Ah…the beautiful summer sun. I close my eyes, basking in the warmth of the crisp-smelling air, the warm scented breeze. There’s nothing better than San Francisco when the weather’s nice. There’s no humidity, just a rejuvenating swirl of invigorating wind. Hot, but not too hot; it feels almost like a light massage. Nothing could ruin a day like this; nothing could—
“Well well well. If it isn’t the repugnant Man Whore and sci fi author Kent Wayne.”
The fuck? I shade my eyes and look irritably around. Who the fuck would—
“Meow, bitch.” The voice is like razors scraping across dried, gritted shit. Unmistakably hostile, unmistakably feline.
“Cats,” I hiss. “I knew you would come for me. We hate each other too damn much for this not to happen.”
I’m on a crowded, downtown street. Pedestrians stop and stare as furry little bodies crowd every nook and cranny, fixing me with an army of judgmental, expressionless glares.
“Not in front of the civilians.” I jerk my head to the right, towards a shadowed alleyway. I walk into it and the cats follow.
We square off again. Due to the high walls, there’s enough shadow to make their eyes shine like tiny, malevolent nightlights.
“Bring him out,” one of them hisses.
I cock my head in puzzlement. “Bring who ou—”
And then one of them escorts Bitefighter—my best buddy, 83rd level intellect, and 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire—out into the middle of the alley. They’ve blindfolded him, and there’s a little trickle of blood coming down from the corner of his lip.
My fists tighten by my sides. “If you’ve hurt him—”
“All good, Kent,” Bitefighter says. “These weaklings can’t hit for shit; they don’t drop their weight and rotate their shoulde—”
“SILENCE!” One of them slaps him across the face. Like the trained dog-ninja he is, Bitefighter flows with the strike, tumbling to the ground and rolling up to his feet. I take a step forward, but the cats all hold up their right forepaws; they’re each equipped with some kind of wrist-mounted weapon: laser-scythes, ion repeaters, hard-light needlers…
The cat who slapped him snickers smugly. “Yeah—unless you want to end up as fucking meow mix, I suggest you take a seat and listen to what we have to say.”
“Kent.” Bitefighter’s voice is level and steady. “You know what to do. Do it.”
Fucking A. I reach in my pocket and open my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
Click-click-clank-CLANK! Bitefighter and I both wear quantum-compacted, neural-linked sheaths of compressed armor at all times (mine looks like polka-dotted underwear 😊). It expands across us, covering us in beast-ass glowing segments, complete with anime-style gleams running across our hulls. In a few seconds, we look like a pair of magically charged Space Marines, all bulky and enchanted and ready to kick some feline ass. The cats open fire, but their munitions bounce harmlessly off our impenetrable war-suits.
Bitefighter stares at me through his beta-amyloid, half-bubble helmet. “Ready to smash some pussy?”
I give him a nod. “Abso-fucking-lutely.”
Our forearm turbolasers sound out a merciless chitter, and we wreck shop with giant, six-foot long beams of weaponized light. Singed felines go flying every which way as we roar in pure, animalistic joy. I can’t hear a thing due to the whine of the lasers, but I glimpse Bitefighter’s mouth moving in an unmistakable, “FUCK YOU, CATS!” The glare from our lasers paints lurid, reflective streaks across the surface of our helmets.
Gotta tell ya—best damn day of my entire life. 😀
Have you and your dog been cornered by a bunch of future-weapon felines? Never fear! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle Vol.4 on Kindle here: Vol. 4 on Kindle Echo Omnibus here: Echo Omnibus Echo Vol. 1 & 2 Combined Edition here: Combined Edition Musings, Volume 1 is available here: Musings, Volume 1 If you wanna hear me babble on about anything and everything, and strain my FREAKIN’ BRAIN, then here’s a link to my podcast: Strained Brains! It is on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play! Please give it a listen and a five-star review! Here’s the miscellaneous gear that I use to try and become an uber-human: Optimization! 🙂 🙂 😀
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