Chapter One: Faye? Faye?

 

“Hurry up, you lousy piece of rotten meat!” The green monster, his scales full of grime and sweat, beat the side of the large ship with his tough hand. “My dead mother can do this faster than you!”

He was talking to a slave, perched on top of a high, wooden mobile staircase. The slave’s paw, covered in white fur, was hot and sticky. He was nimbly holding a heavy panel, trying to reattach it to the side of the Cargo Ship, after fixing the pipes it held inside. The Gowak’s taunts angered him, and his eyes were furrowed with silent fury. The panel slid in, and he turned to look at the filthy Shipper for the first time. “Done!”

The gowak grunted, and walked bow-legged over to the entrance hatch.  “It’s about time…” He snapped, passing the Mrow.

Narl was immune to his comments due to prolonged exposure to it. The mrow turned his yellow eyes toward the Garage door, and out onto the rocky exterior. He could see the layers of the canyon, all different shades of auburn that had grown so boring over the years, but that wasn’t what was important. Narl was looking for the light outside. In great luck, it was dark and the shadows told him he was done. He took in a deep breath, and shook off grease on his paws.

Jumping down, he landed on all fours, and was just as comfortable as on two, thanks to the digitigrade structure of his legs. He stood up, nonetheless, and dashed down to his quarters.

The hallway connecting the Docking bay and Cargo Hold to the backroom Slave Quarters was nicknamed by its walker, the Chapper’s lane. All the things that had been dragged and scraped along the cheap metal had created a hard, prickly floor. Narl’s feet were thick and covered in callus, so the pain of Chapper’s lane hadn’t stung for a while now. He dashed around the corner, and through the broken door that hanged slack on its hinge. “Faye!” He called. His mouth was curled in a smile by the simplest reason. “Faye!” The other slaves, who where shuffling in, growled between hard breaths. He turned to his left. There she was, a soft, creamy brown queen with long, fluffy hair.

Narl jumped over to her. “Faye! Oh, how are you?” He wrapped his hands around her arms.

She looked back with blue eyes sparkling. “I am very good, honey. My foot feels so much better, thank you.”

“Oh it was nothing.” He let his tail, tipped with a back tuft, twitch; a sign of relief. “Anything for my beautiful wife.” She rubbed her muzzle against his, and brushed some sweat of his fur. Earlier that day, hours before the work, she had told him of her foot. He massaged it, and could tell something was strained. He tied his grease cloth around her foot to help it, but he could tell there was something more. Narl read his wife’s eyes; she couldn’t work all day, and spoke himself to do her job as well. The beautiful Faye had thanked him so, witch was enough reward for the white tom.

They sat down on an empty cot, an un-sanded plank of wood shelf, and embraced one another. It was a couple of minutes before a shriek echoed of the cold metal walls. It was a familiar call, announcing the coming of dinner, but still blood curdling a sound. As always, the scraping of paws, dashing down Chapper’s Lane, quickly followed it. These were the slaves that, for some reason, couldn’t make it down to the Quarters in time. Be it no access to time-tellers, or an overtime job. Their slave keepers, the eight intelligent lacking Gowaks, didn’t care what the reason. They marinated a policy of only feeding the mrows that were there.

Narl helped his wife up, and headed over to the line. The main face of their masters handed out their dinner, a plant similar to the earthen potato, ground up with cheap meat. Each got about one hand full of it. The mrows chewed on it and finished the meal quickly. The Gowak lingered at the door for a while, watching them eat, and spat on the ground. “Lights out now.” He hissed between his crocodilian lips, and turned his key to turn off the dim bulb.

The quarters were plunged in darkness, and all of them swallowed their last bites. A couple of stragglers came huffing into the room. All of them sighed, knowing they wouldn’t get any food until tomorrow. Narl squeezed himself through the crowds of Mrows, holding onto Faye’s hand to guide her. They came to their cot, shared to give space for others, and climbed into it. He laid down on it, and put both his hands over the spot on his chest where it was also black, and got back up. He used his claw, blunted, to remove a new splinter that had come up in the wood. “Okay, dear, you can come in.”

Faye climbed over one leg at a time. “Oh, Narl. You let me live in luxury, you don’t have to.”

He got into the shelf next to her. “Oh, but Faye, I want to. You deserve to live in Luxury.” This was the end of their conversation. Many of the tired slaves wanted nothing more to sleep, and that meant no romance of the couple around them.

The two curled up, holding each other’s hands, and closed their eyes. Sleep came on swift wings for both of them, although not deep. Unexpectantly, a Gowak’s hiss flooded the room.

            “What!” It yelled furiously. “Unacceptable!” The light was switched on, and many of the slaves jumped. Narl looked up and hit his head on a pair of another Mrow’s feet. He growled, but couldn’t say anything before the Ship Port Captain continued his rant.

            “Which one…? Tell me witch one of these filthy mops, damn it!” The Gowaks smashed his foot on the worn metal ground.  Faye twisted her face. She hated that word, Mop, the most hideous thing one could all the Mrows.

            Another worker entered the room. He was apparently hovering outside the door before, and waiting to be called in. His yellow eyes, small and sharp, looked around the cots at the frightened faces of his property. The few lines of confused muttering ended now. He turned his head all around once, and then looked toward the center. His long, lanky arm lifted it up limply, and the worker extended a single, scaly claw. “That one.”

            Every eye in the crowded room followed his finger with fright. Its condemning point aimed right for the brown, beautiful Queen. Narl’s jaw dropped, and looked at Faye. His wife seemed just as startled as him. They looked in each other’s eyes, carrying out a conversation revealing that Faye had no idea what she did.

            The captain raised his chin, letting his scaly plumage, hanging from his head, fall back over his neck. “That one?”

            The lanky worker nodded vigorously. “Yep, sir. I didn’t see her come t’ work today.”

 The black-and-white tom held his tongue from commenting on that sentence. He turned back to the captain, a large Gowak with wide-spaced eyes. He was walking in a half-circle, looking at Faye sideways. “Slave, what is your name?” He finally said in a high, calm tone.

She stood up and let her tail hang down. “Sir, my name is Faye, sir.” Her voice jumped vowels with fright to match her large blue eyes.

The captain nodded once, still looking up. He cupped his hand toward himself and curved his wrist in. The Slave Master looked down to look at Narl’s wife. “Come here Faye.”  He cooed in that voice, like calm before the storm. Narl put his hands on her shoulder, rubbed her, and then let the brown queen go. Her walk was followed by every eye in the building. The other Gowak had backed up to the door, half hiding again. The Ship Captain took her hand, dwarfed by his own, and led Faye to the hallway outside their quarters. The other mrows began to follow, but the worker grimaced at them. They ended up crowded the doorway like school-children, with Narl pushing himself to the front.

The other six Gowaks were in the hallway as well. Their presence was a sign of an event bigger than what the Captain wanted it to seem. He kneeled, his legs being plantigrade, and let his toe-claws scrape the ground with a whiny screech. His thick arm wrapped around Faye’s shoulder with an eerie lightness. “Faye…” He whispered. “Did you go to work today?” As he spoke, the Monster noticed the cloth wrapped on her foot.

She looked to the side, and breathed. “No, Sir. But, my husband, Narl worked for both of us.”

The Ship Captain smiled. “No. Mops can’t have husbands.” The workers snickered, looking at each other with grins. “Another mrow did your work today?”

“Yes sir.” She said with a nod, hoping he’d understand.

Leaning back, the Gowak took his hand off her. “The work got done, then? Well, still, I can’t let you continue with this behavior. What if other slaves began to do that? You surely understand that I have the amount of mops that I do for a reason.” He paused, allowing Faye to agree reluctantly. “May I ask why you didn’t do your work today?”

“My foot hurt, sir.”

The Ship Captain’s laugh was like a barking snap. “Your foot hurt? Her foot hurt!” He looked behind him at the other workers, laughing in rasps. He took a breath before turning back to Faye. “Faye, Faye. I can’t let my slaves just stop working because they hurt. That would promote laziness among you things, and you are already too sloth.”  She looked at Narl, and again agreed.

“So, my darling, the work got done? Were there any problems?” The monsters grumbled with a general “negative” tone. He nodded quickly, and smiled grimly. “Don’t be lazy again Mop, I own you.”

Faye closed her eyes tight, and thanked her higher power for granting the Captain kindness today, although it shown dimly. She opened them more calm and grateful. “It will not happen again, sir.” Narl smiled at her.

“I know it won’t.”  The green lizard whispered, smiling. His neck snapped in, and his long mouth became a hook. His jaws snapped around her neck, his canine slicing right into her jugular. Red blood splashed out her like a great flame, staining her soft, brown fur. The monster’s mouth dripped with her blood, highlighting his smirk. His claws, now dug into her cold body, pulled out and let the corpse, fall back. As Faye hit the ground, her wound shot more liquid upon herself and the ground. “The work got done without you.” He growled after the deathly pause.

Narl vaulted himself out of the crowd. His claws unsheathed and teeth glimmering in the dim light. “You bastard!” His eyes were full of primal fury and confused rage. His back curled, and the tom landed face down on the Captain’s shoulder. His teeth bit into the shoulder, but only penetrated the rough hide. The Gowak was on his feet, and whipped his hand over his chest. His claws dug into the tom’s back, and he slung him onto the wall.

He hit the wall with a crack, his neck tossing his head back. Narl’s spine stiffened. He tried to raise his paws, but it was useless. He was stuck in a floppy position in the corner. A gurgling anger slowly leaked from his half-open mouth.

The Ship Captain looked at the crowding slaves. “Anybody else?” He snapped, throwing his hands back. “Anybody else lazy?” He pointed at the bloody body. “Anybody else a hero?” A growl escaped him, slowly dissolving into a breath. “Or does anybody else know who they work for? Does anybody know what they are?” He turned at the mrows, all receding back in their quarters like frightened birds.

The captain snarled at the slaves, then turned around. He swung his arm toward the other Gowaks. “Back to your posts.” They followed silently, gleaming joyfully.

Narl growled as they walked off, and he could barely see the mrows slinking back in. They would be quiet…they were extinguished flames….they were scared. Narl would’ve continued the thought, if he hadn’t been drawn into an unwilling sleep.

 

His eyes slowly opened, and he blinked twice. Narl took a deep breath. “W…what?” He leaned forward, climbing to his feet. His back was dull with pain, that he couldn’t quite remember getting. Running his hand along the ground, he could tell he wasn’t in the cots. His mind began to seep back to the body. Narl was angry. Eyes adjusting, he could see he was in the hallway. Narl turned his eyes, and could see Faye’s feet.

“Faye!” He smiled. Maybe his beautiful wife new what was going on? “Faye!” He walked over to her. Then he smelt it…blood. His breath began to race out of his mouth. Weakened, he dropped down with his legs sprawled in all directions. His white paw eased under her head, pushing out dried blood. “Faye…?” He mumbled. “Faye, speak to me.”

Narl suddenly heard her; breathing out a sigh of relief, and then a horrendous, shriek. He chocked on his breath, and his heart shattered. “Faye…? Faye, Faye? Faye! Faye, oh Faye!” He pushed his muzzles against her breast. “Faye…Faye…” His tears mixed in with his wife’s blood. The tom moaned between long, sobbing gasps, hoping his hugs would bring the lifeless shell back.

Like a flash of thunder, his memories came back. His precious’s foot, the scraggly worker, the Ship Captain…  His grasp tightened around his wife. They did this! This useless death… Narl growled. They killed, massacred his innocent wife!  He felt as if his eyes were suddenly so dry, and his muscles tightened. Faye was dead! Killed by those hideous monsters…the demonic eight workers. Cowards! All weak and pathetic! His depression grew to rage. Scum tyrants, bloated with undeserved power.

Narl stood up. The fur all down his spine prickled up. Hideous, bumbling, fiends. How dare they think eight idiots could rule over the mrows, a proud people…

Eight. The word echoed in his mind like a church bell. Eight, weak monsters. Monsters…monsters…monsters…

Punishment.

His eyes narrowed, his pupil became slits.  Narl stood up, his legs stronger than they could possibly be. Claws flexed, he let them dig into his palms. They’ll pay for this! His thoughts began to race, and began to just blur into meaningless jumbles. Narl leaped on four legs, skidding across Chapper’s Line. He took a graceful leap, and hid behind a large cargo box left overnight. He pulled his head up with his front legs over the crate. There was one of the guards, leaning hapharazadly against the wall. His tail straightened out, and he pulled back his head, growling viciously.

The guard looked up. “Wha’? Liam?” He brushed the back of his claws against his plumage, the bright colored scales that hung down from a string on his head. As expecting of the worker, lazy and apathetic, he went back to his daze.

Narl climbed to top of the wooden crate. A skill common to Mrows, he could sit so still, hiding in plain sight. His wait was brief. Sporadically, the white-and-black slave leaped. He landed on the guard’s shin. Narl slithered up his back, dragging his feet to create long slashes along his skin. “Hell fire!” The Gowak tried to grab Narl, but the mrow was moving swiftly. Teeth digging into his shoulder, he let his weight hang on the worker’s shoulder.

The guard tried to scream but a white paw clamped his mouth. The lanky one, the monster who pointed out Faye, suddenly bent over. His thick tail swatted the mrow, and the additional plumage swatted him. Narl hung on tight, but still flipped over onto the Gowak’s chest. His claws stabbed into its chest, and the other hand kept the mouth shut. The guard swatted him again, and holding on was getting harder.

Narl’s blind rage was giving him strength to hold on. He pulled himself up and bit at one of his eyes. Suddenly, the Gowak’s mouth flew opening, throwing the mrow to the ground. “Mop! Mop!” He shouted. Narl pounced, wrapping all his legs around the Gowak’s neck.

 

The Gowak twisted his neck up, screeching. His grip on the reptile’s neck tightened, and in a swimming motion, the mrow got his paws on the top of its head. The guard titled right, staggering sideways, inching toward the Captain’s Quarter. Plowing claws pulled Narl’s torso to the top of the monster’s head. As the guard opened its long mouth, Narl’s claws darted into the thin lining of its upper mouth. It felt to him as if he had no mind anymore. Things were not thought, they were done. Using the arm-strength he had learned as a slave, he ripped back with the gowak’s head, and his legs crushed his neck.

A satisfying crack from the monster’s skull echoed in Narl’s paws. He propelled himself off the gowak’s back, sliding on the ground. The towering beast fell to the ground with limbs flopping. Two deep breaths later, the Gowak showed its true form. The shadow of ever scale slugged together. They combined into a floating, twisting and bubbling ball of black goop.

Narl growled a gasp in times of instinct.  He knew that it was coming, but somehow did not plan that. Now, all he thought was that it couldn’t be touched. The glob swooped down, charging for the fluffy creature. He tumbled behind one of the boxes to dodge. The maneuver wouldn’t buy him much time. His hands were behind him, searching blindly on the floor. Something finally touched against his fur. As the Gowak blob flew toward him, Narl grabbed the item. Without looking, he lodged it with force toward the enemy.

The flying splinter of wood hit the creature on the blunt, flat side, but it was enough for the fragile Gowak at its true nature. The glop seemed to shrink for a split-second, and was gone.

            Narl grinned in a grim joy. It could be done…

 

“Hey, what’s going on down here!”

 

            …And could be repeated.

 

The approaching gowak looked over the boxes. His yellow eyes scanned the area. “Hey!” He snapped. He laid reptilian hand on a crate, pivoting around. “Where are you? What’s going on?”  Suddenly, his eye’s caught the Gowak’s reptile corpse.

Narl exploited his shock. He pushed out with his back legs and leaped over the body to the other side. The guard pulled out his gun, a strange orb-like thing, and fired at the air where the black tip of fur once was. “Get out here!” He hissed.

Narl slid out from behind the stack of crates he had jumped to, grabbing the corpse’s own weapon. He rolled over. His stomach was up and his arm was holding him up. In that awkward position, he let out a ray from the gun. It released silently, zipping thought the air. The red, glowing laser hissed as it shot through the guard’s eye. He screamed, clutching the bleeding hole on his face, but the scream faded into a gurgling noise of blood and bile. He tumbled to the ground.

Narl ready the handgun again. The true-form showed itself quicker than the last. The black blob’s bumps seem to come and recede quicker than before. A silent shot fired straight through the bottom, and it was gone.

He didn’t even look up after that. Yellow, slitted eyes turned toward the weapon. It was such a basic technology. The red Merr, the core orb of the gun, had a small ring of the spotted-mineral Leppa stuck to it, and a steel bar thin enough to bend held a lump of Pike over the entire thing.  If the Pike touched the Merr, the reaction would start. The Merr would release its mass into a highly charged bolt of some kind. Without the Leppa, with witch the Merr was unexplainably attracted too, the energy would radiate from all sides. But the mineral held it in place, creating an aim-able missile. It was so simple…so effective. The tom clutched in his paw.

He got up onto his legs and began to dash out of the shipping room. There were six other Gowaks in the port, and Narl really had no specific idea where they were. Letting his instinct-full legs take him, he came to the communication hub. Screens, buttons, dials and meters lit up the entire dim, metallic wall. There was no one in it.

A scaly tapping came charging toward him. “There’s an intruder! Two guards down!” He called in a raspy voice. Narl receded behind a wall, pressing his fur against it. The panicked gowak slapped his fingers onto a board of buttons. “Danger! Intruder!” He looked around at the dials, searching for the right one.

The white-and-black mrow aimed and fired. A red, glowing beam pierced into the Gowak’s muscular leg. “Aaaah!”  The monster screamed. His legs gave way, letting him fall to the floor. Narl hopped toward him. Curled over, the crocodilian creature spat at him. “Mop!”

The mrow opened his mouth, showing his glistening fangs. A primal noise escaped him, part hiss, part growl, and part blood-curling scream. He fired another shot into the monster’s snout. Narl held down the Pike, letting a continuous string of silent energy go. The true-form had barely time to materialize before a beam hit it.

Knowing it was truly dead, he hissed again. “Mop!” He growled, low in his throat. Five more Gowaks haunted this place, and they had surely heard his growls.

A yellow-spotted mrow blinked awake. The other slaves were so exhausted their sleep could not be bothered, but her relatively easy work hadn’t made her so tired. She slowly climbed out of her cot, paw pads gently touching the floor.

“Hello?” She whispered. The mrow quietly scurried out of the room. Her foot stepped in something sticky, her eye quickly following. Holding back a gasp, Seni stared at the blood. The cold body of the mrow killed earlier remained on the ground. She leaped back and dashed down chapper’s lane. She was sure she heard something.

Seni’s paw steps made only a faint pitter-pitter on the cold ground. Her arms were held up to her face, hiding her gasping mouth. The racket she heard had died down. The yellow mrow, covered in black spots, had no idea where it came from.

…Then there was another crash.

Narl leapt backwards, catching the corner of a crate with his paw, and spun the rest of his body around in midair. His outstretched back-paws swiped the tip of the Gowak’s nose. The creature growled, but continued charging forward.

The skinny mrow landed in all fours. The guard shot down, missing as Narl back flipped to safety. The tall crocodilian made a hiss, spluttering with his bleeding nose. He shot another silent red beam. Again, the mrow dodged.

The Gowak walked closer, raising his gun. He was slower this time. Narl crouched, prepared to dodge again, when he realized his tail was against the wall. Blinded by fury…he walked into a corner.

“Stupid mop…” The guard smiled, aiming his gun right for the mrow’s head.

SCHWACK!

Blindsided, the towering monster fell sideways, landing in an awkward position. Seni breathed heavily on top of a box behind the creature. Her job-tool, a crowbar, was clenched in her paws.

Narl stared at her for a few seconds, shocked. The surprised dulled quickly. He slid on the back calluses of his paws to retrieve his lost gun a few steps away. Just as the huge Gowak began to grunt back in to consciousness, he let the lasers fly. Three shots. Two for the scaled body, one for the black grime.

Seni began to hyperventilate, her breaths loud and quick. She had hit the Gowak in an impulse…and now she was scared. The white tom knew she was not going to be able to do anything like that again.

“What the kirf is going on here?” A deep, boisterous voice echoed across the halls.

The black-and-white mrow leaped over the yellow counterpart, turning to hiss at her. “Hide go- now!” His voice was almost hidden under the growl.

She didn’t let go of her crowbar, nodding nervously and scampering behind some boxes. She picked a particularly removed pile- way in the back of the storage room- and hid behind them. Metal rod shaking in her hand, she tried to control her breathing to remain hidden.

Narl leaped on top of a barrel. He pressed his belly against the top, hugging it as tightly as he could. He could see a shadow of a great beast down the hall, closer toward the Docking Bay. He stretched out his arms and sank onto the ground, keeping down as he creeped closer.

The Guard beckoned a friend over, from behind a wall. The two charged, gun’s first, down the empty room. Narl drew back his neck a little, shocked by the strange use of organization from the stupid creatures. He jumped out of his hiding spot, nonetheless, and rolled head-over-heels across the floor. The sharp heat of the lasers swooped past him. On all fours, Narl jumped onto the wall, and leaped onto the floor in front of the two.

The two Gowak’s growled, firing down. The mrow drew back, avoiding most of the blast to only have his tail hit. Back against the floor, he shot. The laser pierced through one of the Guard’s shoulders. Narl didn’t have time to look before his companion fired at him. The fallen Gowak clenched his shoulder, hissing. He picked up his gun off the ground.

Narl fired a laser, in mid-jump while dodging an incoming shot. It was off target, slightly, but the energy pierced enough of the standing Gowak to kill him. He fell at an angle. The true-form rose out of his mouth. Narl shot it as he landed back on the ground.

Suddenly, four claws stung into his back. The other Gowak, still grasping his shoulder, pulled himself closer to Narl. The mrow wriggled, but he couldn’t break free from the guard’s hold. Eye’s thin with anger, Narl turned to face him. The Gowak’s mouth was open slightly, teeth barely apart, and letting out a deep chuckle. His claws let go of the injured shoulder and grabbed the gun.

He roared, letting all the energy he could come out of his mouth. The Gowak flinched in surprise, loosening his grip just enough for Narl to pull himself out. He wrapped his claws around the monster’s dangling flare, yanking it forward. It’s neck jerked out, exposing the soft spot on the base of the head. He shot it-dead.

The white tom let go quickly, bounding backwards. His thoughts raced through his mind so fast he could barely understand it.

Don’t let the goo touch me, don’t let the goo touch me!

His paws flew over the metal flooring. If the Gowak’s true body were to reach him, it would enter him. Narl would be gone…controlled as the new host of the horrible parasite.

 The shifting blob lunged down toward Narl. He jumped, landing on his shoulder and sliding against the floor. Thinking quickly, he lobbed the round gun over his head. It vanquished the remains of the guard.

His white ear’s pricked up. Narl could hear the soft plink of his gun landing. He pulled himself up, coughing up some blood and mucus. It had landed closer toward the Captain’s quarters.

The Captain had placed walls in the entrance to his area, so one had to criss-cross to reach it, to prevent noise from bothering him. Narl wasn’t sure how effective the walls were…but the lack of his personal guard coming out made it seem that he wasn’t alerted of the renegade mrow.

Narl walked slowly toward the entrance. He picked up his gun and continued to snake about each of the walls. There were at least seven… it wasn’t a wonder that the lazy Gowak could sleep through landing ships. He poked his nose out.

The Captain’s personal Gowak guard, a tall monster with a uncommonly bright plumage, was near the closed door. Narl was never really sure why he was chosen to be the bodyguard…he wasn’t nearly the strongest. Right now, the tall reptile was rocking back and forward.

“Captain…” He whispered, tapping the steel door with a claw. “Captain? May I have permission to enter? I need to use the facilities…sir.”

The mrow held back a snicker. He was sure the greedy wide-eyed monster would rather the guard piss on the floor than let him use his personal bathroom. “Captain…Sir?” He tapped a claw on the door once more.

Narl stepped out from behind the wall. He wasn’t watching this monster dance on the floor anymore. Two shots silently flew across the short space. He got lucky. The timing was just right to shoot both the reptilian shell, and the emerging blob.

As soon as the scales clanked against the floor, the steel door was slung open. The Captain showed himself. “What the hell…!” His arm clenched a large, more sophisticated rifle gun. The weapon was easily five times more powerful than Narl’s round handgun…probably a lot more than that. He stepped fully outside of the room, eye’s clenched.

The white mrow was standing proud where from where he shot the Gowak. It was a foolish thing, but anger and pride overruled that. The six-foot-two reptile, dawning a metal shield-shirt, stared down at him with wide, cold, eyes.

“…The hero?”  He coughed. The words barely escaped him before he let loose a rapid fire of powerful bursts.

Narl slid sideways, dodging the bursts. As soon as his shoulder hit the ground, he shot back. The red beam hit the Captain square on the metal-shield. It was absorbed immediately. The monster smiled a little.

Barreling, the mrow had little time to avoid the next barrage of beams. He jumped onto the wall, propelling himself across the room, firing his handgun. In rhythm, the Gowak swayed his body to avoid every single one. “Stupid mop!” His hissed, firing back.

Narl only managed to avoid the beam by a few centimeters. He could feel the amount of heat against his leg. Breath rolling rapidly out of him, he tried to shoot again. Once more the shot was taken by the large shield. He jumped over another laser, landing only on one foot when he leaped sideways. Narl stretched out his claws desperately, trying to slash onto the Captain’s eyes. The Gowak slung his arms, batting the white tom off with the side of the rifle. Narl’s back slammed against the hard wall.

He ducked down, letting the rifle-fire go over his head. This isn’t working… Narl thought, feeling blood flow out his nose. Panicked, he dashed out of the room. He covered his bloodied face with his free paw, keeping from leaving a track. The frilled lizard was hot on his trail, letting off powerful bursts whenever he got the chance. His aim was getting better, and Narl was beginning to get scraped.

Black-tipped tail disappearing behind the final wall, the Captain dashed out to follow. The powerful weapon was ready, set against his eye. “Where are you,” The monster cooed, tentatively stepping forward. His head surveyed the area, gun read. “I have no time for these stupid games, mop!”

The mrow’s body was shoved closely against the wall to the control center. The room was adjacent to the Captain’s room…but no doors connected them. Narl caught his breath in the lightly buzzing room, full of buttons and screens. Closing his eyes and drawing a last deep breath, his white foot shot out, breaking a glass screen. CRAAAACK!

The Captain turned around on his heel, racing toward the Control Center. “Got ya.”  He jumped into the room, guns blazing. Narl stood still against the entrance wall as the lasers shot into the machinery. Electric sparks and wires hissed and crackled.

Narl roared, flying out of the shadows. The Gowak’s eyes widened. He was too startled to attack. Arms stretched out, the mrow shoved the gargantuan beast backwards. His leathery scales flew back and crashed against the exposed wiring. Narl lost momentum and fell onto the ground.

The Captain was paralyzed, unable to move from the continuing electrical shocks. His eyes wobbled in their sockets and his bright, colorful flails began to turn black. A horrible, shrieking pop exploded from his metallic shirt-shield as it ripped off his body. It exposed burnt, black scales. The monster’s body grew limp and dropped to the ground, some parts still steaming.

Narl stood over the fallen giant. His small, round hand-gun was tightly held in his paws. Where were the remnants of the Gowak?  His question was quickly answered.

Before the yellow-eyed mrow could see it form, the glop bolted for him. Narl landed awkwardly oh his shoulder. He fired shots blindly into the air. The Gowak dodged, again swooping for a body to possess. He held his ground and fired. The beam went straight through the center of the demon. It was gone. They were all gone.

Narl fell onto his knees, hands against the ground. His stolen gun dropped on the floor, rolling slightly toward the burnt corpse. The mrow’s bloodied nose, starting to clot, dripped with cold taps against the floor. Narl breathed in and out with his mouth, chest heaving.

As his smile rose and pressed his cheeks against his eyes….the mrow began to cry.

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