Shimmer #40 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 10)

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Did you ever see the movie with the woman trapped in a room of swarming birds? Well, that was me; except I was twenty thousand feet above ground, and the birds had super powers.

Hitchcock, eat your heart out.

Like a bolt of lightning I shot through them, tearing through the wind and drawing the assault to the horizon. I zigged and zagged, up, down and all points in between, rounding off those that tried to break away at angles that were too sharp for the other birds.

In the heart of the swirl were the ‘freaks’; mutated specimens that had gotten the worst of it, with beaks like scythes and eyes that could swallow a person whole. They screeched and squawked like something out of B-grade horror, and pushed through the smaller of their number.

A bluebird, malformed from cosmic radiation, stabbed with the needle it held, and shredded the front of my uniform. Eagles, swallows, even pigeons wrapped their talons around my arms and pull to rend them free. If my flesh weren’t a hologram it would have been a goner.

“Easy!” I ordered, like I had any sort of control. Whatever; all I had to do was to keep them from the planes.

An arm spiraled from the whirlwind and scattered toward a nearby jet; I lanced out after them, wielding a beam like an endless sword bright enough to blind them, even if just for a moment. Soon the birds shot the haze and regained enough of themselves to turn back, probably deciding that superhero tartar would be their meal of choice.

The first of the planes released its contents, dumping clouds on our heads before they evaporated. Clouds faded into the blue, saturating the air with the taste of bitterness. Almost instantaneously as the birds soared through they started to change, many of them slowing, even more shrinking, and all of them gliding to a more familiar altitude.

Caffeinne, huh? Crazy as it sounds it was working.

With their powers their organisation dissipated, and flocks scattered in the direction of their homes. Could it really have been that easy? Through it all I’d picked cuts and scratches; better than I could expect from most of the fights I’d been in.

Closer to the ground cats and dogs, ferrets and pigs started to descend, kicking and squealing as they met the ground with all the grace of a paper plane. Most of them stood and looked around, chasing their own tails, and circled their point of landing before the people on the ground could step in.

I smiled. Maybe we’d get out of this unscathed.

Suddenly windows shattered and the force of a bellow rocked the heart of Milestone; my fault for jinxing it. I turned to see the giant plant its feet in the ground, bending in search of balance while debris bounced from the back of its shell. The great tortoise looked up, bore its tusks and groaned again.

“Oh, shi-”

No time; I had to move. Throwing its arms into the air the beast spewed fire into the streets, tearing through ground and leaving cars to sink into bubbling asphalt. Above them, me and an armful of cats struggling to get loose had scraped to avoid the heat.

I flew to a low rooftop and let them go; onto more important things, like where did this thing come from, and why wasn’t the aerosol bomb having the same effect it did on the birds?

That’s when I noticed the plane in its grip, hanging to one side and grinding against the pavement as it swung its gargantuan arms. I leaped from the roof and flew in a long arc, daring the monster attack; the cockpit was empty, thank the gods. I didn’t have to hold back.

Fire poured from its mouth like a volcano, and I was racing again. The creature was slow, but its attack was wide, and I was forced to the ground to save the level of destruction; what would Mayor Redfern say?

Shot after shot chipped away at its belly. What the hell good were my powers if they just kept bouncing off everything?

From the other side there came barking. Sure enough, reinforcements had arrived in the form of a boxer. I couldn’t contain my smile.

“Max,” I called to him, “speak!”

The dog peered up at the monster and jumped on his hind legs, barking with all the menace he had; but why wasn’t the ground shaking? Why didn’t the air tremble from the force of his lungs? Unless…

Prying its jaws open the tortoise summoned more lava from its bowels. Still, the dog didn’t run; stupid, loyal thing!


Time slowed to a crawl as I threw myself toward him. Spewing magma trickled like honey, spurting in a wave slathering all that it touched. I was fast, but was I fast enough? The gap between the monster and the buildings was tight, even for me.

In a split second I rolled, threw a blast to the underside of the plane, and tore open its underside. Clouds hissed as they billowed into the air, consuming everything, even the rampage. The monster roared and vanished, along with Max.

With only my prayers to guide me I held my arms open and snatched up whatever was in my path. When finally I rolled to the ground and the smoke cleared I looked to see a very nervous animal peering around the scene.

He stood and licked my face; not the worst thing that had happened that day.

“I’m glad you’re okay too, boy.”

As the mist dispersed we wandered into the intersection. In place of a monster was a tortoise; a small thing, probably escaped from a pet store. To think such a small package could hold so much trouble.

Sirens blared in the distance and were drawing nearer. Was that it? Was the day saved?

I collapsed to the ground and threw my arms around my sidekick. Somehow he still had the energy to want to jump. Whatever; there were worse endings.

To be continued…

Posted in Shimmer, Vol. 2 - "The Reign of Cats and Dogs" and tagged .

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