“…And then Whiskers JUMPED INTO THE POOL and DOVE DOWN to where my baby boy was lying unconscious on the bottom. He grabbed the edge of my son’s diaper in his mouth, and started TOWING HIM to the surface, where I grabbed my baby and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. My boy lived, and it was all because of that cat. Good ol’ Whiskers.”
“Holy shit,” muttered Eleanor, as she turned another page of Can You Believe It? Unbelievable True Tales of Cats Saving People’s Lives. “Cats definitely don’t get the respect they deserve. Oh look, here’s one that saved a nun from a burning confessional…”
Behind Eleanor came the screech of tires, but they were too late. The front bumper of a red BMW convertible hit Eleanor in the back of the legs, knocking her over, and sending her and glasses flying. A horn sounded.
“Watch it!” said a very mean-looking, yet pretty, brunette. Her nostrils flared with anger. “Eleanor, you could have put a dent in my car! Do you know how expensive this vehicle is?”
Eleanor fumbled around for her glasses, and put them back on. “Sorry Mandy,” she mumbled.
“What is wrong with you, anyway? Don’t you know better than to walk through a parking lot while reading a book?”
Eleanor picked up her book and dusted it off. “I couldn’t resist! I was reading about how this cat saved this toddler’s life by diving into the pool the kid had fallen into, and—"
“Look, I don’t care about your stupid cats, okay? Just watch where you’re going. If I hit you again, I’m not paying your hospital bill.” Mandy put her foot on the accelerator, and then stopped. “What is with you and cats, anyway?”
Eleanor looked from Mandy, to the book in her hand, and then back to Mandy. “They’re life-savers.”
“Fucking weirdo.” Mandy sped off.
Eleanor shrugged and continued walking across the high school parking lot to her car. “I’ll show them. One day they will see the power of the cat unleashed.”
“Hello Mrs. Emerton!” said Eleanor cheerfully as she walked through the double-door entrance to Kitty Loves cat shelter, where she volunteered after school. The old receptionist just rolled her eyes and buzzed Eleanor’s supervisor.
“The weird cat girl is here,” Mrs. Emerton said.
Eleanor walked back to where the staff lockers were located, and put her things in an empty one, then walked to her supervisor’s office. “What do you have for me today, Boss? Rehabilitating handicapped cats? Preparing cat food—"
“--Cleaning litter boxes,” her supervisor said.
“But I always clean litter boxes.”
“That’s because you’re not paid.”
“Can’t I finish teaching Snowy how to walk? She was making so much progress!”
“Eleanor, Snowy doesn’t have any legs. Her legs are literally non-existent. They were cut clean off in that car wreck. She looks like a furry worm with a tail. There is no possible way she was making any sort of progress. And even if it were possible to teach her how to walk again, we wouldn’t consult you because you are not certified to work with animals in that capacity. But you know what you are certified to do?”
Eleanor looked at him hopefully. “What?”
“Clean litter boxes. Now get going.”
It was late when Eleanor got out of work. Kitty Loves had about a thousand cats, and she was the only person assigned to cleaning out litter boxes. And they all had to be cleaned out. She yawned as she drove down the highway. Her legs ached where Mandy’s car had hit her. She wished she had a different life. A life in which she was appreciated. A life in which she was respected. A life in which she only had to interact with cats. She “got” cats. Humans, not so much. She came upon an intersection that had just turned green. She passed through. A van coming from the opposite direction ran the red light, and crashed into her, pushing her off the road and into the woods lining the street. She blacked out for a few minutes. When she came to, she saw that the van’s doors had opened, and about a dozen cats were wandering into the street. The driver was nowhere to be seen.
“Poor kitties!” she exclaimed. She tried opening the car door but it was jammed. She tried rolling down her power window, but it wasn’t working. Channeling the three months of karate classes she took when she was eight, she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and rammed her elbow into the window, attempting to smash it.
“OW! Son of a bitch!” She felt something warm start to trickle down her arm. Not even a crack in the window. Then she remembered the hammer she kept in her glove box, in case she ever got besieged by car-jackers. A few hard swings, and then she crawled out of the window.
The cats scattered as she approached. “Kitties! Wait! I just want to help!” She ran after them, trying to gather them up. She managed to grab one by tail. It hissed and bit her hand.
“OW! Shit!” She cradled the bitten hand and looked as blood slowly colored in the bite marks. The cat hissed one more time, and ran off into the woods. After a few more futile attempts, Eleanor gave up. The cats were nowhere to be seen. The driver of the other car had vanished. Her car had caught on fire. She started walking home.
In a hidden back room at the Kitty Loves cat shelter, a hand with a large ruby pinky ring in the shape of a cat’s paw stroked a white Persian cat with no legs. The door slammed open, and a man in a jumpsuit burst in, covered in sweat, dirt and blood.
“The cats—they got away, Boss.”
“What do you mean, they got away?”
“I hit someone on the way to the drop-off. Van’s totaled. The cats escaped.”
The hand not petting the Persian made a fist and slammed hard down on a table. “FOOL! IMBECILE! I give you one measly little job to do and you find a way to screw it up!”
“Boss, I swear I’ll make it up to you,” pleaded the man.
“How?! You didn’t let just any old cats escape. These were radioactive! Do you know what happens to an animal when it becomes radioactive?”
The driver gulped.
“IT GETS AMAZING POWERS! These cats in particular where step one in my plan to total world domination! They’re not ready to be unleashed yet! Who knows what will happen if one of those things comes in contact with a human.”
“Boss, I’m sorry. I swear, I will go out and hunt every last one of them—"
“—You’ve done enough. I can’t trust that you won’t ruin my plans again.”
“O-okay. I will show myself out.”
“Here—let me help you.” A hand pressed a button on the table and a trap door opened up underneath the driver’s feet.
“NOOOOOO!” the driver screamed as he fell into the depths of the pit.
“Dinner time, babies!” said the voice as the tigers began to descend on their prey.
Eleanor woke up the next day to the textured tongue of Mr. Jingles, her cat, licking her cheek. She pushed him away and rubbed her eyes, vainly trying to remember the events of the previous night. A few seconds later it all came flooding back to her, and she looked down at the hand that got bitten. She frowned, confused, and looked closer. The bite mark had vanished. There was no dried blood. Just smooth skin. It was like it had never happened.
“That’s weird,” she muttered. She sat up and swung her legs over the side of the bed, expecting to be sore. She wasn’t. In fact, she felt great. She had no way of proving it, but she felt like she was in the best shape of her life. She got up and padded to her bathroom sink and got ready to brush her teeth. From out of nowhere, a fly flew out in front in front of her face. Annoyed, she swatted the fly away—and gasped. Claws were coming out of her finger tips!
“What the hell…?” The claws retracted. She flexed her hand again. The claws reappeared. She relaxed it. They retracted. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. “What happened last night?”
Stay tuned for part 2, which will be posted sometime next week. Or don't. I don't care either way. It's about a girl who gets bitten by a fucking radioactive cat, for Pete's sake.