Chapter Eleven: Lasagna No Longer
The three hooded figures at the control panel seemed to be unconscious. One was on the floor, one was slumping off the side of the chair and one was stuck laying against the panel. The final figure still wearing a hood was crouching tensely by Jim Davis and the wire which had somehow broken loose. Jim was moaning and trying to push his head out of the tangled wires which engulfed him. I could see he was still in possession of a neck which he was jutting out, his veins bulging and muscles straining.
The blond man twirled his knife in his hand and held it by Val's collarbone.
"This is ridiculous," he said in an accent that might have been Slovenian, "You're going to release Scrap now, and then we will talk this through. Yes?"
"You want me to release him?" Nash asked.
"Nash!" I yelled, stopping a couple feet past the door. She ignored me.
"Yes," said the blond European.
Nash turned and smiled directly at me. She then grabbed the man Val's captor had called Scrap by the arm and sent him flying towards me. I panicked and tried to step backwards, my leg flailing as I did so. I ended up kicking him in the stomach, and he collapsed to the ground.
"Shit! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" I shouted instinctively.
"Grab his microphone!" yelled Nash.
I did as my travelling companion commanded and plucked the mic off the floor. Scrap was breathing but not moving much otherwise. Nash and I turned towards the blond man, waiting for a strained moment to see his response.
"Ah, fuck this!" he bellowed, "You can deal with her yourselves! Let me tend to the man Davis!"
The European drew his knife away and let go of Val's leash. Val stood staring at Nash as he retreated to speak in hush and hurried tones to his hooded friend.
"Val!" Nash cried, tears welling up in her eyes, "Val, I'm so glad you're okay!"
"You shouldn't have come." spoke Val, her voice barely more than a monotone whisper.
Nash and I looked at each other uneasily as Val unclasped the leash from her collar and dropped it to the floor. In her torn leggings and black tank top she cut quite the imposing figure despite being the shortest iron-worker at five-foot-five. Her cat eyeliner was as sharp as the fake claws on her gloves. She approached us steadily, never breaking eye contact with Nash to look at me as I nervously tightened my grip on the microphone.
"You weren't supposed to see any of this, Nash," Val said, "Why did you even leave your dad's farm? There's nothing you can do. Nothing any human can do in the age of the feline."
She was a hair length away from Nash, who seemed to be struggling and sweating now more than she had when fighting the hooded goons. The conscious two of which had now donned insulated leather gloves and were trying to grab hold of the sparking, writhing wires- there were three now! Scrap seemed down for the count so I nervously inched towards Nash and Val, the microphone now feeling very heavy in my hand.
"I was going to come back for you, after all this was over," Val continued, "This is the only way for us- you need to understand that."
"I understand," said Nash, "I understand that you're a fucking catgirl!"
"I am a Cat Woman!" Val yelled furiously. She scratched at Nash's arm and I saw a streak of red open up. I ran to Nash in an effort to steady her. She stood there like a blinking statue. Val jumped back, crouched, and licked her bloody claws. Slowly she crawled towards me.
"Did you like that suppository, Riese?" she said, looking up at me with her green eyes, "I designed it myself. I hope it came in handy for you. Look- my partner and I have some things we need to discuss alone. Why don't you just give me the microphone and I'll wait 'til you leave to tell the kittens below what just happened. Give you a head start. That's more than fair."
I fearfully held the microphone up over my head and circled around Nash, trying to read her expression. She seemed too stunned to help me deal with her deranged partner. Was she going to let me die? I wished Joyce was there. From the back of the room, I heard the sparking intensify. Over that buzzing was a low and deep moan growing louder.
"The other option," she said, "Won't be as fun for you. I'm going to tear that thing out of your hand and call the kittens up here. You'll already be a bloody mess by the time they come, but when they do it's going to be a feast. Fancy Feast is nice fresh out the can, but fresh meat is just purr-fect."
"Wow," I said, my heart beating in my chest like Tommy Ramone, "You guys take pet play really seriously! Uhh, good for you!"
I tried to prepare myself to do to her what I had done to Michael two weeks ago. I didn't have anything sharp, just a blunt microphone, so there would be none of the quick and violent finality of a knife- just painful brutality. I wasn't sure if I was honestly capable of applying cat euthanasia in this form. From the back of the room I heard a high-pitched wail and a Slovenian scream. The blond man and his friend were cowering in the corner- his friend had her hood off now and her small white face was contorted into a countenance of absolute terror.
On the ground rolled the head of Jim Davis. It tilted unnaturally from side to side, its jaw pivoting and clacking against the hard cement floor. From his open neck down Jim Davis was nothing more than a tangle of thin wires, mostly black and red. The red ones seemed to be tubes carrying blood from his heart, which was encased in thin transparent plastic and was currently being dragged across the floor along with the other organs visible in the tangle. Four thin clusters of long wires vaguely resembling limbs were in the process of pulling Mr. Davis across the cement, leaving a trail of blood in his wake from the red tubes that had already torn. He was moaning, his eyes staring right up at me desperately. He seemed to want something from me, as he was crawling right towards me. Val separated the two of us, but she didn't lose her focus for a second. I might have pissed my leggings but it wouldn't mean a thing to her.
"You don't need to die here, Riese," she said, "You're not like my former coworkers. You don't even need to die in the Restructuring. I can slip Ashe another note. You seem like a nice girl. Just give me the microphone and go. Leave Nash here. You can still leave. Go."
"No, Val," I replied, stepping out in front of Nash and standing up straight, "I don't think so. 'Cause, like, I'm actually really into your girlfriend and I want her to peg me."
Val snarled and crouched down again, preparing to lunge. Suddenly a mess of wires wrapped around her leg. She turned and looked down to see the smiling head of Jim Davis. His furthest wired limb was suddenly slapped by one of the frayed and sparking wires slamming up and down across the area in front of Garfield's tongue. The wires connected and 440 volts of electricity at a tenth of an amp passed through Val's body. She lit up from within like a mass of fairy lights and dropped to the ground. Jim's head rolled limply, his smile now plastered permanently upon it.
Nash stared at her dead lover for a few moments, then dropped to the floor, a small puddle of blood pooling around her arm. I ripped off Scrap's robe and kneeled to wrap part of it around her arm. She was still conscious, but wouldn't say a word. I stood up and shakily ran a hand through my hair and shook myself to feel a bit calmer. I quickly but steadily walked to the corner where the blond and the pale faced brunette were still cowering from the lifeless husks of Jim Davis and his first and final victim.
"What's your name?" I asked the blond man politely.
"Uh... it's Mister McFluffer," he said, dazed.
"No it's not." I said.
"No... it's not. It's Lukas."
"Lukas, can you help me? I don't know if I did it right."
Lukas followed me to Nash and tightened my makeshift tourniquet. His friend trailed behind. I approached her as calmly as I had Lukas.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"Nadine," she said.
"Thanks for not giving me a cat name. Can you tell me where the iron-workers are? Val's co-workers, I mean? You know, the butch women?"
"They're in His left foot. Downstairs. It's a prison. But there are always a few guarding His feet. Even during the orgies."
I nodded, gathering that He was their lord Garfield. I remembered there being sexier anthro cats many long years ago, but somehow now only He remained. A shame, I thought. I pressed the button on the microphone and brought it to my face. Even from a thousand feet above, I could still hear my voice booming over the massive speakers in the grand chamber.
"PAPA OOH MA MEOW MEOW, KITTIES!" I said in my best impression of the unconscious fellow at the console, "WOW! THERE ARE NASTY PUPPERS OUTSIDE TRYING TO BLOW UP OUR MASTER'S MOUNTAIN! EVERYNYAH HAS TO GO OUT AND STOP EM! PWEEZE?"
I let go of the button. Lukas and Nadine were both staring at me bewilderedly. I flashed them a forced smile and a peace sign and put my head to the floor, listening. I heard from deep below what sounded like a mass migration of semi-nude bodies towards the mountain's entrance. I breathed a sigh of relief.
"Okay, Nadine, open the cages down there," I said, "Or the foot. Open the foot. Whatever."
Nadine went to the console and flipped a few switches. Then she nodded at me and waved worriedly. I ran back over to Nash.
"Hey, hey- can you walk?" I asked her, "We gotta find Joyce and get the fuck out of here!"
"I can walk," she said, "And getting the fuck out of here sounds great."