User:Hawl/Brother's Perspectives

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Brother’s Perspectives by Jessica Kylie Nichols-Vernon aka HawlSera

June 4th, 2007

Gabriel was back home after spending some time with his friend Iris and getting to know her father. What a summer she’d be having, spending time with a father who actually loved her. Something that the tigress wouldn’t even begin to appreciate, while Gabe had to spend time in a world that seemed as broken as his own mind. Time spent doing, admittedly mostly mundane things such as surfing the internet and smoking marijuana.

It wasn’t just webtoons, webcomics, and memes. Gabriel had a presence on every online message board he could get his adorable little pink paws on that related to the paranormal. There had to be a logical explanation for this, a logical explanation that lied somewhere with the supernatural and arcane of Mother Earth and the universe in which she rests. There was a reason his flesh was so carelessly twisted into this freak of a creature, a reason he would uncover and hopefully with it an antidote that would allow him to return to his human self once more. As a human he could once again smile, for he would have the wondrous gift of being his true self. A gift his closest friends could never understand, they all LIKED being animals and saw their true selves reflected in those bodies. Something Gabriel could never do no matter how hard he tried, no matter what he had to return to being human in order to live his life the way it was meant to be. What that entailed exactly he had no idea, he could be homeless and swigging booze for all he cared, as long as he got to be human again.

Of course his searches were never fruitful, he was only given the craziest of theories. Everything from aliens to the awakening of an Ancient Goddess. His current favorite was that the universe was actually hundreds of thousands years older than it appeared to be and humanity had already colonized other planets. Someone merely crashed a ship back on Earth and activated some sort of Quantum DNA Manipulation device tied to a cooldown that prevents others from seeing the results of the manipulation until the cooldown has handed. Crazy, but when you’re a talking rat browsing 4Chan’s [x] board at 3 O’clock in the morning while you’re stoned off your ass, anything seems sane. The topic he was on had been flagged and people had long since stopped giving any meaningful discussion. Just complaining that it was “More Furry Bullshit” and that everyone needed to take their “Yiffparty” to furchan. Gabriel really didn’t like furchan, it was just people posing their naked Changed bodies along with artwork. Of course the MTF TGs were quite the guilty pleasure even if it was risky business. Too often he left the page open and had to once again explain to his brother Jimmy that they were actually women making such provocative and sexual poses. There was also the even worse circumstance of running into a tigress, they all looked the same to him so it was much akin to picturing his friend Iris naked.

Maybe now was a good time to check furchan regardless, it was getting late and knowledge wasn’t pouring through. So perhaps he deserved a break and a pleasure for his imagination. A few url clicks. Bypassing the Species Lock, a captcha image that showed a random Changed, of course no human could bypass at as they’d see another human, only a Changed could correctly name the gender and species of the person in the picture. Once inside he saw a couple of boring conversations, a good tip about proper incisor care he took note of, and finally a topic that read. “Alright Now-Ladies, Show off your new sex!”

This is what he expected. Finding an actual answer had long proven quite impossible. Gabriel just kept up the routine on the off-chance he’d be pleasantly surprised. Though he really doubted it, this merely became the routine and he just couldn’t think of something more worth his time. He couldn’t just ignore the situation as it wasn’t going to go away on its own. Gabriel could only see the solution to his self-hatred lying in falling so far into his obsession that his own personal demons had to take the wheel whilst he himself laid buried in a mountain of unfulfilled desire.

All there was to do now was move his hand in a motion that the women he was looking at once did themselves before whatever changed him into a rat, made them female. Continuing looking them over, his favorite so far being a rather tasteful rearview shot of a highly embarrassed raccoon with boxers three sizes too small for her. This wasn’t completely intentional, the poster mentioned it was something her girlfriend, a bisexual Changed who she had been dating for a few months prior to her own transformation had requested this picture and she hadn’t gotten around to shopping for a new wardrobe yet. Part of him wished he himself were in this situation, but only a small part of him, and he certainly wouldn’t want it to be permanent.

The rodent was lost into the glory of this luscious rear end so much so he didn’t hear his younger brother barge in immediately. “GOD DAMN IT JIMMY!” Gabriel shouted quickly hiding his crotch from him. “Our Grandest Matriarch is bad enough with her incessant and continued interruptions. To ask frivolous and stupid things about my garb or what have you, but seriously. You can’t knock. I’m in the middle of things. Rattus Sapiens things!”

“Jacking it to more dudes fag?” Jimmy said sarcistically as his brother pulled his pants up and buttoned them.

“They’re not dudes as you so crudely and simplistically put it. They are transmo….” Gabriel was in the middle of saying, but his brother put up his hand. A universal sign of not wanting to hear that.

“Dude, that’s kind of fucked up. Why are these fine bitches, but Cale needs to man up and shit? If you’re gonna be a faggot you can atleast be straight about it. I mean I aint gonna start wifin’ him or nothing, but I aint jacking it to trannies. Ya feel me?” Jimmy opened up with it. He was a simple man of simple tastes, but one thing he didn’t like was a two-faced individual.

“Cale’s different. I actually know Cale he’s like a…. person… Okay that sounds awfully sexist… But the thing about Cale is…” Gabriel was in the middle of saying before Jimmy put up his palm, a universal sign of shut up, I don’t care.

“Yeah well, you think about that on your time. Right now, I really need your help with something. You know Marcellus right?” Jimmy said, quickly getting into the heart of what he wanted.

“Only the largest provider of narcotics, mental state enhancers, dissociatives, and medicinal plants on the street who happens to be a big ass lion. How could one such as myself forget brother?” Gabriel asked before taking a minute to sniff the air around Jimmy. “You’ve been to see him lately. Your scent is that of a large feline, male, additionally gun powder, and… a little bit of heroin. By sleeping Cthulhu, you haven’t done anything moronic have you?”

“Yeah bro, look, I’ve got all of tonight to get him five hundred dollars, and I’m thinking you could help with that. Ya know being a rat and shit.” Jimmy said bluntly getting to the heart of the issue.

“Racist!” Gabriel folded his arms. “You are under the impression that just because I’m a rattus sapiens I would make an above average pickpocket. I don’t know how I feel about that. Besides, stealing is a crime and you should talk your problems over with Marcellus instead.”

“Nigga you serious?” Jimmy couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Hell no! You know he’s killed a few people, probably ate a few too if the rumors are true. Come on. Let’s see what we can scrunge together.” Gabriel said, grabbing a knife and a baton off of his dresser and putting them in his pocket.

The two went out the door, their grandparents distracted by the televisions to not even question where they were going. It was a dark night, getting pretty late at 11pm. Many were fast asleep with their possessions unguarded. Indeed, it was one of those between-the-Locke brothers nights. The kind that would go with them to their graves.

Heading for the neighborhood of North Chase, a place not too far as to be unreachable on foot, but not too close as to be obvious suspects. The two made some small talk on their way. Gabriel asking the obvious. “What the hell did you do to owe him this much?”

“Bro I’d really rather not get into it.” Jimmy shook his head as if he could not even believe his own memory of the events leading to this one.

“I’m your brother and I demand to know how you got into this mess I’m busting you out of. You’re normally very careful about borrowing money…. except when you borrow it from me.” Just for the record, Jimmy still owed Gabriel fifty bucks, his friend Iris around seventy, and his girlfriend Thana thirty.

“Shit happens, and the less you know, the better. Ya feel me?” Jimmy didn’t really want to answer.

“You have once again foolishly afflicted yourself with addiction have you not?” Gabriel asked, fearing he may have hit the nail on the head.

Jimmy didn’t respond, instead he pretended to look around for police. Gabriel didn’t take this as the best sign.

Dropping the discussion. The two came to a blue prius with an iPod left inside, latest model. An obvious sign of wealth and carelessness. Gabriel hid, letting his instincts tell him the most out of sight place to be in and his contortionist body allowed him to hide well. Keeping a look out for anyone while Jimmy opened the door, praying the car alarm wasn’t set or the door locked. Someone this rich could easily afford a new iPod. That had to be what they were thinking when they left it unlocked. Jimmy went through the car and at first he planned to use the MP3 Player for barter, but he found a wallet with a fresh hundred dollar bill and a few twenties not a bad start for a night of crime. Meaning he could keep the iPod for himself. He grabbed the headphones that were with it and gave a listen. Someone had put some Eminem in this, perfect for getting him through the night.

Of course then again, maybe not. Jimmy had his hand rested on the steering wheel when he flashed his new iPod to his brother. A move proven most unwise when he accidentally honked the horn. Inspiring the owner of the house to come outside. A Bobcat Changed who seemed none too happy to discover a thief in his midst, as none would be.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING KID!?!” He yelled, brandishing his claws.

“The fuck are you going to do? Scratch me?” Jimmy laughed at the way the man held his hand out. It was far too dark for him to have been properly identified. Additionally, he was lumbee native american and the person he stole from was white. Due to this and his short stature and youthful appearance too often when he was seen, people mistook him for a younger black teen. A few that’s exactly who they arrested. A younger black teen who had never done anything to hurt anyone, being sent to court and found guilty for something they didn’t do all because their parents couldn’t afford a lawyer. Silver City was mostly a retirement community, people only lived there because they were born there, or because they were rich old people. As a result, it’s not like there were jobs to spare.

“You ignoramus he’s Post-Metamorphial…” Gabriel cried out, running out to the bobcat with his baton and striking him right in the knee. Likely busted that shin, it was a military grade baton afterall bought from a surplus store. “RUN!” he yelled to Jimmy.

The two ran as fast as they could to ditch this part of North Chase and find another hit. Originally Jimmy wanted to leave entirely, but Gabriel talked him out of it.

“He saw you… Damn it Gabe, what were you thinking?!?!” Jimmy exclaimed, he himself had been in and out of jail multiple times. Mostly for public intoxication or selling marijuana, but assualt with a deadly weapon was a serious charge for his no record brother.

“He was Changed, like me or Thana. He saw me for what I wish not to be. What word would be speak to the constable that could sully my good name?” Gabriel asked, feeling fiendishly clever for his actions.

“What?” Jimmy however, did not understand.

“What’s he going to tell the police? ‘Yes sir, he looked like a humanoid rat, red eyes, blonde fur, pink tail. Stop laughing I’m being serious!’ It doesn’t matter if a few Changed see me. I knew that going into the fray. Besides it, felt rather nice. Being Changed doesn’t bother THAT asshole. He was probably laughing it up in that furry body of his, afterall he has managed to become wealthy in this deadbeat town. I bet he’s the kind of two-faced worm who goes to Church on Sundays, leaves a Benjamin in the collection plate. All just to feel better about how he beats his wife every other day of the week.” Gabriel spat as if at the bobcat. He had first blood, somehow he felt better. As if beating that Changed was akin to physically punishing the change itself. Maybe in a weird way, it was. He had to do it again.

“Gabe, you’re saying some really creepy shit right now.” Jimmy said, just telling it like it was.

“You have no idea what being this body puts me through!” Gabriel hissed, much like the rat he had become. “Why do the unjust and perverse get to feel good from the change while I pray to the dark ones for a cancer diagnosis to sever my connection to this mortal coil?”

“I aint trying to hear this right now. After this, we’re smoking a bowl. You clearly need it right now.” Jimmy didn’t give too much of a reaction, he usually didn’t, but on the inside he wished there was something more he could do for his brother. Something more than trying to tell him his problems weren’t that bad. He’d love to sit down and have a moment with him about it, but now was neither the time nor the place. Besides, something else inside of him needed oxycontin.

“Perhaps….” Gabriel responded. “Perhaps…”

Jimmy and Gabriel moved on through the neighborhood. Breaking into a few vehicles and taking what they could to keep Jimmy safe from a literal lion’s den. Anything cool they kept for themselves. All the while, Gabriel hoped for another fight with a Changed whom life had been too kind to. He was picturing all that he’d do in his mind’s eye. Maybe he’d even send someone to the Hospital. He’d never be found out. All his victim could say about their attacker was that he was a giant rat. Something that wouldn’t stand in court for at least a decade when the Changed finally outnumbered the Humans. By then would the law still care? Probably not actually.

It had been well into the night and the brothers had taken 300 dollars in cash, a fancy leather briefcase, and as the two got more adventurous as to actually venture inside the houses, an idea they both came up with for different reasons, a fair amount of jewelry. All the while Gabriel made sure to mentally mark the houses where he smelled a Changed. There had been six in total.

At the end of their run the two got into Gabriel's van to deliver their haul to the lion known as Marcellus. “I shall refrain from smashing your testicles with my inquestion but. I must know. For what reason are you burdened with debts?"

"Shit happens man." Jimmy said lazily having no intention to state the real reason.

"You get into a motor vehicle accident and break your limb, come down with an affliction, you find the maiden of your dreams, and even spontaneous anthropomorphic transformation. Are things that just happen. Debt to a murderer isn't. Now for the love of Azatoth, answer me." Gabriel exclaimed.

Instead of saying anything Jimmy nodded out and became both unwilling or unable to give even a token effort to have anything resembling a response of any kind. Useful or otherwise.

Gabriel groaned getting out his phone to call Marcellus. "Jimmy is being a dick hole. But I have your money and some gems. We couldn’t get the full five hundred, but we did find some things to barter with. This is Gabriel by the way, his brother.”

“The rat? Word. I expected Jimmy to find some way to weasel his way out of this shit. I didn’t expect him to actually be able to get me anything. I was kind of hoping I could talk to you though. Meet me at my crib, I’ll text you the directions. We have much to discuss.” The voice on the other end said before hanging up. There was a clear and obvious slight Jamaican flair to it Gabe knew Marcellus was changed, and figured he used to be black, his voice confirmed it. Though it did have a very powerful and dangerous feel to it. Whether Marcellus was always like that or it was just the lion deepening his voice he didn’t know.

Another call came in shortly after Marcellus hung up, just like clockwork. This one was from a friendlier voice, one Gabriel actually wanted to hear from as a means to calm himself down. Still, as normal his true feelings had to remain masked as he spoke for valid reasons. “Cale, it is 2AM and I am busy with shit. Why are you even awake at this hour?” Gabriel asked. He was happy to hear from Iris truly, but the tigress had a love of droning on and rambling. Switching from topic to topic and back to old topics without any warning or consistency.

“I’m never awake at 2AM. I’m nocturnal… at least I think I am. I could just be a massive slacker who sleeps all day. I really don’t know much about animals.” Iris yawned stretching on the hotel bed she was laid out on. “Am kind of worn out. Disney World’s a big park. Hit the Animal Kingdom then the Disney Quest Freeplay Arcade. Course I suck at games right now so I mostly just Calvin and Dad play Mario Kart GP.”

“..You don’t know much about animals? You Mr. The-Change-Is-So-Cool? Ironic, but not surprising to me. Make it fast. I’m in the middle of buying weed and I don’t want to be on my phone right now. Cops really look out for that kind of thing and I’m in a sketchy neighborhood as it is. Is there a kindness I can perform for you?" Gabriel demanded to know.

"Yeah actually. Did I leave my contact lenses in your van? Being farsighted sucks." Iris complained.

"You wear contacts?" Gabriel was completely taken aback. "We have been compatriots for three years. How am I just now learning you wear contacts?"

“You knew me for a year before you noticed I wasn’t a dude, or a human at all for that matter. There’s a lot of details you don’t know about me. I was gonna get glasses, but they don’t fit.” Iris confessed.

“Well your ears are on the top of your head...” Gabriel said rubbing his eyes as he focused on the road in front of him. “I’ll look around, I’m in the middle of something important, but Cale… there’s something I need to tell you.” The rat said thinking about his brother’s words. It was wrong how he treated his friend. She was a woman and not only accepted that, but embraced it. Maybe it was time to start recognizing that fact instead of imposing his own wishes upon her. “...Don’t leave something as important as your contacts in someone’s van. Carry a purse or something and leave them in there you oaf.”

“Ahh thanks…. I’ll keep that in mind..” Iris said nervously, unsure how to respond. She thought he had something more important to tell her than that. That was when something clicked that she couldn’t let go and had to follow up upon. “Wait did you just say I should carry a pur…”

Gabriel hung up on her right then and there. Iris tried calling back, but Gabe merely texted back that he was doing something illegal and didn’t want to risk going to jail over handbags. This seemed good enough for the tigress who left well enough alone at that point.

Gabriel left his brother in the van, putting him in the back seat and covering him with a blanket to be less sketchy before taking the money and some jewelry inside Marcellus’s trailer with him. The scent of a cat was unpleasant to the rat as it awakened a few fight or flight instincts inside of him. He had gotten used to the scents of housecats and tigers, esepcially since not only was his best friend a tiger, but he lived around feral cats. He was hoping to have a pet cat of his own soon enough as a friend of his had a pregnant mother cat. The scent of a lion was forgein and spooky to him, it brought forth imagery of a cat feasting on the entrails of a freshly caught mouse. Playing with the corpse a little before hand.

Hopefully the reality would not play out like that, Gabriel needed to be strong. If he wanted to be a man he had to act like one. Forming his paw into a fist he knocked on the door, making sure to do so in a rhythmic and almost musical way to assure the person on the other side that he was not a cop.

Marcellus was on the other side of the door when it opened. Laughing once he saw Gabriel and re-holstering a gun he had just in case. “Gabe haha, your brother has told me much about you. He didn’t mention you were prey.”

Gabriel twitched at that word, prey. The one thing he never wanted to be called by a predator animal. It was like being thrust back into Virgo Middle School again, a school specifically out of his district that he only was made to attend to fill a minority quota as he was native american and thus helped bring up the “miscellaneous” count and offset the school’s high african american student population due to it being on the poorer side of Silver City. Oh how ironic that racism is created in the path set out to avoid it. He hadn’t been the most masculine acting or at least what the students of Virgo considered masculine and for that he was beaten and insulted on a daily basis under the assumption that he might be gay. In actuality Gabriel was straight as an arrow and the pre-conceived notions of the strange and the unusual creating fear were forcing upon him an image of something that was not there. Now it appeared that this was happening all over again. “Transfigurated just this previous yesteryear.”

The lion laughed aloud as he invited the rodent in. “Always with the big words, just as he said. Ya sound whiter than most white folk. Some straight up Monty Python shit. You a funny guy Gabe. You have me in a good mood, I hope that cash you have there is enough to maintain it.”

Gabriel put the money, two smartphones, an ipod, and some jewelry on the table. “Well I am an ALBINO rattus sapiens…. unfortunately…” quickly he changed the subject, he cannot show weakness, not enough that of his own body dysphoria. “I know Jimmy’s an idiot, but five hundred dollars? Is it straight if I were to inquire as to how he came to be indebted.”

“Slow down there mon. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Marcellus said, it wasn’t that he didn’t know the big words Gabe had used. More that he was used to dealing with people who didn’t have a very big vocabulary and had dumbed himself down to their level all in the name of making a dishonest profit.

“Why does he owe you a lot of money?” Gabriel asked in a rushed and annoyed tone, not too annoyed though. He didn’t want to upset the large carnivore three times his size.

“Right, I should have realized you meant that when you said indebted. I’m a little baked at the moment.” Marcellus nodded. “Your brother is a lucky man. I like him too, that’s why I gave him a few hours to pay me instead of killing him outright over the ron he stole from me.”

“Ron!?!” Gabriel screamed, he couldn’t be hearing that right.

“Street talk for Heroin. Seems we’re having all kinds of communication problems tonight.” Marcellus walked over to count the money, his smile growing wider. “At least you speak the languages that matter. If these gems are real it should cover it with interest.”

“I know what it is. I thought he had gotten back onto pain pills… I… heroin? Heroin! Me and him are going to have a serious talk. So Marcellus, we cool? We’re good right?” Gabriel asked, very ready to leave the feline’s presence.

“Oh yeah, we cool. You sure you don’t want to sit down for a minute. You seem tense and I’ve got a little sumtin for dat.”

“I gave you all the money I ha…” Gabriel was cut off.

“Chill. Don’t worry about it, it’s on me. Sides I know I a rat when I see one and I never trust anyone sober.” Marcellus laughed at his own lame pun, Gabriel laughed along with. Not because he found it funny, but because he knew better. Marcellus reached for a bong and started packing it with some marijuana from a doggie bag he had on his person.

When the bag open, Gabriel’s nostrils were filled with an amazing aroma. “That’s… purp.. dank. The really good shit, by sleeping Cthulhu!”

“Do you think I could have the reputation I do by selling oregano?” Marcellus said as he lit the bong taking the first hit, letting it reach his lungs, and blowing out a perfect ring. “Ahhhh.” he exhaled, handing it off to Gabriel. “So friend, I rarely get a chance to talk about this, but. How did you join the animal kingdom?”

“What do you mean how? A friend of mine told me some crazy gibberish about animal people and well. To make a long story short, he or rather she wasn’t as crazy as he appeared.”

“Well which is it, he or she?” Marcellus pondered Gabriel may have been a little less sober than he thought.

Gabriel sighed, taking a lighter and hitting the bong himself. This conversation could wait until after he got properly blitz enough to be able to laugh along with reality instead of screaming viciously at it. After hacking up a storm upon taking a really damn good hit Gabriel proceeded to explain all that he knew of the Change. That it happens every August 17th, Mammals only, this far into the series you should know the drill by now. If not, then, wow. I guess you’re the reason for the Viewers Are Goldfish trope.

The part about the TGs came and Marcellus had quite the reaction. “Too bad it’s not temporary. It would be nice to try the other side of the coin, not for too long. Maybe like an hour or some shit. You know any bitches running this game?”

Gabriel pondered this for a second. “Well one, but she overcharges. One time she even lost the weed. Tried claiming it had been stolen, when in fact it was misplaced and within her home the entire time. Who does that?”

“Bitches man. They aint got the head for this shit. Always doing some dumb shit that ends in them selling they ass on the street. Either cause someone with a dick who knew what the hell they was doing took over they shit or dumb bitches get hooked on the product themselves. Gotta be something in the hormones or shit.” Marcellus rant, rubbing his paws down his face and mane. “Got some bitches working for me, selling grass, not ass. Juggling pussy around is too much work. Sometimes they fuck up, but ya gotta keep em in line. I think the main problem is bitches don’t establish any dominance, one’s that do aint got the nuts to back it up.”

“I can see that.” Gabriel took another hit off the bong before passing it back to his host. “The female sex is anything but rational.”

“Lions though man, lions got their shit together. They can lead a pride and have their harem do their hunting for them. Lions aint got no problem establishing dominance. I want my bitch to bring me a zebra carcass, she brings me a zebra carcass.” Marcellus roared with pride.

“I take it you enjoy being a lion?” Gabriel raised an eyebrow.

“Hell yeah. What’s not to like? And I thought I had a big dick before. I used to be a fat motherfucker. Look at me.” The lion flexed his arm showing his impressive and rather large muscles. “All change. May start wokring out at the gym though. My bad habits starting to catch up with me and I kinda like being buff….” Marcellus looked at his phone hearing a text message which he looked over as he took his turn on the bong. “Sides, I know no one can see it. But I get the sense that the feel it and it intimidates em. I like it.”

“I can’t say the same about being a rat. I’m prey as you said, I’m a plague bearing piece of shit you leave traps out for. I am literally…” Gabriel paused to take another hit, he was beyond fried at this point. The kind of high where you’re bicycling through the sky with ET in the basket as it rains chocolate down upon you. “Literally, what the cat dragged in.”

“And? Own up to it. You seen the size of a rat’s nuts? Well unless yo mama still dress yo ass. Yeah you have. Fuckers are huge, no homo. You are a fucking harbinger and you are going to bring the black fucking death upon on any nigga who disrespects.” Marcellus cheered putting out his fist to bump it with Gabriel’s. “Ya feel me.”

Gabriel smiled, picturing himself dressed as a voodoo priest complete with a purple tophat with a rat skull and ribcage design on it and a staff with a rat atop a globe of a blackened Earth for the handle. Finally the piece de resistance Oh yeah, he was feeling it. Might have just been the pot talking, but he was feeling it. A rodent master of the undead, controller of pestilence, and bane to all God fearing men who would look up and call him Lord of Death. “Yes Marcellus my friend, I do believe I feel you.”

“Good good, hey listen man. You’re real chill I like you. You’ll have to come back and hang some time. You know call me, I’ll hook ya up with green in exchange for green ya feel me? But I got another customer coming through here and I aint tryin’ to have all these cars in my driveway. Shit looks sketch and the fucking pigs are already onto me.”

“I’ve got to get Sleeping fucking Beauty in my van back to the house anyway. Had fun chilling bloke, hope we can meet again under better circumstances.” Gabriel confessed. “We cool, bit of a happy accident, but try not to let your brother let it happen again. Can’t say it’s exactly healthy for him.” Marcellus bore his fangs to establish his point.

“He’ll beg for that when I’m finished with him, believe you me.” Gabriel said as he turned for the door.

“Oh Gabe mon. Your tiger friend… she like one of them trannies who take the hormones and get the boobs and shit, but they still got the dick or she like… real?”

“She has a vagina.” Gabriel said flatly, feeling like he needed to wash his mouth out his soap. He called Cale a she.

“She hot?” Marcellus asked, getting right to the heart of the matter.

“....Yes.” The soap, Gabriel was begging for the soap.

“Give her my number and have her call me. I haven’t had the chance to see what it’s like with another… Changed you said we was? Man what the fuck kinda name is that?” Marcellus asked a little annoyed at whoever decided that.

“The product of someone creatively bankrupt obviously. If that’s their name for an entire fucking species I’d hate to read a science fiction tome penned by this asshole. I’ll tell her about you and see what she says. No promises, she isn’t normally into black guys.” Gabriel lied about basically every word of that.

“‘Preciate it.” Marcellus said as Gabriel left on his way, pretending to get out his phone to call Cale.

Gabriel returned to his vehicle wear Jimmy was awake, looking around confused and still mentally asleep in some aspects, but able to talk a little and move around. He got up into the passenger seat, where Gabriel slapped him immediately. “YOU’RE ON RON!?!?! After what we’ve seen that shit do to people?!?!? People have died on it, people we knew!”

“Aint no big fuckin’ deal!” Jimmy shouted arrogantly.

“It’s a huge fucking deal brother!” Gabriel shouted even more loudly. “That stuff will rot you while you live. It also means you knew that guy whose house we hit was Changed. You can see us while you’re high, but you engaged him anyway. He could cut you apart with his claws.”

“I don’t give a shit if he had fucking AKs attached to his fucking shoulders. I’ll beat his ass.”

“Fair enough, but the next time you need help. If it has any fucking thing to do with Heroin, don’t ask me. I won’t watch you die, and I sure as hell won’t bury you!” Gabriel said nothing to Jimmy the rest of the night. Jimmy was arrogant and fool-hardy, but he loved his brother and wanted to have him around for shenanigans. He wouldn’t quit cold turkey, but he would take to heart Gabriel’s concerns and wean himself off of it a little, at least for the time being. It would take a major heart to heart or a moment of clarity before he made any real changes.

It had been a long day, now he would sleep.

-The Night After-

Gabriel had spent all day in bed, waking around five pm and picking up the love of his life Thana Verde, an Itallian Panda Changed he went to school with. Gabriel was quiet for most of her visit, drawing a picture as he pondered his conversation with Marcellus. Taking occasional breaks to chew on a stick he found, he was hoping he could carve it into a totem pole with his teeth. Yes, bring the plague upon his enemies. Punish those who would stand in favor of the change in attempt to punish ROB himself. That bastard took from Gabriel what was most precious to him, his humanity and with it the right to be who he really was. Thus he would work with the curse placed upon him, to destroy ROB once and for all. It sounded crazy and extreme, but crazy was what Gabe was and Extreme was how he felt.

“Gabe sweetie, something’s bothering you. What is it?” Thana said with a frown as she looked over Gabriel desiring to know his thoughts.

“Nothing Thana I’ve just been considering a new project. I think it’s time I embrace the rat I have become and well. You like arts and crafts projects. How much would it cost to make this?” Gabriel asked, handing a picture of the voodoo outfit he had pictured while he was in up in smoke with Marcellus like they were Cheech and Chong over to Thana.

“OOOOOH That’s cool!” Thana exclaimed her eyes wider than an elephant’s entire body. “Did you draw that? Oh baby you should be a comic book artist. This guy looks like so badass. Have you thought of a name for him.”

“Black Plague” Gabriel smiled, an action that was rare for him.

Thana appraised the picture and started piecing together how to make this happen. “The mask is going to be fifty, I’d have to make a mold of your face as a human mask wouldn’t fit you. The hat will be easy, could do the hat itself for thirty, twenty for the embroding, the metal will add on another fifty. The cane I can’t do, the robes will be the most pricey, but I could wing it for three hundred. So about… four hundred and fifty dollars.” Thana said using her phone as a calculator to add up these totals. “But where would you find the cash?”

“You let me worry about that.” Gabriel said. He didn’t know how, or where, but he would get the money and pay off that suit. It would only be a matter of it. Could he steal it maybe? No he just hit a few houses last night and though Changed couldn’t tell what his human self looked, but it would all be over if a human relative saw him or if the police had a changed on their force. Too risky, only a fool would consider it. “It’s getting late, what say you we smoke another bowl… and.” Gabriel pushed Thana onto her back as he crawled atop her, rubbing a claw down her cheek gently. “I can ravage your tempting monochrome body you beautiful black and white seductress.” Before she could even answer his tongue was rubbing up against her tongue as her eyes rolled back in pure delight of this oral embrace.

It was only after she answered, now hot and bothered, so much so she could only nod. “Mmmhmm…” The two had been sexually active for quite some time now, and they found the act of intimacy to be quite invigorating for the two of them. They could barely stand to be without each other’s touch for too long.

They slept well that night having worn each other out with their passion for one another. Gabriel having the most amazing dreams. First he saw a creature, a giant rat, one he often saw in his nightmares. The Rat King who claimed him as his subject. Each night he came to him, turning him into a rat making him nothing more than another loyal subject. This time was different, the rat king looked up into his eyes with admiration. As if he saw something in Gabriel that he himself could never reach by himself.

Gabriel, human as he usually was in the first part of this dream and in most of his best ones just stared back, angrily. “Give me power, or go away.”

“..I offer you my life.” The Rat King bowed before pouncing atop of Gabriel.

“I shall take it from you or you can give it freely.” Gabriel responded.

The Rat King nodded as his being started melting into Gabriel’s. Gabriel becoming more rat like the more the giant rodent became a puddle soaking into the man’s very being. Once it was finished Gabriel was once again a rat. This time it was different, he felt a surge of energy encompass his very being granting him a power like no other. This being could do anything it pleased. He could see the far reaches of space, no into the infinite void beyond reality itself. He was a being that could now warp space, twist time, harden light, and soften burning ambition. He found himself suddenly in a battlefield with a white tigress and blue eyes, grinning at him holding weaponry. This was the Queen Of All Beasts and her husband sat on a throne behind her. The Emperor who controlled her, the Queen believed she controlled him, but she was a fool lost in her own fantasy.

Gabriel found himself in a black garb and top hat with a purple paddle sword. Charon’s Paddle he knew this was called. The Queen was a representation of all the bad things about his friend Iris. Her selfish nature, her arrogance, her desire for all to follow along her vision of a perfect furry world, but it could never be. Raising Charon’s Paddle Gabriel fought her in battle, quickly gaining the upper hand of the situation. Iris’ selfishness would die and he would have his best friend back. Others cheered Gabriel on, he looked at them. The Rat King knew these people, part of himself did as well, but he couldn’t draw names to the faces. They must be Changed seeking freedom from the curse. Gabriel would be the one to bring that freedom to all.

Eventually he decapitated the tigress and victory was his, the Emperor disappointed, retreated for now, but he would see his day. The last thing he recalled from the dream was the vision of a scorpion glaring at him, his eyes looked angry, but the rat got the sense he had something resembling pride. Gabriel woke up shortly afterward breathing heavily.

“What in the world?” The rodent said as he woke up in a panic.

“What is it hon?” Thana asked sleepily.

“Nothing…. just an odd dream.” Gabriel said, getting up and sliding on his boxers. “You stay here and rest, I’m going to go for a walk. If you’re awake when I get back brew me some coffee.”

“uhh okay, I can come with you.” Thana offered.

“No I need to think alone.” Gabriel said. “We’ll cuddle and watch some cartoons upon my return.”

Gabriel got dressed and went outside beginning his walk down the train tracks by his house. He had some change in his pocket, just enough to get a Monster from the local convenience store. He didn’t make it very far though, once he got to the trestle, the same one he and Iris hung out at only a day after his change. “Friend you really got my shit together… though sometimes I don’t know if I can trust you… Especially after that dream… Part of me just can’t not blame you for this. I know that sounds ridiculous, but….” Gabriel sighed looking into the pond below. He was so lost in thought he didn’t notice the staff left on the railing overlooking the trestle. This wasn’t a problem he didn’t have often, a lot of the time he could be looking for his car keys and miss the fact that they were right in front of him. “No fucking way…” Gabriel looked over the staff. “A long black staff with silver coatings, and at the head a globe of a decayed Earth with a rat standing on top of it…”

The rat picked it up and twirled it in his paws, then proceeded to smack the air with it. Yeah that had a good feel to it. He quickly took it back to his house, he had to tell Thana immediately. This thing was just as cool as he imagined. Though soon he would have another heart attack. Once he came back home he noticed his van door was open. Gripping his new staff and hitting the head of it against his palm. “WHOSE THERE?!?! There’s nowhere to run where I wouldn’t have been able to see you.” There really wasn’t, his house was far away from the road with nothing to hide behind. Whoever did this couldn’t have had anywhere to hide.

No response, Gabriel decided to check the inside of the van. “She is mistaken about the price of that costume. Here’s the first hundred you’ll need to get started. I’ll leave more when I find it. - Nightmare Scorpion.” he read aloud. “I dreamed of a scorpion… could that be? Is it possible that in my dreams I am somehow traversing to other lands? I mean it wouldn’t be the oddest thing to happen to me.”

Weeks passed and more of these letters came, giving Gabriel all he needed to fully embrace himself until the big night. When the outfit was finally completed. Thana took several pictures of Gabriel outside posing in the suit. It had all been worth it, the worst part was making the mold which was done by applying plaster to his face getting quite few of his furs stuck with the need to be yanked off. Something that hurt quite a bit. After fifteen minutes of this Gabriel put his paw on his girlfriend’s shoulder. “Thana, I must confess. I had this outfit constructed for a special purpose…. To hide my identity while I do something illegal, but if I’m ever to know peace in my heart I must do this. Do you understand darling?”

“I have to admit had I known that I’d be a little more reluctant to make it, but of the fun of making a costume is to show it off and now I can’t…” Thana pouted “All this hardwork for nothing.” The panda was especially disappointed, now she knew why her boyfriend had been so quiet when she had voiced the idea of possibly using this to start a more professional costume making career. “Couldn’t you have like used a ski mask with the eye holes cut out?”

“The meaning of this costume was to help me get more in touch with my rodential self. Hoping that if I can embrace some of the elements of it. My body wide dysphoric sensation will finally be at its end. Allowing me peace of mind.” Gabriel made a slight moan as he pictured it. Bliss, finally the sensations in his body would be something other than negative. “Besides a ski mask wouldn’t fit, my head isn’t shaped right for that.”

“Alright, but I’m just saying it sounds more like an idea Cale would come up with, more than a you idea. I mean this a girl whose fifteen and still watches Power Rangers.”

Gabriel laughed and twirled his staff in an overly dramatic manner, help it up to the sky, and whirled it around in a circle. “RANGERS ARE QUEER! TRANSMOGRIFICATION TIME IS HERE!”

Thana burst out in laughter at this display of satirical mockery towards to the overly long running live action series of overused stock footage. “Baby, you’re wonderful. Hahaha. I think you’re more intimidating than the Mystic Force Rangers when they transform.”

“You’ve seen the show?” Gabriel raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah I watch it with Cale sometimes, it is ridiculously stupid. They’re actually fighting with their capes now.”

“My God….Capes? Capes? They’re wearing capes now?” Gabriel looked back at his tail. “This thing gets jammed in doors all the time and it’s physically attached to me… why would anyone even wear a….” The two enjoyed the rest of the night together, discarding the costume to prevent it from getting dirty. It would be needed tomorrow night.

-July 22nd, 2007-

Gabriel donned the mask, put on the top hat, grabbed his staff and was then out the door for his mission. To establish dominance and prove that he was still a man even though he appeared to be a rodent. Under the shadow of night he made his way once again towards North Chase. Once there he sniffed the air. Changed would know him, and Changed would fear him.

The way to attack ROB was to attack the people infected by his toxin and establish himself as master. An irrational thought, but he was desperate. All the clues were leading him here, the image of Black Plague in his mind, this mysterious Nightmare Scorpion, his odd dream. Yes now this night, he would make noise!

Gabriel, or rather Black Plague as he was beginning to refer to himself, was about to make the first stop; At the dwelling of the Changed he had encountered those many nights ago when Jimmy was stealing from his prius.

Black Plague left an imprint in the door when he smashed into it his staff. Leaving a rat shaped indention into the wood. Sounding groggy and irate the bobcat came to the door half-asleep. “Can I fucking help you? Jesus some of us are trying to sl…” The feline noticing the swaying and thumping on his patio of a rat tail. “Oh… you’re one of us… Look I’ve got work tomorrow. If you’re confused about what you are just google ‘Changed’ on the internet. I don’t have time for this shit right now.”

“I know the name of our kin!” Black Plague responded pushing the bobcat back with his staff and inviting himself in. “Nice place you have here feline. I can see you’re a man of taste.” The rat said looking at racks upon racks of DVDs and a giant tv screen with various video game consoles neatly wrapped up behind a glass cabinent. Currently plugged in was a Sega Master System with the 8bit version of Sonic The Hedgehog inside of the it. Among the DVDs were statues of Lord Of The Rings characters, a replica Lament Configuration from Hellraiser, a Star Wars Poster on the wall, a small model of the Enterprise, and a figure set of Robocop facing down against the Terminator, and finally a replica of Conner Maceloud’s Sword from Highlander. Not that Gabriel knew what film it was wrong as he’d never seen the series. Merely getting recommendation from Cale about the movie’s quality. Meanwhile with the consoles there were figures of Kratos, Mario, Sonic, and Master Chief. The mascot of the biggest four names in consoles. “Your job must afford you nice things.”

“Yeah I’ve got a nice back patio too with tons of shit I’m sure you want to steal. You can admire my things for about ten more minutes before I call the god damn cops.” The groggy bobcat growled, in no mood to entertain house guests. “Or I can bust your ass before they get here rat!”

“I’m so frightened.” Black Plague laughed, smashing his staff into the case of the consoles and again into the TV. “Hahahaha. and just what do you plan on telling them? A rat walked in and smashed the objects you don’t deserve in your privileged life? Who did you fuck over to get these? Someone at your job showed initiative and you took credit for it. Maybe some dying philanthropist in the hospital doesn’t know his credit card’s been borrowed?”

“Listen here you son of a bitch, you can’t come into my house, break my expensive TV, and accuse me of…” The man was saying before he was cut off, by a smash to his stomach from the staff.

“Things you’re likely guilty of. I know it has to be something, no one on this Earth gets a god damn thing they deserve. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. But whatever did this to me did a poor choice of balancing out the karmic debt. I’m not even an adult yet, I don’t deserve to have my body taken from me and replaced with this…” The rat hissed looked down at himself. “But now… by embodying the personage of the Black Plague. I can punish the rest and deal justice as it’s meant to be. You rich asshole with a six figure job, you get a perfect handsome body to go with your perfect charmed life. One you probably stole from someone who was working on the cure for cancer or some shit like that.” He said, striking the bobcat over the back with his staff repetitiously, cracking the man’s ribs. “The best part is, what’s my gender, ethnicity, age? You don’t know! All you see’s a fucking rat. You can’t report me to the constable!”

“Fuck… stop… please… I don’t need this....” The bobcat cried out, blood pouring out of his staff wounds.

“What? Someone giving you a taste of your own medicine instead of scratching your arse?” The Black Plague asked laughing all the while. “How’s the wife, I bet she’s a babe with gigantic fake breasts.”

The man went silent, no longer giving out even grunts of pain. Gabriel had to stop when he noticed that his victim was crying. After five minutes of tears he finally spoke up. “She’s dead….”

“What!?!” Gabriel exclaimed.

“Two weeks after my change… I had a nightmare. She… tried to wake me up from it.. but..” The bobcat sniffled looking at his paws. Recounting every horrifying moment of this night, jumping as his post traumatic stress disorder literally caused him to see razor sharp claws coated in blood like that night. He had clawed out her throat by mistake, and she died in mere moments. “...I was able to afford all those movies and the back patio renovations from the money she left me.. I don’t have a six figure job. All my Master’s Degree was good in this economy for was thousands in debt and a crummy minimum wage job at the Burger King by Food Lion. They shipped all the good jobs overseas… I thought they’d ease the pain… but they didn’t.”

Gabriel put his staff down and breathed deeply. Realizing he may have made a horrible mistake in a quest to prove nothing but his own senseless blood thirsty valor. “Trying to gain happiness from possessions, is akin to fighting hunger by taping sandwiches to your physical form. George Carlin.” He said, not sure what else to say.

“Preaching to the choir… I’m rich now. She had become a prostitute to help feed the kids… told me in her will. She ripped off some rich fucker and now I’m wealthy beyond my wildest dreams. But I’ve give it all back to hold her in my arms one more time…” The man said, coming to his feet. “I don’t actually have work tomorrow rat… I’m still trying to prove I didn’t murder her in court… I’m sorry ROB gave you a body you didn’t like, but please.. that has nothing to do with me. I wish this Change never happened. She’d still be here, and so would my kids…. They’re in a foster home now. Said a suspected murderer was no father..”

“...” Gabriel’s mind was filling with guilt, what had he done? This man was worse off than he was. He began pacing, eventually he walked to the kitchen and grabbed himself three beers, downing them all trying to drown out the remorse for his horrible idea. Hoping that if he killed any brain cells tonight it would be the ones that thought Marcellus had a good idea that perished in the great booze flood. Before he left, taking one more beer with him for the road he turned to the man. “Wait… how do I know this isn’t a trick?”

The bobcat shoved his hands in the rat’s face. “I’ve been declawed. I hired a Changed veterinarian to do it so I’d never kill again…”

“...Alright.. I’m sorry I bothered you. I.. I’d pay for the TV, but I’m not employed..” Gabriel said, feeling like that excuse was pretty weak and like he wanted to kick his own ass, but there was really nothing he could do without the cash.

“Naw you’re good… I can get a bigger one tomorrow.” The bobcat said, strangely alright with this nighttime intrusion. Far more than Gabriel would have been had positions been reversed

The rat who called himself Black Plague was out of the door quickly with staff in hand. He didn’t get passed the driveway before an empty beer bottle smacked him in the back of the head, laying him out flat. Things only got stranger when he awoke.

“Mmm… Left turn at Universe B12, went past the Blind Pig, and now I should be in the middle of the lighthouse…. Huh… This isn’t a lighthouse.” Spoke a scorpion changed wearing a Kirby T-Shirt and looking over a map. “Hey kid, big Astral Plane aint it?”

“What?.. My head hurts.. What’s going on.” Gabriel said rubbing his head.

“Quite a nasty bruise there.” The scorpion said, helping Gabriel up to his feet and guiding him to a pink and green polka dotted Volkswagon Beetle that read “JELLYFISH” in the license plate. “Hey I’ll drive you home. This isn’t as nice as my other ride, he’s a real beaut. You should see him. But he’s not allowed in this variation.” The scorpion said, starting up the ignition of his car and driving on out. Gabriel was too delirious to question this situation, to question if this was the Nightmare Scorpion, or more importantly. How a scorpion was inviting him into his car if Changed could only be mammals. Gabriel was tired, groggy, guilty, physically hurt, and just wanted to go to bed.

“Did you just refer to your ride as a he? Most people I know would use a female term to refer to their rides… Rides, rides rides rides. That terminology is stuck in my head. Strange normally I say horseless carriage…. Maybe I’m just drunk.” Gabriel said rubbing his head. He felt strange, like the universe had suddenly became very small. As if all of creation could suddenly be condensed into a single broom closet.

“As a skunk my friend. Though it’s interesting you say that. Most people wouldn’t be surrounded by those they proclaim to dislike.” The scorpion said, stopping at a traffic light to fiddle with something. “The kinds of men who have female rides. You despise them don’t you?”

“Are you high?” Gabriel asked, not understanding what his bushy tailed friend meant by this. “Vehicles don’t literally have gender ya know.”

“Yes I am.” The scorpion said, turning to the rodent with what was in his pincers now far more visible. A lighter and a small pipe full of marijuana. “Would you like to be as well?”

Gabriel wasted no timing in taking the pipe, or bowl as it was called, lightning the herbs ablaze and breathing in the sweet taste and aroma of THC cannabinoids. Forgetting about the scorpion’s nonsensical ramblings of gendered rides and variations to remember the old saying that stoners lived by. A code that helped you know who in life was worthy of being trusted above all others. “A friend with weed, is a friend indeed.” he said aloud.

“Aint that the truth?” The scorpion responded.

The scorpion drove to Gabriel’s house, the rodent just now realizing it’s odd that the other Changed seemed to know where he lived without the rat having to say a word about it. Though Gabe did seem annoyed by the fact that the scorpion stopped in the middle of a field near his house and proceeded to lay on the grass as opposed to actually drove the long walk down to Gabe’s house proper.

“My house isn’t that far… if you’d like to continue driving down this dirt road…” Gabriel was in the middle of saying, but the scorpion just laughed at him.

“Look at the stars with me….” He smiled, he would have looked rather peaceful had the light from Gabe’s father’s house who lived nearby not been reflecting off of the panda’s red eyes making them appear to glow ominously.

“I’ll just walk the rest of the way.. It’s not far…” Gabriel told the scorpion as he began to head down the dirt road.

“Gabriel Zedimouse Locke, your house isn’t going anywhere. Just lay back and enjoy the stars with me..” The scorpion responded.

“When did I tell you my name?” Gabriel asked.

“You didn’t.” The scorpion growled forward before taking a more calming tone and rubbing the ground with his pincer.. “Now come, the grass is comfy.”

Against Gabriel’s better judgement he decided to lay next to the scorpion, keeping a safe distance which appeared to be in vain as he just grabbed him close in an affectionate embrace. “He’s out there, my friend. Stuck in his own obsessions.”

“Is that why I hate people with female rides?” Gabriel asked, not really sure if he was even awake anymore. This was getting weird.

“You hate them because you are only learning the pain they’re slowly becoming free of. But if I say too much I’ll upset the master of this variation.” The scorpion said calmly staring up at the sky. “There’s much darkness in her you know.”

“Who? Thana?” Gabriel asked. Yeah this was definitely a dream, had to be, it was getting all vision quest on him and full of Star Trek crap like when he tried tripping DXM with his brother.

“Yes, but hers is more… Animalistic and vicious, very primal. The darkness I speak of is more tortured and vile. This is a variation of reality where her sorrows, have been passed onto you.” The scorpion said, starting to scratch under Gabriel’s chin with his mighty pincer. An action he was ashamed to admit he actually enjoyed.

“I see…” Gabriel thought to himself. Who could this scorpion be referring to, he felt it important to know the truth, but the only female that came to his mind was, Iris. “What darkness could lay within Iris’ heart? Her worst crimes admittedly are being absent minded and having the libido of well, an adolescent.”

“Enough darkness to dominate and subsequently decimate entire planets if the variation she was in enabled her.” The scorpion stood up straight and faced one star in the sky, one specific star, unblinking, unmoving, entirely focused upon this one shining star. “This one however, pacifies her… The one on which I stand… I fear for the people of that planet.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Gabriel asked., shaking the scorpion violently and demanding answers “Cale is not going to become the King of Space. He’s just an idiot, a genderbent over breasted striped furry idiot with more teeth than brain cells!” “How could I expect you to understand. Your hatred was placed here to receive your burden so that one day you would be capable of knowing. Your day will come Locke and you shall know power far greater than mine.” The scorpion said, his eyes still locked on the star. “How far from the Andromeda Galaxy to the Milky Way? I dread to think about it.”

“You’re heading for the Andromeda Galaxy?” Gabriel asked, tilting his head in utter confusion.

“No, that’s not where I’m heading, it’s where I’m coming from.” The Scorpion said plainly.

Gabriel paused for a minute before finally opening his muzzle to talk. “We’re not on Earth right now, are we?”

“If I had thumbs, I’d give you a gesture of confirming gratification. I must be leaving now Gabriel. When next we meet, you will understand all realities at once.” The Scorpion said, heading for the road. Leaving his strangely colored car behind. Actually now that Gabriel had thought about it the car seemed to have vanished entirely.

“WAIT!” Gabriel yelled, grabbing one of the scorpion’s pincers. “Can Cale’s darkness ever be illuminated it.”

“She will know true selflessness, when she goes one billion years without water.” The scorpion stopped and turned to Gabriel to say. “Oh and before I forget…” He said and in one swift action pierced Gabriel’s skull with his stinger and pulled his entire skeleton out of his body. Organs dripping from his rodential bones as he brought him to the front of the arachnid. “Life is a game, have fun and don’t stress so much. Now is not the time for it.”

The skeleton of Gabriel seemed to still be alive, nodding his head slowly in agreement. He brought his paws to his eyeless sockets which he could strangely still see out of and noticed they began to glow purple. Surging with a strange energy that seemed to be a vampiric absence of energy. “I… am… the Black Plague… I am death.” He said meekly sounding out of breath as his lungs were falling out of him.

The scorpion threw Gabriel to the ground who came apart in an arrangement of bones.

-The Next Mroning-

“I am death…” Gabriel screeched as he woke in a pile of grass looking over his pink paws, fkesh still covering his bones as he panted heavily. “...What the fuck…!?!?!”

“Oh, you’re awake. I was just about to call an ambulance. We thought you OD’d. or someshit.” Jimmy took out of his pocket a bowl, a pipe used for smoking marijuana, shaped and coloured like a mushroom and showed it to Gabriel.

“Shroomy… Yes I smoked out of him for good luck before I left. Your point?” Gabriel asked rubbing his head which hurt like hell.

“Yeah the weed inside was laced with some really bad shit. I’m thinking Marcellus might have given you some of the wrong stuff. He likes to lace that shit sometimes and I guess he mixed up the laced shit with the regular.” Jimmy explained

“...No that can’t be it… Here. I teleported here.. I was dragged here by the Nightmare Scorpion… he gave me my staff. He said that he was going to the Milky Way Galaxy to...” Gabriel said in a panic not stopping to breathe, his mind racing a million lightyears a millisecond.

“Nigga, I’M THE Nightmare Scorpion. That’s my new street name. I got you that staff and the money as a way of saying thanks for bailin’ me out.” Jimmy said looking at Gabriel like he had grown a second head, though that would have hardly been the weirdest thing to happen to his body. “I found you passed out and bleeding on some nigger’s house and I carried your ass here. I just threw you in the grass when you starting kicking and screamin’ at me about darkness or some shit.”

“....So.. wait… Then what happened.. with the… There was a scorpion. He ripped my entire skeleton out and...” Gabriel looked on the ground trying to find one of his bones or a pancreas or something that might have leaked out of his body.

“You had a bad trip… That’s all.” Jimmy said. “So can I get you anything, or you good?”

Gabriel rubbed his head, it was likely a hangover from mixing drugs and alcohol. “Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen… I possess cotton mouth like a maternal fornicator.”

Jimmy left to fetch Gabe a glass of water as he sat down, seeing if his cellphone had power. He felt like an idiot. Listening to Marcellus’ advice, this hangover and the shards of glass he eventually found in his head that he had to go to the hospital to have removed.Luckily he managed to find a Changed Doctor who set him up with a proper medical bracelet who got him some rodent friendly painkillers instead of the practically cyanide tablets they wanted to give him. But that was later, as for now Gabriel rolled through his phone and called Iris on the cellphone she had gotten from her father for her birthday.

“Cale… I take you for granted you know that. I’ve just had the weirdest night of my life.. Jimmy says it’s just a bad trip, but.. I think I’ve found something....” Gabriel said in a panicked voice; “I think I’m a rat for a reason.”

“Did you ever find my contacts?” Iris asked sleepily, having just woken up. Which sounds about right for 5pm on a day without school.

“...You know I had completely forgotten...” Gabriel said becoming completely silent.

“Shut up Gabrielle.” Iris laughed. “You know you’d tell me something similar had I forgotten your contacts. By the way, you know rats are near-sighted right.”

“.....Yes…” Gabriel said, refusing to address the problem, as it would be akin to surrendering to being a rat for the rest of eternity. “Look, I probably say somethings to you that I shouldn’t say. I just wanted to apologize and well… If you were in a body you didn’t like, I had a friend from space apparently, imply that. Maybe I’d be less kind to you than you are to me.”

“Uh huh…” Iris said, putting Gabriel on speaker as she got up and changed shirts, put on a bra as sleeping with one on is rather uncomfortable, and left her jeans on as they weren’t dirty. “Sounds like you’re really maturing there Gabriel. Maybe that’s why you were allowed to see… whatever it is you saw. Afterall, CM tells me that sometimes we hear from our guardian angels when we’re meant to be directed to the right path. Maybe there’s some truth to what the ol’ bear says.”

“You’re more open minded than I would have taken you for..”

“Hey, when your manhood vanishes while you’re trying to take a piss and you get called things like sir and mister even with bazongas like mine it makes you able to believe anything.” Iris added on a mrrowl for emphasis. “So I’ll be back in Wilmington early August. Just in time be of assistance if anyone jumps ship so to speak.”

“Can’t wait to see you again buddy, we shall chill soon as you’re back in Silver.” Gabriel cheered.

“Cool. I smell Hamburger Steaks, so I’m gonna let you go. Seeya.” Iris clicked the disconnect call button and was off to enjoy meat.

“What threat could this person pose to space… Maybe it was a mere hallucination after all.” Gabriel shrugged looking at the sky, the Hamburger Steaks comment reminded him. He should probably force himself to eat if he can.