A WORLD BEYOND DREAMS

Chapter 1: Let Me Tell You A Story.

Evening was falling and Jake had a surprise for his long time friend. Chance was already watching TV when the cinnamon tom entered the room.

Chance blinked in surprise at the small cake with lighted candles his buddy placed on the table before him.

"Happy thirtieth Birthday, Chance." Jake said with a wide grin. "Make a wish and blow out the candles."

"Aw Gee, Jake. You shouldn't have done this but thanks." Chance said, swallowing a lump of emotion at his friend's thoughtfulness. He leaned forward and blew out the candles after making the same wish he'd made every year.

"Never thought we'd be around to reach thirty." Jake said with an amazed shrug as he cut the cake and handed his friend a large piece.

"Yeah. The way our life has been, we should have been dead many times over." Chance agreed. "Hmmm, this is great...homemade?" He asked, jokingly, enjoying the cake.

Jake snorted in amusement. "Oh sure...when would I have time." Chance laughed good-naturedly.

They ate the cake in companionable silence and watched some TV. As Chance was drinking his milk to wash down the rich dessert, his mind drifted to his wish.

"You know Jake, I'm not certain if this is my real birthday." He said wistfully.

Jake turned to look at him in surprise and a question in his eyes.

"I told you I was adopted, right?" Chance said, questioningly, glancing at his friend.

"Yeah!?" Jake said, wondering where this was going.

"Well, I never told you where I came from before that." The tabby said softly, looking off into the distance.

Jake said nothing, realizing Chance had something important to tell him. He reached for the remote and flicked off the TV then waited quietly.

"Unfortunately, no one else knows where I came from either. I was discovered, as a tiny kitten, laying under a bush in Megakat Park by a patrol Kat. You might say that was the first time I encountered an enforcer." He said chuckling at the memory before going on.

"My adopted parents told me, when I was about ten years old, what little history was known about me before I was taken to the orphanage. They said I was found swaddled in a beautiful blue blanket of a material no one recognized and totally naked except for an odd sort of necklace around my neck. The caretakers guessed my age as best they could and gave me a birthday based on the day I was found. I was adopted about two months later and given the name I have now." Chance said.

"Wow! That's a really interesting mystery, buddy. Do you still have the necklace?" Jake asked in fascination.

"Of course. I've carried it in my personal treasure chest all these years." Chance said with a shrug.

"Well, heck! You should have Dr. Sinian have a look at it." Jake said, getting excited.

Chance blinked in surprise. "You think I should?" He asked a bit hesitantly.

"Why not? Don't you want to know where you came from?" His friend asked.

"I...well...I don't know. Sometimes I do then other times I feel a strange reluctance...like something is warning me off." The tabby said reluctantly, spreading his paws in frustration that he couldn't explain the feeling any better than that.

"Hmmm, its possible that you're not supposed to know until a certain time. A lot of magical stuff acts like that." Jake said, thoughtfully.

"Oh no! I want nothing to do with magic." Chance said raising his paws in a warding off gesture.

"It was only a suggestion, buddy. But I'm serious about letting Dr. Sinian see your necklace. Heck, I'd like to see it myself." Jake said, excitement lighting his eyes.

"Sure, just a sec and I'll get it." Chance said with a smile. He got up from the couch and went upstairs to his bedroom. Minutes later, he returned holding a medium sized wooden box.

He set it on the coffee table and gently opened it. Jake could see various odds and ends...some of the objects were from his days in the enforcers, some kittenhood trinkets and other such things, but then his friend pulled out a small cloth bag. He pulled the strings back and poured something out that glinted in the light.

There in his palm lay a blue metallic chain. The links were shaped like little flowers. The medallion attached to the chain was in the shape of a multi-star with an odd stone that seemed to be a clear multifaceted crystal until you moved it then it took on an iridescent hue.

"Wow! I've never seen anything like that before." Jake said in an awestruck voice.

"Yeah, that's what everyone has said that I allow to see it." Chance said, absently as he felt the familiar weight after soo long.

"May I hold it?" Jake asked, tentatively reaching out to it.

"I...no...sorry...that's another thing about it. For whatever reason, I'm unable to allow anyone to handle it. My caretakers kept it for me until I was of age but once it was in my possession, I wouldn't let anyone touch it again." Chance said, a bit embarrassed, pulling his paws back.

"Sure no problem. Do you still have the blanket as well?" Jake asked, a little disappointed but even more captivated by this mystery surrounding his best friend.

"Yeah I do." He said with a smile. He carefully put the necklace away in its bag and placed it back into the box then reached in again for another more flat-shaped cloth bag. "One of the house mothers made these bags for me." Chance told him as he opened the flat bag and drew out a cloth that was breathtaking. It was a royal blue color with odd flower designs on it that matched the links on the necklace and some kind of foreign lettering along one side in silver thread. It shimmered like it was metallic and looked like silk.

"May I?" Jake asked cautiously.

"Sure." Chance said easily, letting the small blanket slide from his paws to Jake's.

Jake felt the fabric and still couldn't determine what it was made of. It was gorgeous and what was amazing, it was still vibrant despite being nearly thirty years old. It felt so smooth and soft in his paws. He reluctantly gave it back to his friend.

"This is amazing, Chance. Now I know we need to see the doc. She might have a clue as to who your people were." Jake told him.

"Well...I'll think about." Chance said a little reluctantly as he stowed the blanket away again.

"Sure buddy, I understand but it might give you the answer you're looking for on how old you really are." Jake said gently.

Chance just shrugged and went to put his box away. They went to bed and neither spoke of it again for some time.

Over the next few weeks, Chance began to have strange dreams. They weren't the usual stuff about fighting villains, being with a she-kat, or other more mundane things. No, these were so far out of his frame of reference that when he woke each morning he could only think he should stop reading science fiction comics for a while.

Unfortunately, as time passed the dreams became more vivid and harder to ignore. After a particularly fitful night of strange stuff, he was unusually grumpy at the breakfast table.

"What's up, Chance? You've been a little more irritable lately and this morning you look like you hadn't slept all night." Jake asked in concern.

Chance frowned. "I don't know what's going on. I've been having some real humdingers for dreams lately." He said, suddenly yawning. Shaking his head to clear it, he drank some coffee, hoping it would wake him up more. "I don't understand it but they have been getting more strange and weird every night but last night really took the cake."

"Oh...then why don't you tell me about it." Jake urged him. "We can't have you this disturbed. It would be dangerous for us as a team." He said seriously.

"Uhmm, well I didn't think of that. I don't remember a lot of it...just bits and pieces...you understand." Chance began, reluctantly.

Jake just nodded encouragingly.

"It always seems to start in this fantastic forest. The trees are taller than anything we have here and there are homes built in their broad branches. There are incredible flowers growing everywhere and strange creatures flitting about. Like those fairies you see on that fantasy show you like. I know there were other really weird creatures but I can't bring their images to mind now. Then I saw Kats but they weren't Kats exactly. They had wings and antenna on their heads like butterflies but they weren't small like them and their coat colors were iridescent. Crud! Jake. It sounds ridiculous when I speak of it out loud. I don't understand why I'm having such vivid dreams about a place I've never heard about, didn't see on TV or read about." Chance said, growling in annoyance.

Jake blinked. He had been captivated by Chance's descriptions. He shook himself. "I have no idea buddy. Never heard of anything like this before. And you say its been getting more intense every night?" He asked in concern.

"Yeah." The tabby shook his head. "I wish I knew how to turn it off."

"Well, taking a sleeping pill might do that. You can only try because, I gotta tell you...you looked really peaked right now." Jake said.

"Yeah, I feel so tired." Chance said, smothering another yawn.

"Look, we only have a couple of cars in the garage right now. Why don't you go try and take a nap. Hopefully, you won't have any dreams in the daytime." Jake suggested.

Chance growled but then sighed in resignation. "Yeah, guess I better. I'm just too tired to concentrate much." He got up and made his way back to bed.

Jake watched his friend leave in worried concern.

Is Chance's past catching up with him? What's with the necklace? Guess you'll have to keep reading to find out. Decided to take a break from Feral writing and see if I could do one on the guys. If I can keep this going, it should be an interesting ride, I hope. Your comments and suggestions would be very welcome. Ulyferal