Shapeshifter Ch. 04bymetajinx©
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Copyright by metajinx. Please do not duplicate or copy without explicit permission. This story is purely fictional. If you don't like violence, stop reading right here - there will be weapons, drugs, manhandling, blood and violent death, and also: no sex. I recommend reading all the other parts first, because this is a continued story. This part is narrated by Kelaste (pronounced "Kay-last", the short form Kel is pronounced like "Kell").
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Something woke me up in the middle of the night. The house was pitch black, the music had stopped, the cum had dried to a crusty, brittle mass on my ass and stomach, but other than that everything was just as before. I felt warm and sheltered, physically tired and hazy, but my heart raced with adrenaline, and each thud pounded nearly painful against my ribs.
Too relaxed to move I simply listened into the silence around me, trying to find out why my heart behaved like a frightened bird. Maybe Noom had come back? He had an uncanny talent to surprise me with his stealthy assaults.
There was a soft clicking sound coming from downstairs, and this time I was fully awake. The sound itself was so muted and quiet no human ears would have been able to hear it, but even pumped with heroin my senses were keener than any thug could imagine.
Someone was picking the lock on Noom's front door.
I tried to get up and nearly fell from the couch when the tight pants constricted around my knees. It would be faster to pull them up than to shuck them off, so I wedged my ass into the snug denim, trying not to fall over and not to miss any other noises from downstairs at the same time.
It was hard to avoid making any noises since my head still swam with sleepiness and a phenomenal high, but my cat instincts weren't bothered by that as much as my conscious mind. I was used to having to hide quickly and without traces, since my father had never liked to bring home a new lady to find his juvenile bastard son sit at the couch and gawk at them, and automatically I grabbed for my coffee mug to hide it under the couch. It was not the usual routine where I had enough time to hide any trace and disappear into my remote bedroom before visitors stepped into the house, but I still was quick enough with my reactions.
They still were fiddling around with the admittedly sturdy lock when I prowled over to the dusty window next to the four poster bed and found it glued shut by a coat of black lacquer. I would not have had any problems forcing it open, but that would have definitely alerted whoever was breaking in to my presence, and somehow I suspected it would end very badly to let them know I was here.
My heart was still beating fast and hard when I turned around to look for another place to hide. My instinctual agitation made my fingers twitch and shiver and my spine tingle with anticipation. I knew that my body wanted to change shape so I'd be able to defend myself against any attacker, but as good as my cat-body was in fighting and running, I needed my human shape to hide.
There was an old, brittle latch in the ceiling above the weapon's chest. I wouldn't have noticed it under any other circumstances, because it was painted the same strange dark violet color as the rest of the room, but the handle was still attached, and a few holes and gaps between the painted planks let me know that it led to the attic.
I scurried over, climbed onto the sturdy chest and stretched upward to press my hand against the latch. It didn't budge.
When I pushed harder the paint cracked as the latch swung open. Downstairs I heard the front door being unlocked.
I pulled myself into the moldy, dusty attic in a split second, and lowered the latch very carefully, then laid down on it.
The utter silence downstairs didn't calm my nerves at all, it only made me breathe harder, made my heart beat faster. I could hear the faint sound of the door closing, then nearly soundless steps proceeding through the ground floor. Cupboards and closets were opened and closed, but not a word was exchanged. I thought I heard two pairs of boots, but I couldn't be sure.
When the invaders walked up the steps I could see two stray light cones wander around the room. One of them even grazed the latch I laid on, but didn't stop there.
They were very thorough with their search, and very professional. They didn't make a peep until they were utterly sure that no one was at home, and they didn't ransack or destroy anything. Only when they were finished with their search did they start a hushed conversation, flash lights directed to the floor.
"Nothing," a deep, unhappy voice whispered, and it sounded like a statement and a question at the same time.
"Maybe he let him go?" the other voice answered, and I was surprised to find out that one of them was a woman. A pretty tall, confident woman at that. The only women I had met in my life were trophy wives and housekeepers, all very feminine and demure. I didn't know why the presence of that woman surprised me so much, but it did.
The guy switched off his flash light and clasped it to his belt, then dug around in his pants pocket, standing right where I could see him through the gap between the boards. "Nah, never. You saw that guy, the beating he took without a twitch. Maybe he's telling the truth." At that he pulled out a small mobile phone, dialed and held it at chest height. I could hear the hollow dialing tone loud and clear; the call had obviously been put on speaker. I could watch them through the small gap in the floor boards, I could listen to them, and if they didn't get the idea to look for an attic, I was in a perfect spot to spy on them. My heartbeat calmed down somewhat, but my spine still tingled with the latent urge to shift shape.
A click indicated the call being answered, and then an unknown, echoing voice huffed, "have you got him?"
"No. Not a trace at his home. You'd never believe he lives here, it's all so... clean, and shabby at the same time. The only thing we found is a metal chest, but it's too small to hide a body," man-thug answered, his gaze fixed at his busty comrade's face.
There was a soft crackling when their conversational partner kneaded his phone, then a hollow sigh followed. "He has to be there somewhere. Why else would this merch' give us cat's blood and claim it to be that boy's?" The next few words were muffled and blurred, because the recipient had put his hand over the microphone to talk to someone else, then the shuffling stopped and the voice was clear again.
"Put a booby trap in the house. If that boy comes back there he'd better not survive it. We'll meet you at the candy factory in half an hour." A sharp click indicated the end of the call, and thug and thugette got going, again silent and professional. Their behavior sent cold shivers down my back, my instincts screaming for me to get out of there. But I couldn't, not yet. I had to find out where they put the booby trap, and by god, I couldn't obey Noom's command to stay put if they'd been talking about him being severely beaten up, even if it felt unnervingly wrong to defy him.
I had to find their booby trap, follow them to the mentioned candy factory, find Noom and save him. No running away this time, and no waiting for someone else to fix it.
The henchmen got to it as soon as the call ended. Again there was the shuffling of feet, the stray light cones and the sounds of cupboards and closets being opened and inspected. One of them even forcibly opened the window I had probed before, then shut it again.
"He won't get in through here, it's too high and the wall is smooth. He'd need a ladder, and he won't think that far," guy-thug whispered, and was given girl-thug's humming consent. They gave the bedroom one last once-over and the light cone again grazed the hatch I was lying on, then they walked downstairs to repeat their search.
It maybe took them about ten minutes to find a good spot for their booby trap, but it felt like hours to me. I was sweating fiercely, and for the last few minutes it took to set up their bomb I actually feared my sweat would soak through the gaps in the hatch and alarm them to my hiding spot, but of course that never happened. They didn't have my fine sense of hearing, and they were at the front door, too far away from the steps to see small drops of dusty sweat fall from the ceiling. And I wasn't effectively sweating that much, it was just my vivid imagination and the terror I felt.
When they finally walked out there was a small clicking sound mixed in with the thud of the closing door, announcing that the bomb was now armed and ready. I didn't move until I heard a car drive away, then slowly crawled out of the attic and jumped down into the bedroom. It was dark, but my eyes penetrated the darkness easily as I peeked down the stairs. I knew there was a bomb, but I couldn't find any trace of it just by looking, and decided against going downstairs to search for it. Who knew how they had set up their little trap? They surely had set up a plan B to cover other possible entry points, and walking down there knowing there was a bomb seemed utterly stupid to me.
Instead I decided to look for Noom.
The logic behind that decision seemed sound to me. They had beaten him up because of me, he hadn't killed me and I didn't feel like such a freak when I was around him. I liked him in a crazy way, and it felt right to help him. With him I wasn't lonely anymore, and that alone was worth more than anything else. A more reasonable part of my mind still argued with me, telling me what a normal human being would do, but I was being stubborn. I wasn't human, so maybe it was time to stop trying to act like I was. It was a stupid moment to take that step, but any reason was enough for me to hold on to.
When I walked to the window I realized my hands were shaking badly. It surprised me because I didn't feel shocky or any more anxious than what I thought was normal for someone in my situation, but my hands told me otherwise. I also remembered that I was nearly naked and would stand out like a sore thumb, so I rummaged around to find something to put on. Every passing minute worsened the shaking, and it slowly engulfed my arms, shoulders and finally legs, until I had to sit down and take a few calming breaths that didn't really help that much.
Maybe I was freaking out because I was so afraid to end up alone and miserable again, or maybe it was a reaction to the near-death-experience I had just gone through, but it was bad either way. I had had anxiety attacks before, but I had never learned how to deal with them except for simply ignoring the shortness of breath, the shaking and the innate fear ripping at my mind. Anxiety was weakness after all, and any weakness was punished severely under my father's rule.
This time ignoring and hiding my panic just didn't work, and the thought of losing precious minutes just sitting there and being a wimp didn't make it any better. Finally I resorted to slapping myself so hard my teeth rattled, and the pain snapped me out of it. And why wouldn't it? It always worked when my father slapped me, just another learned reaction that now came in handy.
My face stung where my hand had left its imprint, but I got up nonetheless and continued my search for a shirt and a sweater, sniffling silently and wiping tears from my eyes ever so often. I told myself over and over that I could cry as much as I wanted after I found Noom, but that also didn't do any good. Finally I just grabbed a black short sleeved shirt and a dark purple sweatshirt, pulled them on and opened the window. I had no shoes to put on, and socks would just get wet and sticky, so I went bare footed, jumping out of the first story window and down onto the unforgiving concrete below.
I smashed into the hard floor, rolled a few feet and crashed into a garbage container where I finally came to a halt. A mere human would probably have hurt himself quite badly falling that deep, and even I ached everywhere, but except for a dislocated, slashed open left shoulder I was unhurt. It was not my best jump, but not the worst one either.
The pain from my shoulder was fierce and sharp, but I just held my hurt arm against my chest and started limping down the street. It would heal fast enough and without permanent damage, as it had so often in the past, and stopping at a hospital to get it fixed up was out of the question. I was forbidden from ever going to a public hospital, under any circumstances. My father had even gone so far as to tell me I should rather die than let myself get caught by modern medicine, and though that did sound quite cruel, it had toughened me up and taught me a few neat tricks in first aid.
For example, the old 'ram your dislocated shoulder against a stable edge' only worked for a very specific kind of dislocation, and only injured you more under any other circumstance. I would need a helper to snap my shoulder joint back into its rightful place, and keep the arm stable and immovable until then. I didn't even think about other potential helpers for this, I just assumed Noom would do it and jogged on.
Every step sent shock waves of red-hot pain through my injured arm, making me increasingly dizzy and disoriented. It was dark and cold, the streets were wet from the soft drizzle that had fallen hours before, and dirt and litter were scattered everywhere. I didn't count how often I stepped into shards of glass, dog poop or discarded chewing gum, but by the looks on the faces of people I passed I must have looked like hell. I stopped three times to vomit or fall down and faint for a few minutes before I realized where I was headed: Irish Town.
I had never been in this district before, and I didn't know why I instinctively had come here, but in hindsight I guess there was a faint scent trail Noom had left more than five hours ago, and I was following it.
"Whoa, boyo, you look high as a kite!"
I knew that voice, but I stumbled on for a few feet before my mind could reach my limbs and stop me. When I slowly turned around to face 'Weasel', as I had nicknamed the dealer I had given a blowjob to on the day Noom had captured me, he took a step back and made a surprised sound. "I stand corrected. You look like dead shit," he swore in his this Irish accent, and took a good look at my face. "What's happened to you?"
I blinked owlishly, trying to remember why I had come here, but it took a few seconds. This definitely wasn't one of my brighter days.
"I need to go to a place they call 'candy factory'. Do you know where it is?" I mumbled, and took a step closer to Weasel.
He was still staring at my face, wary and mistrustful of my strange performance, but I didn't miss the soft twitch in his face when he heard the name. He knew where or what it was, and he didn't like it.
"What's a nice guy like you looking for there?" He asked, snorting a ball of sputum to the side. "That's a really bad place, kiddo. You're gonna get raped, or worse, is what I'm talking about." At the same moment he leaned to the side and inspected the bloody spots on my sweatshirt hiding the wound on my dislocated shoulder. I could see his eyes get a little wider, then smaller as he squinted at it. "It'd be better if I take you to a hospital, boyo. Free of charge. You're a good customer, and I like you. Don't go to the factory, it's not good."
Another wave of dizzyness swept over me and made me stumble to the side, but he didn't grab me, which I was grateful for, and I didn't fall, which was just dumb luck.
"I don't have a choice, and I can't go to the hospital, ever. I need to find Noom, and he's at the candy factory, so please, I beg you, tell me where it is. I'll be fine, really." Why had I told him that? My head felt funny, the pain in my arm had quieted down to a dull, intense throbbing, and the world had gotten a cottony edge again, so sat down. If he saw me fall unconscious in front of him he'd probably just grab me and send me to the hospital, and that would be the end of my rescue mission.
Weasel was silent for such a long time, I actually looked up to see if he had left. But no, he was still standing there, watching me silently, and thinking very hard. I could see frown lines on his forehead and watched them rise and fall as he fought with himself and finally came to a decision.
"Fine. But if you ever tell anyone where you got that information from, I'll rise from the dead to haunt you like a banshee, you hear me?" He gave me another good, hard stare, then looked around and took a step closer. It was obvious he didn't want to be overheard or seen talking to me.
"There's an abandoned sugar factory at the Bracket River, down Darcy Road. It's a four mile ride from here, but buses won't go there anymore, and cabs would rather get robbed here than drive you there, because there's more crime than anywhere else in Babylon City. You'll want to follow Wicker Street for five blocks, then turn left and cross the river on the train bridge. Turn right on the first street you find, then take the second right and go to the end of that road. The wall you'll be standing in front of is the back side of the candy factory. If you survive that long, that is."
My head still spun a little bit, but the instructions were simple enough. I had never been that deep inside the Southern Ghetto before, so I didn't recognize any of the street names, but I had a very good memory for directions.
"Thanks, I owe you. You're a life saver!"
I was on my feet and walking in a second. Now that I knew where to head I didn't want to lose another moment. Dizzyness and pain didn't matter. I would go to that godforsaken place, free Noom and take him somewhere safe. I just had to figure out exactly what to do once I was there-- I was but one little shapeshifter going up against at least three armed thugs.
The air smelled of wet concrete, car fumes, stale urine and old, moldy roses, and it carried a hint of heat the sun had left during the day. Now everything except of the concrete road was cold and uninviting. Combined with the growing darkness-- street lamps weren't working in most of the Southern Ghetto-- the whole area had an atmosphere of impending doom that really creeped me out.
Although the way to the factory had sounded easy enough, I soon found out why Weasel had put so much effort in warning me away. Coming from a rich home I always had thought the Western Ghetto was as bad as it could get, but this part of the city was even worse in so many ways. The streets weren't only broken up and full of pot holes, grass and nettles grew out of the gaps between the concrete slabs. Some of the old, decrepit buildings had crumbling veneer and gaping holes where windows had once been. Broken down, rusty cars without tires or seats stood next to pristine classic muscle cars, and while the car skeletons smelled of urine, rats, feces and death, the well-cared-for rides smelled of cologne, gun powder, sex and drugs.
Of course, there weren't many cars, not compared to the general population in the area.
As soon as I crossed the train bridge I also could see the dark schemes of people lurking at doors and side streets, and I could feel eyes watching me from the dark corners of the desolate buildings I walked by. They didn't feel friendly at all. They also didn't feel neutral or disinterested; their gazes were hungry and aggressive.
I usually had several ways of dealing with anxiety, and none of them included 'walking deeper into danger'. But this time I didn't have much of a choice, and I hoped my ragged, bloody, and beaten-looking appearance would surprise thieves and thugs long enough for me to slip away into the darkness before they could recover and come after me.
I held my injured arm against my chest, kept my head down and walked on quickly. Nobody was following me yet, but that could change any second. I took a right at the next corner like Weasel had instructed, knowing I'd just have to keep out of trouble to the end of that road.