Part 4: Flight
It was dead silent in the old bar as the flickering TV screen shed it's bluish light on the crowd. The latest broadcast from the Central News Network had brought them pictures that stunned them ; pictures that made their little world on Zion seem smudged and dirty. The bus that drove from the Genesis Medical Complex in Babel had some strange passengers.
"Holy Moses and sweet Jesus!" mumbled the bartender and raised the crackling volume as a reporter shouted over the agitated crowds. He spoke of genetic tampering and half human creations. But not all seemed upset. A handful of people stood to the side, staring at the old bus with sad faces. One of them, a young blonde man in his early 20's seemed heart broke and a girl about his age with mousy colored hair patted his shoulder. The camera turned back to the reporter.
"As of now, the military has taken care of the case and we'll see what might happen to these abominations. Ronald MacGregor, UCNN."
The silence was like a thick blanket over the bar.
"I ..recognize them.." mumbled a man to his drinking mate next to him.
"You do?" asked the thin mouse-like man. His friend, a fairly clean man in his mid thirties nodded.
"I'm not sure where but.. Oh HELL!" he then shouted. The rest of the pub looked at him as he stared straight out into the air. His friend shook his arm violently and the man came back to his senses. His long nose wrinkled and the green eyes narrowed.
"I know where I've seen critters like this..."
Luckily, no one saw Dirk slinking out in the back of the room.
Of course the Jellicles had seen it on TV. They were extremely upset and paced back and forth, staring at the old TV as they heard more news about this scandal being read to them.
"Well, at least they are alive. Some of them at least" said John and sighed, his round face frowning as he tried to think of the consequences for his "children". Seconds later something slammed and they looked up. Only one other person had a key in to here...
"Dirk?" said the group in unison as the man stumbled inside. His clothes were rumpled and his hair stood on end and he had a hard time standing straight.
"Got to go! Now! They know!" wheezed Dirk.
Brighteye and Silk helped him to sit down. Fire crouched down in front of the exhausted old man.
"Who knows what?"
"They're coming here. To root you all out!" wheezed Dirk. His eyes were round with fear and fright. Nightshade and Dusk looked at each other and then at Jon.
"But how could they..." started Dusk and then he moaned and covered his face with his hands. "Oh no.. Oh no..."
He pulled down his hands so that his eyes peered out at them. Fire stood as well and looked at Brigtheye. She nodded slowly, her lower lip shivering ever so slightly.
"The man from the alley..."
"I'll pack everything up, we have to go." said Nightfall as he headed for the door.
"Go where? " asked Dusk. "We have no other home!"
Jon placed a hand on Dusk's shoulder.
"You know as well as I do about the attitudes here on Zion. You've watched enough news to know how intolerant this world can be. It's a miracle you haven't been seen or told on. Do as Night says. We have to go. They'll come for us..."
Even if they all cried, they packed. The bags got stuffed with their best clothes, their fondest belongings. Silk and Brighteye sulked and whimpered as they folded their good sweaters and best jeans. Nightshade and Dusk along with Fire and Jon made sure they had whatever money and valuable goods they could take with them. Suddenly Dusk stopped , his ears turning around in all directions as he tried to home in on the sound. It took seconds before the others heard it too. Voices. Shouts. Strange smells. Fire rushed to a window and wrenched an old plank aside. Down at the end of the street he saw a posse closing in on their theatre, maybe fifty humans, all side by side shouting and screaming. And then he saw it. Torches. Fire. Flames.... He stared at the flickering light as if bespelled. When Jon touched his shoulder he flinched and whirled around, claws inches from Jon's face. The frightened kitten had seen the burning ship again in his mind....
But he stopped his hand just inches away, suddenly frozen in motion, "Fire...they've got...torches!" stuttered the ginger tom and tried to come up with words to say how scared he was. But Jon's steady gaze and strong grasp on his shoulder made the young cat-man feel safe again.
"They're in there!" shouted the leader, the same man that Fire and Dusk had scared off earlier that year. "They live in there!" shouted the man, pointing at the old theatre. The crowds were shouting and howling; words of aggression and hate flowed from them. The echoes of their voices bounced back at them, making the calls stronger. Many shop owners peeked out from their little houses and tried to hear. The news of the outrageous cat-people had reached most of Zion now and the oh-so-righteous inhabitants were inflamed by the news!
As the wood of the old front door was smashed the inhabitants fled out the backdoor, clutching their most treasured belongings in their arms. They knew all the hideouts and alleyways well and sought out the shortest routes fast. Jon and Dirk choose to take some other ways, but their goals were the same: Dirk's basement. Nightshade stopped, a couple of streets away from the invaded house. The others stopped as well, looking back at their home. They saw stones being hurled through the warm spring air, glass being smashed and falling to the street below. Some threw furniture out of the old back windows and they could hear them smash against the backyard cobblestones. Brighteye almost screamed as she saw the old mattress from the loft being hurled outside. It was her bed!! Her and Dusk's bed. Dusk hugged her tight and stroked her hair. A gasp escaped them as the flickering lights of fire broke through the smashed windows. The old dry wood and insulation inside the walls caught fire and tongues of flame started to lick the walls and roof. Fire stared at his namesake. It felt like his throat had been cut off and he had a hard time breathing properly.
"Oh nooo..." moaned Nightshade and grabbed Silk. They clung to each other in an embrace that felt like they never wanted to let go. They stayed as long as they dared, staring at the hypnotizing movement of the flames as they ate the Blue Dragon piece by piece, the fire's roar encouraged by the shouts and screams of human voices.
"Why?" whispered Dusk and looked at the others, "Why do humans hate us so much?"
"Some do.." mumbled Nightshade and pulled his mate with him as he turned his back to his home. The others followed, Fire staying as long as he could. The sight of the transport burning was forever etched into his mind, and now, a second picture had been forever stamped into his mind. His home on fire.
Jon paced back and forth, looking around in the old kitchen. Anastasia had just cleared away the dishes and Dirk sat by the old dark table, stuffing his old pipe.
"Leave them be. They're scared and only want to be alone." said the bony man, glaring at Jon.
"But I want to help them! I want them to be ..." he sighed and stopped, rubbing his face before he sat down, "I want to reunite them with their parents. I need to find this Jellylorum and Rumpus. I know, they're out there, perhaps in that bus they keep showing on the TV? How can I do that Dirk? Tell me...."
The dark-skinned man in his old battered Fez hummed and looked at the smoke that trailed it's way upwards.
"I have some money. I've saved for quite some years."
Anastasia sat down next to her father. "I have too. It was suppose to be for my old days, but Nightshade and the others need our help. We owe them that much. They didn't ask to be born like this."
Jon and Dirk nodded.
Down in the basement, in a temporarily cleared room, a living breathing heap of fur clung together . The two females in the middle and the three males around them, sheltering each other from the world outside. At every little sound, their ears twitched or their eyes darted around. Right now they were under a tremendous amount of stress and their instincts and minds were strained to the maximum. If anyone had tried to come close, they'd probably deny that these creatures really had read Shakespeare, fought wooden sword duels and planted rows of pots on a roof. Because right now they seemed more feral than ever...