on them to look terrifying, but it did do the job.
My feline sense of taste and smell had kicked in too. If I hadn’t been so horrified I probably would’ve salivated out of hunger, which by the way was being negated by the stress of the situation. As soon as my adrenaline level dropped I’d probably develop strong hunger pangs.
Looking around me I noticed that there were many smashed in windows in the area, cars that were severely damaged and overturned and garbage strewn throughout the entire area. The Halloween People had no sense of cleanliness or tidiness whatsoever.
But as is the case in the animal world, never doze off or neglect to know your surroundings.
As I slowly turned around I saw a horrifying sight. Roughly a dozen Halloween People had taken notice of me. Naturally, they took notice of the scent, sight and sounds of the feasting nearby. However, their concentration was now on me, a little defenceless kitty.
One of the Halloween People was only fifty or so feet from me. Shockingly, he was dressed in a leopard costume. I really thought that it was over for me. There was simply no way that I could take on an enhanced leopard in a fare fight. I scanned the area once again trying desperately to find an escape route of sorts.
As I’d already known everyone makes mistakes regardless of their age or gender. The man wearing the leopard suit quickly pulled his mask off scratched his nose and as soon as he was about to put his mask back on the dozen or so Halloween People nearby scurried towards the mask-less man and then pounced on him with a horrific vengeance.
To them I was a little sardine or maybe a chicken wing beside a whole cow. For the time being they ignored me. I took immediate advantage of the circumstances. But I made sure not to run in front of the Halloween People who were gorging on the man. Running would bring forth their predatory drive.
I slithered passed them and as soon as I turned the corner I ran and ran deep into the downtown core of Hapsburg and onwards towards Elgin Street.
Meanwhile, I had to endure one gauntlet after another. I saw things that were even more horrid than earlier. I was shocked at the monstrosity of it all. In one case, a five yearold child was disembowelled by a Zomboid; it figures, what else could a zomboid do with his life?
I continued running on Elgin Street even though all of the muscles in my body were burning and twitching. I’d gone beyond my stamina and endurance capacity. But then, I knew that stopping would certainly mean death, so I continued running until I saw an ape-like creature that must’ve been ten feet tall and weighed roughly five hundred pounds.
The problem is he was standing directly in the path leading to the entrance to the terrestrial wormhole. I don’t know if he even noticed the entrance but nevertheless he was there.
This creature was staring right at me. The man underneath the costume must’ve known me or maybe he had a special hatred for cats, I really couldn’t tell you.
As I continued running I scanned the creature’s body from head to toe and found no weakness. But there was a gap. He was standing with legs wide apart to improve his agility in case I tried to dodge him. Naturally, I chose the gap to leap through.
I feigned a left-sided leap, switched to the middle and was able to leap through the gap successfully. Voila, I was inside the terrestrial wormhole!
As soon as my paws landed onto the ground I fell over onto my side, puked several giant heaves and then barely stood up and walked into the main corridor of the cave, thereby sealing the timeline for the sub-corridor.
I fell onto my side again, but this time I was intent on closing my eyes and sleeping it off. There’s no telling how long I slept for but I awakened fresh and ready to go but hungry and thirsty.
I’M Black!

I roamed about the terrestrial worm hole for a roughly an hour trying to find another wormhole to enter but ended up returning to THE CAT TRAIL. A big part of me wanted to stay in ‘cat mode’. I decided to give it another try. Maybe, this time will be better, I thought.

I entered THE CAT TRAIL with high hopes. I assumed that I’d seen the worst of it. There was no telling for sure though.
I continued walking until I reached the peripheral of THE CAT TRAIL. I took a deep breath, exhaled and then entered the new dimension as a full-fledged cat.
But there was a thought that continued to ring in my ears. I had a certain characteristic about me that I couldn’t place my paw on. It had to do with the Governor of Hapsburg’s description of me. He said something peculiar about me.
Anyway, I found myself in the downtown area of Rollins, Ontario. I knew this because a merchant nearby had a small sign reading WELCOME TO ROLLINS ONTARIO.
I scanned the area, noticed a Burger King and decided to hit the place from the back. Thankfully, it was dark outside, making my hit easier. Although I still had my copying machine in my shoulder bag I just couldn’t wait to print out twenty dollar bills. I was famished.
I crossed Albert Street and then entered Wilkinson Street. The Burger King was located at 100 Wilkinson Street West. Actually, I couldn’t have cared less what the street name was. Food and liquids were the only things on my mind, but under the circumstances I needed to remember how to return to the entrance of the terrestrial wormhole and to one of my food sources; Burger King.
As I was walking on Wilkinson Street a brown vehicle slowly approached me and the occupants yelled out obscenities. It was then that I realized something new about my ‘kitty self’.
“Hey n_gger cat, go home or we’ll soon have ourselves a lynching!”
The first thing I did was look at my hair. Gosh I’M BLACK! I had no idea what colour I was. Things were a lot different now. I’d have many dangerous enemies and others as potential enemies. Stray black cats must keep on the alert at all times. Humanoids can be very nasty at times.
But I had no time to really ponder about the situation. Just a few seconds later two of the occupants in the brown car each threw a beer bottle at me. Thankfully, the bottles missed me by a hair but two giant wads of Budweiser Light Beer sprayed my face and body. Now, I was a black cat who smelled like beer. Anyone thereafter who smelled me would think that I was a drunkard black cat.
I glared at the 2 beer bottle throwers and then at the driver. The driver was a blonde teeny bopper who looked like a bimbo. Although she was beautiful on the outside she was acrid on the inside. As there was other traffic going in both directions a driver behind them began to honk his horn incessantly. That basically startled the bimbo into peeling out and then driving away.
I continued my trek to Burger King. And I certainly was thankful that it was nearby. As soon as I reached the back of the restaurant I scanned the area. Therein was a large blue dumpster, a small open area and a large storage room. The storage room would have supplies of food but I wanted fresh food; cooked beef patties, fries, a nice large drink and a dessert.
I could smell the tasty Burger King food, and believe me the scent caused me to drool like a hungry Bengal tiger. In fact, I had one giant streak of drool that was dangling from my mouth. It was thick, soggy and ugly-looking. But for some reason I was unable to spit it out. So I calmly walked over to the back door of the restaurant and then rubbed the drool onto the wall. Thankfully, that did the job. However, my drool stuck to the wall. It really looked disgusting but I had no time or desire to clean it off. I was there for some serious business.
I scanned the area again very carefully then slowly opened the door. I saw several Burger King Employees deeply set in their particular jobs, working like crazy and not paying attention to any unnecessary stimuli.
I slowly crept towards the workers watching them with my left eye and the food therein with my right eye. But as I got to within fifteen feet of them the manager, who was watching the cashiers like a hawk suddenly turned and then bolted to the kitchen. I froze just like a Popsicle.
“Edward, damn you, I told you to never come to work all boozed up! You’re fired!”
“Sir, what are you talking about? Do you want to smell my breath, or give me a ‘breath-laser’?”
“Then if you aren’t freaking drunk off your rockers, where the hell is that stinking beer smell coming from?”
In all my haste I’d forgotten to wash up before entering Burger King. But my luck was good for that day.
“Sir, I think that beer smell is coming from outside. We’ve got several dumpsters in the back area and you know how it is, those stinking winos that come her late at night and the students who toss beer cans and bottles at the dumpsters.”
“Edward, you’re absolutely right. However, as soon as things calm down I want you guys to shut that door and scent this place. Make it smell like burgers, fries and other delicious fatty foods!”
As soon as the manager returned to his post everyone got back to work. I eyed a triple whopper heavy on all toppings, a carton of large fries, a one litre bottle of pop that was beside me (no doubt it belonged to one of the workers) and two apple pie desserts ready for the taking.
Now, I had to get in and out super fast but under no circumstances could I be detected. I figured I needed four trips in all.
First, I crept towards the sandwich, leaped onto the counter, snatched it and then leaped back onto the floor. I was out of the restaurant in a jiffy. I hid my sandwich just inside a wooded area nearby. Afterwards, I returned for my fries, snatched them and then repeated the process. With the pies it was a bit tougher because I had to run and hold both of them with my teeth. But the killer was the one litre bottle of pop. For that prize I leaped onto the counter and then took hold of the bottle with both of my paws, then I ‘frog-leaped’ onto the floor. Now, you won’t believe me but this is true! I frog-leaped all the way back to my hiding place.
As soon as I returned to my hiding place and removed all the wrappers from my food I remembered something extremely vital to my meal. I was so pissed off I viciously attacked a tree nearby.
I had to go back and get a dozen or so packets of ketchup and several packets of pepper. Otherwise, there was no way I could enjoy my meal.
As a consolation to me everything went just fine on my final trip. As soon as I was ready to eat I scanned the area for dangers. I was afraid that another animal was going to steal my food. How ironic, isn’t it?
I ate my food with utter delight, eating my burger and fries together and every so often taking a swig from my pop bottle. After eating the main course I enjoyed both of my apple pies. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t tell you which pie tasted better.
As soon as I finished my meal I scrambled all the wrappings, the plastic bottle and three cartons together and then tossed them into the dumpster. I was never a litter bug.
I exited the wooded area and then scanned my surroundings. Understandably, I felt very groggy from my enormous meal. I decided to return to the wooded area and rest on a tree branch nearby.
As soon as I closed my eyes sleep hit me really hard. I have no idea how many days I slept, yes days. I awakened late at night. This particular Burger King was already closed.
I carefully descended from the tree with the intent of exiting the wooded area. But just as I was about to exit the wooded area I saw a white light fast approaching. No doubt it was an oncoming car.
I quickly dashed back to the wooded area and waited patiently for the car to pass through the area and continue going. Shockingly, it was a patrol car. As such, I froze in place, not knowing what to do or what not to do.
“Dispatcher, this is Officer Donaldson, I’m at the back of the Burger King on Wilkinson Street. I haven’t found the creep who’s been breaking into Burger Kings for the past six months. I’m sick and tired of being taunted by that creepy thief! I want to catch that fast food kleptomaniac at all costs. I want to see the look on his face when I apprehend him. He’ll probably cry his brains out. That would be very nice to see.”
I tuned into the conversation at hand and then placed my senses on maximum as soon as the dispatcher spoke.
Gosh I was utterly shocked that someone would ‘persistently steal from Burger King Restaurants, literally taking the bread and butter right out of the hands of the owners. Not to mention the hard workers. I wasn’t like that. I snatched my food out of sheer hunger. Besides, I wasn’t planning on hitting the same Burger King Restaurant or the chain on a serial basis. I had more heart than that.
A short while later, Officer Donaldson drove away. I cautiously left the area keeping an eye out for dangers of all sorts. Being a cat does have many perks however, there are some negative aspects too.
Like, most animals really do envy felines. We’re the prettiest and cutest of them all. We have incredible agility, sharp and deadly canines, ripping claws, we’re cuddly, often self-absorbed and we’re highly intelligent.
As I continued walking I noticed that there were two patrol cars diagonally across the street in front of a donut shop that I had my eyes on. I saw four officers having a good time eating their donuts, sweet rolls and drinking their coffees. I went ahead and crossed the street, stood in front of the donut shop for a few seconds, but then noticed one of the officers seriously eyeing me.
As I turned to walk away I noticed that she’d withdrawn her gun from her holster. For one thing, I had no idea what the stray animal control laws in Rollins, let alone in the whole of Ontario or Canada were like. Maybe in this particular dimension they had a shoot on sight policy.
I found myself brisk walking on Pine Street, which for my disadvantage was well lit.
By the time I was roughly forty yards away I heard a voice call out to me.
“Hey, kitty, stop right there! I need to speak to you for a moment!”
I glanced back at the officer, who was chubby, pink-cheeked and was the kind of guy who sweated too much for his own good. My glance was short and shocking. You see, the officer was pointing his gun at me.
I leaped to my right thereby entering The Rollins Museum premises. The lawn was gargantuan with trees strewn across it. Unfortunately, the area wasn’t large enough or wooded enough. The officer could pick me off like a passenger pigeon, without any mercy or compassion.
I decided to run for my life straight to the museum. I had no idea what time it was. Time can sometimes fly faster than the speed of sound.
I continued running until I heard the treading of the officer nearby. After glancing back I noticed that he was still on the peripheral of the giant lawn. Being a human, I was wellbeyond his field of vision.
I stopped dead cold and then squatted down. After slowly shifting my body to face the officer I saw him running in my direct path. Although I doubted he even saw me his actions were potentially dangerous.
As I was about to get up and run away the officer stopped running and then bent over. He literally puked his brains out. I felt like jumping for joy, but didn’t because I was still hiding.
After seven large heaves the officer staggered away. I wondered why he even chased me in the first place. Maybe, he was a cat hater or he simply hated black cats. The latter probably contains an element of racism; black is criminal or no good. Sometimes racism does extend to animals, especially black cats.
I turned and then continued towards the museum but at a walking pace. As soon as I was on the doorstep of the entrance I tried to find a way into the building. I noticed that there were security cameras strewn everywhere but I was still adamant about entering the museum. I pictured paintings from Van Gogh, Picasso, the Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel and much more. But what I didn’t take into consideration is the incredible security apparatus of the museum. The place was apparently closed to the public. I considered myself a special person therefore I as a kitty had a right to enter the museum.
While I was pondering about how to enter the museum I noticed a beam of light fast approaching. It was then that I realized that Rollins Museum Security was now giving me chase. A kitty should never take too much for granted; that’s exactly what I did.
I scanned the area, deciding to leave the grounds immediately. No doubt, museum security had no authority beyond the parameters of the property. However, they probably called the police so I had to scram really fast.
There was one more problem though; I’d have to run past the Donut shop. It was a terrifying thought indeed.
As soon as I was about to sprint away, the security van zoomed at me with incredible speed. I was awed, my jaw felt like it’d dropped to the ground and then I got the shock of my life.
In a flash the security van’s high-beams were blaring in my face. I was temporarily blinded and stunned. And before I knew it I was hoisted off the ground by a burly security guard. He grabbed me by the scruff so most (but not all) of my offensive tactics were neutralized.
I was carried back to the security van and placed under ‘security arrest’. The security guard called in an attempted burglary but for some reason told the dispatcher that although he and his partner had prevented a black cat from entering the museum it.
His partner was sitting in the van staring at me with his devious eyes. He had a wicked smile that every cat could read. These fellows were going to have a good time abusing me.
“Dispatcher, we’ll get the squirt next time. However, Kevin and I want you to do us a small favour, all right?
Please turn off cameras #1 through # 10 until I order you to turn them on, okay.”
“Hank, consider it done.”
Kevin exited the van and then followed Hank to a secluded dark corner behind the museum. I knew that something was going to happen, so I braced myself.
“Kitty, you’re in for some down to earth punishment. How dare you try to sneak into our museum on my shift?”
Thereafter, I received a horrible beating. Hank and Kevin proceeded to slap me around then they punched me in the sides, and finally they were going to do with me what every cat fears the most from a human; they were going to shove a firecracker deep into my anus and then light it. These guys were first class cat haters.
Kitty, don’t you dare move while I shove this ‘explosive thermometer’ in your hole. Don’t worry, it’ll hurt a lot.”
“Let me go! Leave me alone! You can’t do this to me! I have protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights!”
“No you don’t sonny boy! The Charter is only for humans like Kevin and me. Besides, you’re a die-hard criminal. No one will ever hear your shrieks and cries. We’re deep in museum property. Therefore, drivers and pedestrians won’t hear you.”
I performed a very difficult but heroic act; I twisted and then contorted my entire body enabling me punch Hank in the nose. Thankfully, I hit a bulls-eye from the first punch.
“Ouch! You freaking bobcat! I’m going to kill you right here and now!”
Hank’s nose bled profusely. So much so he released his scruff grip allowing me to fall to the ground. Meanwhile, Kevin froze at the sight of his friend’s blood. With no time to waste I leaped onto Kevin’s chest with such incredible force he fell back smashing his head against a wall nearby.
I wasn’t in the mood to play nice kitty. So, I scanned the area and as soon as I believed the coast was clear I ran through the giant lawn and then past the donut shop. I continued onwards for several blocks before deciding to slow down to a walking pace. I was panting like crazy but with no one on my tail for the moment I knew that I’d soon catch my breath.
I ended up in an upper class neighbourhood away from the over-stimulated world. Things here were a lot different.
I’d entered Paradise Avenue, true to its name and very enjoyable to walk on. With both sides of the street aligned with beautiful trees, mansions and swimming pools everywhere, beautiful well-trimmed lawns and the smell of money in the air I was happy as can be.
I continued to walk for another twelve blocks before grogginess hit me really hard. I had to sleep, but for this endeavour I needed to find a tree with a high-level trunk. I slept like a baby that’s in its mother’s arms, not even waking up once during my sleep until I came to. Wow, it was an amazing feeling to close my eyes and forget about the problems of this world, and all the others.
I leaped onto the ground and then continued walking on Paradise Avenue for an additional six blocks until I scented fleshy food. I smelled burgers, hot dogs, sloppy Joes, fries and chips. Not to mention the ice cream and other desserts. Like a Bloodhound on a trail I followed my nose to the source of the smell, which was three blocks on the left of my location.
Although it was mid-day and I was most likely a wanted kitty, I swept my fear and apprehension under the table and went for the food.
I took notice of an in incredibly large congregation of people entering a particular building. There was some kind of a convention going on and the food was for free. I could tell from the expressions on the faces of the countless women entering the building. Where are the men, I asked myself?
Thankfully, I was still in an uppity neighbourhood with beautiful trees and mansions engulfing the area. However, it was mid-day and I really had to get indoors. I was famished and thirsty as all hell. If it wasn’t so disgusting I would’ve licked off my own dandruff. For a moment I actually contemplated drinking my own dribble. Now that would’ve been disgusting.
Both sides of the street leading to the building were aligned with cars. Even the building parking lot was full. I didn’t mind that because I was walking the whole way.
As soon as I got to within speaking distance several women took notice of me. Instantly, they thought I was someone else, a female like them. Being that I was most likely wanted by the law it was a good idea to go along with it. The ‘cops’ were searching for a black male cat.
But don’t think it was all a piece of cake. I had to change my natural gate in order to hide my ‘diamonds’. If they saw them they’d know I was a male.
Therefore, I tucked my tail between my legs and walked around like I had a serious case of haemorrhoids.
“Hey kitty, what happened to you?” asked an attractive young woman.”
“I guess I’m a little sick for now. Thankfully, I have an appointment with my vet in a couple of days.”
“Honey, my name is Claire. How long have you been a member of the Rebellious Bitch Club (RBC)?”
“Huh the what, I mean ... yes, I’ve been an RBC member for a year now, yes, one full year and I’m proud to be a rebellious bitch.”
“Honey, what did you say your name was?”
My name is umm ... Baby Cake, umm ... yes, that’s my name. Can’t you tell ... my jet black hair and my beautiful kitty eyes?”
“Honey, did you forget your name tag?”
“Claire, what ... I mean ... I kind of lost it?”
“Don’t worry, look, follow the crowd into the auditorium, keep your head low and then sit next to me. If we can’t find an available seat then you can sit on my lap. I’ll make sure you feel comfy and happy.”
By now, the crowd was increasing in size, geometrically. There were thousands of women from all walks of life converging on the building in order to enter the auditorium.
The line to enter the building was so long and dense we looked like steer being corralled into a slaughter house. The only thing missing was our horns. As for the weight, quite a few of the women were built like steers.
I decided to ditch Claire. Besides I heard several women near me talk about guest speakers. I was wondering what they were going to talk about.
I crept and swerved between women’s legs making certain not to trip anyone. Although I wanted to listen to the lectures I was famished. Therefore, my first order of business was food.
After several minutes of swerving through the crowd I passed four separate ticket booths.
As soon as I was in the clear I raised my nose, took in a deep breath and then followed the scent like a zombie.
As I approached the food counter I encountered several lines consisting of hungry women. Tough luck, I was a hungry kitty, thereby guaranteeing me first dibs on food.
I leaped onto the counter and then told the server to fix me a burger, fries and vanilla milkshake meal. Thankfully, the meals were free to all ticket holders. And the thing is it was based on the honour system. It was assumed that I was a ticket holder.
As soon as my food was placed on the counter I glared at the server and then told her that I wanted my food and drink to be taken to a corner so I could enjoy it all by myself.
A short while later I found myself gorging on my delicious meal. Although I was eating on the carpet no one seemed to take notice of me. Maybe it was because they had their own hunger to worry about.
As soon as I finished my meal I took all the garbage and tossed it into a wastepaper basket.
I scanned the area, placing particular emphasis on my auditory sense. I zoomed in on the lecture room.
But I noticed something quite strange. Even among the workers in the building there wasn’t a single male amongst them. That’s when I realized that the RBC was only for women. If anyone in the building had discovered that I was a male I think they would’ve pinned me down to the ground and then castrated me. As such, I had to alter my gait once again.
I walked with my hind legs close together and my tail tucked between my legs.
“Honey, are you all right?” asked an elderly woman.
“Well, I’ve got a serious case of haemorrhoids. But I think I’ll be just fine. Thanks for asking.”
I followed the sound of a woman giving a lecture walking through the hallway and then walking up a flight of stairs. As soon as I reached the second floor I discovered that the lecture was given from the room in front of me.
I scanned the area and then entered what I thought was going to be a room. Actually, as soon as I entered ‘the room’ I discovered that it was a gigantic auditorium housing some ten thousand people.
I only spotted one vacant seat so I leaped onto it and then squatted. I cropped up my ears and then tuned into what the speaker, who to my amazement was a young, highly attractive, well-dressed woman. However, it wasn’t all good. My feline intuition alerted me to the fact that she couldn’t make it with men. Underneath her rough and confident exterior was a little girl who wanted to be loved.
“My beloved sisters, I know exactly how you feel. We want to be stronger than men. You think that we deserve and are entitled to rule this world because only we can bear children. You hate it when men gawk at you, especially when they say something nasty. But then, you also hate it when they ignore you because it makes you feel ugly. That’s when you notice that the other girl, who you consider a nasty wench is getting all the attention. Naturally, you have to rationalize what’s happening; you tell yourself that she’s a loose wench. No, she can’t be better than me!
My beloved sisters, I know exactly how you feel. You hate the fact that you must take self-defence courses for women because there are way too many creeps out there. You’d love to take nightly walks all alone but find it necessary to walk with your friends because deep down in your heart you’re afraid. You think it’s all right to sleep around, so long as it’s you. However if another woman does the same even if she’s your sister, or best friend in the whole world, she a nasty little wench.
My beloved sisters, I know exactly how you feel. You want to be able to play football, baseball and to wrestle but deep down inside you know you can’t because you’re not as strong as a man. You want equal pay for equal work but don’t see it in the real world. You came to the RBC to feel powerful, proud and to vent out your anger against men in general, and in particular that one creepy man who told you that he loved you but in actuality was married, had kids and after the act fled the scene as a rabbit flees a bobcat. You feel like you want to tell his wife but you’re afraid that she may turn against you and call you some nasty and insulting names.”

I was lucky to have come in at the tail end of that lecture. I was getting a bit nauseous; maybe I would’ve puked if I had to endure any more of that ‘lioness talk’. Our feline females know there place. The lion’s always in charge and that’s the end of it.
Sisters, I’ve finished my lecture. Now it’s questions and comments time.”
I waited patiently for someone else to ask a question or make a comment about the lecture, but for some reason everyone seemed quite apprehensive. So, I took it upon myself to speak.
“Madam, what’s your name?”
Everyone in the audience laughed. They were shocked because I didn’t know the lecturer’s name.
“Honey, you must be a newbie here. I’m Dr. Bitch. I hold a doctoral degree in Fem-Bitch Psychology. Every woman who ever aspires to be really free knows me. I’m the founder of the Rebellious Bitch Club.
Now it’s my turn to ask you a question or two, all right?”
I nodded my head in approval and then waited patiently for the question/s.
“Honey, what’s your name?”
“I’m, like ... umm my name is Baby Cake.”
“Why would your parents give you that name?”
“It’s because my parents love me so much?”
“Honey, do ‘femme kitties’ have the same problems that femme Homo sapiens do?”
“No, not as pronounced. We’re really tough on the guys. When we’ve had enough we turn, roar and then bite and/or scratch. When we say no ... well ... you know what I mean ... it almost always works.”
“Baby Cake, what do you mean by it almost always works?”
“Well, like, umm ... every-so-often a femme kitty will be mounted by an extremely aggressive lion. In that case, there’s simply no use in fighting back. We have to take it all and act like we hate it.”
“Baby Cake, why aren’t you wearing your name tag?”
“Umm, I think I dropped it while I was eating lunch.”
“Baby Cake, I love you. Do you love me more than anyone else in the whole world? Remember, there are thousands of femmes in this auditorium and all of their eyes set upon you. Now, you wouldn’t want to insult me, the founder and President of the RBC, would you?”
Now that certainly was an unfair question. Dr. Bitch clenched her fists and she had a quite nasty expression on her face. Not to mention the aggressive tone of voice she took. I sure as heck wasn’t going to piss her off in front of a giant crowd of people.
“Yes, Dr. Bitch, I do love you more than anyone else in the whole world.”
I survived the inadvertent onslaught. Now, I had to get the hell out of the auditorium really fast, but considering my new gait that wasn’t very likely.
I leaped onto the red carpet but forgot to cover my privates in the process, thereby exposing myself to every femme in the audience.
“You little bastard, you’re not one of us! You’re a mean lion! You came here to spy on us! Sisters it’s your duty as members of the RBC to pounce on that creep who must’ve entered this building without identification or papers!”
Everyone in the auditorium stood up and glared at me. Their fists were clenched revealing their fighting mood. I scanned the area and came to the conclusion that there was no escape from my position.
The auditorium was dimly lit, gigantic with a very high ceiling, beige painted walls, beautifully decorated seats, and four potential exits. Unfortunately, each exit was ‘guarded’ by two large femme guards.
I decided to play the part of the Samaritan. So, I did the unthinkable. I walked down the red-carpeted isle all to the astonishment of the femmes, approaching Dr. Bitch straight on.
Dr. Bitch’s first instinct was to grab hold of a pitcher of water on her podium and threaten me with it.
“Baby Cake, come any closer and I’ll throw this pitcher at you head!”
“Dr. Bitch, I come in peace. Please let me approach you. Don’t worry! I’m not like those other ‘lions’.”
I struck a nerve. Dr. Bitch drew two large tears, one from each eye. But I dared not bring about that fact.
As soon as I was close enough to her I leaped onto the podium, gently pawed Dr. Bitch’s hand and then gently proceeded to paw her face. A moment later, she laid down the pitcher and smiled at me. Afterwards, I stood on my hind legs and then cupped her face with my paws, literally captivating the audience, not to mention Dr. Bitch.
“Dr. Bitch, I know that you’ve suffered in your life. You can’t find Mr. Right countless men have told you that they love you but then fled the scene after you ‘put out’. Your daddy was cold and aloof, your mommy was weak and quiet. Your beyond your prime and know it therefore, you need to compensate yourself by being a super bitch. You need someone, including me, to convey the three golden words (I love you) to you.
Now the tears were streaming down Dr. Bitch’s face like rivers in the Amazon Rainforest.
I asked Dr. Bitch to turn off her microphone. She did as I asked.
I dropped my forelegs onto the podium and then pointed my paw to Dr. Bitch’s left thumb. It was soggy and white indicating that she was a thumb sucker. At first she frowned but then she smiled.
Also, I pointed to her knuckles which had tooth scrapings and two tiny warts indicating a serious eating and puking disorder.
“Dr. Bitch, please don’t do that. You tell others not to, now it’s your turn.”
“But ... no one loves me. They respect me because I’m powerful and strong.”
“No honey, no one can love you for those characteristics. Fear and apprehension are the key responses.”
“Baby Cake, can you give me a kiss?”
“Sure, I’ll kiss you on each cheek, on your forehead and then I’ll give you a kitty peck on your lips.”
“Kitty, I wish you were a man! I’d marry you right now!”
That statement took me by surprise. I fumbled my words, but corrected them afterwards.
“I am ... a man ... I mean ... a male, like umm ... I’m a kitty. I mean, yes, if I was a man I’d marry you right now ... umm ... too.”
“Dr. Bitch, what’s your real name?”
“My name is Jennifer Olson.”
“Jennifer Olson, that’s a very beautiful name! Please drop the ‘Dr. Bitch’ name and revert to your old name.
Now, Jennifer, you’re not really over the hill. You’re still young and very attractive. You need not call yourself a bitch to feel strong. I know that’s what you’re doing, subconsciously. You want people to call you Dr. Bitch because you think that’s the only person that you can be but you’re wrong. Be Dr. Olson; first name Jennifer, and I promise you’ll be happy.
Cats are very intelligent animals. They know a lot about human behaviour. They’ve been around humans for eons.”
Up until then Dr. Olson and I were making eye contact, so much so the entire audience kept quiet. The audience had never seen Dr. Olson this happy before. I was also quite happy for her.
I scanned the area but noticed something shocking. In the back of the auditorium near the entrance were a couple of policewomen. They were scanning an iPod of sorts; whatever it was contained a screen. The thing is they kept comparing what was on the screen with me. It only took a few seconds for me to figure out what was happening.
I was wanted by the police for my Rollins Museum debacle. Although the cameras didn’t get a snap shot of me I’m sure the nasty security guards spoke to the police artists, thereby drawing my features.
Under better circumstances I would’ve brought Dr. Olson back with me through the terrestrial wormhole and then showed her my real image. Unfortunately, there was no time for that, as I was getting ready to run for my life.
“Dr. Olson, I love you! Unfortunately, under the present circumstances, I have to run for my life. There’s no time to explain, but you mustn’t let anyone know that you have any feelings for me. Just tell them that you thought I was a cute little kitty.”
“No, Baby Cake, I know for certain that there’s something peculiar about you. I know you look like a cat but I love you in a romantic way. I don’t know why! Please, don’t leave me! If you love me you’ll stay!”
I grabbed hold of Dr. Olson’s face with my paws and then pulled her towards me. I gave her a long kiss on the lips, told her that I was sorry and then fled the area.
Knowing that there was no way I could escape through the normally used exits I decided to run backstage and then take my chances therein.
As soon as I leaped onto the stage the policewomen shouted at me to stop in the name of the law. Thereafter, the femmes in the auditorium fled the area like panicked wildebeest.
I had no time to worry about them. I scanned the area and by chance found a long, isolated corridor. It must’ve been a hundred yards long. Without any delay I sprinted to the end of the corridor. Thankfully, I reached the end of the corridor without incident.
I saw an exit sign beneath a stairwell. Naturally, I descended the stairwell and then leaped onto the exit door causing it to open. As soon as I was outside I ran like crazy not looking back or slowing down for as long as I could.
Thankfully, a short while later I was able to slither into an upper class residential neighbourhood. However, I was so exhausted I ended up collapsing beside a tree. I came to many hours later. And thankfully, no one saw me until then. Being a wanted kitty in a humanoid’s world is a very terrifying experience. You never know who’s watching you or who’s after the reward money. People can double cross you at any time.
Although I was now fully awake and ready to go I had no recollection of how many hours I’d slept for. Although I knew it was a lot, all I had was the night sky and the moon to go by. I opened my shoulder bag and then pulled out my copying machine. I punched in ‘Time’ and 8:00 P.M. flashed.
Although I was beginning to feel hunger my primary objective for the time being was to re-enter the terrestrial wormhole.
Now, I had to retrace my steps. For this I needed to find the cross section of Albert and Wilkinson Streets.
I walked through the neighbourhood with my head lowered to the ground. I didn’t want an old hen calling the police on me. Old hens don’t have much to do but knit, watch the weather channel and stick their noses in other peoples’ private affairs.
I walked for several blocks on Apple Street and then stopped dead cold as soon as I saw a patrol car fast approaching. My pulse and blood pressure shot up through the clouds. I leaped into a hedge and then froze in place.
Soon the officer blasted the sirens. Hearing those sirens go off and fast approaching was nerve racking.
Thankfully, this time patience won out. The driver of the patrol car zoomed past me without even slowing down.
SOMEONE STOLE MY CANDY!

In resumed walking for an additional five blocks until I saw a Beagle playing with an imaginary friend. Beagles generally have a good temperament ... I mean, regarding their relationship with humans. Unfortunately, that characteristic has made them a good choice for vivisection. They’re so trusting of humans why not use them for vivisection?

On a positive note, I was still walking through a posh neighbourhood. For a moment I had a flash thought, what if I were to spend a few days with a filthy rich family? Then, I had another flash thought. This one negated the first; I was a wanted kitty and I also had to return to the terrestrial wormhole. I was abruptly brought back to reality.

“Excuse me, Mr. Beagle, may I ask you a question?”

The Beagle stopped playing with his imaginary friend, eyed me for a moment and then cautiously approached me. I wondered why he was cautious about his approach, but stayed quiet because I had important business at hand.

“Kitty, I know who you are! You’re Baby Cake! You’re wanted by the police for a whole plethora of crimes. So many of them I simply can’t believe that any kitty could be able to commit them in a single lifetime. Anyway, it seems like the Rollins Police Force has used you as a convenient scapegoat/fall guy. You are now the most wanted person in Canada. And unfortunately, the charges are still piling up. In fact, I just saw a composite of you on television. But that composite is a bit off. The composite image shows your canines significantly larger and more menacing. Even your claws are longer, sharper and prominently curved. In addition, you’re much more muscular in the composite; you look like a grappler-kitty, a real street fighter who’ll do anything to get what he wants.

You’re lucky that my caretakers, the Andersons are out. Otherwise, they would’ve called the police about your sudden appearance on their front lawn. And by the way the reward for your capture dead or alive currently stands at FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS TAX FREE!”

Gosh, thanks a million for the info. But I need to know something else, if you don’t mind. I want to get the hell out of this stupid town!

Please direct me to the Burger King on Wilkinson Street. I can find my way thereafter. Please, I really need this important information.”

“Okay, but on one small condition, please. The Andersons left me a ton of fried chicken in the fridge. Can you please eat some with me? I don’t like to eat alone, and I think you’d be good company.”

“Actually, if you put it that way, yes, I’ll eat with you but I must leave afterwards.”
“All’s well!”
“Wait, what’s your name?”
“My name is Tommy Anderson.”
Before I followed Tommy into the mansion I appreciated it being three floors high, sparkling white without a single blemish and had the multi-million dollar look. In fact, I could smell the chlorine emanating from the back yard. Wow, this was a dream come true; a swimming pool too. Unfortunately, I had to skip town really fast, right after my fried chicken meal.
I followed Tommy through the doggy door leading into the mansion. As soon as my body was fully inside the mansion I felt incredible awe. The chandeliers were beautiful, large paintings of nature and a beautiful brown wall with an incredible auburn carpet gave the impression of elegance. The furniture was genuine, not a cheapo imitation.
I followed Tommy into the kitchen and then waited for instructions.
“Baby Cake, do you mind eating your chicken cold?”
“No, just give me a couple of breasts, coleslaw, dessert and something to drink.”
Tommy nodded his head in approval. In response, I leaped onto the kitchen table and took a ‘seat’.
Tommy took roughly fifteen minutes to prepare our food. And as soon as he set it on the kitchen table I dug into it like a famished lion. There was one thing that was unusual however Tommy insisted that I not watch him while he was preparing our food.
We finished off the chicken, coleslaw, dessert and soft drinks in roughly thirty minutes. I was so relieved and happy to have gotten a ‘freebie meal’ only the memory of being a fugitive prevented it from being a perfect experience.
“Baby Cake, please come down to the basement with me. I have something very nice to show you.”
Considering what Tommy had done for me, I couldn’t refuse. But at the same time I felt a bit apprehensive. There was something unusual about Tommy’s voice and mannerisms. I couldn’t quite understand what was wrong.
As soon as we descended the stairwell leading to the basement I began to feel a bit queasy. At first I thought it was the big meal but then I began to see double. Everything went blank after that.
I was out cold for a day or more. But when I came to I couldn’t move my limbs or leave my position for that matter. Apparently, I was bound to a wooden pillar. Worse yet, Tommy was nearby and he had a sickening expression on his face. In fact, he wouldn’t take his eyes off me. It was like he was somehow infatuated with me.
“Tommy, what’s going on here? Why have you strapped me to a wooden pillar? I can’t move. What’s the problem? Do you want the reward money?”
“Baby Cake, no ... I don’t want or need the reward money. I’m so depressed and lonely I need you to be here for me and with me. Don’t worry it’ll only be for the rest of your life. I promise I’ll feed you really well. I’ll love you more than anyone else in the whole world. I’ll also make you my best friend in the whole world.”
“Tommy, this room is dusty, damp and spooky. Please, don’t do this! Let me go!”
“You don’t love me! I’m going to teach you a lesson. You must love me more than anyone or anything in this whole world.”
Tommy ran up the stairwell and before I knew it I was locked in the basement, immobile and inhaling dust.
I should’ve realized that Tommy was sick. Using hindsight, the way he played with his imaginary friend was quite unusual indeed, even for a Beagle.
All four of my legs were bound using a hard plastic strip. There was simply no way of escaping through brute strength. The force needed for this action would certainly cause horrible gashes on my skin, and that’s if I was lucky enough to get free.
I scanned the area searching for a weapon of sorts. Being that I was in a basement, the owner must’ve left some kind of a carpet cutter or something of sorts nearby.
The floor was dusty, there were no windows but there were several black barrels on the other side of the basement.
As I was scanning the basement interior over and over I came across a tool box. Although the box was rusty I figured there was something needed inside.
I pushed and pulled my body continuously without letting up. I was hoping that the wooden pillar would give in. If it did, I’d be able to roll over towards the tool box, open it with my teeth and then pull out any tool cutting device.
I rocked back and forth for another ten minutes before I was about to give up, but then I felt that the wooden pole give in. I used every ounce of strength in me to destroy the foundation of that pole until it flopped over backwards smashing the wall with so much force it made a hole into it.
Better yet, I was no longer bound. The force of the drop had literally ripped the plastic strips apart. Now I was free!
I cropped up my ears to make sure that no one was home then I began to ascend the stairwell, but spotted an animal trap roughly ten feet to my left and below me. A flash thought entered my mind. I wanted to seek vengeance upon Tommy. I was so pissed off at him I just wanted to hurt him badly.
I descended the stairwell and then walked over to the animal trap. First, I made certain that it wasn’t wound. Thankfully, it was in ‘relax mode’. So, I grabbed hold of it with my teeth and then walked back to the stairwell and ascended to the door.
I tried to open the door but unfortunately, it was locked. That wasn’t going to stop me! I smashed the doorknob with the animal trap causing the lock to break off. Then, I pushed the door.
I walked through the mansion until I reached the front door. I pondered about where to put the animal trap. I pictured the front lawn in my head and thought very hard. Where could I place the animal trap?
Eureka! I remembered seeing Tommy’s doghouse. It was to the left of the mansion right beside his play area.
I exited the mansion and then went to the doghouse, stopping right before the entrance. I tossed the animal trap to the side and then dug a shallow hole in front of the doghouse. As soon as I finished I placed the animal trap in the hole and then partially covered it with dirt.
It was dark out, perhaps 9:00 P.M. so I had the advantage of hiding and seeing the utter revenge cast upon Tommy.
I ran across the street and then scaled a tree located on the peripheral of a lawn. Thankfully, I had a birds-eye view of the doghouse.
I waited patiently for an hour before the Andersons returned home in their blue van. I froze still, not wanting anyone to see or hear me. I wanted my vengeance.
Out came Mr. and Mrs. Anderson and following them was Tommy. The Andersons kissed Tommy and then said goodnight to him. He grinned at them and then conveyed the three golden words to them.
Tommy scanned the area, even the tree I was perched on but thankfully he didn’t see me. Then, he walked over to his doghouse. As soon as he stepped on the animal trap I heard the loudest shriek ever. The operation was a success.
I descended from the tree and then continued walking in the same direction as before but at a much faster pace. I imagined Tommy telling the Anderson that Baby Cake was responsible for his horrible injury.
I walked for three blocks before eyeing a lone teen sitting down on the sidewalk smoking a joint. Although I wasn’t into dope the teen looked like he couldn’t hurt a fly. His eyes were bloodshot and his skin was pale-red appearing like that of a drunkard. I was certain he had at least two big problems in his life.
As to his dress, he was wearing the usual football jersey, jeans, sneakers and ball cap. He had brown hair and black eyes, a Roman nose and a sad look on his face.
I crossed the street and cautiously approached the teen. As soon as I was within ten feet of him I asked him where the Burger King on Wilkinson Street was located.
The teen raised his right arm and then pointed due right.
Awesome! I was very close to the Burger King. I couldn’t recognize my position because I was walking in uncharted territory hidden behind Wilkinson Street.
Things however weren’t going to be that easy. I became utterly aware of the potential dangers throughout my walk to the terrestrial wormhole.
“Hey, Baby Cake, you’re wanted by the police. I heard there’s a gargantuan reward for any information leading to your arrest and conviction. I saw a composite of you on television. The first one I saw was vague but the second one I saw a few hours ago was a duplicate of your actual appearance.
I’d be careful if I were you. Don’t worry, I won’t call the police if you come here and make me feel good. I’m very depressed about life. Please convey the three golden words (I love you) to me and give me more encouragement. If you don’t I’ll change my mind about calling the police, okay?”
I was in a bind. I decided to go into cat therapist mode and then leave the area. I was willing to tell the teen anything just to get the hell out of there as soon as possible.
I leaped onto the teen’s chest and then cupped his face with my paws.
“My ... oh my you’re such a cutie! You probably have a hundred girlfriends. Why are you alone? I’m sure you’re really popular in school.
Don’t feel bad about life. You live in a nice neighbourhood I love you more than anyone else in the whole world and you’re a very good looking guy.
Please end the booze and dope use. You don’t need those creepy things. Cheer up and ... oh ... I almost forgot you’re my best friend in the whole world.”
After ending my statement I pulled the teen’s face towards me, closed my eyes and then gave him a big kiss. I was willing to do anything to get out of there.
“Thanks, Baby Cake! Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. But I must warn you, earlier on in the day I saw numerous patrol cars in the greater metropolitan area. They were driving really slowly. In fact, I saw a lone cat questioned by the police on three separate occasions. And he wasn’t even black like you. The police are even checking for hair dye. So even if you were to somehow be able to colour your hair differently, it wouldn’t help if the police pulled you over for questioning.”
“What’s your name, by the way?”
“My name is dopey.”
“What! Come again, I didn’t hear you!”
“Well, everyone in high school calls me dopey. I’m a real burnout.”
“No you’re not! You’re a special person like everyone else. Now please tell me your birth name.”
“It’s John Morris. I’m originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. My parents moved to Rollins several years ago.”
“Look, John, I want you to stop doping and boozing! You don’t need these poisons in your system. You need food and water, not this crap. As for your nickname, change it back to John. Don’t answer anyone who calls you dopey. You’re too good for this ‘garbage name’.
I found myself gently stroking John’s face with my left paw and simultaneously giving him a free lecture.
As soon as my work was done I grinned at John and then left. I didn’t even glance back at him. I knew that our brief encounter was a one-time deal. I’d lost too many friends and acquaintances. The last thing I needed was another loss. Although I felt bad about leaving John I was for all practical purposes a fugitive, a criminal at large, a persecuted kitty, a wanted person, a despised being.
The best weapon I had at my disposal was darkness. Judging from the level of darkness, I had several good hours left. But as soon as daylight appeared my advantage would dissipate. No doubt, I’d be picked off like a pink elephant.
I crossed into Wilkinson Street and then ran past Burger King and afterwards crossed into Albert Street. I continued running until I was within one hundred yards of the entrance to the terrestrial wormhole. The entrance, for all practical purposes looked like a cave. However, because this cave was in a different dimension most humanoids and animals herein wouldn’t even see it.
I slowed down to a walking pace and then felt a surge of ease and thankfulness. I was finally leaving Rollins, Ontario. But then, I heard sirens emanating from at least three patrol cars and they were heading in my direction at an unusually terrifying speed. There was no doubt that I was the intended target. I was literally wanted dead or alive. Cats that are in this kind of a situation are usually brought in dead. I for one had no intention of being gunned down in cold blood. I was far too important for that.
I ran towards the entrance as fast I possibly could. My leg muscles were twitching and then suddenly I felt a horrible cramp in my right rear leg. I fell onto the ground, winced in pain for a moment but then realized that my life was at stake. I got up and then hopped to the entrance on three legs.
As I was entering the terrestrial wormhole I heard gunfire, three bullets whizzed past me. I managed to make a last ditch three-legged effort to escape danger. Thereafter I was out cold for at least several hours.
When I came to I discovered that I was laying on my side in the Cat Trail. I glanced back at the exit, pondered about what I should do and then decided to wait and see. I was in an ambiguous predicament.
I wanted to be a cat just one more time. Although I loved being a humanoid, there were countless ‘benefits’ and ‘perks’ to being a cat; incredible agility, vision, olfactory and auditory senses, claws and canines, speed, fighting ability, stamina, quickness and reflexes, intelligence, intuition, cuteness, beauty, an unbelievable righting reflex, adaptability, uniqueness, pomp, conceit (when needed), pride, elegance, the ability to eat cooked or raw meat, etc.
I pondered about the situation for a bit longer before I decided to go for it; one more time as a kitty and no more.
I walked through THE CAT TRAIL and then leaped into the new dimension. Before my eyes was a large metropolitan area. The downtown core was roughly five miles away and very beautiful indeed. After scanning the area I decided to walk towards the downtown core and on my way there I’d find an isolated place to pull out my copying machine and take advantage of some fresh funds.
I could see the sun setting on the horizon, beautifully coloured; yellow-orange aligned with dual coloured (white and dark) clouds made it look even nicer.
I was thankful that dark was fast approaching in this dimension. But as I was walking towards the downtown core I felt an ominous presence nearby. I was being stalked by a male humanoid. I scented his body odour especially his genitals and armpits. Those parts of the body give out powerful odours in humanoids.
I cropped up my ears and continued my trek, but after two blocks of walking I realized that the stalker was closing in on me. I decided to stop dead cold, turn around and then see who it was.
To my utter shock it was a guy dressed in a tiger costume yielding a machete. I wasn’t sure at first what the problem was but then I noticed a crowd of some twenty or so individuals sprint towards me.
While sprinting I heard those dreaded words that every black cat hates to hear; TRICK-OR-TREAT FOR HALLOWEEN!
The machete guy wasn’t the only person who was armed. Although there was a very miniscule chance that they were practical jokers I wasn’t about to wait there and see. Naturally, I sprinted away from the congregation.
That seemed to piss them off terribly. I heard curses and grunts and also rocks and broken bottles were thrown at me.
There was no time to tire! I had to get to the downtown core fast. Meanwhile, the sun had all but disappeared. Sunset can be a nightmare on Halloween, especially if the targeted kitty can’t escape his/her pursuers.
I was running through a downtrodden part of town. I won’t call it a ghetto because what I saw around me were once warehouses and other businesses. I had a ways to go so I decided to glance to my right and to my left every block or so to try to find safety.
Thankfully, after six blocks of giving chase the pursuers stopped dead cold. As such, I slowed down and then stopped and turned to face the congregation.
A young gal who was puking was in terrible physical shape. She was at least 30 lbs. overweight and was wearing slippers. Suits here right.
I slowed down to a walking pace, finding the puking event hilarious until I too became nauseous. I turned into a side street directly on my right and then walked to an isolated place. I puked and dry-heaved for roughly fifteen minutes, virtually emptying my stomach except for naturally forming stomach acids.
Immediately afterwards, I fell over onto my side and then closed my eyes. To tell you the truth before I closed my eyes I really thought that I was going to die.
I was out cold for three hours. When I came to I noticed an eerie emptiness. But then, I heard gunshots.
I zoomed in on the location of the gunshots making sure to stay clear of the area.
After pausing for a moment, I scanned my surroundings for alternative walking routes and thankfully found one.
I looked up at the street sign. It read George Street. I had to remember the main street for future reference, in case I had to exit this dimension quickly.
My walk on George Street was very spooky, indeed. I cropped up my ears, flared my nostrils and kept my eyes on possible dangers.
I continued my trek towards the downtown core for an additional twenty minutes before reaching its peripheral. I could’ve gotten there sooner but by now I was walking almost in slow motion mode. Remember, I sprinted like crazy to evade those crazy pursuers.
I ended up crossing the Franklin Bridge overseeing the Hopkins River.
As I continued walking I remembered about my copying machine. Instantly, I stopped walking, scanned the area and then bolted into an alley on my left.
Thankfully, the coast was clear. I opened my shoulder bag, pulled out my copying machine, which by the way was one of the functions of a super computer and pondered about how much money to withdraw.
A sudden thought flashed in my head; I’d only withdraw a thousand dollars but I’d ‘insert’ a transfer of one million dollars into my newbie account. For that I’d have to hack into a major bank’s computer system.
After punching in for one thousand dollars I stuffed the money into my shoulder bag and then scanned the area for banks. Luckily, my computer detected a bank only three blocks to my right. I ‘locked on’ to the Lakeville Bank’s computer, inserted my name, account number, type of account and all the relevant information needed and then ‘deposited’ one million dollars. I was now a millionaire for the umpteenth time!
I continued walking through the downtown core until I came across a sign in a store that read LAKEVILLE BARBERSHOP THE BEST IN BRITISH COLUMBIA. At least I knew where I was. Even in British Columbia a black kitty must be careful on Halloween.
No wonder that area was really spooky. Lakeville appeared to be a very beautiful city; but it was unusual indeed.
A short while later I scented food nearby. Naturally, I had to see for myself what my next meal was going to be. It only took me a few minutes to arrive at DAVIS SNACK BAR. It was closed but that didn’t stop me.
I pulled out my copying machine, pointed it in the direction of the snack bar and then neutralized the alarm system. Then, I leaped onto the doorknob, picked the lock and then leaped back onto the ground.
I pushed the door and voila! I was now inside Davis Snack Bar! But first I closed the door behind me.
I wasn’t in the mood to fix myself a grand scale meal. I leaped onto the fridge, pulled it open and then dove inside. I grabbed hold of two roast beef sandwiches, tossed them onto the counter and then grabbed hold of a 1 litre carton of chocolate milk. I carefully held it in my paw and then gently tossed it on the counter. Thankfully, it landed right side up. Then, I grabbed hold of a pecan pie with my powerful jaws and leaped out of the fridge.
As soon as my paws landed onto the floor I kicked the fridge door open with my hind legs. Then, I leaped onto the counter with the pecan pie still in the clutches of my powerful jaws.
I gently placed the pie on the counter and then scanned the area for more food. I took notice of a 1 litre bottle of pop in the glass fridge behind the counter. Naturally, the bottle was on the counter in a jiffy. After pondering about what next I leaped onto the floor and then onto the second fridge. A short while later a large bowl of fruit cocktail was on the counter beside me.
I ate like a king, without any problems whatsoever. Okay, I changed my mind. Initially, I wasn’t seeking a grand scale meal, but the food options were right in my face.
After I finished eating, I left Davis Snack Bar but made sure to de-neutralize the alarm and shut the door behind me.
I continued walking through the downtown core for fifteen minutes before I began to hear automobiles and people. They were fast approaching.
A city clock read 8:00 P.M. I presumed that people were at a grand Halloween festival far away. It was only a short while later that traffic in the downtown core appeared normal.
By 8:45 P.M. I felt groggy. I decided to slip into an alley and sleep therein but not on the ground. I didn’t want to be attacked by a cat hating rat or a wino. So, I leaped onto a wall nearby and then scaled it. Twenty five feet later I was on the roof. After scanning the entire area as far as the horizon I determined that there were no dangers in nearby.
The stars in this dimension were beautiful, numerous and sparkling. The moon was brighter and more beautiful than on Planet X. After pondering about how beautiful and elegant nature is I closed my eyes and then quickly fell asleep.
I awakened the next morning at 7:00 A.M. Below was a normal every day city. I saw and heard automobiles, pedestrians going to work and school, and city buses on the move. The sound of birds eating their fill gave me goose-bumps. I was very happy for them.
I scanned the area intently, finding a lone wino asleep on a cardboard box nearby. Since the coast was clear I scaled down the building very carefully. But I must tell you the wino stunk like hell. Humanoids who for whatever reason, cannot bathe become the most filthy and stinky animals in any world. It was amazing how I was able to sleep on the roof so close to the stinky wino.
As soon as I was firmly set on the ground the wino awakened, opened his left eye and then his right. He had some good advice for me.
“Kitty, be careful. Last night, while I was drinking Vodka with my buddies I saw group after group of teens and college students roaming the city in search of a black cat to mock, torture and kill.
Otherwise, this city is a generally friendly place. I must warn you however, there are some stragglers who extended the Halloween black cat torture period a few extra days. Please, be on the alert. I’d hate for something to happen to you.”
I grinned at the wino and then walked to a corner to a dumpster. After turning away from the wino I pulled out my copying machine, punched in for one thousand dollars in twenty dollar denominations. I grabbed hold of the money as it was sliding out of the copying machine. Then I approached the wino with a grin on my face.
“Mr. Wino here, I present to you the amount of one thousand dollars in twenty dollar denominations. I take your word of honour that you’ll purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages and anything else that is necessary for life. If you purchase booze you’ll suffer the consequences of continued wino-ism.”
The wino shed many tears, thanked me and then kissed the stack of twenties.
I walked away content with helping a needy person. Now, I had to help myself. I was no longer in the mood to stay in Lakeville. I began to retrace my steps, ignoring the traffic and pedestrians.
I decided to take the non-scenic route back to the terrestrial wormhole. I didn’t want any trouble with anyone nor did I want to hear about anyone else’s problems.
I continued walking until I was within a few hundred yards of my target. But then, suddenly, I heard the shouts and screams of a desperate young woman.
“Someone stole my candy! Someone stole my Candy ... Someone stole my Candy ... Someone stole my Candy!”
The woman wouldn’t stop shouting that phrase. I was confused at why any woman would be so in love with her candy. Maybe, it was special candy, I thought.
But the word ‘Candy’ brought out some very painful memories. Thereafter, as I continued to walk the memory of my love ‘Candy’, my beloved wife, pounded my head like a sledge hammer. I was so stunned and downtrodden I simply couldn’t walk anymore.
I collapsed onto the sidewalk oblivious of the old hen who was eyeing me from behind her kitchen window.
But as the young woman continued screaming her brains out I heard something coming out of her mouth that caused me to shoot up into a standing position.
“Candy, where are you honey? Mommy loves you! Please come back to me!”
The fact that Candy was actually a girl caused me incredible grief. I kept envisioning the other Candy, my beloved wife who died. I had to help the young woman at any cost. Afterwards, I’d leave Lakeville and then transform into a humanoid.
I scanned the entire area before I approached the young woman. We were in a middle class neighbourhood, nice homes, beautiful trees and occasional white picket fences. Most of the homes contained two car garages; no doubt both partners were working to keep pace with the Jones’s.
The young woman was standing roughly a block away from me and on my left. I decided to see exactly where I was at for future reference.
I was standing on King Street and had to cross Palm Street to get to the young woman. But as I was focused on the young woman my incredible feline sense of vision caught movement directly to my right.
Therein was an old hen, glaring at me with her wicked eyes. I could see a witch’s pimple on her nose and her ugliness was sinful.
I disregarded the old hen for the second time because I had more pressing concerns at hand. But as soon as I took my first step I heard a door open and then slam shut.
As soon as I turned to see what had transpired lo and behold the old hen was standing in the middle of her yard and pointing a shotgun at me.
“Black kitty, you best leave these parts! I’m not from these parts, either but I’m a person unlike you. I’m from Alabama, and when I grew up we strung Black cats like you with full impunity. I don’t like you ... in fact I hate your black face and hair and everything else about you.
Black kitty, I know exactly what you want! You want to poop and pee in my yard, sneak into my house and then eat up a storm. You want to leave me with nothing to eat. You’re a hardcore criminal.
Black kitty, I’m a hair away from pulling this trigger. I’ve got my Smith Shotgun pointed to a spot between your eyes. I’ll splatter your head on the sidewalk if need be.”
“Ma’am, I haven’t done anything to you. Please don’t point that ‘cannon’ at me. Where are your relatives?”
“Black kitty, my in-laws are from Canada. I’m visiting for a few months. It’s my job to maintain security on our property, and that includes gunning down rodents, kitties and other vermin who trespass. Now, if you want to survive, ‘gitty-up’ and ‘sciddadle’. Leave or so help me ... I’ll pull the trigger.”
Just then the old hen suddenly turned back, walked to the door and then re-entered her house. But a moment later, I saw her glaring at me from behind her window. I’ve never been one to take any unnecessary chances, so I ran to the young woman without even glancing back.
As soon as I crossed Palm Street I zoomed in on the exact location of the young woman and when I was within spitting distance of her I stopped dead cold to hear what was wrong in more detail.
“Kitty, someone stole my five year-old daughter ... I mean ... someone kidnapped her. I just know it!”
“Madam, when did you see her last?”
This morning, she went off to school and didn’t return. I don’t want to call the police! I don’t want to go through the horror of having them tell me to wait until it’s been 24 hrs. I want my Candy right now!”
“What about your husband?”
“Raymond died of cancer last year. Now, I’m a single mom quickly losing the money that my husband and I accumulated together. I can’t work or do anything that’ll pay me money. It’s very tough to raise a kid, even just one, even if he/she is healthy and doesn’t cause trouble in the home.
Please kitty, can you help me?”
“Madam, I really think that you should notify the police immediately. They’re qualified to search for your daughter.”
For some unknown reason I developed doubts about my abilities as soon as I stood close to the woman. Maybe, it was because I realized just how serious the problem was. Someone really could’ve kidnapped Candy. Maybe the assailant wanted to harm her seriously and then kill her. Everyone’s heard about those kinds of creeps.
“Please, I don’t want to call the police! I don’t want to go down the station and see a bunch of uniforms who don’t know how I feel.
Kitty, I want you to help me. I know you can do the job. When I first laid eyes upon you I noticed your beauty, streamlined body, elegant gait and confidence. I know that you’re a special kitty, and I know that you harbour a big secret as to your incredible abilities.”
“Well, I mean ... if you put it that way ... then let’s begin our search.
Oh ... just one thing; I’m sorry for hesitating. It’s not like I do this kind of thing on a regular basis. However, being a cat has been a great blessing. I have incredible abilities just waiting to be explored.
“And, madam, my name is Bassam Imam. And may I please have your name. I mean, like ... umm we can’t work together without knowing each other’s names.”
“I’m Rhonda Lincoln, and I’m glad to meet you.”
Without notice, Rhonda dropped onto her knees, began to pound her clinched fists on the grass beside the sidewalk and then she threw a fit.
“I want my baby! I want my daughter back! I want Candy back! Candy, if you can hear me know that mommy loves you! I promise that we’ll get you back very soon!”
I stood on my hind legs and then cupped Rhonda’s cheeks with my paws. I spoke to her kindly, making sure that she understood that I was now in the long haul with her.
“Rhonda, please don’t be anxious. I promise I’ll do my best to retrieve your daughter. She’ll be home soon!”
Rhonda stood up, wiped the tears from her eyes with her shirt and then gave me a half-smile. That was my cue to officially begin the search.
“Rhonda, how far away from here do you live?”
“I live a couple of blocks from here.”
“We need to go back to your home immediately.”
Rhonda crossed the street and then entered Green Avenue, a beautiful street aligned with much plant life. The trees were gargantuan and beautiful. They truly manicured the neighbourhood.
Anyway, we walked for ten minutes until Rhonda stopped dead cold.
We were now in front of a small, run-down house out of place with the neighbours’ houses. Theirs were clean and tidy.
“Rhonda, listen up; I want you to bring me one or more articles of clothing that only Candy wore and touched. If anyone else touched it you must bring him/her here. Otherwise, our mission will be unsuccessful.”
Before I knew it Rhonda was in and out of her home in a flash and carrying two hand towels. She approached me with a smile a mile long and that wide. I was happy to see her in higher spirits.
“Okay, Rhonda, are you absolutely certain that no one else touched these two hand towels?”
“Yes, Bassam, these were Candy’s cloths and no one else’s. They were used to clean off her mouth after meals.
“And when was the last time that you washed them. Please be as accurate as you can because it has an incredible bearing on our search.”
“I washed both of them a couple of days ago. I guess that means that Candy’s scent is still fresh on them.”
“Fine, we’ve completed stage one. Now, we must move onto the next stage.
Rhonda, we need two dogs immediately. One should be a Bloodhound or a related breed. Remember, this dog must be an extraordinary sniffer, a scent hound of sorts. However, he shouldn’t be a barker during pursuit as we must surprise the assailant. It will give us a great advantage if a physical confrontation were to occur.”
“What do you mean by physical confrontation?”
“Rhonda, you do want Candy back or don’t you?”
“Yes, I love my baby so dearly!”
“Okay, then remember that the person/s who kidnapped your daughter are cold-blooded heartless criminals.”
In addition, I want a second dog; more specifically a fighting dog or at the very least a tough dog.”
“Bassam, I’ll get you both dogs. Many people in this part of the city own dogs and cats. Give me half an hour, please.”
I nodded my head in approval, thereby giving her a green light to do what she had to.
I waited patiently, and thankfully it was only for ten minutes. Apparently, her neighbours were kind and considerate. And I was proud of Rhonda for returning with both dogs but more so in controlling her emotions thereby not giving away our secret. The last thing we needed was a giant posse.
“Bassam, this is Timmy a purebred Beagle. Will he do?”
“Yes, no problem. He’s got tracking and scenting in his genes.”
“And, Bassam, this is Bertrand a German shepherd/Rottweiler mix. Will he do?”
“Yes, fantastic! Now, guys, have you been filled in on what’s going on?”
Yes, they responded in unison.
Now guys, I want us to work together as a team. We’re not competing with each other. We’re complementing each other. It’s like we’re on the same team. Please, we must get Candy back!”
“I’ve picked up a trail! And Bassam, don’t worry, Rhonda told me to be quiet while on the trail. We surely don’t want to telegraph our appearance to the assailant/s.”
I made a point to remember that we were at the corner of Randall Street and Maple Street.
“Rhonda, do you want to follow us or shall we call you at home?”
“Candy’s my freaking daughter! How can I stay home at a time like this?”
“Okay, Rhonda, I’m sorry for asking you that question. I just wanted to make sure.”
“Okay guys, let’s go!”
With four persons on the trail of the kidnappers I had high hopes of a clean capture and retrieval. Although we weren’t carrying firearms we had two dogs at our disposal, one of them a very powerful and menacing-looking mixed breed.
Timmy appeared to be a very efficient tracker. It was ingrained into his spirit, thereby making it second nature for him. However, there was something bothersome though.
I noticed that Timmy winced in pain every time he turned his head. Furthermore, his eyes were teary; not sensitive tears but cry-baby tears. He was suffering and I made it a necessity to find out what was going on and to help him as much as I could.
Thankfully, Timmy and I were leading the pack. Rhonda and Bertrand were walking behind us a full block away. It turned out best this way, our chemistry defined it naturally.
“Timmy, is there anything wrong?”
“Umm ... no, nothing’s wrong, why do you ask?”
“I wasn’t going to accept a cover up of any sorts. I leaped onto Timmy’s back and then pulled his collar back. To my utter shock there was a horrible-looking gash on his neck, encircling it like a hangman’s noose.
Timmy started crying. Thereafter, he spilled his guts.
“Bassam, I’m a tree dog! The Webster family keeps me on guard days and nights on end. In fact, I was very lucky that my flesh didn’t grow into my collar. Other dogs in my predicament suffer more; many become extremely aggressive and territorial, while others go mad. Either way, tree dogging is very cruel.
Not a single member of the Webster family, five in all ever told me that they loved me, or even liked me for that matter. I never even got a thank you, even last year when I scared off a potential burglar.
Worse yet, I heard Mr. and Mrs. Webster talking about selling me to the ACME ANIMAL LAB (Tobacco Smoke Inhalation Section). That’s me, a very dedicated Beagle who did his job as a sentry to an unloving family. No benefits, no great food and no nothing.
Bassam, I don’t plan on going back. But first please remove my collar!”
“Don’t worry, Timmy! I’m going to remove that horribly tight collar that’s around your beautiful neck. I’ll toss that stinking collar into the street and then we’ll continue our mission.”
I leaped onto the sidewalk after tossing the collar then I continued following Timmy, always walking on his right.
“Timmy, don’t worry anymore. You’re now a free doggy. I know how to get you out of this predicament for good.
Timmy, don’t tell anyone ... but like ... I’m an interdimensional traveller. I can take you along with me to another dimension through the terrestrial wormhole.
Timmy, how does that sound to you?”
“Bassam, I love you!”
“Timmy, I love you much more than you could ever love me!”
Thereafter we didn’t talk much. Things appeared to brighten up considerably. We walked for a total of twenty blocks before Timmy stopped dead cold. He asked all of us to converge in a circle formation so he could give us the scoop about his fresh discovery.
Rhonda and Bertrand hustled to the scene. We formed a full circle as asked and then waited patiently for Timmy to speak.
But before he spoke I signalled him to wait for a moment. I scanned the entire area, which contained residential buildings on our right and a mall roughly a mile ahead. But to our left was the SOUTH END PARK; I knew because the sign was in my path of vision. It was very large, with several beautifully aligned pathways and many incredible trees. For some reason the area was empty. Even traffic was scarce. For a moment, I got the jitters. If the kidnapper/s were armed and decided to shoot us there’d be no witnesses.
“Guys, we must be very careful hereafter. I have a pretty good idea of where Candy is.”
“I want my baby right now, let’s go! No delays! I want my Candy to be with me! I’m her mommy!”
“Please, Rhonda, we must be patient and extremely careful. We certainly don’t want to alert the kidnapper/s of our presence. If this were to happen we’d probably end up losing Candy.
Please, Candy, trust us!”
“Bassam, I’m sorry for ‘sassing’ out like that. I’ll be quieter hereafter.”
“Rhonda, please don’t apologize. I understand that you’re under incredible pressure. Be confident, we’re going to prevail!”
Timmy asked us to follow him through the pathway in the middle of the entrance to the park. This pathway would take us roughly a half a mile straight and then we’d have to make a slight turn to our right.
We walked on the pathway until the right curve. This would take us to a position behind a wooded area.
We curved rightwards on the pathway and walked for another quarter of a mile before we took notice of a mini-playground. Although the lighting in the area was sparse, we managed to see the silhouettes of two individuals, an adult and what appeared to be a child.
They were too ‘adjoined’ together. We weren’t sure what to make of it until we got closer. We had to do this by creeping up unto them.
When were within fifty yards of them it became apparent who they were.
“Give me back my baby! Give her to me you little witch! Martha, let my baby go!”
Expectedly, Rhonda threw a fit. I had to clamp down on the back of her pant leg so she wouldn’t run towards Martha. Obviously, they knew each other.
You see, Martha was holding Candy, a beautiful little, innocent, freckled girl by the neck with her left arm. And, shockingly, Martha had a gun pointed to Candy’s head with the other hand. I couldn’t determine the cause of this horrific scenario. Maybe, I’d find out soon enough.
“Guys, listen to me carefully! We must be extra careful when approaching Martha. We should not stand any closer than the see-saw over there. Twenty feet of distance between us and Martha is the absolute minimum. As you can see, she’s got a gun in her hand and her intent is irrelevant if it goes off. Accidents do happen, especially when a person’s ticked off. A trigger finger can press down on a trigger unconsciously. Then what? We don’t want that to happen.”
“Bassam, that’s my baby! You can’t expect me to just stand here and do nothing?”
I asked the other trackers to stop and listen carefully to my important instructions. I made certain to speak in a low voice and ensured that Martha couldn’t read my lips by turning away from her.
“Listen up, I have a good game plan but it must be followed to the letter. The way I see it, Martha’s not going to allow Candy to go freely. My extraordinary feline intuition is almost always correct.
Martha’s tone of voice, choice of words and mannerisms indicate that we’re going to somehow have to get extremely physical with her.
Rhonda, you understand that there’s no guarantee here, right?”
“Yes, I understand. And I know that we can’t call the police even if we wanted to. Martha will no doubt panic and then probably pull the trigger on my daughter and then on herself.”
“Timmy, Rhonda, I want you to follow me until we’re only twenty feet from her. We’ll keep Martha pre-occupied while you, Bertrand, creep up from behind her and then pounce on her. You must grab a hold of her hand or wrist. The hold must cause her to drop the gun. You do understand that you must succeed on the very first attempt, or else?”
“Yes, Bassam, but how do I creep up on her and from which angle?”
“As you can see, this playground contains three see-saws, two sets of monkey bars, pull-up bars, a merry-go-round, a half a dozen benches and a tiny pond twenty yards behind Martha.
I want you to circle around from a leftward angle from our position, walking just beyond the perimeter of the park. In effect, you’ll be attacking from her right.
When I rub my right paw against my face pounce on her hand and then bite it with all of your might.”
Bertrand slowly parted from our position while the rest of us approached Martha. Thankfully, Martha hadn’t noticed Bertrand’s sudden departure.
As we slowly approached the area beside her I couldn’t help but wonder who Martha was. Naturally, I asked Rhonda.
“Rhonda, from where do you know Martha?”
“Believe it or not, Martha’s my best friend in the whole world. She also lives down the block from me. I sensed that she was envious of me for having been married but more so for having a child. Apparently, she was never able to find ‘Mr. Right’ or have a child.”
As soon as we were standing near Martha we began to converse in earnest.
“Martha, please hand over Candy to her mommy. Candy hasn’t done anything to you. I’m sure we can solve this problem the easy way. And there’s no need to dispute with us while you’re carrying a firearm.
But at the very least, please don’t press your gun against Candy’s head. Point it at me if you want.”
Martha redirected the muzzle of the gun at me. Although I felt a sudden rush of terror, I also felt relief because Candy’s head was now, at least for the time being, free of danger.
“It’s not fair! I want a child! You can’t take my baby away from me!” shouted Martha.
“It’s not your baby! I’m her mother! Just ask her!”
“Mommy, I want to go home! I’m scared! Why is Martha hurting me?”
“I’m not hurting you ... little wench!”
“Mommy, what’s a wench?”
“No, honey, you’re not a wench. I love you and don’t you dare forget it.”
The thing that struck me the most was Candy’s reaction. She was crying like a little baby, her voice was choppy and her entire body was shaking violently. Deep down inside I wanted to attack Martha right there and then, but that wouldn’t have been a logical action.
“Martha, why ... please tell me why? You live down the block from me. I really thought we were good friends. Candy considered you her aunt.”
“I need a child! I want to be a mother! I don’t want Candy to be my niece or for you to be my best friend in the whole world! And for that I’m going to solve this problem once and for all!”
“Bassam, did you hear that? She’s going to turn Candy over to me.”
“No she’s not!”
Bertrand heard our conversation and rightfully decided to return. It would’ve taken him twenty or more minutes to walk the perimeter of the park. He had to act soon and fast.
I rubbed my right paw against my face, thereby giving a green light for Bertrand to attack. As far as I was concerned, Martha was about to kill at least two persons, herself and Candy.
In a lightning-fast move Martha shot Rhonda, Timmy, Bertrand, Candy and then herself. I was shocked beyond belief! Apparently, Martha was good with a gun. I blamed myself for not asking Rhonda first. I assumed that Martha had never held a handgun before the kidnapping incident.
I was utterly devastated! But it took this amount of devastation for me to know exactly whom I loved the most amongst the trackers.
Everyone was dead except for Timmy and me. However, Timmy was certainly on borrowed time. He was shot in the abdomen and bleeding profusely. No doubt, a vital organ was hit.
Timmy was barely hanging on to life, with his tongue dangling, eyes teary and droopy and he was loose-jawed. He looked like a dying dog.
I approached Timmy, placed my paws on his head and then spoke my mind.
“Timmy, I love you more than anyone else in the whole world. You and I are a team. Please, whatever you do ... don’t die on me.
Timmy, you’re the most incredible dog in the whole world. I can’t live without you. Please, open your eyes wide, start breathing regularly and wait for me to call for an ambulance, it’ll be soon.
Timmy, look, I’m now making a funny cat face. Please, just smile, even a crooked smile will do.
Timmy, you’re a warrior, a hero in the truest sense. I’m going to keep my word. I told you that I was going to get you out of here, right? Please stand up and walk with me to the terrestrial wormhole entrance.
Timmy, please ... don’t close your eyes! I love you very much! You and I are buddies, you must come back.”
I collapsed from exhaustion. The words I conveyed to Timmy squeezed out much of my energy reserves.
When I came to the first thing that I noticed was the sound of blaring sirens. They were at the edge of the park. Timmy had died, thereby making me the only survivor amongst the trackers and Martha. Because I didn’t want to take any chances with the law, I slithered into the wooded area nearby and continued walking therein.
By the time I exited the other side of the wooded area the police and paramedics were on the other side oblivious of my presence. Thankfully, I regained much of my strength.
It was now 3:00 A.M. according to my copying machine. I had a long way to go to reach my destination, but was adamant about making it. I never wanted to return to this dimension again.
I ran across the street, deciding to enter a residential area; literally taking the long route. I felt that it would be safer just in case someone saw me with the trackers. Being a kitty and all, I’d probably turn into Prime Suspect Number One!
I continued walking until I reached the peripheral of the terrestrial wormhole. After thoroughly scanning the area I leaped into the wormhole and then instantly collapsed onto the ground.
I closed my eyes and slept like a baby. I was probably out for ten or more hours. I really needed the rest otherwise I would’ve had a nervous breakdown or fallen into a comatose state.
I WANT A FLESHY ANDROID

Technically, I was still in the Cat Trail therefore, my physical being was that of a cat. But at least for the time being I’d had enough of being a cat. I was so bummed out and depressed at seeing the other trackers and also Martha die in utter bloodshed. Looking back at it, I think Martha was sick. Unfortunately, there was no time to have done any kind of therapy. We were limited to a few impromptu statements.

Anyway, although I was in mental dire straits I still felt a drive to move onto another dimension. Soon, the pain of the incident would simmer down quite a bit but I’d certainly never forget it.

I exited the Cat Trail and transformed into a humanoid. Now, different. For one thing, my nose and mouth were a safe distance from the dust on the ground, I could see atop higher objects and I was my normal self again.
then almost instantly things appeared quite

I continued walking on the main corridor glancing at my choices every-so-often. This corridor was incredible. I had countless choices of dimensions to choose from and there was a sign on each and every one of them hinting of its description and purpose.

I stopped in front of Pineville. What a beautiful name I thought. It was my choice. I entered THE PINEVILLE TRAIL and continued walking through it until I was standing at the edge of it peering straight at another dimension.

I took a deep breath and then entered THE PINEVILLE TRAIL ready to take on the world. But somehow, I felt that in this Trail I’d receive a beautiful gift of sorts. I needed an incredible gift because I felt like I was missing a part of me. It happens to males a lot more than females. When a man loses a loved one it’s like he’s lost part of his mind, body and soul. His very being is changed.

What I saw before me was an incredibly beautiful valley with low-lying grassy plains on each side of a pathway consisted of a shallow stream.

On my left was the horizon. But if I continued onwards the hills would block my view of the horizon. I didn’t worry about it much. I had serious business to take care of, like setting myself up in a new town or city.

As I began my trek through the valley I looked carefully at numerous silhouettes miles in front of me. I couldn’t quite tell what I was looking at until roughly a half hour later.

When I close enough I felt a gush of relief. I was looking at the silhouettes of city buildings. Now all I had to do was keep walking, reach my destination and then set myself up.

For a while I was able to pre-occupy myself with an interesting thought; the city before my eyes. It was a comfort considering the alternative which was to think the loved ones that I recently had lost.

As soon as I was within spitting distance of the city limits I looked up at the sign that read WELCOME TO PINEVILLE.
I entered Pineville with high hopes, dreams and aspirations. The downtown core was very clean, containing beautifully constructed buildings, countless trees and the scent of a dough factory nearby.
Now, I was getting hungry. But before I could even eat I had to know what kind of currency they used in Pineville.
Up until now I’d ignored traffic and pedestrians. But I had start noticing them for my own safety.
Traffic was sparse. However, I did notice something unusual. There were electric-powered carriages in Pineville, a great relief to the would-be carriage horses who would’ve had to work in all kinds of weather and so near to automobiles.
I continued walking until reaching my dream place; The Pineville City Bank. I crossed the street and then stood in an alley diagonally across the street not allowing passersby to notice what I was about to do.
As soon as there was a break in pedestrian traffic I quickly pulled out my copying machine and got to work. I pointed my ‘gizmo’ in the direction of the bank, hacked into their main site and then deposited one million dollars into my checking account. I made certain that everything was done correctly. As soon as I saw the word ‘complete’ I went ahead and provided myself with a valid credit card and a check-book.
My check-book and credit card were ejected from my copying machine. Afterwards, I programmed my copying machine to eject two thousand dollars in denominations of twenty dollar bills.
I put the money into my shoulder bag and then walked through Pineville’s downtown area. I was searching for something specific and thankfully I found it a short while later.
I eyed Luke’s Leather Goods Store and then scanned the area to ensure that no one had noticed me. I crossed the street and then entered Luke’s. But as soon as I took one look at Luke my jaw almost dropped to the ground.
Luke was a dummy! I realized that none of the pedestrians had shown emotion on their faces. This made me more curious, so I took a close look at the sparse automobiles on my street. Every single driver was a dummy.
The dummy worker in the store got up and then fiddled around with some wallets. Afterwards, he sat down in a mechanical manner. I’d initially entered Luke’s to purchase a wallet.
I walked around the counter and then snatched a black wallet. Afterwards, I left the store. Luke didn’t even take notice of me. I didn’t like what I was seeing.
No doubt, the dummies were pre-programmed by someone else. Maybe that person/s was watching me too.
I opened my shoulder bag and then tossed out the money, credit card and check-book. It was of no use to me here. Without any delay whatsoever, I trekked back to the terrestrial wormhole. But I must tell you, I was utterly terrified! I had no idea whether I was being watched or not.
As soon as I entered the terrestrial wormhole I made a note in my head to absolutely never enter THE PINEVILLE TRAIL. Now, I had to find another trail, but I did learn a valuable lesson; always be alert and attuned to my surroundings especially when first entering a new dimension. Horrifyingly, I reached Pineville and didn’t even take notice of the countless dummies around me. Apparently, I’d become a softy; I’d lost my ministerial smarts of the days of old when I was back on Planet X.
I continued walking through the main tunnel in search of another dimension to enter. I was weary but anxious. Who knows what was up ahead?
It took me less than five minutes to find the tunnel of choice. It was a somewhat familiar place, indeed. THE MOPNTREAL TRAIL was something I could deal with. I’d lived in the city before and although it was going to be a bit different than the last time I was there, I still decided on entering it.
After taking a deep breath I walked through THE MONTREAL TRAIL wormhole to the end of the tunnel. Thereafter, I took a deep breath and then exhaled as soon as I entered the dimension. Lo and behold I found myself in the downtown core.
I was standing at the Atwater and Maisonneuve Street intersection. People were walking in all directions, traffic was busy and I was excited.
I crossed the street heading east and then walked north for one block. I was now on Lincoln Street, a side street where I could do some important business.
After walking an additional two blocks eastward I stopped, removed my copying machine and then checked for the time, date, and year. It was Monday, February 28, 2011. The time was 2:45 P.M.
I punched in the command to find the nearest bank and the working hours.
The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was just past the end of Lincoln Street. Judging from the distance it appeared to be a ten or fifteen minutes walk depending on my pace.
I put my copying machine back inside my shoulder bag and then hustled towards the RBC. Thankfully, it only took me twelve minutes to get to within 100 feet of the RBC.
I removed my copying machine from my shoulder bag, punched in the proper commands and then pointed it in the direction of the RBC. Now, I was ‘inside’ their protected site.
I punched in for one million Canadian dollars and a flash later I received confirmation. Then, I punched in the command for a valid credit card and a check book. Almost instantly, I got what I wanted.
“Excuse me sir, what kind of computer is that and what are you doing?”
I was caught off guard! I’d have to explain myself immediately or else be on suspicion.
Thankfully, it was only a kid. Perhaps he was eight yearsold, but I learned my lesson.
“Actually, it’s for work. You know it is adult stuff. I can’t discuss it because my boss told me not to tell.”
Thankfully, the kid grinned at me and then walked away. He appeared to have believed me. Hopefully, he’d forget the incident and get on with his life.
I crossed Lincoln Street and walked away westward thirty or so yards. I was now a safe distance away. Thankfully, there was a lull in pedestrian traffic, but I knew it wouldn’t last for too long so I got to work instantly.
I punched in the command for ten thousand dollars in cash in denominations of twenty dollar bills.
It was now time to find a good home to live in. So, I strolled through the area for roughly twenty minutes until I found a nice apartment building to live in. It was in the downtown core at the intersection of Guy and Maisonneuve Street.
It was fantastic because the manager of the apartment, for some unknown reason, didn’t conduct a background check on me. I’d inadvertently forgotten to forge a background record. But for this time, I was safe.
Before long, I had a furnished apartment and everything else that I needed.
I accepted the apartment offer instantly. It was wellfurnished, the building was in an excellent location and it appeared relatively clean. What else would I want?
It was now 5:00 P.M. I decided to get some groceries first and then go out to eat. I left the building and then crossed the street southwards. Although there were many people around me I waited until I saw a friendly face to ask for directions.
Walking towards me was an elderly man wearing a beard, rounded glasses, slightly balding and chubby, perhaps seventy years-old, holding a cane but still smiling. He appeared to have been a professional of sorts during his working days.
He looked way out of place considering that most of the pedestrians in the area were undergraduate students. Apparently, there was a university nearby, Concordia University.
Although the university didn’t have a typical campus; the buildings were wedged in the downtown core, the students gave the entire area life and youth. I really felt invigorated. What a feeling it was!
I waited until the elderly man was roughly four feet from me before asking for directions.
“Excuse me, sir, could I please ask you a question?”
“Certainly, young man, what do you want to know?”
“I’m looking for a supermarket within walking distance from here. I need to get a bunch of groceries. Can you direct me ... please?”
“Well, there are two of them. Provigo is the closer of the two. Go to St. Catherine’s Street and then walk westwards for a few blocks. They have a decent assortment of groceries. Don’t forget to grab the flyer as soon as you enter the store. You’ll be able to purchase on sale items if you choose.
Or, you can go to IGA. It’s about twice the distance as Provigo is. You’ll have to go due west on this street and then enter Alexis Nihon Plaza. You need to cross Atwater Street and to stay on this side. Luckily, IGA is at ground level so you don’t need to go up or down any levels. One more thing, Zellers is a very nice department store located just one level below IGA. Their prices are cheaper than most other places. They sell all sorts of canned and packaged foods, but it’s not a supermarket. They also sell clothing, kitchen appliances and everything from watches to stereos and much more.
Well, do you need anything else young man?”
“Gosh no, you’ve been an incredible asset to me. Can I buy you anything ... like a sandwich, sir?”
“No thanks, I’m retired and set for life. Have a beautiful day and I know that I’ll see you soon.”
That was strange. How could he know that we were going to see each other soon? Another thing, after speaking to the elderly man, I wasn’t so convinced that he was retired. He seemed too jubilant and well ... it was a gut feeling. Anyway, I went on with my business.
I went to Provigo, purchased several bags worth of groceries and then returned home. But by the time I returned home I was in no mood to go out and eat. I felt like I needed to be alone until the following day. So, I went ahead and fixed myself a nice meal consisting of two eggs, milk, fries, a tomato, pop, dessert and fruit cocktail. When all the necessary preparations were made I enjoyed my meal while watching a movie on my copying machine. With no one there to bother me or block my view it was double enjoyable.
I felt right at home in Montreal. So much so the following three months went by smoothly. I kept a low profile, only speaking to people when necessary and making sure that whenever I ate out I’d order food from a different food stand. This way, I was less likely to be remembered. In addition, I preferred long lines where individuals were depersonalized.
Then, on a nice Sunday morning at 8:00 A.M. while many residents of the city were sleeping off their hangovers I decided to take a walk after breakfast.
I left home with a big smile on my face. Everything was going just fine except for my memories of loved ones.
As soon as I entered St. Catherine’s Street I decided to walk west towards Westmount, a suburb of Montreal. But as I walking therein I suddenly developed the shivers. Something was up with my inner self. However, I must admit it wasn’t the first time. I sensed that there was something important for me to do nearby.
I continued walking not minding the low-level traffic or the occasional pedestrian. I was now intent on finding out what the problem was. As I continued walking westward my shivers became more pronounced, to the point of developing goose bumps on my forearms. That wasn’t enough to stop me, though, so I continued walking ever so intently.
As soon as I was a block due south of Westmount Park I shifted north for a block and then entered the park. Something was calling me to this park. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but nevertheless it was here.
I passed the drinking fountain on my right and then continued onwards walking on the bike trail. The ball field was on my left and most of the park was ahead of me and to my right. Soon afterwards I saw something that dazzled me! It appeared out of nowhere!
A small building with a sign that read IRVING MAKER’S STORE appeared on my right. I had to investigate this matter so I entered the store. Therein was a vast collection of trinkets, dummies and other unusual objects.
Up ahead sitting behind a counter was none other than the elderly man who helped me the day that I arrived. He looked up, smiled at me and then waved me over to him.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but notice the enormity of this man’s merchandise; it was everywhere, some of the objects were wretchedly dusty. However, that didn’t stop me. I walked over to the elderly man, extended my hand in friendship and then he returned the favour. We got off to a good start.
“What’s your name, young man?”
“My name is Bassam Imam, and what’s yours if you don’t mind my asking.”
“My name is Irving Maker. I come from a long line of makers. I knew that you’d be paying me a visit. You need my services, don’t you?”
“Well, Mr. Maker, I don’t quite understand what you mean by that statement.”
“You look different. I can tell, you even smell a bit different than the other humanoids in this city, or should I say in this dimension.”
I was utterly shocked. He was correct. Now I had to know how?
“Mr. Maker, are you from this dimension?”
“No, absolutely not, besides in my line of work the only persons who can see my store and enter it are from other dimensions. As you’ve probably noticed, my store appeared out of nowhere and in an illogical location. My store’s invisible to normal folks otherwise they’d tear it down for violation of a major municipal bylaw.
Now, Bassam, tell me exactly what you want.”
“Mr. Maker, you can’t get me what I want. It’s way out of your league.”
“Bassam, why don’t you try me, if I fail leave my store and never return, if I succeed then be my customer. How does that sound.
I needed at least one fleshy android. I missed all of my old friends and relatives; Corey, Cynthia, Alexa, Candy and whomever else. I paused for a moment, took a deep breath and then ‘catapulted’ my needs unto Mr. Maker.
“Mr. Maker can you build me a fleshy android?”
“Bassam, I ... please think about it. You’re not the first person who’s asked me for a fleshy android.
I felt a sudden surge in my blood pressure and my heart began to race like it was in the Kentucky Derby. I was all too excited and ready to repeat my order. But at the same time I didn’t want to jump the gun. So, I spoke to Mr. Maker about my predicament but not going into too much detail about my life. Naturally, I wanted a second opinion regarding which family member or friend I should have Mr. Maker replicate into a fleshy android.
Our conversation only lasted for fifteen minutes when Mr. Maker gave me some good advice.
“Bassam, look I wouldn’t want you to have me replicate Cynthia, Alexa or Corey ... or even Candy. Please, I like to satisfy my patrons but I know as a fact that fleshy androids are always a nightmare. I’ve seen men and women purchase them from me and then some time later, they end up regretting ever seeing me. Now, I don’t want that to happen to you.
Can you purchase something else, like ... that beautiful clock over there? Look ... I’ll give you a fifty percent discount. This clock is very special, you can speed up time. Well not in this dimension but in countless others?”
“Mr. Maker I’m dying inside! I need another Corey and Candy. Please, I need them really badly. I don’t know what it is but as soon as I began to talk about them ... something inside of my mind snapped.
I want both of them together. I don’t care about the possible consequences or the price. Mr. Maker, I want my merchandise! Just give me an amount to pay and your money will be in your hands in two minutes flat, no kidding!”
“Okay, Bassam, you’ve told me all about Corey and Candy. Let’s say we compromise a bit. Look, if I have to program their memories in the way you asked countless problems could occur. I recommend that you have another son and another wife but not them. I can build you another son, a cat with your DNA and everything else needed and also a drop dead gorgeous wife, to your satisfaction, I mean ... you’ll determine the height, weight, measurements, voice style, hair, basic personality, memory and whatever else.”
“Okay, I’ll settle for that! I want my son’s name to be Casper and my wife’s name to be Michelle. Those are neutral names. I’ve never known anyone with those names. Now, I’ll fill you in on the intricate details.”
Dr. Maker and I conversed for an additional ten minutes before agreeing on what I wanted. The going price for Casper was one hundred thousand dollars and for Michelle it was five hundred thousand dollars. Caspar was smaller, thereby needing taking less work and less ‘fleshy android material’.
I was to return in two hours for my pickup and full payment. I reassured Mr. Maker that I’d have his money in full.
Before I left Mr. Maker’ Store he took a blood sample from my arm and then covered the punctured skin with gauze and tape.
It was 11:00 A.M. so I had to return before 1:00 P.M. Thankfully, I was in a beautiful park.
I decided to stroll through Westmount Park for an hour. And as the first hour flew by I decided to enter the Westmount Public Library (WPL) where I scanned through several magazines. Being aware of the time I made certain to glance at the library clock frequently. Thankfully, my patience paid off because I finished my business at 12:50 P.M.
Because no one in the WPL took any notice of me I was able to slither to the restroom on the ground floor, close and lock the door behind me. After taking a deep breath I pulled out my copying machine and punched in a command for a total of six hundred thousand dollars in denominations of twenty dollar bills.
I had to stuff my shoulder bag to the rim to get that money out of plain view.
After washing and then drying my hands I exited the restroom and then walked to the exit. I hustled my way through the park directly towards the store.
I was at the doorstep within two minutes. I scanned the area noticing five teens playing catch and a middle-aged couple making out inside the gazebo. I was searching for danger but thankfully didn’t find any.
I entered the store bright-eyed and anxious to meet my son and wife.
Mr. Maker wasn’t sitting behind the counter he was standing in the back of the room. Without saying a word he waved me over. Naturally, I did as he asked.
“Bassam, my work is complete. Now, I want you to follow me through this secret entrance. Please don’t ask me questions. I want to take you to the ‘producing room’.
I followed Mr. Maker like his own shadow. Only a minute later we entered the producing room. It was very large, contained wall-to-wall brown carpeting and dummies bolted to the walls. Naturally, the dummies were dead.
Mr. Maker pointed at a very attractive young woman within the ‘mixture’ of fleshy androids, looked at me for reassurance and then pointed at a black and white, American short-hair, green-gray eyed and beautiful streamlined bodied. Although I was stunned at the cat’s beauty it had already been manufactured thereby up for the taking. I gave Mr. Mr. Maker a nod indicating a ‘yes’ answer. In effect, I was satisfied.
Mr. Maker had already done all the pre-work necessary. He pulled out a gizmo the size of a cell phone and then scanned the controls with his fingers. Voila, my son and wife were now alive and well.
“Bassam, aren’t you going to say hello to your lovely wife and son?”
“Yes, hello, how are you guys doing?”
“We’re fine, now when can we leave this hell-hole?”
“Mr. Maker, here’s your payment and thank you very much.”
Mr. Maker approached me, leaned over and then whispered to me that there wasn’t a money back guarantee for fleshy androids.
I in turn nodded my head indicating that I knew and understood. Besides, I was too delighted to become irritated at that fact.
“Well, guys, let’s go! I mean ... where do you want to go?”
“Dad, I want some vanilla ice cream. Can we get some?”
I glanced over at Michelle, waited for a nod and got it almost instantly. Wow, I now had a family again. The thought of potential problems wasn’t on my mind. I’d inadvertently blocked out the thought completely.
I thanked Mr. Maker once again as we were leaving his store. It was a nice day, sunny without a noticeable breeze whatsoever. People had now converged upon the park, chatting, eating and walking. The playground section was full of happy children oblivious to the world’s problems and their mothers and a few fathers keeping an eye on them. The bus service was still running east and west. I was so thankful that this dimension contained sweets and other goodies in it I almost shouted for joy.
“Guys, let’s walk on Sherbrook Street, wait for the bus and then we can go to the mall. I don’t think that ice cream will be enough to satisfy our palates. Let’s have a nice big meal and then we can have the best dessert afterwards. How does that sound?”
“Bassam, that sounds very nice,” responded Michelle.
Meanwhile, Casper’s mouth was drooling profusely. I understood his predicament but patience is part of life. I wanted a complete meal with all the amenities, not just an ice cream snack.
“Dad, where are we going?”
“Casper, we’re heading east towards the downtown core. We’ll hit a mall and I promise you that we’ll have a very grand and tasty meal. Please be patient.”
“Jeepers dad, that’s really nice!”
Casper was barely able to get out those words before spitting out a giant slobber of saliva. He was that hungry. I glanced over at Michelle and noticed that she too was slobbering. But just then, the #24 bus arrived. We entered the bus and then I inserted the correct change into the payment slot, gave the driver a ‘hello’ and then proceeded to walk to the back of the bus where my family was.
“Bassam, I want you to hold my hand.”
I held Michelle’s hand, grinned at her and then reached over to Casper with my other hand. I was offering to hold his paw with my hand. Instantly, he gave me a ‘yucky face’, shoved my hand away with his paw and then turned his head towards the window. It became apparent to me that he didn’t want any of that lovey-dovey stuff, at least not in an enclosed place.
There was a congregation of six teens sitting together in front of us. They were eyeing Casper. I later understood what was going on. He too was a youngster and I supposed it would’ve been embarrassing for him to be treated like a baby in front of the teens. Naturally, he had a firm reputation to uphold.
One of the teens, a Tom Boy type girl, who was wearing a black T-shirt, ball cap, an unusual hairdo and chewing gum in an obnoxious manner extended her arm out to Caspar. Instantly, he leaped onto her chest, grinned at her and then kissed her nose.
I was shocked that my son could be that gullible. This group of teens looked like hoodlums. They were nothing but trouble. As such, I used my fatherly authority to reel Casper back into my fold. Mind you, I wasn’t possessive or envious because I really did love my son.
“Casper, I’m your daddy and I order you to come back to me and your mom.”
“What! Dad, I’m not a baby! No, I won’t return to you until I’m finished conversing with my new friends.”
I was so enraged I stood up, pulled the stop cord and then hoisted my son into my arms. As soon as the bus stopped I waved over Michelle and then we disembarked the bus.
Meanwhile, the teens were having a blast laughing at Casper for being a ... as they would call him a ‘baby’. But in my books he wasn’t a baby, he was a special kitty. He was my beloved son; gosh, he was half of me in DNA!
We began to walk eastward on Sherbrook Street heading for the downtown core. Thankfully, the bus driver drove off shortly after our escapade ended.
But before I could lay Casper onto the ground he bit and scratched my left thumb. Then he had the gall to bitch me out.
“Dad, don’t you ever do that to me again! I’m a freaking full-grown cat! How could you humiliate me in front of those teens?”
“Caspar, I’m your father and I demand that you quiet down and follow us to the mall!”
Thereafter, Casper and I didn’t talk much. Our mood was very tense.
“Michelle, what do you think?”
“Bassam, you really were a bit too rough on Casper. I mean, okay ... you didn’t like the look of those teens. But then, what could they have done to Casper with us there and the other passengers.
Look, please don’t be so assertive, actually don’t be so aggressive. Let our son enjoy himself. I mean ... what is he supposed to do, play kickball with us?”
I realized right there and then that I wasn’t a fit father. Although I tried my best I had a lot to learn.
“Listen up guys we need to take a right at the end of this block. We have to walk south to get to the underground malls.”
Casper frowned then he smiled. I think all was well by then.
A short while later we entered The Montreal Trust. We headed straight to the Dollar Store to get our pops. Then, we walked over to the biggest mall in the entire downtown area, the Eaton Centre. It’s also the best one too.
“Casper, Michelle, you guys decide where you want to eat.”
“Dad, I want to eat fish! Can we get some food from Aqua Dad, what about fish! It’s over there. I can tell that the servings are gargantuan and the food’s very tasty.”
“Michelle, do you mind if we eat a fish meal?”
“No, Bassam, I don’t.”
I was under the impression that Michelle felt left out. She wasn’t one of the guys. Besides, she was teary-red and had a sad look on her face. Naturally, as her husband I had to cheer her up.
“Michelle, you’re the most beautiful woman in the whole world. I love you so much. Everything about you is beautiful, your voice, appearance, mannerisms, behaviour and even your intelligence is beautiful.”
“Bassam, you made my day. I love you very much too. You’ve ‘brought back’ my appetite.”
Before going to the fish food stand we agreed to purchase two full-plate orders of salmon. We could do a little sharecropping. After all we were a family.
As soon as we sat down I remembered about dessert. After scanning the area I walked over to Dunkin Donuts and bought a whole lot of goodies. As soon as I came back we began to eat our meal in earnest.
For the following six months Casper and I went through a roller coaster style relationship. We’d argue like hell, simmer down a bit and then be father and son again. Michelle seemed to be on the peripheral of things but deep down inside I suspected that she was hiding something from me. It was a gut feeling of sorts. I figured it could’ve been a pregnancy or illness. Either way, I was planning on finding out.
One thing that really got to me about Casper was his going out. He never respected my 8:00 P.M. curfew especially on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I was in denial. He’d come back really late, chewing DENTINE FIRE gum, was always red-eyed and very tired. I wanted to confront him but held off until the dreaded morning.
In addition, Casper had made some creepy friends, both human and cats. I didn’t like them one bit. With hindsight I can say that I should’ve done something earlier.
The dreaded morning began at 7:00 A.M. on a beautiful Sunday. Michelle and I were dead asleep when my cell phone began to ring. Luckily, I bolted out of bed and took my cell phone into the restroom, then closed the door so Michelle wouldn’t wake up.
Although I was certain the call was important I had no idea it was going to be the first of two events that were going to change my life around.
“Hello, who am I speaking to please?”
“This is Dr. Mann calling from the Montreal Animal Shelter (MAS). Could you please come by and pick up your son?
Sorry, I forgot to ask, do you know where the animal shelter is?”
“Yes, Dr. Mann I know exactly where it’s at. But why is Casper there and what is the problem please?”
“I can’t tell you on the phone, please come by as soon as you can.”
After saying goodbye I took a quick shower, brushed my teeth, gargled and then put on casual wear. Thankfully, Michelle was sound asleep. The last thing I needed was for her to freak out at the animal shelter. I had no idea what was going on, however, I was expecting bad news.
The trip to the animal shelter took me about thirty minutes. I had to take the subway, switch stations and then walk for a few minutes. By the time I was in front of the MAS entrance a burning sensation spread throughout my entire body. It was the first time since Casper had become my son that I had thoughts of turning him off. He was becoming a liability to me and I simply wasn’t strong enough to endure him anymore.
As soon as I entered the MAS I saw none other than Dr. Mann right in my face. It was like she couldn’t wait until I arrived there. I knew right then that there was going to be a major catastrophe.
“Bassam, please follow me to the holding cells.”
“Huh, the what, I thought they called them cages or temporary homes.”
“No, Bassam, your son was brought in by the Montreal Police, and next time he’s going to be sent to a real jail.”
I followed Dr. Mann to the holding cells. As soon as we entered the room I received a rush of stink up my nostrils. There was puke, poop, blood and urine in the air.
As we walked through the holding cell room I glanced at some of the cell’s inmates. Some looked like criminals while others looked like drunkards. Then, the shocker, I saw Casper wallowing away inside the last cell puking his brains out, on his side and unable to even stand up.
As soon as we were in front of Casper’s holding cell Dr. Mann banged on the cell bars. He shot up into the air like a rocket. When you’ve got a hangover ‘sounds’ and ‘noises’ are magnified. Thankfully, he’d just finished puking the last remnants of food in his stomach.
“Casper, I’m going to let you go back home with your father this time, however, next time the police will take you to one of the city jails to await sentencing.
Bassam, your son was with several hoodlums last night. They were drinking up a storm. Worse yet, they tried to break into an ATM machine, three of the perpetrators were human and four were felines. Your son was very lucky. He passed out right before his buddies began their attempted crime.
When the police awakened your son he resisted arrest by throwing punches, with claws fully extended. He even took a snip at one of the officer’s shins. The officers were forced to put the kitty cuffs on him then they brought him here.
Bassam, I feel really bad about this but you may be implicated too.”
“What the hell did I do?”
“Bassam, you seem to have forgotten, you’re Casper’s father and guardian. The police suspect that you’re an unfit parent, maybe even a neglectful parent. The police may contact you tomorrow morning, sorry.”
“It’s okay Dr. Mann. I understand that you’re only doing your job.”
Dr. Mann was in her late 20s, very attractive, tall and blue- eyed and black haired with smooth white skin and just enough freckles to make her drop dead gorgeous. A part of me had hoped that I’d married her instead of Michelle. This young woman was intelligent and had a good demeanour.
I signed out Casper and then we left the MAS. All was gloomy and nothing was said until we arrived at Guy Metro near our home.
We exited the train and then the metro station. I told Casper to follow me to an alley nearby. As soon as we were out of view I went ballistic on him.
“Casper, what the hell do you think you’re doing? You’re a drunk! You were partying with a bunch of criminals. You keep causing me problems and it doesn’t seem to stop.
What am I going to do with you?”
“Dad, I’m not going to stop partying. I love booze and dope. Besides, my friends love me for who I am.
Whenever I’m boozed up and high the whole world becomes a playground. During that period anything will make me laugh and I can forget about my own problems. Not to mention yours ... the ones that you don’t know about.”
I pondered about what Caspar had just said. I made it a point to find out. Although the booze and other contents were out of my son’s stomach he was still drunk; booze was in his blood. But then I realized that now’s the time to hear what he had to say.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Dad, even I know that mom’s taking you for a fool. She goes out a lot, right? And she demands to be alone because she needs ‘alone time’. Sometimes she comes in late at night and you’re so trusting you never even bother to investigate her story.
Dad, mom’s going out and doing other men behind your back. If you weren’t my dad I’d call you a fool.”
“Casper, I’m your father! How dare you speak to me in that tone?”
“Dad, you don’t have to dare me, I already have.”
I’d made up my mind about Casper, he was finished. But the story about Michelle, I couldn’t believe it. So, I dug in a bit.
“Casper how do you really know that mom’s cheating on me?”
Forget about how I know. When you get back home open her shoulder bag and you’ll see letters and pictures from men she’s been with.
Dad, last week when I was partying with my friends I saw her dancing with four men simultaneously. Worse yet, she wanted more. She was in a disco located on St. Catherine’s Street near McGill Street.
If that’s not enough, check out her boxes of condoms in her top chest drawer.
Dad, I’m sorry but your family skills are horrendous. You have a party animal son and a cheating wife. I’m glad I’m not you.”
“Casper, there’s plenty of food in the fridge. Just go home and I’ll catch up to you. I won’t tell mother about this if you behave yourself.”
As soon as Casper left I pulled out my cell phone and then called Mr. Maker.
“Hello, Mr. Maker, this is Bassam speaking. I want you to do some additional work. I’ll pay you top dollar if you can do the work very soon.”
“Don’t tell me, you’re having second thoughts regarding your wife and son?”
“Yes, I’m going crazy because of them. I want to shut them off permanently.”
Mr. Maker and I conversed for roughly ten minutes about my options. I decided to purchase a ‘neutralizing gun’ to finish of Casper and Michelle. I don’t mean I was going to kill them or anything. I was going to turn them off; they’d dissolve soon afterwards. Every fleshy android that Mr. Maker sold had this destruct option. He’d heard too many nightmarish stories about the fleshy androids. I should’ve taken heed of his warnings. Anyway, I take full responsibility for my mistake.
I was instructed to fire the neutralizing gun at each of their heads, from a distance of no greater than ten feet. They’d drop to the floor instantly and within ten minutes all traces of their existence would disappear.
My trip back home was stressful indeed. I had to hit each of the targets on the very first attempt. Otherwise, I’d be mauled by my wife and son. If everything went according to plan I could leave Montreal and enter the terrestrial wormhole, which was conveniently close to home.
As soon as I entered my apartment building I rushed to the elevators in order not to be seen by anyone. Thankfully, the ground floor was empty. The doorman must’ve gone out for coffee and a donut.
Soon I was standing in front of my apartment door. After taking a deep breath I opened the door and shockingly in front of my face were my son and wife. They were staring at me with their beautiful eyes.
Without saying a word I pulled out my neutralizing gun aimed and then fired, hitting my wife’s head first and then my son’s. They went down instantly.
Mr. Maker had told me that I only had two zaps in my gun. It too would dissolve so I instantly dropped it onto the carpet. After taking one last look at the fleshy androids I exited my apartment. But I forgot to do one important thing; I didn’t close the door after entering my apartment.
One of my neighbours, an old hen with a witches’ pimple on her nose saw what I did.
As soon as I exited my apartment she began her escapade.
“Young man, I saw what you did! You’re a double murderer. You’re like Bundy, Manson, Fish and all the others of that kind. I’m calling the police.”
I wasn’t in the mood to listen to a lecture or a threat from an old hen.
“Oh, be quiet you old hen! I couldn’t care less what you do, go ahead and call the police. See if I care.”
Afterwards, I bolted to the elevator, pressed the DOWN button and then waited impatiently for the elevator. Thankfully, it arrived in less than a minute. I entered the elevator, pressed the L button and then waited impatiently for it to descend to the lobby.
I was out of my apartment building in a jiffy. I ran across the street heading straight to the terrestrial wormhole. And as I was about to enter it I heard ‘mega-sirens’ blasting away from all directions. No doubt, the old hen did call the police. But that was no longer my problem. I was out of there!
I leaped into the terrestrial wormhole and then everything behind me vanished instantly. I’d learned a valuable lesson about the fleshy androids. They were big trouble and not in the least sense living or real. They weren’t like the real thing. Thereafter, I’d search for real fleshy beings to befriend. WILL YOU MARRY ME?

I continued walking through the main terrestrial wormhole passing numerous tunnels but unable to decide which one to enter. I was really confused. What did I want? That question was unanswerable because I was now unsure. I’d lost so many friends and relatives, not including Planet X.

I just wanted to have a normal life. Where could I go? I wondered. I had so many wormholes to choose from but I only wanted the best one.

But as I continued walking one sign shocked me so much I stopped dead cold, fell onto the ground and was out cold for several hours.

It was THE MARRIAGE TRAIL; perhaps it was the answer to my dreams. Maybe I needed to settle down with a real woman, become a real father the real way and then live happily ever after. Could this be the place for me, I wondered?

But as soon as I came to I struggled to stand up. And when I got to my feet my knees buckled and then my thigh muscles began to convulse. I fell onto the ground for a second time. But this time I didn’t pass out, I was conscious the whole time.

THE MARRIAGE TRAIL had some kind of force field in it. I was certain of this. It wasn’t just a matter of nerves on my part. To enter it I had to run through it with all my might and until I made it to the other side.

Maybe, this was some kind of a protection device. Either way, I decided to hold off on it until some other time. I was too chicken to see what was on the other side. Perhaps it was a marriage made in hell that was awaiting me. Also marriage with whom, a creature that was incompatible with me?

I continued walking for an additional fifteen minutes. But the throbbing thought of THE MARRIAGE TRAIL had taken a toll on me. I couldn’t forget it, so I decided to return to it and then enter it.

I reached the entrance of THE MARRIAGE TRAIL a short while later, nervous but eager. After taking a deep breath I ran through the trail as fast as I could, keeping my head down the whole time for safety’s sake and thankfully, it worked.

What I saw before my eyes was a beautiful woman sitting on a bench in an enormous park. She was roughly one hundred yards away, surrounded by ponds, geese, birds, squirrels and beautiful plant life. I didn’t take notice of the other humanoids around her; my eyes were fixed on her.

I approached the beautiful woman step-by-step but even from a distance of a hundred yards I sensed something quite unusual about her. I was under the impression that I’d seen her before. Where did I see her I asked myself? My pulse was racing like crazy, my blood pressure shot up into the air and my palms were sweating bricks.

As soon as I was within spitting distance of her I got the shock of my life! The beautiful woman looked exactly like Candy! But how could that be, I asked myself?

For a brief moment I lost all masculinity in me; making a fool out of myself in the process.
“Candy, I love you so much! Will you marry me right now? We can have as many babies as you want, I promise, I’m not just talking gibberish. I mean ... we can take long walks and hold hands for extended periods of time, we’ll talk about anything that you want to, I’ll never raise a hand or my voice to you, I’ll be faithful always, I’ll provide for you and I promise to be ‘Prince Charming’ permanently.
Candy, I’m so crazy about you. Please don’t say no to me. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I never forgot you. When you died on me I broke down into a million pieces. I can never love anyone else like I love you.
Candy, you’re the most beautiful woman in the whole world, your hair, skin tone, freckles, eye colour, eye brows, your face and especially your personality ... you’re the best.
So, Candy, will you marry me?”
“Oh my gosh, who the hell are you? I don’t even know you, how could you propose to me. Maybe, I don’t love you. Did that even enter your mind?”
“But you’re Candy, aren’t you?”
“No, my name is Electra Gables, now why are you behaving that way? You’re going off like a rampaging lunatic.”
“You’re not going to believe this but I was once married to a fleshy android named Candy and guess what ... she was your double.”
I managed to converse with Electra for roughly twenty minutes before I felt that I had a positive effect on her. I was kind of certain that she loved me okay ... I mean ... that she kind of liked me. As such, I had to proceed and not let up until Electra became my beloved wife. She reminded me of Candy way too much. I had to get to the bottom of this look-alike mystery.
“Electra, I don’t understand how this happened? How you can look exactly like my deceased wife.”
“Wait, before I answer your question, at least tell me your name?”
“My name is Bassam Imam, and I love you more than the whole world.”
My formal introduction made Electra blush. I was getting ever so closer to marrying her.
“Please, tell me about this planet and about yourself too. I’m really quite interested in you.”
“Bassam, Candy was a fleshy android made to be an exact duplicate of one of my distant ancestors, but in fleshy android style. No one can duplicate another person to the letter.
I found out after I left that The Governing Council of Planet X had made numerous fleshy android duplicates of select people as The Great War was ending. The one hundred ministers of The Governing Council were worried that our race was going to vanish. The horrible war took billions of lives. Both sides were merciless and extremely cruel. Worse yet, both sides were vengeful.”
“Electra, before I left Planet X I’d held a position as a minister. Electra, will you marry me?”
“Bassam ... now you have to get on one knee and propose to me. I want you to do this the right way, otherwise, I’ll say no.”
I got on one knee and then proposed to Electra. Naturally, she said yes. But there was another condition and it was gargantuan, indeed.
Electra asked me to follow her home which was roughly a mile away from the park. Electra lived by herself in a beautiful white mansion. Thankfully, her entire neighbourhood was strewn with mansions, beautiful trees, hedges and other plant life. The neighbourhood was manicured by professionals. The tree lines were a perfect site to wake up to. I pictures spending the rest of my life in that mansion with Electra.
I didn’t want to ask her too many questions about the small city we were living in until after we were officially married. Whatever it was like, I could handle it. After all I’d finally made it back home and my copying machine was still running smoothly. Therefore, we’d have no money problems for life. In fact, I was ready to purchase another mansion, if need be.
As soon as we were standing in front of the lawn of Electra’s mansion I stopped dead cold to gawk. I felt like I was standing on in front of the Governor General of Canada’s mansion and incredible garden.
Electra’s front lawn was roughly one hundred yards long and equally wide. I was bedazzled at the beauty and splendour of it all. But nevertheless, I knew very well that Electra had something very important to tell me. As soon as we entered her mansion I was met by a gargantuan entrance with a beautiful walled mirror, chandeliers, wall-to-wall carpeting and elegant furniture.
“Bassam, I want you to follow me to the basement. I need to show you something very important and we must accomplish an important mission.”
I followed Electra to the basement descending a total of more than fifty steps. As soon as we were standing on the basement floor Electra motioned me to stay put. Then, she walked over to a door, opened it and then pulled out two large potato bags. From my vantage point I could see that there were round objects inside the bag but they looked more like pineapples rather than potatoes.
When Electra returned to me she laid down one of the bags and opened the other. I was shocked to see that the bag was full of primitive hand grenades. I conveyed to Electra a look of wonder and confusion... but also fear. Instantly, she elaborated on the matter.
“Bassam, I know how you got here and I knew who you were before you told me. For the latter, I apologize, but I had to make sure that you were the ‘real McCoy’.
Your picture’s firmly saved in the Planet X Government Archives. I remember your face very well. The first time I saw your image on my computer I fell in love with you. I initially played hard to get ... well I was teasing, as a safety precaution.
You returned to Planet X through a terrestrial wormhole. The hand grenades shall be used for the complete destruction of the wormhole. A new and incredibly dangerous enemy, the Zorbantans sent two scouts into our dimension roughly three months ago. Thankfully we were able to kill both of them. However, before the second one died he must’ve felt a sudden rush of regret. The Zorbantan told several of our security personnel that ‘his kind’ was soon coming and that their plan was to enslave us and conquer Planet X. And when they no longer needed us we’d be used as food for their working animals.”
“Electra, I’m a traveller. I can’t just blow up the sole source of my inter-dimensional travels. How can you expect me to do that?”
“Bassam, if you truly love me, you’ll do it.”
“C’mon Electra, I hate it when you do that!”
We’d gotten into our first fight and we weren’t even officially married yet.
“See, I knew you didn’t love me from the bottom of your heart. You think you love me but you just want my physical being. All that travelling has made you ‘physically lonesome’, so you want me for personal pleasure. After you’ve had enough of me you’ll toss me away and move on. Maybe, you’ll find yourself another wife, younger and prettier than me.”
“No, Electra, that’s not the case. What if I tell you that if there’s any travelling you’ll accompany me?”
“I’ll accompany you like your dog or cat? I won’t leave Planet X. Besides, this is your home too!”
“Okay, Electra, let’s go ahead and blow up the terrestrial wormhole. But, I have a condition or two also. First, we must purchase a cat from the local animal shelter. Second, under no circumstances can we ever declaw our cat. And finally, if our cat dies, we’ll replace him/her with another one immediately afterwards, and we’ll repeat this process until I die. Okay or not?”
“Okay, I agree, but we must live in this mansion for the rest of our lives. I was born here and I won’t move!”
Electra began to cry. I felt so bad I went ahead and carried both hand grenade bags out of the basement to the living room.
“Bassam, I want us to eat a nice meal before we destroy the wormhole. Also, we must wait until this evening. Under no circumstances can anyone see us. Otherwise, we’ll be charged with some very serious offenses.”
Electra and I washed up in the restroom. Afterwards, I took a long hot shower and was given fresh, clean clothing by Electra.
We ate a nice meal consisting of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, cranberry sauce, salad, apple pie, juice, pop and plenty of cold water.
After washing up and then cleaning ourselves after eating I noticed that the clock above the fridge indicated 8:00 P.M. Time was passing by very fast. I wasn’t surprised given the fact that I was with the woman of my dreams. A woman that I was about to marry for life.
We headed off to the park at exactly 9:00 P.M. Electra told me that it was Friday and that Monday was a holiday, thereby the park would no doubt be empty.
I carried both hand grenade bags to the park, scanning the area frequently just in case a patrol car drove by. We wanted absolutely no witnesses to the act.
As soon as we were within throwing distance of the terrestrial wormhole I asked Electra to stand behind a designated tree located roughly one hundred yards away from the terrestrial wormhole. As soon as Electra was safely standing behind the designated tree I placed both hand grenade bags beside the terrestrial wormhole but removed a single hand grenade from the bunch.
I hustled back to where Electra was standing, gave her instructions to muffle her ears and not even peer at the explosion because shrapnel sometimes travels very far. In addition, the loud, rumbling sound of the explosion could cause permanent hearing damage if intense enough.
After everything was set I pulled the pin from the hand grenade and then threw the hand grenade at the terrestrial wormhole.
As a safety precaution as soon as the hand grenade left my hand I leaped behind the tree, closed my eyes and cupped my ears with my palms. After a two second delay I felt an incredible rumbling beneath my feet.
Shockingly, as soon as I opened my eyes and un-cupped my ears I noticed that the entire area as far as I could see ... and perhaps much further had somehow become barren. I was now in a desert. I’d inadvertently destroyed Planet X and perhaps countless other Planets and dimensions. But more so, I was devastated at having lost another potential wife, a potential kitty child, a mansion, and much more.
Instantly, I felt the blistering sun’s rays come down on me like bolts of fire. I scanned the entire for a second time doing a slow 360 degree turn hoping to find any remnant of life. Unfortunately, there was nothing in sight but desert and much more infinite desert. I was lucky not to have been hungry or thirsty at the time but who was I kidding? The mere fact of being in a barren desert, and of course roaming around in search of shelter would squeeze water out of my body like twisting a sponge. Not to mention the countless calories lost. It takes a lot to walk in blistering heat or horrible cold.
What I should do was a toss-up so I did the most logical thing that people from Planet X always did when I was living there; always walk to the right. And, that’s exactly what I did.
I walked for roughly two whole hours before I found a shaded place. It was a very old shed. I ran to it, entered it but had to leave instantly because it wasn’t a shed. In my desperation I didn’t take good look at it before entering. It was an outdoor latrine with flies and roaches therein and dried up fecal matter and a stench of urine that could kill Godzilla or King Kong at the same time.
I gagged, then almost dry heaved. When I recomposed myself I understood that civilization was nearby. I continued my trek in the same direction for an additional fifteen minutes before seeing a faint silhouette of life. I continued walking towards the silhouette and then I was certain of the presence of automobiles and what appeared to be a gas station of sorts. But there was a sudden stumbling block up ahead. I couldn’t quite determine what it was because my eyes were covered in sweat. Naturally, I wiped my eyes with my shirt sleeve.
As soon as I got a clearer picture of the object that was approaching me I fell onto my knees. I thought that I was a dead goose. Following, I fell into a ‘self-pitying-stupor’.
My instinct to survive somehow kicked in. I got up grabbed hold of a softball sized rock then stood ready to it at what appeared to be a mountain lion.
I kept an eye on the object but I’d been so drained of strength and water I fell flat on my face. I was out cold for a short while, but came to because a cat was licking my face. Thankfully, it was a normal sized kitty not a mountain lion. It was strange because this particular cat strolled like a mountain lion.
I managed to get to my feet and ask the kitty a few important questions.
“Kitty, is that a gas station over there?”
“Yes, it certainly is. Do you want me to walk you there?”
“Yes, I’m kind of dizzy and in need of directional assistance.”
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Bassam Imam. What’s yours?”
“My name is Chip Miller. I think you and I can have a symbiotic relationship; we both need each other. I can get you to the nearest town, but there’s a string or two attached to my helping you.
You see, I’m on the run from Cactus City, Arizona. It’s roughly one hundred miles east of here. I need to get to Stoneville, Arizona. It’s only fifteen miles due west but I can’t make it in this heat.
I can get you to Stoneville, population one hundred thousand and very lively.
Gosh, you look like you could use a cold drink and a nice meal.”
“Yes, Chip, I could use a cold drink and a nice meal. I’ll tell you what, I’ll get you food, water and shelter if you help me get to Stoneville and also help me find an apartment there.”
Chip nodded in the affirmative. Afterwards, we walked to the gas station, entered it but had to leave because I remembered that I didn’t have any money from this dimension with me.
I headed straight to the back of the gas station, entered the restroom, removed the old cash bills, credit card and check book from my shoulder and then tossed them into the waste basket. They’d be of no use to me in this dimension. Therefore, I had to get new replacement wealth.
I pulled out my copying machine, punched in for maximum scanning power and got to work.
Thankfully, I found the Stoneville City Bank, hacked into their system and then deposited one million dollars into my new checking account. In addition, I manufactured a valid credit card, check book and ten thousand dollars in cash in denominations of twenty dollar bills.
I put everything back into my shoulder bag except for five hundred dollars in expense money.
After exiting the restroom I walked over to Chip, who to my astonishment was still standing in the same spot. Now we were ready to go.
“Bassam, it is 2:00 P.M. The Stallion Bus will be here at 3:00 P.M. The stop is over there in front of that bench across the street. Cats can ride for free if accompanied by an immediate family member. I suppose you’ll tell the bus driver that you’re my father, right?”
“Yes, Chip, I certainly will. Now, please tell me where I “can purchase a ticket from.”
“Right there, the gas station attendant sells tickets to Stoneville for ten dollars each, one way only. How does that sound like to you?”
“Chip, I’m absolutely delighted! I’ll certainly need your assistance hereafter. Don’t worry, I’ll pay you. Soon, you’ll be my best friend in the whole world ... if things work out right.”
“That’s nice, but I want more. I want the whole apple pie. I want you to make me number one in your life.
Bassam, do you love me more than the whole world?”
“Umm ... Umm... Umm ... like umm ... yes, Chip, I love you more than the whole world.”
“That’s fine, I guess you’ll do.”
I purchased a one way ticket to Stoneville and a couple of roast beef sandwiches, chips, 2 sweet rolls, milk and a 2 litre bottle of cold pop.
As soon as I returned Chip and I tore through our food like hungry lions. We drank our drinks tenaciously.
I was hoping that Chip would be like a son to me. I had no idea why he was on the run, but for the time being I stayed quiet about it.
After we ate our meal I noticed that it was already 3:15 P.M. and the bus hadn’t arrived. It was time to investigate.
I entered the gas station office and spoke to the attendant, an elderly man of seventy or so and tall, slim and wearing overalls.
I noticed that he was sweating profusely, obviously because there was no air conditioning in the gas station office. Even his glasses were foggy. His hair contained countless beads of sweat on it. I was constantly reminded of the heat.
“Excuse me sir, what happened to the 3:00 P.M. bus? Is there something wrong?”
“Oh, that bus broke down. I didn’t want to interrupt your meal. You and that cutie-pie Bengal kitty were so engulfed in your meal it would’ve been a shame to ruin it.
The bus should be in at 5:00P.M., unless you have an emergency in Stoneville, you and your kitty can sit inside or on the shaded bench outside. It’s up to you.”
I thanked the gas station attendant and then returned to Chip. Having just eaten a large meal, he appeared happy and delighted.
Chip and I sat beside each other on the bench and began to converse about life. I wanted to know why he was on the run so I went ahead and asked him. Although I’d initially planned to wait for longer until asking him ... I just had to know!
As soon as I spoke Chip’s eyes closed and from the look of it he fell instantly asleep. It may have been the big meal and the extreme heat. If we’d been closer to an ocean or other large body of water the humidity level would’ve been astronomically higher, thereby causing us to sweat significantly more.
I gently cradled Chip in my arms petting him all over and giving him an occasional kiss here and there. He reminded me of Corey. For the time being, he was the only other living person in the whole world who I could love from the depths of my heart.
By 4:00 P.M. even I was sound asleep. There was literally no traffic in the area; compound that with satiation and extreme heat, you’ll get sleepy.
I was suddenly jolted out of a deep state of sleep by the ramblings of Chip. Apparently, he was having a nightmare of sorts. But this nightmare included in-depth talking. Mind you, I wasn’t trying to listen in on Chip’s private thoughts but he was in my arms. I had no choice in the matter whatsoever.
“Leave me alone! I don’t want to go back to that hell-hole! I’m a person, I have feelings! So what if I’m a stray cat? I don’t have a home to go to! My previous owners abused me in every way possible!
I hate ACO’s (Animal Control Officers)! I hate it whenever they arrest me and then take me to a shelter, bound and shackled with no rights whatsoever! The stench in The Cactus Animal Shelter could kill Godzilla or King Kong!
I don’t want to be put to sleep! I want to be loved by someone! Why can’t any human love me? I’m an innocent little kitty!”

By now, Chip was convulsing. I had no choice but to awaken him. I began to blow on his face without any let-up except to inhale. Thankfully, it only took twenty or so seconds to awaken him. However, he scratched and bit me in the process. I forgave him outright because he didn’t know what he was doing.
“Mommy, daddy where are you?”
“Huh, Chip, are you all right?”
“Oh, yes, I was having a bad dream but it’s now over. When’s that bus coming?”
“Gosh, Chip, it’s over there. I can see the bus on the horizon. Wow, it’s so hot the bus’s silhouette is engulfed behind an incredible mirage.
I think it’ll be here in a few minutes. Well, Chip, are you ready to go to Stoneville?”
Chip began to shiver. I think he thought that I was going to board the bus alone, leaving him behind to suffer the consequences of the hot weather.
“Chip, look, see ... this is my ticket! I’m boarding the bus but only on condition that you come along with me, okay?”
“Yes, dad, I’m game! Let’s get ready to travel. As soon as we arrive at Stoneville we can find a motel to rest in. Naturally, I’ll have to hide inside your shoulder bag if the motel has a ‘no cats’ policy.
But there’s more ... dad ... can we live in a white mansion surrounded by a white picket fence, and containing a two car garage, a swimming pool, sauna, kitty playground and much more?”
“Chip, you know I love you very much, however, let’s test the water first. Look, we’ll live in a really nice, spacious apartment in an uppity neighbourhood. If we decide to live in Stoneville for an extended period of time, then we’ll look at the mansion option. How does that sound to you?”
“Okay, that sounds swell. Now, let’s board the bus. But I want you to cuddle me in your arms. I feel like taking a kitty nap.”
I boarded the bus with Chip in my left hand and my ticket in my right. The bus driver asked me if the kitty in my hand was an immediate family member. Naturally, I answered in the affirmative.
As soon as I took my seat I scanned the interior of the bus. Including my ‘newbie son’ and I there were seven people on the bus, three collegiate aged males and two elderly women aside from us.
Thankfully, there was air conditioning in the bus. As soon as the bus driver began his drive to Stoneville I closed my eyes, instantly falling asleep with Chip in my arms.
Chip and I were out cold not awakening until we arrived at the Stoneville Bus Depot. The bus driver yelled at us indicating that we’d arrived at the Stoneville Bus Depot.
We disembarked the bus and then headed straight to the information booth of the bus depot. I scanned the area, spotted the information booth on my far right and then briskly walked there. It was now 5:45 P.M. Apparently there was some sort of delay during the trip, but I was out cold therefore it passed me.
“Excuse me madam is there a motel or hotel nearby?”
“Yes sir and it’s a cat friendly one too. The Stoneville Inn is just three blocks south of here.”
The young woman pointed her finger in the particular direction, assuming that Chip and I were new in town.
I thanked the young woman, gave her a smile and then waved goodbye. She responded by waving back and blowing me a kiss.
I exited the bus depot sweating again but not minding it much. The sun’s rays had begun to weaken, thereby making life a bit easier for us.
I crossed James Street and then took a right for three blocks. We were now standing in front of the Stoneville Inn. I scanned the area to make sure that no one was eyeing me and then removed one thousand five hundred dollars from my shoulder bag. Afterwards, I entered the Stoneville Inn and stood in front of the motel clerk’s counter.
The motel clerk was a man of fifty or so years, pot-bellied and not much to look at. In other words, he was an ugly looking guy.
“Hello Sir, how may I help you?”
“Chip and I would like a room. One large bed ought to do. We want a room facing the swimming pool not the outdoors. Your outdoors rooms receive the brunt of the Arizona sun’s hellish rays.”
“Okay, I can give you room #15 facing the swimming pool. And for how long would you like to stay here?”
“Well, it depends on how long it takes us to find an apartment; the sooner the better.”
Please sign in and I’ll need a picture I.D.”
“Certainly, but I think I forgot my identification in the bus depot.”
“Look, sir, don’t worry about it. You guys look like honest all-American guys. I’ll delay the request for twenty four hours and not a single minute more.”
“That sounds really nice. We’ll sign in for three days. I’ll have my identification before then, within an hour or so.”
I signed in and then paid in cash for three days stay at the motel. Afterwards, the hotel clerk handed me our scanning card for our room, but he was astonished that I didn’t have any baggage.
“Bassam, did you lose your baggage?”
“Oh no ... I like to travel light. I don’t like being bogged down with anything for too long. Also, Chip and I are testing the water first. If Stoneville is the right place we’ll sign a one year apartment lease located in a posh neighbourhood.”
We thanked the hotel clerk, exited the office and then walked to our motel room which was located on the other side of the building.
As soon as we were within spitting distance of our motel room, I pulled out my scanning card and then swiped it in the scanner. A moment later I heard a click. That’s when I opened the door.
To our utter shock our room was absolutely mind boggling. It was very spacious, contained a beautiful fresh scented brown carpet, a giant screen television, stereo system and a sparkling glass sliding door giving us a birds’ eye view of the swimming pool and everyone therein.
“Chip, so ... what do you think? Is this a nice motel room or what?”
“Dad, you’re an incredible guy. I love you more than anyone else in the whole world. I’m very thankful to be standing on this beautiful carpet in this beautiful motel room beside my beloved father.
I could live here for weeks on end... no, years on end without worrying about anyone or anything. I couldn’t help but notice the cafeteria and snack bar on the premises. But enough of that, dad, let’s sleep our hearts out and when we awaken we’ll have one thing on our mind; a hearty breakfast.”
Chip and I dove onto our bed crashing out until the next morning at 7:00 A.M., time for breakfast.
Chip and I were facing each other when we awakened. Naturally, we were hungry and ready to go. But first, we had to wash up. We didn’t want to look like lazy bums otherwise the hotel administration would probably throw us out.
“Dad, like umm ... before we wash up I just want to clarify something with you. Actually, it’s several things, not one.
Do you absolutely swear that you’ll never toss me into the street?”
“Yes, I promise ... I’ll never ever.”
“Do you promise to love me more than anyone else in the whole world ... forever?”
“Yes, but Chip, we’ve been through this before. Why are you asking me these questions? Don’t you trust your daddy?”
“Dad, please don’t do this. I want to make sure that you’ll never stab me in the back, sell me to a buncher or to a biomedical lab?”
“Chip, no ... I’ll never treat you cruelly. Please, don’t think that! I’m your father not your eternal enemy. However, I do have my limits. If you continue on this path I’ll have a fit.”
After our heated conversation I hopped into the shower, did what I had to do and then dried myself off with a motel towel. After I put on my clothes I waved Chip over to the shower stall.
“Chip, daddy’s going to help you take a shower. Now, this is the hot water faucet and this is the cold one. I’ll place you in the tub and then I’ll pour water on you. When you’re all wet I’ll give you a shampoo rinse then a body soap cleaning. Then, I’ll rinse you off with plenty of water. I can use a small towel to dry you off!”
“Dad, I’m not a baby! I can wash myself!”
I exited the restroom disgruntled having underestimated the audacity of my son Chip.
Anyway, he ended up taking a fifteen minute shower, exiting the restroom smelling fresh and clean.
We spent three nights at the Stoneville Inn without incident. Thankfully, I was able to make numerous phone calls regarding apartment rentals. We found a nice apartment complex in a posh neighbourhood located on Pine Avenue. At the time Pine Avenue was ‘reserved’ for rich folks like us.
Therein were mansions, large homes, beautiful trimmed lawns (some with picket fences), swimming pools, large garages and expensive vehicles, manicured streets, beautiful tree lines, well-trimmed hedges, private security, many smiles and a fresh scent of roses throughout the entire neighbourhood. There wasn’t a single stray cat or dog in the neighbourhood therefore I made sure that Chip’s collar had his name, phone number, email and home address written on it.
The day we left The Stoneville Inn was exciting but stressful. Although we were heading to a posh neighbourhood it was a sudden change for us. I was from another dimension and my son was shooting upwards in status, perhaps too fast for his own good.
I was certain that deep down inside Chip had additional painful memories. It’s rough being an abused cat then a stray cat. There’s always the chance of being harmed by sadistic humans on the streets or taken to a kill-shelter; worse yet, to be sent to a biomedical lab.
“Chip, are you ready to leave The Stoneville Inn?”
“Yes dad, I sure am. I want to live on Pine Avenue with all the rich folks. I want all the amenities and luxuries that rich cats take for granted. I want to eat out of silver plates and to use silver utensils. I don’t want to worry about where to eat or sleep. I want a permanent home.
Dad, please tell me your secret! I’m not a fool. I’ve lived in numerous homes and have been on the tough streets. You don’t work, but you have all this extra money. It’s like you can manufacture money almost at will.”
I was almost ready to spill my guts about my life. However, I wanted to wait until we were firmly fixed in our new apartment. Then, I’d tell Chip about who I really was and where I came from.
Beneath this thought was another one; was I to find another inter-dimensional entry zone? After all, this kind of travel is in my blood. I’d have to keep an eye open. I figured sooner or later I’d end up finding an inter-dimensional entry zone. If so, would I tell Chip about it? I had no idea. I had to take things one day at a time.
Chip seemed like a good kitty. I took some mouth from him, but was patient considering what he’d been through. He was a beautiful Bengal cat. Although he wasn’t a black cat Halloween was still a potential hazard to us, because if anything adverse ever happened to him my mind would literally crumble into pieces.
But if I opened up to Chip, there’d be a condition; he too would have to open up. I could tell from his eyes, he was suffering immensely. There’s no way of knowing without asking.
There was also another thing, sooner or later I’d have to search for a good wife. I couldn’t live alone with my son indefinitely. A good addition to the family would bring much joy and laughter. Indeed, she couldn’t be a fleshy android! No way impossible!
I now end this book with hope and optimism. It looks like Chip and I will be together for the long run. I hope that things turn out well and that he doesn’t die on me like the other people that I so adamantly loved.

NOTE: ALTHOUGH THIS IS A YOUTH FANTASY BOOK I HAVE INCLUDED A SHORT LIST OF IMPORTANT URLs PERTAINING TO THE UKRAINIAN HOLOCAUST. I FEEL OBLIGATED TO CONSIDERING ONE OF THE CHAPTERS IN MY EBOOK TOUCHED UPON THAT HORRIBLE EPISODE IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY. IN ADDITION, I MADE CERTAIN NOT TO INSERT HUMOROUS ANECDOTES OR PHRASES IN THE CHAPTER ENTITLED ‘KULAKS’ BECAUSE THE TRUE STORY IS VERY SERIOUS AND ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYING. I HOPE THAT YOU’LL SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THE UKRAINIAN HOLOCAUST TO FAMILY, FRIENDS AND OTHERS ON THE INTERNET AND ELSEWHWERE.

www.wn.com /Holodomor Holodomor
www.ukrainianholocaust.org Soviets Starve Millions to Death
www.en.wikipedia.org
/wiki/Holodomor Holodomor - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia www.holodomoreducation.org Holodomor: Genocide by Famine
www.holodomorct.org Ukraine Famine/Genocide 1932 -1933
www.historywiz.com/ukrainefamine.htm HistoryWiz: The Ukraine Famine www.nethelper.com
/article/Holodomor Holodomor
www.lucorg.com/index.php/id/195 The Terror-Famine in Perspective - League of Ukrainian Canadians www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods24.html Terror Famine by Thomas E. Woods, Jr www.holodomorsurvivors.ca Holodomor: Famine Genocide in Ukraine 1932 - 1933 www.faminegenocide.com Famine - Genocide in Ukraine 1932 -1933
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1038774/Holocaust-hunger-The-truth-StalinsGreat-Famine.html Holocaust by Hunger: The Truth Behind Stalin's Great Famine (Mail Online)
www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2008/01/21/p22696 Voices - Stalin is Century's Bloodiest Figure
www.ihr.org/jhr/v07/v07p229_Ward.html Institute for Historical Review: Execution by Hunger www.day.kiev.ua/153901 Why Did Stalin Exterminate the Ukrainians
www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/stalin.htm The History Place - Genocide in the 20th Century: Stalin's Forced Famine 1932 - 1933 (7,000,000 Deaths)
www.in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-44313620091129 Ukraine Reburies Famine Victims Shot in Soviet Era (Reuters)
www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1490378311.html Holocaust in the Ukraine - Canadian Slavonic Papers High Beam
www.skrobach.com/ukrhol.htm President of Ukraine's Address on the 75th Anniversary of the Holodomor
www.ukienet.com/famine.htm The Ukrainian Holocaust
www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Holodomor Holodomor: Facts, Discussion Forum, and Encyclopaedia Article
www.archives.gov.ua/Sections/Famine/index-eng.php Famine Genocide in Ukraine 1932 - 1933 www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/ukra.html Ukrainian Famine (Taken from 'Revelations from the Russian Archives')
www.ukrweekly.com/old/archive/1983/498321.shtml Media Reports on Famine (Old Article, but Contains Relevant Information; December 4, 1983)

www.ukrainiangenocide.com Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation
www.archives.gov.ua/Sections/Famine/index-eng.php Famine - Genocide in Ukraine 1932 - 1933
www.historywiz.com/starvation.htm HistoryWiz: Ukraine Famine Starvation
www.telusplanet.net/public/mozuz/holodomor/wong20091125HamiltonSpectator.html Holodomor Survivor: I Saw Very Terrible Things
www.thenewamerican.com/history/european/761 Holodomor: Secret Holocaust in the Ukraine
www.community.nwcu.mb.ca/2008/12/remember-holodomor.html NWCU Community News: Remember the Holodomor
www.enotes.com/genocide-encyclopedia/kulaks Kulaks: Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
www.ukrainesf.com/inform/Holodomor/Holodomor.htm Holodomor: Artificial Hunger in Ukraine in 1932-1933
www.david-kilgour.com/2008/Nov_03_2008_04.php Some Holodomor (Induced Famine) Links
www.ukemonde.com/news/rferl.html Stalin's Starvation of Ukraine - Seventy Years Later, World Still Largely Unaware of Tragedy
www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7111296.stm Ukraine Remembers Famine Horror (BBC News) You Can Go to the 'See Also' Section for More Links
www.wikiwak.com/wak/Holodomor Wikiwak - Holodomor
www.wumag.kiev.ua/index2.php?param=pgs20064/78 Welcome to Ukraine: Holodomor www.gariwo.net/eng_new/genocidi/holodomor.php Gariwo: Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide Holodomor

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