Attack of the Wolf/Cat Hybrid, Part 5 [read part 1!]
Everything had changed. For Peter, it was no longer a matter of escaping the mountain with all his fingers and toes and organs where they were supposed to be. Turns out the wolfcat meant him no harm! And to flee now would be to doom the animal to certain death. Clever though Señor was, he was living on borrowed time. The bad men were coming.
Discouraged, Peter shifted on the front stoop, where he’d spent the last twenty minutes thinking in circles. He let his heavy head clonk into the front door, made a fist and lightly punched a twirly spindle on the iron railing. What to do? He’d been working the situation from every angle. For every minute he delayed taking action, the situation grew ever less manageable.
Hours had already passed since the explosion at Amalgamaker Labs. This was problem numero uno. The survivors would have long since regrouped, armed themselves with high-powered anti-hybrid carbines, trickled into the grouty mountain roads like dubious poop water creeping in the grooves between the bathroom tiles at your local 7-Elevan. Under the supervision of Animal Response Team Leader George Sprint, the hunters would constitute more than a match for clever Señor. Their intention? Riddle the hybrid with warm pouting holes.
The way Peter figured it, to leave Señor now would be the same as lancing him through the eye with the Bic pen. All of his efforts until now, his bold survival antics, had been informed by the knowledge that Wolfcat meant to catch him, open him, use its snout to probe his insides, fang his business, unspool his hot gummy intestines. But with this threat defunct, Peter reverted to his natural way of thinking. This presented a complication worthy of its own quick chapter.
The complication? Peter loved animals. Cute ones anyway. He loved them more than humans. For many reasons, but for one reason in particular. Animals had never slept next to him in their tighty whities with their mustache sometimes brushing against his exposed shoulder blade. Only humans did that.
What’s more, Peter didn’t subscribe to the accepted view that humans were much more important than other animals. He would rather watch a human get stabbed than a dog or a cat or even a large marsupial. I’m sorry but it was true. And who’s to say he was wrong to feel this way? How do you assign an Earth species value in the cold glare of an indifferent, dark-mattery universe? Is not all life precious as hell? Even extant microbes on Mars?
People were the only ones who said people were intrinsically more valuable than other lifeforms. Peter thought this a real hoot. That’s like the mayor of the city raising the pay for city mayors. Bogus. Lame. Peter didn’t agree with the self-serving, humans-first point of view. Thought it was a crock.
But, more important than all his other reasons—he felt he owed Wolfcat a favor. A big one. For mauling his no-good father.
Thankful, he turned to the yard and watched the wolfcat be a wolfcat. Señor had left Peter behind and spent the last fifteen minutes chasing his old friend, Bluebird, from one side of the muddy yard to the other. The bird had proved to be a level 5 exemplar of its species; had, at each Wolfcat’s every try to snag it, managed to escape the attack by way of a riotous flapping. A worthy foe! And between these skirmishes, Wolfcat attended to his day’s regular business—sniff things, nap, lick things, poop things into a pre-designated rectangular receptacle.
Yet Wolfcat was a deadly, human-hungry hybrid abomination. There was that.
Peter felt burdened with a terrible decision. Wolfcat > Animals > People. Yes. That wasn’t the issue. The formula was very correct. But the ratio was off. Thousands of unsuspecting humans lived in the valley below. Not all of them sponge-bathed their grown sons. With Wolfcat in the neighborhood, how many people would he maul before Peter were able to smuggle him to a deserted island or wherever else?
Peter curled his nose, shook his head. No, he thought. It didn’t matter. Wolfcat was his responsibility now. Peter’s own father, drunk with scientific curiosity and delusions of godhood, had created the animal by splicing together a jaguar and a wolf. In a way, this made Peter and Señor stepbrothers. They shared the same megalomaniacal sire. They needed to stick together. And if some humans died in the process? Well. Too bad for them. Next time be a cat.
The decision half-made, Peter shuddered in fitting despair. The task seemed impossible! You could forget about the car. Peter had already retrieved his car keys from his bedroom. The car wouldn’t start. Battery = dead after all. There was no driving out of here. Peter and the wolfcat would have to flee by foot. And if he was going to help Señor escape into the valley he must first establish a sort of working relationship with the animal. George Sprint and his team were quite adept at tracking and shooting all sorts of predators.
Boy and hybrid-beast would have to learn to work together in perfect synergy, operate as a single stealthy fugitive-from-the-law. And precious little time remained to bring this relationship into being. The odds were shite. Dense, perfectly cylindrical shite. But Peter decided he had to try. He would find a way!
Grimacing from the pain in his ribs, he took hold of the stoop’s railing and lifted himself to his feet. It was time to get busy.