Hey! Now I know a lot of you were probably still hoping for a continuation of the original, but Raptor84 granted me permission to pick it up. I really hope it does the original justice. Something I tried my absolute hardest to achieve. I hope you'll all grow to like this incarnation!
Hunter v Hunted: Deadliest Game
Monique sighed heavily as she plopped down into the booth next to Kim.
"Long night?" Kim asked, placing a sympathetic hand on her friend's arm.
"Long," she sighed, resting her head in her hands ", and slow girl. We only had a handful of people; maybe three or four, come into the store. It seems fashion isn't really an issue since the aliens attacked."
During last month's alien invasion many buildings were demolished. Remarkably though, many key buildings including the hospital, the space centre and even the mall managed to remain more or less untouched.
"Don't worry, Monique," Kim replied, consoling her with a pat on the arm. "Once things settle down, business will pick up again."
"Let's hope so."
Monique cast a quick glance around the mostly reconstructed Bueno Nacho – the only thing missing being the giant sombrero roof, a plastic film cover in its place. There were only four or five people besides them, spread out across the restaurant. Immediately, she noticed a certain member of their little group was missing in action.
"Finishing his shift at Smarty Mart; he and Rufus should be here soon." A smirk appeared on the redhead's face. "I'm sure he'll be in worse shape than you."
"He got stuck with stockroom duty again."
Monique winced, but matched her friend's smirk.
"Ooh, tough break."
Just then the front doors swung open and in came Ron, looking ready to collapse on the spot. Rufus, slung over his shoulder, carried the exact same look of exhaustion as his owner.
Ron staggered across the few meters to the booth and slumped into the seat across from Kim and Monique with a loud groan.
Monique tried very hard to hide her smirk, but met with little success. "Another gruelling day in the stockroom, huh?" she asked with a casual tone.
"Please don't ever mention the word 'stockroom' again," the blond moaned, weakly raising his hand up. He then lifted Rufus off his shoulder and gently placed him on the tabletop. The naked mole rat squeaked a small groan of his own.
After a few minutes of silence, Ron recovered enough to speak normally. "I'm serious, there ought to be child labour laws against this kind of thing."
"Oh, there are," Kim said wryly. "But what was that you said again? Ya know... when you took down an alien warlord?"
Ron glared at his girlfriend. "Oh, real nice, Kim, mock my pain."
He shifted his gaze straight ahead, glaring into empty space as he recalled the events with growing ire. "Every time I actually made some progress, in came Barkin with more returns to add to the piles, putting me back at square one. And all the time he was wearing a... grin that would make any super villain proud, mocking me, relishing in my torment!"
With a growl, he rose to his feet and slammed his fists on the table. Rufus, who was drifting off to dreamland, squeaked in alarm and looked around in a panic. Ron didn't notice as he continued his rant. "All this time, even after graduating, I'M STILL GETTING BARKINED!" Kim reached across the table, grabbed the collar of his jersey and yanked him down into his seat. "Ron, amp down," she hissed. When he complied, the group looked around to see everyone in the restaurant staring at them.
Ron rubbed the back of his neck. "Heh, I guess I kinda freaked," he chuckled nervously.
"Ya think?" Monique asked; her tone was bone-dry.
"Mm-hmm!" Rufus nodded in agreement.
As Kim and the others got up from the booth and went to the counter to place their order, the other customers returned to their meals. Since it wasn't very busy, it didn't take long for Ned to get their food to them. They then returned to their seats and began to eat. After the first few mouthfuls, Ron and Rufus quickly rejuvenated and started wolfing down their meals with their usual gusto. Meanwhile, Monique and Kim talked about inconsequential events.
Finally, Monique brought up the one topic that only Kim and Ron could relate to.
"So, anything been going on mission-wise?"
Kim shook her head. "Nope, things have been pretty quiet since last month's alien invasion."
"Seems like the bad guys decided to take a vacation, too," Ron said with a smile, "Which I'm obviously glad for, 'cause it's given me the chance to spend some quality time with my bon-diggity girlfriend."
Kim returned the smile as she reached across the table and took his hand in hers. "I'm glad, too, Ron." She then sighed. "Better make the most of it while we can. Before we know it, the villains will be back with more even ridiculous evil plots we'll need to foil."
"Eh, no big," he replied with a dismissive wave. "After single-handedly stopping an alien invasion, taking on super villains again will be a piece of cake."
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but remember we didn't fight the Lorwardians alone. Drakken and Shego helped us out," she reminded him, then begrudgingly adding; "And, technically, and I so don't like admitting this, it was Drakken'smutant plant plot that saved the world."
"Yeah… I guess," Ron grumbled. But he brightened up again almost immediately. "But it wasyours truly who took out Warmonga and Warhok, and their mother ship with my mystical monkey mojo," he said, throwing a couple shadow punches.
"Uh-huh." Rufus agreed, mimicking Ron's movements and squeaking "Hai-yah!"
"Speaking of Drakken and Shego, whatever happened to them?" Monique asked curiously.
"From what I heard, Drakken received a medal for saving the world. Global Justice granted him and Shego amnesty," Kim answered. "Haven't heard from or seen them since."
"You think they've given up the villain gig?"
"I don't know," she replied. "The whole reason Drakken tried to take over the world was to be recognized for his genius. Now that he's done that, maybe he'll go good and leave it at that."
"What about Shego?"
Kim thought for a moment. "Her, I have doubts about," she sighed. "I'm thinking that if Drakken did go good, Shego might continue the villain thing on her own, freelancing and mercenary-type stuff."
"You don't think she'd do the super hero thing again?"
"No," Kim answered immediately. "She did that with her brothers for years, and then she quit."
"And if you met her brothers, you'd see why." Ron added, Rufus nodding in affirmation.
"Okay, how about Global Justice?" Monique inquired. "Couldn't she work for them? They do pay, don't they?"
"Yes, which begs the question why we haven't joined them, yet." Ron stated, giving his girlfriend a look.
Kim rolled her eyes and turned back to Monique, ignoring her boyfriend's remark. "While GJ does pay, they also have certain procedures and protocols that would set limits for Shego. And I know for a fact that she'd have issues with that. She likes to follow her own rules."
She fell silent as she turned to stare out the window, her mind now on the green woman. In truth, Kim had always hoped that Shego would change her ways. It would be great if the two could fight side by side, like they had done on a couple separate occasions, instead of constantly fighting each other. Maybe they could have even become friends.
Ron and Monique shared a glance before looking back at the redhead as she continued to look out the window with a solemn expression. Ron, unaware of Kim's thoughts, figured that she was brought down by the idea of having to continue fighting Shego in the future. He decided to try and boost her spirits.
"Stress not, KP," he said in his usual upbeat manner, "If Shego does decide to keep causing trouble; you could always take a break and leave her for me. After all, I am the Monkey Master." He emphasized his point by waving his arms in an exaggerated kung fu fashion. As he executed a hand chop that slammed into the table, his fingers hit the tip of a plate of half-eaten nachos, catapulting a large glob of cheese through the air, which splattered right in the centre of his face.
Monique rip-snorted, breaking into a large grin as she laughed, "More like… the Splatter Master!"
Kim snorted softly, the corners of her mouth curling into a small smile, which was growing broader every second as she looked at her boyfriend sitting there, wide-eyed with cheese oozing down his face. Her snorting quickly gave way to giggling, and it was at this point that Rufus leapt up onto Ron's shoulder. Whether it was to help his owner, or just help himself, the naked mole rat started to lick the cheese off Ron's face, causing the young man to sputter, "Rufus! Stop it!" Finally Kim gave up her struggle and started laughing, too.
After a few minutes, the girls' laughter died down, an occasional giggle escaping now and again, and Ron was able to shoo Rufus away and use a napkin to wipe off the leftover cheese sauce. When he finished cleaning up, he looked at Kim, and he smiled. Though the cheese wasn't a part of his plan, it helped him accomplish his mission just fine. Putting that wonderful smile back on his girlfriend's face was worth it.
The three friends and naked mole rat soon returned to their meals, enjoying the peaceful silence and each other's company.
Suddenly, a sound somewhere off in the distance caught Kim's attention, causing her to look out the restaurant's window. At the same time, Ron, after washing down his latest mouthful with soda, let loose a hearty—and loud—belch.
"Ron!" Monique snapped.
"Did you hear that?" Kim asked.
Monique looked at her dryly. "Kim, everyone here heard that," she answered just as dryly, motioning to the other diners, who were looking at their table once again.
Kim shook her head. "No, not Ron, that booming sound," she said, looking back out the window. "It came from outside."
"Booming sound?" Monique repeated, raising a curious eyebrow.
"I didn't hear anything," Ron said, turning to look out the window. Rufus shook his head, indicating he didn't hear the anything either.
"Considering that belch you just let loose, I'd be surprised if you did," Monique flatly replied. Ignoring his glare, she turned to Kim and placed a hand on her shoulder. "What do you think it was?"
Kim kept silent as she stared out the window, waiting to see if she would hear the sound again or maybe see what caused it. Over the next couple minutes, she heard nothing except the gossip of the diners in Bueno Nacho. She sighed and she shook her head, looking back to her friends. "I guess I'm just hearing things," she assured them with a small smile. "It's nothing."
At that instant, there were four loud pops. This time, everyone heard it. The customers were looking out the windows, murmuring nervously.
"But that was something," Monique said warily, casting a glance out the window as Kim had done.
"Post-Fourth of July fireworks?" Ron guessed uneasily. The serious look that appeared on Kim's face immediately told him that wasn't it.
"Gunshots," she grimly stated.
Recognizing the look on her face and the tone of her voice, Monique quickly scooted out of her seat, Kim close behind her. As soon as she was on her feet, the redhead made a beeline for the doors. Ron got out of the booth as Rufus leapt from the table into Ron's pant pocket and chased after her, Monique close behind.
Kim burst through the double doors and came to a halt, her friends coming to a stop on either side of her a second later. She carefully looked around, her eyes scanning for any signs of disturbance. Another shot rang out and her head darted to the right. She took off down the street towards the source, her friends hot on her heels.
The ever so familiar chime of her Kimmunicator beeped in her pocket.
"Wade," she answered, barely sparing a glance down at the device.
"Kim, I'm monitoring the police scanner," the tech guru informed her. "There was a call-in reporting gunfire, two blocks east of your location."
"Already en-route," she replied, shutting off the Kimmunicator. After a couple minutes, the group closed in on the location; there was a small crowd of people standing on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop, nervously looking towards an alleyway further down the street, but keeping their distance.
"What's the sitch?" Kim asked the group as she came to a stop. A guy, only about her age, who obviously worked at the coffee shop, stepped up to answer her question.
"We were all inside and there was this... it was kind of like a loud boom," he explained, "Like a cannon or something."
Ron and Monique shared a look that said "So Kim did hear a booming sound".
Kim kept her focus on the man as he continued; "So I stepped outside to look around and heard a man scream, then a crash coming from down that alley. A few seconds later, I heard gunshots. I ran in and told someone to call the police." He paused, taking a deep breath and exhaling. "After that last shot, it's been quiet. No one's come out, and none of us have gone near there," he added, warily glancing at the alley.
Kim placed a hand on his shoulder to get his attention again. "Just keep everyone back. We'll check it out." When he nodded in affirmation, she cautiously started towards the alleyway, with Ron and Monique close behind. They were a few meters from the alley's entrance when Ron spoke up.
"Hey, isn't that Bonnie's car?"
Almost instinctively, Kim craned her head around and spotted a white, topless German Mercedes parked a few feet from them. She was about to turn to Ron to tell him to keep his head in the game, but stopped when two particular things caught her attention – the first was the keys hanging in the door lock, and the second was the turned over to-go coffee cup on the sidewalk by the car, the leaking brown liquid forming a small puddle.
Casting a quick glance at the alleyway, Kim changed course and headed for the car, and the others followed her. As she knelt down over the spilled coffee cup, Monique walked around to the front to see the license plate, which read "BNIE-1" on it. "It is her car," she confirmed.
Kim dipped her index and middle finger into the puddle. It was still quite warm. A small ball of ice started to form in the pit of her stomach as she turned to look back at the dimly lit alleyway.
Meanwhile, Ron looked in the car and noticed a bag filled with school books and papers. He remembered how Bonnie was the only one who didn't graduate with the rest of them and was forced to go to summer school to get that last credit she needed. Despite the way she treated him and his friends throughout high school, Ron couldn't help but feel a pang of pity for the girl.
"So, where's Bonnie?" he asked distractedly. He watched Kim as she stood up and saw that she was looking towards the alley again. A couple seconds later, something clicked in his head and the colour drained from his face. "Oh, no." he whispered.
The three of them cautiously made their way toward the alleyway again. As they got closer, they pressed themselves against the wall just outside the alley's entrance. Kim took a couple deep breaths, preparing for the worst. Then she moved the last few inches and carefully peaked around the corner. Seeing no immediate danger, she moved to stand directly in the entranceway, Ron and Monique moving to stand on either side.
The alleyway was lit by a single bulb positioned over the side entrance of the right building. The bulb occasionally flickered and didn't give off much light, but there was enough to let them see everything. A few of the trashcans were overturned, spilling their putrid contents onto the ground; some of them were heavily dented, as if someone took a sledge hammer to them. But that's not what caught the team's attention.
It was the blood.
There was a lot of blood. It covered the ground in splatters here and there, with at least two pretty sizable puddles. There was a small streak of the dark red fluid across the right wall like spray paint and the left wall had a large splatter that looked like someone threw an exploding ketchup bottle at the wall.
"My God," Monique whispered, her hands flying to her mouth.
"It's like something out of a horror movie," Ron gulped, horrified. Rufus poked his head out of the pocket, gave a shuddering chatter, and ducked back down, leaving only his eyes visible. Kim, too, was visibly shaken, though she composed herself fairly quickly. She looked at the blood puddles and noticed that the some of the edges were smeared outward, like something was dragged through them, forming red trails on the concrete that were leading to the back of the alley.
"Stay close," Kim whispered as she cautiously moved forward, tensed and ready for anything. Ron and Monique needed no further encouragement as they got up right behind her, leaving only the barest of space between them. As they approached the blood smears, they tried their best to get through without actually stepping into the mess, but considering it covered most of the ground, it couldn't really be avoided.
Along the way, Kim saw an open switchblade on the ground, blood covering both the blade and handle. A little further along and she spotted a gun barrel sticking out from underneath a trashcan lid. Kim stepped over to the lid, knelt down and took hold of the handle. She lifted the lid.
Kim gasped as she backed away, dropping the lid, which hit the ground with a loud, reverberating clang. When the others looked over her shoulders, Monique paled, Ron gave wheezing gasp, and Rufus let out a frightened squeak and ducked fully back into his owner's pocket, pulling the pocket flap down over him.
It wasn't the gun itself, a standard 9mm semi-automatic pistol that shocked them. It was the severed hand, cut cleanly at the wrist, fingers clutching the hand grip and the index finger wrapped tightly around the trigger.
"Okay, I'm really getting freaked here." Ron said, trembling.
"I got you beat, boy! I'm already freaked!" Monique shrieked.
Kim quickly shushed them both. "Listen," she whispered.
It was soft, but unmistakable – the sound of whimpering. They quickly looked around for the source.
"Kim, over there," Monique said, pointing towards a pair of upright trashcans. Behind them was a pair of dainty, shaking, shoe-covered feet. The trio carefully inched their way over. Once they got close enough, they slowly peaked over the trashcans to see…
"Bonnie!" Kim gasped.
She wasn't sure what she would find going into that alley. She'd feared the worst. She was relieved to find her high school rival alive, but that feeling was short lived and quickly replaced with shock when she got a good look at her current state.
Bonnie was on the ground, curled up in a ball and shaking like a leaf in the wind. The zipper on her jean shorts was undone and they were pulled down just past her hips, revealing her lacy black panties underneath. Her shirt had been sliced straight down the middle and was hanging in on her shoulders like a makeshift vest. It also looked like the front of her matching black bra was also cut, revealing her breasts, which were now covered by her crossed arms as she hugged herself. Most of the front of her upper body was covered with splattered blood, including her neck, hair and the top half of her face. Her left eye was open wide with fright, while the right was nearly swollen shut, and there was a trail of blood from her nose to her upper lip and a second trail from her lower lip to her chin.
Kim quickly rounded the trashcans, kneeling down beside Bonnie. Monique followed suit and knelt on the opposite side of the shivering girl. Ron stood back behind Kim, looking on with concern, while at the same time, trying not to stare at Bonnie's barely covered cleavage. He was about to ask if she was okay, but for once he was able to bite back the question before it escaped his lips. It was obvious, even to him, that Bonnie was not okay.
"Bonnie," Kim spoke. She got no response. She gently placed a hand on her shoulder. "Bonnie, it's me. It's Kim. Can you hear me?"
The brunette gave no sign of hearing her. She just sat there in the foetal position, trembling.
"Look at her," Monique said softly. "The girl is scared to death."
Kim nodded. Whatever happened, Bonnie must have been right in the middle of it.
She was brought out her reverie by soft murmuring, coming from Bonnie. She leaned in close, as did Monique. A minute later, they pulled back and looked at each other in confusion.
"What's she saying?" Ron asked, taking note of their expressions.
"I don't know," Kim replied. "She's not making much sense."
Monique spoke up. "She keeps saying, 'It came out of nowhere. It killed them.'"
Kim activated her Kimmunicator. "Wade, we're at the scene. Bonnie's hurt and in a deep state of shock. I need an ambulance ASAP."
"You got it, Kim," he replied as his fingers flew across the keyboard. "The police are on their way; ETA, five minutes."
"Thanks." As the screen went black, Kim looked back at Bonnie; she had fallen silent again, an occasional whimper escaping her quivering lips. Kim then turned her attention back to the blood trail at their feet. It ran all the way to the back of the alley, splatters leading up the back wall.
"Monique, stay with Bonnie." she said. "The police should be here soon."
"Where are you going?"
"I'm gonna follow that blood trail and see where it leads me."
Monique fell silent. The idea of her best friend going after whatever the hell had caused this mess worried her. But she knew that once Kim set her mind to something, there was no talking her out of it. "Be careful." she finally said.
Kim nodded and then turned to her boyfriend. "Let's go, Ron." With that, she dashed toward the back wall and with a show of her cheerleading prowess, made a clean leap over it, somersaulting in mid-air and making a graceful landing on the other side.
"Right behind ya, KP!" he called, breaking into a run.
Reaching the back wall, he narrowed his eyes, concentrating as he summoned up some of the mystical monkey power within him. At the last second, veering to the right, he planted his foot on the wall of the building and used it to launch himself into the air towards the wall of the opposite building. He repeated the process once more, leaping over the back wall.
Unfortunately, he didn't gain enough height to completely clear the wall and his foot hooked onto the ledge. As a result, he was flung straight down, belly flopping onto a dumpster and immediately bouncing head-over-heels, slamming back first onto the concrete, completely knocking the wind out of him.
As soon as he sucked air into his lungs, he expelled it in a pained groan. Rufus flopped out of his pant pocket, moaning as he felt his tiny head spin. Slowly, Ron rolled over and got onto his hands and knees. After catching his breath again, he got to his feet, though he was hunched over, clutching his back with one hand.
"Okay… that didn't… turn out like I planned," he moaned. As he straightened himself, his back and neck simultaneously popped, making him wince through clenched teeth. Allowing the pain to subside, he turned to look for Kim, spotting her making her way up the street. Starting to run, he came to a halt as a sharp pain shot through his back, making him yell in agony. He settled for a steady power-walk, clutching his back all the way. Rufus, finally shaking off the dizziness, scampered after him.
Kim continued following the seemingly endless trail of blood. It moved from the street up onto the sidewalk and soon into moved the grass, soaking the green blades in dark crimson. Finally, the trail came to an end. She came to a stop and raised an eyebrow. At the end of the trail, sat three loose piles of what appeared to be clothes. She took a closer look and her eyes went wide. Her hand flew to her mouth and she gasped. There were what looked like human intestines and other internal organs amongst the ripped, torn, bloodstained clothing.
Just then, a trickle of blood splattered onto one of the piles, bringing Kim's attention upward. Looking up, she felt her stomach churn as the colour drained from her face.
Glad that the pain finally began to fade, Ron allowed himself to pick up speed, breaking into a full jog as his eyes fell on Kim again. He saw that she'd stopped. "Kim!" he called. As he got closer, he saw her drop to her knees. He walked up and plopped down beside her, panting heavily. Not far behind, Rufus ran all the way until he came to a stop between the two humans.
"Did you… find anything..., KP?" he asked. Receiving no response, he finally turned his head towards her. He immediately grew concerned when he saw the look she wore; her face a deathly pale. And the look she had – it scared him. He'd never seen a look like that on his girlfriend's face before – mortal horror. "KP?" he said, putting a hand on her shoulder. Followed her line of vision, his face quickly grew just as pale as hers.
Above them was a billboard, whatever was being advertised on it was completely lost to them. Hanging from the lights above the billboard were three bodies – completely skinned.
Ron began to hyperventilate. Less than a minute later, he felt his supper quickly travel up his throat. He didn't try to hold it back; instead lurching forward and depositing his nacos onto the bloodstained grass in front of him.
Rufus, trembling in fear, ran up Kim's shoulder, and hid himself in her auburn hair.
Kim did not notice either of them. She was transfixed on the three blood-soaked corpses, hanging like sides of beef in a slaughterhouse. She found she wasn't able to look away; rather finding herself individually taking in the details of each corpse.
She studied the one on the far right first – a man. In the centre of his chest there was a large, gaping wound. From the look of it, the wound was caused by some sort of large firearm with considerable power. Though she couldn't see from the position she was in, she bet that whatever had made that wound had gone right through him.
The second body in the middle was also male. The only injury that she could see was the head. The top of the skull was caved in, a steady stream of blood pouring from it.
Kim turned her eyes to the final corpse on the left – female. What caught her attention immediately was the woman's left hand… or lack thereof. She'd been the one holding the gun. Upon looking closer, she saw what looked like two deep puncture wounds in the woman's torso, most likely the cause of death.
Through an act of sheer will, Kim forced her eyes shut and turned her head down towards the ground, taking deep breaths while trying to fight back the wave of nausea she felt, pausing to swallow the bile in the back of her throat. She quickly became aware of her surroundings, only now realizing that she'd fallen to her knees. She heard heaving to her right, and she looked to see Ron hunched over a pool of his own vomit, gasping. She crawled over and placed an arm around him. He tensed at the contact. "It's okay," she spoke softly. "Just breathe."
He quickly relaxed, leaning into her embrace, and slowly began to breath normally again.
Kim heard the faint but growing sound of sirens and looked over her shoulder to see the flashing lights coming down the street. She was then aware of a small quivering mass on the back of her neck. Using her free hand, she reached around under her lion's mane and pulled out Rufus. The poor thing was curled up in a shivering ball, whimpering, just like Bonnie before. She brought him closer to her chest, using her thumb to gently stroke his head, softly whispering, "It's okay, Rufus. It's okay."
She continued to hold them both close, comforting them as the police cars came pulling up to the curb.
Over the next several minutes, the police went about setting up barricades, redirecting cars and keeping people who were gathering back.
Kim had just finished giving her statement to an officer. As he walked away, another walked up, one that she recognized. "Officer Hobble."
"Kim Possible," he greeted. "Miss Rockwaller was taken to the hospital. Your friend, Monique, went with her."
"Are you all right?"
"Yeah, just a little shaken."
"I'm not surprised after what you've seen," he said sympathetically. He then looked at
Ron sitting on the back of the second ambulance, breathing into an oxygen mask as a paramedic looked him over. "What about him?"
Kim looked at Ron before turning back to Hobble. "He's pretty shaken up." She then turned and walked over to the ambulance, the police chief close behind her. As they got closer, they noticed Rufus sitting next to Ron, breathing into a second mask much too big for him.
"How is he?" Kim asked the paramedic.
"A couple bruises from his little tumble, but nothing serious. He should be fine."
Kim nodded and then placed a hand on her boyfriend's shoulder. "How are you feeling, Ron?"
He pulled the mask away and looked at her. "They had no skin, KP. They had no skin!"
"No skin." Rufus parroted, still breathing into his mask.
"I know, Ron." Kim replied gently, giving his shoulder a comforting squeeze.
"Even the uncut edition of Zombie Mayhem didn't have that kind of carnage." he ranted. "What we just saw was a whole new level of sick and wrong!"
Just then, two EMT's wheeled a stretcher carrying a body bag up to the ambulance next to them. Ron then placed the mask back on his face and began to hyperventilate again as they loaded it into the ambulance.
As the other two bodies were being loaded, Officer Hobble shook his head grimly as he looked on. "Poor bastards," he said. During his years on the force, he'd seen many horrible things, but nothing like this. "No way for anyone to die."
Kim nodded as they loaded the last body onto the ambulance. She then looked to Ron and Rufus. "Come on, guys. We should meet up Monique at the hospital and see how Bonnie's doing."
"I'm all for that," Ron replied as he put the mask aside and quickly got to his feet. Rufus followed suit, leaping to the ground.
"Can I give you a lift?" Officer Hobble offered, indicating his police car.
"That's okay, we'll take my car. Thanks anyway, Officer Hobble," Kim said politely.
The police chief nodded. "Take care, you two," he said before turning to leave.
The paramedic closed the back door of the ambulance, and a minute later, the engine roared into life and the vehicle drove away. Kim, Ron and Rufus stood in silence, oblivious to the police and onlookers gathered, focused on the ambulance as it disappeared down the street.
"Who do you think did this, Kim?" Ron asked after awhile.
Kim was silent for a moment. "I don't know," she finally replied, turning to him with that all-too-familiar look of determination on her face. "But we're going to find out."
"I knew you were going to say that," he said, managing a weak smile.
Kim's expression softened and she returned the smile. She then took his hand into hers. "Let's go."
The two of them walked in the direction of Bueno Nacho, Rufus scampering beside them. Suddenly, the naked mole rat came to a halt as a soft breeze blew past him. It carried a scent to his nostrils that made his instincts flare up. He looked in the direction the wind had blown from, trying to locate the source of the smell. His owner's voice interrupted his search.
"Rufus, come on!"
Rufus looked back to his retreating humans before casting a quick glance back to where he was looking. Finally, he gave up and chased after Kim and Ron, but he was still on edge. The scent he got a whiff of was one he was all too familiar with – the scent of danger.
Had he looked on a few seconds longer, he would have seen a large silhouette shimmer into view atop a nearby building, before disappearing a second later.