The MSPCA, or the Milestone Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, is famous for serving the community for nearly a century. Every year they find hundreds of new homes for cats and dogs, if you believe the commercials anyway, treat countless strays, and provide them with shelter.
Then the animals got super-powers, and all hell broke loose. I was halfway to the cat pen on the west side of the city and could only imagine what kind of carnage they were wreaking. Were they like the electric kitty I’d faced, or worse?
I planted my feet on the grass outside and watched cracks run along the bricks on the front wall. Meanwhile, an endless torso stretched around the yard, looping back into itself as the front end of a white cat sprinted around for another lap. It seemed to go on forever.
Hissing and growling drowned all other sound. Were these cats, or were they lions? There was only one way to know for sure, and I was inching my way toward it.
Bypassing the wall and phasing through the skylight – (did I tell you I had a new power? Turns out when you’re made of light you can refract through glass. Anyway) – I came down in the middle of a brawl. Bodies of fur piled on each other, compounded by the new muscles that had been bestowed them, while others dashed at the speed of sound, and others clawed at their confines with the steel spears in their paws.
“Glimmer Girl! Please help!”
The cry was stifled, and I could barely hear him in the corner office, but there was a man trapped behind a glass window, huddled into a corner and waving for my attention. He was wearing the uniform of an employee, and had barricaded the door with the desk and chair inside.
Getting inside was a breeze; getting out, however, especially with a survivor in tow…
The man whose name tag read ‘Bernard’ collapsed against me in tears, thanking me over and over under his breath. I stood him upright, forced a smile, and patted his shoulder.
“It’s okay,” I told him. “I’m going to get you out of here very soon.”
He shook as he nodded. “I-I-I’ve been trapped here all night. I work the graveyard shift, bring in emergency cases, and watch over the ones that need extra care.”
“Then what happened?”
Bernard contorted into himself and ducked his head. “It… it was like they were possessed! Suddenly they’re floating, and screeching, like under some voodoo curse. I prayed to Jesus Christ to banish the evil spirits, or to send me an angel, o-o-or even just someone more equipped…”
My hands clasped his shoulders and held him together. “I don’t know if it was God who sent me to help, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. We’re going to make it out in one piece.”
“What about the kitties?” he pressed. “I know they’re out of control right now, but they can’t help that. I don’t want them to get hurt.”
I turned to the battle outside and saw for the first time cuts and scratches, clumps of fur, and blood. Funny, but in the drama of it all I hadn’t stopped to think about the non-human cost.
“Tell me what I need to do.”
“They’re fighting over territory,” Bernard explained. “Cats tend to avoid confrontation, but they will defend their space, or dominate another. Whatever happened to them, i-i-it’s made them more bold. They’re probably aggressive because they don’t know their limits.”
Not wasting another second I burst through the hallway, cutting through them like a runaway train and thrusting them into the wall. I only had moments to take advantage, and blasted animal after animal back in their kennels; though who knew how long that would hold out.
Suddenly I was swarmed by a fur covered mass that smashed into my side like a sack of doorknobs. Before hitting the ground I charged up, shifted down the spectrum and made sure muscle cat really felt the heat. Then, just as quickly it leapt away, giving me a clear shot to put it back in its pen.
The felines with the enhanced claws started to pick at the links lining the doors, until I came to superheat them. As it turns out cats don’t like to play with burning metal; I only hoped they’d remember the lesson.
One by one I melted the locks on the pens. Would it hold them? Probably. Maybe.
The table groaned from the office as Bernard dragged it from the doorway, then stepped out with a sigh. He stumbled toward me with tears in his eyes. “Thank you; thank you so much. I don’t know what I would have done without your help.”
I grinned and patted his shoulder. “Come on. Let’s get you out of here.”
Bernard lifted his head and furrowed his brow. “What? No, you don’t understand. Somebody needs to stay here and take care of the cats.”
“But they have superpowers. What if you lose control again?”
“Hopefully I’ll be more prepared this time,” he hummed; “but I must stay. It’s for their safety and for everybody elses.”
I shook his hand and beamed. “Bernard, it’s guys like you that inspire me to be a hero.”
He stared at my hand, blinked and remembered to squeeze. “You-you really mean that?”
“Wouldn’t say it if I didn’t. Just do me a favor and stay safe, okay?”
For the first time he smiled back. “Y-yes, of course. Thank you, Miss Glimmer Girl!”
Miss Glimmer Girl; the sound was like biting into warm caramel. Why would anyone use the wrong name when using the right one felt so good?
I stepped back onto the lawn and saw another dozen layers wrapped around the building. The front end of the white cat continued to scamper in circles, dragging its torso around the corners. It just kept going and going and going.
“That cat is freaking long,” I muttered.
Taking to the sky I shook my head; there were more important places I needed to be.
To be continued…