#Set during World’s Finest.#
Whiskers knew he was in risky territoree here. He had no choice. That taste was still in his mouth. The scent was still in his fur. He had scalded his tougne on it. The pain was exquisite. He had kept the burn alive for over a month.
He hated this. it was a threat., Suddenly he needed something. He blamed her. She had brought it home.
Curse the Selina-Cat. He hated her for it. Standing Softpaws would look after him now. Selina-cat had wielded the power of the can-opener for too long, but now he had softpaws, and softpaws Ruled the Land of the Can-opener.
But Standing Softpaws didnt have this flavour.
It was worth the risk. He had spent the morning psyching himself up.
Nutmeg hadnt stopped woofing at him. But then the envelope-nut had always been a little high on himself. Ninja attack cat indeed. Nutmeg had actually provided a number of helpful suggestions, even though it meant giving up the sunniest rooms above the ticktock. An area which Whiskers had rightfully claimed as his territoree as soon as they'd arrived.
But Nutmeg wanted to know what could possibly be so interesting, so he came along.
First came the matter of transportation. At first they figured they could get to the BigSmells in the big car that Bat-Bruce rode. He found them curled up on the seat before moving and tossed them out. The next night they tried hiding under the car, hoping to get a lift. Bat Bruce hadnt seen them and started the big car. right on top of them. It was unpleasant.
The chance came when She brought two more Two-Foots without their permission. Nutmeg hated that. The dining room was his territoree. And this-this damn two-foot who smelled like the Dog-person. The Dog-lover one that was about as noticable as a locomotive. She had heard Bat-Bruce make the appointment!
They were going back, and the new lady had six suitcases in the car. This meant big bags for souviners. This meant a stowaway or two. They were on their way. Nutmeg was fascinated by the things in the big bag, but Whiskers wouldnt let him play.
Time passed, and they arrived. Loud-Twofoot with the energetic gestures, looked over the four of them with a vaguely feline ownership, and waved them in. Carnivore-Twofoot lady set her bag down, and both cats tumbled out. Time passed, when THAT smell came back. Even Nutmeg was entranced.
The ladies were too. The sounds coming from above the table were beyond purring.
“Oh meow,” Selina breathed, closing her eyes dreamily, “It tingles… all the way down.”
"My god…" Lois moaned, placing a hand on Clark’s forearm. "Sorry honey, but I think you just dropped down a notch on my Favorite Things list…"
Whiskers jumped back a pace as Locomotive-Twofoot’s leg jerked.
"MINE!" Demanded Nutmeg.
"Woof" Responded Whiskers. "I gave you the Sunny rooms above the ticktock, and you didnt even want to come."
"If it’s not nailed down it’s mine, and if I can pry it up, then it’s not nailed down." Nutmeg insisted.
Suddenly both cats looked up. Something was shifting. Something was opening. Something was being born, and it wanted territoree.
Locomotive-Twofoot noticed it too. His feet had frozen. Bat-Bruce had felt it too. His feet had drawn together.
"Think they can handle it?" Whispered Nutmeg.
Bat-Bruce’s leg spasmed briefly. the Cats could hear the universe laughing at him.
"Magic." hissed both cats.
Locomotive and Bat-Bruce was gone. Selina-cat and She-Predator were about to toss their tails into the ring too. In silent agreement, the cats went after them.
Two-Foots were scattering everywhere in palpable panic. The cats instictively knew to go up. And they did, right up the side of the kitchen, right up the walls, over the rooftops, to the ledges.
"Ninja attack cats of death!" muttered Nutmeg.
"Woof" Whiskers muttured back.
They kept pace with the Selina-Cat until something rippled. Something ethereal. It jumped out at them. It was a stone Gargoyle.
Whiskers looked at Nutmeg. Nutmeg looked at Whiskers.
"Dibs." Hissed Nutmeg, and lunged. Whiskers was right behind him. The fight lasted several minutes. The fact that it was stone was irrelevant. They were cats. They knew how do deal with such tresspassers.
"This is our territoree hell-thing." hissed Nutmeg as they broke their combat for a breath.
"No feline. This world goes to Hel, for the might of our master Janus." The stone face responded.
"Woof." responded Whiskers, and both cats lunged, knocking the wingless beast off the ledge, where it shattered violently on the ground below.
"We lost Selina-Cat." complained Whiskers.
Nutmeg licked a paw clean. "We can do better. Janus wants to give Hel something. Let’s make her a better offer."
It came to both of them at the same instant. They rushed back to the resturant and leaped upon their abandonded table.
"Follow the scent!"
The trail led them to the biggest loudest Land of the Canopened either cat had ever seen. Are aromas were dizzying.
~~It’s not for mortals to summon me!~~ Echoed a voice along the plane.
"Are we too late?" demanded Whiskers.
"Predator lady and Selina-cat are ahead of us. but we can sweeten the deal."
Both cats hunted through the chaos.
"HEY! Who let these mangy cat’s in here!"
"MANGY!" hissed Nutmeg.
"World is ending!" Whiskers reminded him, and darted past the loud two-foot, to the smell.
It was the smell. The obsession that had hounded him for a months. It was right here, whole and complete. He picked it up in his jaws to carry, and the tastes rolled in unbidden and violently.
"It’s-not-food-for-me! It’s-not-food-for-me! It’s-not-food-for-me!" chanted Whiskers and started for the back door.
The cat’s found Hella occupied by a trio of twofoots. Predator-Lady was one, the other was a lady that the cat’s recognised. She was the one from the park, the one who smelled like wood and lemon. Whiskers remembered her because she seemed awfully full of herself for one who smelled like kitty-litter.
“And then comes the pouty anger,” Ivy said.
“Or the puppy dog eyes,” Lois amended.
“Or the brooding,” Selina-Cat added.
“Because you don’t want to do it his way.”
“After all he’s done for you.”
“When his way is so much better.”
“You’re just being stubborn”
“Like he’s doing you a big favor letting you put the TV on after sex to drowned out the frightfully inorganic city sounds that make it impossible to get to sleep…”
“…just because the Home-Garden channel is on 15 and isn’t divisible by 2…” Litter-Lady ranted.
“…because that sure didn’t matter when Penetrator II or Good Will Humping were on Channel 93.”
“Ivy, I’m begging you. More information than is needed or wanted. Please stop.”
“Good… Will…. Humping?” Hella asked.
“Nevermind,” Selina-Cat told her. “You don’t want to know. Where were we?” She looked to Lois who chimed right in with the next item on the agenda.
“Ego. Vanity and Ego. You would not believe how long a straight man can stand in front of a mirror and preen until you’re standing there yourself and see it, waiting for a zipup.”
“Right,” Selina-Cat followed up, “You look good in an $8,000 suit. Congratulations, darling, now you want to move over so I can get to my earrings.”
“And hair products, who knew they can get so attached to ZIRH that it’s a cosmic crisis if the hotel sundry shop only has Suave.”
Hella was considering this. It seemed like most of it had gone past her, but the tone and sentiment was unmistakable.
"They dont need us." Whiskers said happily.
"Put it down." Ordered Nutmeg.
"Just a little bite?" Whiskers begged.
Hella noticed them. "Young Ones. Why have you come?"
"To offer you a rival gift Lady." Whiskers offered begrudgingly, and lowered the dessert. "Janus has tresspassed and unforgivably decided that you should be provided with an army of undead thousands without even your consultation. To refuse him after this effort would be dishonourable. We offer you this in return, to make the refusal easier."
Selina-Cat had noticed them. "What the hell…"
Lois' head tilted. "Is that a--"
Hella picked up the offering. "A chocolate soufflé, filled with a Godiva chocolate/Grand Marnier mousse, served on fudge-raspberry reduction and sprinkled with fresh raspberries."
Hella ate slowly. Then nodded. Then turned. "JANUS!"
The bellow rumbled across the planes like a tidal wave. Selina-cat promptly picked up the two cats and stashed them in Lois' ever-present purse.
"Ooh! A doggy-bag!" exulted Whiskered. "She got seconds!"
"Mine!" hissed Nutmeg.
|Judge’s Note: This
story received special mention for drawing on the source Cat-Tale in
the most detail.