Cut and Run Ch. 1 Retcon 1 of 5


Oni Frosty

Cut and Run Chapter 1 Retcon Part 1 of 5

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Back when I was a kid, life was going swell.

Till something happened, blew everything to hell.

-Freddie Blassie’s, “Pencil Neck Geek”

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So when did all of this begin?

I trace it back to one particular chilly spring morning in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

One second, I was in a deep dreamless sleep.

The next, my eyes were shooting open and my heart began pounding hard enough to leave a bruise against the inside of my rib cage.

Off in the distance from where I lay in my surplus mummy bag, I heard a sound that chilled me to the bone.

No, it wasn’t a nasty sound of the screams of a pissed mountain lion, nor the thunder of a lightning bolt.

It was the sound of a cussing squirrel.

It was just a squirrel cussing furiously at someone, or something.

You’re probably wondering why such an innocuous sound would scare me so?

Just bear with me. I’ll explain.

 So, squirrel cusses.

They’re not the kind of sound anyone would normally have gotten alarmed about. Undoubtedly, you’ve probably heard one cussing before. The sound of a whooping raspy scold, uttered by pissed off bushy tailed tree-rat.

A tree-rat talking smack.

You’ll get the sound from one of them if you interfered with it burying an acorn, or surprising the shit out of it.  A voice that comes from a mouth smaller than my little finger.

I remember once reading about oversized critters called ‘Dire-Wolves’. Big honking bastards they were, the kind of wolf few humans lived to talk about afterwards.

I got the sense that mornings cussing was coming from a Dire-Squirrel. It sounded like it was coming from a mouth that could’ve easily swallowed my hand.

As I hurriedly struggled to sit up while also trying to unzip my mummy bag, I heard that cussing continue in spurts and pauses. The longer I trained my ears to it, the louder it became. Which meant that it was also getting closer to my position.

Which was much too close for my comfort.

A sixth sense told me that there was something else important about this oversized squirrel! Something that had the ability to impact me in unforeseen ways.

Reaching down on the inside of my bag, I tried to pull the head part of the bag off my head. It was then, that I discovered that the zipper had become stuck sometime during the previous night.

‘Dammit!’ I growled internally, as I worked to loosen the catch that held my face tight. All to no avail. ‘Not NOW!’ I complained, trying not to make too much noise.

“Come on!” I breathed through clenched teeth, my frustration growing into a tidal wave, as I took ahold of the inside lining of the bag with both hands, as my eyes started to see red with a mounting anger.

“Asshole!” I snarled at the unyielding inanimate zipper, as I began pounding outwards at the inside of the bag.

Despite my best efforts, it just-wouldn’t-let-go!

“GRAAAAHHHHH!” I hissed as I lost my temper and began an almost berserker like rage-fest, working on freeing myself from the encumbering bag!

Finally, after a few seconds or maybe a few minutes later, I was panting furiously in triumph. I found that I was standing and looking down at my sleeping bag.

Or, at least what was left of it.

Silently taking it all in as my breathing began to slow. I noticed that I’d more than just opened it, I had torn the entire bag to shreds in a childish hissyfit.

Well yeah, I’d been getting a lot more of those of late, ever since….

Never Mind!

Well anyways. There I was looking down at what was left of my bag, squirrel cusses forgotten and griping about my fate.

‘FUCKITY FUCKING FUCKING FUCK!’ I thought furiously, as I clenched my fists and tightened my jaw hard enough to make my teeth ache.

‘It’s beyond repair of even my best sewing!’ I judged as my mouth twisted angrily. I found myself getting hysterical. Again. That’s something else I’d been doing ever since…

Forget it….

“Shit!” I cried softly in between rapid breaths and rubbed at my eyes. For some reason my hand came back wet. I ignored the tears and rubbed my hand against my thigh to dry it. The feel of it drove me to an even higher level of frustrated anger.

“Ok Moron!” I berated myself. “Now you’re gonna have to go into town and try to find a replacement!” I complained.

Oh yeah, I’ve also been talking to myself a lot too. Well not just to me, but also my wife, Chiara. Who,…hasn’t been around for a while. As I thought of her I remembered her giving me some good advice.

‘Breathe Allen. Slow and steady.’ She instructed me from the depths of time, ‘Breathe in for several seconds, and hold for several more.’ I matched my breathing then to what she’d taught me, ‘Now exhale slowly and hold for several seconds’. I exhaled. After a few cycles, I began to calm down.

After a minute, I noticed the chill of my hand against my thigh, I realized that I was buck naked, and starting to feel the first stages of hypothermia.

‘I’d better get dressed.’ I decided, feeling sheepish. “Thanks Babe.” I said aloud.

Shivering with the cold, I went and retrieved my backpack, to retrieve my stored clothing. Then I began to dress.

Here’s some advice to anyone hiking in the woods. Buck-naked in your bag is the best way to sleep in the woods. That way you keep your grease soaked clothes off you, and away from the nose of a hungry ursine looking for a midnight snack.

As I pulled my underwear over my danglies, I froze. Why?

I heard it again. The sound of that damnable Dire-squirrel cussing. I’d forgotten all about it.

Turning my head to the direction towards its source, I reckoned that it was louder, and therefore approaching my position. It had also come near enough, for me to pick up some unnerving details about it.

They were unnerving because,…well.

This is kinda hard to explain.

It was….

it sounded…

’sultry’.

Yeah you heard me right.

Sultry.

As in a ‘comest hither thou’ kind of sultry.

HEY! Don’t think that! I know what you’re thinking!

That I’m some kind of pervo dude who’s into furries? NO!

Ok, Ok, Yes, I’m a guy, and yeah I may have ‘experimented’ a little bit. Especially when I was in college.

But I am most certainly NOT a furry! OK?! So drop that thought!

Now you’re probably wondering why I was getting all worked up about a sultry-sounding Dire-Squirrel?

In my defense, I admit that I’ve been a bit of a recluse the last few months. Particularly what with my hiking up and down the Pacific Crest Trail. Doing it as alone as I could manage, carrying my family’s ash….

AHEM!

Let’s just say that I’ve been alone for a while, and leave it at that!

‘What the fuck?’ I thought, “What in the name of the Chief God is,…” I began aloud and then stopped.

 ‘Wait! What?’ I thought in befuddlement, blinking my confusion. ‘What the fuck is a chief god?’ I asked. But my thoughts froze when I heard the sultry squirrel cussing begin again.

Now this is where it gets weird.

Ok, weirder.

“Squee, squee squee!’ ” It called out about a dozen yards away. Then with nary a pause it continued with:  “Give it back! Give it back! It’s not yours!” I heard that human like voice complain; accompanied with the sound of tree branches rustling.

I knew that it was the same voice. Because it was uttered with the same timber of rasping that the cussing had held.

“Arooh? I Scooby Do’d. My eyes then widened enough for them to fall out, when I finally spied someone coming down a nearby trail.

There was two of them.  A squirrel and a grizzly.

Yet, not a squirrel and a grizzly.

They were girls.

Yes they were females, but…dammit! Look, I’m no trained forest ranger who can tell you the gender of an animal with a glance.

They weren’t precisely a female grizzly bear and a female squirrel.

They were both girls! Well women actually, if their boobies be any indication.

 Hot looking babes to be precise.

There they were. Coming down that forest trail was a tall tanned brown-haired mix of a human woman and a brown bear!

Scampering in the trees overhead her, was a squirrel/girl complete with a luxurious bushy tail that sprouted from her shapely ass. It jerked angrily every time she gave off a cuss.

For both of these wonders, they appeared to be babes, HOT babes. Both worthy of playboy centerfold status. Each were dressed (?) in what appeared to be the furry equivalent of a two-piece bikini. Blessedly not hiding much, but still enough hidden to tantalize.

I paused to take in more details, and what delightful details there were!

The Squirrel Girl, I estimated, looked just barely on the legal side of jailbait. I deed that her name would be: Rocky.

“Nice ass!’ I gawked. She had the tight bum usually awarded to teens. She also had a flat tummy, along with a pair of deliciously firm perky boobs that bounced pleasingly every time she jerked.  I may have drooled a tiny bit.

For some reason it took me several seconds to notice that she had furry lower legs and arms. I blinked in shock when I also noticed that she had a stripe of fur that started up from the base of her tail, then reached all the way to her greyish/white head hair.

‘Whiskers?’ I gawped, in disbelief. Then I was startled even more to see a standard pair of oversized squirrel ears sprouting from her head. They twisted and laid back every now and again as she cussed/spoke.

Which made me look down at the source of her ire.

She, was a statuesque brown-haired specimen with a heavy bust. She wore a leather outfit that hugged her bod just so. She had a pair of cutest looking rounded ears atop her head, that completed the effect.

Proportion wise her boobs were smaller than Rocky’s, but not by much. All of that combined, with her large hips and a tight waist gave me the impression that she’d make an excellent mama to any cubs she chose to bear. (HAR!)
I then noticed that like Rocky, both of her arms and legs were covered in furry leggings, and elbow gloves that sported claws poking out at the ends.

Ok, I’ll go ahead and say it.

She walked barefoot. (HAR!)

The Bear-Girl continued slowly walking down the trail with a triumphant smile. All the while, she kept glancing up at her squirrelly companion every now and again.

“Give it back!” demanded the Squirrel-Girl once more, as she jumped down from a tree branch and tried to snatch something away from the Bear-Girl.

The Bear-Girl just casually shifted and held her arms out and away from Rocky. It was then that I saw what the focus of the complaining was: a kind of messenger’s satchel. It was colored grey- of course.

My first coherent thought then: ‘I’ve no idea what she’s supposed to be.’

On the heels on that thought came another: ‘Ratatoskr.’ I automatically identified.

I paused for a second and blinked a few times.

‘Wait. What?’ I asked no one. ‘What in the Sam Hill is a Rata….’ I began, and then stopped when another intrusive thought came through.

‘Ratatoskr’, it said firmly, and then it began to give me details, ‘messenger originally of the Norse Pantheon, now a courier who transports all kinds of information,..’

My mind went on standby as all of this information began to percolate through my mind. Finally, after several brief moments of information cascade, it ended.

‘Where did all that come from?’  I asked myself. Then I remembered.

‘Merced High School. First year, ‘Monster Girl Encyclopedia-101’.

But the thing of it was. I didn’t recall having had those memories before. But clearly, they were mine. I was the star of the show! It was so bewildering and confusing!

Then, that train of though was derailed when the wind shifted, and I caught the scent of those two hot babes.

Oh Wow! What a delightfully intriguing set of scents they had!

My eyes shot over to take in the Ratatoskr as my nostrils flared. She smelt of nuts and a soft/heavy musk that permeated its way into the depths of my brain.

Then after a second, I could smell the sweet aroma of honey. It was coming from the Bear-Girl.

“Nuts and Honey!” I rasped silently, as all of my higher brain functions began to shut down.

 “Breakfast of Champions.” I croaked silently as my brain began to contemplate some truly naughty thoughts. Then the wind shifted again, causing me to lose their respective scents.

After a second or two of blinking, I came back to myself and began an internal debate.

“Ok, hold on!” I started murmuring. “Let’s be rational here. What are the chances of my coming across a pair of hot babes, in the middle of the woods?” I began.

“Oh dammit! Don’t start talking sense!” I replied with an annoyed frown.

“Exactly Allen, it’s got to be too good to be true.” I shot back. “Conclusion- I’m hallucinating.”

“That’s crazy talk!” I whined, “You’ve never hallucinated a scent before!” I pointed out.

Try as I might, I had to admit that I never had hallucinated a smell before.

“Damn!” I conceded, “I can’t argue with that!”

‘Well, if I’m crazy. I may as well just go ahead and try to enjoy it. Why don’t I go ahead and see if these hallucinations are also tactile?” I asked myself.

“Be careful!” I warned, as I turned to the pair of not-quite-Disney critters. Both of whom had now commenced engaging in a bout of ‘round the mulberry bush/keep away’ while I’d been busy debating.

I was surprised to see Rocky had almost shifted into a blur, as she weaved and darted in and out around the larger Bear-Girl, she was so fast.

The Bear-Girl on the other hand, (paw) was doing what appeared to be a set of ninja-style acrobatics. Which allowed her to avoid Rocky’s paws at every turn and snatch. I could tell that she was enjoying the fun, grinning and mocking her opponent every step of the way.

I then took a step forward in my eagerness to introduce myself, and unknowingly stepped on a dry branch.

“SNAP!” came the result. The Bear-Girl’s head swung around in surprise.

What happened next, resembled something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Rocky, taking advantage of the Bear’s distraction, finally managed to snatch the satchel away from her. She then started scampering off to my right. Whatever it was in that satchel, it was heavy. It slowed her down considerably.

Bear-Girl, was definitely NOT HAPPY about this turn of events.

“GRAAR!” she roared angrily, her large fangs showing. (!) She held her paws up and out, baring her claws. Then she started stomping after her lost prize.

By that point, Rocky had slowed some distance away, next to a medium sized tree. She stood still momentarily, while she affixed the satchel firmly over her shoulders.

Bear-Girl swiftly caught up and managed to get off a one-paw swipe at Rocky.

Rocky managed to duck underneath it. The tree in the arc of the swing wasn’t so lucky. As a large section of tree trunk spewed out with a resounding noise.

“HOLY SHIT!” I croaked, realizing just how dangerous the pair of these ‘hallucinations’ actually were.

Taking advantage of that miss, Rocky then leaped from a standing position up onto a mighty arc towards a nearby tree. She deftly caught a branch, scampered up a bit, then tried to prepare herself for another leap. It appeared that she was going to use it as a jumping off point for another larger tree further on.

Unfortunately, that tree she’d climbed, shook underneath her weight. Which caused her to lose her balance momentarily.

Which was just enough time, for Bear-Girl to jump up and fasten herself onto the tree trunk just underneath Rocky’s branch.

Rocky let out a squeak of surprise, then started clambering further up the tree. Bear-girl followed close on her tail.

They both got so high up the tree that it began to tilt underneath their combined weight, arcing slowly to the horizontal.

‘Oh, this can’t be good.’ I surmised, as I looked incredulously at what was happening before me. Sure enough, Rocky ended up at the very end with the Bear-Girl grinning in triumph, nearly upon her.

At that point, the overloaded treetop swiftly began to tilt towards the ground. As it did Rocky didn’t seem to notice, but Bear-Girl was disconcerted by the sudden inversion. She chose to grab ahold of the trunk with both paws.

‘That looks a lot like a catapult.’ I thought from a fair piece away.

There they hung for about a second, just staring at each other. Until Rocky finally began twitching her tail.

Judging by her glances, I could guess she was gauging just how far she was from the ground. Bear-Girl realized what was going on and said with quaver in her voice.

”You wouldn’t.” she implored, her eyes wide. Rocky just turned to look her square in the eyes, and grinned an evil grin. Even from that distance, I could see her pearly-white front teeth were longer than the rest.

“Please don…”Bear-Girl began, but was interrupted by Rocky jumping off of the treetop and thud heavily into the earth.

‘Yep, just like a catapult.’ I thought, as I watched the tree snap smartly back up. Which snapped that Bear-Girl into a flying arc up and over somewhere deeper into the woods. I heard her screams fade into the distance as she tumbled.

Rocky just silently watched her go, her head tracing the arc of the bear. Then once the Bear-Girl had disappeared beyond the forest’s horizon, she jumped back up into the tree and scampered off. Her reclaimed courier satchel firmly on her back.

I could hear her chittering laughter fade away into the distance as she went.

I stood there for a minute or two in awe at what went down, until finally I went over and checked out that tree that the Bear-Girl had smashed a significant chunk out of.

It was real.

‘I wonder if Christopher Robin ever had to put up with this kind of shit?’ I asked no one as I sat down, and shook with shock.

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Well, that little encounter had given me a lot to think about that morning. So, I just sat there in an almost fugue like state, wondering what exactly was going on?

Inevitably, the light of the rising sun crept into my eyes. I blinked, then I looked up and around me. It turned out to be a couple of hours later.

‘Well crap.’ I thought, ‘Things been done, and things need doing.’ I decided.

I broke camp and got my stuff together. I bundled together the shreds of my sleeping bag. Then stuffed them into my backpack. After that, I silently trundled off in search of a connecting trail that led into a town.

Any town really. Because after all, there’d be no way I’d encounter any of those half-human freakazoids in civilization. Right?

Right?

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Inevitably, I had to stop and rest, and to eat something along the way. When I pulled out one of my ever-dwindling supply of power bars, I began to take stock.

“Crap!’ I said aloud to myself wearily as reality set in.

“The money’s almost gone, check.” I complained as I closed my eyes and sat wearily back against a tree-stump.

“Sleeping bag destroyed, check.” I said aloud once more.

‘Stupid-fuck!’ I thought sourly about my earlier temper tantrum.

‘What in the Sam Hill is going on with today?’ I continued, chewing my almost tasteless power bar. The package said Blueberry Surprise, but I’d be surprised if cardboard had ever tasted like blueberries.

‘Wait!’ I stopped, my eyes shooting open as I remembered.

‘Has this shit got anything to do with that Aurora Borealis last night?’ I wondered.

Then I remembered a rush of dream memories that began to flow through my mind’s eye. Dungeons! Dragon-Girls! Demon-Girls! Goat-girls! Sexy Spider-Girls!

’Wait, what?!! Sexy spider-girls?!!’ I goggled, disgusted with myself.

 “STOP!” I yelled out as I jumped to my feet and clutched at my head as a massive headache set in. When I shouted, the sound of wildlife chirping in the air around me ceased. Which made the pounding of my heart all the more noticeable.

Shakily, I realized that these weird dream memories weren’t helping me feel any better. No, worse. It was almost as if I felt that I’d lost the better part of myself.

Panting, my heart began pounding with dread and angst.

I shook my head to clear it of these strange thoughts. As they did, both my headache, and my fear began to fade.

 But there was one memory that proved to be the most tantilizing. Something about a friend with a gun. I tried to remember his name as that memory faded away. Ultimately, I failed.

 Like I do with so many other things.

So instead, I continued hiking. It’s a good way to not think about things. You just put one foot in front of the other and try not to trip on your feet over a cliff.

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Later, as I was walking near a cliff. I stopped and ambled my way to lean over the edge, as I’m wont to do. I looked down over the drop off at the trees way below me. When I did, I felt it again. The urge to jump.

‘L’appel du vide’, Chiara described it to me once; ‘The call of the Void’. I’d felt it all my life, but it was particularly strong today.

‘Here?’ I asked myself. I looked down and around for a long moment at all of the trees and boulders far below. Then I came to a decision.

‘No. Not here.’ I determined, ‘Too ugly’. Then I resumed my trek towards a town.

I stayed cautious and carefully walked down from the mountain switchbacks. Thankfully, I didn’t encounter anymore of the freaky chicks as I descended into the foothills.

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Several hours later, I made it into a town.

It was an odd hike because well, it felt weird almost the entire way. By the time I’d gotten down to the deciduous tree level, I’d started involuntarily wiping at my arms and face.

Damned if I could tell what was wrong, other than it felt like the air was heavier, almost oiler somehow. It felt like it was trying to creep its way into me. I can’t describe it any better than that.

However, civilization was a sore sight for me by then.

Houses, paved roads, telephone poles, and those gods-be-damned ever-present barbed wire fences. Off in the distance I saw a gas station. I stared at it for a few minutes, as there was something that looked off. I blinked when I realized what.

‘Since when has Exxon been spelled with three ‘Xs’?’ I asked in befuddlement.

A couple of fields away, I glanced over at someone riding around atop a horse, putting it through its paces. I did a double-take when a feeling of something else wrong occurred to me.

‘Hmmm.’ I mused, checking out the Appaloosa. I turned my attention to the rider. ‘There’s definitely something off with her.’ I mused. Then it hit me.

‘Why is the rider riding so far forward?’ I wondered for a second or three, but I just shrugged and dismissed the thought, but not that nagging feeling.

On the city’s edge, in front of a house I saw a spry old dude hoeing his garden. As I looked at him chopping away with his shirt off, I couldn’t help but notice how ripped he was. Yet he had a full set of gray hair and beard!

‘If only I could look half as good at that age.’ I thought enviously. I waved at him and caught his eye. He nodded once and ambled over, carrying his hoe over one shoulder.

“Can I help you son?” he asked me cheerfully, a smile playing on his lips. I could see he wore a pair of round shades in front of his eyes.

“New to the area,” I began, “would you happen to know if there any places in town that sells camping equipment?” I asked.

“Ayup!” he nodded with a bit of a twang. “We’ve got ourselves a military surplus store. Last I’d been in there, they had a whole passeload of camping stuff!” he smiled. He then turned his head and then pointed into town.

“Just keep going the way you’ve been. It’s a fair piece down attaway.” He said, gesturing with his hoe. I turned to look in the direction he was pointing.

“See that spire over the tree line, yonder?” He said, I nodded.

“That’s the spot! It’ll be right next to the Temple of the Fallen God. You can’t miss it.” He explained. Then when I turned back to thank him, I noticed something odd.

His ear wasn’t round. It came to a point at top. Strange that I hadn’t noticed it before. Now I’m not talking ‘Spock-Ears’ but damn! They came close. Fully natural looking too.

“Thanks for your time, sir.” I stated with a nervous smile. I then made to move off. I came to a stop when he reached out and placed a firm hand on my shoulder. I stumbled and looked at him wildly for a second. Suddenly my heart was fluttering for some reason.

“Strange sight you are there son, walking alone like that.” He said faintly, dropping his hand.

“Pardon my asking, but where’s your Mamono?” he asked, as he glanced back at where I came. I blinked stupidly a couple of times.

“Uhhh, Mamono?” I started, not understanding what he was referring to. That was when he reached up and slid his glasses down a bit along his nose. When I saw his eyes, mine widened in shock.

Neither of eyes had round pupils! Instead, they had vertical slits!

“Ahem!” I coughed, backing away slightly while patting my pockets. “I think I might have left mine in my backpack!” I stammered in full-bullshit mode. “Do you think I’ll need it in town?”

He just looked at me skeptically for what seemed the longest time. Finally, he licked his lips and spoke.

“Noooo,” he drawled, “I don’t reckon you will.” He said, pursing his lips at me. Then he paused as one side of mouth turned up, as he looked me up and down. He seemed agitated.

“It being such a hot day and all.” He began, “I’ve got myself a pitcher of lemonade chilling in the fridge. Care to join me in a glass?” he asked, all neighborly.

“I appreciate the thought, but I really should be going.” I replied, feeling a few droplets of sweat flow down the back of my neck. But not from the heat.

He looked at me for a moment, sighed once and shook his head.

“Wish you the best of luck, son.” He murmured, as he propped his hoe onto a fence post. Then he moseyed his way into his house. I stared at his front door for the longest time, waiting for something to happen. What I don’t know.

Nothing did.

‘What the fuck is going on?’ I thought, as I continued walking.

Soon, all too soon, I was to find out what.

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Despite that, I decided that the town to be a nice little spot of a place.

It being a Sunday afternoon, it was practically deserted. I did spy one open establishment that gave off the most delicious smell of carbonizing hamburgers. I squinted at the faded sign overhead it.

“The Oni Frosty In Town,” I read aloud, my eyebrows bunching.

‘Weird name.’ I thought, studying the sign over the joint. It was a picture of a buxom red-skinned babe fondling a milkshake between her overly large boobies. 

‘I guess that’s one way of keeping cool.’ I decided with a grin. ‘I guess the local council has a good sense of humor.’

Patting my too-slim wallet, I decided that I needed a sleeping bag more than I needed a burger.

‘Damn it!’ I complained.

As I walked by the place’s far side, I noticed that there were some kids sitting on benches; gobbling up some ice cream. They froze when they saw me. I waved at them, but they didn’t wave back.

“Huh.” I chuffed. ‘There’s something odd about those kids.’ I thought as I looked back over my shoulder at them.

Then I noticed it, both the boys there ignored me. Yet every one of the odd-looking young girls, were looking intensely at me.

I’d seen that kind of look before. On a pack of wolves staring at an injured elk. I felt a chill run up my spine, so I quickened my pace.

Thankfully, it was only a few more blocks down and a bridge across a small river, to the street in front of the surplus store.

Along the way there, I spied a park on the other side of the road. It was all nice and quiet on the grass, just the occasional breeze disturbing the air.

 In the corner of my eye I noticed there was a couple with a baby carriage underneath a gazebo, cooing and playing with someone in the crib; I pointedly ignored them, to avoid another meltdown.

‘I don’t need to get any more attention than necessary.’ I decided.

 I then passed the church, and shook my head at the sight of the odd name plastered on it:

“Our Lady of Darkness”, it said, along with advertised times for services. It. It turned out that the store I was looking for was part of the church.

I propped my backpack near the door and went in.

When I entered, a little bell chimed overhead, piercing the silence of the place. At first, it seemed as if it was just me and rows and rows of various mercantile stuff piled up in heaps.

Then I heard a cheery voice call out.

“Hello!’ came a woman’s voice. “I’m busy sorting stuff, is there something you need?”

“Uh,…sleeping bags?” I replied up and over the aisle tops at the unseen person.

“Over on aisle ten!” she replied with a giggle.

“Thanks!” I shot back as I stepped lightly on the tiled floor. For some reason I felt the urge to avoid disturbing the silence with my hiking boots. 

As I passed the cash register, I noticed that there was a ‘Lucky Cat’ with both paws clawing at the air. I paused and noticed that it also had boobies. Big ones.

‘Okay’, I thought, dismissing it. Soon I was able to locate a suitable bag. I was also happy to see that the price on the tag was way below what I’d expected.

“Hot Damn!” I said aloud, happy with my find.

“Yes?” came the woman’s voice from somewhere behind me. For some reason this gave me a pause.

“Uh,…nothing!” I replied, unsettled for some reason at the exchange.

“I found what I’m looking for.” I stammered. “See you at the front counter.” I shot back as I quickened my pace, nervous again at what was going on.

‘Looks like I might be able to enjoy a burger after all.’ I thought, my mouth watering at the thought of a big hot greasy monstrosity sliding down my throat. I stopped and gaped when I arrived at the counter. The cashier was already there, I hadn’t heard her move in front of me.

‘Odd.’ I thought, looking over behind me. No one there.

Then I took in the fact that she was wearing what looked like a priests outfit. All black and shit. But it was more akin to a Halloweeny-Type Sexy Priest cassock.

It’s front was split provocatively, along with cuts all over the place, showing skin in places I’d not have expected to see with a ‘woman of the cloth’. She had a cleavage so deep, that I felt another ‘call of the void’ for a long second or two.

“Hello!” she called out with a high-pitched voice that made my ears ache. “I’ve not seen you in here before!” Why don’t you come on over and we can work something out!” she smiled, breaking me from my reverie.

Thankfully, she didn’t seem offended by my fixation on her chest. In fact, she seemed rather pleased.

I plopped the bag on the counter and she looked down at it with a frown.

“Just the one?” she asked, confused. “What about one for your mate?” she asked, tilting her head at me.

“I don’t have a mate.” I replied, and then paused as her face lit up with a shit-eating grin.

“I’ve been hiking alone for the longest time,” I continued. It was then that I noticed a couple of pointed ear tips poking out alongside her head.

‘What’s with the Spock ears in this place? Is everyone here a kissing cousin?’ I wanted to ask, but it seemed impolite.

“Well isn’t that special?” she continued. As she spoke the tip of her tongue poked out and started playing on the bottom of her top lip.

“Make me an offer.” She purred, her eyes smoldering as she leaned forward, giving me a grand view of her cleavage.

‘Spathic.’ I thought with a drool.

“The tag says five bucks.” I whispered hoarsely, dropping a fin onto the counter.

“Counter offer!” she shot back, ‘Sixty Nine!” she finished, ignoring the five-dollar bill in front of her. She didn’t say anything for several seconds.

“Uhhh. Sixty-nine, what?” I replied finally, confused.

I moved the legal tender closer to her to get her attention. She ignored it, as her eyes bore into mine. It was then I noticed that her eyes were a shocking shade of purple, I felt myself starting to fall into those wonderful purple eyes.

‘Is it getting warm in here?’ I wondered, as I felt my body flush. It was then that she grabbed my hand and pulled it to her face.

“No mate? Oh yes I can smell that! Well that’s just not cricket!” she continued. I tried to pull my hand away from hers, but she had a grip of iron.

“Could you let go of me please?” I asked, nervously. She shook her head in negation as she continued to lift my hand to her face. She then opened her mouth to, what I assume was, suckle my fingers.

‘What kind of priest acts like this?!’ I wondered, suddenly scared. 

Just as her tongue wet my fingers, she paused and drew back for a second, blinking wildly as if she’d tasted something awful. She sniffed audibly and then looked at me with a whole lot of confusion and just a smidgen of disgust.

“You don’t taste right!” she gasped, dropping my hand in the process.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, confused.

“Your Spirit Energy!” she stated as she straightened up and took a step back from the counter. “It’s,…off!” she finished with a grimace.

“My what?” I thought to ask, but held off, as the look on her face told me that our conversation was at a conclusion.

‘Well so much for that.’ I whined with disappointment.

I stepped forward and grabbed my sleeping bag, leaving the money on the counter.

I then exited the joint in a hurry, not once looking behind me. I didn’t need or want to as I felt her eyes boring into my back. The door jangled again as I left.

I then hurried across the street after grabbing my backpack. I got a strange sense of foreboding as I rolled the bag up and attached it. I then started hoofing it to the edge of town

I kept looking all over, half expecting Rod Serling to pop out and give a monologue with my name within it.

After a couple of blocks and after nothing had happened, I began to relax.

Once I did, I remembered that the Oni-Frosty joint was ahead. I headed over to it and ducked in, relieved to see that they had indoor seating.

‘No one inside and no sign of those pesky kids.’ Windows on one side gave me a grand view of the road, in case someone came nosing around.

I let out my breath and then took off my pack and laid it on the floor next to a table.

“Be with you in a minute!” came this deep feminine voice. Turning, I saw a half-door to what seemed to be the kitchen area. I went to it and heard the sound of fries cooking. All of that grease smelled positively wonderful!

What can I say man? Power bars are good in a pinch, but they really don’t have much in the way of fat. The last few months, I’d lost a lot of the baby fat that Chiara’s cooking had put on me. What with all of her prepping she’d done for our baby’s arrival.

I catch myself sighing mournfully at the thought of our baby.

“What’s the matter honey?” came the feminine voice again. I looked up and just about lost my shit.

Standing there in the open top half of the door, stood a seven-foot-tall woman with muscles that just wouldn’t quit. She had a shock of almost platinum blonde hair, and she had the absolute worst case of sunburn I’d ever seen!

Every inch of her skin was a bright crimson! How she could stand there without screaming in pain was beyond me.

“Neko got your tongue?” she asked with a smile. I noticed that there were way too many canines gleaming back at me. I gulped.

“Uuuummm,…” I began, “Menu?” I squeaked, trying and failing to cover my fear.

She gave me a patient grin and then pointed to her left and said- “Shake Flavors.” Then once to her right, “Burgers”.  I did a double take and felt a bit sheepish when I saw the menus posted on either side of the doorway.

“Oh well,” I began, “they’re out in the open in front of me! How on earth can I be expected to see that!” I joked. That made her laugh, which put me at ease. Just a bit.

“Once you’ve made your decision, let me know. Right now I’m cooking up some to-go orders.” She nodded and stepped out of sight. I felt dizzy for a second and then started scoping out the shakes menu.

‘Holy Crap!’ I goggled, looking at the lineup. There must’ve been at least fifty ice cream varieties and flavorings: Shakes, Malts, coffees and other artery clogging delights!

‘What’s that?’ I said as the prices caught my eye.

‘Inconceivable!’ I thought, ‘that can’t be right.’ I then checked out the full menu, and was shocked to discover- that those were indeed the correct prices.

‘How can they stay in business charging so little?’ I wondered.

I ended up ordering a Large Butterscotch shake, along with a Quadruple bypass Bacon-Cheeseburger topped by a fried egg. It also came with some double-pepper curly fries on the side.

Heaven.

When the food showed up, I was amazed at the portion sizes. Just the milkshake alone would’ve been good for a day’s worth of hiking calories.

Happily, I left a sizable tip in the tip jar. The cook protested, but I insisted. It was all so wonderful!

When I bit into the burger I just about came in my mouth!

Hold on.

That,…didn’t sound right.

Let’s just say, that it was REALLY Good, and leave it at that.

While I was working on stuffing myself silly, my attention kept drifting off to take in the sights outside. I did notice the occasional pickup drive past, so everything seemed ok for a while.

However, for some odd reason, I was starting to feel unsettled. I started looking around.

Then it hit me. The to-go orders before me, no one had come by to pick them up.

‘That’s strange.’ I thought, the remaining half of my hamburger halted before I could take another delicious bite. That’s when I also noticed that I hadn’t seen the cook for some time either. I carefully put my burger down, and quietly snuck over to the half-door.

There was no one in evidence, but I could hear someone talking in whispers. Carefully, I leaned my head inside. Then I saw the cook with her back to me- she was on the phone.

“You can count on me Sherriff! I’ll try and delay him for as long as possible. It shouldn’t be too hard. He’s positively ravenous! He’s so skinny, I just want to hit that Monster who’s been neglecting him!”, she stated maternally. As she began to turn in my direction. I ducked back out of sight.

“Crap!” I muttered under my breath. ‘Suspicions confirmed! I’d better leave, NOW!’ I decided. However, before I could do anything.

“OH!” the sunburned cook said behind me, startled at my appearance next to the half-door. “Can I help you?” she asked, flustered.

“Uhhh, Men’s room?” I asked as innocently as I could.

“Outside to your left, at the end.” She replied automatically.

“Thanks!” I said, as I grabbed my backpack and exited.

Just for appearances sake, I did a quick breeze by the facilities and made sure to let the door slam shut loudly. I then started a quick jog down the street. It wasn’t easy to leave, because,…Damn!

 That was the best fucking burger I’d ever eaten. Before or since!

After about a block of walking, I looked back at the burger joint and noticed the cook was standing in the door. She was holding something up to her head and talking while looking straight at me.

“Ah shit!” I spoke aloud, as a thrill of fear shot up my spine. I suddenly got the urge to get moving a whole lot faster. I soon started double-timing it as fast I could, towards the closest edge of town. Just as I started, I heard the sound of a police siren begin sounding off in the distance.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” I breathed as I started running full tilt, my hiking boots beating a rapid staccato on the sidewalk pavement.

“What’d I do now?” I wondered, as I rounded a corner and on out along the main highway. The siren’s call got louder and closer, as I swerved onto a side street full of houses.

Glancing over a shoulder, I noticed that many of the houses had people’s heads poking out of window shades and doorways to see what the commotion was.

I nearly face planted when I realized that not all of the heads were human. Many of them had ears in weird places, and fur over most of their faces.

“Fuckity fuckity fucking fuck!” I moaned. ‘C’mon Rod! Where the hell are you?!’

A few seconds later in the distance, I heard the siren stop as I made it past where I’d first seen that old man in his garden. There was no sign of him then. At that point, I thought I was home free.

Then, out of an alley ahead, appeared that bane of country speedsters everywhere: A sheriff’s car.

It came to a stop in front of me, it’s bubblegum lights swirling and flashing.

I was blocked!

A quick look behind me confirmed my suspicion; there was another one pulling up at the other end of the block, cutting off my egress.

Trapped, and so easily too!

“Dammit!” I fumed, as I looked all around me for an alternative escape route. No luck! Every single one of the yards around me were fenced! “Shit!” I exclaimed, for that was when I heard the sound of a door opening from the first sheriff vehicle.

“Hello citizen.” Said a deep bass feminine voice. I refused to look at her. She continued.

 “I’ve got a couple of reports about an unsupervised male wandering about. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would ya?” she asked in a seemingly pleasant tone.

As she spoke, she closed her car door. I heard a couple of clopping sounds against the tarmac from her direction. My head shot up and I stared in utter horror at what stood before me!

“WHAT THE FUCK!!!” I screamed, losing it.

Yeah, I screamed, you would’ve too, at what I saw. It was another one of those gods-be-damned girly monsters!

However, this wasn’t one of those previous cute ones, oh no! T

his one was a good six and a half feet tall! She stood on what appeared to be a pair of hooves that led up past a pair of well-muscled thighs. Taking in the rest of her, I’d have said she’d look more appropriate to be modeling for a weight lifting photoshoot.

She had a police officer’s duty uniform painted over her massive torso. There was a shiny badge over her left tit. Her vaguely bovine, but still attractive face had a couple of brown marks on her cheeks that matched her cinnamon brown eyes.

There was a ring in her septum that made me want to giggle. But I knew that if I started, I probably wouldn’t have stopped. I expected her to have a Smoky Bear hat, but instead she sported a 10-gallon Stetson.

She had her hands out in front of her in a placating manner.

My eyes bugged when I saw her tail twitch behind her once.

“What’s wrong pardner?” she asked me softly as she took a hoof clopping step closer to me.

“Stay away from me!” I yelled, backpedaling. “What the fuck are you?!” I demanded. She seemed puzzled and just a bit hurt at my comment.

“Hold on now son, there’s no need to get your pants inna a bunch.” She replied as she took another clopping step towards me. It was a big step. She had long legs after all. That pushed me over the edge!

I pulled out my knife.

Yeah, I know. That wasn’t the brightest thing to do. Whipping out a knife in front of an armed officer of the law. 

Suicide by cop hadn’t been the way I’d planned on making my final exit.

In my defense however, panic doesn’t exactly make a man intelligent now does it?

She stopped and frowned with disappointed look on her face. Then she opened her mouth to say something else. As she did, her eyes shifted to something behind me and then widened.

“Deputy!” she bellowed, “Stand down!” I turned and looked. There was another freakazoid cop behind me! She was just a few feet away, and I hadn’t heard a thing from her. Damn she was stealthy!

If anything else, her appearance frightened me even more. While the first cop appeared to something out of a Harry Hausen movie, this one seemed to have crawled out of an old Japanese horror flick.

She was even taller than the first, about seven feet if you didn’t add the overly long horns sprouting from her head. She too was dressed in a ragged police officer’s uniform that bulged in feminine ways, and her skin color was a bright verdant green! I later learned she was a Green Ogre.

She was holding her hand on the hilt of something shiny at her side- ready to draw it. She gave me a smile that reminded me of a tiger’s grin.

I swirled around and brandished my knife at her, completely forgetting the Sherriff.

What an idiot I was! Because that was when I felt a pair of beefy arms encircling me and press me to a wall of well-padded muscle and breasts. She managed to twist the knife away from me in a flash.

“Gotcha!” she said in triumph, as I felt her breath down my neck. “Now try and settle down son.” She instructed, “I’m not here to hurt ya, just get some answers.”

I tried to be diplomatic with my reply. Or, I tried to be that is. I think it may have come out instead as, “Bite Me!” I wailed, as I struggled in vain against her steely-dan like hold.

“LET. ME. GOOOO You Freaky Assed Fuck Face!” I howled, as tears of hysteria rolled down my eyes and spittle flew from my mouth.

I must’ve moved just enough for the Sheriff to loosen her grip. Because that was when my fist managed to connect with her nose- and my thumb hooked the ring that was in her septum. I yanked at it. Hard.

She bellowed in pain and let me go to clutch at her nose.

I was free!

But only for an instant. Because that was when I heard a loud sound

“BZZZZT!” it went, and then I felt a massive wave of pain wash over my entire body. I collapsed to the ground, shaking involuntarily.

As the blackness overwhelmed me, I saw that the green goblin holding what could only be a taser in one hand.

Then I was gone.

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It took me what seemed the longest time to come back. But I did.

The room in which I lay seemed to be swaying around me. Every few seconds I felt something bash me slightly on the top of my head.

I groaned for a second and tried to move, but I couldn’t.

As my head cleared, I looked around as best I could.

I soon realized that I was hanging, suspended horizontally near the ceiling of a train’s baggage car. I could feel the rhythmic clicking of the wheels against the tracks every second or two.

“Uh, hello?” I asked, my voice echoing. I then heard someone sigh peevishly. The sound of a chair squeaked from somewhere below and behind me. I then heard a couple of steps approaching. Then someone poked me rather viciously in the back.

“Oh, I take it that Sleeping Beau’s finally awake eh?” a gruff voice began.

“Yeah” I interrupted, “Where the hell am I, and where am I going?” I demanded. I winced when instead of a jab; I felt a punch to one of my kidneys.

“That’s enough from you asshole!” came that gruff voice again. “When I give you leave to talk, you will refer to me as Deputy. That’s all you need to know for now.” The voice sneered.

“Hold on here!” I started, and then hissed when the Deputy punched me in the other kidney.

‘THAT! Is soooo not helping!’ I mentally groaned, as I stayed there and panted as the pain began to subside.

“Keep your mouth shut, Freak!” the Deputy growled deeply below me.

“WE!” she began, “are on OUR way to the U.S. Panhandle Detention Facility and Reeducation Camp, located near Monster Girl City, Oklahoma.  All thanks to you and your little antics back in town!” she continued.

I bit my tongue then to keep from mouthing off. It was hard.

“I got volunteered to escort your sorry little ass there, as your Minder. Seeing as the Sheriff couldn’t. All because you just about ripped her nose off.” She growled. “You fucking psychopath.”

“Is she Ok?” I asked daringly, waiting for another punch despite. Nothing came for a few seconds, other than the sound of some breath flaring through some nostrils.

“No thanks to you, fuckhead.” For some reason I found myself warming up to this one. She spoke my language fluently after all.

“She’ll be all healed up in a couple of weeks, and right as rain.” She went on.

“I however, won’t be in such a good mood.,” she growled again. “You fucked up my plans for the weekend. So that doesn’t make me very happy.” She added, tapping me rather harshly in the back again.

“Don’t make my life difficult or I’ll make you regret it.” She warned. I then heard her step over back to her chair. Then I heard her drag it to a point directly underneath me.

“Uhhhh,” I began…

“CAN IT!” she shouted, “I don’t care what it is you’ve got to say!” she said in a tone of finality.

‘Oh crap!’ I thought silently, ‘I think that you do lady. Cause I REALLY need to take a whiz!’ I whined.

I have to admit that that was one helluva start to my first day in this new world. Nevertheless, it was about to get even more interesting.

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