It was approaching midnight when Kit finally decided to head to bed, her parents having done so an hour earlier - switching off the television set Kit made her way up the stairs and stretched slightly as a strong breeze caused the trees outside to sway in a wild "dance" as a mild storm began to cast its shadow across the area.
Yet Kit was never one to be frightened of storms and soon entered her room, closing the door behind her as she slipped into bed - hoping that tonight she'd be able to get a decent sleep despite the approaching storm, her dreams having been increasingly disturbed over last few nights.
Kit put it down to the lingering memories of the attack she had witnessed a few days back, an attack which the media still talked about and was the hot debate of every hour - the media still sticking to their story of it being a terrorist attack despite growing evidence to the contrary, yet if it wasn't terrorism it raised frightening new questions Kit wasn't sure she wanted answered.. such as if At Err was alone in the universe..
Shaking her head to try and clear her thoughts Kit closed her eyes and put a pillow over her head to try and drown out the storm as best she could as she rolled over and tried to go to sleep.
Then it happened.. a loud crashing sound from down below made Kit open her eyes wide as her heart raced, fear causing her to jump as rapid movement from downstairs alerted her to an intruder - yet this was no ordinary intruder, the noise they made was terrifying and rapid footsteps began echoing up the stairs.
Kit barely had time to cry out before her bedroom door burst open and a familar rat leapt towards her, a crazed look in his eyes as he tried to drag her out of the bed:
"..Kit.. come on.. we got to go.." Jake said, panting heavily - Kit panicked and instinctively scrambled away from his grip, which caused him to growl audibly as he grabbed at her some more "..stop it, Kit..".
However Jake didn't get much further before Kit's father entered the room and a clash of fangs and claws emerged as the two males fought each other - casting terrible shadows as Kit sat up in her bed and let out a cry of fear.
Kit's mother was quickly on the scene, racing over to Kit as she pulled her daughter out of the room as the Jake was pinned to the bed - Kit's father looking half-feral as he growled:
"..Martha.. get the kids and call the cops.. I'll hold him..".
"..let me go! you don't understand..! ..their coming.. I saw them.. Kit! ..you got to believe me!" Jake exclaimed.
"..come on, hurry.." Martha said as she guided Kit and Rex down the stairs, heading to the phone and rapidly dialing the emergency services - as she did this Kit looked up at the stairs with fear and confusion: Jake was unstable but he'd never done something like this before.. something had scared him.. no.. terrified him.. she could see it in his eyes.. she could smell it.. it was as if Jake had seen a ghost.. or worse.
Suddenly a cry of surprise made Kit jump again as Martha rushed up the stairs, placing Rex in Kit's arms "..take care of Rex.. the police will be here any minute.." she yelled out - Kit was too frightened to do anything else as she clung to her little brother and watched her mother disappear up the stairs.
A few hours later Kit found herself wrapped in warm blankets as she and the rest of her family waited by the front lawn as police continued to move around their home - Kit's father holding a cloth to his injured face, several claw marks showing where Jake had slashed him in order to escape through an upstairs window and into the night.
Seeing her father's injury and the fear of her mother and brother Kit suddenly felt a deep anger inside her, she hated Jake for what he did.. no matter how frightened he was.. no matter what he thought he saw.. he had no right to hurt her family.
"..Kit.. are you positive nothing happened between you and Jake? ..the officers need to know.. if there was anything that could explain.." Martha began.
"..I told you mom, I have no idea what's going on.. Jake was acting crazy.. I don't even know what he was thinking.." Kit replied.
"..alright, kitten.. I'm sorry.. it's just.. it seems so strange.." Martha said.
"..mom.. I promise.. if I knew what was happening I'd tell you.. I.. I don't know.. you need to believe me.. ever since the park.. everything's just been so screwed up.." Kit said, tears forming in her eyes as she folded her ears back and began to shiver.
"..Kit.. please.." Martha began.
"..I'm sorry.. I.. I'm so sorry.." Kit said, scrambling up and tossing her blankets away as she rushed down the street.
"KIT!" Martha yelled out, yet it was too late and she watched haplessly as her daughter ran into the night - a few officers pursuing her on foot but having little chance of catching her..
Kit kept running for what seemed like an eternity until she finally hid in a nearby alley, falling to the ground as she curled up by a wall and wept bitter tears of fear and frustration.
"..this is insane.. it doesn't make any sense.." Kit thought to herself as she shivered in the cold "..why is this happened? why can't things just be the way they were before?"
"..Kit?" a familar voice suddenly whispered from the shadows, causing her to leap to her feet as Jake came into view - he still had a half-feral look on his face, his clothes torn from the previous fight and dirty due to hours of running through city streets.
"..Kit.. I'm sorry.. you need to understand.." Jake began, reaching forward only for Kit to snarl as she moved back, hissing as she folded her ears back.
"..stay away from me!" Kit yelled out, readying her claws to defend herself - yet Jake backed off slightly as he saw the fear in her eyes.
"..Kit.." Jake began, his voice trembling somewhat, finally realizing what he'd done.. in his blind panic to protect Kit he'd torn her from her home and family.. shattered her life.. Jake began to feel sick as he looked down at the ground and flicked his tail.. this wasn't what he wanted at all.
Then it happened, a strange scent began to rise in the area and both Kit and Jake looked confused, however Jake's expression soon turned to fear as he grabbed at Kit: "..no, not again.. Kit.. come on..".
Kit didn't resist as Jake grabbed her arm and the two began running down the alley as several figures leapt down from the rooftops - dressed from head to toe in black armor and carrying what looked like nets made out of crackling energy.
"..Maker.. what's happening, Jake?! ..what are these things?!" Kit gasped, barely able to think as her heart felt ready to explode - every muscle in her body aching as she and Jake were forced to stop as the figures surrounded them.
"..oh Maker.. I'm sorry Kit.. I'm so.. sorry.." Jake said, holding Kit close as the armored figures moved in - the last thing the pair saw was that strange net being tossed over them: then a flash of burning white pain..
Kit awoke several hours later in a strange room filled with lights, metallic walls and floor instantly making her heart race as she scrambled to her feet and looked around - her eyes growing wide as she realized she was locked in some sort of prison.
Tugging at her neck Kit felt a large collar strapped firmly around said neck, a pair of shackles connected to her arms and legs - beeping continually as advanced circuitry and switches flickered on and off: filling Kit with a volatile mix of confusion and fear as she tried to remove the devices to no avail.
"..what's happening? ..this can't be real.. wake up Kit.. wake up.." Kit thought as she slammed herself against a metallic door and scratched at the surface with her claws, causing small marks to appear on the surface as she banged herself against the door repeatedly.
At the same time Jake awoke to find himself in a similar prison with the same strange collar and shackles, he looked around in fear and anger as he got to his feet shakily and called out:
"she can't hear you.." a voice informed him, instantly causing Jake to spin round as he saw an older male dressed in a black uniform - his large form unmistakable as a bull elephant.
"..w-who are you? what is this all about?" Jake growled, the older male approaching him and towering over him as he placed a large hand on Jake's shoulder - sufficent to force the younger and much smaller male onto his knees with a painful squeeze.
"..I am a male who made a calculated choice to survive in a cold and unforgiving universe - as for what this is all about.. you will never know.. all you will know for certain is this: everything you ever knew was a lie.. the future is indeed troubling.. the prospect of global extinction or enslavement very much real.. our world now the centre of an ancient war that has travelled across space and time.. stopping at our very doorsteps.." the elephant replied.
"..you're crazy! let me go!" Jake said, trying to wriggle free - yet it was hopeless as the other male kept a firm grip on him.
".. now you have a choice, young male.. to willingly donate your time and effort to the ISDF in exchange for shelter, food and security.. or to rot in this cell like the filthy beast you are.." the elephant continued.
"..ISDF? ..I.. I don't know what you're talking about!" Jake said, his heart racing as he remembered the media reports and the strange sign that had been etched on the scorched earth which once made up Main Park.
"..wait.. ISDF.. it was you.. you attacked the park.. killed those people.." Jake growled.
"..no.. I was not involved in that particular mission.. in fact I was introduced to the ISDF the night after that unfortunate incident.. walking home I found myself ambushed.. sure, at first I tried to fight.. soon enough I learnt my place.." the elephant replied.
"..why are you helping them? what do you have to gain from all this? don't you understand?! people are getting killed! this is insane!" Jake exclaimed, the elephant finally releasing his grip as he stood up and moved towards a metallic door.
"..I have little to gain but a lot to lose.. you think we can be decent creatures in a time like this? ..I think you need to remember what we are.. this isn't about some false sense of morality.. this is about survival.. I'm helping the ISDF because I wish to survive.. I suggest you do the same.." the elephant replied, the metallic door swinging open as several armored figures moved in either side of the large male.
"..you're a traitor! a filthy no-good terrorist! you can take your ISDF and shove it up your -!" Jake began only to cry out as the armored figures slammed him to the ground with considerable force and pinned him down.
The elephant moved in and knelt down, looking to Jake as he commented:
"..the female that accompanied you in the alley is safe and sound in a cell nearby.. however she could easily become a lot less safe.. of course I'm sure she'd understand your point of view.. suffering from the greater good..".
Jake's eyes grew wide as he struggled, yet the armored figures were surprisingly strong and he was already weakened from his previous experience:
"..no! ..wait! w-wait!.. I.. I'll do anything.. anything you want.. just leave her alone! ..please!".
The elephant thought for a moment, rubbing his chin before he stood back up - motioning the armored figures, who released Jake back onto the floor as they once again headed for the door, the elephant turning away as he too made a few steps towards the door before pausing as he turned slightly to Jake:
"..alright.. we have a deal.. you do as I say and I ensure your female is kept safe.. the moment you go against me.. I break her..".
Jake flattened his ears and growled as the elephant left the room, the door closing behind him - Jake flicked his tail back and forth as he thought to himself: "..this is crazy.. come on, Jake.. pull yourself together.. you got to do this.. for Kit..".
Jake struggled to his feet as he rubbed at the shackles on his arms and looked to the closed door, narrowing his eyes: "..hang in there, Kit.. I'll get us out of this.. if I have to kill every last one of these freaks to do so.. all the better..".
- Continued in EXTINCTION -