Basically, if you’ve read “They That Walk in Darkness,” co-authored by both Kristen Sharpe and myself, this is what this short story focuses on. Trina Korat is a character of mine that appeared in the first chapter, “No Going Back.” What I’m doing here is something of a small chapter within the main story itself. Technically, this is something that could have happened during the time the Dark SWAT Kats were running amuck in the city. And, yes, I stuck to present tense. I blame a thunderstorm for this and a 2:30 a.m. restless hour. No, I was not upset. I’m thinking that a few bolts of lightning and a crash of thunder every five minutes as you think of something to write as you lie in your bed brings inspiration.^_^;
Quick note for the “conversation” happening here — Trina’s sort of talking to her conscience, to her inner voice. No, she’s not schizophrenic. That would be a differentstory if she were. ?
“Get these people out…”
“Don’t just stand there…!”
“I need a medic over here!”
Voices. All around her are voices. Those of her co-workers, of the people she works with daily. Of the people she trusts.
She tries to ignore them. Tries to ignore the agony of the people they are helping. Tries to ignore the flaming pain against her hips and the wound on her arm shooting up the reminder to her mind that it hurts. Tries to ignore the beating rain against her face.
Katrina “Trina” Korat looks on, back against the cracking wall of the building that had been attacked earlier, fighting back the tears of anger. She knows who did this. But, she doesn’t believe it. She’s suddenly looked over by a medic, treated as she’s taken to a van and given a steaming cup of coffee and a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The warmth is welcoming, but she doesn’t enjoy it. Her world is spinning as she mutely nods to her captain, murmuring something about that she’ll be okay. She just needs rest.
Only hours later she comes back to her apartment, her mind set on one thing. Anger. She tosses her keys onto the counter. She drops her duffel bag onto the floor. She doesn’t care about the mess her home is in. It suits her fine, actually. She’s a mess herself. Why bother to clean up? Her mood is just as bad as her floor. Her bed is unmade. Her coffee table is scattered with reports. Her counter is filled with newspaper clippings… of *them*.
Them. The kats that attacked the building tonight.
The kats she thought she once knew.
No point in going back to tonight’s incident.
Kicking her bed in frustration once she trips over the bed sheets on the floor, she makes her way to the mini gym she built for herself, cranking up the stereo to a suitable volume. Loud enough for her, not loud enough for the land lord to come knocking down her door.
A song. She needs a song to match her irritated mood. Her hatred. Her anger.
She finds it. Rap. She can’t stand rap.
Tying on enough elastic gauze around her hands, she steps up to her punching bag. She needs to shed energy.
The “music” with words that could only come from a sailor’s mouth fill the room, and every five words that hit her sensitive ears send her fist against the sand filled sack, her mood not improving any.
Every punch sent reminds her of tonight’s incident.
Every side and roundhouse kick gets her even more aggravated.
And, her mind is just screaming. How could they *do* that?!
She’s screaming to herself, demanding why that night she hadn’t been stronger.
And, she finds herself arguing with her subconscious… the little she-kat inside of herthat’s been trying to help her out through her worst times.
<<Upset, Trina? >>
<You outta know. >
<<Still can’t get over the fact that they could have done that, huh? What are their names now? T-Bone and Razor?>>
<What *does* it matter?! They’re on Dark Kat’s side, remember?!>
<<Well, hey, pardon my lack of knowledge. >>
<You *live* inside me!! You should *know* these things!>
<<So why are you beating yourself over it? This wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t prevent it. >> <Don’t tell me what I could and couldn’t do! >
She hits the bag, hard, at the final word of her sentence. Only seconds later does she cry out, clutching her burning hand as she slides down to the floor, her tears finally coming out of her eyes.
No. She can’t blame herself over tonight, but she can’t help but wonder what she could have done earlier to prevent the attack on that building.
Standing up, she goes to switch off the stereo, leaning against the wall when she does.
<<Trina, stop killing yourself over this. You’re sick enough as it is. You haven’teaten well since… well…>>
<Since when? Since the night I thought he’d have more common sense thanI thought he would? Since the night I thought I could stop him from falling into Dark Crud’s paws? Since the night I thought he and Chance would think things over before…>
<<Becoming the SWAT Kats? >>
Trina nods to herself, the tears falling as she slides down to the floor, huddling herknees against her chest.
For nights she’s been reliving what happened only months back. For nights she’s felt the anger. For nights she’s found that she can’t even watch the news without Ann Gora mentioning what the SWAT Kats had stolen or attacked for the pastfew weeks.
And, she can’t help going back.
She still hears herself yelling at him, her accusing him of losing his mind… his trying to make her understand that he may not be doing the right thing, but it’s the only way.
She doesn’t see that. She sees his and Chance’s lives in peril. She sees Dark Kat performing a double cross. She sees Dark Kat killing them.
She tries to warn him, but the words just don’t get across. Then, the yelling gets worse, his overreacting to the word “insane,” his hand striking her across the face…
And, to this day, she still remembers it. Still feels the burning sensation against her cheek. Her giving up on the matter. Her telling him to leave her home and her life before it got any worse…
<<You still love him, don’t you?>>
She doesn’t respond.
Instead, she lets her fingers toy with the little amulet around her neck, her tears refusing to leave her eyes. Then, she stares towards the darkness, ears perked suddenly to hear a beeping sound. An urgent sound. Her caller. She’s needed.
Standing up, she brushes away her tears, rushing to find the beeper hidden in her duffel bag. Looking at it, her eyes watch as the words scroll endlessly.
“Hostage situation at Megakat Tower. Back up requested.”
Hostage situation. They have picked her to be the negotiator.
Sighing, she goes to change back into her uniform, and is out the door only minutes later. Months ago she couldn’t talk her friend or her cousin out of a sitaution that putMegakat City in peril. She can’t do the same thing here. She can’t let whoever is holding those people hostage win. She can’t fail.
She just can’t fail…
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