No requiem for thee

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No requiem for thee

Post by Dr. Ascara » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:45 pm

Let me present you my another "opus" that has been developing much harder than the previous one. Yet I still hope finishing it and so on make a little contribution to the fanfic literature. Any critics are welcome.
**
NO REQUIEM FOR THEE

Chapter 1 Waiting for a meet

Image

In early spring the Megakat city was leading a steady life. And during the last weeks, nothing special happened. Some ordinary cases like a bank robbery or a fire on docks were solved quickly and didn't demand the SWAT Kats. This time Feral was right and the Enforcers handled everything.

That day, when the story broke out, cold winds with rain were wafting above the rooftops of the evening metropolis. The sky was darkening rapidly, and there didn't seem to be anyone on the empty bridge. What living soul would want to stand here in the open space in darkness, cold and solitude? However, there was someone, watching the panorama and finalizing his malevolent plan.

– Soon we shall share eternity, my dearling.

Will she accept him now when there were no servants to be protected? When they both were out of their time and desperately alone in the so-called modern world? In fact, the last statement was false. She was to be resurrected yet.

Glancing at the murky waters of the Nedlog strait he wondered about experiencing the free-falling. There was nothing to lose, was it?

Before he stepped into the abyss, his pocket watch showed a quarter past ten.

...

Meanwhile Chance was ruling his tow truck outside the salvage yard. He was alone this time since Jake went for some affairs to his hometown. No one was complaining about going through the shortcut and the big kat was already missing the grumble of his partner. In some way, Chance was also leading towards his stamping ground: the new edition of Kat Kommandoes should be already issued! That was a good pretext to come to visit Bob Perkins. He wished it was not sold out yet.

Passing the strait Chance saw someone's little posture standing on a bridge arm. He snorted:

– What for?

The posture disappeared in one instant. Did he jump?

This little scene left a hard feeling in Chance's heart. He always thought life deserves to fight for and that kat didn't share his opinion. In his judgment, there was no need to hurry cause one day everyone would meet their end. How strange, he never liked thinking a lot about such things, but...

– Hey, watch where you're going!

Chance's car almost got hit by another one. Better be more careful. That was not a Turbokat in the sky. He tried to get off turning on the radio and quickly forgot about the incident. Finally, he was approaching the comic kiosk!

...

– Chance, I'm back! Is everything OK?

The cinnamon kat entered the empty repair shop. Finally, he was at home. He meant his real home, not the place of birth... But the silence and darkness were the only ones who met him. Jake stopped on the threshold.

– Chance? - there was no sound from the distant part of the garage. That was a little weird. Where would Chance go so lately? 10.30 p.m. Probably something happened? But the portative alarm trigger remained silent.

Having left his suitcase Jake went out of the shop only to find that the tow truck was also missing. Well, everyone has his own affairs, he tried to find a suitable explanation. At least he could change clothes after travel. Having mounted upstairs Jake peered into the Chance's room. There was a carton box on his bed with some comics laying outside. Jake let himself have a tired smile:

– Ah, sometimes he's like a little child.

He approached the bedside table and lied on a new issue of Kat Kommandoes bagged in cellophane. Probably that purchase was in vain, but still, it was a nice try to make something pleasant.

...

The Megakat city historical site keeping rare ruins of its predecessor was empty and spooky. In the beginning, Pastmaster thought about founding the grave of the queen Callista. Though her ashes were gone many centuries ago, there was a thing he could pick up. To resurrect his belle amour, Pastmaster needed the earth from her grave, something that belonged to her and, obviously, the Tome of Times. That last part was the clearest in his plan. He needed to direct to that Museum where the things being modern for him were exhibited as something ancient. But for now...

– Invoco servorum.

Some crumbly skeletons rose from the ground and knelt down in front of their lord. Pastmaster looked more decisive than the previous times since he was dealing not with a hunger for power, but a willingness of his love to be satisfied.

– Finden Callista immediately!

While his minions separated to find the necessary tombstone Pastmaster willed to approach the little Stonehenge-like arcade depicting four kats in long dresses with spiritual facial expressions. The barely seen Gothic writing said: "Here lien... faithful advocates of... first queen... known... Council of Elders... Dominus forgive... sins. 1193 AD".

– Where are ye now, my dear foes? I would like to settle my old scores for my long-term incarceration. - He grinned. - Ah, ye are dead. And I'm not. Soon I shall give a quietus to our argument.

– Looord... - groaned one of the minions.

Leaving the socle of the Elders' monument Pastmaster hissed:

– Callista is mine.

...

Parking the truck Chance felt two emotions. The first was anger, because as he expected the new issue did be sold out. The second one was confusion because he saw lights turned on in the garage. Who was that? Did Jake come back earlier than he announced? against every eventuality, the tabby grabbed a little blaster from the hidden locker. With a weapon hold up, he came up to the building. Someone definitely was there. Chance heard footsteps. And if the situation was not so dangerous?...

– Jake? - Chance called.

– Chance, you finally came! - he heard the familiar voice. Jake descended back slowly to the ground floor moaning. - Why are you so moody?

– I went to Bob Perkins and he sold all the comics about Kat Kommandoes, - he mumbled going back to the truck and hiding the blaster.

– No need to worry since I've bought a copy for you.

– Really? - Chance brightened. - Jeez, thank you, Jake!

Very pleased that his collection remained complete, Chance went to his room, carefully carrying a comic book in his hands. Neither he nor Jake had any idea that one of them would stop living that night.

...

- *beep* I will destroy you *beep* with this pathetic city *beep* of biological creatures to ashes.

- Go ahead and try it. You'll get your tail kicked, you bombarded piece of iron!

In the plot of the new issue the Kat Kommandoes were once again struggling with terrible Red Robokat, the "local" archnemesis, when the half-light garage sank in the sound of the alarm. Chance suppressed a second of irritation, postponed the comic book, and quickly jumped from his bed. As he went downstairs, he heard Jake pick up the phone.

- Yes, Ms. Briggs?

- SWAT Kats! Disturbing news from the History Museum. It seems the Pastmaster has returned from oblivion again.

- We're on our way, - Chance approached and answered fervently.

...

– Well, all that's left is to take back what's always been mine.

After jumping into the water Pastmaster decided to indulge in "being" without magic, so he broke the glass with his bare hand and entered the broken window. The shards tore his hoodie a little, but the bones remained intact as expected.
Last edited by Dr. Ascara on Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: No requiem for thee

Post by Dr. Ascara » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:49 pm

Chapter 2 Transformation

Image

Closer to midnight the alarm triggered at the Megakat City Museum of History. When the guardsman went to the sound of the broken glass he saw the intruder didn't care much about its hiding.

...

A middle-aged she-kat woke up from a sudden phone call. What time was it?... 12.20 a.m.? Who would bother her so lately? She groaned:

– Gosh, when will I sleep out?

A fall rain was driving against the window and lullabying back. But the caller was persistent. The phone was still ringing. It looked like she had no choice. The kat left her bed and directed to another room.

– Doctor Sinian, sorry for bothering you...

The museum guard? Well, now she could certainly not hope for a dream.

– But we have an intruder here. I may sound very weird but it seems like it is once again that living dead from the Evil Legends.

– Do you mean Pastmaster? - The drowse vanished as if by magic.

– Probably yes, he does such unnatural things and... oh, holy kats!

– Mike?... Hello?

The only things doctor Sinian heard were running and a wild roar. Obviously, it would be better to check this out on herself. The police should be already there.

...

Already flying in Turbokat over the dark skyscrapers Razor quirked:

- I guess you'll never get to read that comic.

T-Bone mumbled something. And he wasn't very good at hiding his discontent.

- Just tell me, why did he decide to get out now? Not this afternoon when we were languishing with clients' cars?

- Maybe his watch runs behind, mm?

The ghost of a smile flitted across T-Bone's face.

- If speaking seriously, I don't understand why it's so quiet this time in the city. Usually Pasty invokes someone big and extremely clumsy like a cyclops or a dinosaur.

- Aaaah! Somebody! Help!

A frightened guard ran from the museum. How many years he worked here, how many times he saw the magic of the Pastmaster? But his nerves still couldn't stand with it.

- Look, Razor! What the...

Barely crossing the threshold of the museum, the dinosaur chasing a guard fell apart. It seemed the Pastmaster wasn't planning any massive actions this time. Well, then this case should be easier, probably. After that, the sound of the museum alarm system became the only thing interrupting the depressing atmosphere of a spring night. The Enforcers were likely to come here very soon.

The palm trees were swinging heavily from side to side while the vigilantes were landing their aircraft. It started to rain a little bit. The cold wind whipped the hair on their faces. Razor stopped in indecision. T-Bone was already headed for the entrance, with his glovatrix in front. He guessed the tabby wanted to finish up as soon as possible and go home.

...

To prevent the Pastmaster from leaving, they decided to split up. T-Bone went to the left side, toward the hall of ancient manuscripts. Razor went to the right side of the building, the hall of prehistory, where the skeletons of extinct animals, including dinosaurs, were exposed. The light was almost nowhere. Here in the darkness, vision drew danger around every corner and in every silhouette. The alarm went off abruptly and the museum was immersed in the unnatural silence. Irritation gave way to cautiousness. Maybe the wizard had already left the place? Or, on the contrary, he did notice them and for once in a way lurked for an attack, not willing to show up?

When T-Bone entered the next room, he shuddered at the noise of his own radio.

- Did you find anything?

- Not yet, Razor. But it's very, very quiet here.

The cinnamon kat continued to walk along the glazed wall of the museum. A rainy and empty street of the city was seen behind it.

- Yeah, finally! - a voice sounded somewhere near the museum curator's office. And this voice was far too familiar to be mistaken.

- Razor, come back. - T-Bone whispered to the transmitter.

- Copy that.

Meanwhile, T-Bone ran up the stairs and ended up in a room with arcs. On the right side of the door, the rustling pages were heard.

- I hope you'll wait for me. - Razor's voice spluttered.

T-Bone didn't reply, he was looking at the Pastmaster standing with his back to him and mumbling something over an old book. One spider missile could finish this story in no time. But the Pasty was too far. Only some more steps and...

The tabby sneaked into the room silently. Suddenly, the doors slammed and without turning around, the undead pronounced:

- Tellen me, doest thou really think I'm that stupid?

...

Running past the front entrance, Razor was called by some she-kat and stopped for an instance. She ran up the steps into the unwelcoming hall and recovered her breath.

- A SWAT Kat?

- Dr. Sinian? What are you...

- Mike, the guardian, called me. Hope he's okay... Where are you running?

- T-Bone is one on one with the Pastmaster. - he said and disappeared.

The doctor remained alone. She stared after Razor with unconcealed anxiety. Soon she went in the same direction.

...

– Thou doest not have to worry, mortal. This time, I'm here on my own business. Goen away.

He was spotted, and there was nothing to lose. This time without hiding T-Bone made a forward thrust and fired a missile. Already above the hood of the wizard, the nets were turned to ashes. That time the Pastmaster turned around. He was noticeably dissatisfied, but he didn't seem to be going to fight.

– I don't speak a language so old that thou canst not understand me.

Without taking the gunsight off one-eyed kat, the tabby mocked:

– I'm not stupid either. I don't think you've come here to admire the exhibition.

– I'm here for my Callista and I don't need any outsiders!

The doors burst open. The Pastmaster went back to the book.

– Goen.

Everything in this scene was against the vigilante. He didn't want to leave at the mercy of the rival. He didn't want to leave a dangerous criminal at large. Finally, no one canceled the fact that the Pastmaster had committed a burglary.

There was a noise of military equipment outside the panoramic window. The Enforcers finally arrived at the museum. The car doors slammed, the helicopters were on their way to land. The blinding spotlights came in the room.

– Line up! Stand to! – the loudspeaker carried Feral's voice. The Pastmaster shot a glance at the window. Taking advantage of the moment, T-Bone moved left and fired the pincer missile towards the book. The book was roughly nailed to the wall.

– Argh! I'm tired of thee! – the Pastmaster raised his hand, several cannonballs from the exposition flew up to him. One by one they flew towards the "mortal", and he barely had time to hide behind the arches or run from place to place.

– Why just can't you just go into oblivion? *one of the arches collapsed* Your time is over! Your precious Callista is history too!

Pastmaster stopped and looked on T-Bone in shock. He stuck out of a broken arch.

– She never loved you. What for this rattle?

Pastmaster's eye showed deep grief for a moment. Or it only seemed?

...

– No, no, you stay here, Doctor. It's very dangerous.

– And I don't want to hear it! First of all, I've helped you more than once on these occasions. Finally, - Dr. Sinian smiled a bit. – When else can you see a person from that era alive?

They had already seen the Pastmaster standing in the middle of the room when the door slammed again. Razor started breaking down the door.

...

Having lost his carefulness, T-Bone came out of hiding.

– All your epoch has gone! So leave this city to the ones who are alive here and now!

– Enough! – he shouted and thrown the kat himself with an extremely strong wave to the wall.

The tabby groaned from the pain. Did he break a rib?

– Thou! Little! Living! Breathing! Pest! - Pastmaster was desperate and furious approaching the prostrate rival with every word. - I hate thee!

– I'm *cough* not surprised, Pasty, - T-Bone snorted. He didn't recognize he just crossed the very dangerous line in his mockery.

Pastmaster opened the renovated Tome of Times and scrolled pages. T-Bone tried to shake off the bricks and stand up, but...

– Manibus tenebrae!

Some bloody unnaturally long paws arose from the floor and grasped the tabby's arms and legs.

– What's the?! - T-Bone was not joking anymore.

...

– Did you hear that hit? And the groaning...

Razor broke even more desperate. Things looked nasty for his pal.

...

– Thou canst not imagine how miserable my non-life is.

The hands grabbed stronger. T-Bone let himself a stifled cry. Yes, seems like he broke a rib on the left.

– Thou breathest and feelest the warmth of sunlight on thy fur. Not like me with my bones. I would give all my power to inhale the fresh air one more time...

The two upper hands drew aside the paws of the vigilante, now he looked from above like being crucified. His bosom was palpitating fitfully.

– Razor, where are you? – he whispered.

Pastmaster took a rusty sword down from the wall.

– Enough talking. I shall end it.

– T-Bone, I'm coming!

Pastmaster turned back and took down the arisen sword. Once again he threw the greasy eyeball on his victim.

– I was saddened when I saw my Callista being buried. She favored the life of a mere mortal! My only love oldened, died, and now rests in peace in heaven while I, who sold my soul to the Devil, still wander the world.

That was the end? Not the air crash? Not the bomb exploding? Some undead skeleton with an archaeological exponent? That was so wrong!

– I shall make thee understand my pain. Thou will be like me, a living dead!

T-Bone switched face.

– The death will seem to be a gift to thee. But thou won't have it.

The door was wrenching under someone's strong hits.

– T-Bone!

– Thou will outlive everyone thou lovest, thou will bury all of them one by one...

T-Bone felt a rare guest in his heart: the fear.

– The time will ruin thy mind. The delirium will be thy only companion. But thou will exist.

Pastmaster put his hand up and a pentagram appeared around the still-living creature.

– Listen, Pastmaster, Guess I was too rude...

– Silence! - another paw arose and closed his mouth. The disgusting smell blasted his nose.

– May thy heart make no beat...

The pentagram turned red and buzzed. T-Bone gasped, his head was spinning. No, not now!

– May the air quit thy lungs...

The probably last exhalation turned into a rattle. The Pastmaster's voice became raspy and defigured not as usual. Now, droning on, he did sound like a lich.

– May thy chest lose its heat...

T-Bone felt his body frosting. He was trying to wrest out, to cry for help, but those cursed paws impeded him. With the last ounce of his strength, he tried not to fall unconscious. The door was smashed out.

– To this world, thou doest not clung!

– Raz... - tried to mumble T-Bone.

The tabby strained momently and closed his eyes. His head turned lifelessly sideways.

– No! – shouted the cinnamon kat. – No!

– No "requiem aeternam" for thee, – the Pastmaster whispered in the ear of his victim and went to a portal.

The Enforcers broke into the museum. It was heard well, that part of them was heading to the second floor.

...

Razor approached with a heavy heart. Dr. Sinian was tactful and remained where she was, but she was looking at a motionless body with horror. This couldn't be. This couldn't be.

T-Bone had a little bleeding cut wound on his side and bristled fur on his face. Still keeping some hope Razor took his cooling paw. No pulse. With tears in his eyes, he put his ear to the chest. No doubt. His partner passed away. Without a word, he reposed his head on the body and let himself cry silently.

– Why do you cry, Razor? - he heard the voice near his face.

With a yell of surprise, the cinnamon kat jumped up wide awake.

– But... what... how?! - he wiped his tears. - Buddy, you're alive!

T-Bone woke up without any gasp or anything showing pain. The fur turned to be a bit decolored. The wound was still bleeding. He looked at the partner with some irritation.

– What do you mean? Of course, I do. But Pastmaster...

He didn't finish since Razor hugged him with the whole force he had. The big kat felt confounded but touched.

– Hey, I also...uhm... appreciate you, but it's not the right place for sentiments.

– But I saw you dead! You didn't breathe, you didn't have a pulse!... Wait a minute.

Dr. Sinian lost her patience and approached the duo.

– T-Bone, how do you feel?

– A little exhausted, but it's OK.

The doctor frowned as she looked at the bleeding wound, then she looked at T-Bone's face without saying anything. Razor took his paw once again and paled.

– You don't have a heartbeat.

– How do you think I'm standing in front of you? - the big kat asked arrogantly. – Pasty threatened to make something with me and even started some kind of his damned magic, but I went off... and still am here.

Razor was suspicious leaving a paw on his wrest. Unwilling to distract them, Dr. Sinian went to the table from which The Tome of Times had disappeared. The tabby ripped out his hand.

– You are cold. And for the last minutes, you didn't blink even once.

– You'd better go, Feral will gladly accuse you of all the sins of the world, said the she-kat. – Give your partner some help. I think the missing book can wait until tomorrow.

She pointed her hand at the inconspicuous door.

– It's the back door, go away. I'll find something to say.

...

Commander Feral supervised the operation from outside on the radio. He was told that there was nothing suspicious anywhere. Someone assumed the call was false.

- That's me who makes decisions here, – he barked.

The Turbokat standing nearby was surrounded by armed soldiers. Of course, these daredevils had to appear. But where were they now? None of his men met the masked duo yet.

– Commander, here they come!

– Huh? – Feral turned. He saw the slender kat carrying the big one shoulder-high towards the aircraft. Commander was about to stop them when he saw a crimson line left after the vigilantes. He approached to see that the carried one had a severe bleeding wound. His eyes were mid-closed.

– Next time for questions, okay? Look for the Pastmaster. – Razor said grimly.

Without missing words, Feral waved his hand. Soldiers have retreated from the aircraft. Razor put the T-Bone down as carefully as he could and closed the lid. When the Turbokat flew away, the rain got heavier.
Last edited by Dr. Ascara on Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No requiem for thee

Post by Rusakov » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:51 pm

I'll have to read this when I have the time/attention span. >.<

As an aside, it's great to see you back! BroFistIcon
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Re: No requiem for thee

Post by Dr. Ascara » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:57 pm

Rusakov wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:51 pm
I'll have to read this when I have the time/attention span. >.<

As an aside, it's great to see you back! BroFistIcon
Thank you for these kind words. I have read so many fanfics that obtained the necessary quantity of inspiration so here I am again :D
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Re: No requiem for thee

Post by Rusakov » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:21 pm

Dr. Ascara wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:57 pm
Thank you for these kind words. I have read so many fanfics that obtained the necessary quantity of inspiration so here I am again :D
Excellent! 8-)
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Re: No requiem for thee

Post by Dr. Ascara » Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:27 pm

Chapter 3 Countdown

Image

Darkness. Cold. Doubt. Everything was so strange... And unnatural.

- T-Bone, can you hear me? - the slim kat raised the head and adressed his battered partner. - You don't look so good.

- I'm fine, - the tabby replied languidly, showing his thumb.

- Holy Kats! Have you seen your wrist? It's ripped to the bone. - Razor shuddered at the sight of the torn flesh.

- Huh? - the paw was retracted, and the voice in front of him hummed thoughtfully. - It looks worse than it feels. It doesn't even hurt.

The rain kept falling, and the blurry silhouette of the junkyard was already seen in the distance. Razor tried not to give in to gloomy thoughts, but the certainty that there was only one living kat in the cabin never left him... What's that on the floor? Blood?

...

Emptiness. Insensitivity. Despair. The Pastmaster returned to Callista's grave. He seemed to be a winner. The Tome of Times lay pleasantly in his gaunt hands, it wasn't long before his beloved returned from the dead, but the sarcastic words of that pathetic, stubborn...

The dry trees rustled with their twisted branches, howling in time with the rain. They were like ugly arms sticking out of the wet ground and reaching for the apathetic sky.

Why was he even thinking of him? That youngster wasn't worth it.

- Bringen me the candles, clearen the perimeter around the queen's tomb. - ordered the Pastmaster to his minions. - Time to fill my decayed heart with meaning has come.

- Yes, lord...

The Pastmaster drew some sort of symbol in the air, and all the candles lit up in an unkind black flame. Here came the hour of triumph! He forced himself to smile.

- Tenebris deos, umbra deos, audierit vocem meam...

...

Gradually, some confusion appeared in T-Bone's soul as well. He would not confess to Razor, he would be ashamed of such hypochondria, but the wound was indeed very serious!

...The doors slammed, the book nailed to the wall.

- Chance? Let me stitch up your wrist.

...The wheezing, the pain, the rotten paws, the strange incantations.

- Chance? Chance?!

...Suffocating, cramping, nothing.

- Jake, pinch me.

The cinnamon kat looked at him like he was crazy.

- What?

- Is it hard for you to pinch me? - snarled the tom. - Do it.

Expectedly, there was no pain. Still in a tattered T-shirt Chance stood up, strode across the room, the bandage on his broken rib beginning to slip, revealing undried brown blood. Jake was watching him curiously, not so much anxiously anymore. Suddenly Chance slammed his fist into the wall with all his might.

- What's the heck with you, have you lost your mind?

Chance stared at his paw in silence as if seeing it for the first time.
- It doesn't hurt.
He headed towards the exit. His voice was calm, but his lowered ears revealed his blues.
- I'm going to get some air.

...

- Comen back, my dearest love! - shouted Pastmaster and tossed Callista's medallion onto the tombstone. Everything around the ritual site went silent. The black flame of the candles stretched strictly upward and glowed. A jagged cloud began to form in the place of the fallen jewelry. Suddenly there was a woman's croak from somewhere as if someone had broken out of the water.

- Why was I called out of oblivion? - still faceless voice barely said.

- Calista, my honey, is that you? - The Pastmaster took a step toward the cloud. The outline of a woman's silhouette began to appear. The medallion slowly lifted off the ground and began to rise.

Oh, spirits of nothingness, it was her! Her face was as fresh and beautiful as in the best years of her mortal existence. She looked so alive, but actually, she was not. Thank evilness she hadn't sold her soul to the Devil, her image didn't get disfigured by the bonds of such an extreme deal.

- My Lord, am I doomed again? - Callista's newborn eyes stared at her resurrector with horror. - I want to go back! Let me go!

The queen stumblingly stepped off her own tombstone and tried to run away from those bony paws she always hated, but she hit the unseen wall of the circle.

- No, no, the delight of my only eye. - A full taste of triumph returned to the Pastmaster. – The Resurrected one is bound to their Resurrector. And this time no one can help thee.

Callista tried to aim her medallion and shoot the cursed necromancer, but nothing happened. The diamond became nontranslucent and darkened.

- I'm waiting for the end of time, for even you to finally die! – she stamped the ground in despair.

- Thy shouting is useless, I am the master here. - The lich became serious and commanding again. - And I command thee to be polite to me unless thou wantest me to deprive thee of the rest of thy will.

Callista folded her arms across her chest, where there was no heartbeat and no saving power of the pendant. She really wanted to cry, but she couldn't. The dead don’t cry.

...

Jake opened the door and looked out into the street. Chance stood with his arms crossed over his chest, looking out toward the city. He ignored the cold wind and the slaps of the finishing rain.

- What a shame. - the striped kat whispered in bitter thoughtfulness. "Well, let's say I'm dead," - he came then. It was an idiotic thought, of course, since he was standing here, looking at his city as always. But indeed, he'd suffered so much damage that logically he shouldn't be alive now.

He absent-mindedly turned around and didn't perceive his partner in the doorway, turned again toward the skyscrapers and the mountains of junk. He decided to go deep inside after all. Of course, he trusted Jake completely, but he always tried to hide his weaknesses. Though they sometimes popped up at the wrongest time, like that one about the inability to swim.

Amid the mangled cars, in the rays of the young moon that had just appeared through the clouds, Chance unwound the bandage on his wrist. Crud, it was supposed to be unbearably painful. The wound was still wet, but it wasn't bleeding anymore. Perhaps one of those awful paws had held him too unceremoniously during the ritual.

And the rib?
The bandage was falling off his torso anyway, exposing a wound just as fresh. Not knowing why Chance tried to touch it. There was no pain. What was it Jake said about the heart? He did not find his own pulse. Well, it was all unpleasant, but maybe now he could be more useful to katizens? Immortality seemed more of a reward than a curse. The Pastmaster's threats now seemed foolish.

The spark of a smile flashed in his dim eyes.

...

While Chance was out of sight, Jake decided to try to distract himself somehow. Still not fully aware of what happened to his partner, he went to their little kitchen and tried to cook something. Though the Pastmaster was not defeated, the evening was very tiring, especially in emotional aspect. Expectedly, there wasn't much food in the fridge, and Jake found nothing better to do than cook fried eggs. By the time the rain outside stopped, he hoped at least the weather had finally calmed down. By the time the eggs were scrambling in the frying pan, Jake was thinking:

- Is he really immortal now? Well, I guess that's not such a bad thing... At least Chance wouldn’t die from a random bullet or explosion. To the other issue, that now they couldn’t be equal anymore. Time will be eating away only him. And Chance would continue to exist, he would be eternally young, though his undead body would probably be much more shabby. It was unlikely that his future wounds would heal.

Jake laid out their humble dinner on the table. Anxiety gradually overtook him. That was, one day he, Jake, if he outlives, of course, will be an infirm old kat, and the tabby will remain to be an unnatural walking body of a young tom? What a couple: old buffer and undead. Why even old? One day he would simply lack forces while his friend disfigured by futile attempts of his enemies to take his life will look very unsightly. Oh, Holy Kats! Chance won't even be able to rest in peace one day! ...

There was a sound similar to a gunshot in the junkyard. Jake turned sharply, pricked up his ears. By the looks of it that nervous evening would never end. At least, he thought unhappily, if this was an assassination attempt, it hadn't succeeded.

...

- Chance Furlong, I suppose? As I was expecting you didn't even try to hide.

- Who the heck are you? - asked Chance without any politeness. He found behind him a strange skinny bearded kat in an expensive costume appearing from nowhere. He was wearing a little document case and generally had a snobbish official looking.

-Are you still getting used to your new state? - asked the kat nonchalantly. - I can understand your dissatisfaction because I'm not happy as well. Since after everything that happened you are still alive, hence break the rules. My boss is very displeased.

His voice was full of unbearable boredom.

- For God's sake, at least you don't talk to me in riddles! - Chance was furious. Not only could someone find him so easily, but he managed to sneak up silently as well. If it had been an enemy, he could have easily eliminated Chance. If he forgets, of course, that he could not die anymore.

The guest remained silent and the tabby threw a dissatisfied look. The useless bandage finally fell to the ground.

- Listen you, white-collar, I don't know how you got here, how you didn't get robbed on the way, the only thing I have to say is that we will open only in the morning. Especially since you don't even have a car. What the heck are you doing here anyway?

- I'm begging you to be polite, Mr Furlong. If you knew who I am and what the purpose of my visit is, even a crude simple kat like you would find the strength to pick up the words.

The clouds parted enough for the moon to fully illuminate this nook of a junkyard. Chance took a closer look, he was pissed off by that cocky arrogant glare on the visitor's face.

- Get out. I don't want to talk to anyone.

Ignoring the fact that Mr X knew his name, he headed back toward the garage.

- Do you mind if I shoot you to test my theory, to make sure all the paperwork is correct? - the stranger asked in the tone of a butler.

- What a freak... - thought Chance, not even turning around at such impertinence.

A shot rang out.

Once again there was no pain. Though the force of the bullet made his body jerk sharply forward. The stranger probably wasn't trying to shoot to kill, because the bullet only tangentially hit his shoulder. The best a dazed Chance could do was instinctively put his paw on the wound site. There was a bullet mark, but this time there was no blood flowing. The mind remained clear, there was no fatigue, no dizziness. The Pastmaster had definitely kept his word. Shock was quickly replaced by anger. The kat turned and lunged at his abuser.

- You low wretch!..

Chance tried to run his fist into the nasty face of the kat in the suit, but at the very last moment, Mr X abruptly evaporated. The tabby stood surprised once again. There were too many oddities for a mere mortal kat in one evening.

- Kats amaze me with their stupidity, - the stranger said, shaking the dust off his suit. - You should thank me for coming here without any intention of eliminating you.

From that moment severely injured (de facto) Chance said no more and just stood with an expression of complete bewilderment. It seemed to him that the door of the garage slammed afar.

- As my experiment has shown, everything is recorded correctly. The problem is that you died prematurely. That's not right. However, it's not like you actually died. Which is even bigger and absolute nonsense. My boss requires it to be regulated.

- What do you mean? How...

- You must either become alive again and live as long as you're supposed to or, let's just say, cease to exist permanently.

- If you're so smart, can you help ressurecting me? - the shadow of former aggression has returned to him.

- I'm a bureaucrat, not a magician. Start with trying to go to the source that made you immortal. By the way, I don't give a damn about you. Technically speaking, even at the current state you are still just another pathetic creature.

At that moment footsteps could be heard clearly. It was Jake. He was calling Chance's name.

- Read my lips, Mr Furlong. We give you twenty-four hours. My boss is very kind, because logically we should have just changed one document and put today as the date of your death. But,- taking out some papers from the case, - I see, you were not the worst member of society, a hero pilot, ahem... Therefore, I was given the authority to postpone your case for exactly one day.

A panting Jake appeared behind the stranger.

- Good night, Mr Furlong. The countdown has begun.

After these words, the stranger vanished into thin air.
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