Chapter 1: The Nightmares
For weeks, nearly every night when he tried to sleep he was plagued by strange sensations running through his body and even stranger dreams. His body felt as if it was trying to change its shape or something was trying to get out. His skin crawled beneath his fur that stood on end. He couldn't shake the almost panicky feeling that something was happening to him.
In his dreams, he was flying. Big broad wings grew from his back dark and forbidding. His eyes glowed with an inner light and his body was on fire. A growing need built in him for sex and blood. The dreams were so graphic he could almost smell the coppery scent of fresh blood, the frantic beat of a frightened heart, the arousing scent of sex. It was overwhelming and seemed so real. He would wake suddenly amidst his twisted sheets, his body bathed in sweat.
In the light of day, it all seemed like a nightmare fading with the morning light and he could almost forget about it with the days work to distract him. But come the night the tension would build as darkness fell. He could never describe what it was he was feeling to anyone without sounding crazy but it was starting to scare him.
The dreams refused to go away and, as time went on, increased in severity until one moon drenched night he seemed to be really flying. The night air playing over his bare body as he flew over Megakat Park amongst the huge trees looking for something. His unusually sharp eyes and keen hearing caught a movement on one of the pathways in the park. A cocky male dressed in clothes befitting a punk was strutting without a care in the world. He seemed to be headed somewhere for he moved along briskly toward some unknown destination.
His body tightened and an intense hunger flared. Swooping down without a sound, he grabbed the unsuspecting male and carried him off. The Kat yelled in shock and tried to beat at the strange creature carrying him off deeper into the park. Reaching a big old oak tree in the wildest part of the park away from the pathways, he turned his prey to meet his eyes. The Kat was terrified when he beheld his captor. He tried to scream but no sound came out.
He pulled his prey's head to one side and bent to his neck. Large incisors extended and bit down piercing the jugular vein. The prey went still as he drank greedily. He stopped after a few minutes. His prey was mesmerized and sexually aroused. Moaning the Kat pressed himself against his captor. He turned his prey around, bent him over, pulled the Kat's pants down and mounted him, riding him hard until they both released at the same time. Finished, he dropped down from the tree and carelessly abandoned his prey on the ground and flew off. His twin hungers sated.
He woke up shocked and shaking in his bed with the dawn's early light shining into his bedroom. Trembling he staggered out of his bed and made for the bathroom. Staring at himself in the mirror he only saw his exhausted visage though his body felt sated as if he had engaged in sex recently but there was no semen on him or his bed and he knew he hadn't left his apartment. What was happening to him?
Too shaken to get more sleep, he dressed in sweats and T-shirt. Putting on tennis shoes, he grabbed his apartment keys and made his way to the street. There was no one about at this early hour. He began to run, pushing himself hard trying to outrun his growing fear. An hour later, dripping and tired he returned to his apartment. Stripping off his clothes he took a hot shower and dressed for work. It was still too early, so he did a few chores around his apartment.
'Man. This is such an easy job except for the early hours. I make better money than my sleezeball brother-in-law and don't have to work as hard and what's great is I get off before the quitting time rush.' Park worker Ballentine mused to himself as he drove his little maintenance cart around collecting trash. As he came up to an overflowing can near a playground, he was shocked by the appearance of a staggering Kat coming through the trees toward him. As the Kat got closer, Ballentine could see blood on the Kat's shirt and the generally disheveled look of his clothes.
He rushed up to the obviously distressed Kat, "Hey buddy, what happened? Are you okay?" The Kat couldn't seem to talk and had trouble focusing. Gently taking hold of him, Ballentine walked the Kat to his maintenance cart and had him sit. He grabbed his cell phone and called 911. While he was waiting for help, he got out his first aid kit and tried to do what he could for the guy.
Late morning, Enforcer Headquarters...
Feral stared tensely at a report that had just been delivered. A call had come in earlier this morning by a park maintenance worker. As he was doing a garbage pickup around Megakat Park, he came upon a dazed and bleeding male staggering from some trees. The park worker had summoned help on his cell phone.
The statement police got from the injured male, named Tommy Wenter, was somewhat garbled. What they had been able to gather, Mr. Wenter had been passing through the park headed for the Kingsley Street exit when something large with wings swooped down, snatched him up and carried him to a big tree deeper in the park. The creature's eyes hypnotized him. He really didn't remember much after that until he woke up at the bottom of a tree. Physical examination revealed, he'd had sex and had suffered no other injuries but a small amount of blood loss. Semen had been retrieved and was being analyzed for DNA matches. The officers tried to get a coherent description of the assailant but it was bizarre at best. Wenter said it looked like a big, dark colored, male Kat with huge wings, golden glowing eyes and no clothes.
Shuddering, Feral dropped the report and turned to look blindly out his window. 'Oh God, just like my dream. What is going on? Am I linked to this creature somehow? How do you look for a dream?' Shaking his head and rubbing his neck tirededly he tried to make sense of the report and his hauntingly similar dream.
Normally, an assault in the park would be handled by one of the detectives in the Special Investigations Unit but because it dealt with an unknown creature instead of a Katizen, it landed on his desk. Sighing, he turned back around and made a decision. He assigned the case to his niece, Felina. He ordered her to make it a priority ahead of her other cases. He didn't tell her about his eerie dream that seemed to mirror the incident. He didn't want her to be influenced by something that was only a dream before she had a chance to see the scene and interview the victim first. He tried to put it out of his mind as he went back to the reports piled on his desk.
Later that day, Lt Feral's office...
Felina sighed as she saw yet another report on her desk. She already had nine cases to handle as she pulled the file to her she noted the red flag on it from her uncle. Frowning she began to read the report. She studied the photos taken of the victim at the hospital.
"Crud, that's all this city needs is yet another weird creature" She cursed mildly aloud. Reaching for her intercom, she called for one of her investigating officers to report to her office. Detective Snow walked in and was handed a report by Felina as she gestured him to follow her out.
"Read it on the way. We are going to interview the victim at the hospital." She said as she led the way to the elevators. She pushed the button for the parking garage. Snow whistled when he finished reading and climbed into the Lieutenant's car.
"Okay that's just creepy and something this city just doesn't need more of! I wonder what kind of creature could have left those puncture marks on the guy's neck?" He snorted cocking his head at Felina as she navigated them through the lunchtime traffic.
"I agree with you there, Harry!" She sighed. "I don't want to even try to guess what this may be until we talk to this Wenter's guy."
Snow nodded his agreement. He decided to address another concern since he had the chance to speak to the Lieutenant alone. "Hey, Lt. the rest of the squad is a little concerned about the Commander. Does he seem a little tired and preoccupied lately?" He asked carefully.
Wincing, Felina chewed her lip a moment, not certain how to answer this, "Ah...he has seemed overly tired the past week, but when I ask if something is bothering him he just brushes it off. But you're right, I know something is wrong but haven't been able to discover what it is yet."
"Yeah, that's what we have noticed too. I don't think it's the SWAT Kats since we haven't seen much of them lately. Thankfully, the city's big criminals seem to be keeping a low profile or are in jail. So we are at a loss as to what could be troubling him unless it's personal?" He inquired quietly.
"I'm afraid that is what it may be but until he feels the need to tell me or it impairs his ability to command there isn't much I can say about it. But I appreciate you informing me about how concerned the squad is about him. Tell everyone to just do their jobs and not discuss this with anyone and I will keep an eye on my uncle." She answered carefully not wanting to discuss her uncle's personal difficulties in too much detail.
"Of course, Lt." He acknowledged, relieved to clear the air about this sensitive subject.
At the hospital, Felina parked in the police zone. She and Snow headed for the bank of elevators to the victim's floor. At the nursing station they found out his room number. Reaching his door they knocked lightly and were let in by a nurse. Wenter was propped up watching TV while an IV was dripping into his arm. There was a bandage on his neck.
Producing their badges, Felina introduced themselves, "Mr. Wenter? I'm Lt. Feral and this is Det. Snow. We need to ask you a few questions about what happened to you last night."
"I already told everything to those two other coppers. I don't remember very much." Wenter snorted irritably.
"I understand, but we need to go over it again and see if you remember any more." Felina insisted. "We can't catch this thing without a clearer picture of what we are dealing with."
"Crud alright" Wenter sighed.
"Good! Now, what time were you in the park and why were you there?" She asked as she produced a notebook and started to make notes.
"Well, like I told those other two cops, I was headed to a buddy's house around nine o'clock. I took the bus from my place to the Plaza. My friend lives just a few blocks from there through the park. It was a nice night and I was walking along at a good pace. I guess I was about five minutes from my exit when out of no where this huge thing swoops down from the sky and grabs me. I tell ya I was freaked! I tried beating on the thing but it was like hitting a brick wall. It didn't react at all. It flew us to a big tree and landed on a thick branch. He never let go of me. When we landed, he looked at me. He had these glowing golden eyes that seem to draw me in then he pulled my head to the side and I felt a sharp stab then nothing. I felt like I was floating, you know like those drugs the dentist uses to make you relax. I don't remember to much after that until I woke up dizzy on the ground." He said shaking his head.
"Alright, that's very good, Mr. Wenter. Now I'm going to ask some fairly personal questions but trust me they are an important part of the investigation." Felina said patiently. "According to tests done when you arrived at the hospital you had signs of anal intercourse. Did you have sex before this incident?" Felina asked bluntly.
Reddening, Wenter growled, "I'm not a lover of toms and no I did not have sex before that thing got me. It's obvious it raped me but I just don't remember it happening."
"Okay, sir that's alright. You're doing fine. Just one more question and we'll leave you alone. Can you describe your attacker? Please try to remember everything about it. Any little detail will help." Felina coaxed the victim.
"Ah, well, it was big and broad with a powerful chest. Its fur was thick and a solid dark color but it was too dark out to see whether it was black or brown. Its eyes were large and a glowing golden color and I could just see huge dark wings. It wasn't wearing anything that's how I knew it was male. It had long claws on its paws and feet. It looked like a Kat with wings just bigger. It gave me the creeps. It wasn't just that it could fly. Something about it just made my fur stand up." Wenter shuddered at the memory.
"Thank you, Mr. Wenter. You've been very helpful. I would like to send a sketch artist to see you. I want you to describe the creature to him so that we can have an image of it. Will that be okay with you?" She asked.
"Uh...okay...sure. I want that thing caught. You better believe I'm not going near the park till it is." Wenter said fervently.
"I understand sir. We appreciate all your help. Here's my card. If you remember anything else, no matter how small, please give me a call." Felina handed him one of her business cards. She and Snow left the room and headed to the elevators.
She sighed and shook her head, "Well that was enlightening. Until we get a drawing of it there isn't much else we can do right now. Harry have a sketch artist get here right away. Better yet, bring him yourself and stay with him. We need that picture ASAP." She ordered.
"Right away, Lt." He said briskly. They were soon climbing into her car and rushing back to headquarters. She parted from Snow at the bullpen and headed for her office to try and make some headway on her other cases while she waited for the drawing.