"So what was all that about?" Kat had been the first to arrive, having practically run her way there, her eyes were sparkling with enthusiasm. "And what were those red beams about? How did the girls just up and vanish?"
You looked over her shoulder, at the others as they approached and sighed. "So you're saying he called it a capture-sphere?" It was the first question that had been asked, by Tomas no less, when you'd finished your narration.
An uncomfortable silence followed. "What are capture-spheres?" Mr Gabriel asked, looking confused and grumbling. "Where the fuck are we? Did you at least learn about THAT or not?"
You rubbed the bridge of your nose, thinking back on what you knew about 'pokemon', you hadn't exactly played it, and you'd been told there'd been a series but you never did watch that either. At the time you had felt you were a bit too old to be part of the target demographic. Still, it was hard to not know the basics even if you'd never touched the media personally.
"It's weird." Tomas commented. "Pokeballs are a device that can contain pokemon, monsters. These capture-spheres look similar. Something's not right."
"Monsters like Monica." It wasn't a question from the older man.
"Gramps!" Kat complained you could see her just about to say something else but stiffened, then glanced at Monica who was currently licking herself clean (it was distracting and she kept peeking at you to see if you were watching). "She's not a monster." The young girl spoke softly, the words felt like she was trying to convince herself more than anyone else there.
You took the moment of silence to explain what you'd found out to the others.
"Whatever it is, I don't like it. What if they used it on us?" Alice spoke worriedly.
A wave of unease went through everyone present. "I think we should run from here." Tomas spoke nervously. "He said there were laws about people from 'other parts', who knows what they'll do to us when they get here?"
"They would feed us and get us away from dying from some fire breathing creature." Mr Gabriel snorted loudly. "Kid, if governments were that prone to kidnap and assassination, it wouldn't be a government, it would be a dictatorship."
"That... was my point." The youth spoke, you noted the worried looks he shot Kat. "We don't know what sort of government is here do we? For all we know we're in some sort of North Korea." There was another long pause.
You interrupted with a cough. "Anyways, he went that way, so if I had to guess, that way is our best bet for civilization." You made a gesture towards the north-east. "It's not like we have good odds of survival out here. I'm not sure if you've realised, but we are just about dry and out of food."
That jolted Tomas and Kat, who looked at one another with a grimace.
"Yes, rather than worry about who's in charge we should worry about us and the others." Alice nodded, obviously glad the subject was changed. "We still have some daylight we can use, but we could also stay and look around this... ruined farm? It's likely the safest place to stay the night, at least looks that way." There were a series of nods while everyone agreed on what ought to be the first thing to do.
"Let's have a quick look around first." You said. "See if we can find something useful, or food, and then hit the road. Like I said, little food, we need any help we can get." Some begrudging nods, but nods nonetheless.
You quickly decided that the best way to do this is to make a sweep with Monica for threats and leave the others to quickly search the place in your wake while you made sure there were no surprises anywhere else. The work was quick, the signs of deterioration clearly not fresh, this place has been abandoned for at least a couple of years. But it didn't seem ancient like you'd originally feared. It was something someone had built, used, lived in, and abandoned. And not more than five or so years ago.
Meanwhile, Monica had remained only half-vigilant, appearing to feel there were no threats and instead was more concerned with licking the light burnt fur of her right paw as she walked about, curious and just looking around with some minor sense of boredom.
An hour later, you all convened together near the entrance that went towards the north-east. You yourself had found a couple of cans of food with the name "Chow" half worn out on the side. There was an expiration date, and you had no clue just how bad it might be. At least the can wasn't bloated or rusted.
You guessed it was pet food, or at least you feared it was. Their size was good enough for a ration, but... "Did you find anything?" You asked the others, to which they revealed only two more can like your own.
That was when you noticed Kat was grinning from ear to ear. You shot her a quirked brow. "And you?"
"I only found... THIS!" She declared, extending her hands and revealing the object in her hands.
The white and red spherical device looked as old and worn out as the buildings were. Everyone that wasn't Monica, Lizard girl, or Tessa, widened their eyes in surprise. "What... is it even functional?" Tomas was the first to speak, hesitating.
"I dunno, haven't tested it yet." She shrugged nonchalantly.
"What if... there's something inside?" Alice gulped at her own words.
"For all we know it's just a toy." Mr Gabriel scoffed. "If it were that valuable why would anyone leave it behind?"
Point taken. You look at the device and ponder. "We should check it's empty, if functional at all." You say, and before you finish the sentence, Kat had pressed the button. You felt the urge to scream at her right about now.
There are sparks, and suddenly the ball opened with a beam of red light that definitely drew everyone's attention. You had only a split second to see what materialized from within.
And the next a blur of white and blue had tackled her away from you. By the time your brain kicked in and does a slow-mo of what just happened, you realize Monica had pounced from her position next to you and soared towards the girl. Right this moment, the feline had pinned the girl and was starting to tear up her clothes. "MY-!" The girl shrieked in protest, trying to struggle but utterly failing.
By the looks of it, Monica wasn't intent on killing, otherwise, there would be a lot more blood. Not that it seemed she was being gentle either.
Carefully, you approach from the side. "Monica?" You call out, drawing her attention towards you, she stopped mid-snapping of the squealing girl's skirt.
Now that she was looking at you, you reach out and touch her flank, watching her face brighten at that. "Rick." She called out, leaning down on the girl and giving a good long lick at her neck, ending with a nip at her ear. "Bite eat?"
Very abruptly the girl started thrashing, trying to shove Monica away to no success. "Mynx!" She screamed out, only then breaking into a deep wheezing sound that devolved into a coughing fit.
Monica had completely disregarded her and instead, her eyes were on you, begging, hungry. "Bite eat?" She repeated, her clawed hands seizing the other's chest and with a 'woof' sound from the small girl pinning her to the dirt firmly.
"Wait, no!" Kat called out, and it's then that the now-mostly-unclothed girl vanished into a beam of red light.
Monica's instantly startled as she found nothing where there had once been the prey, her eyes quickly trace all around, then above, and then bellow, her ears rotating rapidly, her tail lashing in annoyance. Then she took a good long sniff at the spot the girl had been in, frowned, turning towards Kat and then towards you, her expression equal confusion and disappointment. "Rick?"
Reaching out to her, you caress her hair, and her cheek, a gesture she leans into. "Monica." You say simply, smiling at the purr she lets out.
"Riiiiick." She mutters, rubbing her cheek against your hand. Then she surprises you by grasping it and gently kissing your wrist, you recognize the gesture since you'd used it on her during that intense foreplay session. The woman unabashedly reached down between her thighs with her other paw and slowly starts to stroke herself. "Kiss?" She breathes the word out in a moan that made you glad you were wearing jeans.
Gulping, you quickly pull out a can of the Chow, escaping her grip much to her reluctance. She was clearly intent on what she wanted and damn she made thinking of anything else... hard. "Eat?" You offer the opened can after a moment of struggling with the knife.
Monica's ears perk, eyes focusing on the content inside the can that looks just about as appetizing as canned cat food would. She leaned in and gave it a heavy sniff. "Eat?" She looks at it confused, leaning in to experimentally lick the metallic side, grimace, and then reach down with her claw to poke at the meat.
The whole thing is pulled out, almost slightly larger than a fist. She sniffed it again and then plopped the whole thing into her mouth. A grin spread across her lips as she began munching on it. "Here's hoping it's edible for us normal humans too." Mr Gabriel muttered darkly.
You kept your neutral look while Monica kept eating, having completely forgotten about the seduction attempt. You're guessing that state wouldn't last for long. "We shouldn't waste any more daytime." You muttered, gesturing at the others. "Civilization is somewhere in that direction, so we should get moving." There's a chorus of nods at your words.
You note that Tessa's grip on Gabriel's arm is quite fiercer than before, her nails having carved little streaks in the cloth of his shirt. "You ok?" You asked him, watching as the mouse-girl twitched at your words and froze like a statue.
"She's... not reacting well." He spoke with a certain level of worry you hadn't expected from him. "Every day she seems more and more scared of... everything."
You glance at the terrified thing and you ponder. "Maybe she's not social?"
Mr Gabriel frowned but doesn't say anything, instead grabbing a portion of the meat that was being distributed while continuing down the road and giving the mouse-girl some to eat. You felt some pity for her, but ultimately your focus returned towards the half-torn road, or more precisely, on everything around it. There was a foreboding sense as you walked through it, Monica kept near you one way or another throughout that time, it seemed that even when she went slightly ahead or out of the way to check on something, you were always within her line of sight.
Maybe she too felt something was off.
The hours bled by without much incident other than everyone being kinda jumpy, no one felt like talking and it was reasonable considering your water had gone down to about a fourth, Alice had quickly pointed out they should save it for tomorrow. Eventually, the trees you'd been walking through broke out, clearing, allowing you to see past it and towards everything else.
As a group, you froze.
You looked at the village, it looked tiny, maybe large enough for three thousand people tops. But there were undoubtedly signs of life, even from this distance and with the darkness falling down on you all, you could still see people. Something inside you... broke, you almost felt like crying.
"It's..." You muttered, swallowing heavily.
"It's getting dark." May broke the strange state all of you had gotten into from the sheer relief of seeing the tiny village. She was right too, the village was far enough that all of you together would need at least four or so hours worth of travelling after the sun had gone down. And that wasn't including that it'd be likely the darkness would only make you go more slowly.
The others remained silent however, seeming lost in the sight of the buildings, you were even sure you could vaguely make out the shape of people, a salvation that was so close you could taste it.
"We push forward." You muttered, you were too close, you... "The sooner we get there the better."
Many nodded, some grimaced, but the feeling was clear, almost palpable, you needed to get to civilization.
There aren't many complaints to be had, you could all feel that if you delayed any longer you'd crumble from the sheer exhaustion of everything that's happened in the past several days. The only one who didn't seem bothered at all by this is Monica, the feline woman looked perfectly happy to be prancing around the group even as it started to get so dark you needed to take out your phones to illuminate a path. Still, no signal even though you were so close to civilization... did people here use cellphones? Or was it something else? Maybe it just was incompatible.
"Mreow?" Monica's voice startled all of you, her shifting attention a clear sign of something being there.
The cat woman had caught a whiff of something, turning her head and becoming tense as she glared at a bush. Silently, she got closer, lowering her body into a stalking profile. All light was immediately cut off, out of fear of drawing the attention of whatever Monica had detected.
You noticed the lizard girl glancing nervously at a nearby tree, as if considering whether to climb it or not.
The world plunged into shadows and darkness.
Monica pounced. "BOOB!" A new voice shrieked, followed by the sound of snapping branches and rustling leaves.
More rustling followed by severe coughing that you recognize could only belong to Monica. You hastily light your phone back up and see her stepping out of a thick cloud of pink dust that was slowly settling down around her. The feline coughed and gasped, but quickly calmed down. "Mreow..." She purred, her eyes becoming foggy and unfocused.
"Monica?" You ask her, noticing something off by the very way she moved.
"Riiiiiick." She hissed, pawing at her chest, as she blushed. Her eyes snap open to look at you. And you notice the predatorial lust in that gaze. "Riiick." She half moaned and half whimpered, stepping in your direction.
A sense of danger surges through you as you realize the fog in her gaze was only becoming stronger. The cloud...! It must have had some sort of poison.
You knew this wasn't the best idea, but was there any good alternative? She would undoubtedly catch anyone she wanted were they to run. "Prepare a fire, anything to signal the town. I'll keep her distracted." Within your mind flashed the image of the others back near the bus, the ones who'd not survived the feline's dissatisfaction.
"Like last time?" Kat didn't sound sarcastic, she was scared. "Professor, she wasn't that worked up and she still raped half of us."
Alice was hyperventilating. "We need to run."
"You run she'll pounce!" You stated in a hiss.
"Then keep her distracted!" She said back hastily, watching as Monica was stepping closer to you. "If we get to the village we can get help!"
"They're an hour away at least." Tomas said.
"Riii~iick..." The word made everyone shudder and see Monica as she stalked closer.
"Kiss?" You offered.
And the next instant she was upon you, her lips meeting yours fiercely, arms wrapped around your head, she smelled different than you remembered, more... flowery. You were startled to find that the cloud had clung to her skin. It was something new, something... fruity, it tickled at your thoughts and made you feel hotter all over. Her tongue wrestled with yours and overcame it with ease, the others were quick to start moving away, but it became apparent Monica hadn't been exclusively focused on you as her hand had grasped at someone else, pulling them closer.
"Run to the city!" Alice shrieked as Monica had grasped your shirt, ripping it out.
"Um... professor?" Tomas spoke worriedly as the feline was keeping an iron grip on his shirt while making out with you.
Everything was devolving into a panic and a growing fog. "Bring help!" You tell Alice, leaning in to kiss Monica hard, something she was eager to respond to, you had to try and take the reigns. "Tomas, I'm going to need your help here."
"Buh, what?" He sounded panicked, even while the feline held him in place.
"Fighting against her or trying to stop her is going to do nothing good to anyone involved, the best we can hope for is to change directions to keep her from breaking someone's spine or something." You manage between gasps.
Tomas hesitated and then nodded.
"Rick." Monica gasped, pulling you closer. "Rihik!" She cried out the moment after, the pressure of her strength bearing down on you making your bones groan.
Your eyes dart around, feeling how the situation was escalating more than calming down. Your eyes met the lizard's. "Want to play with us?" You offer sweetly, begging softly and praying. The scaled girl remained still. "Please?" You say, trying to reach out to her, before Monica realizes what you're doing.
With a purr, she looked at the lizard girl, something that made her instantly bolt, which felt like a death sentence as Monica's focus returned in full towards you and Tomas. The force of her grip aches against your body, you feel something snap, and you scream. But Monica's too lost in the fog, the same fog that was slowly burning through your body.
It was poison, you were hurt, and yet it was becoming harder and harder to think. Would the wounds get you or the unknown substance? You start to feel your body groaning and hurting from... you weren't even sure of what anymore, just that your mind felt frayed and your body beat, battered, broken. There was... blood? Your breath began to come short, gasps.
"They're over here!" You barely hear the words, seeing the movement of light somewhere not too far away.
People, people you couldn't recognise.
Flashes of red light.
The world spun into darkness.