A SOUL IN TORMENT
Chapter 1: Suicide Attempt
Author's Note: I just couldn't resist. Here's yet another story I've given a complete makeover to. This one was originally called 'A Life Torn.' It was short and lacking a lot of back story and action. Only a handful of readers were drawn to reading and enjoying it for what it was saying but I knew I could do so much better with it this time around and maybe garner more interest.
He couldn't stand it any longer.....the seemingly endless darkness in his soul was swallowing any shred of joy he attempted to harbor. The career he used to hide his pain behind no longer shut out the loud cries of loneliness in his heart nor stopped the return of those hideous nightmares from his youth.
The solution to end his pain had seemed so simple and easy to accomplish. His career was soo dangerous that a deliberate miscalculation to get out of harms way could put an end to his pain with hardly any effort on his part but his many attempts were thwarted time and time again by well meaning heroes.
After yet another failed attempt, he went home feeling lost and miserable. Unable to eat, he stripped his clothes off and tossed them to the floor in a path to his recliner where he flopped down and stared at the blank TV for what seemed like hours.
When he finally managed to rouse himself it was nightfall. Groaning, he dragged his body from the chair and went to the kitchen. Searching around, he found all the alcohol and took it to his bedroom. Dropping the bottles on the still made bed, he joined them, dragging one of them to him that turned out to be a beer, opening it and swallowing the contents down, finishing it in one go. He reached for another while tossing the first to the floor...this one was vodka. It was going to be a long night of drinking.
Sleep was a fearful place full of terrible, frightening memories that would wake him screaming, crying and begging for mercy. No way was he going to succumb to it without the deadening effects of booze first.
Morning found him horribly hung over with a pounding head, nauseated stomach, and sprawled on the bed surrounded by empty bottles. He'd gotten thoroughly drunk and had passed into oblivion that hid the nightmares quite well but left him still empty and in pain by the light of day.
He rolled off the bed, some of the bottles rolling off with him and hitting the floor with loud thunks....he ignored them as he staggered off to the bathroom. As he stared blearily into the mirror while he took care of his bodily needs, the image he saw was of a defeated and lonely person with blood shot eyes and deep lines of stress around his mouth. His spirit felt empty....lost.....he realized then he could no longer stand to face another day feeling like this.
Leaving the bathroom, he went back to the bed and sat down. He turned his head and searched the bed for a bottle that still held the toxic fluid that gave him solace. Seeing none, he turned his attention to the floor. He leaned over and ended up falling face first to the carpet. Stunned a moment, he just lay there then recalled what he had been looking for and found it under the bed. Triumphant, he snatched the full bottle of whisky then dragged himself back onto the bed.
He twisted off the cap and raised the bottle to his lips then paused suddenly as he remembered something he needed to do first. Clutching the bottle tightly in his paw, he crawled across the bed until he could reach the phone on the night stand. He called his office, telling them he was home sick then hung up and went back to drinking. When the welcome sensation of numbness returned some time later, he climbed clumsily off the bed and stood up.
He had made an important decision and no one was around this time to stop him. With determined concentration, he carefully placed one foot in front of the other, hugging the bottle to his chest, as he made his laborious way to the bedroom window.
The day before.....
'Another criminal bites the dust......,' Razor thought with smug satisfaction but as he was congratulating himself, an uncomfortable, niggling thought whispered to him that something about the incident today was wrong.
As T-Bone expertly guided the Turbokat down its hidden runway into their hangar, Razor's previously pleased expression faded into a frown of distraction. Try as he might, he simply couldn't bring the reason into the light of day.
Sighing, he shrugged mentally and let the matter be as he and T-Bone leaped from the jet then went to change their clothes. He knew his subconscious would sort itself out eventually and let his conscious mind know what was troubling it sooner or later.
Unfortunately, his normally sharp brain didn't provide the answer until well into the next day. It was around lunchtime and Jake was enjoying the fact that they had no work in the garage so he could pursue an idea he had for a new missile. His partner chose to use the time off to catch up on his zzz's.
He'd just drawn the designs for the missile and had sat back to study it when his mind flitted back to yesterday's battle with Dark Kat. As he replayed the incident, suddenly the reason for his feelings of something being wrong struck him in the face. That image immediately clicked into place with other similar images he'd been disturbed about making a whole that sent absolute horror through him. That they could have continued to dismiss these blatant warning signs, made him sick.
Realizing they may already be too late, he tore out of the hangar and up the ladder then up the stairs to their apartment, his heart hammering with frantic fear. He burst into his partner's room and ripped the bedding off the still sleeping tabby.
"Chance, wake up! Damn it buddy, wake up!" He hissed anxiously as he yanked and pulled at his partner's shoulder.
Chance gasped, snapping suddenly awake and lunging from the bed. Their training to respond to emergencies, clearing the cobwebs of sleep from his mind and body immediately, leaving him ready to respond to whatever it was. Jake stepped back hurriedly before his partner could accidently knock him over.
"What's wrong! I didn't hear the alarm?" He demanded in confusion.
"That's because there was no alarm. The emergency is something I should have reacted to long ago but didn't and now it could be too late! We've got to go and find out for certain!" Jake said urgently.
Startled by the look of panic and anxiousness in his partner's voice, Chance stared at his friend in consternation. "What the heck are you talking about? You're practically shaking!"
"No time! I'll explain on the way.....now come on!" Jake said frantically, turning around and running out of the room again.
Still in the dark but willing to follow Jake's lead, Chance shook off his confusion and pounded after his friend. He made it to the lockers just behind Jake who was already hurriedly pulling on his g-suit.
"Okay, so what's this all about?" He asked as he too quickly dressed.
"Something I saw yesterday with Dark Kat troubled me but I couldn't put a finger on what it was. Well my subconscious came up with the answer a few minutes ago. But I have to ask you something first.....remember when we were at the academy and one of our group committed suicide? It turned out he was soo lonely and isolated that he ended his life by friendly fire," Razor asked hurriedly.
"Uh...yeah, sure. No one guessed he felt that badly. It upset the whole squad," T-Bone said slowly, eyeing his partner in confusion. 'Why was he bringing this up now?' He wondered.
"And because of it, we received that special briefing about how to detect anyone suffering the same thing, remember?"
"Yeah, we were taught to pay closer attention to certain warning signs."
"Exactly. Well I saw those warning signs, not once but several times, but because of who the person was, I ignored what I was seeing. However, yesterday in the fight with Dark Kat, this Kat did the same thing he'd done three times before. That's when I realized exactly what he was doing and it shocked me. I'm certain he's going to try again but on his own this time!" Razor said tightly, turning to run for the jet.
T-Bone blinked in angry confusion as he ran after Razor. Jumping into the cockpit, he strapped in then started the jet's engines before demanding an explanation.
"Now who the heck are you talking about?" T-Bone asked, frowning at his controls as he spoke to his partner through their radio.
"It's a person we hate and ignore all the time but what he's done recently can't be ignored any longer, least of all by us."
"Will you stop dancing around and tell me who you're talking about!" T-Bone growled as he prepared to launch from the hangar but wouldn't until he knew what was going on first.
"What!" T-Bone blurted angrily, nearly shutting down the jet again. He turned around in his seat as far as he was able and snapped, "what the heck are you talking about. That Kat is too strong willed, stubborn and to by the book to be contemplating such an act!"
Razor shook his head. "Just listen to the facts! The past few missions against omegas Feral has done something so incredibly out of character and down right insane that I didn't realize what I was seeing until today. With Viper....he stepped right in the way of that spiny vine and nearly got skewered, next he flew his chopper directly in the path of that bolt of energy from the Metallikats; and, yesterday, he walked right up to Dark Kat and was almost bisected by dark crud's laser. Each time you or I pulled him away at the last second. That's why he went berserk and tried to punch you in the face yesterday. He wasn't furious because we interfered with the enforcers as usual, it was because we kept him from trying to end his life."
T-Bone's mouth hung open in shock. He snapped it shut and played those incidents over in his own mind.....seeing it from Razor's perspective. His heart lurched with horror. Now that it had been pointed out to him, he could clearly see Feral's acts for what they'd truly been.......a desperate cry for help from a person in so much pain he could no longer live with it.
His face going grim with concern, he said not another word, turned back around and shot the jet out of the hangar at nearly top speed reaching high above the yard in seconds.
"So you think he might be trying again on his own this time or might have already succeeded?" He asked grimly as he put them in level flight then went to VTOL until he learned where they were going.
"Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of. Let's see if we can determine if he went to work this morning," Razor said tightly as he opened the frequency for the enforcers. "SWAT Kats calling Enforcer Tower!"
"Enforcer Tower! You have no right to be on this frequency SWAT Kat! Get off it immediately!" An officious voice ordered.
"We just want to have a word with the Commander!" Razor growled.
"Even if he was here, he wouldn't want to speak with you! Get off this frequency before I send a fighter unit after you!" The officer snarled then cut the connection.
"So he's not there....that's not good! However, we have no idea if he's just somewhere else, buddy, nor do we know where he lives," T-Bone said worriedly.
"Well, we could check with Callie to see if she knows where he is and besides, she'll know his address!"
"Good idea, next stop.....city hall." T-Bone agreed, taking the jet off VTOL and going to all engines to get to city hall more rapidly.
"Callie needs to know about this anyway!" Razor added quietly.
Minutes later, he set the Turbokat down on the helicopter pad on the city hall clock tower. Opening the canopy, the pair leaped to the ground and ran to the rooftop door and down the short flight of stairs to the Mayor's offices.
They were in luck, Callie was at her desk working when they burst in. "SWAT Kats?! What brings you here?" She asked in surprise.
"Ms. Briggs, we don't have much time so please listen carefully," Razor said urgently and quickly told her of his suspicions and his evidence to back it up.
Callie gaped at him in shock. "You're certain of this?" She finally managed to ask, finding it really hard to believe.
"Yes, Ms. Briggs. We had an unfortunate incident in our past that told us what to look for and Feral shows all the clinical signs of severe depression and suicidal behavior," Razor said grimly.
"Oh my this is terrible! However, before we go running off on a possible wild goose chase, let me check with Enforcer Headquarters to determine where he might be," she said reaching for her phone. "Hello...this is the Deputy Mayor. I'd like to speak with Commander Feral, please..... Really? Alright, thank you anyway......no....no message." Callie hung up the phone then reached for her purse and stood up. "Let's go! Sgt Fallon said Feral called in sick!" She said worriedly.
"Damn!" T-Bone muttered as he led the way back to the rooftop.
Reaching the jet, they helped Callie aboard, seating her next to Razor in the jumpseat and giving her a helmet so they could speak with her. She gave them Feral's home address and waited in silence as T-Bone piloted the jet to the location.
"T-Bone, approach from a high altitude....we don't want to spook Feral," Razor warned.
"Right." T-Bone answered and took the jet up a distance above the apartment building and went to VTOL mode.
Razor used his X-ray machine to scan the building. Only a few moments later he hissed, "Oh, my God! He's on the ledge outside a sixth floor window, probably his apartment. Crud, T-Bone we dare not get too close or he'll jump or fall off. Nothing I have will be able to pluck him off without him trying to avoid it. I could try to catch him if or when he falls but I'd really rather not have to."
"Take me down. Let me try to talk him in," Callie said grimly.
"Good idea, Ms. Briggs, he certainly wouldn't listen to either of us," T-Bone agreed, taking the jet down on the opposite side of the roof where Feral was clinging.
Razor helped Callie out and went with her to Feral's apartment. It was locked forcing Razor to use his glovatrix to open it. "Good luck, Ms. Briggs. We'll go back up above the apartment to wait and watch. Don't worry....if I have to I'll catch him in a net," he whispered to her. She nodded and slipped into the apartment.
Her heart in her throat, she quickly moved through the silent apartment surprised to see a trail of clothing from the door to the recliner. The rest of the place was neat as a pin so the clothing on the floor wasn't normal to her mind. Reaching the bedroom, she saw more signs of things being very wrong with the Commander as she stepped around dozens of empty alcohol bottles on the floor and bed.
Feeling even more afraid for Feral, she headed for the open window. She swallowed her anxiety as she thought, 'Razor's suspicions were spot on!'
She prayed he was still aware enough to hear her, though, the amount of empty bottles didn't leave her with much hope. Holding onto the sash, she leaned out and looked both ways, spotting him to her left. He was huddled up and clutching another bottle, eyes closed, rocking silently. The rocking frightened her as the ledge just wasn't that wide and each rock had the Commander leaning out into space.
Shaking inside, she gathered her courage and called out to the distraught kat, "Ulysses? Can you hear me?" She thought his first name might reach him. "Please, Ulysses, talk to me. It's Callie. I want to help you," she pleaded but it was becoming obvious he wasn't hearing anything much less her voice.
If she could read his thoughts, she would realize her guess was correct, he heard nothing....not even the city noises drifting up from the street below. His ears were dead to any sound but his inner thoughts which were dismal and not worth listening to.
He tipped the bottle to his mouth and realized foggily that it was empty. With no thought at all, he released it to fall, staring in dull fascination as the bottle smashed explosively on the sidewalk below then leaned forward letting his body fall to follow it.....his mind fleeing into oblivion.
The tom never felt the net snatching him from certain death and hoisting him upward to a certain black jet hovering above.
Winching Feral up to the cargo hold, Razor felt his heart settle back in his chest again. It had rose to his throat when he saw the big tom fall like a limp doll. Only his finger hovering over the net missile button was fast enough to save the Commander from certain death.
The limp body reached the cargo door and he pulled it in to lay on the floor beside him. He signaled the door closed then turned to gently untangle the unconscious Commander from the netting. He shook his head at the sight of Feral's exhausted face.....lines of stress and unhappiness creased the tired visage.
"Razor?" His partner's concerned voice came over his helmet radio.
"He's safe, just unconscious. Better go down and get Callie, buddy. I'm sure she's really shook up by now then we'll take him to the hospital."
"Roger!" T-Bone responded, relief in his voice as he went back down to retrieve a badly shaken Callie.
The flight to Megakat Medical Center took only fifteen minutes and was completed in silence. Callie remained with Feral in the cargo area holding his head in her lap while caressing his face worriedly. She didn't know how she'd missed how unhappy Ulysses was but the taciturn Kat never really let anyone close to him so it was easy to overlook that he could be hurting inside. She only hoped they could help him. Whether she liked him or not, he was the best enforcer commander they'd had and they badly needed him with the omegas around.
Razor called ahead and warned the ER they were coming in. When they landed, a medical team came rushing out and whisked Feral away quickly and efficiently. The on call doctor took down all the information Ms. Briggs and the SWAT Kats could provide them then disappeared after his patient.
It took the better part of an hour before the doctor returned to speak to them. They had hidden themselves in a small private waiting area so no one would see them there as they waited to hear what could be done for Feral.
"Ms. Briggs. I'm Dr. Yisson. Besides intoxication from the amount of alcohol Commander Feral ingested, I could find only exhaustion and signs of severe depression. He's conscious but completely withdrawn, refusing to speak with anyone. I've asked for a psych consult and until they can see him, I've given him a mild sedative to allow him to stay calm and get some much needed rest. He will be admitted to the psych ward for his own safety and under a suicide watch. You'll have to speak with whoever takes over his care on the ward as to what his prognosis will be. That most likely won't be until tomorrow," he told them quietly. "It was really a good thing you realized the danger he was in and saved him from himself yet again. Now that we're aware the Commander has a problem, the next step is to get him the right kind of help."
"Thank you, doctor, so are we, though I feel so stupid not to have noticed he was in trouble in the first place," she said shaking her head in regret. "Now that he's in good paws, I'll be returning to my office. Here's my card. Please have whoever will be taking the Commander's case call me with an update. Under no circumstances is the press or the enforcers to be notified about why he is here. A news blackout and increased security is hereby required. Limit the number of people who know why the Commander is here to only those that are involved with his treatment," Callie ordered quietly.
The doctor took her card and nodded gravely. "I understand completely, Ms. Briggs. It wouldn't do for the public to learn why the Commander is here. The Chief Enforcer's reputation and the city's faith in him would be shaken if they were to learn he is suffering from a psychological problem. Your orders will be carried out immediately and I'll inform the hospital administrator so he can put his authority behind the news block. We've dealt with celebrities and politicians before so know what to do in this case," he assured her calmly.
"Thank you! That definitely relieves my mind. I will withhold briefing the Mayor until I get a report on the Commander's condition," she said, sighing.
"I certainly don't envy you that chore, Ms. Briggs," the doctor said giving her wane smile then nodding farewell as he turned to go back into Feral's treatment room.
"We'll give you a lift back to city hall, Ms. Briggs," Razor assured her as they turned away and walked back to the rooftop flight line.
"Thanks guys," she said wanly following them. "Gods! What a mess. I now have to play damage control. Not only do I have to brief the Mayor but Lt. Feral as well."
"I certainly don't envy you that and Lt. Feral......she's going to be really upset about this," T-Bone agreed, sighing as well.
"I'm certain of that. I hope they tell me something quickly before someone spots him or the enforcers get concerned about his absence. Want me to give you guys a heads up as well?"
"Yeah, I'd like to know what caused him to fall apart like this. It had to be something really bad from his past," Razor said quietly as he helped her aboard the jet.
"Yes, I know. Anyway, you'll have to step up your patrols since that idiot Steele will be in charge for a while," she added unhappily.
T-Bone snorted as he closed the canopy and started the engines. "We planned on it," was all he said as he sent the jet airborne.