Dead Cat
A Short Story by Lukas Sherman
Written using the suggestion "Car"
Originally featured on 04-09-2007
As part of our series "Things you can live without, but most people choose not to"

Heres the scene. You are in a freezing, dirty back alley that smells like human excrement and decay. Theres an overflowing dumpster and a homeless dressed like a clown. Hes not moving. Oh yeah, and theres some Viking-looking thug trying to take your head off with a tire iron. Better duck.

CrACk! Too slow. That was your skull.

Things go blurred and spinny. You touch your hair and its wet with blood.

That was a warning shot fuckwad, the Viking says as he shakes the blood-your blood-off the tire iron like dew from a branch.

Your head feels like Satan opened it with a blowtorch and invited 100 of his demons pals for a lawn party. You go down in a football stance and pick up what happens to be closest, which is a frozen dead cat.

Wait for it. Viking comes in for another tango. You come up with kitty.

SpLAt!

Ah shit! Viking is so disgusted and surprised by being hit with a dead cat that he drops his weapon. You strike again. The cats head busts open on his tattooed forearm covering it with brain matter.

He screams in a much higher voice than youd expect, like a choirboy who just got beaten by a perv priest.

Again! Youve got the advantage. You aim at his golden-tressed head and score a nice one off his temple. A little bit of fur sticks this time.

Stop hitting me with a fuckin dead cat man! He cries out.

Ill do it again! Swear to God! Actually you dont know if you can do it again. Youre losing a lot of blood and the smell of the alley is starting to make you feel nauseated.

Viking puts his hands up in protest and then skips out. You win. You drop puss, stumble a few yards to a doorway, and pass out.

 

Youre having a beautiful dream. One where everything is brighter and softer and warmer than it would be in the real world. You half expect a unicorn to go galloping by. But theres only a furry rodent that seems to be pleasuring itself. That and a bronze woman in a kiddie pool. She doesnt appear to wearing any clothes. Wow. This is a pretty great dream. Too bad youre going to wake up…right…oh, the womans turning towards you, her pert nipples saying hello…now.

Ah! You exclaim as you jerk out of your lovely reverie. Youre in a dimly lit abandoned basement somewhere. Remember? You got hit in the head with a tire iron. And you chased the guy away with a cat corpse.

Glad to see you up. Its a womans voice-hushed, smoke inflected. You cant see quite right. Everythings still a little off, like a picture that hasnt fully developed. You touch your head. Its bandaged. Did she do this? Who is she? Are you still dreaming? If so, why does she have her clothes on?

She steps out of the shadows like some goth superhero-black boots, black dress, black leather coat, black everything. Only her eyes-one blue and one green-stand out.

Have some water. She hands you a bottle. You take a sip. By the way, whats your name? Not sure are you?

Um. You hesitate. Nobody wants to admit they dont know who you are. I dont suppose you know my name.


She doesnt blink. She calmly takes the water bottle back from you. I was wondering if youd remember. Too bad. I thought the hit on the head might bring it back.

Yeah, too bad. You look at their hands. Your fingers strike you as unusually long. Like youd be a good pianist. Or you have that disease. Marfans.

The woman in black is looking out the window as if shes expecting somebody. Its dark outside and there seems to be a lot of smoke. You see a small bird suddenly drop from the sky. That cant be good.

Theres a gleam of metal when she walks back to you. A gun? Knife? Given the way she dresses it could simply be an accessory.

She kneels down and looks at you intently. You cant decide where to look.

Your name is John Quelle. Im Nin. You may not believe this but youre wanted for murder. You blink. And Im expecting your child. You blink twice. Why couldnt you be one of those amnesiacs who wakes up to find hes the king of somewhere? Or, at least, a mental patient who thinks hes king.

We really should get out of here. Can you stand? You slowly rise. A bit wobbly, but OK. Your head still feels like someone exploded a battleship in there.

Nin grabs your arm and brusquely takes you through a door into utter darkness. She switches on a flashlight.

Where are we? You hear something crunching under your feet.

These are Shanghai tunnels. They were used to kidnap men and force them onto ships. Theyd take their boots and the glass is so they wouldnt run away. Or if they did, theyd get their feet torn up.

Oh.

She takes you up some stairs. You emerge through a trap door into a room full of people. Theyre all women. They give you strange looks.

I got him, Nin says. One of Shepards goons almost did first though. Shepard. Hadnt heard that name before. You really should be writing these things down.

There are about 12 people in the room, all scurrying around. They ignore you, so you sit on the floor. You see a paper next to you. The guy on the front cover looks familiar. You see the caption: Anarchist madman John Quelle is at large and considered extremely dangerous.

Hey, its you. Looks like you shot the mayors son and dog. The mayors son? You sigh. This day wasnt going very well. Its bad enough that you shot somebody, but at least it could be somebody a little bigger, like a senator or some celebrity. And you felt bad about the dog.

Whyd I shoot the mayors son and dog? You ask. The rooms suddenly quiet.

Nin comes over. Well, you were supposed to shoot the mayor and his wife. You missed.

Oh. You pause, mulling this new development over. Whyd I try to shoot the mayor?

Because hes the fascist ruler of a gentrified wasteland. He imposed martial after the meth epidemic and the gas explosions ravaged the city. Were an anti-fascist feminist anarchist collective. Were gynarchists. You were supposed to spark the uprising. We found you passed out under a bridge. Mona hypnotized you.

A woman with a shaved head and about 3 pounds of metal in her face nods.

But you blew it. She sighs like a disappointed mother. The mayors wife was actually a double agent for us. So was the dog. That guy who was after you is a bounty hunter. There are lots of them after you.

Theres another silence. You have an idea.

Hey, could you drop me back under the bridge?

Nina laughs mirthlessly.

Not bloody likely Tex. Youre still useful to us. Well, parts of you are useful to us.

Parts? You dont like the sound of that.

Two hulking women wearing surgical masks and butcher smocks appear at Nins sides. One has an ice chest. This cant be good.


But arent I the father of your child?

Yes. She will grow up to lead this city out of the abyss of darkness and soul-crushing totalitarianism. She stops for a minute. Though a lesbian, I rather enjoyed our coital relationship. You were sensitive to my needs. Thats why it hurts me so much that we have to carve you up and sell your organs on the black market. But anarchists gots to get paid too. Girls? She steps away and you hear the swish of leather across the wood floors.

You dont think youll fight this. One puts a cloth drenched in chloroform over your mouth. Embrace this. Maybe this is really the dream.

You hear, I think well start with the eyes. Theyre best when fresh. And then you drift off into oblivion.

Read More By Lukas Sherman

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