First Encounter

Rick Syonide walked along the path through his local park, on his way home from school. He had his head down and more mopped along than walked.

Rick was sixteen years old, with black hair and a natural semi-muscular build. His brown eyes hid much wonder, but if one looked into them hard enough, they would see a fire burning in them.

As he walked, Rick kicked along a large stone that he had found on the path. Whilst doing this he kept mumbling. “I wish things could change around here.”

He came to a seat on the side of the path and sat down. He picked up the stone he had been kicking and toyed with it in his hand for a few moments. He then got up and screamed, “I wish things could change!” He then threw the stone with all his might off into the distance.

He sat back down again, when he started to hear rustling in a bush behind the seat. He turned to look at it, and out came a ginger cat. It looked like an ordinary ginger house cat, except that it had two white stripes running down its back.

The cat walked up to Rick. It sniffed his foot, and then stared at him. Then after what seemed like a long pause, the cat finally meowed at him.

Rick looked down at the cat, and picked it up. “Well, I guess I did want things to change.”

 

Rick walked into his bedroom at home and put the cat on the bed. “Wait ‘till mum comes home and sees you. I wonder what she’ll say? She’s not too strict, but like all mothers, she can get on your nerves sometimes.”

The cat looked up at him

Rick started changing his clothes. “She’ll probably bring up the last cat we had. I didn’t look after it too well.”

The cat blanched, seeming to imagine what could’ve happened.

Rick saw this and laughed. “Don’t worry. I was nine. I’m sure I can look after a cat now. Besides, Mum’s away on a holiday with some friends.”

The cat relaxed a little, but stayed a little tense.

Rick finished changing and picked up the cat again. “Now, let me show you around.” He went through each room of the house, explaining what it was in detail.

Half way through, he looked down at the cat. It wasn’t paying any attention at all. It seemed to be lost in thought about something.

They came to the end of the tour, and Rick set the cat down on the floor next to a litter box.

The cat looked at it, then back at Rick. Its expression said; you have to be kidding me.

“Don’t you know how to use it?” Rick said.

The cat kept staring at him.

Rick shook his head. “I’ll have to teach you later.” He turned and started walking back to his room.

The cat raised an eyebrow. It was interested to see how Rick would do that.

 

Rick came back to his room and sat on his bed.

The cat came in and saw a picture on the desk. It jumped up to take a look. In the picture was a man with a boy. He looked proud of the boy, and was beaming at the camera.

Rick saw the cat looking at the picture. “That’s my dad.”

The cat turned and looked at him, waiting for an explanation.

Rick provided one. “He died of cancer a few years ago.”

The cat went back to the picture, while Rick started unpacking his back.

“He looks like he was a great man.”

Rick looked up. “What?” He looked towards the desk.

The cat was looking straight at him.

Rick was confused. “Did you say something?” He could’ve sworn he heard someone say something. But there was no one there except the cat. Rick smiled. “Cats can’t talk though. I must be going mad.”

The cat frowned. “If Cats can’t talk, then what is it that I’m doing? Farting in a coherent manner?”

Rick’s jaw dropped. “Y… You can talk! I really must be going mad. I mean how can you talk, yet not know how to use a litter box.”

“I’m not sure about you, but I’d rather relieve myself without someone gawking at me.”

Rick was taken back. “F…Fair enough then.”

The cat hoped down from the desk and onto the bed. “What’s your name?”

“R…Rick. Rick Syonide.”

“My name’s Typhoon.”

“H… Hi.” Rick was in pure shock and he sat with his jaw wide open.

“Well this is a nice place you’ve got here.”

Rick started to recover from the shock. “Thanks. How is it possible that you can talk?”

“Well, it’s simple. When I move my mouth, sound is-“

“That’s not what I meant. How can you talk, when I’m pretty sure other cats can’t?”

“I’m not sure. But that’s not important. The important thing is why I’m talking to you.”

Rick fully overcame the shock. “Ok, why are you talking to me?”

“I need your help.”

“My help? Why would you need my help?”

“Because there’s only so much I can do on my own. You would be surprised how useful a thumb actually is.”

“Ok… Help with what?”

“Listen carefully and I’ll explain. I need you to help me take down a guy named Doctor Icsus.”

Rick stared at Typhoon with a blank expression on his face. “YOU need ME to help take down some guy named Doctor Icsus?”

“Didn’t I just say that?”

Rick continued starring. “Wow, when I said I wanting things to change, I didn’t mean this much. But why do we need to take him down? What has he done?”

“Let me explain it to you.”

 

Typhoon sat watching a bunch of men unloading a truck. He was under the cover of a bush. What are you up to? He continued watching, until he saw what the men were unloading.

The men were unloading what looked like boxes, but were actually cages.

Typhoon knew that there were animals trapped in those cages. But why are they trapping animals? Then Typhoon saw a man in a lab coat standing at the base of the building. He recognised the man instantly, remembering the previous experiences he’s had with him before.

The man was known as Doctor Icsus. He had a receding hairline, and looked just like any other scientist. But Typhoon knew what this man liked to experiment on, humans and animals. He would test his latest chemical agents on them. For what purpose, Typhoon was unsure, but he knew it wasn’t a pleasant experience, because he had suffered through those tests.

“I have to stop him. But I’m going to need someone to help.”

 

Typhoon finished his story. Rick sat in silence taking it all in. “Wow, you really like hiding in bushes.”

Typhoon frowned. “Now’s not the time to joke.”

“Why can’t you just go to the police?”

Typhoon looked at him. “Yes, a talking cat going to the police.”

“Right. That would be pretty strange.”

“Anyway, even if I was human, he has people in high places. Wouldn’t help.”

“Ok. How did you end up in the bush in the park?”

“I was running from Icsus’s men, after they discovered me in the bush outside his lab. Then you came along, and after smelling you, I knew you were the one who is meant to help me.”

Rick stared at Typhoon in wonder. Am I really meant to help him?

Typhoon continued. “I’m just glad that you came along when you did. The things I smelt in that bush…”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Don’t ever go into that bush. You never know how many drunks have-“

“Not that. The Icsus thing.”

“O right. I want you to come with me to the place I was at last night. We’re going to put an end to this.”

“Ok, but how are we going to get there? From what you were saying, it seems like it’s a fair way.”

Typhoon smiled. “I’ve got that taken care of.”

 

Typhoon soared through the sky with Rick on his back. Typhoon had changed from a normal looking cat, into a winged tiger.

Rick clung onto Typhoon’s back. He was dressed entirely in black. “How on earth can you fly?”

Typhoon was breathing heavily. “Well, when I beat my wings like this-“

“That’s not what I meant!”

“Then what did you mean?”

“How are you able to change?”

“I’m not sure. It’s like the talking thing. I’m just able to do it.”

“You really aren’t normal, are you?”

“Did you just figure that one out?”

“Next time I want things to change, I might want to be a bit more careful about what I wish for.”

Typhoon saw the location ahead. “Hang on; we’re going in for a landing.”

Typhoon flew downwards towards a small clearing in some trees next to a building.

Rick yelled as they plummeted. “Whoa!”

Typhoon pulled up as they came to the ground, and landed.

Rick got off and walked around a bit. “That was awesome!”

Typhoon changed back into a cat. “Easy… for you to say.”

“What’s wrong?”

“You… need to lose some weight.”

“I’m quite happy with my weight, thank you very much.”

“Well, I’m not.” Typhoon got his breath back.

Rick looked towards the building. “So where do we go from here?”

“Before I left last night, I had a look around. The animals are kept in cages with electronic locks. If we disrupt the power supply, we should be able to get them out.”

“So, where is the power supply?”

“In the building. We’ll go in through a window I jammed open last night.” Typhoon walked towards the building.

“And here I was thinking things would be simple. But then again I’m with a cat that can talk and fly, how could things be simple?” Rick followed Typhoon into the building.

 

A guard walked down the corridor. He was on patrol, and so far, it had been a boring night. The guard went into an office, and checked it out. The window was left open, but nothing was in there. He shrugged and went back out into the corridor.

He looked down the corridor, and saw a cat standing there. “Where’d you come from?”

It was the last thing he said as Rick smacked him over the back of the head with a keyboard. He slumped down to the ground unconscious.

Rick smiled. “Well, he’ll be really board now.”

Typhoon walked past him and down the corridor. “Not funny.”

“Well I thought it was.” Rick followed him.

They weaved through the corridors, occasionally slipping into open offices to hide from guards, until they came to a room with a hazard sign on the door. Typhoon stopped out the front of the door. “This is the place.”

Rick tried to open it, but the handle didn’t move. “It’s locked.”

“Great. We’ll have to get a key from somewhere.”

There was a creak from further down the corridor. They both turned and looked.

A guard was standing there, looking at them. He started speaking into his radio. “I’ve got an intruder here. He’s got a cat with him.”

“Uh-oh. Now what?” Rick said.

“I’ve got it.” Typhoon charged down the corridor at the guard.

The guard went for his gun, but didn’t get there in time.

Typhoon changed into his tiger form and bowled straight into the guard, knocking him unconscious. “Rick, grab his keys. We don’t have much time.”

Sirens started sounding as Rick grabbed the guard’s keys, and opened the door. “Well that was convenient, to a point.”

Typhoon changed back into his cat form and went in. “It should be here somewhere.”

The room was small, and technical equipment lined one side of the room, leaving the other side as a walkway.

Typhoon spotted the electrical box. “There. Rick!”

Rick came in the room. He had taken the guards gun and baton, and tucked them into the small of his back.

Typhoon nodded towards the power box. “That’s it there. Disable it, and we can get out of here.”

Rick opened the power box. “Wow, there’s more Watts coming from here than from an old person that can’t hear.”

Typhoon rolled his eyes and sighed. “Just pull the switch.”

Rick pulled the switch.

A dying whine sounded from the power box, as the lights went out.

 

The holding area was dimly lit. Cages filled the room. In each of the cages was a different animal. It was like a zoo down there. But the conditions were poor, and most of the animals were extremely malnourished. Some of them were feral.

The guards had just got the message of the intruder and heard the alarm sound when the power went out. The lights went off first, and then the cages swung open. The guards stood where they were standing. They heard a growl from somewhere in the room, and knew what was going to happen next.

They bolted for the door, and managed to open it, but didn’t get any further than that.

 

Doctor Icsus was sitting in his office when he heard the guard’s radio message. He knew exactly who the cat was. He had the guards location on an electronic map in his office and was about to send every guard to that location when the power went out.

He heard the exclamations of the guards outside his office.

“What’s going on? Why’s the power gone out?” one of them said.

“Must’ve been the intruders.”

“Radios are down. I got nothing.”

Icsus got up out of his seat, and reached into a drawer beside his desk. He pulled out a handgun and went out into the hallway.

 

Sirens continued sounding throughout the building, and strobe lights illuminated the hallways in red.

Rick and Typhoon ran through the hallways. “How can the sirens and alarms still work when the powers out?” Rick said.

“They’re probably on a different circuit. But it means that Icsus knows we’re here.”

“Great. What does Icsus look like anyway?”

They rounded a corner and saw a man standing in the way.

“Like that.” Typhoon transformed into his tiger form.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t Typhoon,” Icsus said. “It’s been a while.”

Typhoon growled. “Not long enough.”

Icsus laughed. “I can only guess that you two are responsible for tonight’s events.”

Rick stepped up. “Yeah, that was us.”

“My, my, what do we have here? Typhoon, you’ve found yourself a friend. Why don’t you introduce us? It’s rude not to, you know?”

Typhoon had his eyes fixed on Icsus’s shadowy figure. “Pardon my rudeness then.”

Icsus laughed. “I’ll find out soon enough who he is. Especially when his next of kin comes to identify the body.”

It was then that Typhoon saw the gun in Icsus’s hand. “Rick, run!”

Icsus raised the gun and fired.

Typhoon leapt in front of Rick and took the shot. He landed with a thud. Strangely, there was no blood coming from where the bullet had hit, but Typhoon felt he’d been hit by a truck.

Rick stared at Typhoon. “Typhoon, are you ok?”

“I’m fine. Run!”

Rick ran down the hallway they had come from.

Icsus stood over Typhoon.

Typhoon looked up at him “What was that?”

Icsus smiled. “That was an electro shock bullet. On impact, it emits a current into the subject, and stuns them. Sort of like a tranquilizer dart, except it works instantly. And I’ve got one with your friend’s name on it.” Icsus went after Rick. “I’ll be back for you later.”

 

Rick ran as fast as he could. He could hear Icsus calling behind him. “There’s nowhere for you to go, boy. Why not give up now?”

Rick pulled out the gun he took from the guard and fired behind him.

He could hear Icsus laughing. “What do you think that will achieve boy?”

Rick kept running until he came to a dead end. In front of him was a door with a sign saying, ‘Caution: Flammable items’. He opened the door and in front of him was a small supply room. Barrels of chemicals sat around the room. It’s not the best hiding places, but it will do.

Seconds later, Icsus came into the room. “There’s nowhere to run boy. If you give up now, I might spare you from some of the more gruesome tests.”

Rick tackled him from behind with the stolen baton in his hand.

Icsus rolled him off, and got to his feet.

Rick got up too, and stood face to face with Icsus. He swung the baton, but Icsus ducked and punched him in the stomach. He groaned, and then Icsus hit him in the face. He went sprawling on the floor.

Icsus stood over him. “Just give up.”

Rick gritted his teeth. “Never.”

Icsus raised his gun and shrugged. “Your choice.”

As Icsus was about to fire, Rick lashed out and kicked him in the stomach, hard.

Icsus stumbled backwards and the gun discharged.

The round ricocheted off a wall and into one of the barrel of chemicals. The electric charge from the bullet ignited the barrel.

Rick saw the barrel light up, and looked around the room. It wouldn’t be long until the entire room was alight.

He got up, and ran from the room.

“Wait, what about me?” Icsus said.

Rick was gone. No sooner had he left than the room exploded.

 

Rick shook Typhoon to wake him up. He was back in his cat form. “What? Huh?” He looked up at Rick.

They were outside as the lab burned behind them.

Typhoon got up and saw the inferno. “What happened?”

“Icsus shot a barrel of chemicals. Triggered an explosion.”

“We’d better get out of here then.”

They headed for the tree line, and made their way home.

 

The next morning, Rick woke up to find Typhoon watching the news. “That’s something that will take getting used to.”

Typhoon looked at him. “What is?”

“A cat controlling the TV.”

“You’re the one that wanting things to change.”

“True. And boy have they.”

Typhoon smiled as a news report came on. It depicted images of the burning lab. Typhoon turned up the volume.

“… Fire fighters believe the fire was sparked by some chemicals inside. Those that survived the inferno were taken in for questioning by police on suspected animal trafficking. There were no bodies found in the remains.”

Typhoon looked to Rick. “Looks like we stopped him.”

Rick nodded. “It does indeed. But they didn’t find his body.”

Typhoon smiled. “It probably burnt up in the fire. I don’t think we’ll hear from him again.”

Rick nodded. “Yeah, you’re probably right.” I just wish I believed that.