Dark Riders of Marblecliff
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ July 27, 2013 ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ An Interesting Welcome ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
When Lilliana walked into the station house she spotted the small kangaroo mouse right away. Cecily was seated in chair by a desk next to a bobcat in uniform. Her eyes were closed as her head weaved and bobbed to the inaudible tone that played directly into her ear from the small ear buds attached to the portable MP3 player she had in her paw. The liger smiled as she watched her adopted daughter move to the music, oblivious of the world around her. As Lilliana watched the mouse, relieved that she was okay, the young husky girl at the counter looked up at her and asked, “May I help you, ma’am?”
“Do I look like an….” Lilliana stopped herself mid-old school military response, “I’m sorry, I’m here to pick up my daughter, Cecily Fargo. That would be her over that by that desk.” The liger pointed to the small kangaroo mouse as she started to walk in that direction.
The young husky stood up and stepped between the liger and the squad room as she said, “I’m sorry ma’am, but I can’t let you go back there, and I can’t release her into your custody without verifying both your and her identities.” She reached for Liliana's arm to usher her back to the front desk. The girl screamed as she suddenly felt herself lifted into and flying through the air. Almost in time with landing flat on her back, she felt the large feline woman drop onto her with one knee, knocking the remainder of the air out of her lungs. She finally opened her eyes to see the woman pulled from her by three of her fellow officers.
The husky hurried to her feet as she heard one officer shout, “GUN!” With the verbal alert the squad room burst into activity as more officers ran to the entryway in order to clear out any bystanders and assist in subduing the liger. In the frenzy of activity an almost inaudible squeak rose just above the din that filled the entryway. The husky moved swiftly toward the small mouse who had been inadvertently knocked out her her chair in the commotion. To her surprise the mouse’s shy, skittish manor changed as the activity centered around this liger caught her attention with the earbuds no longer obstructing the sound of the room. She watched slack-jawed as the mouse launched across the space like a rocket into one of the three officers that had the liger pinned to the ground.
The husky girl took a step away from the commotion as she heard the liger let out an almost feral sounding roar at the sight of the mouse being pinned down by another officer. She heard one officer shout, “She fuckin’ bit me!” as she watched the liger woman grab ahold of the mouse’s paw and pull the small frame to her as she curled into a ball around the younger girl.
The commotion and noise fell silent as a loud whistle rang through the station house followed by the gruff voice of a warthog shouting, “What the hell is going on out here?” As he spoke, the officers snapped to their feet and looked toward the squad room. The warthog looked over the scene. Four officers surrounded a liger curled into a ball on the floor, the long tail of the young kangaroo mouse that had graced the squad room with her presence visibly flipping about from within the large feline’s protective embrace. Several feet from the the pair on the floor was a discarded Colt .45, clearly kicked away from the encounter.
The husky girl looked at him and shyly admitted, “It may have been my fault, sir,” as she cupped the back of her head.
“I don’t care who’s fault it is, just get it cleaned up,” the warthog looked at the door as a grey squirrel walked through the door. “Summers, deal with this shit and get these two on their way.” He looked to the husky girl and added, “Freely, have a report on my desk by the end of the shift.” He turned and closed his office door as the activity seemed to return to the state it was before the liger had made her uncalculated reflex reaction.
Daniel Summers looked down at the liger curled into a ball on the floor. Then over to the husky and asked, “What happened?”
“Sir, I… I’m not really sure. It happened so fast,” she said sheepishly as she looked over at the liger on the ground.
From within the bundle of fur, leather and denim came a small voice, “Lilly, I think it’s safe now.”
“It is,” the liger replied as she rolled out flat on the floor. “So… how was your day, Squeaker?”
Cecily stretched out on the floor beside her adoptive mother, the odd pair stared at the ceiling for a moment before the mouse answered, “Exciting, and yours?”
“Interesting to say the least,” Lilliana said as she sat up. She looked up and the slightly confused squirrel that looked down at them and said, “Officer Summers, what a surprise seeing you here.”
“Excuse me, ladies,” Daniel said as he leaned over to pick up the handgun that had been kicked across the floor, “I hate to interrupt, but could you explain what's going on here? I walk into the station and the newest residents of our city are huddled on the floor.”
“Wait,” the husky looked at the squirrel, “You know these two?”
Without letting Daniel answer the question, Lilliana sat up started to explain, “Wha-ha-happen-was…” as the words came out of the liger’s mouth Cecily started to giggle, “I came in to pick up Sisy here after she got spooked by someone…” She paused for a moment as she looked over at the small mouse and added, “While she was out alone.”
Meekly Cecily responded with, “I... I’m fifteen. I had the striker with me, but…” she trailed off as her voice slowly faded with each word.
“Shit,” Lilliana started, “the fact that you went out wasn’t the problem…”
Daniel broke in, “Sorry to interrupt, but I do need to get to the situation here.”
Sgt. Goodman walked over and joined the conversation. “I think I can clear a few things up, if you don’t mind, Lieutenant.”
Daniel sighed as he relented, “What do you have to add, Goodman?”
“Well, Sir, I picked up young Miss Fargo who had gotten lost and brought her to the station. I have a report to file on that. When Miss…” the bobcat trailed off as he glanced down at the liger.
Lilliana stood up from the floor as she said, “Fargo. Lilliana Fargo. I came in to get Sisy and Miss Freely did an excellent job of stopping me from just walking in and taking her without properly identifying myself. I had a slight… reaction... to her approach. And the situation escalated rapidly from there.”
A strange look crossed the squirrel’s face as he asked, “What kind of reaction?”
“Well, it kind of looked like a kung-fu movie for a moment, Sir,” the bobcat said with a little grin, “It was even all slow-motion when I think back to it. All I heard was Private Freely scream, and when I looked she was flying through the air and dropped to the floor before she got a knee-drop to the chest. At which point the squad room took action to subdue the attacker.”
“Where does the Colt come in to the picture?” Daniel asked as he held up the pistol.
“Oh, that’s mine,” Lilliana said as she reached for the handgun only to have the squirrel pull it out of reach. “During the… momentary conflict it must have fallen loose.”
“Okay, and the mouse?” Daniel asked as he tried to finish piecing the events together. “How did she end up in the arms of… Miss Fargo during the whole thing with a room full of officers trying to hold down one perp?”
“I… I saw them…” Cecily fidgeted with her tail as she tried to speak, her voice barely loud enough to be heard, “They were… I don’t know I just…”
“It’s okay, Squeaker,” Lilliana said, “You actually surprised me with that.” She looked at the squirrel and said, “She came to my rescue until some jackass thought a three-foot mouse was enough of a threat to need ‘subdued’, so I did what any mother would do…”
The squirrel dropped into the bench that sat in the entry hall by the wall and rubbed his temples as he said, “What I am hearing is Goodman brought in a lost child. The family was contacted, and the mother then came to pick said child up. Upon arrival, the scene turned into a bad karate move when the mother attacked an officer with a body throw. At some point this gun magically appeared, and pandemonium ensued. At which time the Chief steps out of his office and I step in and shit magically stops.”
Lilliana dropped in the bench next to him tossing her arms across the back as she said, “That sounds about right, Danno. Let me see if I can sum it up better for a report. Mr. Whiskers over there brought Squeaker in after being alerted to her state of being a missing child. I get the call that she was here and come to get her. When I get here, Shags over there does what she’s supposed to,” she looked over at the husky, “No offense, but what I did was not your fault. She made a move that, I’m sorry to say, triggered a trained response. I didn't hurt you too badly, did I?” Lilliana asked her before she continued, “A few good men, and Goodman apparently, stepped in to get me down. Possibly a good move, until they saw my gun. I have an Oregon and DC carry permit for it, but we haven’t been in town long enough to get local documentation. If I don’t say so myself, I think the situation was handled rather well until Squeaker stepped in.” She looked over at the kangaroo mouse and said, “Next time you see the police holding me down, let them.”
Lt. Summers said as he stood up, “Pvt. Freely, book Miss. Fargo on possession of a firearm in a restricted zone and assault on a police officer. Sgt. Goodman, continue to keep an eye on the young Miss. Fargo. I’m going to need statements from everyone on this situation before the Chief come out again to take a bite out of my ass.” He started to walk toward a vacant desk before he stopped and held the Colt out in his paw, “Oh, and take this to the evidence lockup.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Unexpected Phone call ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Juno ran to grab the phone as it rang from the charging base in the kitchen. “I got it,” she yelled into the living room as she held the receiver up to her ear. “Hello?”
(Hello, Is this Juno? Is your sister around?) The voice on the other end of the line asked.
“May I ask who is calling?” the young equine girl asked as if reading from a well-practiced script.
(This is Lilliana, Cecily’s mother. We meet on the cruise. Could you please let her know I called?)
The memory of her new-found friend from the cruise brought a bounce of joy to the young filly as she shouted through the house, “Janine! It’s Lilliana… From the cruise.”
“Hello?” a second voice came on the line, “I’ve got it Juno, you can hang up now.”
(Hey there Jenie, It’s Lilly. Thought I would let you know made it to Marblecliff and maybe do dinner or something.) The voice of the liger rang across the phone as if she was talking to an old friend.
“Wow,” Janine started, a little surprised, “you really managed to move a family of six across the country in two weeks?”
(We were all set to move, it was just a matter of driving away from the cabin, and we somehow managed to add one to our ranks after the last time we talked. Anyway, how does pizza sound? I’m sure Sisy would have a blast seeing Juno again.)
“That sounds like a wonderful idea. Juno would love it,” Janine said as she looked over at Scott sitting next to her on the couch. “Did you want to meet somewhere, or come over here?”
(Well, to tell you the truth, I am in a little bind at the moment and can’t get out of this spot.) The liger’s voice seemed no less chipper than a moment before as she continued. (They have some rule about posting your own bail here, and they don’t accept it from minors, either.)
“Wait, what? Bail?” the equine stammered as she tried to figure out what to say. Her eyes meet Scott’s as she spoke, the look of surprise in his gradually fading as they both thought back to the woman’s spontaneity. “Never mind. Where are you?”
(Municipal building downtown. No rush, though; the beds are pretty nice for a holding cell.) Stunned for a moment by the liger’s nonchalant attitude about being in jail, she looked over at Scott uncertain of what to say next. (When you get here, tell them to let you see me first and I’ll give you the cash. They just won't take it from me, or Sisy... They are running me off the phone for the next guy. See you when you get here.)
Janine sat the phone back on the cradle as she looked at Scott. “That was Lilliana, the liger from the cruise. She just made it into town… And asked if we can bail her out.”
He smiled back at her, “I’m sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation behind the whole thing. She seemed a little spontaneous back on the cruise. She probably went out and did something without checking the local ordinance and got picked up for it. It’s probably something minor and silly.” He assured her that it was nothing to be worried about. “Besides, she may have been a little wild but she seemed to have at least a bit of common sense.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Caged Liger ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Not wanting to expose Juno to the inside of a jail if she didn’t have to, Janine left her in the car with Scott. As they led her back to the small row of holding cells, the sound of a harmonica filled the air. The bobcat ushered her back past a drunk and a few small-time hoods that were waiting for their own bail to a cell with the liger laid out in the bunk blowing out a tune on the harmonica in her paws. At the foot of the bunk, between Lilliana’s paws sat the small kangaroo mouse diligently sketching in a steno pad. “Miss Fargo, you have a visitor.”
The liger stopped blowing on the small wind instrument as she tilted her head to look at the wall of bars. “Jenie, I knew I could count on you.” As Lilliana mentioned the acquaintance’s name, Cecily's head jerked up from her sketching.
Before the small mouse or equine could say anything in response to the liger a voice from a few cells down shouted, “It’s about time someone shut her up.”
Lillian stretched her arm out through the bars as she yelled back, “Why don’t you come down here and say that to my face, you little pissant.”
“Miss Fargo, please stop antagonizing the other detainees,” the young bobcat said as he started to unlock the cell.
“Come on, Dicky, it’s all in fun. And how many times am I going to have to tell you to call me Lilly?” Lilliana said as she patted the bobcat on the back. Her comment was followed by a few hoots and a “Hey, let me out too, Dicky,” from down the way.
“Miss Fargo, please call me Sgt. Goodman,” the bobcat said as he shook his head.
The small mouse followed Lilliana out of the cell. As she passed the bobcat, she said softly, “I liked Rich better personally.” The bobcat smiled at her as he closed the cell door.
Lilliana tossed her arm over the equine’s shoulder as she walked up to her, “Well, Jenie, now that I have seen the gritty underbelly of the city…” she glanced over at the bobcat as she whispered, “or at least that of a few of the cops… what’s next?”
“You’re going to have to tell me what happened some time, Lilly. I’m sure its an interesting story, knowing you,” Janine smiled slightly as they walked to the counter to pick up Lilliana’s effects.
“Sgt. Goodman let me have a copy of the security footage, if you want to see,” the small mouse held up a DVD as she smiled at the pair of adults.
Janine looked down with concern in her eyes as she asked, “Security footage?” only to look back at the counter when she heard a heavy thud. Her eyes went wide as the shoulder holster and Colt lay heavy on top of the rest of the liger’s belongings.
The officer behind the counter held his paw on the pile as he said, “Now, Miss Fargo, please remember to leave this outside the next time you visit the station.”
“Sure thing, officer,” the liger said as she swung the shoulder holster into place and pulled the handgun out to do a standard check of functionality. As the slide pulled back she asked, “And the extra chambered round?”
“In the bag with the magazine,” he said as the patted the brown paper sack as he watched her holster the unloaded firearm and clipped the the restraint strap into place.
“Is that...?” The equine was interrupted before she could finish her question.
“A Colt .45 M1911, Special Government Combat edition. Nine round capacity, ten with one in the chamber, slide action, closed bolt, semi-automatic handgun, with a left side ejection port. Safety is a thumb switch on the grip. It has a maximum effective range of ninety meters,” Cecily said as she noted the slightly surprised look on Janine’s face as she rattled off the details of the liger’s sidearm. “Lilly insists that I know specifications and operation of every firearm in the house.”
As Lilliana pulled the leather jacket on over the firearm she asked, “And what did you miss?”
The mouse fidgeted with her tail for a moment before she answered, “Empty weight is 39.5 ounces.”
Noting the look of concern on her new friend’s face, Lilliana said, “I‘m a firm believer that it is better to be knowledgeable on firearm, and the proper use and safety, rather than ignorant. Ignorance and improper safety is what causes most firearm mishaps in the home.”
“I guess I can agree with that,” Janine replied as she started to follow the liger out of the building, the grunge biker style she was dressed in a stark contrast to what she had seen on the cruise. “Proper training and safety is very important when it comes to weapons.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Dinner Guests ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
The moose herm waited impatiently, tapping her hoof on the tile floor of the kitchen, the low light from the generator barely bright enough to illuminate the room as she fretted over the situation with her girlfriend. The small mouse’s absence had upset her once it was discovered, and the call from the police station once the girl had been located worried her greatly. A thousand scenarios ran through her mind as Hank continued to wire the larger power plant into the house’s existing wiring. Giving up on trying keeping herself calm as she worried about her girlfriend, she paced the kitchen floor aimlessly.
The sound of the front door opening and voices suddenly echoing down the hallway snapped her from her pacing. She turned and bolted from the kitchen, running at full speed to the foyer. Dropping to her knees as she drew near, she scooped the small mouse up into her arms, hugging the girl tightly to her chest. “Oh my God, Sisy... are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere? Where were you? Why'd you take off like that without telling me? What were you thinking?” She rattled off questions in rapid succession, not waiting for an answer to a single one of them. “You scared the shit out of me, girl; I was so worried when we couldn't find you...” she said, trailing off as she hugged the small mouse tighter, her large arms engulfing the small form of her girlfriend.
“Daisy,” came the small, muffled voice, “I’m fine. Nothing happened.” She pushed away from the moose and looked up at her as she continued, “I overreacted and panicked. That’s all.”
“I should have been paying more attention… I shouldn't have... but then you... if I was…” Daisy started rambling before Cecily put her paw over the moose’s mouth.
“You won’t always be there, Daisy. No one can always be there,” the mouse looked the moose in the eyes as she spoke. “I… I’m sorry I didn't tell you I was going, but I… I need to be able to do some things alone, too.”
“I know that, you silly mouse, and I know I have to let you. But damn it... that's not gonna keep me from worrying about you, girlfriend. And with these panic attacks... this phone in the backpack thing isn't gonna work anymore. Damn it,” the moose herm said as she turned to the liger walking through the door with a serious expression on her face. “We got lucky this time, but the tracker app and panic button... they're useless if she doesn't have the phone with her and she left it behind so easily when she panicked.” Turning back to look her girlfriend in the eyes she added, “No more taking off without telling someone, okay? I don't know what I would do if anything happened to you, Sisy.”
Lilliana looked down at the moose and mouse couple and said, “That’s all great and shit. We’ll have to cover the new ground rules tomorrow before everyone gets any ideas to go exploring.” As she talked, an equine woman walked through the door behind her followed by a young filly. Daisy’s eyes went wide as she recognized the smaller girl from the cruise. “In the mean time, Mouse Bait, go out and help Scott bring in the pizzas.”
“Yes, Lilly,” the moose herm replied, eyeing the filly as she walked out the door, trying to hide the blush that tinged her cheeks a pale pink.
Before she reached the bottom of the steps a muscular horse man walked up with an armload of pizza boxes pinned between his hands and chin. “Just get the door before I drop it,” he said as she moved swiftly for the entrance. The moose herm swiftly moved back up the few steps and held open the door for the man as he walked through and froze. “Um… which way?”
“Straight through that door,” the moose said, pointing in the direction of the kitchen.
As the moose herm gave the simple directions, Lilliana said, “Yeah, it’s a bit of a fixer-upper,” while the small group of newcomers stood in slight disbelief in the foyer. The liger yelled into the open, empty house, her voice echoing from every direction. “Everyone better be presentable for company when we get in there.” Almost instantly the sound of claws clicking against the tiles echoed back. “Okay, I think it should be close to a family-friendly scene now.”
Janine looked at Scott for a moment before he started his way to the kitchen. “So, um… how many people are in your family again? Six if I remember right.”
Lilliana looked into the air a bit as she led the way to the room where they had decided to congregate for the beginning of the renovations. “Let’s see. We have the old man, Boomer, Susan, Hank… Squeaker, and now Mouse Bait. If I count myself, that is seven and we seem to be growing at an exceptional rate. I am hoping to have a full baseball team by the opening of the season.”
“I kind of thought you were exaggerating when you said six back on the cruise,” Janine said as she and Juno followed the liger into the great room.
Lilliana looked over her shoulder with a smile as she said, “I don’t exaggerate. People tend not to believe the truth, so why add to it?”
The room was vacant except for seven canvas camp chairs, four of which were occupied by an odd collection of furs. Lilliana started pointing and introducing the group that was present. “You’ve meet Sisy. The tall brown moose that followers her around is Daisy, her souvenir from the cruise. The ugly old badger is Detlev, retired Army asshole. Then you have Hank, the river rat, and Susan, our public affairs liaison and nurse.” As she spoke, a loud thud came from the foyer behind them. “And that would be Alex, hopefully clothed.”
Soon after Alex, walked in from the foyer dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. She took a deep breath and let it out, reached her wing out to Janine and said, “Alexis Hawkins, pleased to meet you.”
Shaking the eagle’s hand, the equine returned the introduction, “Janine Hutcheson, and this is my sister, Juno…”
Before Janine could get out another word, the eagle released her hand and dropped to her knees before the filly, “Oh my gawd che’s so cute. Whaya cen I ge’ one?” her refined accent all but lost.
“Behave, Alex,” Lilliana said with a little smile, “You kids can go out back and play after dinner.”
“I ain’t no kid,” the eagle said, standing up and swiftly looking slightly up at the liger.
As the two locked eyes, a voice came from the kitchen area, “Pizza’s ready,” gaining the attention of everyone in the room.
“And that’s Scott somethingorother,” Lilliana belted out a moment before grabbing the eagle who started to move away to the kitchen, “Jenie's man, so off limits.”
“I wadn’t gonna do nottin,” Alex said defensively, “‘e said dere was food ova dere.”
Looking Alex in the eyes for a moment, Lilliana said, “Keep it that way. These are our friends and she’s the one that put me in for the job out here.” Releasing Alex from her grip the liger belted out, “CHOW TIME!” With her words the remainder of the group nearly leapt from their places and swarmed the bar that separated the kitchen from the great room; the older badger being the only one moving at a moderate pace.
Juno held close to her sister, a little apprehensive about the strange group of adults. Cecily moved a little closer and said, “We’ll sit at the bar with Daisy once they are out of the way. I know they are a little frightening at first, but you’ll get to like them, I’m sure.” The small mouse smiled at her recently reunited friend. “And Daisy is really nice.” Taking the filly by the hand, she led her to the far end of the bar before climbing up on one of the stools that stood just shorter than she was.
As the adults began to clear out of the kitchen, Daisy walked around the bar and grabbed the three girls paper plates and sodas, placing them on the bar as she walked back around to find the young filly seated between the mouse and herself.
Cecily looked up at her girlfriend and introduced her to the filly. “This is Juno, we met on the cruise, also. She’s into photography. She was with me when I got that picture of you talking to Debbie. Juno, this is my girlfriend, Daisy.”
“Ummm, nice to meet you, Juno,” the moose herm said, offering her paw to the younger girl though not turning in her seat as she tried to ignore the stirring in her shorts, the memory of her fantasy involving the filly flashing across her mind suddenly.
The young filly smiled at the apparently shy moose as she said, “It’s nice to meet you,” the way any well-mannered child does when introduced to an older person. She swiftly turned back to look at Cecily and energetically belted out, “You said you got some good pictures on your trip out; I got some good ones the other day, too, but I forgot to bring my camera. Can I see the ones you got?”
The small mouse stopped for a moment with a sudden sad look on her face. “I… I lost my backpack with my camera. I… I kind of had a little panic attack and left it in the park. It’s probably long gone by now. I got lost and didn’t realize I left it until Officer Goodman got me to the station.”
A look of sudden realization coming to her features, Daisy spoke without turning towards the younger girls. “Ah, crap, I’m sorry, Sisy. In all the uproar after you and Lilly got back I forgot to tell you: your backpack is here. Alex brought it back and I didn’t let it out of my paws until I heard you come in the door.”
As her girlfriend spoke, Cecily’s eyes lit up as if the world had just brightened up and everything that had happened earlier that day just melted away. She spun in the chair and looked into the group of adults as she asked, “Where did you find it, Boomer?”
“Sum giraffy gial brough’ it heya say’n ya lef’ it at da park,” Alex said as she dropped into one of the camp chairs to eat. ‘“I almos’ snappet ‘er neck til she tol’ me wha’ ‘appen’.”
“I’ll show you all of the stuff I got after the waterfall,” Cecily said to Juno with a wide smile on her muzzle, “after we finish eating.”
“That’ll be neat. I’ll have to get mine and show them to you some time.” The young filly and mouse sat talking and eating as the moose watched from the side. The two smaller girls sat rambling on about lighting and settings as they tried to verbally describe the pictures they had taken since they had last seen each other.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Horrid History ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
As the group settled in to eat, Janine and Scott sat on the one couch that was brought in. Cecily, Juno and Daisy sat on the built-in bar stools by the breakfast counter that separated the kitchen from the great room, and the others in the camp chairs arranged in a circle as they ate the pizza that had been bought.
Cecily turned to look into the great room as the lights flickered. “Sgt. Goodman told me a story about this place,” she said as the room gave her their attention, “and why the other owners wanted to sell it so badly.” The small kangaroo mouse looked around at the questioning looks on the faces of the group. “The people we bought it from were not the original owners, they got it off an estate auction a while back, and they didn’t know the history of the place, either.”
Lilliana leaned back in the camp chair, laying her head back to look at the mouse girl from an upside down angle. “Really, now? Just what did happen?”
With the sudden attention of the room with the help of the liger, Cecily continued. “Well, the first owner, the one that built the place, was a little eccentric, or that’s what others thought at first. He and his family spent most of their time secluded in the house after it was built. They say that late at night strange sounds came from the house, unnatural noises.” She paused for a moment to look around the room. Everyone’s eyes were on her. Susan and Alex glanced at each other and exchanged smiles as Daisy sat motionless with a slice of pizza still suspended between her mouth and paw. “One day, the kids stopped going to school. In fact, they stopped leaving the house entirely. The whole family did, except for the father. He was seen often in the middle of the night, leaving the drive in an old pickup truck, only to return hours later with a load of something in the back.”
Janine looked at the small mouse and said, “I’ve never heard that story. It sounds a little made up to me. I think he was just trying to scare you.”
“Oh, that was just the beginning,” Cecily said as she looked at the older equine. “One dark night, in the midst of a snowstorm, the man went out in the truck and never came back. It wasn’t until Spring that they found him, frozen to death in a grave that he was apparently robbing.”
As she paused again, eyes jumped to the otter as he mumbled something that sounded as strange and incomprehensible as listening to Alex talk when excited. Susan looked at him and asked, “What was that, Hank? I didn’t catch it.”
In an odd, thick Cajun accent that seemed wildly out of place coming from the otter who had earlier been speaking clear English, he said, “Dare ain’t gonna no guud coom o’ dis. Dare sum bad juju in da wurk ‘ere.”
“Wait, what?” Susan looked at him as if he just fell out of the sky, “You...um… when?”
He stood quickly as he grabbed the chair he was sitting in and proceeded to walk briskly out of the room as he started to ramble in undecipherable dirty French in the new accent never before heard by anyone in the room. The four Unit members looked at one another with quizzical expressions as Lilliana said, “Don’t ask me. I knew he grew up in Louisiana, but I’ve never seen him get like this. You’re the one that was dating him, and taking care of his drunk ass for years.” She looked over at the chinchilla somewhat accusingly.
With the same shocked expression, she looked back and replied, “Not even at his drunkest that I can remember.” Then a wicked smile crossed the woman’s face as she looked to the eagle, who returned the smile as much as she could with her beak. Then they both looked to the toward the moose who had not moved from the time the mouse’s story started to get strange. Susan watched the herm as she said, “Well, that’s interesting, but what does that have to do with the house? Finish your story, Squeaker.”
The lights flickered with the fluctuation in the generator that powered them as Cecily calmly took a bit of pizza before continuing. “Well, after they found the body they came to the house to let his family know what had happened. It was strange that no one had filed a report that he was missing, but informing the family was standard practice. After several attempts and no response to the door, the officers on scene entered the house with just cause to check on the welfare of the family.” Cecily paused again as she looked at Daisy. The moose’s ears were flat against her head, eyes as wide as dinner plates while the slice of pizza in her mouth finally broke free from the section still in her paw. “Are you okay, Daisy?” she asked as her girlfriend slowly began to chew the food in her mouth.
“YEA,” the moose herm said a little too energetically to support her words. “Sorry, I guess I just got so caught up in the story… and then that outburst from Hank was a bit weird. I didn’t think I’d ever hear anyone harder to understand than Alex. I mean, I know French, though not as well as my brothers do, but that accent… I couldn’t make out a damn thing he said.”
“I know,” Lilliana said with a smile, “We’ll have to figure out how to fuck with him about that.”
“Anyway,” Cecily interrupted, “when they finally got into the house, what they found was frightening.” As she spoke the final word, the lights flickered out for a moment as if on cue. When they returned, the mouse leaned forward towards the group of adults as she went on. “The walls were covered in hand-written papers with strange symbols on them and the floor was littered with melted candle wax and other odd things. They think he was practicing some strange cult stuff. But that was only the start. As they looked through the house they found the bodies of his family. Each of them in their rooms, in their beds. They were all mummified, their skin all dried out and preserved. It looked like they had been there for months, maybe years. His wife was even in their wedding bed, and it looked as if he was still using the bed like nothing had changed while he was still alive. But what the real shocker was what they found in this very room.” The light flickered again as she talked and the generator in the distance sputtered. “On the floor was a pentagram, painted in dried blood, surrounded by the bones and bodies of many different furs, presumably stolen from the cemetery where his body was found. What he was doing is still unknown to this day, but they say that on some nights the sounds of screams can still be heard coming from this house, and the halls are roamed by the souls of his dead family and the bodies he brought from their graves.” With her final word, a loud groan echoed through the house, seemingly from everywhere, followed by sudden darkness as the generator failed.
The darkness was cut by a sudden scream as three lighters flickered to life in the great room. “Okay, now that was just awesome timing,” Lilliana stood up from her chair and looked at the moose who was clutching the small filly that sat between her and Cecily.
Janine looked at the fear in her sister’s eyes as the young filly returned the grasp on the moose then turned to Scott. “I think it’s about time to get Juno home and try and get her to sleep.” She walked over to Juno and put a paw on her shoulder, “Come on, Sweety. None of that is real; it’s just a ghost story. “
“I know,” Juno said a little shakily, “it’s just when the lights went out…”
“It’s okay, I think I screamed too,” Janine replied with a smile. “I think I might even have broken Scot’s paw when I grabbed it.”
“I’d have Hank show you out, or even fix the generator,“ Lilliana stated, “but he had to run off and hide under his bed or something. Anyway, It was nice to see you guys again. I’ll let you out while Boomer and Fluffy go to find Hank to fix the lights.”
As the room slowly cleared, leaving Daisy and Cecily alone in the dark, the mouse looked over at her girlfriend and asked, “Are you sure you’re okay? You look a little jumpy… even more then when you first saw Juno.”
“Y-yea, I’m fine… totally fine,” the moose herm said unconvincingly, “nothing to worry about right? Not like some crazed axe murder is going to come in this place with Lilly here…” she said trailing off for a moment as her eyes searched the darkened room. “But, ummm maybe I should go make sure my car windows are up. It kind of looked like it might rain earlier.”