Don Redmond (firstname.lastname@example.org) As usual the characters belong to the folks at H-B and I’m just borrowing them for awhile. Most of the main characters are here, but T-Bone and Razor couldn’t make it. What follows is a one of those Lovecraftian tales, which I suppose is probably, for one scene anyway, for mature readers.
Calico Briggs, Deputy Mayor of MegaKat City, was coming back from a meeting she had attended in Katcago. Since the mayor had thoughtfully taken the city plane to make it to one of the pro-am golf tournaments he always attended the Deputy Mayor was forced to drive. It was a nice night to drive back across the desert into the western side of MegaKat City: the stars were everywhere and there was no traffic on the road this night. If Callie hadn’t been in a hurry to get home, she would have stopped to look at them and touch them since they were so close.
About fifty miles outside of MegaKat City her car started giving her fits and finally crawled to a complete halt in front of the Angels of the Night Cemetery. She knew something of how cars behaved, but it was night and she hadn’t a clue other than it didn’t seem to be the battery. She called the auto club who told her that MegaKat Salvage would send a truck which should reach her in about an hour. She was not thrilled to have to wait that long, but what other choice did she have? On this stretch of road there was MegaKat City fifty miles in one direction and Katcago two hundred miles in the other. At least she would now have a chance to touch the stars.
Chance Furlong was still lying in bed and it was driving him crazy. The last bout with the Metallikats had been rather hard on him. Somehow his partner survived with only a few scratches, but he’d had the good luck to have a wall fall on him. The outcome was that he had a broken shoulder, collar-bone and three cracked ribs. However, the doctor did tell him he might be up and around in a couple of weeks.
When the phone rang Chance was about two feet from it and Jake was out in the garage doing some of the work Chance wasn’t able to. This was the only part of his being laid up that Chance enjoyed. He really didn’t like being a mechanic which is why he had joined the Enforcers in the first place. He especially didn’t like being a mechanic when he was forced into the job by Commander Feral. If he didn’t count the wounds from this time, the only time he truly enjoyed himself was when he was being T-Bone.
Jake Clawson, on the other hand, liked being a mechanic. It wasn’t his first choice of jobs, but he loved tinkering and finding out how things worked. He didn’t enjoy the extra work he was forced to do since Chance was laid up, but he’d rather have Chance well than not have Chance at all.
When the phone rang Jake waited for a few rings hoping that Chance would feel moved to answer it, but he didn’t. Jake got to one of the phones just before it stopped ringing. It was the auto club with an emergency service call. He listened for awhile and wrote down the particulars. He wasn’t thrilled that he’d have to drive so far out of town, but when he found out that the person who needed help was one Calico Briggs he perked up.
He found Chance lying in bed in what might as well have been an upper body cast for all the plaster covering his body. “Looks like an emergency service job. It’s about 50 miles east of here on 61 so I won’t be back for awhile. Will you need anything before I go?”
“No thanks, Jake. Try not to get too bored out there.”
“I’ll try.” Jake turned and walked out of Chance’s bedroom. At the door he turned back to Chance. “By the way, the auto club says that the person who needs help is one Calico Briggs.” Jake grinned and ran out the door before Chance could find anything to throw at him.
It started out as a beautiful fall night as Jake drove out of MegaKat City and connected up with Highway 61. The first twenty minutes on the road were easy driving since there was no traffic. He thought that he’d easily get to Callie in about 45 minutes. Then the wind began to pick up and before long it was raining. He certainly didn’t remember this in the weather forecast.
The rain and the wind slowed him down considerably. When the lightning started up he slowed even more since nearly all the lightning flashes were blinding coming out of the pitch black darkness as they did. He almost thought of calling the auto club and telling them he couldn’t make it, but the thought of Callie out on the road alone in this weather didn’t strike him as an image he could live with.
Instead of the initial 45 minute estimate it was an hour and a half before he made it to the place where Callie’s car had broken down. In the light from his headlights he saw her sitting in her car looking none too pleased. He got out and walked through the rain to the driver’s side of her car.
She rolled down the window a little and he apologized for talking so long to get to her. He asked what was wrong and she told him what she knew. He backed the truck up to her car in case he had to tow the car and tried jumping it first. He had no luck getting it started. The battery sounded fine, but the engine wouldn’t turn over.
“Ms. Briggs Š Callie Š it looks like I’ll have to tow your car in. You’ll need to get into the truck.”
Callie got out of her car and dashed to the passenger side of the truck. Jake watched her run by in one of the ever present lightning flashes and set to work getting her car ready to tow. Just as he had the car hooked up the lights on the truck went out. He muttered to himself and headed for the truck’s cab.
When he got in the truck he was soaked to his skin: he could feel the fur matting under his overalls. He tried starting the truck, but got no response. It sounded just like Callie’s car. This would really be humiliating: having to call someone to take care of him.
He looked over in Callie’s direction and saw her in another lightning flash. “You know Chance would have killed to be alone with you like this. Unfortunately, he’s a little tied up.” Jake chuckled, but it didn’t sound as funny now as when he said it. “I know that you told Chance you were involved with someone else, but he was really down for awhile. I know you never encouraged him, but he took it hard.”
“I’m really sorry. If he’d have stayed on the line, I’d have tried to explain somewhat.”
“Well, you might get a chance. I think we’re going to have to be towed. The truck seems just as dead as your car.”
Jake tried to call the auto club, but his radio was also dead. He started to curse, but Callie told him he had a phone in her car. She started to get out, but Jake just asked her where it was and told her he’d get it.
He got out of the truck’s cab and back into the torrential rain. When he got to the end of the truck he felt something sharp in his back. He turned around and in the lightning he saw hooded figure standing pointing a spear at him. What he wouldn’t do for a good glovetrix now. He backed up and backed into another sharp object. In the next flash of lightning he saw several hooded figures surrounding him.
“Callie, lock the doors!”
He was too late as he heard Callie cursing someone. He was herded around to the front of the truck and found himself standing next to Callie.
“Got any idea what’d up?”
“No. What do you people want?”
The answer was given by spears poking them in the back. They were led down the road. In the dark neither Jake nor Callie had any idea where they were going. Callie tripped on something and was just barely caught by Jake before she hit the ground.
Eventually they noticed a lit up building ahead of them toward which they seemed to be heading. All through their trek none of the hooded figures who were with them said a word. Jake estimated, from lightning flash counts, that there were about thirty of them all of them carrying spears. Spears in this day and age seemed a little strange, but it didn’t keep them from being just as deadly as a laser gun.
When they entered the building Jake realized it was a chapel no doubt connected with the cemetery. The light was low, but Jake could recognize several rows of pews and in front of them was an altar which was surrounded by four very large candle holders with burning candles in them. Standing next to the altar was a tall robed kat with his hood pulled back. He was smiling.
“Welcome, welcome. You two are to be blessed.”
“What is it that you want with us?”
“You two are to be the bridge to bring Yogoth to this world.” He lifted two goblets off of the altar and offered them to the two kats. Jake slapped the one offered to him out of the kat’s hand and it clattered to the floor. Jake was instantly rewarded by having a spear haft rammed against his head. He crumpled to the floor unconscious.
Callie knelt down to check on Jake, but was roughly pulled to her feet. “You will drink this!”
“Not on your life!”
Two figures grabbed Callie from behind and one came around in front of her to force her mouth open. The head kat poured the liquid down her throat. It smelled foul and tasted even worse. She started to choke and hoped she could vomit it back up. Then she began to feel as though her body was on fire and she collapsed unconscious.
When Jake woke up he found himself tied to a large x-frame that was hung on the wall. In the pews sat the hooded kats who had brought them in. At the altar stood the head kat. He was leading the others in some sort of chant. When Jake realized his head wasn’t clearing as well as it should he figured he had been drugged without his consent.
The chanting was starting to get to him as well as the acrid smell of something burning. He tried to pull himself loose, but found himself tied to the frame with metal wire that kept cutting into his flesh when he tried to move his wrists or ankles.
There was some noise behind the altar and Jake looked to see that it was caused by two more hooded kats carrying Callie between them. They brought her over to the altar and placed her upon it. She was now wearing a white robe and was strapped to the altar with her arms up over her head and her legs spread apart. The hooded ones went to join the others in the pews and the head kat changed the rhythm of his chant as he brought up a goblet and a knife from below the altar.
The chanting was exciting him and he found himself looking at Callie. The robe lay lightly on her body, but seemed more revealing than he would have liked at this moment. The excitement only grew in him.
Jake wanted to cry out, but he could not. He was not suppose to act like this, but he kept staring at her until he couldn’t stand it any longer. He tried to jump off the wall to get to her. The instant pain as the wires cut into his wrists and ankles cleared his head and he found himself able to finally close his eyes. The chanting went on and again Jake found himself forced to look at Callie as she lay helpless on the altar.
Each time he found that he could not shut his eyes he yanked one of his wrists and the pain cleared his head. The chanting changed again as the head kat took the knife drew it lightly across Callie’s neck. A little blood began to drip out of the cut which was then caught in the goblet. After getting enough blood for his purposes he raised the goblet over Callie’s body and the chanting changed again.
This time it was much more guttural and before long the kat poured the blood over the robe Callie wore in the area above her belly in the form of some symbol that Jake did not recognize. A moment later he saw the air above Callie shimmer and a scaly arm reached out of it toward Callie.
Jake’s attention was drawn away from Callie by snarling coming from the back of the chapel. There stood two werewolves, for lack of a better term. Both stood well over six and a half feet tall. Jake had never seen their like before and hoped he never would again.
“Yogoth, go back to the foul dimension of Yomi, the place of your banishment!”
The one who spoke was definitely a male, who had coal black fur, and the other was female, who had red-brown fur streaked with white. Both of them brandished large broadswords and as they came toward the front of the chapel the hooded kats leapt out of the pews and ran toward them. However, their spears were of no match for the wolves’ swords. The female held off the hooded ones as the male advanced on the altar.
The head kat picked up the knife and held it to Callie’s neck. The male wolf snarled and hurled his sword at the kat who received it in his throat. The wolf sprang to the altar. In one fluid motion he removed his sword from the kat’s throat and hacked off the arm and shoulder that had extended from the spot in the air. There was an awful scream that caused Jake to flinch.
The male wolf turned to the where the female had been fighting and ducked a spear headed in his direction. He saw the female wolf lying in a pool of blood and howled. With swinging sword he waded into the remaining kats and hacked them to pieces.
He knelt down to the female and picked her up as gently as he could. Even Jake could see, from the way she limply hang in his arms, that she was dead. The male bent his head back as far as he could and howled. The sound was so sorrowful and piercing that Jake found himself beginning to cry.
The wolf, carrying the female in his arms, walked out of the chapel. Jake tried to cry out, but still could not speak. Shortly after the wolves left the chapel he again heard the male howl in sorrow and pain. Jake began crying again. The howling was longer this time and Jake’s sobbing grew forceful enough so that he was pulled forward on the x-frame. The pain was instantaneous and Jake passed out.
As Lieutenant Felina Feral guided the helicopter to a landing on the road by the spot where the truck and car were parked she wondered what she was doing here. She had been at home in her apartment when she got an anonymous phone tip that there was trouble at the cemetery. The person calling didn’t ask for her, but just an Enforcer. But who would call her unlisted number and ask for only an Enforcer?
She was cautious as she investigated the vehicles. There were lots of blurred tracks in the mud around the area, but nothing she could make out. The truck was from the salvage yard and the car was Callie’s. Felina looked in both but saw nothing in the truck. In the front seat of Callie’s car Felina saw a celphone sitting in the seat. On a hunch she hit the redial and got her own number.
Widening the search she saw that the tracks led toward a building not far away from where the vehicles were. She cautiously approached looking around for anything out of the ordinary. Most of the tracks were washed out and blurred by the rain, which apparently had been quite torrential in this area. Blurred or not the tracks headed right toward the building.
The building was a chapel and immediately upon entering it Felina smelled death. She saw the blood stain up at the front of the pews and several hooded bodies lying scattered around. Once she looked up she saw Jake Clawson hanging on the wall and then up on the altar was Callie.
Felina ran to the altar to see how Callie was. She found a decaying reptilian arm lying on Callie’s chest and she threw it off in disgust. Seeing the wound to Callie’s neck Felina felt for a pulse and was relieved to find one. It was weak and it did not take Felina long to realize that Callie had been drugged.
Felina went back outside and sprinted out to the helicopter which she moved so that it stood right in front of the chapel. Grabbing a couple of blankets she went back inside. She went to Callie and after freeing her arms and legs she wrapped her up in one of the blankets. Felina carefully carried Callie out to the helicopter and strapped her into one of the seats.
Jake was roused from unconsciousness by being bounced in his constraints when the x-frame hit the floor of the chapel. He opened his eyes and saw Felina untying his bindings. He tried to speak, but his voice still was not working. She wrapped him in a blanket.
“Can you walk on your own?”
He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He nodded yes, but as soon as he took his first step and stumbled he realized that he was sadly mistaken. Felina helped him to the helicopter and strapped him in the other passenger seat. Felina grabbed the radio and called in what she had found.
The flight back to MegaKat City was quite a bit faster for Jake than his trip out and he vaguely worried about the tow truck, but it was hard keeping his mind on anything for very long. Unfortunately every time he looked at Callie he remembered his feelings from earlier.
Two days later Jake lay in his bed in the hospital. His wrists and ankles were well bandaged and he wondered what Chance would do now without someone to wait on him hand and foot.
Jake looked up to see Callie standing in the doorway. He was still ashamed of the way he had felt toward her, but if he didn’t tell her maybe she would never know.
“Come in, Ms. Briggs.”
“It’s Callie, remember? Felina told me about what she found and what you eventually told her. I don’t remember anything after being drugged until I woke up in the hospital. I didn’t know we had cultists in this area.”
“Neither did I. Did you find out what happened with our vehicles?”
“Apparently nothing. Felina told me that when they went out to get them they worked fine.”
“Ready to go?” Both kats turned at the new voice and saw Felina Feral, in civilian clothes, standing in the doorway. She came in and stood next to Callie. “Feeling better, Clawson?”
Jake nodded. “Any news on the cultists?”
“None. They are a mystery to everyone.”
Felina put a hand to Callie’s waist and started to turn her away from the bed. Callie nodded, but before leaving she bent down and kissed Jake on the forehead. “Who needs the Swat Kats to have fun?” Callie whispered this to Jake and got a warm smile in return at her attempt at ‘humor’.
The End (for now)
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Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.