|HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
|Page 8 of 64|
|Author:||valerio [ Sat May 07, 2011 3:49 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens. 3pm
“Hello, guys!” Lucky waved happily at the five dogs running into the hall. “How are… you?”
Bino ran by him like a rocket, stopping at the door and its computerized lock. He desperately pressed the buttons on the alphanumeric keypad, not touching the ‘reset’ button once, but every ‘entry’ was answered by an electronic raspberry and a red light. Sobbing, Bino fell to his knees and punched the panel. The lock protested like some very upset R2D2.
Fido helped his brother to stand up. “Now, now, tonight the police will open the door, just as I told before. And you know things are not so bad, here.”
“It’s not that.” Bino leaned his back against the wall. He looked resigned. “Max,” he said to the black cat that had just come along with Lucky, Felix and Selene. “Did you warn Dad about this… obsticle?”
Max stared with shrunken pupils. Then he facepawlmed. “Aw, Mackarel!”
“We’re dead,” said Bino.
“There is... something we should know?” Asked Fox.
“Vacation. Dad always goes one month before the others,” Max said. “He hates crowds. And hates to be late. By now he must have left, leaving the house free, instead of bringing us with him. As usual.”
“Your Daddy is bad,” said Sasha, stroking Bino’s head. “He should’ve waited for you.”
Max sported a faint smile. “Heh. Thanks, baby, but I always managed alone, remember? As I said, it’s not the first time we’re left behind. And Bino is the one with more friends than body hair, so it’s not that big-time drama, after all.”
Lucky and Felix exchanged glances. So this was the real plan to punish Bino! “Diaboooolic” they said, and whistled.
“Don’t exaggerate,” said Bino, who fortunately hadn’t understood. “It could be better, if we didn’t do our part to make him mad at us.” He sighed and turned back to his housemate. “So, Max, how did you get in?”
“From the door,” said Lucky. “It was open!”
“And then the wind closed it,” said Felix... And sneezed violently. “In this regard, I’m sorry, but where’s the bathroom? In case you hadn’t noticed, we are still dripping like sponges.”
Foster Mansion had six bathrooms in all, all equally spacious and furnished to the fullest.
Inside one of them, on the ground floor, there was a corgi.
The dog called King stood in front of a full length mirror. A mirror that reflected him, the wall behind him, and a presence that wasn’t physically in the bathroom.
A gryphon. The mythical half lion/half eagle creature with blue feathers, golden feet and beak, was staring at the dog with sincere admiration. “I must admit, my boy, you’re giving me great satisfaction. I was beginning to think you weren’t going to be useful to me at all. “
“Thanks, Pete. I think.”
“A well-deserved praise: inexperienced in the arcane arts, you used your strong will to channel the energies flowing in this place to summon me. The same will that you instinctively used to ward your friend, Fox.”
King scratched his head. “Eh?”
Pete rolled his eyes. “Nevermind. Anyway, when you hugged your friend, there in the kitchen, you also passed part of your lifeforce to him. It’s the first step of many apprentice magicians. To do it without even a basic knowledge, implies a powerful soul, a powerful will, such as I found in your brother.”
King shook his head. “Enough with the chitchat, featherbrain: What’s going on in this house? At first I thought that those gruesome visions were one of your stupid tricks, but if I have to trust instinct, you don’t seem the type. You are an arrogant, conceited, manipulative half-deity, but eyeballs in my food and pieces of animal corpses in the fridge have never been your style. So, it’s either April’s Fool in your calendar, or this the rabbit hole at the bottom of Elm Street 1428.”
The gryphon looked deadly serious, didn’t speak a word.
King dropped his ears, but not because he feared a reaction from his ‘master’. Deep within, he had hoped it had been one of Pete’s tricks. “It wasn’t you, eh?”
“Do you know the history of this place, King?”
The dog nodded. Whiteman House was the dark urban legend in PETA meetings, it was used as example of animal cruelty. The Pet Fight Club, the tortures, the atrocities...
And as strange as it might seem, though King was living proof that magic was real and not the stuff of exhibitions and charlatans, he still didn’t believe in… “Ghosts. I’m seeing the ghosts of Whiteman House?” A shiver ran down King’s spine, and the dog held himself in his arms. “But how..? I thought this place had been built after the old structure was demolished. Far as I know, ghosts will abandon a haunted place, when that place is no more.
The gryphon nodded. “In some cases, yes. But over the years, this evil has been perpetrated every single day, relentlessly. Pain, anger, fear, violent deaths, torture, mass graves... Eventually, the land itself inside this building and outside it has been saturated by the angry presences seeking for rest, not knowing how to get it. Wanting to be back.”
King swallowed. “But why now? They all say that everyone, as a cub, came at least once to the old place. There were contests of bravery, during Halloween. Heck, I think even the Ghostbusters passed by here!” Then King stared. And he understood. “Martin,” he whispered after almost a minute.
Again, Pete nodded. He leaned forward, and his beak passed through the mirror as if it had been liquid. “Martin Foster plays an unwitting role in this drama. I’m sorry, but you can’t know more, for now.” He retreated back in the mirror.
That phrase seemed to shake King out of his fear-induced trance. “Huh? And why not? What is it, one of your stick-and-carrot concessions? You tell me that I am a good apprentice and then treat me like this? Do you think I’m too stupid to connect the dots?!”
In response, Pete’s eyes completely lit up with an intense light that turned them into two malevolent beacons.
The corgi already felt he would regret his words.
Instead, the gryphon raised a claw and began to draw lines in liquid fire against the mirror.
The first thing he wrote was ‘1 +1 = 2’
Then, he drew in the same way, on the line below, ‘E = MC2’
King examined the two formulas, not understanding.
“It ‘s exactly the kind of reaction I expected, mortal. No offense.”
Pete pointed to the first line. “This is your current level of knowledge of what is happening.” Then the second. “And this is the level at which you should arrive. I could condense everything in a single lesson, but I fear that your mental health would greatly suffer.”
King bared his teeth in a snarl. “The only ones to suffer will be Martin, his pets and who knows how many other innocents! Try me, fill my head with your metaphysical crapola, but don’t you dare *eep!*” Again, Pete’s beak had popped from the glass, the pointed tip brushing King’s chest.
“If you’re worried that I will not do anything about this, then relax. Your time will come, if you so care to know, but under the proper circumstances. You can trust me... or talk to them, if you feel so ready to challenge them.” Pete went back in the mirror. He disappeared, and in his place appeared a nightmarish vision of what had taken place in the room that today was the bathroom.
King was too terrified even to speak. He contemplated atrocity after atrocity, felt pain, hate, smelled blood, heard the voices. And there were cubs, oh god! They extracted them… from…
King knew all about this, he had seen it in other PFCs, but this had been brought to a level unimaginable even for him! Had Honcho, Ringo and Helias suffered a similar fate, at some point? He remembered he had wished they’d end up in a place like this, for kidnapping him, for turning against him… And perhaps they had ended up in a place like this, a fate that no living being deserved…
King saw they were all looking at him. Some with hatred, some with longing, some pleading… All of them already dead beyond any help…
King ran to the door. Oh, no, no, Pete was right about that: he didn’t want to talk to that army of suffering souls, nossir! He just wanted–
He had just opened the door, when he struck against Sabrina! And before he could speak, he felt her paw resting on his forehead.
“Sleep,” whispered the black cat. King fell in her lap like a puppet without cables to hold him.
Sabrina picked up the poor dog and took him to the couch that faced a group of consoles built into the wall. “There were less traumatic ways to open his mind,” she said as she laid King down.
<Time is a luxury we don’t have.> was the answer, projected directly into her mind. <I’ll soften up the trauma, later. Now do your part.>
Sabrina nodded, and concentrated. Again she put her paws on King’s brow. Her eyes shone with an intense emerald light. “Tribuo nos vox of vestri mos, vis of vestri diligo ut vos tribuo is pro vulpes.” Her voice was a harmonic chant. She used the notes and her voice as other magicians used the gesture. Few knew that she gave an actual blessing for every pet at each Yarn Ball, during her performances. A rare occasion to mix duty and pleasure. “Servo malum procul sinus, ostendo sum animus quos nobis votum oro in amicitia. Fiat.” If it worked, the lesser presence wouldn’t be able to disturb the living further until tomorrow.
King’s deepest recesses answered to that prayer, as she had hoped. Indeed, his heart and soul were strong…
“Big sister..?” said a voice behind her. Sabrina felt as if ice had been poured in her bloodstream.
“You can smell it too?” asked Fido. Cats and dogs’ noses quivered at the scent that had suddenly filled the atmosphere in the locker room. Smell of some kind of flower, and…
“Hazelnuts,” said Lucky. “Hmm, as if someone had just unloaded a basket in here. Just-picked.”
There were wreaths of flowers and hazelnuts hanging at each door, but they hadn’t noticed how intense their scent was.
Max put his paw to his collar. ‘Well, Dad is gone now... might as well enjoy our ‘imprisonment’ here, no?” He took out a certain wallet and handed it to Bino. “Here, and try to be less distracted, the next time.”
Bino almost snatched his housemate’s paw, along with the object. “Well, looks like we got the out-of-prison card. I imagine everyone will want to leave, now.”
Rex shook his head. “Dad and Mom are on duty at the clinic until tomorrow morning. As long as I’m back for tonight, no harm done.”
Fox nodded. “My Dad comes home when Fido’s shift starts. No hurry until tonight.”
Sasha lifted her paw. “Daddy knows I’m with Fidey, so he’s not worried at all!”
Felix shrugged. “Kevin, I mean Dad, is in some foreign country. No problems from me.”
“I, however,” said Selene, while brushing nervously her fur, “I should really go. My mother will worry herself to death, and if she sees me like this, she’ll ground me for a month… *atchoo!*” She sniffled. “Great, a cold is all I missed to complete the day!”
“Aww, my darling,” Max said, sitting beside her. He encircled her shoulders with his arm. “Allow me to warm you with *Ouch!*” He cried, when he was hit on his head with the same brush. “But, why?” He asked, rubbing the injured area.
“Some nerve, to ask!” snapped the black and white cat. “It was you who dragged me into the water, instead to stay under the trees, remember? I swear, you looked like you had seen a ghost!”
Max wanted to say that it was just the case, but decided against it. After all, it could have been a hallucination, and he didn’t want to be considered a nutcase. Not now that Selene was back in his life, at least.
Bino broke the awkward silence. “Well, I’d say that the majority has decided, and Martin still has entrusted us with watching this place. But I’ll go open it all the same. Rex, come with me, I need someone to move some furniture to keep that door open.”
“I think I’ll call home,” said Selene. “Mom has to come get me, and now that I think of it, perhaps she’ll be less upset when she learns that I’m here, in the most exclusive house of the Gardens. Tonight I have an arranged date with Mr. Bigglesworth.”
Max’s eyes widened. “And which of the ten? Also, wasn’t your Mom against dating plebeians. Do I have a real hope, then?” He tried to kiss her, and received a slap on his cheek!
“In your dreams, alley cat.” said Selene, brushing herself. Then with the nonchalance that distinguished her, she said to the others, “Of course, the first of you to spill just one bean about this visit between me and Maxie will no longer have to worry about a trivial thing such as living.”
The locker room fell into dead silence.
“For your information,” Selene continued, brushing her leg, “Three Mr. Bigglesworths are from a purebred litter, and although their Mother can be somewhat... eccentric, she’s still a rich and famous woman. She was an actress in Hollywood, and still has some class... But doesn’t this place have a phone at all?”
Again that long collective, reciprocal staring. Followed by general facepawlming.
Keep evil at bay, reveal the souls of those who wish to speak to us in friendship.
That was the second part of the spell Sabrina had chanted, while the first segment was the request to share the strength and the protection that King had passed unto Fox.
With that spell, Sabrina hoped to be able to communicate with the ghosts who didn’t want to hurt the residents of Foster Mansion, to shed light on unresolved issues...
Instead, she found herself contemplating something she hadn’t expected.
It wasn’t possible, of course. It must be a hallucination, this time played at her expense. You wanted to play with fire, Sabrina? Welcome to the kitchen!
It must be an illusion, because her brother Shadow had vanished during a winter day, after Babylon Gardens had become a reality, and Whiteman House was forbidden ground for humans and pets.
So, the kitten that Sabrina was facing had to be a cynical attempt to make fun of her efforts. Shadow wasn’t dead at Whiteman House… right?
And what if he had passed into that land poisoned by the restless spirits? At that thought, Sabrina felt her heart burning with an excruciating pain. Her stomach was in turmoil.
Yet she couldn’t tear her eyes from that small figure, as black as her, from eartip to tailtip.
And she couldn’t stop seeing Shadow, walking in the snow, numb, frightened, more and more tired as the storm bit off his precious body heat. Trudging toward any place that could offer protection from certain death. Attracted by the sight of the Haunted House, which at that moment must have seemed the warmest and most comfortable place in the world...
“Hello, Sabry,” said the kitten, with a cheerful voice that obviously could not belong to a sad shadow. Indeed, nothing in his presence suggested that he might be a ghost. When he ran toward her, quite cheerful and perky as she remembered him, his steps made noise. The room lights projected a sharp shadow on the ground. And his fur gave off the pleasant smell of freshly mowed grass in which he must have just rolled.
Shadow hugged his sister. He was real, solid, and his heart beat fast with excitement. “I’m glad you came! Did you come from the back door? I was getting a drink for Peanut and Grape. They got a dry throat after playing pretend with me all morning. You want something to drink? Why are you crying?”
Part of her kept screaming to stop, to deny what must be a dirty trick!
But it was a distant voice in the midst of the storm.
Enjoy it as long as you have it. That thought swept away fears, doubts, questions, everything. Sabrina shifted her gaze to King. If indeed it was through him that a Miracle had been done, she would not have objected. Not now. Not today.
“…I’m just so happy to see you, Shadow. So happy.”
|Author:||copper [ Sat May 07, 2011 4:19 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Excellent stuff, Valerio. Things are turning into quite the scary story.
|Author:||valerio [ Mon May 09, 2011 7:36 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES
Episode 14 - Never Say Nevermore...
Written by VALERIO (Later revised by OBBL)
Sandwich Farm, Luton Country, 6:00 am
“Good morning, sleepyhead. Rise and shine, breakfast has arrived.”
Peanut Butter Sandwich opened his eyes to a window painted with the colors of what remained of the dawn.
Above all, he woke up in a divinely soft bed, which wrapped him like a big hand. The sheets smelled of detergent and starch, and were cool against his fur.
He was happy to wake up in one of the guest rooms of Uncle Reuben’s house. But he was even happier to be awakened by the lavender cat who was at that moment entering the room, holding a tray full of deliciously smelling foods.
Peanut smiled sweetly, as much as the bandage on his left cheek him allowed him, to his beloved cat. He sat up against the back. “Good morning to you, Grape,” he said with a gallant wave of his hand and bowing his head slightly.
Grape Jelly used a stool to climb up the bed, then put the bed tray over Peanut’s legs. Then she took the spoon and used it to stir the sweet porridge in the plate. “Here you go.” She lifted a spoonful, and handed it to the dog. “Now, for a good mouthful, omnom!”
Peanut chuckled, then opened his mouth and Grape fed him.
The dog’s face twitched in blissful expression, as he chewed. “Mmmmmm. More.”
Grape did so gladly, repeating that rite until Peanut had finished. Not that he needed encouragement, he was hungry like a wolf, after a day and a night spent alternating between poor sleep and states of delirium due to the infection trying to make way into the wound inflicted on him by Grape.
Grape, once again, had stood by his side like a real nurse, cuddling him in their sleep, treating him with packs, cleaning his wound...
Still she wondered how she could have hit him, of all people! Not even Bino, speaking of jerks, had ever deserved such punishment! And still she found it hard to understand how he could be so happy, now, as if nothing had happened...
Grape started slightly when Peanut’s paw patted her on the head.
“Hey, Jellybelly. No long faces, hm?”
His resilience was nothing short of extraordinary. The vet wasn’t happy with that wound, and Grape would’ve clawed her eyes rather than seeing that… mess again. Oh, God, she hadn’t simply scratched him, she had… mauled him. Her Peanut, who only wanted to help her feel better… “Will you ever forgive me?” Grape said, sitting next to her beloved dog.
Peanut, who was about to spread some butter on some toast, turned his head to kiss her neck, inhaling her scent for a long time, getting a quick purr from her. “I love you. And if I hadn’t run away like that, the wound wouldn’t have been infected. And if I hadn’t upset you—” This time, it was she who interrupted him, pressing gently her paw against his snout.
Grape shook her head. “Of all the people in the world, Peanut, you will always be there for me. And what happened was my fault, entirely. We were together in this idea of helping Rufus, we ran to Uncle Martin together, and you tried to defend me from Dad’s ire. Instead I… I vented my fears on you.” She hugged him, burying her face in his shoulder. “Peanut, I hurt you. I went ballistic, I…” she sobbed.
“You were scared,” he said, returning the hug, caressing her back. “Shhh, it’s alright. It’s alright, Grape. I know you don’t hate me. Just promise me one thing, if you want to apologize.”
Grape broke the hug, wiped her tears away. She nodded, ready to promise the moon and stars if he asked her to.
“Promise me you will talk to me. Every time you feel upset about something, no matter how trivial or serious, come to me and we’ll face it together, okay? I know your greatest fear is to be left alone, so if you ever had a bad dream about it, just talk to me. I will just listen if you want to, but let me share your burden. Okay?”
Grape was simply amazed. Was this Peanut? The merry guy whose concept of ‘disaster’ was mainly losing his favorite videogame?
Of course she knew she also loved him because Peanut would make her fears go away, but this tone, now, this… maturity, was something she hadn’t expected.
Grape just nodded. “Wow. I mean, yes! Of course I will, uh, thank you, I mean…” She was stammering like Peanut. Talk about ‘role reversal’!
Peanut chuckled. “I know what you mean. Now, however, we must make up for this lost time.” This time, he kissed her on the side of her snout, feeling the pleasant tickle of her whiskers on his nose. Then behind her ear, always with that delicacy which seemed impossible to imagine in that hyperactive and playful dog... Yup, her Peanut was growing up!
Grudgingly, Grape pushed away Peanut’s muzzle. And before he could say something, she put a finger on his nose. “Tonight. Remember, it’s still our anniversary and I promised you something special. And we’ll enjoy these endearments when we are up there on the roof of the barn, alone. Tonight there will be a Moon just like then.”
Peanut was wagging like a madman, his tail was beating like a carpet beater against the mattress. “Kay! I love you.”
“I love you too, Nutty.”
He had a puzzled look that alone was worth that pet name. “What did you call me?”
Grape picked up a piece of toast. “Nutty. I think it fits you fine, my dear funny cat-lover.” She bit the slice and winked at him while chewing. “Also, it was time you too got a pet name.
“...Nutty” Peanut thought about it for a moment, tongue sticking out, then smiled. “I like it! Wanna hug me?”
“Need to ask?” Grape downed the rest of the toast, and extended her arms to accept him...
And at that moment, someone knocked at the door!
“How is our champion?” Said Earl, entered the room.
“DAD! MOM!” He ran over the poor cat to jump off the bed and go to his parents.
Earl and Jill fell on their knees to hug him. “We’re so happy to see that you’re better,” said Earl. “God, you don’t know how sorry I am!”
“Dad, everything’s fine,” said Peanut. “Really. I was bad too for trying to bite you. I know you would never hurt us.”
The man turned to the cat. “And you, child. Again, forgive me for making you relive those terrible moments...”
Grape got off the bed to join the group hug, and kissed her father’s cheek. “It’s like Peanut says, Dad: We are a family, and nothing will separate us, ever.”
Earl nodded, stroking her back. “That’s right, tiger. Never,”
“Alright then. Let’s enjoy this vacation. How is Uncle Martin?”
Jill chuckled. “Unstoppable as ever. Do you hear that? “
The roar of a powerful engine accompanied the words of Mrs. Sandwich. Soon, the sound was lost in the distance.
“He’s going to Luton Airfield to take...” Jill stroked Grape’s head. The woman’s smile tinted with sadness. “You tell him, tiger, hm? Now you two stay alone for a while yet. The girls are waiting for you at the pond in an hour.”
The two humans left the room. Peanut gave Grape a puzzled look.
The cat hugged him again as if wanting to protect him. “Peanut, there’s one thing you need to know...” She didn’t even know how to tell him, ******! The fights, the hurt, the vigil –everything happened because they wanted to help old Rufus. And all for nothing... “It’s Rufus.” She hugged him harder. She wanted to cry, but had to be strong for both.
And Peanut said something that surprised her. “He’s dead. I know.”
Grape, her eyes wide, studied his face. Peanut looked sad, but also... aware. In fact, not only did Peanut look like he knew everything, but also that he had completely come to terms with it. “How..?”
Continuing to stay huddled in the arms of his cat, Peanut, staring into her eyes, said, “If I tell you something, promise you won’t get angry? Or that you won’t think I’m weird?”
She kissed his head. “First: enough with rage. I never want to be angry again with you. Second, you are weird nine times out of ten. Remember that this is also why I love you, Nutty. But I promise that I will take very seriously what you’re gonna say, okay?”
Peanut nodded. “He died while you were looking for me, right?”
“He was with me, in that cabin. He kept me company. We talked, and he helped me feel better. He gave me the strength to endure until you arrive. I really thought it was him, I mean him alive. And then, at some point, he made his eyes glow like Tarot does when she talks with the spirits, then he disappeared, and... “Peanut shook his head. “If it were not for him, Grape, I would have stayed there, t-to...”
“To do something useful,” said a new voice, a croaking and merry one. Peanut recognized it immediately even before turning to see the raven perched on the window. “Never!”
The raven bent, gesturing with his wing to his ‘audience’. “Nevermore always at your service, tasty treats! Never you may call me. “He winked at Grape. “Hello, meadow flower.”
Grape looked at the dog with a suspicious look. “Do you know this... crow, Peanut?”
Peanut saluted the Crow imitating his theatrical gesture. “Nice to see you again, Never. Did you find something to eat, then? Oh, sorry: Never, this is Grape Jelly, my girlfriend. Grape, Never. Did you know, Grape? Never wanted to eat me when I was sick.”
The crow bowed again. To Peanut, he said, “Yes, thank you very much. Mosquitoes are abundant, this season, and the cobs are ripe at the right point... Hm, why’s your babe looking at me like that?”
“You wanted. To do. What?”asked Grape, staring at Never with a growing hatred in her eyes. The expression of comic surprise was soon replaced by bared fangs...
“Yes,” said Peanut. “I was really sick, and he said he’d wait until I started to smell before I become his dinner, and breakfast and lunch...”
Grape’s pupils had almost disappeared. They were kidding, it must be so: it wasn’t possible that Peanut was actually talking that way about...
And he didn’t help things when he said it – wagging his tail! “He’s cool!”
She forced herself to remember she had promised she’d never hit him again. She forced herself to remember this was Peanut, he could make a deal with the Devil seem like a nice thing! She wouldn’t do him harm, ever again, but so help her… “Peanut?” she said, rubbing her nose with two fingers.
“You were sick. This crow was waiting for you… to die, to eat you... and you think he’s ‘cool’?” I love you Peanut, why do you test me so much?
Peanut looked down, with that mortified expression that made feel Grape ashamed for feeling angry, again. “I was so sad. I believed you hated me, and Never… he was funny.”
The Crow bowed. “I live to meet my audience and my belly. Speaking of which, are those leftovers?” He indicated the bread laying on the tray.
“Of course. Bon appetit!!”Grape took the bread and threw it like a stone at the crow. The beak pierced the bread and shut up the crow... Or rather, enough for him to say “Fankyou!” before he fell out the window.
Peanut chuckled. “Told you he was cool... Grape,” he added, more meekly. “Thank you for not getting angry again.”
Grape kissed him gently on his lips. “No more rage. Cross my heart. Now we really have to go. The girls are waiting for us. It’s important.”
The ‘girls’ were the barn cats trio, three quite spicy females who had quite awakened Peanuts’ cat-loving desires, the first time they met. He owed it to them, if he had decided to ask Rufus for help in openly courting Grape for the first time. Just as grape owed it to them if she had gone to meet Peanut on the barn’s roof, that fateful night of one year ago.
Peanut remembered how he had reacted at the cats’ very friendly ways: He had run to this pond to quench his ardor.
And when he had asked Rufus for advice, Uncle Reuben’s dog had told him, Don’t think about it too hard! What you gotta do is make sure you look’er straight in the eye and tell her you’re madly in love with her, that you can’t live without her…and then hand her a dead chicken.
“Thank you,” said Peanut to the rough wooden plaque hanging on a tree. A mound of fresh earth leaned at the base of the trunk. Claws had dug the name, ‘RUFUZ’, on the plaque. “Thank you for everything, Rufus, for the good days we spent together last summer, for your advice, and for saving my life.” Peanut approached the grave and placed on it a bouquet of flowers prepared by Reuben’s wife. “I’ll miss you.”
Grape knelt beside Peanut and laid flowers in turn. “I’ll miss your dead jokes. I’m happy to know that you died with a smile. I’ll miss you.”
“We’ll all miss him,” said Mary Ellen. “‘Twas his favorite spot, when he wanted a break from work.” She knelt behind the two city pets and gave them a kiss on their heads. “Thanks for coming, hun. Would’ve meant the world to him.”
“Ew, could you be more long-faced than this?” said the familiar voice of Nevermore above them.
The raven was perched on the branch whose shadow fell onto the grave of Rufus. “That ol’ beanbag always had a smile for everyone, and here you are crying your eyes out. Come on! Why won’t you tell your boyfriend about the new guy, instead, meadow flower?”
“New guy..?” said Peanut.
“Hold on a minute, dinner interrupter. My homage, first.” The crow flew down to perch on Peanut’s shoulder. “Do me a favor, yes?” Never outstretched wing. “Pluck out a feather. And don’t look like that, we don’t have all day!”
Peanut gently grabbed one of those obsidian-black feathers and pulled.
“*Ouch!* Good, now in my beak, sup!” After that Peanut had obeyed, the crow hopped from his shoulder and landed on the grave.
Grape was about to spring forward in front of that desecration, but Clarabelle held her, then shook her head slowly.
Using his beak, Nevermore placed his feather in the fresh mound, as if it were a flag. “Thank you for the times you saved me from the fury of these uncivilized felines, for the pieces of bread you left for me in the cold season, for turning a blind eye when I got a cob or two, or three. In return, ol’ beanbag, I’ll keep an eye over these two city pets for you.” He bowed his head one last time, and flew back on Peanut’s shoulder. “There, now we can go back to talk about less unpleasant things.”
“What did you mean, ‘keep an eye over us’?” Asked Peanut.
“Exactly what you heard, city blockhead. I know that that evening when I was mouth-watering for nothing, you were talking with old Rufy. I’ve seen meals raving in a fever, and you weren’t. You were lucid, and you were talking to a dog that had literally given up the ghost to come to your rescue. And ol’ Never could never afford to waste such an act of altruism. So from now on I’ll be stuck to you like a bucket of glue. And you better like it, meadow flower,” he added at Grape. “You don’t want to offend the last wishes of old Rufus, do you?”
Grape seemed on the verge of launching death rays from her eyes. The barn cats, however, were genuinely surprised.
“Wow,” said Betty Lou. “I never heard you talk like that before, Never.”
The Raven shrugged, and winked at them. “I like to mess with my fans, babes.”
“Never?” Peanut said, without moving from Rufus’ grave. “Before, you were talking about a replacement..?”
The bird nodded. “I know, I know, it seems cynical and cruel, talking about it over a fresh grave, but ol’ beanbag wouldn’t have wanted this place to remain without a guardian, right? And thanks to you two city guys, Reuben allowed that human Martin to go pick up one of his shelter’s guest for the job. He’ll be back in a few hours.”
Peanut wagged his tail. “Do you already know who’s been chosen?”
Never shook his head. “I have not heard the details but I understand that it’ll be a girl.”
“Aww,” lamented the cats, who in their hearts had hoped to court a nice young male, after all.
Never’s beak stretched into a smile. “Ah, don’t worry too much, vicious kittens. You will have your pawfuls after all.”
Three pairs of ears pricked up like antennas. “What do you know exactly?” asked Clarabelle. She seemed ready to jump on the crow.
Never shook his head with a look of reproach. “Tsk tsk tsk, girls, manners. Arguing in front of old Rufus.” He gave a pat on the head of Peanut. “ Be patient, you will see for yourselves what a nice surprise this will be!”
There were about ten kilometers from Reuben’s farm and Luton Airfield. As the crow flies. The road linking the airport and the various farms was, for reasons unknown to most people, a dirt path with more curves than in a rally track.
All the best to allow a certain gray Maserati GT to vent all the power of her engines!
“WOOO!” Martin Foster howled, waving his right arm out the window. “Ride on, cowboy!”
“Is it necessary to proceed at this speed, Sir?” asked the driver, a former champion pilot, keeping his attention focused on the road. The speedometer marked 120 km / h. The car roared like a puma, raising a cloud of dust. “We are greatly in advance of the plane’s arrival.”
“I told you before, Riley: I really needed to vent, now that Peanut is healed, and I want to hear this baby sing! Don’t stop until we are in heaven, man!”
“I think someone has a different opinion, Sir.”
Martin wondered why his driver was slowing down. “Oh.” And only then saw the police motorcycle in the mirror, headlights flashing at full throttle. “And where did that come from? It’s not fair, there are no billboards to hide behind!”
“I think it came from one of the farms that we passed, Sir.”
Martin snorted, as the car approached the edge of the road. “Cheat! Not fair!”
The bike stopped behind the car. The policeman was a wiry man wearing a gray uniform and a face as if he could eat the car. “License and Registration, please.” ‘Or I’ll break your backs’ his request implied. Checking the documents, he asked, “You know that the speed limit’s fifty, right?”
Riley nodded. “I am aware of that, officer.”
“You know that you have exceeded said limit.”
“I am aware of that, officer.”
“I was having breakfast with my wife. She had prepared my favorite pancakes and I really wanted to enjoy them in peace, before my shift in this heat. Were you aware of that, too, sir?”
“I suspected as much, Officer.”
The officer wrote down the data on his block, and returned the documents to Riley. “I’m thinking of a pretext to seize this vehicle and lock you two up until they find your mummified remains in our cell. Do you have a valid reason to prevent me from doing that, sir?”
Martin said, “A dog, officer!”
Of all the excuses that the officer could expect, this was not on the list. And those two didn’t seem drunk, or high. “I’m sorry..?”
“A dog, officer,” Martin said again, adding a summary of the events of the past two days. When he was finished, the cop chewed his pen in reflection.
“A new dog for old Reuben, eh? I knew Rufus, you know? Smart guy, and I’ve seen many pups who believed themselves better than him. Too bad he’s passed, really. And since Reuben sells the best eggs in the neighborhood, he wouldn’t take it kindly if I arrested two nice guests such as you...” Again he chewed at the pen.
Martin took off an imaginary hat. “You’re an illuminated man, officer..?”
The man held out his hand to shake. “Call me Horace. But I can’t just allow you city people to come here and disturb our quiet and violate laws, I hope you understand.”
Martin nodded. “I do. I will pay any fine, no complaint, Horace.”
Horace chewed his pen. A fine was not enough... “Beautiful car. What engine?” And after Martin had responded with vivid detail, the officer showed him a strange smile. “A good engine, indeed...”
They arrived at Luton Airfield about two hours later, taking a walking pace, with the bike ahead of the car. If a car could show a mortified expression, it was Martin’s Maserati, which had been forced to the most disgraceful performance.
Five miles driven in first gear under a scorching sun. When the vehicle arrived at the airport parking lot, she was smoking as if she had an asphyxiated dragon under the hood.
When Riley turned off the engine, it decided that it’d had enough of that torture, and exploded with a final clash, followed by a jet steam that burst open the hood, her last fart to cruel fate.
Riley looked at his watch. “I think that now we are on time, Sir.”
Martin was gently stroking the walnut dash. His face was a sad mask striped by a dignified and silent crying. Martin looked like he had just lost his best friend. “One hundred and fifteen thousand Euros, Riley. Discounted. Barely twenty miles...”
The driver gave him a pat on the arm. “Now, Sir. You will find another, even more beautiful, and we shall keep her away from this place.”
Martin looked at him gratefully. “Thank you, my good man.”
Leaving the car, they were greeted by waves of heat accumulated by the bare concrete and tarmac. Martin thought back to those netherworld scenarios in Constantine. It lacked only the burning palm trees...
“What are you doing?” asked Horace, taking off his helmet, revealing long red hair held together in a ponytail.
Martin had taken a cell phone and was dialing a number. “Calling a rental car, chief.”
Horace pointed to the small building that served as control tower, check-in and storage. “Old Matt has what you need, if you don’t mind retro automotives.”
Martin mopped his forehead with his sleeve. “As long as there’s air conditioning...” then he saw the smile of mockery of the police officer and decided not to add more. Someday, he thought, he would corrupt the high brasses to give him a nice job cleaning septic tanks for the rest of his days, yes!
The trio went to the tower, just in time to see a glow in the sky, which soon was followed by the sound of small jet engines.
Martin nodded. “The first good news of the day.”
The plane stopped a short distance from Martin’s group.
Soon after, the door opened and Alex, one of the shelter employees, stepped down to greet his employer. “Martin! Miss Sunman was right, you’d move mountains even if you were on vacation on Mars!”
The two men shook hands. “So, Al, the trip went well?”
“Couldn’t be better. All papers are in order.” Then he turned toward the plane. “Come on, folks, here we are.”
Martin allowed himself a grin at seeing the other passengers stepping down.
Perfect, just as he had promised Reuben.
|Author:||Big Fan [ Mon May 09, 2011 2:44 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
I don't get it. How would the car die faster when it's traveling at a slower pace?
|Author:||valerio [ Mon May 09, 2011 2:52 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
My bad for not going into details on that. Horace forced Martin to drive at legal speed limit on the lowest gear. even 50 mp/h, after some mile, tends to kill a sports engine
|Author:||copper [ Mon May 09, 2011 8:20 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Nice update.That officer has quite the inventive mind. Knew just where to hit him.
Nevermore is quite the card! I am liking him more and more.
And Peanut is more grown up! Yay!
|Author:||valerio [ Tue May 10, 2011 2:46 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Reuben Farm, Luton County, 11am
“Doing fine, boys! Give me just another minute…” The boy kneeling on the roof of the warehouse swore one last time, while busily cutting the last weed’s main branches with a sickle. “Hah! Man 1, Nature 0! Okay, guys, you can pull it down! Make it a strong oneEEEEEE!”
You know those scenes in cartoons, where the unwary character is standing still with his leg in a tangle of wires, while those wires are being pulled away at full speed?
In the case of James, the young handyman who served several farms in Luton County, he had ‘only’ underestimated the raw muscle power of his ‘helpers’. He hadn’t imagined he could be brought down together with the weed tangle!
As kinetic energy first, and gravitational pull later, brought him to the ground, James didn’t see his life flashing before him. He just thought that it was a very stupid way to go…
Instead, he landed between the muscled arms of a huge dog with red-dyed black coat. “Hop! Saved,” said the creature. A moment later, with a hiss like a Stuka’s, the sickle grazed the dog’s butt and stuck into the ground.
“Ah, thank you, Antares. Now, please, let me down. I don’t think I like being the ‘damsel in distress’. Especially with a dog.” At least he could tell the difference between the twins, since Antares displayed those four parallel lines on his flank, the medals of his bravery against some monstrous feral… “Where is your brother, by the way?”
A black paw rose from the mound of freshly cut weeds. “Woof!”
James laughed. “Y’all are pretty cool, for a couple of city boys.” He took his hat from the top of the pile and put it back. Soon after, Aldebaran emerged, and wiped with two powerful shakes.
“What do we do now?” asked the twins in perfect sync, paws clasped and big grins, in the midst of a snowfall of leaves and twigs.
James thought about it. With the help of those beasts he was completing his tasks at a breathtaking speed. At first, he had been convinced that he would waste who knows how long explaining his job to these tourists. He hadn’t protested, when they had offered to help him... Tourists who usually avoided washing dishes at home, on a farm felt like doing something special. And James was supposed to lead them through the least dangerous and most boring chores, to keep them busy and ‘instructed’ on the wonders of country life. Everyone happy, no one hurt.
Instead, these two merry beasts were true naturals. They didn’t need more than a single explanation to do everything by the book. And they were relentless. They had milked almost all of the cows by themselves. Herded horses and sheep to graze. They had painted the stall’s doors…
At this point; James was sincerely hoping they’d leave soon, lest he be out of a job! “You could trim the grass. The mower’s broken, and no you can’t fix that. Instead, you can use the scythe...” Not true, but he hoped he could discourage them, this time—
“Where do you keep it?”
James pointed to the building that had just seen him one step away from death. The dogs ran in, barking, all excited. James shook his head in disbelief: it was like seeing two perpetual motion machines at work. True, they had a breakfast that would’ve stuffed up a bear, but those two redefined the concept of ‘lively’.
The boy entered the garage in time to see them fighting over the tool. They held it and pulled it as if it were a precious cloth in a battle of tug of war. They gnashed, revealing menacing fangs.
“Calm down, boys,” said James. “I have another one, give me a minunte to get it... here.” He opened a closet and took the tool, then gave it to Aldebaran. “Hold up there just a second!” He added, seeing them already moving to the door. He threw two whetstones to the dogs, who caught them in mid-air. “Sharpen the blades first.”
Antares and Aldebaran sat on a bale of hay and began to slide the stones against the blades, raising sparks, such was the force that they put into it. Nothing seemed to stop them—
“Hel-lo, beautiful,” said a female voice from the entrance. The twins turned abruptly, eyes wide. Something had stopped them, and James felt a bit worried now.
James knew that he had a job again when he saw the female border collie that was leaning on the threshold. “Hello, Tish,” muttered the boy. Always like that, whenever tourists came! Her charm hadn’t worked with Peanut, since he was already engaged with Grape, but judging by the reaction of these two big boys, they definitely looked more interested!
“Mr. Irons knows you’re here?” James asked, rhetorically.
In fact, the female ignored him as she approached the twins. “Hmm, looks like from time to time the city can produce something good.” She arrived in front of them, and stroked their chins. “Antares and Aldebaran. Beautiful names. I’m Tish, your neighbor. Very pleased.”
“Su-du-di-guh,” said Antares
“Ababumba!” said his brother.
“So, sweet cakes, what you do for fun in town? These country jobs are so boring.”
“Ah.” Antares swallowed. “Well… we’re having fun?”
Aldebaran nodded as if instead of a neck he had a spring like those car dolls.
“And what if I showed you something better?” Tish suggested, this time running her finger along the midline of their chests. The poor creatures whined and turned almost completely red.
James knew, that when she set her eyes on a male, Tish didn’t let go. Poor Rufus, God rest his soul, had to attend countless fights, very fierce, between the barn cats and that voluptuous female...
When the twins turned to give James an imploring look like two half-ton puppies, the guy just said, “Get going. After all, you’ve done enough work for today.”
The sickles and the stones fell to the ground, and all the dogs ran away, followed by their excited barking.
The cat was lying on a haystack, his tummy well exposed to collect every ray of sunshine. He kept his arms folded behind his head, and a straw hat pulled down to protect his eyes. A piece of straw was sticking out from the corner of his mouth.
“How long you wanted to do this number, ‘Huck’?” asked Mizar, sitting in the shade of the sheaf. The book she had brought with her lay unopened at her feet. For how much the Foster pets could enjoy a whole park and the total freedom to roam it, nothing beat the peaceful atmosphere, the sounds and smells of the countryside. Too bad that Dad had not bought a farm, they would have all had a great time everyday...
But, considering the great pets and people they met at the Gardens, theirs wasn’t such a bad deal, after all.
“From the first time I saw ‘Gone With the Wind’. You would be a great Scarlett, and I your Butler.”
“In the end, they lost the baby and divorced.”
Alcor grimaced. “And you tell me I’m not romantic. Witch.”
“Let’s ask Dad to buy a house here,” suggested Alcor, embodying the thoughts of both. “He’s got the money.”
“Let him spend it on the shelter. If the business goes well, next year, I’m sure he’ll rent a place.”
Alcor sighed. “If he bought a house, he could rent it for most of the year, except when we come here for summer holidays and Christmas. I bet that in the winter here it’s really nice...”
The female white German Shepherd closed her tourmaline-blue eyes, imagining the green expanses covered by a thick layer of snow that muffled all sound, the rustle of the few wild animals passing by, the trees bare but still majestic sentinels emerging from the depths of the white ocean...
Mizar licked her lips. She could almost feel the taste of the chocolate they would sip from the porch, watching the spectacle, while Antares and Aldebaran were engaged in an epic snowball battle, and Alcor curling up against her...
“You’re right, Alcor,” she said, at last. “It would be awfully nice.” Then she bowed her head on her chest and closed her eyes.
It was then that they heard the sound of a noise like an engine, approaching rapidly.
Alcor turned his head and lifted the hem of his hat. If it was a tractor, it surely was fast like a Ferrari…
And tractors didn’t bark.
Finally, Alcor left the state of intoxication induced by the warm sunshine bath, and understood. “I think we should get away from here, baby. Now!”
Too late! The ‘missiles’ plunged against the haystack, making it explode like a soap bubble. The sky was filled with a thick straw rain.
Alcor, Mizar and Aldebaran were lying in a broken heap. The two white animals were barely conscious.
Aldebaran was standing on all fours with his arms wrapped around the female dog figure, who was looking at him with a mischievous look. “Got ya!” barked the giant.
“Ohh, and now that you got me,” said Tish, “What are you going to do about it?”
In response, Antares tapped her on the nose with his finger. “Tag! You’re it!” And ran away, followed by his brother.
Tish, who had quite the ‘other’ intentions, remained where she was, shocked, ears low. One could almost hear the sound of her heart shatter into tiny fragments. “But... but...”
Alcor shook off the straw. “It’s hard to believe that those two are 5 years old, eh? Peanut is more of an ‘expert’ when it comes to girls.”
Tish shook her head. “Why me? Why do I get the best-looking dumbies?!” She batted her fist on the ground.
Then the stereo loud voice of the two dogs filled the air. “TISH, YOU!”
A shadow covered the sun.
The border collie looked up in time to see both of them fall from the sky. In full ‘happy-attack’ mode.
The explosion lifted a mushroom cloud of dust and dirt.
When the dust had dissipated, the two dogs said, “We thought it was more fun to play capture the flag using you as the flag, but Antares/Aldebaran wants to up the ante by promising to take you to dinner with Dad if he wins what do you think?”
The poor female was reduced to a sack of rags, unconscious, barely alive. Antares stood up and lifted her by holding her shoulders. He shook her a bit, causing a series of sounds of broken glass and metal parts. “Um, I think she’s broken. Boys,” he asked the two white animals, “do you know where she lives?”
Alcor shook his head. “I’d say to carry her to Reuben, maybe he knows her owners… although I’d advise you to bury her, instead and forget she ever existed.”
Mizar gave him a slap behind the head. “Great idea, so instead of buying a place here, we’ll be expelled until the next century!”
“Dad’s gonna buy a house here?” asked Antares, very excited.
“Yay!” said his brother.
“No, no, no, it’s just wishful thinking, for now,” said the cat, rubbing his head. “So, what now?”
“We’ll bring her to the Tirpitz, then we fix her up, feed her and apologize into not getting our tails sued off.”
“How do you feel?” Grape asked, preparing to remove Peanut’s bandage.
“Doesn’t sting anymore. Heh, did you lick the wound clean?”
Grape blushed, as she gently pulled away the gauze. “Well, I wanted to, but the vet was adamant. Luckily, Mom has taught us how to do these... small operations… here!” The wound was revealed.
And Grape gasped! “Peanut!”
The dog raised his eyebrow. “What? Why are you looking at my face like that?”
In response, she pulled him toward the bathroom’s mirror. “Look for yourself.”
Peanut did so. “Wow,” he said, touching his cheek.
Where no trace of Grape’s assault had remained. Even the fur, after the veterinarian had trimmed it to clean and stitch the scratches, had almost grown back to full length. “Wow.” He said again, as much incredulous as his girlfriend.
“Not that I mind, love,” Grape said, caressing his cheek. “In fact, I guess I’ll be thankful for this small favor. Heaven knows, I’ll be remembering what I did for a very long time…”
“Your words are appreciated, Grape,” said a familiar, feminine voice.
“Hey, Tarot!” said Peanut, wagging. “Where are you?”
The Pomeranian materialized in the mirror. She was smiling, her eyes glowing green. “I’m at home, my sweet Peanut. I wanted to let you know that the Spirits were very happy to do me this favor, after what you suffered in these recent times. And Grape, I asked them for this favor so that you don’t have to be constantly reminded of your errors. As you know yourself, you will remember, and that will suffice.” The small dog looked sternly at the cat. “I hope you have learned your lesson for good.”
The cat nodded, ears flattened. “Yes, I have. I… Thank you, Tarot.”
Tarot nodded, and her image disappeared. Peanut held Grape to himself and nuzzled her ears. “Don’t worry, Jellybelly: you know I already forgave you.”
She knew. And she knew she was the luckiest cat alive, for having one such as Peanut in her life.
Alcor and Mizar’s heads popped through the motorhome’s door. They quickly looked around, then the two pets sneaked in. Alcor gave a quick nod to those who were waiting outside. “C’mon in!” He whispered. Better play it safe…
“Why the stealth?” asked Antares, whispering himself, carrying the poor Tish on his shoulder like she was a side of beef.
“Nobody’s home,” said Aldebaran.
“Force of habit,” said Mizar, always in a low voice. “It’s the golden rule of strays, when you sneak in somewhere, either for food or shelter. In the bedroom, soldiers.”
On the indication of the female, Antares walked toward the bedroom. He tiptoed with an unexpected lightness for such a big dog.
Then he opened the door.
“Oh,” said the voice of Jill Sandwich. “Peanut, is that you?”
Antares’s black-furred face turned an intense wine red. “No. I’m so sorry, Mrs. and Mr. Sandwich. We’ll come later. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never. Don’t stop for us. Thank you.” He showed a miserable excuse for a polite smile, and went out closing the door.
“My eyes are burning,” said Antares, when they were all out.
“And how was I supposed to know?” said Alcor. “It’s not that there was a red light or a ‘don’t disturb’ sign hanging on the door.”
“There remains the problem of finding a place to let her rest in peace… and no, I don’t mean it that way,” said Mizar. “We’ll go to the barn, it’s the only place quiet enough.”
The barn cats were away patrolling for vermin, Peanut and Grape were cuddling at Uncle Reuben’s and the building was deserted, except for some insect buzzing lazily.
Tish was deposited on a bale in the shade. At least, that part went well...
The border collie came back to a few moments later, groaning. “Oooh, my poor head. What hit m-eep!” Seeing the two twin monsters in front of her, smiling with those trap-like mouths, she stared then suddenly tried to run for dear life, but she was easily held by Aldebaran. At that point, the poor girl huddled into a ball, whining. “No more pain, please...”
“Hey,” said Aldebaran, “Tish, we’re sorry for getting you scared. We didn’t want...”
The collie slapped his paw off her. “Keep your paws away!” She growled with an unexpected grit. “You’re gonna pay for this, city folks! I’ll tell Thomas everything, I’ll tell him I was hurt trying to defend his property from you! And then you’ll never be allowed around here!”
“You’re a liar!” Aldebaran growled.
Tish brushed her fur. “So? Thomas believes me. I’ll sit and enjoy the show, while Reuben will be forced to drive you away in shame. And good riddance, you savage—” she fell mute when Alcor sat down next to her, placing his paw on her neck.
Tish stiffened as if she had just been touched by a lamprey. “Take that paw off, you...” but her efforts proved useless, the city cat was proving to be quite strong.
Alcor flashed her a devilish smile full of teeth. “My dear. For how much I agree that my big brothers and best friends ever should be weaponized, I also happen to like them and care for them. A lot.”
Her grimace was pure distilled contempt. “So what? If you even harm a hair...”
“You know what a radio collar is, right?”
The cat didn’t stop that Mephistophelian smile. “You know, that gizmo humans use to keep the movement of livestock under control. Antares and Aldebaran’s collars are such gizmos. The moment youpoint your finger, Dad will prove you’re lying. And that will give you a lot of problems. And we’re gonna enjoy it like a second Christmas. All clear, country girl?”
The collie looked at the cat with a burning hatred. “I think I understand. Now, let go of me, cat. “
“Your wish is my command.”
Tish jumped down from the bale and went to the door muttering curses.
“That went well,” said Alcor. “And you lugs, next time try look for a more suitable playmate, such as a bear or a pack of wolves… Hm?”
From the outside, they heard the sound of an engine. Approaching.
The four animals exchanged glances. “Dad,” they said together.
Martin Foster had left with a Maserati, and was returning in a white Volkswagen T1 with two huge Confederate flags painted on the sides.
“Cool stuff, eh?” asked the driver, a man who, judging by appearances, must have been in the front row at Woodstock. He wore a short-sleeved shirt decorated with floral motifs, pink bandana on his head against the graying hair, blue jeans faded into white, and his eyes were shining with the gaiety of a drunken elf. “Ah person’ly been takin’ care o’ ol’ Bessie since back when ah was trav’lin’ all over the States to see all them The Who concerts! Y’all right, back there, stranger?”
Martin believed he had been plunged into a nightmare. The words of Who Are You? echoed in the hot vehicle. From the windows there came infernal blasts of heat and dust. The vehicle smelled of marijuana. And the seats, even if well maintained, were as comfortable as those of a Trabant.
Riley was used to driving in extreme conditions, and his face had remained impassive throughout the duration of the trip. Martin turned to the animals sitting next to him. “I apologize for the inconvenience, guys. We’re almost there.”
“Oh, but it was fun!” said the excited voice of a puppy. “That’s the farm? It’s big! Are the barn cats nice? Do they like to play? Will I meet your pets too?”
Martin chuckled. “The farm is really big, you won’t have time to get bored. And I’m sure the cats will be tickled pink for a little devil like you. And yes, I’ll let you meet my boys as well...”
The driver gave two beeps. “We’re here, folks! And any time y’all need a ride from ol’ Jeb, Mr. Foster, just gimme a call!”
The vehicle stopped on the driveway to the Sandwich farm, where everyone was lined up in wait.
The side door opened, and Riley stepped out first, then helped Martin out. The two men were dusty from head to toe like Fittipaldi after a race. “No questions, I beg you,” Martin said. Then, in a merrier tone, “Okay, guys, you can come out, welcome to your new home.”
From the vehicle, came a female English foxhound, a slender and perfect purebred specimen, at the peak of her shape, just as Martin had promised.
“This is Laika,” Martin said to Reuben. “She’ll replace Rufus with the same efficiency. And this young fella is her faithful assistant, so you won’t have to worry about running out of help. Come on, boy, No one here will bite you.”
The puppy that emerged from the vehicle could not have been more than four months old. His coat was of a uniform brown, save for a darker shade in ears and paws. His eyes were so dark that only daylight allowed the pupils to be seen. For sure, they were lit up with the joy and innocence of a creature his age.
As expected from Martin, Clarabelle, Mary Ellen and Betty Lou went into instant overjoy and started jumping like so many groupies. “SQQQUUUEEEEE!”
“DAWWWW!” said Antares and Aldebaran, reflecting the general state of the others pets. The Reuben kids’ hands were itching with the desire to pick the little one in their arms.
Nevermore, perched on a melting Peanut, said, “Welcome, little mite! You’re such a cute little critter, you know?”
“Thank you, Mr. Crow. What’s your name? My name is Awesome!”
|Author:||valerio [ Tue May 10, 2011 10:39 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Sandwich Farm, Luton Country
“...So this completes the tour. As you can see, Laika, there’ll be plenty of work to go around. Questions?” said Reuben Sandwich.
The female English foxhound nodded, as she and her new owner walked along the farm as the man acted as guide. “I’d ask you when we get started, but I guess that starting tomorrow I’m gonna be quite the busy bee, Mr. Sandwich.”
Reuben patted her head. “Laika, okay I’m a formal guy when it comes to animals, perhaps too much if you’ll listen to my wife, but don’t worry: You’re not some sort of appliance for me, so call me Reuben, you’re family now. And your son will grow into a fine workin’ hound as you teach him the job. He’s really a cute pup, congratulations.”
“Thank you, Mr-Reuben. He was born at the shelter, just after my previous owners abandoned me because of the crisis.” She didn’t add the torments she and her cub lived, before Mr. Foster changed things for good, literally. Yet… “I thank you for choosing me, Reuben. You see, I was born for this job, my parents, and my grandparents all worked on farms. Sure, a domestic life can be cozy and all, but nothing beats living in the countryside, doing…” her arm encompassed the fields in front of her “…this. I won’t be giving you less than my best.” She wagged.
Reuben nodded. He liked this gal a lot, she made him think of ol’ Rufus when he was her age, so full of spirit and love for this place. “As for my part, I got enough savings and land to keep all of us busy and with a nice income. I got me five kids, and believe it or not the old girl is the most dedicated. She’ll probably end up being the boss. Now tell me, you sure your young boy’ll stay out of trouble? You won’t have much time to babysit him, you know that. Martin said yer a good mom, but the reason I don’t have pups and adults together is because them pups can be very demanding.”
Laika shook her head. “Don’t you worry, Reuben. I figure he’ll have more cubsitters than I could hope for.”
“You are so CUTE,” said Mary Ellen, ruffling the head of the puppy, who was enjoying every second of all the attention!
Clarabelle picked up the 4 months-old puppy in her arms and gave him a big kiss on the forehead. “Awesome! Such a perfect name!”
Betty Lou grabbed him and started cradling him, before burping his tummy and eliciting a series of giggles. “Yer simply edible, you rascal, you! So much beauty in a single petit furball is criminal.”
Awesome laughed. “I’m so happy to meet you, aunt! Can we play ball? I’m a good catcher!”
“I can play with you,” said Peanut. “I got a pretty good ball in the motorhome!”
Mizar took the pup, holding him under her arms. “I could join in, how about it?!”
Awesome leaned his head forward and gave her a lick on the nose. “That would be fantastic!” Wagging his tail so hard that the entire lower half of his body trembled.
“Hey, what about us?” asked Antares and Aldebaran, pointing at themselves.
Mizar darted them a warning look. “Don’t even think about it! We’d like to keep all of his bones intact.”
“Aw,” they muttered in unison, crestfallen.
Mizar put Awesome down and motioned for him to follow her. “Come on, the ‘home’ is nearby!” She took off, followed by the enthusiastic pup and Peanut with Nevermore perched on his shoulder.
“Hey, don’t ruin him,” Mary Ellen shouted to the three dogs as they were leaving. “He’s still our plaything, y’know!” She then sighed. “Well, guess they have a right, since they’ll be leaving soon.”
When they were gone, the cats began to work to prepare a proper bed for Laika and her son. “Hey, Grape, give us a paw? They’ll be exhausted when they come back.”
Grape took a broom and began to remove some straw from the floor. “Heh, I think it won’t be a problem, for Peanut. Awesome is what he needs to let him vent all of his energy, especially after spending the last two days in bed. By tonight, hopefully, he’ll be calm enough for our special date.” She sighed as her two dreamy eyes looked towards the roof.
“Oh-HO!” said Mary Ellen. “If it’s tonight, we’ll make sure everyone is very quiet, sugah!”
Betty Lou leaned on a haystack, her chin resting on her folded arms, and tail lashing out of curiosity. “And how do ya plan to celebrate the anniversary, honey, hmm?”
“You know how t’kiss a boy,” Clarabelle added. “But ya know better’n’us that y’all be needing more spice, this time. Come on, what did ya think of? Don’t keep us hangin’ like that.”
Grape looked at them with death in her eyes. “Okay, you bunch of gossips, okay! I’ll tell you, but don’t you dare say anything to Peanut, okay? It must be a surprise.”
“Cross my heart,” said all three together, crossing their chest and raising their paws solemnly. Then they prepared to listen, grinning like so many Cheshire cats, ears pricked up and eyes wide as saucers.
Grape, managing to overcome the embarrassment that knotted her tongue, began to lay down her romantic plan.
Soon after, malicious giggles came from the barn. “Grape Jelly Sandwich,” said Mary Ellen. “Such a shameless puss you are!”
“Got it!” said Awesome, grabbing the hard rubber ball. He rolled in the grass and stood up with his prey. “Now it’s your turn to catch it... Hey why are you standing there?”
Peanut and Mizar were panting in the shade of a tree. At their feet lay the water bottles, now empty, which Martin had providentially given them before they went to play.
“Peanut,” said the female, her tongue dripping. “Should I not make it, tell Alcor I loved him.”
“Same here for Grape,” gasped Peanut.
Nevermore landed on Awesome’s head. “My dear, it appears you managed to tire-out two adults. They need to cool off, and you do as well. There is a pond nearby. Can you swim?”
“Of course! Uncle Peanut, Aunt Mizar! Wanna come with me to the pond? I’ll show you how good I can swim! “And he ran towards his destination... only to stop a moment later. “Uh, Mr. Nevermore?”
“You may call me Never, son.”
“Why do I hafta do that?”
The raven cackled. “Oh, call me Nevermore, if you want. What did you want to know?”
“Mr. Nevermore, where is the pond?”
The bird pointed his wing out. “That way. And you two weaklings, stay where you are, I’ll watch over this little guy. Hi-ho, Silver, awaaaaay!”
“*Giggle!* My name is Awesome, Mr. Nevermore.” Nevertheless, he ran in the direction indicated.
“Heh, for one who said he could swim, you surely look like you never seen water, before, little mite.”
Awesome shook his head a few times, but kept his eyes fixed on the pond as if it were the mighty ocean. “It’s big. I used to swim in the shelter’s bathtub. But this place is much bigger than the tub!”
“Then keep close to shore, will ya?” said a new voice behind them.
“Hello!” Awesome saluted, raising his arm and wagging his tail. “What’s your name? My name is–”
“I know your name,” said the emerald-eyed black cat, advancing from the shadow of the tree. He wore a bandana, which was, if possible, even blacker than his fur. “I’ve heard it so many times that my ears are beginning to hurt. Welcome to the farm, new pup.”
Awesome nodded frantically. “What’s your name? Do you live here? How old are you?”
The cat raised his paws. “Woah, take it easy, champ: my name is Sly, I live here, I’m three years old and am the son of Betty Lou.”
“You’re Aunt Betty’s kitten!” The pup barked. “That’s great! So we’re like brothers!”
“Hold yer horses, bub!” Sly almost growled. “I’m bigger than you, so lower yer head!”
Crestfallen, the pup stepped back, then stumbled and whimpering he fell with his butt in the water. “I’m sorry,” he said from where he was.
Never landed in front of the black cat… and like a woodpecker, he pecked repeatedly at Sly’s left foot!
The cat was about to hiss in rage, when the raven flew up to his face and said. “Now you go and apologize to the mite, you cheap bully! And if you dare give him as much as a scratch, your mom and the others will know, including the tourists and that Mr. Foster, and by tonight I’ll eat your liver alla Livornese.”
The black cat looked at the raven like Scar before eating Zazu, but checked himself. Indeed, he had seen how much his mother and aunts had fallen for that little guy… Not to mention that Never was Ol’ Rufus’ favorite bird. Touching him was a BIG no-no.
Sly huffed and went to help Awesome out of the water. “Sorry for snapping at ya, Awesome. I’ll get ya where the water is deep enough for you to swim safely. Better not trust that feathered jinx. Anyway, Never, you and I are gonna have a chat, later. Alone.”
“Later. Alone,” mocked him the bird as they were at a safe distance. Never stuck out his tongue. “Stupid cat.”
“Mom told me that barn cats hunt mice. How many did you get? Can you teach me to get them?”
“I got enough of the vermin to be a real hunter,” said Sly, walking with his head high. “Mother says that when I’m grown up I can take her place and stay at the farm!”
“Cool! So we will be friends forever. You want to be my friend, right? I’d like it soooo much!”
Sly allowed himself the first sincere smile at that furball. He didn’t like puppies, but this guy was… contagious. Only a stone could remain unmoved by him. “I’ll think about that. First let’s see if you can swim well, like you said. Now just step into the water until you can’t touch bottom and swim. Just don’t get tired or go too far, all right?”
Awesome was more than happy to obey, but he ran instead of walking. And Sly was sprayed with cold water.
“Gak” The cat shook, then turned his gaze to a nearby tree. Hmm, yes. He’d take a nap while the brat was having his fun…
“Hey, charcoal,” Never said, shaking him out of those sweet thoughts.
Sly bared his claws. “What, now!”
“Oh, just to let you know that I hate cold stewed food.” The Raven pointed to the pond. “It was a pleasure to know you, bocconcino.”
There was no one in the pond.
The cat’s back fur stood on end. His tail doubled up in volume. He was dead! He was so dead! “AWESOME!” He shouted, and threw himself into the water. “Awesome, hold on!” He was about to dive in... when a vise clamped on his tail!
Sly clenched his teeth, barely suppressing a cry of pain. He turned his head in time to see that Awesome was holding his tail between his thin sharp teeth, but very happy for that prank.
Think of mom and your aunts think of their sharp claws! Somehow, Sly managed to turn his grimace of pain in a toothy smile. “Hehe, congratulations, brat. You really fooled me on that one.” Pain!
Awesome let go of Sly’s tail. He got out and shook. “You’re funny! Let’s go somewhere else! I saw that there are horses! And they’re big, too. Can you help me ride them, please? It must be really fun—” He concluded the sentence with a powerful yawn. Awesome rubbed his eyes. “Hm, I feel so tired.”
“No surprise here, little one,” said Mizar, taking him in her arms. “It was an exciting day from the start, then the trip, all these new things... it’s normal that now you’re tired.”
“Aunt Mizar. This is Sly, Sly…” Awesome then closed his eyes completely and fell asleep like a stone. The female Shepherd cradled him gently. “Thank you for keeping an eye on him. We haven’t met yet, right?”
The raven landed on Peanut’s shoulder, and all four walked to the farm. The sky was now darkening in the sunset.
“True,” said Sly. “Unlike mother, I don’t tend to get sociable with tourists. No offense, city girl.”
Mizar chuckled. “None taken. And, after all, you must be a good cat. Grumpy or not, you were doing a good job with Awesome. You know, there’s this corgi, at Babylon Gardens, who is just like you. No offense.”
“Watch your tongue, girl. No one can compare me to a dog.”
Mizar decided not to insist, but she knew how it would end...
“Hey, why did you just stop?”
The German shepherd hadn’t even noticed she had stopped. She stood there, watching the pup peacefully asleep at her breast. She felt her eyes misting, and a powerful emotion she didn’t think she was capable of any longer.
A puppy. To the barn cats, he was just a cute thing. To her, he was…
It had been so long since Mizar felt a joy so deep, so primordial. This little thing was in a sense what she lacked in her life. Yet she hated to even consider such a concept: She loved Alcor more than anyone and anything else, she couldn’t imagine a life without her beautiful cat, the one who rescued her from despair and loneliness, and from that odious old shelter. Antares and Aldebaran were like brothers and guardian angels, with them she would always be safe. And Dad... Dad was the best human she could live with, the human who had proven he would give his life for her.
But she missed a puppy. Her relationship with Alcor had a price, and it wasn’t the social shame…
Mizar bowed her head to kiss Awesome’s. The pup answered by sighing and snuggling more in her arms.
She promised to talk about this with her family. At the right moment.
Everything was quiet. Just like every night was supposed to be, Grape thought.
Just like then.
That had been the first night spent in the barn. Grape hadn’t imagined that such a noisy place by day could turn into such a quiet tableau. It was as if the whole world had pulled the plug, save for the occasional bird and the insects.
Grape approached the barn, hoping that everything went the right way. The door’s hinges quietly creaked in protest as Grape pulled it outward. She smiled as she poked her head through the opening. “Mary Ellen..?”
“Y’all come right in!” said the cat, from the bale of hay on which she sat.
Unlike then, the place was swarming with other sleeping forms. There were the barn cats, there was also Sly, who last year had been very careful not to show himself, then the Foster pets, as always curled up all together in one heap, Nevermore perched on a beam, and Laika and Awesome laying on another bale. The pup was snoring to make up for almost everyone else.
“Ah don’t think they will wake up so easily, sugah,” said Mary Ellen. “And no one will interfere, we’ll make sure of that.”
“Go git him,” said Betty Lou from her favorite beam.
“Ya know the way,” Clarabelle said, pointing to the long ladder.
Grape blushed slightly. “Thanks for everything, guys. We owe you very much...”
“You thank us later, sugah,” interrupted Mary Ellen. “Now go on. Shoo, shoo!”
Grape climbed the ladder that led to the first floor, and from there to the loft.
It was just like she remembered it, a dark room smelling of straw and cats. And there it was, the door that opened onto the roof. Her heart was pounding. She knew what would happen.
Back then, she was divided, hesitant, scared. Now she felt happy, excited. She wanted it.
This was not only the anniversary of their first year together, to celebrate the many good and bad things that had happened, it had started on that roof.
They were about to seal what awaited them. The future anniversaries they would celebrate together.
They had passed many tests together, now it was time to remind themselves of joy, hope.
Grape opened the door.
And he was there. Sitting where she had found him, then. This time, without his pillow and blanket. “Grape?”
The crescent moon was rather luminous, and it added a bronze aura to his fur. His eyes as blue as the sky seemed even more clear, almost shining with their own light.
He was not only handsome, he looked beautiful.
Grape approached Peanut. She was almost at loss for words, when he took her paws between his own. They looked at each other for a long time. The moon turned Grape’s eyes into golden stars.
Peanut slowly leaned forward to kiss her, and for how much she wanted it, she gently put a finger on his lips.
And this time he didn’t reply with a puzzled look. Instead, he looked at her with that unfaltering affection mixed with trust. If she wanted to wait, he would wait too. Nothing more, nothing less.
“It’s been an eventful year,” said Grape. “Very difficult, complex, and we were put to the test. Would I do again? Yes, for this test made us know each other as we would’ve never known, otherwise. Last year was our turning point, a decision was made, and through joy and sorrow, honesty and deceit, fear and courage, now we are one, and nothing in the world could ever make me regret the decision to accept you in my life for what you are, my love. Not a ‘friend’, or the ‘best of friends’, but half of my very soul.”
Peanut squeezed her paws tighter, and leaned his forehead against hers. “The turning point was our first meeting,” he continued. “When I saw you at the shelter, I knew it was you I would be next to forever. We were star-crossed, I never doubted it. I made my mistakes, I succumbed to my fears... But I eventually learned to believe in you. And that gave me the strength to believe in myself. I love you with all my heart and my soul, Grape Jelly. Nothing is and nothing will be more important, from now until eternity. I can’t promise you my loyalty nor my dedication, because those already belong to you.”
Grape nodded. “I love you, Peanut Butter, and for you, for us, I will fight with all my strength. There’s nothing I can give you, because you already have everything I could give you. Including the right to wake me up from my naps, anytime.”
Peanut smiled, and this time Grape didn’t stop him when he kissed her. A long, delicate kiss during which no one dared to move other body parts that weren’t their mouths…
When they broke it, Grape said, “Now turn around.”
This time, Peanut showed her a puzzled look.
Grape, narrowed eyes, veiled by the moonlight, her ears bent back slightly, a figure which that night seemed more mature and seductive, said to her dog, “I promised you our special thing, remember?”
“Oh? Oh, yes, yes! “Peanut turned, giving her his back, being careful not to slip. “What is it?” He could not help but ask.
Grape’s paws gently gripped his shoulders. “Soon you’ll see it. Peanut? “
“I want you to know one thing: I’ve never done this with anyone else, not even Max.”
The dog heart was beating strong enough to make him dizzy. “R-really?”
The cat’s paws rubbed his shoulders. “Now, shhh. Let me do this…”
Mary Ellen cast a warning glance to her sisters.
The barn cats were in the loft, with ears straining to hear what the two pets were saying. When they heard the promises that were exchanged, they felt like melting. They bumped fists, winking at each other, holding their tails tight so as not to lash them with excitement.
Nevermore, from his corner by the ladder, nodded solemnly. He was the only one to see, sitting beside him, old Rufus, who in turn was looking to the ceiling, in the direction of his friends.
I knew you’d been here to watch over them, ol’ beanbag, thought the crow.
The spirit, shining with an emerald light, smiled.
Then the attention of Never was magnetized by what Peanut was saying.
“Oh! And... hey, hehe. It tickles...” then his voice took on a very different tone. “Wow.” He said just as the audience could distinctly hear the cat purring very loudly.
|Author:||huntersunday [ Tue May 10, 2011 2:05 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
this was awesome I gives you the Internets and more your writing is amazing
|Author:||valerio [ Tue May 10, 2011 2:26 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
I graciously accept your gift
Image is (C) Two-Twig, a commission he generously made for me.
Awesome and Sly appear by courtesy of 44RONM10
|Author:||Revius [ Tue May 10, 2011 4:18 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Oh no you can't just stop there...=(
But realy awsome chapters.
Theres nothing as coming back from a long time away and find all your favorit fanfics having a large pile of updates... I should be away more often, but then I would miss my internet to much.
|Author:||valerio [ Wed May 11, 2011 12:25 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
And who ever said I'm stopping
I'm working on the next episode right now, man
|Author:||Kondog [ Wed May 11, 2011 1:32 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Man oh man, Valerio. I just spent that last 4 hours getting caught up in your fic, What an amazing writer you are! I am not sure whew to begin... so I'll start with S1-EP-14. So much fun on the farm.and theirs a lot of cuteness packed in this update ~What a Great update! ~ I would happily give my left thumb to write as good as you.
|Author:||valerio [ Wed May 11, 2011 3:45 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES
Episode 15 – New Beginning
Written by VALERIO (Later revised by OBBL)
Sandwich House, Babylon Gardens, 7:30 am
The cat’s ears shook in the direction of the voice calling his name. “‘ove you too, Nutty...” she muttered, “More sleep.” She turned over in the bed that she and Peanut shared…
And found herself facing Peanut Butter. The dog’s eyes were half closed, and he looked very much as if he was awakening at that moment as he smacked his lips.
The dog smiled at her and kissed her on the nose. “‘Morning, Grape,” he said.
The lavender cat’s two barred eyes filled with unspeakable terror. It had happened! She was living the ultimate nightmare, the dichotomy had become a reality. Peanut had been given the gift of ubiquity, divided between an angelic Jekyll and the monstrous Hyde! The tender companion who would not have disturbed her for anything in the world and the all-too-noisy entity dedicated to depriving her of her sleep forever and ever!
“Grape,” said Earl Sandwich, knocking on the door. “Peanut. Wake up, guys, we need to go! C’mon, I don’t want to be late! I’m getting a sore throat calling you, young lady.”
“Coming!” said Peanut cheerfully, before bursting into a wide yawn at the same time with Grape.
“Has it become a bloody national sport, to wake people like that?” she muttered, sitting up. She stretched, but had to stop when Peanut wrapped his arms around her flanks and began to tickle her belly. Grape jumped. “Hehehehe! No! Cheater, not fair! And you heard Dad, right? We’re gonna be late.”
Peanut stuck out his tongue. “Sore loser!”
The bathroom operations took extra care, this time. Today was an important day, and they did want to appear at their best. They didn’t want to embarrass their parents!
“Are you excited?” asked Grape, as Peanut brushed her back.
“I’ll say! All Babylon Gardens will be there. The TV will be there, and there will be Miss Auburn with Res!”
They felt like they were still on vacation. Martin had given the Sandwiches a day to rest, before revealing the big news. Excitement was thick, in the Gardens; for once, the phone lines had been busy for something good to hear. Everyone was invited, pets included. The Three Clubs – namely the Schrodinger Circle, The Good Ol’ Dogs Club and the Common Life Society – had given a warning to their members: Woe to those who dared to mar the club’s reputation! Expulsion would’ve been the least of their problems!
They knocked at the door. “Ready or not, here I come,” said the voice of Jill a moment before the door opened. She saw her children and melted: not only were they finely brushed and fluffed up after a nice bath. They also displayed the brand new collars with the gold tags given to them by Selene.
“Ooh, you look just beautiful! And you smell so good, like true gentlepets!” Jill kissed them on the head. “Let’s go, guys,” said Jill, almost pushing them down to the kitchen. She wore a nurse uniform, with the green cross-shaped badge of the veterinary service, and under it the tag of her new employer.
The woman handed her pets two croissants and two cups of warm milk. “I’m sorry, but today we’ll have to eat in a hurry. Earl, you done with your coffee?”
Earl Sandwich almost choked in his cup. He too had two croissants that he had to wolf down and, even worse, no newspaper! He would normally have killed for such a break in his sacred morning ritual, but not today. The man was wearing a brand new mechanic’s jumpsuit. The cap too showed the logo of his new employer. “Honey, we know this is an important day, but there is no need to panic.”
Jill’s stuck a menacing finger on his chest. “Earl Sandwich, we won’t run the risk of being latecomers to the first day of work in front of everyone. Am I clear on that? Enough stalling. Let’s go!” She snatched the cup from his hand and tossed it in the sink. When she turned to her pets, they already were handing her their cups, and their paws were empty and clean. When she turned to toss the cups, Peanut and Grape pounded at their chests to swallow the breakfast before it choked them to death.
Jill went to the entrance. “Come on, we’re gonna miss the bus!” The employees had their own bus line to and from work, their employer’s contribute against pollution.
“Cool!” Peanut said, running to the vehicle stopping by the Sandwich house.
“For some reason, I didn’t expect any less,” said Grape. After all, Martin Foster always said that he wanted the best for his employees just like he wanted the best for himself.
And the two-story, white and silver Scania bus was really a good one.
Peanut stepped aboard. “Hello, Max! Bino!” He looked around the almost full vehicle. “I thought this was reserved for humans.” In fact, there were a lot of pets, even though the bus was reserved for humans.
A man said, “True, but since everyone wanted to bring the family, there weren’t enough buses, so Mr. Foster is just testing this one for us lazyboys.”
“Jeff!” said Earl. “I can’t believe it, you’re in this too?”
The man was wearing the red uniform of the teaching staff. “Someone remembered I used to write and teach at a theater school, and decided I could contribute to the culture of the guests.”
“I’m happy for you.” Earl shook his hand. “Knowing the boss, the salary will be good.”
“Oh, it is. I didn’t think I could ever have started with such a figure, after one year of assorted odd jobs.” The best thing was that now he could follow his dream of teaching acting, although his pupils weren’t exactly the ones he was used to back in the day. Also, his finances were safe, and therefore his family: he hadn’t told anyone, he was too proud for that, but he was about to sell one of his pets to save on money. He had tormented himself to no end, but he had hoped he could give Bino out to someone in the Gardens, so the poor lad could stay in a familiar surrounding… But that was a shadow of the past now. With his first wage, he could treat his boys to the finest dinner ever!
Grape and Peanut sat behind the two seats occupied by Lucky and Felix. The lavender cat exchanged a hug with her old friends. “So, I heard you had the time of your life while we were away.”
The bus doors closed and the vehicle left, with the electric motor humming quietly. The air conditioning was at the perfect temperature, and everyone had their headphones and LCD screens in the headrests to enjoy the trip. Grape decided to put on the earphones and enjoy some classical music. She selected the Overture of the Royal Fireworks, and began rocking at the notes of the mighty symphony…
The bus stopped to collect the last employees. Grape didn’t pay attention… That is, until something suddenly touched her head, as if someone had passed a feather duster on it! The cat took off her headphones and turned, baring her teeth to Peanut. “Okay, wiseguy! If you want to play hard...” Despite appearances, she was far from angry with her boyfriend. She had promised to him and to herself that never again would she get angry at the dog, preferring rationality over violence. To seal the promise, she had registered at the Pet Fitness Club of Foster Mansion, where she had decided to join the martial arts lessons given by Lester. Joey’s weird anime-uberfan friend was said to be a real expert…
When Grape saw who had tickled her, her eyes widened and her ears folded down completely. Her tail tried to escape toward the floor. “Oh, no. Not you.”
“Hail to thee, meadow flower,” said the raven Nevermore, perched on the head of Peanut. “Sorry for the delay, but with all that fine trash around, I was too busy stuffing my ol’ self like a turkey. *Burp!* Good thing the driver respects the speed limits.”
“Hi, Never!” said Peanut as the doors closed. To the driver, who was watching the black bird with suspicion, he said, “He’s with us!”
The vehicle drove off. “How did you get here?” asked Peanut.
“Together with you, of course,” answered the bird. “There was a lot of space on the roof of your motorhome, and lots of insects to eat.” He licked his beak. “Just open your mouth and hop! Instant self-service!”
Grape felt her meager breakfast threatening to go up her digestive tract. “And why did you ever feel the need to leave Uncle Reuben’s farm to come here? Not to watch over Peanut, I hope.”
Nevermore shook his head. “Tsk tsk tsk, my sweet flower, but why ask questions if you already know the answers?”
Grape unsheathed her claws. “Maybe because I am watching over him already, bird brain?”
The two animals flashed lightning from their eyes at each other.
“Cool!” said Lucky suddenly. Grape hadn’t noticed that the arrival of Never had channeled the attention of the other animals. “So you’re Peanut’s pet raven now? Pets aren’t supposed to have pets of their own. You’re lucky, Peanut!”
The bird huffed, puffing out his chest and patting it with a wing. “Please! I am an independent spirit of the earth fulfilling a moral obligation to a dear departed friend!”
The other animals looked at him without understanding. The poor bird seemed to sag. “I am Peanut’s pet raven.”
“If it’s any consolation,” said Fox, “ravens are lucky charms in many cultures. They were Odin’s messengers, in Scandinavian mythology.”
Never gave the husky a cold glare. “That I know, Muttley: I may come from the countryside, but I know the culture of my people.”
“Very pleased,” said Lucky, stretching out a paw. “I’m Lucky.”
“I am Felix,” said the russet tabby sitting next to the malamute.
Never shook their paws. “My pleasure. Nevermore is my name, but you may call me Never! And I think we have arrived.”
A collective ‘Ooooh!’ of sincere admiration filled the bus.
“That guy sure knows how to spend his money,” Jeff said.
As was done for Foster Mansion, the construction was carefully hidden. This time, instead of tarps and scaffolding, a huge plastic cube had been used. Martin wanted to make sure that the work proceeded undisturbed, but he also wanted to give maximum emphasis to the finished job. Every interview on the subject had ended with the request to attend the inauguration. The place would live up to the expectations, and even more.
Undoubtedly, he was not wrong on this.
Seventy days of work. Five construction companies. An army of men recruited from Babylon Gardens to the city. Five teams of architects. Two hundred million dollars.
To call it a ‘shelter’, that apartment complex that proudly rose on the hill that once had hosted the infamous old structure that had caused so much suffering… well, it would’ve been an understatement, to say the least.
“I think I love that man,” said Jill, getting off the bus. “I can’t believe that, at one time, that horrible place was here.”
Grape nodded without adding a word. Had that place where she had spent two interminable weeks before Dad and Mom came to take her, after Peanut had set his eyes on her, really even existed?
The tall mesh fence surrounded a series of low buildings, built in a circle around a single, monolithic twenty-story building with spacious terraces. Trees and flowering shrubs lined the streets and decorated the central park. There were drinking fountains, benches, lamp posts…
“Oh, here you are,” said a familiar voice.
A breathless Evelyn Sunman reached the Sandwich family. “Come on, lads,” she said to Earl and Jill, dragging them to the large stage flanking the entrance. On its end, there were four rows of seats occupied by the staff, all dressed up in their neat uniforms. Evelyn led Earl and Jill to their seats in the front row. “Hmm, you look just, what do you youngsters call it, ah, spiffy!” Then, to Peanut and Grape she said, “Sorry, guys, but you’re supposed to sit with the audience. And if I remember correctly, your places are next to that lady.”
When the two animals saw who the ‘lady’ in question was, together with a certain grey striped tabby, they almost fainted.
“Tara Simmonds Auburn!” shouted Never, flying to perch on her seat. “Yay! I am a big fan of your work, you know? Your books are the best company for a middle-aged raven like me. And I love the character of Raytan, but believe me, it’s not out of specism. It’s just that he’s like Jeijan, but with more grit. Not to mention that birds are superior *erk!*”
Grape had grabbed Never by the neck like a chicken and put him back on Peanut’s shoulder. “Time to go back to your guardian duties, fanboy. Very happy to see you again, Miss Auburn. And you, Res,” she added.
”I’m happy to see you again too, Grape,” whispered the cat. ”I heard that Mr. Foster is your co-owner. You’re lucky to have him as uncle, this place looks like it will do a world of good to many innocents.”
Grape nodded. “It sure will. I came from here… or rather, from the old shelter. It was worse than on the street, in a way.”
Res shuddered. ”You were a stray too? I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
She held his paws in hers. “Well, it’s not something I advertise, about myself. But that’s in the past. What matters is that the future is gonna be bright for so many unlucky ones.”
“You sure look like a beautiful raven,” Ms. Auburn was saying. “What’s your name?”
If ever a bird was feeling like a peacock, that was him. “Nevermore, madame.”
“A big name, I like it.”
The raven sighed like a lover.
Peanut chuckled. “I never knew you liked to read.”
“I got it from my father: Who do you think gave me my name? Like he always said, may his soul rest in peace, you can’t get to thirty-five without having read a few books. Rufus always lent me his, and since the barn cats love Pridelands, I wanted to understand why it was good enough to keep them awake whole nights at a time. Hmph, would you believe it? Raytan’s a messenger of God, and Jeijan gets the spotlight, just because...”
The crowd burst into applause at that time. Even the fans’ attention shifted to the stage, on which the founder and owner of the complex had stepped. A forest of phones and cameras rose toward the stage.
Martin Foster, dressed in a white suit, like the ‘white doctor’ of the old Hollywood movies, including a fedora with a black band, stopped in front of the podium. He was sporting his best friendly smile. His eyes were shiny. His pets walked to his sides. To his left, the two giant black dogs, Aldebaran and Antares. To his right the white cat and female dog Alcor and Mizar. The sun shone on the pets’ tags that were colored like the stars after which they had been christened.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Martin as soon as the applause had faded. He stuck out his right arm as if to want to embrace the structure behind him. “Welcome to the opening of the Lucky Charm Grove for the Abandoned and the Ferals.” At those words, a drape hanging from the wall fell, revealing the big sign: a deep blue square featuring the shelter’s name in gold letters, and under the name, two hands encircling a golden pawprint.
Again the crowd cheered, whistled, howled and let out many other happy sounds. Martin waited for him to calm down again, then said, “It’s an honor and a privilege for me to have invested time and resources in what you have in front of you. Some may think that I was a little cheeky for devoting a similar effort for our beloved animals. But I think... No, I know that for the love and devotion they give to us, for the responsibility we have toward them, it’s our duty to assist them in sickness and in health, in riches and in poverty, in joy and in sorrow. If the law thinks of them as property, we must think of them as children of God and children of our own history, in the long path that we have walked together since the dawn of civilization.
“And whenever during the walk we lose sight of our friends, it’s up to us to help them back, walking with new hope in the future and a renewed faith in our loyalty. This is my purpose, this complex is my share. Here, the strays and unwanted will be assisted in every possible way, to heal from their wounds and live with dignity. Whether one day they will find a new family, or will be feral in pursuit of shelter from the hardest times, I will make sure that. This. Will be. Home.” He paused to drink a glass of water, the crowd greeted his words with a new round of applause.
When Martin spoke again, his face became sadder. “There is another reason why I decided to create this private structure. The local rules, as you know, provide for a stay not exceeding one year for the guests of the municipal pounds. After this period, the guest is killed and cremated. Yes, gentlemen: killed. Not ‘suppressed’, or ‘put down to sleep’. Although it is true that our laws protect the welfare and happiness of our beloved pets and the dignity of the wild animals, once closed within the walls of a pound, their fate is sealed. The town becomes their new owner, and the laws become a cold, relentless machine. The unwanted become non-existent entities, ghosts waiting for adoption. See no harm, do no harm.
“The old shelter applied this law to the letter, and many innocent souls have lost that opportunity which I hope, today, those of you who put their name in the ‘Wanted’ ads, will seize.
“This is why I became the guardian of my guests, so the law that limits their stay can’t touch them. To them, to the lives lost, in hope that my example will be followed, in the hope that the future will never again be a witness of the massacre of innocent souls, I dedicate this monument, erected where once the crematorium stood.” Martin took off his hat and held it to his chest as a sign of respect, then pressed a button on the lectern. Those in the audience who were wearing a hat took it off as well.
The sheet that covered the last hidden structure moved away with a buzz of scooters. The audience watched in respectful silence as the bronze statue depicting a madonna embosoming a dog and a cat, a raven and a dove perched on her shoulders. Bronze puppies were playing at the feet of the holy woman. The black characters on the white marble stone at the base of the statue read,
BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, FOR THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH
DO NOT FORGET US
A blue flame lit up in front of the stone.
Martin took a handkerchief and wiped his tears. He wasn’t the only one. In the crowd, the pets’ owners hugged tightly to their animals, as if to protect them, grateful of their luck.
Even Jeff, for how much Bino and Max had gotten on his nerves more than once, threw a glance of pure love to them, silently mouthing them ‘Thank you’, for all the joy they had given him in return.
King, sitting next to Fox, held his paw. Again his determination to protect his friend from all evil sparkled with renewed strength, although he had still so much to be forgiven for…
“You see them too, do you?” Never asked, whispering the words. The raven felt privileged to have seen the spirit of Rufus, but this... Well, it was just a pity that his father wasn’t alive to see this, really!
Grape and Max nodded, without taking their eyes from the monument, as from the ghosts. Dozens and dozens of different species of animals, domestic and feral, adults and puppies... They had gathered there, all around the space that once was the crematorium. And they all smiled at Martin.
And judging by the looks the Foster pets were throwing at the statue, they too must be seeing the same thing.
Perhaps it was a coincidence, but surely the man was smiling in turn, as his tears flowed, when he whispered, “Rest in peace.”
|Author:||lightwolf21 [ Wed May 11, 2011 3:50 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Hipster wolf is hipster.
I read this back when it was in Italian. X3 ...and also back when I was translating these chapters...a long time ago. ;3
Glad to see you're updating in English and from the looks of things getting a much larger following as I predicted. XD
|Author:||valerio [ Wed May 11, 2011 4:29 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
heh, in fact, after translating/rebooting seasons I and II and Special Episode I and II, I'll restart Season III from scratch. I have discovered many glitches that also caused the block in the ongoing production.
Basically, I'll restart the series from fresh starting season III, in english. I'll rename this thread. For now, it remains what it was at the beginning, the 'translated fanfiction'.
And I'm happy you keep reading it in this 2.0 version Your appreciation means a lot, folks!
|Author:||valerio [ Wed May 11, 2011 9:53 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
“Good morning,” said the puppy, a mix between a German shepherd and a husky, with deep blue eyes, and tail curved and bushy. “My name is Otis! Are you my new parents?” He asked with all the hope and innocence of a three month old.
The young couple leaned over to pet the dog. Picking him up, the young woman said, “Of course we are, Otis. You are really beautiful, you know? I hope you’re just as lively.”
A similar scene came when two young men of twenty-five went to two cats, one male and one female with a coat that was, well, not really beautiful. They looked as if an artist on drugs had decided to paint their grey fur with blotches of several colors. The result was that the two cats looked like living surreal paintings.
But they were two pieces of beauty to the two men’s eyes. “Picasso and Frida,” said one of them. “Do you like your new names?”
The cats answered by hugging their masters, grateful to have finally found a family. Grateful not to have to endure any longer the endless jokes about their fur.
The interview halls weren’t large enough to hold all the guests and families ready to adopt them, so a tent facility had been erected in the main square, in the shadow of the building that served as residence for the guests.
“It’s going really well,” said Martin, accompanied by Jill. “As I hoped, almost all guests will find a family today.”
“Nice touch, that ‘On Vacation with ALL your Family’ book you’re giving out free. And the online pet travel agency.”
“Oh, nothing special,” Martin scoffed. “Just a hint for the new families to stay united wherever they go.”
“How’s your arm, by the way?”
Martin raised his left arm, flexed his fist a few times and rolled his forearm, though slowly. “Better than I hoped. The doctor said I can keep it free, if it’s for one day only, provided no one pats me on the shoulder. I’m learning to dodge well, though someone may think it’s bad PR, you know.”
Jill chuckled, but she was worried. A lot. The man had literally given his arm to an assassin dog to kill him – he who had just spent a considerable part of his fortune in this new shelter, he who wouldn’t even write the sentence ‘to hurt an animal’. Even if he had done it to protect those he loved, he had to pass over all his principles, and almost died as well.
Jill and her husband were still seeing a therapist twice a week, to handle what they had suffered during the attack that nearly had taken away Peanut and Grape... How could Martin act so laid back?
Jill remembered when Earl had tried to do ignore the stress of that day, and later had nearly chewed out Peanut’s face over of nothing.
What would happen when Martin exploded..?
“Jill? Everything okay?”
She jumped. “No, that is, yes. Sorry, some bad memories, that’s all.”
He nodded. “I know what you mean, my queen. So, ready to begin your first day at work?”
Again his face saddened. “You’ll have to be a second mother for all those who remain here, and the new ones to come. Your medical expertise is important, but I want you for psychological support as well. Every now and then, you’ll have to listen, interact with them, just as you would do with your children. You’ll be listening to the dark side of the tales of pet ownership, and it can be taxing.”
Jill nodded. “You told me once already, Martin. I told you that I’d do it, then, and I’m telling you now, again. Don’t worry, okay?”
Martin smiled. “I’ll always worry, but knowing you people are doing your job is comfort enough. Anyway—” He interrupted himself when he heard someone shouting angrily. It was hard to ignore it, both because of its tone, and because it was the only angry voice of that morning, like the loudest bad note in a fine-tuned orchestra.
”You can’t make me, and that’s it!”
Martin frowned and walked toward the voice. Sounded like a boy had decided to test his lungs…
“May I be of help?” Martin asked, gently, as soon as he reached the source of the noise: a young boy, with blue eyes and black, very unkempt, hair. He wore a black leather jacket that was semi opened. It had some zippers for pockets. His hands were covered by black gloves and on his wrists were silver-spiked bracelets. He also wore blue jeans and black military boots. His expression resembled his look. Walking trouble, Martin thought, but he kept his merry formal attitude. “So, young man? Any trouble here?” He looked at the boy’s parents – hoping they were, since the woman, although smiling, looked like her face had been molded. Martin thought she must be a Stepford Wife. The man looked like he had given the hair and eye color to the boy but nothing else, and his expression talked of great embarrassment and repressed rage. “Can’t find a proper pet, boy?”
“I have a name, mister, and it’s Matt!”
“Mr. Foster,” said the father, stretching out his hand, “I’m Stan Sternfeld, and this is my wife, Alice. We just moved into the Gardens, and we were looking for a proper pet, but we, well, have no real experience. We thought we could provide Matt with some good company, along with the responsibility.”
Matt was about to say what he thought about that plan, but the glare his father gave him was enough to incinerate adamantium. The boy’s mouth shut up with a snapping sound.
Martin gestured the family to follow him. “So you need a housebroken, disciplined, playful, expert dog, not just any mutt, eh? You’re lucky: you see, the local police must give away their dogs from the K9U after they’re no longer at physical peak, although, by our standards, they’re still fine specimen. I was recently trusted with a bunch of three. You may be lucky enough to get the last one.” Every time he talked like that he felt dirty inside, but if it served the noble cause, he’d wait before taking a shower.
The group reached a bench where a male dog was sitting – not just any dog, as Martin had promised, but a Dutch Shepherd that still looked in his prime!
“You can’t be serious!” Matt exclaimed, paling like a corpse.
The black furred striped dog stood up, saluting. “Sir!”
Martin patted him on his shoulder. “At ease, boy. Hercule, these are the Sternfelds, and they are going to be your family. You will be put in charge of the young man here. He needs some lessons in discipline, and I’m sure you’ll be the best teacher and example. Can I count on you, officer Hercule?”
Again the dog saluted sharply. “Sir! I will give my best to be a good companion and guardian for this family! Thank you for this opportunity, Sir!”
Martin nodded. “Excellent, Hercule. Now, Mr. and Mrs. Sternfeld, I’ll leave you to get to know each other. I’m sure that your son will learn something from him. Ain’t it the truth, Matt—”
The boy had fainted.
Martin looked satisfied, as he walked away. “Yup. I guess it will be a great friendship.”
Jill grinned. “You enjoyed that, did you?”
“Like the finest wine, my dear.”
“What about security?” she asked, trying not to shiver. One of the three assassin dogs had wanted to kill the guests and staff of the old temporary shelter, after all.
Martin’s smile assumed a grim tone. “I personally selected real pros as heads of security. Human/K9 Units, former soldiers and mercenaries with a curriculum as long as my arm. I have enough weapons to fend off a Panzerdivision. Excessive as it may sound, I’ll make sure that from now on only a cataclysm can breach my shelter.” Then the sun was back in his expression. As usual, those mood changes left Jill perplexed.
“Now I must do some more PR, dear. Any needs, ask Ms. Sunman.”
Only after he was gone, Jill remembered she did want to ask him about a certain pet… Silly Jill! Well, she could ask Evelyn, if only—
And it was then that she saw her, followed by two young guys in cheap suits. Jill had seen her share of salesmen at the place where she had worked before.
Jill approached the trio, She took the old woman by her arm and dragged her away with a smooth movement. “I’m sorry, Miss Sunman, but I really have to handle this emergency. You gentlemen will excuse me if I’ll steal her for a minute, yes? Thank you.”
When they were out of reach of the salesmen, Evelyn wiped her brow with a handkerchief. “God forbid salesmen! If I knew I had to deal with them, I would have gladly given up the position of Director. Huff, I think I’ll have to find an assistant, myself. I’m just getting too old for these things. But I still haven’t thanked you for saving my sorry hide, my girl. What can I do for you?”
“Thanks for the ‘girl’, Miss Sunman.” They sat on a bench. Like all others, this one was fit to allow animals to sit on it. “My husband only calls Grape that. Anyway, I wanted to know how Zachary is. He’s still recovering here, right?”
Evelyn shook her head. “Poor creature. He’s still tormented by those dreadful nightmares. We’re still keeping him sedated and tube-feeding him, or he’ll just starve to death. Poor Jerry comes visit him three times a week, and every time he leaves a bit more defeated. He believes that it’s his fault for not having been able to keep Zach safe during that crisis.”
Jill understood him perfectly. When Peanut was in that coma, she’d have struck a bargain with Lucifer himself to have her boy back, safe and sound…
Life at the Arbelt house had been for Zach a long series of stressful situations. Every attempt to integrate and be accepted by Tiger had been met by not-so-veiled promises of physical suffering.
Zach had reached a point where running away from home, become a feral, had started appearing as an attractive prospect. And Silver, a raccoon who used to hunt for garbage in the neighborhood, had helped him in exchange for his favorite food.
Silver, who revered Zachary as a kind of messenger of the gods, or something like that. A messenger that had set a Gryphon free or something like that, the rabbit’s memories were a distant memory…
Silver wasn’t a distant memory. Silver and his mate, Zen, had died at the claws and teeth of two murderous dogs, leaving behind their kits.
Zachary was still worried about the kits’ safety… or, at least, he had time to worry for them, when his thoughts weren’t focused on the dogs.
The dogs came whenever they wanted, they opened the door, they appeared behind him, biting him, scratching him. Torturing him.
“Why don’t you leave me alone?” he said. He felt a great pain in his head. His stomach was queasy.
The psychiatrist had showed him what the camera had shot. There was no one in his room, and Zach was just hurting himself, as if someone was trying to harm him
The rational part of Zachary knew they were right, that it was his poor nerves, shocked one time too many.
“But it isn’t, is it?” said the thing sitting next to him. The monster, who sat like an ancient feral beast, misshapen and horrible, his mouth full of teeth folded into a smile so disgustingly happy. And those red eyes, full of an intelligence devoted to death... “Oh, no, little Zach. You’re fine. You’re lucid. That’s why they can’t cure you.” Its voice was almost a purr.
The creature licked his shoulder, as if savoring a tasty morsel. “We’re all alone here, Zach. So alone. Want to play with us?”
Zach was just too tired, too exhausted to scream or get excited. His mind, shut down and he fainted.
His name was Tiger.
When he was a puppy, he had liked it. It looked like a big name. Yes, he liked being a tiger.
Then, to his bitter chagrin, he had learned what it meant for a dog to be christened like a cat.
His life had been a series of squabbles and paranoia. Didn’t help much that his housemate was a cat, and that cats in general felt sympathetic to him.
Only Dad’s love made him feel appreciated, and that made the humiliation bearable.
Then came Zachary.
The new pet.
Tiger had not acted out of malice against the rabbit. He just wanted to make clear what the priorities were. Dad seemed too fond of Mr. Long-ears, and Mr. Long-ears had to understand who came first, when it came to Dad’s affection.
The result was a scaredy-rabbit. Nervous, paranoid and introverted.
Tiger would have invested all his pocket money in a time machine, if they had existed. All this ‘Opener of Ways’ nonsense had started because he had scared Zachary into becoming a feral, rather than standing the everyday tortures. If Zach hadn’t felt responsible for that bunch of Disneyesque critters, he wouldn’t have run into the paws of those monster dogs!
He wouldn’t be confined in a hospital room, to withering day by day, consumed by nightmares and guilt.
Perhaps there wasn’t a time machine handy, but it didn’t mean that Tiger couldn’t do anything to fix his mistakes. It was just a question of asking for help from the right people…
The pitbull came from behind Peanut. “Hey, crow,” he said.
Peanut turned. At the same time, Never said, “Hail to thee, son of Mompracem. What can I do for you?”
Tiger felt all proud. It was also about time someone recognized the power of his name! Then the dog glanced curiously at the black bird. “Wait, how do you know who I am? Didn’t you just move here? “
“We showed him a video about us on YouTube,” said Aldebaran, showing the terminal of one of the internet points placed around the structure. The video in question was a rough but cheery animation work entitled ‘A Housepets Theme Song’.
“I see,” Tiger said. “Anyway, I need a favor, and you two big blokes and you bird are the best people for the job.”
“We are all ears,” said Never.
Tiger tapped his shoulder. “Let’s talk in private. And you two bears in dog’s clothing, come with us. No offense, Peanut, but this is a secret plan. The less you know, the better. Come on, you three, I’d love to solve this problem before midnight.”
“That belongs to the shelter?” asked Mrs. Shenigan, accompanied by her cat, Selene. It wasn’t easy to impress the neighborhood’s highest ranking snob, but the helicopter parked on the pad wasn’t something that could be treated just as any company vehicle.
“Mil Mi-26T. 40.05 meters long, 32 meter diameter rotor, 28,270 kg, two 11,400 HP Ivchenko Progress/Zaporozhye D-136 turbines, maximum speed 295 km/h with a range of 1,800 km. The Aeroflot sold at an extremely discounted price, economic crises can be such a great opportunity! It’s equipped with a mini-clinic and operating room. My emergency room with wings. There is no emergency that I can’t handle, with this baby.” He lovingly patted the helicopter’s hull.
“Really spectacular, Mr. Foster,” said Mr. Shenigan, the manager of Babylon Garden’s bank. “Mess hall, fitness center, hospital, shopping, theater, workshops, even schools... Our congratulations. This place really deserves all the exposure that one can give.”
Martin nodded. “And since it also serves as a hotel for families on vacation, I would be very grateful if your institute did a bit of advertising, especially when you receive an increasing demand for funds for the trips.”
William Aloisius Shenigan laughed heartily and was about to give a pat on Martin’s left shoulder, he again had to dodge. “Young man, I love people who go straight to the point! And rest assured, we of Poe Plaza will do our best to advertise your enterprise.”
“Excellent. Shall we celebrate our agreement with a glass of 1895 Krug Clos du Mesnil? It would be a shame not to even open a bottle.”
The banker’s eyes lit up. “You know how to make people happy, old lecher!”
“Your satisfaction is my success,” said Martin, who had spent several days collecting information on favorite food and beverage tastes of his VIP guests.
“Why are there shops?” asked another member of the exclusive social club of Poe Plaza. “This is supposed to be a sophisticated shelter, not a mall, right?”
“We sell quality pet food, toys and accessories at a discounted price – Discount for quality products means customers, customers mean visitors, visitors mean adoptions and advertising. And most important, customers mean money for the shelter. Every penny goes the account of the Lucky Charm Grove.”
“You’ll have to sell a lot of Eukanuba then,” said Mrs. Shenigan in an unsuccessful attempt to make a joke.
“Eukanuba, Emperor’s Delice, La nourriture du ciel, Wolf’s Choice, Excellens Delice, Vegepet… I think I can find a reasonable price even for the taste of your pets, madame, for every age and special necessity. In fact, I hope that Babylon Gardens will become my main customer.”
Mrs. Shenigan didn’t add a word to that – her way of apologizing.
Martin then noted two faces he honestly didn’t expect to see here today. He suppressed the urge to frown. In fact, he was too intrigued to ask why they dared to show their faces here, of all days, considering their role in the management of the old lager. “Celia! Thomas! What a pleasant surprise!”
“We must rescue Silver and Zen’s kits. Daddy will never allow me in the woods, but it’s of utmost importance that they are brought here ASAP. Assuming they’re still alive, that is.”
“Do you want to show them to Zach?” asked Antares.
Tiger nodded. “Much of what is eating him comes from not knowing what happened to the kits. Maybe, seeing them, will help him recover from the shock.” He looked imploringly the three animals. “Please. No one deserves to end like that... and him least of all.”
The trio exchanged glances. None of them knew Tiger personally, neither knew of his past with the rabbit. They only knew that the dog was in anguish for his friend.
“We’ll do it,” the twins said in unison. To Never, they showed their beartrap smile. “And you too, right?”
Nevermore swallowed. “Ah, I yield to good education.”
“Hello, Martin!” Janet Masterson, accompanied by her faithful dog and friend, the Doberman Sergeant Ivan Danko, greeted him. As usual, since she was in charge of the Milton brothers, she was at a close distance from them.
Of course, Celia and Thomas were anything but happy to be seen by the landlord, despite knowing that it was inevitable.
Mrs. Shenigan stared with contempt at the last living Miltons, who had not only squandered their assets in bad investments and luxuries beyond their reach, but had also disgraced the good name of Henry Milton. “You were the administrators of the old shelter,” she said, as if a judge had just listed the criminal record of a serial killer.
“Their guilt is that they were insensitive and even less foresighted,” said Martin. “They are amending by honestly managing the funds that I set for my boys. So, my dears, to what I owe your presence here, in this day of joy? “Translation: Just one trick of yours and you’ll be working in the basement for the rest of your days.
“Well,” said Celia, who nonetheless could still move around and talk with the ease of a purebred Milton, “we know that people who wish to adopt can participate, right?”
Now Martin was intrigued, and Janet too looked puzzled. It was worth it to listen to these rascals, at least.
Celia knew she was walking on thin ice, and had threatened Thomas to cut his tongue with her nails, if he ever opened his mouth, today. They were the most hated persons in Babylon Gardens, for running the old shelter without doing anything to improve the conditions of its guests. Even if they had acted within the law’s limits, and they had been proven not to be accomplices of Mac and his gang, they had turned a blind eye on the poor animals’ suffering. Being forced to live in a house of Martin’s choice, working for him under the watch of that Masterson woman, was the best deal they could strike, considering that the other residents wanted their hides…
Martin nodded. “My dears, if that’s your reason for being here, you are more than welcome. Did you already have someone in mind?”
“Actually, yes,” said Celia.
At that moment Alcor came in running.
“Something wrong, honey?” Martin asked, stroking his head. “Tell me, what’s the matter?”
The white cat glared at the two humans, recognizing them. He could never forget those faces, nor forgive them… It was people like them that had created creatures like those poor monster dogs!
Then Alcor handed over a sheet of paper to his father. “Antares and Aldebaran gave this to me, before running away.”
With a familiar sense of dread, Martin read the handwritten note.
Dad, Sorry for not telling you, but we are really in a hurry. We’re going into the forest with Nevermore to find the kits of Silver and Zen and get them to see Zach to help him heal. Don’t wait for us for dinner, and don’t worry: you know that we can look after ourselves. Big hugs and kisses.
Your men of the house.
|Author:||ChristopherJackal [ Wed May 11, 2011 1:31 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Finally caught up... again! I keep falling behind with this, but it's fantastic! The new shelter is off to a great start it seems so yay! Don't know how I feel about the Milton's adopting though, gunna have to wait and see how that goes. Also I do hope the kits help Zach, poor bunny!
|Author:||Revius [ Wed May 11, 2011 3:11 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Well I did't mean quit quit. Just that the chapter ended and I did't have any more to read. I haven't had this fun reading sense I found my later to be favorit fanfic on fanfiction.com. The best part of it was that it was complete. So many awsome fanfics never get updated so I have got the habit of getting grupy when I reach the end of one. But I must say if you keep going in this update paste I would be willing to pay for it. Its rare, its awsome fanfic and it's about something I realy like so its bloody fantastic. Keep it up.
|Author:||valerio [ Wed May 11, 2011 4:27 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Dartmoor Reserve, outside the confines of Babylon Gardens
Like black arrows, they darted through the woods, shadows in the shadows of the trees, silent in spite of their size, shapes alternatively lit by the sun filtering through the leaves.
The ‘Kings of the Mountain’ were the result of careful selections to get strength and endurance from two worlds, the wild and the domestic, military dogs from head to foot, used for reconnaissance and guerrilla work by Ukraine’s Alfa Special Forces.
To Antares and Aldebaran, this forest was a beginner’s training path, they could run through it at full speed with closed eyes. However, it was also the first opportunity they had, for a long time, to really test their ability to cover large distances at a high speed.
They were in full shape, thanks to the regular physical training at their house’s gym. They felt alive. This hunt sang in their blood.
Too bad that, despite knowing their objective, they didn’t know where to find it. For this reason, once they had reached the heart of Dartmoor Reserve, Antares and Aldebaran stopped. Their tags shone with orange and red nuances. Barely panting, the twins looked around, sniffing the air in search of a quarry unknown to them. “Where do we go now, Never,” asked Aldebaran.
Never was clinging desperately to the neck of the brother. He looked terrified. “Eh? What? Who? Where?” The last thing the crow had expected, when he had decided to join this hunt, was to find himself perching on the hull of a missile! “Oooh, my poor stomach. Next time I’m gonna take the bus. Brutes!”
Never jumped on a nearby rock. “Well, I’m no expert on the local fauna, but if I wanted to hide two orphan kits, I’d start from here. Now leave it to ol’ Never.” The raven jumped on a branch. He cleared his throat, puffed out his chest, opened his beak...
And his call echoed through the woods.
Lucky Charm Grove for the Abandoned and the Ferals, Babylon Gardens
The opening ceremony of the State’s most modern shelter had been a success.
Forty-three of fifty-three guests, the last sad legacy of the old shelter, had already found a family that day. A success in itself.
Better yet was the sight of the many teenagers typing letters and numbers into their cells. Twitter and Facebook had a new hot topic, that day, and Martin would make sure the shelter’s FB account was well known.
The VIPs were the icing on the cake. With Ms. Auburn as testimonial, the fame of the LCG would rapidly reach a wide audience. The editor of the Pridelands series would devote part of the income from the next book to the shelter.
The shelter’s homepage displayed a series of innovative solutions he had used for his temporary, still standing structure, in order to spare pets the indignity of the cubicles used by other shelters. Something other organizations could use without spending themselves into a poorhouse—
“Them,” said Celia Milton, shaking Martin from his thoughts of glory. The woman was pointing to a couple sitting all alone, intent on eating the pizza.
“Are you absolutely sure?” Martin said, exchanging another puzzled look with Janet and her Doberman Danko. Now, all three were very sure this was a joke in bad taste...
“Very sure,” said Thomas. “Now let’s do it quickly, yes?” Celia displayed her usual self-assuredness, while he acted as if he wanted out of there at Warp 3. The disadvantages of being a bad administrator of a lager. A lager whose former guests were now looking at him, their eyes saying: at night, in a dark alley, with no witnesses…
One thing was sure like death and taxes, however, about the Milton brothers: they hated all ferrets, with a passion. In particular, the six ferrets that had belonged to Henry Milton, the same ferrets Thomas and Celia had tried to get rid of before discovering their ‘beloved uncle’ had kept them off the greatest share of his will. The ferrets had become filthy rich, the humans were close to the level of social welfare.
And the pair of female ferrets awaiting adoption were, apparently, the reason why Celia and Thomas had come to the Lucky Charm Grove.
“Hello, stranger,” quoth the raven, landing on a branch. “Oh-ho, and hail to thee, giants,” he said to the two dogs.
Antares and Aldebaran saluted him reflecting each other’s posture. “Hail to thee, master brother of the winds,” Nevermore said politely. “Forgive this intrusion, but we really need a favor. We come on behalf of the Opener of the Ways, and—”
The other crow glanced angrily at his fellow. “I’ll give you some advice, then: shove off.”
The dogs stood up. “And why should we?” Antares said, staring at the raven with suspicion.
“Because this story of the Opener of Ways gave us nothing but trouble! Those stupid fanatics kept close to the territory of the humans, and look at what happened! What else do you want?”
“Actually, we want to know if the kits of Silver and Zen are alive,” said Never. “We... The rabbit needs them. And before you say another word about it, he risked his life to make sure they were safe, at least he deserves to see them. We will not kidnap them, if that’s what bothers you!”
The forest crow chuckled. “Oh, if that’s all, you just have to find them. Want to know if they’re fine? Yes, they are alive, and no, they shall never get close to your crazy community, ever again! We’ll teach them to be feral as they were supposed to be, wary and away from ‘civilization’. And your bodyguards may stare at me however displeased they want, I won’t change my mind, nossir!”
Never was going to say something to that impertinent hatchling, when Aldebaran breathed on his neck. “Gak! And don’t do that again, holy crackers! I ain’t got the lives of a cat!”
“Never,” whispered the dog. “Look at that.”
The raven was about to ask him why he was talking like that... Then he saw where their gaze was pointing. “Wow.”
The Dartmoor raven was lost: he was absolutely sure the kits were well hidden in a den that even a wolf wouldn’t have found! How did they escape from their guardians, and know where to go?
But Aldebaran, Antares and Never could see who was escorting the kits, holding their paws, looking at them with love. Ferals who hadn’t stopped hoping, even beyond death. Silver and Zen, who had trusted the Opener of Ways and His friends until the very end, knowing that He’d send someone to help their kits.
The two ghostly presences lead their sons to the raven and the dogs.
“Dad and mom appeared in a dream,” said the girl. “They told us that Mr. Opener is really sick.”
Antares nodded. “He’s sick because he’s so afraid for you. Would you like to come along and say hello? I promise that afterward we’ll bring you back here.”
The children nodded.
Celia and Thomas sat in front of the ferrets. “Hi, ladies,” she said. “Isn’t it a pity that two pretty little things like you are still all alone?”
“Why don’t we just cut to the chase?” said the first female, with pink fur and a brown stripe running from her back to the tail tip. Saying this, she drank the last sip of milk from a crystal glass.
The other female, gray like a sinuous and elegant sculpture of iron, nodded as she turned to Thomas. “We know who you are, and we know what you think of our species. What do you want?”
“To give you a chance to live in a real family, and not in a gilded cage,” said Celia. “Does that sound so bad? You’ll be free to roam in the Gardens, instead of staying here, against your will.”
The two ferrets stared carefully at the humans. “Actually,” said the gray, “I can’t imagine how living with you could beat the new shelter. Although we find your offer intriguing.”
The two females exchanged a long look punctuated by a couple of nods.
Then they shrugged “Ahh, so if it goes wrong we can always come back here,” said the pink. “All right. You got yourselves a deal.”
“Huh, is that all?” asked Thomas. “Don’t you want to know something about...”
The gray stretched, and yawned. “Wut, if you wanted to pull our leashes, you’ll do it anyway. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’, as they say, right? Oh, and don’t even think of feeding us with cheap stuff, or we’ll tell Mr. Foster. Or first we’ll tell that nice doggie.” She pointed with her thumb at Danko.
“How do you know..?” Said Thomas.
The pink ferret shrugged. “El país es pequeño, y el pueblo murmura. Oh, by the way,” She stretched out her paw to Celia. “My name is Dolores and I’d like to keep it that way… Mom.”
“Carmen. Likewise,” said the gray shaking with Thomas. Then she opened her arms. “Now, Papaíto, not even a welcome hug for your bonita?”
Thomas hugged his new pet nervously. He looked at his sister as if to say This better be worthwhile!
“Here,” said Martin, handing the papers to Celia. “Free CarniDiet for a month. In addition, a maze of reassemblable tubes, tubular socks and two shiny paperweights. You’ll find everything at home. Remember to alternate the pet food with raw meat. Never fish, unless you like your ferrets ‘fragrant’. Make sure to keep the girls entertained, or they’ll tear down the furniture. All damage will be paid with your money. All clear?”
Celia snatched the pen and paper from Martin’s hands and signed. “We came to learn about... the exuberance of these creatures (Stupid tubular rats!) during the visits we made to dear Uncle Henry (May you burn in Tartarus cursed maniac animal lover!). We will take proper care of these adorable creatures (I WANT TO MAKE GLOVES WITH THEIR FUR!). Anything else you want to say, Mr. Foster?”
Martin was watching Thomas, who was thrashing around as if he was possessed. He’d let out squeaks of pain, for the joy of the guests.
Shortly thereafter, the ferrets’ heads and then their torsos emerged from the shirt’s sleeves. Dolores and Carmen put their paws to their chest and made a perfect bow for the benefit of their audience. Applause broke out. Thomas began to cry.
Celia sighed. “How remarkable,” she said. “Well, Mr. Foster, it was a very good day for both of us. I wish you all the best with your new job. (DIE! DIE! DIE!)”
The padded door opened.
A black paw emerged from the crack.
Zachary didn’t even pay attention. What was the point in fighting the inevitable?
His mind was tired. His body was weary. His will, defeated. That faint spark that fueled his thoughts still served him to curse the day he was given to Dad. He hadn’t been able to do anything, he was never accepted as part of the family, he was tormented both by the living and the dead. He had no friends... Well, he had at least two, and they were dead. And they never came to visit him. Funny, eh?
Enough, just enough... Come and eat me, as far as I’m concerned. He bowed his head, offering his neck for the coup de grace. He allowed himself a weak chuckle. The doctor would’ve gone nuts trying to understand what had happened to their patient…
His eyes still closed, the rabbit frowned. Since when did his persecutors sound so… concerned?
“Zach, open your eyes, come on,” insisted the voice. A familiar voice, not the monster dog’s. But he couldn’t remember precisely to whom it belonged. He just felt so tired... “There’s someone here who wanted to see you.” A paw came to rest under his chin, lifting his head.
Zachary Arbelt opened his eyes slowly. It must be a trick, their final dirty trick: deceive him and then close those terrible jaws over his neck. Go ahead, can’t you understand that I don’t care anymore?
At first, either by the weakness caused by weeks of starvation diet, or by exhaustion, Zach saw only two large black shadows and two smaller, silvery shadows... Then the rabbit blinked, as he focused on those new shapes. From his mouth came an inarticulate gasp.
“Hello, Mr. Opener,” said the small silver shadows.
Zach snapped his eyes open abruptly! The last spark of his hope was suddenly transformed into a flame, supplying his will to live like a furnace. “Kits..?”
They were there. They looked and smelled real, not ghosts or apparitions, and they were clutching his paws. And they looked so worried... “Mr. Opener, are you okay?”
Zachary threw his arms around their necks. “I... I am. I am now, yes!” he sobbed. He buried his nose into their necks, still terrified that they could disappear at any moment. “I’m fine. And you’re fine. Thanks. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much... You’re fine…” was all he could say for now. He couldn’t find the words for the joy that overwhelmed him in waves...
And this time, when he again saw the monster dog staring at him with hatred, from a corner, Zachary gave him a silent raspberry. Keep waiting for me, beast! I made it and you’re still dead!
The figure seemed to growl, before dissolving into nothingness.
Now, at least he had a reason to live, and he would cling to it with all his might, Tiger or no Tiger!
|Author:||valerio [ Wed May 11, 2011 4:42 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Matt and his parents (C) Karlos. Appearance by kind permission
|Author:||valerio [ Thu May 12, 2011 7:41 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES
Episode 16 – Unlikely friends
Written by VALERIO
Parker House, Babylon Gardens
“So, you promised me an explanation,” Joey said, seriously, his gaze on the creature sitting in his palms.
Squeak the mouse cleared her throat. “You’re right, you’re right. After all, I was the one who told you ad nauseam that I’d had enough with like-sized boyfriends, after what happened to my latest one...” Joey had taken pity on Squeak when she had told him she needed to feel protected, after her boyfriend had been eaten while they were under the mistletoe – Merry Christmas, baby!
And Joey, had been happy to console her and keep her as best friend, at the cost of being labeled as the weird cat lover who had an affair with a mouse.
Squeak blushed slightly, scratching her head, not daring to look behind the green eyes of her great and big friend. “Erm, darling..? About that story...”
“Uh... It wasn’t exactly accurate.”
“What do you mean?”
Squeak hated herself so much at that moment. Joey wasn’t a simpleton or a fool, she knew well. In fact, Joey was smart, devoted, honest, attentive. He was just like his brother Fido, only leaning too much on the naïve side, too open. For him the world was a place with which to interact without restrictions. He didn’t like social barriers. For this too he had founded his own club, the Common Life Society, open to mixed species couples, and had kept Peanut’s relationship with Grape a secret until they had decided to reveal it themselves.
Joey was a wonderful dog, and it was time he found a girl for himself instead of caring for other people’s love matters. She owed him the truth.
“Ah... If you replace ‘kissing under the mistletoe’ with ‘furious quarrel’, and ‘eaten by a cat’ with ‘we broke up’... I would say I was totally honest.” She held out her cheek. “Kissy?”
Joey wasn’t angry. It took a lot to upset him, and when Joey was really, really upset, he spent whole nights to prepare for sessions of D&D to the smallest detail, so that the game could very well play itself like a Jumanji session.
“Why did you lie?”
“Remember the politics nut? Joseph-Boris Trotsky?”
“Yes.” He was the ringleader of the Garden’s revolutionary mice (whatever that term implied) who had informed them about the origins of the killer dogs who terrorized the Gardens.
“That was my boyfriend.”
“I was really fascinated by his revolutionary spirit, when I was younger. He was handsome, charismatic, tough, bossing around together with his brother Karl-Lenin Faust. The ladies loved him like the canine ones love Fido. And I was his favorite, it was a real privilege.” Remembering those moments always gave her a surge of pride.
“And then what happened?” Joey asked, fascinated. He couldn’t imagine his laid back friend as a fiery protester in the name of the Free Mice’s Republic.
“Then the rivalry between Joseph and Karl grew. Two cocky boys like them couldn’t share the chicken coop. There can be only one boss, and so, eventually, Joseph persuaded Karl and his faction to prove their worth by trying to convert a pet to the cause. And he sent them to Peanut and Grape’s place. I guess you know the rest.”
Joey shuddered, remembering how she had described the cat’s BIG mouth when she had swallowed Karl in one mouthful. “He sent his own brother to die?!”
Squeak nodded. “I know how you feel, I’ve been there. I just couldn’t believe he could be so cruel. But then, one day, I eavesdropped on him boasting with his minions about his brilliant plan. He had turned Karl into a token martyr to use for the ‘revolution’: Did you know, for example, that he passed information to the ferals to guide them to the most convenient targets, at the expense of human property?”
“He helps them steal,” Joey said, frowning.
Squeak nodded again. “In exchange for his share. Since Mr. Foster opened his shelter, since he started leaving food for free to the ferals passing by his property, Joseph’s business had started going down the tube. Listen to me, Joey, a mouse may be small, but has a big grudge.”
The young dog scratched behind his ear. “Uhh, I don’t understand: what could a gang of mice do to Uncle Martin? Well, Mizar or Alcor alone would be enough to make a clean sweep. They have been strays for most of their lives, and I think they’d eat the whole revolution as a snack.” Then he stroked Squeak’s head. “Relax, Uncle Martin is perfectly safe. He’s seen worse than a bunch of revolutionary mice, right?”
Squeak didn’t agree with Joey’s lack of concern, but didn’t want to argue with him. “Why do you call him ‘uncle’ too? You’ve not been co-adopted, like Peanut and Grape.” She rubbed her chin. “In fact, every pet here calls him that…”
Joey giggled, blushing slightly. “Heh, it’s true, but for all of us he’s ‘Uncle Martin’ now. He’s done so much for all the animals and their families, he’s boosting our local economy. What else should we call him?”
“I guess you’re right, young man. But now be a good boy and put me down. Spo and I have a date.”
Joey squatted and lowered his paws. “Yours was a fine choice, if I may say so.”
“You have my gracious permission.”
“Spo is a really good mouse. Otherwise he wouldn’t have become friend with Fido.”
“I agree. Did you know that he was an associated of Karl-Lenin?”
“Yup. He abandoned the revolution because all the political plotting disgusted him in the end.”
“Excuse me, one thing,” Joey interrupted.
“By all means, dear.”
“Didn’t you say you broke up with JB because he killed KF? Because Karl was alive when you came to live with me.”
Squeak sighed. Always attentive to details, good dog.
“Believe it or not, he still had a grip on me. He made me believe that Karl had died for the revolution. Only when I found out what kind of monster he was, I decided to quit it altogether, except for professional reasons. After all, personal grudges or not, mice should help each other in emergency situations, and he still has the best information.”
“Got it.” Joey gave her another stroke, brushing her back with a claw “I wish you a happy date with Spo.”
If a mouse could purr, Squeak would have outpurred any cat. “Mmm, you always know how to make a girl happy, you sweet mutt.”
Joey blushed violently, and gently pushed her away, grinning. “Teaser. Now go, shoo.”
“And what will you do? I don’t like leaving you all alone.”
“Oh, I always find something to do, you know it.”
When the mouse was gone, Joey sighed and looked around. Indeed, in his room there were many things to help him pass time... but it was also true that he would’ve liked to cuddle with a nice lady cat. Ironic that the founder of the CLS was still single.
Maybe he could go to the Fosters. They loved to play, and they liked D&D and anime too…
Joey went to the window and leaned against the ledge, cupping his chin in his paws. The street was deserted, except for those few animals that were going to play at the park. But he didn’t want to risk being the local wallflower while everyone was busy having fun, and he was still definitely too shy to ask a girl out. *sigh!* He so envied Peanut: That guy had never given up his dream of being with Grape, and was ready to step aside, just for her. How many times must she have tried to close him in the Friends Zone?
Joey sighed again. He hadn’t had the luck of living with another cat. Maybe he could ask Dad for a housemate! Even better, someone his age, someone to grow up with, to fall in love with…
Then, as an answer to his prayers, he saw on the street just someone who could help him! His face lit up and he jumped out from the window.
Bloody National Sport, I was right! the lavender cat thought, hearing her name screamed loudly. She tried to ignore Joey’s call, but Peanut had stopped and turned, then waving at his younger friend he shouted out. “Hey, Joey!”
The dog almost screeched to a halt in front of the most famous pet couple in the Gardens. He was panting like a bellows. “Excuse me... Wow, beautiful collars *pant pant!* You took a bath? *Pant pant!*”
Peanut and Grape were wearing the luxury collars given them by Selene. She put a paw on Joey’s shoulder. “I’d say it’s weird that someone risked a heat stroke just to comment on our appearance, but I won’t judge you. So, anything we can do for you?”
“Ah...” Just like Peanut did under stress, Joey started tapping his fingers, not daring to remove his eyes from the road. “Eh, you two... I...”
This time, Grape squeezed a bit harder, making the poor dog startle. “Joey, you’re a nice guy and also a pleasant person to talk to, but still the heat is unbearable, and Peanut and I are going to the Schrodinger Circle, where they don’t like laggards. If you want to talk, do it while walking with us, okay? “
Joey’s expression lit up. “Can I come with you?”
Peanut and Grape glanced at each other. The cat scratched behind her head. “Err, Joey, you understand that you can’t go beyond their fences, right?” Despite Babylon Gardens being completely and absolutely Pet Friendly, with no movement restrictions altogether, Poe Plaza was pure high rank and breed when it came to pet owners and their pets. It wasn’t forbidden to walk in that block, but nothing forbid their residents to scorn you out of there either.
Peanut and Grape were admitted for three reasons:
1) Both were now ‘related’ to the richest man in the Gardens, as well as greatest philanthropist.
2) They were both heroes for fighting an assassin dog to defend their family, Peanut risking his own life.
3) Both personally knew Miss Auburn, the author of the blockbuster series Pridelands. During the inauguration of the new shelter, the Lucky Charm Grove for the Abandoned and the Ferals, she and her pet Res had spent their time with them! The pictures portraying them were becoming screensavers on many gizmos.
From plebeian to the Circle’s most precious gems. Selene, the President, had all intentions to display Peanut and Grape as her best friends ever.
At the request of Joey, who was wagging his tail and grinning like a puppy ready for his treat, Grape shrugged. “Let’s do it this way: I’ll vouch for you, and we’ll see if they dare to deny me this favor. But you won’t act weird, okay?”
“YAY!” Joey planted a kiss on her cheek, leaving her blushing and flabbergasted. “Thank you, my friends!”
Peanut patted him on his back. “I thank you, Joey: You helped me a lot when I needed someone. I owe you big time.”
This time it was Joey to scoff like a girl. “Nah, it was my pleasure, buddy.”
Much, much less happy was Fido, at that moment.
Could he reproach himself for the consequences of his decision? No.
He feared that this moment would come, but had he actually expected it would? No.
Ironic, wasn’t it?
Bino, Joey, Fox, Rex, Sasha, King, Peanut, Grape... His brother and his best friends for a long time knew everything about his relationship with the cat, Sabrina. They knew, and they had respected the couple’s privacy. Bino had been the real surprise, what with his chronic jealousy toward his older brother. Bino had the ultimate blackmail weapon but he had not used it. And that, eventually, had encouraged Fido to come out to his colleagues at the precinct.
It was simply logical to assume that there would be no problems. Those were his colleagues, for heaven’s sake! He spent more time with them than he with did the other pet dogs, they had resolved many cases together, spent many good times outside work...
And now he was living his worst nightmare. And, worse still, Fido felt as if it was actually his fault, for not keeping the secret...
The mind of the police dog went again to the moment Sabrina had won over every hesitation and had kissed him in front of his friends. He remembered the fear and the ecstasy mixing as he returned the kiss, fearing he was about to lose everything he had worked so hard for, proud to say with that gesture I LOVE THIS CAT! For the whole world to see.
And his brother and his friends had responded by congratulating him, wishing him their best. Not to the hero of the Gardens, but to their friend. Fido had felt on top of the world.
He couldn’t believe that his colleagues could throw him into the depths of the abyss.
“It’s a question of image, my boy,” said Ralph, the German shepherd who was Fido’s superior officer. “I know you excel at this job... Heck, everyone knows that.” He couldn’t find the right words.
“But you can’t run the risk that the canine corps is completely discredited by the presence of a... weirdo in their ranks.” “Heh, already they’re telling jokes about you saving lady cats from the trees,” said Ralph, trying to cheer the poor lad up. He had read his father’s Bible in his spare time, and knew exactly how Judas felt. To his credit, he was honestly mortified, and his body language spoke volumes.
“We’re not tossing you out, Fido, I wouldn’t allow it. But I must move you to the low-profile duties. I’m sorry.” Ralph had tried to defend Fido as long as possible, but then had come the first more concrete clues of what the K9Us thought of their top dog dating a cat. Balls of cat fur in the cabinet, spring mice, fish bones... Nothing dangerous, but very indicative of the moral status.
And since there was no dog union to turn to, either these things were settled between the dogs or they weren’t settled at all.
Coexistence would degenerate. The humans wouldn’t have tossed a good police dog out, but enforcing discipline would’ve added to the troubles. They would’ve asked Fido’s owner to talk Fido out of the corps.
And even if Fido ignored it all and stayed in the K9U, one day a fellow officer would have left him in trouble in the middle of a mission just to teach him a lesson. And without trust, there was no Unit.
Fido sighed and put a paw on Ralph’s shoulder. “Hey, Sarge, I know you’ve done what you could. I was the idiot that–”
“You are not an idiot, officer!” growled the German shepherd. “Stop pitying yourself, all right!?”
Fido withdrew his paw as if he had touched a live cable.
Ralph’s claws dug into the bench. His fangs were bared in a ferocious growl. “They are the idiots! Of all the idiotic concepts that an animal can take from a human, specism is the worst. If I had to trust my life to someone in here, it would be you, and now I have to send you to the grunt shifts because you’re in love with a cat!” Ralph drew a deep breath, then seemed to calm down. It was he who put a comforting hand on the arm of his colleague, then. “Look, one way or the other I’ll solve this mess, I promise. Okay?”
Fido nodded with a bitter smile. “Okay, Sarge.”
Ralph stood up. “I’m going to forward your ‘request’ to be transferred to the grunt shift. At least, no one will disturb you there.” He gave him a mock punch on the cheek. “Cheer up, Officer, we shall overcome.”
Fido wagged his tail. Ralph never spoke to give air to his mouth: he may have lacked a sense of humor, but he spoke with his heart. And his words made Fido feel like there was really a hope for his career, after all.
“We shall overcome, Sarge. Thank you.”
Ralph winked. “My duty, future Sergeant Fido!”
|Author:||valerio [ Thu May 12, 2011 3:01 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Poe Plaza 1, Babylon Gardens
“My dear!” said Selene, going to meet her special guests. “You don’t know how happy we are to have you aboard!” She quickly shook paws with Grape, then with Peanut. At that point, her gaze fell on Joey. Selene had the same perplexed look of a John Widdicomb decorator at the sight of an Ikea lamp in the middle of the living room.
“What is that?” she whispered in Grape’s ear.
The lavender cat whispered back, “One of our dearest friends. If he doesn’t stay, we won’t stay. He’s got a name: Joey.”
The Shenigan cat’s lips stirred in a smile, but you could hear her teeth grinding like a pirate’s. “Fine,” she managed to croak. “We are absolutely delighted to have your friend with us. Joey,” she went to shake paws with the young dog. “It’s a real honor. And now excuse me, I’ll be back in a moment.” She ran into the house.
Grape was sure she was going to wash her hands very thoroughly. Yes, bringing Joey had been a good idea, after all.
As far as he was concerned, Joey felt like a classic fish out of water... But what had he been thinking to come here? He didn’t know any of these cats, and judging from the looks that he was getting, they certainly didn’t want to know him!
Joey looked at the pieces of fresh fruit kept in ice, in small cups. His stomach growled, it was really hot and that food looked so inviting... But at the same time he felt as if he hadn’t the permission to even look at it ...
“Would you like a cup?” asked a voice behind him. Joey’s floppy ears stood up as much as possible.
The dog turned and saw who the female voice belonged to.
It wasn’t exactly love at first sight. But, like Peanut, Joey could tell feline beauty, and he was positively dumbstruck.
Joey was speechless in front of the beautiful, big feline creature who was holding out a cup full of fruit pieces from which protruded colored toothpicks.
She was a Maine Coon, proud and tall like a tiger. Her striped coat showed black gloves and socks. Her eyes were two perfect jades where the thin slit pupils almost disappeared. “Well, stranger,” she said in a voice of pure velvet and a smile worthy of the Mona Lisa, “you no longer hungry?”
Joey nodded mechanically, and took a piece of fruit at random. Mmm, not bad, his eyes said, although it was hard to tell if it was his taste buds or his hormones speaking. Surely this heavenly creature made every female he had laid his eyes on look like a mangy stray. “Charmed,” he said after swallowing. “My name is Joey. Thanks for the offer.”
“My pleasure, Joey. My name is Cornelia. “
Joey looked up as he tried to remember the name. “Oh! The daughter of Scipio Africanus,” The data flowed from his numerous sessions of Civilization. “Mother of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. The woman who most contributed to the spread of Hellenic culture into Rome!”
The cat was pleasantly surprised. “Hmm, you’re a learned boy. I appreciate it... Say, Joey, why don’t we search for a quieter corner? There is no one on the other side of the house. I’d like to get to know you better.”
Joey felt himself blush. In his mind, he saw Cupid aiming at him with all of his arrows. “Oh... really?”
Cornelia laughed. “Really. You may look like a shy guy, but you are educated and funny.” In a whisper, she added, “Which beats all of the males in this club. She held out her arm to him. “Now, won’t you escort a lady in a proper manner?”
Wagging like a hyperenthusiastic puppy, Joey took her arm. All of his previous fears had dissolved under the light of her jade eyes. “Can I ask you something, Cornelia?”
The pair walked toward the other end of the building. She nodded. “Shoot.”
“You... Do you really find me interesting? Won’t you end up in trouble for being with me?”
Cornelia replied with a smile full of teeth. “Yes, I think you’re interesting. At least, when compared to those walking mannequins, you seem to have emotions, like your two friends. And if you want to be even more interesting, it will depend on you… Oh, and by the way, I’m sorry but I’m not interested in a commitment, although I am happy that such a cute young guy like yourself finds ol’ Cornelia Elftrudis Tudor IV a suitable suitor.”
Joey’s shoulder sagged. Well, it was true that he was running, to say the least, but…
“…But don’t worry. We can be friends, and if it’s a feline heart you are seeking, I will gladly be of assistance.”
And hope soared high again.
The orange-furred pitbull started. “What now?” he hissed through clenched teeth. He thought it was bad enough when his Dad shouted his name to call him, but at least it was for some logical reason.
Yet, a promise was a promise, and the dog left the peace of his bedroom. Baree, Son of Kazan would have to wait. “Coming, master, coming,” he said out loud, making sure the owner of the voice calling him heard his contempt.
But Tiger wasn’t angry, deep within. He only liked to make his POV known.
He was happy, honest-to-earth happy hearing that voice. He had prayed to hear it again, in the last days. Heck, he had even kept himself from all food outside his regular meals. He had been so scared that he couldn’t have eaten anyway.
Tiger opened the door ad entered. “Here I am. What can I do for you?”
Zachary was lying in his bed, all snuggled up in a light sheet, despite it being a hot day. He was holding out an empty glass with a straw and a paper umbrella in it. “More tomato and carrot juice,” he said happily.
Tiger took the glass. “But no more ice cubes, or you’ll get sick for real. And try to make it last, glutton, your body is not used to your regular diet yet.”
Zachary nodded. “And don’t forget—”
The dog rolled his eyes. “Olive oil, a drop of tobacco, a drop of lemon. Sheesh, I’ve fixed you a dozen of these veggie ‘screwdrivers’, man.”
“I love you too, bro.”
Shaking his head, Tiger went out the room. “And don’t try to leave the premises without me or Marvin, or Dad will lock you up at the shelter’s clinic. Zach?”
“Yes?” The rabbit’s whiskers quivered.
“It’s… good to have you home. Next time you want to save the world, tell us, OK? We’ll face it together.”
Zachary winked. “Count on it. And now go, my faithful minion. Your master needs his liquid strength.”
A rare quiet afternoon for these two pets.
Jeff was working hard to prepare scripts for his classes. He had dug up his old material and adapted it to meet the needs of animals instead of humans. Luckily, there wasn’t only Pridelands in this world. Rewriting the Wolves of Time saga was proving both exciting and taxing. And so, during afternoons, Jeff slept heavily. Even better, he’d wake up in a cheerful humor. Having a real and well paid job had worked miracles for him.
His pets had no intention of causing a fuss during those hours. With the hot weather, they laid sprawled in the living room, in the cool conditioned climate. Bino listened to a tape of the Doors on his Sony Walkman, Max, his reading glasses on, was reading a novel by Vince Flynn.
That quiet afternoon was interrupted when Max heard someone say, “Bino?”
Max took like a minute to realize who had just entered – of all the animals in the Gardens who’d have a reason to miss his shift at work, Fido was the least of them. Something really, really serious must have happened, by the look on Fido’s face.
Max tapped on Bino’s nose. “21st century to Bino. We have a problem.”
“GAK!” Bino sat up, rubbing his nose. “Any reason for leaving you alive, you dirty—” then he saw his brother.
And he got scared.
Going out was like going from a refrigerator to an oven. In the flickering air of the afternoon, Fido sat on the steps at the shade of the porch, his ever-present sunglasses trodden on his face.
The police dog was staring at the ground. He stood immobile, barely breathing.
Bino had never seen him like that. A moment before, he was positively sure that something very bad had happened to Sabrina, only something like that could turn the brave dog in that species of zombie. “Ah, Fido..?” He put his paw on his brother’s shoulder, but there was no reaction.
A million thoughts ran in Bino’s mind. For sure, right now, all his envy, his old rancor, all negative feelings he had ever felt for his brother had dissolved. He simply couldn’t stand seeing him like that. “Fido? If it’s not Sabrina, what happened? Please, you’re scaring me.”
“Sabrina won’t answer the phone,” said Fido. His voice was flat, and it caused Bino to shiver in spite of the summer heat. “I’m sorry to bother you. Sasha is out too. The others are at the park and I… I don’t know who else I could talk to.”
Bino knew at that moment what had happened. He thought back at his old dreams to see his ‘glory-sponge’ brother fall from his throne, ridicule him to bring him back among the mortals... Yes. He had so much wanted to give Fido a taste of humility.
Not destroy him. “Brother...” He didn’t want to destroy the one dog that had made it possible for Sasha to find a new family and renew her happiness. “Hey, it’s alright—” right after saying that he felt the urge to eat two military hard boots. He shut up and decided that a hug would have been better.
Fido let himself be hugged, and laid his head on Bino’s shoulder. “You’re right, it’s not so bad,” he said in that flat tone. “They put me on the daily shifts, the ‘grunt shifts’. And Sabrina and I can make the best of the nights to come. They didn’t kick me out of the corps… it’s just… that…” Fido wrapped his arms around Bino, forgetting his strength. Bino suppressed the urge to yowlp. “It’s just that I can’t find Sabrina.” Now his voice was starting to crack. His body was shaking furiously. “I can’t find Sabrina,” he repeated. “I didn’t want to disturb you, you’re not some spare part, I just need to talk to someone…”
Bino angrily silenced the little voice inside him that said ‘Cheer up, it wasn’t your doing!’
Stroking Fido’s back, he whispered, “Shhhh, I’m here. And I’ll always be here, brother, just as you’ve always been there for me. Okay? Just tell me who I have to expel from the Good Ol’ Dogs Club, and before that I’ll rip him a new one.”
Fido regained some self-control. “Heh, always the gentledog.” He broke the hug. He lowered his gaze again. “I don’t know what to do. One year of intensive training, day after day working my butt off to give the best of my life for the others, and I’m happy I did it.” He let out a chuckle that sounded like a crazed dog’s. “I could’ve simply spared myself all the sweat, I just needed to tell the others I’m a weird cat-lover. At least, I’d be leading a tranquil life and I wouldn’t have given you any problems with being ‘Fido’s brother’.”
“Hey.” Bino stroked the base of Fido’s neck. He remembered when they were all puppies, all together under the same roof, before being separated. The rivalry there were yet to come, and he, Fido and Joey were just happy to be together.
Despite the circumstances, that feeling was back: Bino was happy to have his brother beside him, happy that in this difficult moment Fido had turned to his family. “Just try not to think too hard about it, all right? Just prove to those ungrateful mutts that you’re way better than then. Work your butt off back into the night shifts again, keep the neighborhood safe like you normally do, and I will make sure that no one of that pack of Judases will ever get close to you as long as I’m the President.”
Fido nodded. “You know? I knew that despite our disagreements we’d be able to act like a family, one day. I missed talking with you, little bro.”
Bino shook his head. “I still can’t figure how you can be so patient with me. I did my best to ruin your PR since the day you came back from the Academy.”
Fido blushed. “Consider it my dues for putting you through all that trouble. Everyone knows me as the nice top dog, but when we were puppies, it was I who ruined your life. I owe you a lot for taking the blame.”
Bino scoffed. “A brother’s gotta do what a brother’s gotta do. You defended me from the bullies, so we’re even. I love you, bro.”
This time it was Fido who ruffled Bino’s head fur. “I never doubted it. And you’re right: I will do my best until they have to get me back in. Also, this will give us more time to get reunited.” Fido winked. “Been a long time since we played together with the old rubber, eh?”
Bino wagged. “You’re so right. I’m sure it’s in that box we had when we lived with our first Dad. Give me a minute and I’ll get—”
“BALL!” The object in question, a hard rubber white ball covered with many-colored spots, jumped happily alongside the dogs, immediately drawing their attention to itself.
In a few moments, despite the afternoon temperature, Fido and Bino, barking like two puppies, threw themselves after their prey.
From the threshold, Max smiled smugly. Now he could go back reading in peace without all the psychodrama. When those two were finished, they’d been way too exhausted to…
Maxwell’s gaze fell on the rubber tube neatly coiled just nearby. His mouth opened in the familiar devilish grin. Ohh, bad kitty, bad! But when would another opportunity like that just happen?
Bino and Fido were struggling and panting, in a vain attempt to keep the ball. Fido was the one who knew how to make better use of the technique, but Bino was a living flash, and compensated for the lack of tactical finesse.
The game had come to an apparent standstill, with the two of them locked together in an attempt to steal the ball from each other’s paws... when a blast of icy water hit them at full force, soaking them like two sponges!
The moment of surprise passed, both dogs turned slowly to Maxwell, who was laughing like an idiot, one paw holding the hose and the other ready on the faucet. “Oh, boy, two with one blast! You so look like two wet kittens! Hehehehe…”
Fido and Bino exchanged a knowing look. Then they split, moving on all 4s like ferals, in a perfect pincer maneuver.
Max moved the still dripping hose from a dog to the other. He was still grinning, but there was a hint of fear in that expression. “Ah? Uh, guys? Come on, don’t look at me like that. It was just… a joke? Ha ha?”
Fido and Bino kept approaching.
“Daddy..?” squeaked the poor cat before they leapt at him!
Has it already been mentioned that Max HATED getting wet?
“How old are you?” Joey asked Cornelia.
Dog and cat were sitting in the shade of the large oak tree that occupied almost the entire south side of the garden.
“Didn’t your parents teach you?” asked the cat. “A lady should not be asked these things, you know.”
Joey felt himself blush again. “I’m sorry.”
Cornelia laughed. “Ah, I was kidding, silly. I am eighteen years old.”
“Wow.” Joey stared. “I mean, it doesn’t show at all, I thought you were just about a little older than Grape…”
Cornelia took his paw in hers. “Aw, you’re so sweet. And let’s see, how old are you?”
“Four...” he said with an embarrassed tone.
“Really? Oh, that’s why I took a liking to you all of a sudden. You remind me of Speed!”
“A pup that I had taken care of when I was fifteen. He was a beagle so full of energy that it would take a pack of wolves to keep up with him, not an old matron like me.”
“You brought up a dog?”
Cornelia shrugged. “Surprised, young man? After my first litter, I’ve been a mother at heart. I have babysat half of the pets you see here, and I intend to do so until I haven’t the strength to do so anymore.” Then she ruffled Joey’s head. “And you’re so cute. Did you hope to find your sweetie at this boring party?”
Joey wanted to dig a pit under the tree and respond from there. “Yes...”
“Don’t be ashamed. You’ll have better luck… if you’ll try with someone from outside this place.” She leaned her head to kiss him on the cheek.
It was the first kiss, despite being only a friendly peck, that Joey had ever received from a female cat. His heart stopped for two or three seconds. His ears went up like two antennas. His pupils almost disappeared. “Ih,” was the only thing he said, like a feeble chirping. “Ih.”
Cornelia leaned back on the tree. “Not so bad, see? Now you know something that will turn useful during your first date. And even when you find your true love, I hope we still can be friends. Just don’t take too long, I’m no longer a kitten, you know.”
Joey was thinking that he would never wash that cheek. When the cat’s words reached his higher mental functions, he said, “Thank you, Cornelia. Really.”
“Very well.” The cat stretched, stood up, then went up to Joey to lie down on his legs!
Joey’s face reddened like a fox’s. His heart stopped again, this time for 6 seconds. His soul tried to leave his body. “Ih.”
From her position, Cornelia looked into his eyes. “Cats adore these petty... physical attentions, puppy. If you keep your distance from your date, she might perceive it as a sign not to go beyond the ‘friend zone’. And stop looking at me like that: I been giving romantic advice to aspiring Romeos since before you were born. I like that my friends have success with their dates, and the heck with the species differences.”
Joey was still paralyzed. He only knew that if it was a dream, he didn’t want to wake up…
“Joey!” A sound of breaking glass accompanied the voice of Maxwell. The young dog sighed, and saw that the cat was leaning over the fence, staring at him and Cornelia with great curiosity.
“Hello, Cornelia,” said the black cat. “Always ready to lend out a paw, I see.”
The Maine Coon stood up. “You’re just jealous, Maxwell Costner.”
“What?” Joey asked, sounding irritated, something very rare to hear from him. “What happened to your fur?” He added, noting that the cat looked like he had just taken the bath of his life.
“Forget it,” Max muttered, “Look, we need you at my place. It’s about Fido.”
Grape wanted to die.
She had spent the last hour answering a lot of questions from her fans or just curious pets, and she felt as if she were surrounded by a tangle of weeds. Everybody wanted to stick to the celebrity, but nobody seemed willing to talk with her. She was alone in that crowd.
The humans had a concept for such a thing, ‘trophy wife’. To be exposed, but not to be touched. Interaction verboten!
She had managed to go to the buffet table, where she was toying with an olive kept between her claws. Peanut was getting bored into a coma. She couldn’t think of an act of vandalism that wouldn’t look like a kitten’s petty vengeance.
Chapeau, Selene Shenigan. That tricky feline had thought it out well, she had done her duty, inviting her and Peanut, and had given her a taste of the social differences that would forever separate their worlds. Whatever Grape could do to ‘cheer up’ the party would’ve caused shrugs and polite scorn, but never the reaction, for example, she had gotten from Bino and his gang when she had spoiled The Game.
It was on occasions like this that she missed Max. He would’ve brought life into the party, all right!
“Heck,” she muttered, before eating the olive. She wanted to take a nap, she needed an excuse to leave that place and save her dignity. Perhaps she could punch Selene… No, Maxie wouldn’t have appreciated that.
“Grape? Peanut? I’m sorry, but I must go.”
Joey’s voice made Grape’s ears perk up. Perhaps Saint Anthony Abbot hadn’t abandoned her, after all.
Peanut and Grape rose. “What’s the matter? Oh, hello Max.” Speak of the devil!
Joey waved to his friends to come forward. He didn’t want the gossips to hear him. Then he whispered, “It’s Fido. He’s got a problem, he needs me.”
It was like having said that the world had just turned inside out like a glove! And that worried her a lot. “We’ll come with you.”
|Author:||valerio [ Fri May 13, 2011 5:32 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Joey had never gotten angry.
Irritated? You could count that on your fingers. It usually took Lester or Bino to irritate Joey.
Other than that, if Joey had ever gotten angry, no one had seen him in such a state.
While hugging Fido to console him, his face twisted into an expression that Bino, Max, Peanut and Grape had never seen. It was as if dear, sweet Joey’s evil twin had materialized out of nowhere. And he had sharp teeth! “Hypocrite. Ugly hypocritical coward...” he was muttering/growling.
“Who are you talking about?” asked Fido, breaking the hug.
“ Jerry,” said Joey, his voice trembling with rage.
Fido knew one by one all the dogs of the K-9 Unit. Jerry was a fine member, a tireless Italian Hound. “You know him?”
Joey nodded. “Jerry’s girlfriend is Trixie, ring any bells?” He looked at Grape and Max, answered with an amazed look.
Trixie was a cat! So, it looked like one of the dogs who had scorned Fido for confessing his relationship with a cat wasn’t exactly of true heart with his sense of ethics.
“Joey...” Fido tried, but his brother looked like he was out for blood.
Max, Grape and Peanut, who were keeping a respectful distance from the dogs sitting in the kitchen, looked at each other worried. They too were mad at Fido’s colleagues for that backstabbing, for wanting to kick him out because of his relationship, but to see Joey like that was really scary!
“If he thinks he can get away with this, well, he’s so wrong!” growled Joey. His blue eyes were almost flaming. “He actually congratulated me on my new club. He told me he and Trixie would sign up as soon as they were ready, that for now he didn’t want to make it public… And that he really envied you two,” he pointed at Peanut and Grape. His voice was rising to a hysteric pitch. “He even told me jokes about you needing a nice cat in your life, Fido!”
“Now calm down,” Fido interrupted him. His cold, professional tone somehow managed to channel the attention of another dog better than a growl or a bite.
Joey suddenly came to reason, although still baffled by his own reaction. “Fido…”
But Fido wasn’t angry. In fact, he ruffled his youngest brother’s head fur. “Thank you for reminding me, li’l bro. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’. I had to be the first to remember this rule, to work with the others. And in a business like ours, you don’t play the social revolution.” Fido took Joey’s paw between his own, and gave a weak smile to others present. “I thank you all, really. You are my best friends, and I am so lucky to have you. However, I took a responsibility by disclosing my privacy, and I did it by my own free will.
“I was hurt, yes, but as Bino said, I’m still standing, and I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud to be in love with a wonderful creature like Sabrina, and I’m proud, again, to have good people like you at my side. I will fight to stay in the police, this I promise. The slandering of some bigots won’t keep this dog down. Thank you, folks, for offering me your shoulders to cry on.” He bowed his head. “Thank you...” Then his brothers both hugged him. Peanut put up his best ‘dawww’ face.
Grape and Max exchanged a look. They were happy for misjudging Bino, all this time, He could still be a downright jerk in several matters, but when it came to family he was really a better dog than that. And that was what mattered.
“Bino? Joey?” Fido asked. The two dogs nodded in unison. “No acts of vengeance, okay? Do it for me. Triggering a retaliation will not change their mind, and will not improve things between me and them. In addition, humans may eventually decide that relationships like mine, instead of being ‘cute’, could be a problem and ban them as a requirement.”
Bino and Joey sighed, crestfallen, but knew he was right. For Bino it was even more frustrating: he was the local dogs’ ringleader, but he knew his enemies were planning to destroy him! Now that Fido risked being expelled from the K9U, now that Fido risked not beng the beloved ‘Top Dog’, the traitors at the Good Ol’ Dogs Club could hold a vote to force him out of Presidency!
Oooh, look who hadn’t thought of that, when he planned the downfall of the glory-sponge! said that malignant voice. Bino mentally facepawlmed. D’oh!
Bino then gave a thumbs up to his brother. “No bloodshed. Promise.” But boy, I’ll so give them a good hard time!
Joey did the same. “Same. Although a prank every now and then…”
Fido shook his head. “You will do no such thing because I’m sure Max and the Four Musketeers will be busy doing that already, am I right, guys?”
Grape was rubbing her paws. “You can bet on it, cop boy. You and your bros will come out of this squeaky clean, and we’re not family, so just try and stop us. Right, Maxie?”
The black cat felt his heart melt when she grinned at him. “Just tell me how bad I must hurt them, ma belle, and I will lay their skins at your feet.”
“Guys…” Fido appreciated their zeal. “Remember, I don’t want an all-out war. Although yes, I think they deserve something for being such jerks.”
Bino slapped him hard on the back! “Now that’s my big bro! I was wondering what it’d take to take out your ol’ mean streak!”
Fido grinned. “Oh, I’ll enjoy the show, all right.”
“But where is Sabrina?” asked Peanut, looking around. He had expected to find her there already.
The police dog shook his head. “She’s staying at home, together with Tarot. Except that one day she came to visit us at Foster Mansion, she’s not coming out. I know, perhaps I’m just overreacting, but she’s never acted like this. On the phone, she said she was fine. I know her enough to tell she’s not lying, yet…” He sighed. “I guess I can only trust her judgment now, although – no offense, here, guys – I’d really have preferred her to be here.”
Bino shrugged. “None taken. When do you start your new shifts?”
“Tomorrow.” Fido yawned. “Uhm, I guess this was a tiresome day, after all.”
“You could crash here,” Bino offered. “And you too, Joey. We could watch Doc & Smith on my VHS, like we did when we were pups.” He nudged Fido. “Come on, I know you’d like to be in the company of your new housemate more, eh?”
Fido shook his head, chuckling. “Will you relax, paranoid hound? Sasha still loves you, though heaven help me if I understand why.”
The two dogs exchanged a raspberry and gave each other a playful punch in the shoulder, while saying “Dope.” Then they touched each other’s index. “Jinx.”
“I wish I could do something,” said Peanut as the couple left the house. At least, judging by the sounds coming from the house, some pets were having a good time.
“You said it,” said Grape, slapping her fist against her palm. She intended to keep her promise: those hypocrite mutts would pay dearly, after Max and the Musketeers did a serious brainstorming.
What if the cop-ocrites gave trouble to her and Peanut, for example? Or to any other mixed couples if an emergency occurred? No, oh, no, she would have none of that!
The couple was about to enter their house when they heard the voice coming from the bushes. “Who said that?” asked Peanut.
“Down here, dog!” said the same voice. Both lowered their heads. “Hey, Spo,” said Grape. “Squeak.”
“Let us in,” said the female mouse. “We have something to say to you. In private.”
Once in the room – not without passing first into the kitchen to fix a snack for themselves and their unusual guests – Grape closed the door. “All right you two,” she said to the mice, who were sitting in the hands of Peanut. “You already know I won’t eat you, so you can speak freely and of your will.”
“Thank you, Countess,” said Spo, politely bowing. “How about some juicy private information on the habits of certain police dogs? Would that make you happy enough?”
Peanut and Grape were all ears.
“How good is this information,” asked the cat.
Spo vainly rubbed his knuckles on his chest. “Let’s say that I discovered that there was an advantage in spending all that time inside a locker of their dressing room. First-rate enough for ya?”
Grape licked her lips as if she was facing the most delicious piece of food ever seen. “Spit it out, and I shall repay you with so many cereals you could drown in them.”
“For heaven’s sake,” Spo scoffed. “This all comes for free. I’m serving the community like a good ol’ honest and upright citizen.” Those mangy mutts will learn better than picking on my bestest friend, hah!
The Dalmatian Sonny was helping his partner, agent Richards, who was on duty at the reception. She’d work on the papers and the phones, he’d put the things in their order, check e-mails and check every mail item.
The station was quiet, as always: apart from the recent killer dogs crisis and the kidnapping of Fox, Babylon Gardens was mostly a tranquil place indeed, on the felonies side. The job was great, but the shifts at the central were boring – oh well, once Fido took the grunt shift, Sonny and someone else would have more time to go out on daily patrol and enjoy some socializing. It beat staying closed in the station.
Too bad Fido had proven himself to be such a… Sonny shivered at the thought, but another consoled him: Mors tua, vita mea, ol’ fella. What was important was that Fido couldn’t taint the reputation of the corps by showing himself around with the uniform! And to think they respected him! Think you know a guy, then ew!
Sonny was wondering what to do with that stupid mixed couples club. But Joey was blood with Fido and Bino, too much trouble to bull-charge into that matter, although they could take care of some couples, just for an example…
The image of a butler holding out a silver tray with flashing ‘1’ over it appeared in the corner of the screen.
Sonny clicked on the butler, and opened the mailbox.
Sonny frowned: The sender was a John Smith. There were no attachments, and the antivirus found no threats. Just plain text, directed to him.
The title of the e-mail, unlike the sender’s name, was more intriguing, and it surely didn’t suggest spam. It read: SKELETON DANCE
A hacker? Nah, too obvious... and then, the terminal was virtually isolated from the mainframe, to avoid tricks like viruses and spambots disguised as requests for help. The task of those who were at the terminal was to click, read, print and deliver to the office concerned, presto.
Sonny yawned. Well, if it was something big, he could take part in the investigation… *Click*
Patricia was immersed in the compilation of a thick form, and didn’t see the Dalmatian open his eyes wide, in sheer terror.
Sonny didn’t dare to breathe. He was sick.
The thick lines that filled the document were the death sentence of half of the K9 Corps. Unambiguous words and phrases appeared alongside names and surnames, just as if a microphone had listened to every word spoken by the dogs throughout the building, basement to roof.
Sonny quickly read that document. Ten pages! God, here are things that we said in the cleaning closets!
The mail ended with a very explicit warning: You may not like Fido’s relationship. You’ll like it even less that YOUR habits became known to the general public. Leave him alone, and you’ll save your career. Keep harassing him, and before the weekend comes, people will have A LOT to gossip about. I’m keeping an eye and an ear on you. A friend.
P.S. - This message will self-destruct in 3-2-1 ---
The mail automatically deleted, leaving behind a very, very scared dog...
|Author:||huntersunday [ Fri May 13, 2011 8:06 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
I like that the dogs are put in there place very nice also love how you brought spo's locker visits into use also quite nice keep up the great work
|Author:||valerio [ Fri May 13, 2011 1:39 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES
Episode 17 – Shadows of the past
Written by VALERIO (Later revised by OBBL)
Sandwich House, Babylon Gardens
Peanut was playing with the Foster pets at Martin’s. Never was with Peanut, as usual. Mom and Dad were at work at the new shelter. Fido was still confined to the ‘grunt shift’, but his colleagues at the precinct had stopped harassing him. Bino, on the other hand, had rediscovered his relationship with his elder brother, and now they really had each other’s backs.
Hmmm *purr* The lavender cat turned in her favorite chair, on which she was laying with her legs curled up against her chest.
No sir, nothing could go wrong today...
Lucky Charm Grove for the Abandoned and the Ferals
“Hello, Laddie,” said Jill to the border collie mix. The dog was standing in front of a snack vending machine. The special collar of each guest of the shelter contained a real database on his or her health, meals consumed, dietary requirements... and quantity of snacks allowed in a day, to be dispensed at specific intervals, so the guests wouldn’t stuff themselves.
The machine’s reader examined the border collie’s data, and the keypad lit up for the allowed choices. “Good morning, Mrs. Jill,” said the dog, waving his arm. Then he pressed the button for the selection, and shortly thereafter took out a beef jerky bar.
Jill Sandwich stooped to give the dog a hug. “Just Jill will do, dear, hm?”
The dog opened the package and shrugged. “Heh, old habits die hard: under the old management, we could only address the staff as ‘Sir’... when we were allowed to speak.”
Jill gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Soon you’ll learn not to watch your back, love. You’ll see.”
Laddie wagged his tail and bit into a piece of the jerky. “Believe me, we’ve already stopped. I can’t believe things turned out so good… even if we’re still not allowed to cross the doorway.”
Janet too didn’t like the idea of animals confined in a place against their will; but Martin had fought hard to make sure the bureaucracy couldn’t force him to put a guest down because of some ‘term limit’. This implied, like it or not, that the guests couldn’t leave the shelter under any circumstance, save a catastrophe.
Laddie swallowed the mouthful and took a second. “Actually, the thing that we don’t like most is these automatic gizmos. Ain’t we governed too much by databases and watches? We can’t be hungry when the clock tells us so.”
Jill went to the bench nearby. She sat and gestured the dog to join her. When Laddie was seated, she said, “You see, Martin thinks that you all will have a better chance to be adopted and stay with your new families, if you’re in good shape and housebroken. Healthy dietary habits and good manners are a winning ticket for a pet. Also, I seem to remember the kitchen staff handing out some extra calories, hm?”
“Yeah.” Laddie finished the snack, then crumpled the wrapper and threw it in the trash bin next to the bench. “I sure hope this routine will be of help. I miss having a family.”
Jill took his paw in her hands. “Hey. It’s all about patience. We’re doing our best, and you believe it, right?”
“Would you have believed, when you were living in the old shelter, that things would have improved so much?”
The collie sighed. “I believe that if it were not for Mr. Foster, now I would be flying as a cloud of ashes, up there.” He looked upwards. Laddie then joined his paws to his chest and whispered a short prayer in honor of the many, too many innocents that had passed through the crematorium of the old shelter.
Jill prayed, instead, that there wouldn’t be too many animals to rescue after summer holidays, one of the most critical periods, together with Christmas.
At least, this period of tranquility allowed her to train at the shelter’s veterinarian clinic. She thought that the Haichiko Mercy was a good hospital, but here there were technological solutions straight from a dream. Dr. Stanwick was as happy as a 10th century physician with his miracle machines –a quantum leap, considering that he had to work with the cheapest material and expired drugs, when he had any…
“So, how are you doing with your studies,” asked Jill, finally deciding to bring her mind to something more cheerful: another new facility at the LCG was the pet school – not an ‘obedience’ or ‘training’ school but a real school, where they could learn the basics of the various disciplines. Martin thought that limiting these creatures to ‘sit & play’ stuff was a waste of their intelligence. Jill, and not only her, had been pleasantly surprised to see how much enthusiasm the guests were putting into studying. She couldn’t help remembering how much her Peanut wanted to become an astronomer…
“Doing great. Math is just fascinating! In fact, I must return to class now! It was nice to talk to you, Jill. See ya!”
Jill waved the dog goodbye. She could just imagine Laddie giving math lessons, one day, to the other pets of his new neighborhood, just like Fido loved teaching reading and writing to the cubs of the Gardens…
The woman came back down to earth. “Hey, Keith. Light.”
Keith Greyfield, the head of Security of the Lucky Charm Grove. Former Marine, a ladykiller and a real killer, part of the ‘special security corps’. Martin had wanted to add a strong layer to an already good security force. Jill always thought that hiring mercenaries was overdoing it, but Martin Foster was the boss, and that was that.
As usual, Keith was accompanied by his own K-9 partner, just like all members of security. In the case of Light, it was a beautiful specimen of a white wolf.
“What can I do for you two handsomes?” she asked, getting up.
“Sorry to disturb you, Jill, but these two people were asking about you specifically.”
A man and a woman she didn’t recognize at all.
Both around forty-five. Medium build, medium height. He had brown hair, hers was black. Their clothes, although clean and well ironed, were undoubtedly a cheap cut, stuff you could easily buy at a bargain sale. Cheap shampoo and soap, if the smell was a giveaway.
All in all, a couple fighting to keep their heads out of the economic quagmire.
Jill, however, examining the couple, could not keep herself from feeling a strong sense of hostility toward them. She knew instinctively that those two meant trouble.
“Can I help you, Mrs..?” She asked in her more formal tone.
The man held out his hand, showing a very fake smile. Having met Thomas and Celia Milton, during the inauguration party, she could say that Thomas looked more sincere when he talked about his genuine desire to adopt a couple of ferrets…
“Very pleased,” said the man, whose green eyes were not smiling at all. “My name is Edward Richmond, and this is my wife Sara. We are here for our children.”
Peanut Butter Sandwich presents
A SPECIAL EPISODE OF
THE ADVENTURES OF SPOT (Superdog) AND DOC & SMITH (The Eyes of the Law!)
Panel 1: ‘The secret lair in the Collarless Gang, in a supersecret location!’ Voice of the Cyborg, off-screen: “But these are just trinkets, my pretty.”
Panel 2: The Cyborg approaches Stripe, tied to the chair. (> Rope). “For you, I can steal an entire store with the entire building and give it to you.”
Panel 3: Stripe (who no longer has to pretend she’s not a cat!) Thinks about it. “You’re very convincing, you know?”
Panel 4: The Cyborg’s eyes become reaaally wide, “Really?” (<Tear)
Panel 1: Stripe smiles at Cyborg. “You know what you also need to be a true gentledog?”
Panel 2: “I’m listening,” answers the Cyborg. (Hearts pops merrily all around him)
Panel 3: “A true gentledog must propose to a young lady on his knee, not standing.”
Panel 4: The Cyborg kneels in front of Stripe. His cyber-knee creaks (‘creak’). “Sorry, I forgot to lubricate it.”
Panel 1: The Cyborg holds out his gold ring (100 carats) to Stripe. He clears his throat. “Pretty Stripe, will you marry me?”
Panel 2: Stripe examines the ring. “Hmmm... It’s Cartier, right?”
Panel 3: The Cyborg begins to grow impatient. “Yes, it is. So, your answer? “
Panel 4: Stripe gives a big kick to the face of Cyborg! His teeth fly away (> teeth)
Panel 1: The Cyborg, standing, is a snarling like a bad dog (snarl). “How DARE you!” This time small skulls pop all around him.
Panel 2: Stripe doesn’t seem worried. “Because you have been really rude!”
Panel 3: (<question mark). “Huh?”
Panel 4: “YOU DON’T PROPOSE TO A GIRL BOUND TO A CHAIR, LUMMOX!”
The dice stopped rolling, and gave their verdict: 6-6-6
“Hah!” Antares said, removing the last three red tanks from Indonesia, leaving only one to deal with the three black tanks in Siam, after they had wreaked havoc on the invader. “Hmm, lunch is served,” continued the dog, watching the territories of Oceania each protected by a single tank. “You know, brother, you were very kind to give me an entire continent. Hmm, I feel that my goal is sooo close.” He showed a smile full of teeth to the other players, who realized at that moment it was over: Antares’ seemingly random game was intended to conquer twenty-four territories!
Sitting on the other side of the table, Aldebaran was staring at his twin with pure hatred. He was trembling all over, his back fur standing on end.
Martin Foster used his feet to ward off his chair from the table, discreetly. Then he took an arm of Peanut’s chair, and pulled him away as well. Mizar and Alcor had already put themselves at a safe distance. At the questioning look of Peanut, Martin said, “Believe me, you don’t want to be involved.”
The Raven Nevermore, as always perched on Peanut’s shoulder, rubbed his wings, realizing what was coming!
A moment later, with a scary growl, Aldebaran jumped on his brother! Everything lying on the table was scattered in a snowfall of six colors of tanks, dice, cards, plastic bags and board fragments. Fighting against each other like oldest enemies, teeth gnashing and muscle tensed, they ended up on the pavement, where they went at it with enough strength to cause a miniquake.
Peanut couldn’t believe his eyes. Never was enjoying this like a Vin Diesel premiere. “Woo! C’mon, champ! Jab, jab! And now for a good bite! Yay! Hey, no! Not there, that’s below the waist! Referee, referee!”
Martin sighed. “Let them vent a bit . Heh, we gave up trying to play D&D with them: Antares always ended up as the chaotic warrior with semi-divine stats and an irresistible charisma. Sometimes half the group would die because we couldn’t protest when he led us straight into a trap. Aldebaran instead did his best to kill Antares... Peanut? “
Peanut’s whine froze the two ‘Kings of the Mountain’ in the midst of their struggle. “Peanut?” They said in unison.
The poor dog was all curled up against the back his chair. He spoke in a shrill voice through clenched teeth. “Don’t fight... Uncle Martin, make them stop please... They’re scaringme!”
Martin cursed at himself like he had never done before: how could he forget what poor Peanut had suffered because of that assassin dog!? Seeing the twins fight must have awakened the trauma!
Antares and Aldebaran returned at once to being big, friendly puppies, and rushed to the dog to lick and pet him all over. “Hey, champion,” said Antares almost whining himself. “It’s alright, it’s OK…”
“We were just joking,” said Aldebaran. “Forgive us for scaring you, little brother.”
At that point, Peanut, fast as if had just pulled off a mask, was again the merry smiling hound! “I know! I was kidding, too!”
“You..?” said Martin, looking like a trout just hooked. “You were messing with us..? Why, you little, diabolical...” he stammered, halfway between a laugh and a reproach.
“He fooled us,” said Antares, looking at his brother.
“He made fun of our feelings,” said Aldebaran.
“Indeed.” Then, together, they said, nodding at each other, “Retribution.”
Antares grabbed Peanut by his arms, Aldebaran by his legs, then they carried him toward the big glass door that opened to the garden.
Peanut squirmed uselessly in their grip. “Hey! Hold on a moment! I didn’t want you to worry! I’m sorry! Where are you bringing me? GRAAAAPE!! Wait, she’s not here. NEEEEVERR!!”
The raven stood where he was, on the table, sharply saluting the dog. “I’ll sing an Irish tune in your honor.”
“I’ll tell Grape!” Peanut shouted as his figure disappeared from sight. A moment later, everyone heard him shout one last time, before a splashing sound followed. “CANNONBALL!!” roared the twins, a moment later. Indeed their splash sounded as if a depth bomb had been detonated in the pool.
“I’ll go get my trunks,” said Martin. “You guys try to keep those two from drowning our guest, okay?”
At that moment, the doorbell sounded. “I’ll get it,” said the man.
Martin was accustomed to having guests at any time of day or night. Trusting his ex assistant, Evelyn Sunman, with the management of the Shelter, keeping for himself few overly strategic decisions, Martin had gained the time he wanted to spend not only with his beloved pets, but also with anyone who’d come to knock at his door.
However, he remained puzzled when he saw who had just knocked, this time. “Bill? Lucky? Fox?”
The policeman, helmet under his arm, had never looked so worried. His two dogs, especially Lucky, seemed ready to burst into tears at any moment.
Martin turned pale. His face became an impassive mask, as always when he was under severe stress, and had instinctively learned not to give in to emotions. “What is it, Bill? Why are your dogs with you?”
Bill, who never brought his dogs with him during his shifts, said, “Martin, please call Peanut. Something happened...”
Grape! Martin thought.
“It’s about Grape,” said Bill, giving voice to the man’s fears. “And Lucky.”
|Author:||NykVerien [ Fri May 13, 2011 5:07 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Bad humans come to take away Grape and Lucky?! NNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! NEVER!!! Please don't let it be so.
|Author:||Skruffy [ Fri May 13, 2011 11:07 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
I can't wait for the next chapter.
|Author:||valerio [ Sat May 14, 2011 2:19 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Sandwich House, Babylon Gardens
Grape’s ears bent in the direction of the sound of the car entering the driveway, headed to the garage. Hmm, they’re back early, today.
The female cat got to her knees, yawned and stretched. Now that Mom and Dad had a new job, they weren’t supposed to come back for some hours… Not that she minded.
At that moment, she heard the sound of two more vehicles, stopping before her home. One was a car, the other Bill’s familiar motorcycle.
Now Grape Jelly was really curious.
She left the room, and descended the stairs in time to see the door open, and her parents enter.
And saw her pale mother, who seemed barely able to lean on Dad’s shoulder. His face was so wet with tears... Peanut! Something happened to my Peanut!
The cat, who had almost reached the end of the stairs, staggered, her eyes staring, ears folded on her skull. “Peanut..?” No, it can’t be! He is at Uncle Martin’s house, with his pets and the mad raven Nevermore who promised to watch over him!
“I’m here,” said Peanut Butter, entering at that moment. The poor creature was depressed as his parents and would not stop crying. “Grape...”
At that moment, a part of her felt immensely happy and relieved. She didn’t even try to silence it. She ran to Peanut, hugged him tight and gave him a kiss on the forehead. Then it was Peanut who held her. The poor dog was sobbing desperately. His hug had all the force of his despair. “Grape! Oh, Grape, don’t go away please... not you…”
Grape looked startled at the dog, stroking his cheek. “Hey, what are you saying? Where would I go, mutt? Love, what’s happening?”
Then she saw the other people in the hall.
She saw Fox and Lucky, accompanied by Bill. The poor police officer’s figure was sagging, a most unusual and worrying sight. His dogs were both as sad as Peanut, and everyone was looking at her...
Grape didn’t understand… until she saw the last two people enter the house.
Grape remembered how happy she had been to see her dear old friend, Lucky, her first housemate back from her past thanks to luck (say it again!) and Uncle Martin. It had been an unforgettable moment, to again meet her friend she thought she had lost forever. Poor Peanut, he had been immediately jealous of them…
Grape was not happy to see today in her home, the two people who had betrayed her like no one else had ever done. The people she had trusted with all her heart, the people who had thrown her and Lucky on the street because they could no longer keep them...
“Hello, Princess Periwinkle,” said Edward Richmond.
“We’re so happy to see you again,” said his wife Sara. “Honey, why did you run away? Do you know how much we longed to see you again?”
“Carl, forgive me the cliché, but with all the money I pour into your account you can’t tell me there is nothing you can do.”
On the other side of the screen, Martin’s lawyer was shaking his head sadly.
“My friend, things are exactly how I told you, like it or not: I saw the photos, ads, calls... According to the Richmonds, Grape and Lucky ran from home when the economic situation was very difficult for the family. I’ve been given the papers that prove that Lucky tried to run away even before then.” He took a sheet of paper and put on his reading glasses. “The Richmond family was faring roughly but they were still on the tracks, when Lucky was run over by a car. The veterinarian bill was the last straw. After that, the situation went downhill.
“Martin, according to law what we got here are two caring parents who feared never to see their pets again. When they learned about your shelter, they turned to it. They never signed any form of disownership nor claim of death. And since Lucky and Grape are, legally speaking...”
“...Property,” Martin finished for him, feeling that word on his the tongue like a serum made of water, rust and excrements, “The Richmonds can claim them. But how can they pass on the adoption made by the Sandwiches? Shouldn’t the latter invalidate the previous ownership?”
“Ah, well... it would be so if the shelter’s administrators, the old shelter, had forwarded the documentation. A thing they did not do. And so the adoption is to be considered...”
“...Invalid.” Martin felt a knot in his stomach. “Carl, how did you miss such data when you drew up the papers for the co-adoption of Grape?”
“Because the old management used fake documents. They forged everything, including the receipts. This way they saved on the practices and the related costs. After all, the alternative was to send them to the crematorium come one year. I’m sorry, Martin. The adoptions of Grape and Lucky are legally invalid.”
“And what about the time?” asked Martin. “After all this time, a judge might well decide they’re better off here at the Gardens than with those people who don’t even have a decent job...”
Carl raised his hand to stop the flow of words. “First, Edward Richmond never lost his job, in fact, over time he got promoted. It was only a very difficult economic moment, but he has come out of it, even if one couldn’t call them Gates-wealthy yet. Second, even Mrs. Sara Richmond has a job as a part-time secretary. Third, again they became poor just to pay the vet’s bill for Lucky, thus proving themselves caring and loving; that’s the card we don’t want to play. And as for the time matter, that won’t work unless there is a formal waive or cession.”
Martin switched the camera connection to another terminal. Better his lawyer didn’t hear him, now…
Once Jill had wondered what would happen if all the tension, all the anger that had accumulated after the man almost died at the fangs of that killer dog decided to explode.
Looking into his eyes, she would have had the answer. Martin’s eyes were so malevolent, so full of death as he stared at Thomas and Celia Milton, that they felt very happy not to be close to him right now. For what it was worth…
Martin Foster was breathing slowly. His eyes didn’t blink. HIs pupils completely filled his grey eyes, turning them into something demonic. He spoke in a low voice, full of cold anger, without the slightest hesitation. “I’ll tell Janet Masterson to shoot you in the knees. First.” If only once they had correctly done their job at the old shelter. Only. Once.
Celia knew that her ice had become hair-thin. That wasn’t a threat. That was a promise.
“We can solve it, Martin,” she said, managing to remain composed. Now her life was at stake, and her mind was already working on a solution.
“We know that those two are lying.”
Martin nodded. The same viral advertising that launched the Lucky Charm Grove had also put Peanut, Grape and Lucky under the spotlight. And Martin, the richest man in Babylon Gardens, dedicated animal-lover, had not made any secret of having co-adopted the Sandwich pets. Tabloids had a field day.
It was obvious that sooner or later those two Richmond crooks, those… things who had abandoned Grape and Lucky, would come back to take possession of them again. They gambled, not unreasonably, that Martin would have done his best to take care of Grape even at a distance. Money money money! Uncle Martin like a pets social welfare ATM, and two precious hostages as the PIN... Because there was also no doubt that, once the papers were signed, the Richmonds would take their pets to Alaska…
“Their search for Grape and Lucky was a mock-up. We know because the old shelter received a bulletin filled with missing animal ads. And guess what? No purple cat, never. Please, give Thomas full access to the Net: come tomorrow morning, you’ll have enough to nail the Richmonds and play darts with them.”
Martin was divided. The control freak side of him told him not to trust her. He knew they were waiting for an occasion like this to complete some of their schemes… And, he still had Janet and his lawyer to do a search for the same proof.
But time was of the essence. Martin could stall with the Richmonds, but if he wanted the law on his side, he needed someone who knew the right dark corners to look for. Furthermore, this time, Thomas and Celia knew their very lives were at stake. “Janet, you have a go for Operation Gabriel. Thomas, Janet will give you the password, but remember: it will be automatically changed once the connection’s closed. My experts will comb your log entries, but I guess you already knew that. Fail, and you die.”
Thomas heaved a sigh of relief and wiped the cold sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief. Celia nodded. “You won’t regret it. See you again at 9am, sharp, tomorrow. Promise.”
Once the window to Milton, Masterson (& Danko) house was closed, Martin turned back to his lawyer. “Carl, the two have clearly shown they don’t want to get back together with their former ‘parents’. We could appeal to this to postpone…”
“No,” Carl interrupted. “You know that pets don’t have the legal right to choose their owners, no matter how long they have lived with another. But you can claim your rights as co-guardian.”
“Since you took Peanut and Grape under your wing to defend their interests in case something happens to the Sandwiches, you will surely do the same for the Richmonds, and they can’t deny you that. In front of the law, it would ring suspect if they renounced the rich uncle, after all they went through, now that they want their beloved pets back in their bosom…” He winked.
Martin nodded. “So, how long before you can have the papers ready, Mr. Roosevelt?”
The lawyer showed his best forlorn expression. “Oh, Martin! You know that this could easily take at least all day, can’t you see I’m overworked?” His desk was a real battlefield. The wooden surface had disappeared for years under a mass of papers and books that for some mysterious reason was being renewed without end, the perfect bureaucratic perpetual motion. But only Martin and Carl’s associates knew how fast he could be when it came to a case in which he put his heart! “Listen, with a little luck I’ll get you the forms ready by 10am, tomorrow. In the meantime, be a good boy and host them at your place, I’m sure they won’t mind.” He winked again.
The communication was closed.
A devilish smile stretched Martin Foster’s lips. Then he picked up the cordless and punched the first row of three certain numbers. Then he’d have to ask his boys to do him a favor…
Shove off, Mary Sue! Here comes Freddy!
“WE DIDN’T RUN AWAY! YOU ABANDONED US!!!”
Peanut and Lucky struggled to keep the cat away from the humans. Peanut, having tasted her fury, knew that right now she would’ve easily gone for their throats, literally. “Liars! You are liars! You won’t separate me from Dad and Mom, you won’t separate me from Peanut, YOU’LL NEVER HURT ME AND LUCKY AGAIN!”
If Sara had expected a furious reaction, she had been satisfied. Pale, she looked dumbfounded at the tiger she had thought would obediently follow them.
In the bathroom, Jill was dressing Edward’s wounded hand. The man had imprudently tried to pet Grape, and he had gotten his just dessert. “Miss Sandwich, you must believe me. It’s all a terrible misunderstanding... Ow!”
Jill had squeezed hard on the gauze. “The only ‘misunderstanding’, here, is that you thought you could take away our child, Mr. Richmond! You can’t come and act like this, not after what you did to Grape and Lucky.” When she was younger, Jill was known as ‘Calamity Jill’, a very-well deserved nickname for a very troubled girl, before she decided to give a better turn to her life.
Right now, the woman felt as if she was that age again. Her mind was burning with fury. If she had a switchblade, she’d carve her name into these peoples’ hearts.
The woman took him by the collar of his cheap shirt and slammed him against the wall. “Don’t you dare lie to me, mister! Don’t you dare lie to me about my Grape! You can fool a court, but not me and Earl! Got. Me?”
“But I don’t want to lie, in fact,” said Edward, showing, unexpectedly, a sly smile. “Do you know why we are giving your rich friend the time to consult with his lawyer instead of coming here with the police and claiming our pets right away? Because we want to make sure he’ll become co-owner with our family, so that our beloved pets will have everything they need, of the best quality. You would do the same for ‘your Grape’, right? Oh, and since we’re not so bad as you believe, we also wanted to give you the time to say goodbye to your cat before we leave. So, why waste time in this tussle, Miss Sandwich?”
Jill let him go. As much as she wanted to off this vile braggart, she knew she would only make matters worse for her children.
Funny, wasn’t it? She had killed with her own hands a monster dog, to protect Peanut and Grape, and now she couldn’t lay a finger on the man who was about to legally take away her beloved cat!
But in the end, these two greedy, stupid human would lose everything anyway! Peanut and Grape had become inseparable, they were lifemates, they just couldn’t be separated. Grape had almost starved herself to death, while waiting for Peanut to wake from his week-long coma. Peanut had almost let himself go, thinking that Grape didn’t want him… No, they’d wither and die in one week.
And Fox would become a shadow of himself. Losing his new housemate would renew the trauma of losing Felicia. How could he and Bill take it?
Bill looked as if he was seconds from attacking Sara. He was a policeman, he knew that the law must be respected, but he was ready to kick these monsters’ sorry butts to the state border. He felt as if PETA had come to kidnap Fox and he could only watch.
Grape continued to stare at Sara with the same intentions.
Sara, inwardly, smiled like her husband did with Jill. They didn’t even have to wait for the physical papers, come to think of it. They could just grab the pets and move as far away as possible. Then they’d ask that spineless Foster to send them the papers and voilà: easy money! The rich uncle would never risk the life of those fleabags. He’d cough up any amount just to make sure they were fine. So, goodbye endless series of dead end jobs! And let’s be honest: these two fleabags owe us big time for all the trouble they caused us!
Her thoughts were interrupted by an explosion!
After a moment of stupor, everyone ran out to check…
“My car!” cried Edward.
Antares and Aldebaran were cheerfully biting the tires of the Ford! When Aldebaran’s fangs downed into the second tire, again there was that explosion. The car sagged further.
Antares went to the left front tire, and another bite did the rest! The big puppies were jokingly growing, and their stubby tails were wagging hard.
“Let us work in peace, you big lummox,” said Alcor, who was making havoc of the engine together with Mizar. Their white coats were stained with grease and dust, but they were having the time of their lives! It had been too long since they used to disassemble cars to trade the parts for food. The metallic objects made a tinkling sound when they bounced on the asphalt.
From the opposite side of the street, Matt Sternfeld was looking at the show with a glint of admiration in his eyes. “I want to be like them,” he said to himself, looking at the pets’ handiwork.
“Do something,” said Sara to Bill. “You’re a cop aren’t you!?”
Bill approached the vehicle. “Shoo, shoo, you pests! How dare you!? You’re gonna get in trouble for this, you know? “
The animals ran away at full speed. Alcor was holding up the air filter like a trophy.
“Tsk tsk tsk,” said Martin, coming upon the scene in that moment. “It looks like my boys found a new toy to play with.”
Edward walked toward him hard-nosed, red-faced. “You’re so gonna pay for this, you sonofa—”
Martin stopped him by laying a hand on his chest. “Actually, the insurance will pay. That’s still damage done by animals, not by human hitmen. They’ll raise the premium, I guess, but I’ll live. Hey, at least now you can stay here while all the papers for the co-ownership are being prepared. My lawyers said that they’ll be ready by tomorrow morning. Aren’t they lucky, Agent Bill?”
Bill was nodding solemnly. “Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mr. Foster.”
“Like heck we are,” said Edward, taking a cell phone. “I’m gonna call a cab and we’ll leave before — Hey, what are you doing?!”
Martin had taken the mobile, then dropped it to the ground! And then he repeatedly stomped his heel on it, with a crunching sound. “Whoops. Careless me, sorry.”
“Mr. Foster, I am outraged,” said Bill, taking his block. “Damage to private property, this will cost you a bit!”
“I know, Bill, I’m really sorry, but please do what you have to. In fact, better yet, how about if we all do a little walk up to the police station? Perhaps the Richmonds will want to file a regular complaint, right? Or, Earl… will you give your phone to these kind gentlemen? Poor things, they must be in a real hurry.”
Earl shook his head slowly, smiling like a wolf after a good meal.
Martin rubbed his hands. “Very good, then, shall we go?”
Edward and Sara were very much about to say yes, but at that moment they also saw that while Martin spoke, the street was filling up with dogs, cats and a rabbit. The entire pet population of Babylon Gardens was gathering, and everyone was staring with hatred at the Richmonds. Earlier, Martin had called Bino, Joey and Selene to spread the word. The three Presidents of the Good Ol’ Dogs Club, the Common Life Society and the Schrodinger Circle had immediately complied, with evident results!
And no matter what differences could divide the dogs and cats of the Gardens, including the romantic preferences; when it came to defending one of their own from abuse, they found the esprit de corps.
Seeing the thickening crowd, seeing their claws flexing, hearing the concert of growls, made Sara and Edward Richmond understand they wouldn’t make it alive to the police station… or anywhere else, for that matter.
Martin didn’t improve things by telling Bill. “Officer, these animals are all insured, right?”
Bill nodded. “Against any event, Mr. Foster. Mr. and Mrs. Richmond, I can call a patrol car, if you want me to.”
Sara knew the car wouldn’t make it on time. And even if Bill was playing around with them, the Richmonds knew they didn’t stand a chance if things got ugly. Unlike the humans, and they were furious, these beasts looked exactly like Grape a moment before she attacked Edward!
“You could still come to my place, as I offered before,” said Martin. “It has an antipanic mode, you know?”
Edward gave him a scorching look, but he had no choice. “Whatever game you’re playing, Foster, this won’t end here.”
|Author:||Daggy [ Sat May 14, 2011 7:48 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
I love your story. It has me so emotionally invested in all the characters, unlike most things I read. Unlike most books I read. It's phenomenal work, really.
So is the translating from Italian to English. I tried it with that chapter yesterday. Ended up having to reformat it via Word Document, and it was still very messy and sometimes not understandable. But your translating gets the point across perfectly. I know it's hard to get the feelings and whatnot across language barriers, but you're doing a fantastic job with it.
I can't wait for more! No matter how long it is.
Masterful work, mister Valerio
|Author:||valerio [ Sat May 14, 2011 9:07 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Why, thank you Mr. Daggy! And welcome to this thread, a new fan is always a great pleasure.
|Author:||Skruffy [ Sat May 14, 2011 10:33 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
I love this story so much, and the translating is pretty amazing.
|Author:||valerio [ Sat May 14, 2011 10:50 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens
A large group crossed the threshold of Martin Foster’s house, that afternoon.
In addition to the owner, at the head of the group, there were Edward and Sara Richmond, the original parents of Grape and Lucky. Then came Jill and Earl Sandwich, the current parents of Grape and Peanut, along with their two beloved pets. And to close, Officer Bill together with his dogs, Fox and Lucky.
“So,” said Martin to the Richmonds, “What do you think of my humble den?”
The couple, for now, thought they were just happy not having to face the immense herd of animals that seemed ready to tear them apart, out in the street. “We think that we would like to use a phone if it’s true that we’re your guests,” said Edward.
“Reasonable,” said Martin. “Go ahead, there are a lot of cordless phones scattered around the house. If I may, in the meantime I am going to fix some snacks for my other guests. Oh, and don’t worry should you encounter one of my kids: they only look menacing, but just look forward to play. They love our guests.”
The group walked to the kitchen, leaving Edward and Sara to think about the Foster pets. About those huge black dogs who had just destroyed the tires of their car with just one bite...
“Edward?” said Sara. “Please tell me again why you thought it was a good idea to play the role of the poor, concerned parents. Why did we come here?”
Edward walked along the main corridor. “You’re worrying for nothing, dear,” he said, looking around. “That fool only wants to scare us, but he’s bluffing big time. If he could have hurt us physically, he would’ve already done it. “
“Should that console me?” She asked.
“No, it should reassure you that he’s using the law to stall, and that’s all he can do. Should he even bruise us, in addition to Princess we’ll sue him pantsless. This plan is simply perfect... Ah, there it is.”
Edward took the cordless from the panel attached to the wall. He dialed the cab number and placed the device to his ear... “Well, what are you looking at?” He asked to his wife, who had suddenly paled like chalk... Then he saw it too.
Thin smoke-like tendrils, shining with an eerie emerald light, were pouring out of the device’s screen. Moving with their own life, they first passed between Edward’s ears, then like a hand they wrapped the man’s head, brushing his lips with the touch of polar ice.
“Ah... ah...” Edward was paralyzed by fear.
Like deformed, gnarled paws, the rivulets touched his throat, his cheeks, sending that terrible, painful cold to his nerves. Edward felt like he was choking.
A strange hissing sound was coming from the cordless. Someone was talking but the voice was lost in a hissing static, deforming it to a chilling whisper. Desperate, the man pressed the device to his ear. “Hello! Taxi!?”
His eardrums were almost shattered by the shrill sound that answered him! Edward screamed and dropped the device. The emerald smoke tendrils retreated into the phone with a sucking hollow sound.
“That dirty son-of-censored!” Edward leaned against the wall. Sara came up with a Kleenex in hand. She tried to put it on his face, but he rejected it rudely. “What do you think you’re doing!?”
In response, she pointed to her nose. “You are...”
He touched under his nose, and stared curiously at the drop of blood on his fingers. It must have been that infernal sound. “Playing dirty, now, Uncle Martin? Let’s just get out of here, Sara.”
“But we’ve got no car, and ...”
“We’ll walk until we’re out of this accursed neighborhood! They won’t dare to touch us; I told you, it’s a mock-up!”
“Like the telephone?”
Edward grabbed his wife by the wrist and almost dragged her along. “Why do you think that crazy animal-lover wanted us here? To impress us with his special effects, and you’re falling for it hook, line and Sinker! Once we’re out of here—”
They had just turned the corner to get back to the entrance hall… and found themselves at the other end of the corridor!
Edward and Sara rubbed her eyes. They turned and there it was, the hall where they had come from. The two didn’t say a word, believing instead they must have taken the wrong turn without noticing.
The couple walked down the corridor, covering it in large steps, they turned the corner.
And they found themselves at the point from which they had just come.
Sara swallowed. “Eddie..?”
His voice was barely a whisper. ”What the heck is going on here?”
The Pomeranian by the name of Tarot sadly shook her head, her eyes like two beacons of emerald light.
“Our attempts to keep Martin Foster separate from the influence of the restless spirits of Whiteman House have failed,” said the dog, with a deep and unnatural voice, as if another creature was using her body.
Sitting on her knees in front of her, the anthropomorphic, blue-feathered gryphon said. “I imagine this crisis was inevitable, but I hoped not so fast in its developments.”
“The human mortal,” said Tarot, “in his sorrow for Peanut and Grape, has unconsciously given control to the forces that permeate that territory. I fear that now the struggle has taken the direction that we feared.”
Pete nodded. “You may fear a sub-game, my dear. I call it an interesting development.”
Tarot smiled. “I guess you’d say so, my old friend. It’s been a long time since you had such freedom to play.”
The gryphon nodded. “And win the best, my dear.”
No one was hungry, actually. They all had barely had a nibble and a glass of juice before going to the large living room.
Peanut and Grape were sitting together on the couch, hugging tight. “Promise not to leave me,” said Peanut. “Never, never, never, never.”
Grape kept petting her dog’s head and kissing his cheek and neck. “Never. Whatever happens, I won’t leave you, sweet Peanut, never, never, never, never.” She couldn’t care less about appearing weak in front of the others.
“Double extra mega promise?”
“Double extra mega promise.”
It was not just right. It would be equally terrible if this ugly story had occurred when they were both still in the ‘friend zone’. But now, after finally getting together, after passing many tests to become a couple... No, they didn’t need to say it: they’d fight, they’d fight to the death if necessary, or they’d run away for real, together with Lucky and Felix, the Four Musketeers against the world, but they wouldn’t be separated, NEVER!
If Grape was taken away, Peanut was ready to chase the two human villains, to find them wherever they hid, save Lucky and Grape and bring them back home. He would protect her, wouldn’t have done less, at any cost! “I love you, my beautiful cat. So much.”
Then they both found themselves squeezed between the arms of Lucky. “They won’t have us,” said the malamute. “I don’t care about the law, they won’t separate us. I swear it, Princess.”
Fox went to join the three animals. “I just found a brother, I won’t lose him. Lucky, I won’t let you go. Dad?”
“For what it’s worth,” Antares, sitting with his brother to the left of the group, “We are with you, little brothers. Promised.”
“A nice couple like yours,” said Mizar, sitting with Alcor on the right side, “We won’t allow you to be separated.” And boy did she know it! She and Alcor were actually ready to die, back at the old shelter, rather than be separated. She had taken a liking to these two characters, seeing so much of them in her and Alcor. She was actually contemplating killing the Richmonds before they even laid a finger on Grape!
“I swear, I’ll...” Earl was about to say from his couch, but Bill put a hand on his arm.
“Don’t say or do anything that you may regret,” said the policeman, shaking his head. “Not now.” Then he turned to the landlord. “Martin, you think you can postpone this thing, stall for as long as possible... Martin?”
Sitting in an armchair, Martin was staring somewhere ahead. His lips moved as if he was speaking to someone.
“Martin?” said Earl.
The man shook as if it had just been awakened by a somnambulism crisis. He spent nearly a minute breathing with his mouth open, still confused. He too was undergoing a terrible stress: Since the day he met ‘the little sandwiches’, as he called them, he had behaved like they too were family, and to protect them as well he had nearly given his own life…
Eventually, Martin was back to his bitterly smiling self, “Don’t worry, boys, people...” He rubbed his temples with one hand. “No drastic action is needed. I have so many legal arrows to my bow, I’ll soon be serving those two amateurs at the next barbecue like two spitroasts. If they’re really lucky, next time they’ll be allowed to cross the gates of Babylon Gardens will be in their old age.” The joke raised some giggles.
Martin stood up and walked to the couch where the animals sat. “Lucky, Grape... I swear, as long as I can breath, those two crooks won’t be*” It was at this point, that the proverbial light bulb lit over his head.
“Gift basket,” he said. The sadness had given way to the familiar sly fox expression. “Oooh, they so won’t like this.”
At that moment, the two Richmonds entered the living room... or rather, they broke in. They were white as chalk and looked tired as if they had competed in a race with Usain Bolt.
“Foster!” cried Edward, striding toward the landlord. “What kind of place is this?! What game are you playing??” He grabbed the man by his collar with every intention of giving him a good lesson. “Look, don’t think you can fool with—”
Like a monstrous behemoth, Aldebaran was on Edward, roaring with all his fury!
Sara shouted, jumping backward. In a moment, Antares was standing an all 4s before her, baring his teeth.
The giant dog slammed the assailant to the ground and pinned him down, while his jaws were inches from his throat. First the bad humans wanted to break little sister and Lucky’s families, now the bad human dared to touch his Dad?!
An unmistakable odor filled the air when Edward lost control of his bowels. ”Help me! Please stop this thing!” He shouted with a shrill tone that in another circumstance would’ve been comic.
“Aldebaran,” Martin said with a firm tone.
The dog let go of the man, slowly, without dropping his stare, tense muscles ready to spring at the first sign of wrong intentions.
Edward climbed to a nearby chair’s arm, and after two clumsy attempts managed to get back on his feet. “Crazy! You are all raving mad! Officer, arrest that man! Do something!”
“Do what?” said Bill, serious as a heart attack. “I saw a dog rushing to defend his master from the unprovoked aggression of a clearly disturbed stranger. Indeed, Mr. Richmond, you look like you drank a drink or two too much.”
“Alcor,” Martin said to the cat, trying not to smile. “Please go to the wardrobe for guests and fetch a pair of pants, boxer shorts and socks. What’s your size, Mr. Richmond?” After he got the answer, Alcor left the room.
Martin pointed to a door. “That is the bathroom. You’ll find everything you need. Get cleaned up, then, given the hour, I will prepare a dinner for everyone. Bill, you want to stay? You’re welcome of course.”
The policeman nodded. “Why the heck not? Give me time to talk to the station.”
Martin took a cordless, and launched it to him. While punching the numbers, Bill saw that Edward was looking at the device as if it were a poisonous snake ready to bite. Yes, maybe that guy really did have those extra drinks, after all... never seen one so close to a crisis of delirium tremens... “Hello? Chief? Hi there. Look, if it’s not a problem … yes, it concerns Fox…”
Edward decided to skip the rest of the conversation and go to wash himself. Stress, fear, fatigue, confusion... He really felt as if he had just been hit by the aftermath of the most potent hangover ever. He just wanted to get in the shower and do something normal since he set foot in that weird house...
After Edward had entered the bathroom, Martin said, “Mizar, girl, come on, let’s fix something to drink. We all need it.” Together with the white German shepherd, he walked to the bar that adorned the left corner of the room.
“So, Miss Richmond,” said the landlord as he took the glasses and placed them on the counter. “While your husband cleans up and relaxes a bit, would you care to discuss the details of your new life with Lucky and Princess?”
Everyone turned a curious gaze toward the ‘barman’. Sara said, “Excuse me, what do you mean?”
From the fridge he took a bucket with ice cubes. He put a couple of cubes in each of two glasses, then he put the bucket back in the fridge. He took a bottle of Aberfeldy 21 and poured the amber liquid in the glasses. Mizar was fixing different fruit juices shots.
“It means,” said Martin, handing a glass to Sara, and one to Earl, “that for what concerns me, I won’t oppose further objections to your project. In fact, I will put at your disposal one of my vehicles and my driver to send you all home ASAP. What do you think?” He glossed with that familiar, friendly smile.
|Author:||valerio [ Sat May 14, 2011 2:42 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
Overview Grove 1, Babylon Gardens
It was a rare sight.
Each resident pet in Babylon Gardens had gathered at the front of the Foster property. It was, in fact, the first sit-in in the history of the Gardens.
The owners of those pets were divided between the surprise and emotion for that collective expression of affection for their fellows. It was just as if Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich, Fox and Lucky Lindberg were their friends. Even the police dogs were in the front row, both for keeping an eye on the crowd and because, for once, they really felt for the four pets that two complete strangers wanted to take away for some personal gain.
And before the crowd stood also the top representatives of the community.
Fido, still the top dog despite having disclosed his relationship with the cat Sabrina.
Bino, ringleader of the Gardens’ dogs. He didn’t have to ask twice for that assembly. He was all set up for war, if necessary. “Thanks for coming, cat,” he said to Selene, who was standing beside him.
The President of the Schrodinger Circle nodded. “Don’t thank me. For what Peanut and Grape did against one of those monster dogs, they deserve all of our support. They try to take them away, adios pet shows.”
“I know where to hide all of them,” said Joey, founder and President of the Common Life Society, to his brothers. “There are many hideouts where the mixed couples go for discretion. The bad humans will never find them.”
Fido and Bino nodded. “Good idea. They can’t search everywhere, and will have to leave. Good plan, Joey.”
The younger brother nodded. “Aw, thanks Bino.” A compliment from that sour dog was a rarity to hear.
The big cat known as Ivan slapped his fist against his palm. “Ivan won’t allow good friends to be taken away. Ivan rather shreds them into bortsch, just like Kuljek the Dreadful did with Nazis in Stalingrad, da!”
Besides Ivan, Maxwell was no less ready to do something irreparable. The black cat was repeatedly flexing his claws, teeth bared, back fur standing on end in anger. What the fur! He had given up his love for Grape to let her live happy with Peanut, and now they were going to get separated? Never!
“Joey’s plan is good!” hissed Felix, the russet tabby that had been Grape’s first friend and one of the original Three Musketeers together with Lucky. “As soon as the two humans steps out the house with our friends, we attack and take our friends to the hideout. I’ll go first!” He too had just found his old friends he thought he had lost forever. He’d die before losing them again!
As a police dog, Fido was tempted to warn them out of that talking, but if there was someone to whom he owed his life it was Peanut and Grape, for protecting his relationship with Sabrina in the name of respect and friendship. And then there was Fox: that poor dog was about to lose a housemate again, and he just didn’t deserve a repeat of the trauma he suffered when he lost Felicia.
Fido decided that, if necessary, he would throw his uniform to the winds to protect his four friends!
King, on his side, looked as if a wolf had taken his place. They all knew he was as grumpy as Bino, to say the least, but he was generally a nice guy… Now, instead, he was out of his mind. Fox, his best friend EVER, the dog for whom he’d give his life, could be separated from his new brother. That would kill him, and that made King so furious that he wished to be human again just to call PETA and save those four pets for real!
Yet, his attention was focused on another thing as well: and he didn’t know if he should consider it a good thing or another, even worse one…
“So you see them too, eh?” Quoth the raven Nevermore, perched on his shoulder.
King nodded. He too was mesmerized by the sight of all those ghosts. They were scattered all over the property as if the garden had been transformed into a stage for a constellation made of emerald stars.
It was the first time he saw at once all of the animals who had died at Whiteman House. He couldn’t imagine that there could be so many of them. King shuddered.
What was the ancient Chinese curse? May you live in interesting times...
“Excuse me... Could you repeat that?” asked Sara Richmond, before taking a sip of her scotch.
And if the former parent of Grape was surprised, imagine the face and thoughts of the others present: the Sandwiches, Officer Bill – the father of Fox and Lucky... and all the animals, including Martin Foster’s pets.
It was as if they had just discovered that Martin had come out of a pod.
Martin looked like everybody’s ol’ best friend, as he filled a glass of apple juice. “Of course: I told you that if you want, you can take Grape and Lucky, even now, and I can provide you with one of my cars for you to go home. Driver included.”
Peanut wanted to say something – well, bark something about it, when Aldebaran’s paw landed on his snout. The big dog gestured him to shut up and winked. The Foster pets knew that when Dad wanted to, he could be really trickier than Tricky ****, and certainly he wasn’t talking nonsense now.
“Of course, there is a condition…” Martin took a sip of juice.
Sara nodded. “We didn’t expect less of you. What would this condition be?”
“Oh, just stuff.” Martin shrugged. “You see, as co-guardian of Grape and Peanut I must ensure their welfare in all its aspects, and this includes their happiness, in accordance with the laws. And of course you could not know, but Peanut and Grape are a couple.”
Martin raised a warning index. “You don’t understand, Miss Richmond. They are a couple in the full respect of the word.”
Sara nearly dropped her glass. She looked toward the two pets in question, sitting on the couch close to each other. Judging by her sneering expression, Sara Richmond wasn’t one of those people who found it ‘cute’…
“Sorry but it’s true,” said Martin. “Separating them could kill them. And without your golden egg goose, no monthly check. Lucky, let’s face it, is worth nothing since I’m not his co-guardian, but you must make it look like you’re worried for him as well. So, get smart, take Grape and Peanut. The Sandwiches will suffer a lot, but they’ll know their beloved pets are together. What do you say?”
Sara looked toward the bathroom door, where her husband was cleaning up. Then she looked again at that Foster: She didn’t trust at all this sudden change of mind…
Edward couldn’t imagine that such hi-tech showers could exist. He had entered the shower with the idea of a quick wash up, but now he was really enjoying the experience. It incorporated a jacuzzi! And the soap, it was something sublime, a caress on your skin!
Now that he felt more relaxed, Edward was already forgetting the recent weird events. Certainly the tension had played a few bad jokes on him, it was all paranoia. The only concrete thing he had to fear were those cursed giant black dogs. It was the first time ever someone managed to make him soil himself. Edward must think of a way to put those beasts down, too.
With all the money that they would squeeze from that Foster guy, he would buy a shower like this, after moving to some tax haven with no extradition. Then he’d send that accursed cat to a nice obedience school, just to teach her a lesson about not scratching her master…
Edward squeezed a little more soap in his hand and started washing his hair...
Only now he no longer smelled the familiar scent of pine and essential oils. In fact, he was smelling something like… rust.
Edward Richmond opened his eyes. And he saw that the floor of the shower was stained with red. Confused, the man removed his hands from his head.
And he saw them covered in blood.
The shock came back like a hungry wolf, eating his thoughts. Mechanically, frantically, Edward rubbed his hands on his body to clean them, succeeding only in turning himself in a macabre statue from a horror museum…
He opened the shower door.
And saw the cat.
At first, he thought that it was that Alcor, the motor-wrecker. It was a white cat with yellow eyes, what else could he think?
Except that this animal was a female.
A white female cat who was watching him with a grim expression, even more malevolent than that big black dog’s. There was something extremely scary in the eyes of that creature staring at him in silence.
The bathroom had a window, but it was locked, as was the door. Where did it come from?
But what was he thinking?! He was drenched in blood, for goodness sake! Why was he worrying about a stupid white cat—
The cat opened her mouth in a long howl that couldn’t belong to an animal of this Earth, then leapt at him!
“Of course there is a second condition.” Martin said, draining his glass.
“Don’t tell me,” said Sara, who preferred to remain seated at the bar rather than any closer to those animals, especially the big dogs who were staring at her. “And what would it be?”
“Antares and Aldebaran.” Martin pointed to the two titanic twins with his head. “They’ll be my connection to Peanut and Grape. They’ll come with you, and don’t worry if they’ have to sleep outside, they’re used to harsh conditions. They’ll report every day to me about how things are going, so I suggest you have a good internet connection as well. I’ll pay for every extra expense. What do you say to that?”
“That you know where to stick your offer. For all I know, you’re lying about that ‘couple’ thing, and after seeing what your horrible dogs are capable of, we’d rather not have them around. Plus, it’s a well known fact that animals don’t count as witness, in court. So I think we’ll just take Grape and Lucky, right after signing the papers. And don’t try to stall a minute more.”
Martin shrugged. “What can I say? I tried, madame. You’re really smart.” He managed to make that sound like a good-hearted insult.
Sara yawned. “It’s getting late and you’re grating on my nerves, Foster. Where do we sleep?”
“I have a nice guest room,” he offered, pointing upward.
She nodded weakly. After all, that walking gold mine was already theirs, sleeping a few hours wouldn’t kill them.
“Up the main stairs, second door on the right. You can’t miss it. I’ll warn your husband.”
Sara left the room.
Earl kept looking at Martin with curiosity. “What’s with this ‘offer’ you made? You knew they’d reject it, right?”
“True. And you heard her when she spoke about ‘valid’ witnesses.” He winked at the humans.
Bill’s face lit up. “You know, Mr. Foster…”
“Call me Martin, please.”
“Martin. I’m sure glad you’re not a lawyer. What’s the next step?”
Again that sly smile. “Why, Officer. We collect more evidence.” He then went to the bathroom humming, “I spy with my little eye.”
Martin knocked at the door. “Mr. Richmond? Your change of clothes is ready. Your wife has just left to go to sle—”
The door swung open and Edward left the bathroom in a fury, only covered by a towel wrapped hurriedly around his waist. With one hand he was massaging his head. He again had that look of a madman. He took the clothes and left uttering objectionable curses.
“Up the stairs, second door on the right!” said Martin to his back. “Funny guy.”
There was a telephone in the guest room.
Edward wasn’t sure he wanted to use it.
Edward wasn’t sure he could sleep at all.
When he had tried, around midnight, he had been immediately awakened by the sound of footsteps. They came from the corridor. He had immediately thought that the mad animal-lover had put those monstrous dogs to watch over them. He wanted to protest, but he didn’t really want to face those beasts again.
After about an hour, Edward had begun to suspect that those out there were not the Foster pets.
It was like listening to the passage of dozens of feet simultaneously. A crowd made up of different species, that walked about with heavy steps, light steps, fast, slow, crawling...
And then there was the emerald light seeping under the door every time someone walked by.
And the voices. Dozens of voices muttering unintelligibly, whispers that never ceased to give him the creeps. Edward was sure that at any moment those voices would join in that ear-splitting shrill, only much, much worse.
Wasn’t this place built on the ruins of... what was its name? Whiteman House.
Where all those animals were brutally slaughtered, in the 70s?
Think of the money, think about the money!
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
He must stick to the original plan, just take Princess, and disappear quickly. Foster could be involved at a later time, don’t let him take the initiative!
And this wasn’t a stupid Haunted Mansion! “You can’t fool me, Foster. You may keep me awake all night long, but in return I’ll make you pay oh so much.”
The emerald green lights continued to seep under the door.
Edward looked at his wife, still asleep. But how could she sleep through that noise!?
The man decided he’d go the bar and fix himself a drink. He’d show Foster he wasn’t scared. Even better, if Edward got hurt by some of the landlord’s stage tricks, he’d sue his butt into next Christmas!
Edward left the bed and walked toward the door. He grasped the handle firmly, and pushed it open.
The corridor was deserted.
Except for a single presence.
“Princess..?” said Edward.
The cat was standing at the door, and looked at him with sad eyes. “May I come in?”
Edward stepped aside. “Sure, girl.” That was the first time he saw her this way, and alone. Better exploit the opportunity, right?
Grape entered the room. Seeing Sara asleep, she asked, “If I’m disturbing…”
Edward shook his head. “Ah, no, no. Really. Mom is sleeping very deeply. And anyway, I think that she’d love to have you here, Princess.”
Just those last few words of that phrase made Grape understand once and for all she had never been welcomed in the Richmond family. If that scene had happened at her house, Dad (her real Dad), would say, ‘You never disturb, child.’
How many times, in the early days at her new home, Grape had woken up in the middle of the night, prey to her nightmares, finding the comfort of her parents or of Peanut a moment later? How many times had they all huddled together in their parents’ bed, comforting her until she went back to sleep..?
‘I think that she’d love to have you here’. He wasn’t even trying to feign affection.
I did love these people. But she was a kitten, then, she couldn’t know. Her world was made of trust and love, not of deceit.
Grape sat down on the bed. “Why did you abandon me?” She asked softly.
You know why, stupid animal! But Edward didn’t give voice to that thought. He was stressed and tired as it was already, and he didn’t need another fight. “We had no money, Princess. You know it was that or letting you starve to death.”
“You could have left me at a shelter, then. I thought you were punishing me for breaking the glass of your car.”
Edward was nodding. “In a way, now that I think of it, I fear I was punishing you as well. I was out of my wits, those were hard days. Believe me, if I just could go back…”
Grape looked down. “You’d throw us on the road anyway. The incident was an excuse.”
Edward nodded again. “Times were hard, and we had to make hard choices. But this time everything will be different, you’ll see. You will stay just fine with us, you and Lucky. Just like old times.” Edward started to caress the cat’s back, but she was faster as she left the bed.
Grape walked to the door and opened it. Before leaving, she threw a last scornful glance at her ‘parent’. “You wouldn’t even make sure someone adopted us and now you want to get us back? Anyway, Lucky is fine where he is, along with Fox. I love Peanut and my parents. You won’t separate us. Good night.”
Edward watched the door close, and a moment later the emerald lights and the whispers started up again.
“Stupid cat. Stupid special effects.” Edward went to bed, wondering why she had come at all. That chat wouldn’t count in court. If that was her idea, she had failed miserably.
“Hm, did you say something?” asked Sara, finally waking up. She sat up on her elbows.
Edward shook his head. “Nevermind, Just go back to sleep, think that starting tomorrow we’ll be ric—” His head had just hit the pillow, when they noticed there was someone else in the door.
Edward thought frantically that this… thing had entered, unnoticed, while he and Princess were talking.
The thing was there, ugly as sin, a shadow made of white fangs like daggers, shining emerald eyes. A dog posing on her haunches like a feral, a female big like the Foster dogs…
Remotely, Edward’s mind connected that presence with the monster whose corpse had been photographed for the newspaper he had read, about the ‘siege of Babylon Gardens’…
Then the monster spoke, and her voice was that of a soul just come from the deepest bowels of Hel. “Grape is ours, humans.” And speaking, she approached, stalking, the Richmonds. “She. Is. Ours.”
Their scream echoed for a long time in the corridor.
Foster Mansion. 9:30am
“I’d offer you a cup of coffee, but you look nervous enough already,” said Martin, serving his human guests, gathered for the last time in the living room, cups of Kopi Luwak. The dogs had been given the usual white chocolate. Foamed milk with mint for the cats.
Edward and Sara Richmond seemed near to a nervous breakdown. Their skin was a sickly gray color and their eyes showed two huge bags. They looked like the king and queen of all emos.
“Very well,” said Martin, sitting in an armchair. He took a sip of coffee. “Now, before you two get going with the ol’ ‘now we take them and you can’t do anything’, let me explain why you can’t do anything.”
The Richmonds, sitting at the bar, stared at Martin with renewed hostility. The others with renewed hope. Peanut and Grape, Fox and Lucky, held each other’s paws, imitated by the Sandwiches. Bill was genuinely intrigued, that man had really deep sleeves for his aces…
Antares and Aldebaran nudged with Mizar and Alcor – they knew that Dad would find the solution!
“What are you talking about?” asked Sara.
“Take a look at that file.” Martin pointed to the plastic binder in question, in plain sight on the counter. “My… associates got me that material half an hour ago. I found it very interesting.”
Edward opened the file. And the world collapsed on him. If possible, he turned even paler.
Martin made a mental note to thank Celia and Thomas Milton. In the sense that he wouldn’t have their bones scattered throughout the State, since the whole mess was started because of them, in the first place. “The only true thing in your pathetic hoax was the fact that you never signed the document of surrender of authority... But it’s understandable: You had no reason to bore yourself with more papers over two animals you had already abandoned to their doom.
“I must concede you spent a lot of money for the fake ‘lost’ ads, for the fake witnesses and stuff. And since your account couldn’t allow such expenses, you must have called for help to some money shark. You know, I almost feel sorry for you. Because in the remote event you bailed your way out of prison, you’d have to answer to your ‘benefactors. *Tsk* I heard they’re not the kind of people you should mess with.”
Edward and Sara knew they were in real danger now. Their plans had backfired completely, and even if they managed to get out of that place, there were still all those hostile animals, gathered outside. And the sharks.
Suddenly, prison seemed a very, very comfy place…
Martin drank another cup of coffee. He was no longer smiling; he had that expression he had showed to Mac before breaking his finger. “A stupid plan, you two. Very. You must really be desperate to come up with such a strategy after you had settled yourself.
“And you know what? I don’t care to know why you did it: you hurt a family dear to me, and you almost ruined three of my good friends and hurt the animal community as a whole. You have no idea what I would like to inflict on you, physically, but for now I will settle with having brought down your house of cards. Earl? Jill? Bill?” The three human rose.
Edward and Sara did the same, but backing toward the entrance.
Martin pulled out a remote control from his shirt pocket, and pressed a button.
The sliding door of the living room closed quickly, cutting off any escape route to the Richmonds.
Earl and Jill were the first to approach the couple. They had the grim faces of two angels of the hosts of doomsday.
“Wait!” tried Edward desperately. “Yes, we are really desperate, let me explain—”
The sounds of a powerful punch and a slap in the face like a pistol shot shook the doors.
Peanut covered his eyes. Grape clenched her fist in a gesture that mimicked her Dad’s. “Yush!” Lucky and Fox nodded solemnly. The Foster pets exchanged the hi-five.
After that, it fell to Bill. “Oh, how I’ve been longing for this moment!”
Edward was folded in two from the punch Earl had inflicted to his abdomen, and could hardly breathe. Bill straightened him rapidly, causing a new, painful spasm, then handcuffed him, making sure the bracelets were very tight. Then he went to Sara, who had lost a tooth due to the slap of Jill, and her cheek was swollen like an orange. He handcuffed her no less roughly. “You’re under arrest for forgery, attempted kidnapping, and whatever else the prosecutor succeeds in delivering. And also for making me mad.”
“As for my part,” Martin said, “consider this an extra bonus, for the trial.” At the press of another button of the remote, a TV turned on, showing the dialogue between Martin and Sara.
“Security,” said Martin. “The police know very well that this house is full of cameras. Even if your lawyer should invalidate the tapes, the media won’t make such distinctions. And before you can say ‘not guilty’, any jury from here to New Mexico will plead guilty in a minute. Have a nice day.” He used the remote to open the door, and waved them goodbye. “Have fun at the station: the furry cops will love to keep you company!”
“Hey, sleeping beauties, everyone!” Nevermore said, excitedly. “Look! Come on, wake up!”
The pets of Babylon Gardens woke up quickly after a night of vigil.
Bino, Selene, Fido, Felix, King, Max and Joey were the first to wake up. “I hope it’s important, bird brain,” said Max, stretching. Then he looked in the direction indicated by the crow. “Oh.”
Never had a vision been sweeter: the Richmonds brought out of Foster Mansion by Bill, tightly handcuffed.
The crowd exploded in a collective roar of untainted joy.
In the living room, the atmosphere was no less joyful.
The Sandwich family was busy in a tight group hug. Lucky and Fox were doing a frenzied dance with Mizar and Alcor. Antares and Aldebaran were trying to hug their dad to death.
“You were very brave, children!” Earl kissed in turn the heads of his pets, imitated by his wife. “We did it, we did it!”
Grape was dispensing kisses on the face of Peanut as if this was her first time with him...
“FOX!” said the voice of King. The corgi was the first to burst into the living room and hug his best friend. “Yay! Lucky stays, and you’ll be fine!”
“Ah,” said the silver husky, ruffling his head with his fist. “So you are no longer so jealous of him, eh?”
“I’ll always be,” answered the Corgi, nuzzling his neck. “But I’ll feel much better knowing you’re happy!”
“GRAPE!” This was Max, coming along with Felix. “Yay, you stay!” He printed a big kiss on her lips, making her blush. “You don’t know how much I would’ve missed you, ma belle,” he said with misted eyes, then he and Felix lifted her and held her above their heads. “Now for a good crowd bath!” said Felix.
“NO!” said the cat, laughing. “Don’t you dare, you alley cats! Peeeanut! You’re my boyfriend, do something!”
But Peanut was already the object of the same attentions of Fox and Lucky, and he looked like he was enjoying it a lot!
The Sandwiches watched the scene with face-splitting smiles, while Earl encircled his wife by the shoulders. He gave her a kiss on her head. “Now we must redo all the adoption papers, I guess.”
“You guessed right,” said Martin, putting his hands on their shoulders. “Let them celebrate, now. Starting tomorrow, there’s gonna be a lot of things to do.”
“What do you have in mind?” asked Earl. With Martin, it never came to something simple…
Martin winked. “Let’s just say that our young couple deserves to be acknowledged in a more… proper way. And it will take more than just a signature on an adoption form…”
|Author:||huntersunday [ Sat May 14, 2011 6:34 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
awesome again I love how you switch from happy to sad to happy so fast and build up the suspense it is awesome
|Author:||valerio [ Sun May 15, 2011 12:58 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Valerio's translated fanfics|
HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES
Episode 18 - Orange blossom
Written by VALERIO (Later revised by OBBL)
Outside Byron House, Babylon Gardens. 6:00 am
Since the foundation of the pet-friendly community by Henry Milton, the first life form moving on the streets at that hour was the paper boy. Although this institution wasn’t limited to papers. The paper boy would hand out the freshly baked, fragrant bread and the milk, pick up the empty bottles, and deliver the eventual private mail between the neighbors.
It used to be a boring and long shift, before the shelter organized a companion for the paperboy… pardon, papergirl. Now she had someone to talk to and a real assistant, a greyhound by the name of Daimler. Helen couldn’t understand how such a sweet and lively creature, so enamored with his job, could have ever ended up in a shelter!
Humming Walk like an Egyptian, Daimler put in the door’s mailslot a white envelope on which was written as the recipient ‘Fido and Sasha Byron’. He turned and started to head for the small truck, when he heard a female voice from the same mailslot saying, “Thank you! And good morning to you too!”
Daimler gave her a salute with two fingers on his temple. “Don’t mention it, Sasha.”
Then Daimler greeted the couple doing their morning jogging. Sharp like Swiss clocks. Yes, that Matt boy was lucky to have found a fine dog like Hercule!
“Kill… me… now… please,” wheezed the poor boy. Every attempt to command ‘his’ dog into not torturing him with those stupid exercises had proven futile. In fact, it was the dog that had proven who was in charge, when it came to turning the teenager into a fine specimen of human. It was like living with a drill sergeant, only with sharper teeth!
“Nonsense, young master,” said the Dutch Shepherd, who wasn’t even panting. “You’re gonna be grateful, one day. You were becoming sloppy, what with all that junk food and TV. And now, hop! We still have 2kms to cover and then you can have a healthy breakfast!”
Matt decided that harakiri may be not so bad, after all.
Sasha opened the envelope without stamps, closed with a red wax seal showing a stylized fish and bone crossed. Yesyesyesyes... She thought frantically. Half of Babylon Gardens had been expecting that envelope for the last two weeks. What else could it be?!
Sasha read the note, and let out a joyful scream that sounded the alarm to the whole house. A scene likely to be repeated, to varying extents, with many other pets.
The moment the familiar hum of the electric pickup truck had been heard, Max and Bino, woke up in a second from their more-coma-than-sleep. A moment later, emerging from their rooms, they were running down the stairs to be the first to reach the mailslot. And the envelope was there!
“I saw it first!” dog and cat said simultaneously. They arrived at the same time... that is, they impacted against the door with the noise of clattering bones. Bino picked up the envelope first, but Maxwell snatched it. “My ex-girlfriend, my right to open it.” And he stuck out his tongue at his housemate. He opened it, and read its contents with dreamy eyes. “My lucky pretty kitty… How I wanted to be in this letter! Hey, Bino, I hope you still have that new collar.”
Bino scoffed. “Of course! As the President of the Good Ol’ Dogs Club, I’m supposed to be at my best for such occasions!”
Lucky had been waiting every morning for the coming of that familiar vehicle, sitting on the porch. Fox had patiently waited with him, just happy to be with his new housemate. He had sorely missed these rituals, King couldn’t stay with him all night long, that Pete person wouldn’t allow it…
The truck came, and Daimler carried papers, bread, milk… and an envelope. Lucky’s eyes popped out like saucers, as he wagged madly.
Although the invitation was extended to Fox as well, it was the malamute who had the right to open it. After all, Grape had been his first housemate and friend…
Reading the invitation, Lucky let out a howl of joy. “Yay! Brava, Princess!”
Felix had been the second oldest friend in Grape’s life, in her previous miserable life. And, like Lucky, this tabby had prayed that this particular day would arrive.
Also, he really needed some good news since his Dad was still who knew where on some of his secret Missions around the world. And the invitation’s content met his expectations.
“This is so going to be an unforgettable day.”
The first to take the envelope was Tiger. The pitbull cautiously sniffed the object. Even if it fell to him to open and distribute mail, he decided that this time Zach would have the honor. After all, that rabbit still had a right to be the first to receive the good news...
As for him, Tiger just hoped there was a rich buffet.
Fiddler and Key’s residence
The two musician cats exchanged a knowing glance, as they supported each other by the shoulder. They remembered very well how it had started with Maxwell courting Grape at that Yarn Ball, with their musical help. Who could’ve imagined it would evolve into this?
They had rehearsed all week waiting for this day, and would give only the best!
Parker House garden
Joey had spent the night unable to sleep. Of all the pets in Babylon Gardens, he was the only one with enough inside information to know for sure when the big day would come. This was his sweet revenge toward anyone who had dared to mock his friendship with the mouse Squeak. The date had been kept a secret until the last moment… until Joey had spread the word through his Common Life Society Club, beating the other Clubs, that the following day the invitation would be distributed.
He also wanted to be the first to get the envelope, sure that all the sleepless nights spent with D&D were enough training… Instead he had fallen asleep after draining himself with the excitement.
That was why his small, dearest friend, had called on a guest with a powerful enough voice.
A guest that cleared his throat, before putting a tiny loudspeaker to his mouth…
“THE MAIL IS HERE!!” Spo said. His amplified voice sounded like a sonic boom inside the doghouse, almost de-roofing it.
“Ow. Thanks, guys,” he said, taking the envelope that the mice were holding out for him.
“We serve the people!” said Spo. “So? Is this it?”
Joey opened the envelope with his name on. A fine handwriting read:
H.L. AND FAMILY ARE INVITED THIS DAY TO THE CHAPEL OF THE
LUCKY CHARM GROVE FOR THE ABANDONED AND THE FERALS
TO ATTEND THE WEDDING COMMUNION OF
PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH AND GRAPE JELLY SANDWICH
THAT WILL TAKE PLACE AT 11:00
OFFICIATED BY FATHER WILLIAM GHETTI
COCKTAIL AND BUFFET TO FOLLOW
Joey nodded. “It’s the big day,” he said as he took a Tish, You! from a box that had been placed there for the occasion. He blew his nose loudly.
He still remembered how it had started. After all, he and everyone else were there…
Foster Mansion, 11am, two weeks ago
It had happened during the celebration in the park of Foster Mansion. Only during the housewarming party, had there been so many pets. It looked like a Rave party. Everyone was celebrating the end of the nightmare for two beloved families, the Sandwiches and the Lindbergs.
Peanut and Grape, Fox and Lucky, were the stars. Two humans had tried to claim Grape and Lucky, to separate them from their beloved ones. Sure, sadly, this tended to happen all too often… But in the Gardens, Fox was the dog of Officer Bill, a good friend of Bino, and generally a very appreciated pet. Grape was Peanut’s girlfriend, she had become a model for the mixed couples. The romantic souls of the community sighed when they thought of her and Peanut. If they could pass over their species barrier to get entangled in a solid relationship, even those who scorned such kind of romance must admit they could work fine within their own species. The idea that such a cute couple could be split was simply… intolerable!
The party had been going for almost two hours, when, out of the blue, dancing in the light of the new day, at the center of a thick happy crowd, Peanut managed to raise his voice over the music and say “Grape Jelly Sandwich, will you marry me?”
Imagine the scene of an explosion. A nice full view of the ground where the bomb detonates. You can see the shockwave expanding from the center, reaching as far as possible, wreaking havoc, pushing the air… Here, just like that.
Only, this bomb caused a shockwave of silence. The pets fell in an astonished silence one after the other, as they stopped to listen with wide eyes. In the end, even the music stopped. For several seconds, only the insects could be heard.
Grape looked at the panting dog. A part of her simply couldn’t believe what she had heard. She was sure she had misunderstood, it wasn’t possible! Not that she didn’t like the idea, but… asking it here, in front of everyone..?
Peanut, knowing what was going on in her mind, nodded. He fell to his knee and took her paw. The general silence, if possible, became even thicker.
Peanut’s eyes were misty. “Grape, what happened between yesterday and today made me realize how much I love you, how much I need you.” He blushed. “Heh, I admit it, I read a lot about the matter, since I often dreamt of asking you.” Then he was back to that serious mode she still wasn’t used to see in her beloved big puppy. “You are my precious, my gem, everything that makes my life good. With you at my side, I can face any challenge life can throw at me. And despite us being together already, Grape, still I want to be your lifemate in front of the heavens. Let it be known that I am not scared of spending the rest of my life with you only. So, will you marry me, Jellybel—” he let go of Grape’s paw to cover his muzzle with both paws. He blushed horribly, sure that this time he had blown it royally!
At least, the crowd didn’t burst into laughter. In fact, Sasha and Joey were looking at them with face-splitting grins and enormous eyes, their paws clasped tight and nodding frantically. Antares and Aldebaran looked no less excited. Bino was mouthing with a sneer ‘Cooorny’, only to close his mouth as Max threw him a laser gaze. Then the cat that had tried to court the lavender female nodded slowly, smiling sweetly at her.
Fido and Sabrina looked simply overjoyed as they held each other, a bit envious that they had been beaten, but oh-so-happy for their friends. And so were Mizar and Alcor, who had planned to do the same thing, although they couldn’t believe they had been beaten!
Tarot too nodded to Grape. Whatever feelings she still had for Peanut, this was the moment to come, what she had worked so hard for.
And Grape had drawn in a breath before helping Peanut on his feet. “I would’ve liked the engagement ring… Nutty, but yes, I will marry you.” She then kissed him deeply, as the crowd came back to life with renewed happiness.
Everybody happy… Except King.
The creature that had once been a man named Joel Zechariah Robinson, Martin Foster’s younger brother, examined his invitation with curiosity rather than excitement.
The ‘wedding communion’ was essentially a symbolic gesture, it had no legal value. The animals involved couldn’t receive, for example, any legacy left by their human relatives. And anyway, Babylon Gardens already offered every possible benefit to its furry residents, including hospital visits... “What for?” He wondered, as he ate his kibbles. Note to self: bring more snacks from Martin’s.
“To celebrate their happiness, for example?” answered Fox, walking in the kitchen.
King almost choked with his mouthful. “Where did you come from?”
Fox pointed behind him with his thumb. He looked puzzled. “Uh, the door? You know, they keep ‘em open? For us?”
King tended to forget these little things. The problem of not having lived in a pet-friendly community for most of his life.
“Where is your – Pete?” Fox asked, correcting at the last moment. King wouldn’t have called Pete ‘Dad’ or ‘master’ even under torture.
King drank a glass of water placed near the bowl. “Dunno and I don’t want to. Ugh, those two pets are so in love with each other already, they make me barf rainbows... Why do they even need this marriage mockery?” He got out of his chair and walked into the living room. He’d spend some time watching TV, then he would put on the fine collar Pete had literally summoned for him. The magical griffin had been very clear: The Corgi had to attend, like it or not...
At least, King thought, he would eat decently... “Fox, can I ask you something? No offense.”
The Husky sat down beside him. “Shoot.”
“What do you see in me?”
Fox raised an eyebrow. “I’m sorry?”
King shrugged. “Well... I have a temper, I think you’re my only friend, I barely interact with others, and since the first time we met I haven’t done anything but act like a walking bramble, and you don’t know anything about me. Why do you hang out with me?”
Fox was about to tell him, jokingly, that his antics were nothing, when compared to Bino… but then saw the Corgi fold his ears. There was that unmistakable fear in his clear blue eyes. “You’re still afraid that I will leave you alone, now that Lucky lives with me?”
The smaller dog’s silence was an enough loud answer.
Fox leaned over to embrace him. “Silly.” He gave him a kiss on his forehead. King blushed like a tomato.
Fox raised his chin to stare into his eyes. “Don’t ever think that again, okay? Yes, you’re grumpy and you really need to open yourself more to others, but I also believe you’re a good dog, under that bark. I remember how you looked, when I found you there, sitting all alone and sad... Well, I immediately felt a strong desire to protect you, to get you in good spirits.
“And frankly I’m not so curious to know what your life was like, before you moved to the Gardens. It’s your personal thing, and it’s evident you don’t want to talk about it yet. You have the right to keep it to yourself until you decide otherwise.”
King huddled further into the arms of Fox. “You really think that I’m a... good dog?”
“I told you, I believe it. You’re my best friend, King. Yes, even more than Bino and the others. You can count on me anytime, okay?”
King shook his head. “Thank you. Thank you so much, without you I don’t know how I would handle all this.... I love you.”
Fox stroked his head. “Don’t mention it. Just try to remember that the Universe doesn’t hate you... Rather, can I ask you something? No offense.”
The corgi nodded. “Shoot.”
“You’re really cute, you know?”
This time King was sure his ears had started burning for real. “Err...?”
“I mean, with that muzzle you could be a real ladykiller. Don’t you think it’s time to look for a nice lady doggie?”
King felt that he could make water boil with his face. “Ah... uh... I... bikbok...”
Fox chuckled. “Ohh, shy you are, eh? Are we thinking about Sasha?”
King broke the hug. “YES! I mean, NO! I mean…” He whined pitifully. “Fox, please, why must you torture me?”
This time Fox laughed heartily, and he put his hand behind his head. “Forgive me, but I admit it’s too good an occasion to see a toughie like you to squirm like that over this topic. You’re cute and funny. Girls would love you, once they get to know you, honest.” Fox’s expression tinted with sincere admiration. “Furthermore, if I remember correctly, after storming out of the Club because of Bino’s prank, last Christmas, you found the heart to help and comfort Sasha. You were the only one to do that, you know? Nobody told you, but we all appreciated it.”
King lowered his eyes and ears again. “Yes, that was a… good night. I can understand why she’s so popular, she’s like a star in herself. Makes one want to protect her…” He sighed. “But Fox, I just don’t know what to do with females in general. I mean, I have no experience at all!” And boy was that true!
“And what if I gave you a hand?”
Back came grumpy-boy. “How? Calling a date agency? Putting an ad in the newspaper under ‘desperate cases’?”
Fox shrugged. “No. I might introduce you to some of my friends. You’d only have to behave properly and try not to chew any faces. Be a good boy, and I’ll buy you a hefty one at ‘Marmaduke’.”
King’s stub wagged. He knew it wouldn’t work of course, but Fox was honestly trying to cheer him up, to make him happy. It was moments like this that made the Corgi forget his past, and see this great friend in his future… “You’ll attend this ‘marriage’, too?”
Fox winked. “Of course! I told you I want to help you find a girl, not let you steal them all! During a marriage, the ladies become really soft. With a cute muzzle like yours, you’ll draw them like a magnet.”
|Author:||Link320 [ Sun May 15, 2011 4:01 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread|
Liking the new thread title, pretty accurate imo
Also lol at Matt's suffering
|Author:||ChristopherJackal [ Mon May 16, 2011 1:44 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread|
Dude you're going waaay too fast for me here! struggling to keep up, but eeeeee!!!! A wedding! I like this! I'm all uber excited now! Also King needs someone nice! Make it so because you're awesome like that!
|Author:||valerio [ Mon May 16, 2011 6:53 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread|
Sandwich House, Babylon Gardens. Two weeks ago.
The door swung open and in came Peanut, with Grape piggy-back riding him. They were laughing.
“I can’t believe it! I just can’t believe you did it in front of everyone!” The cat was beyond herself with excitement. She got down from Peanut’s back and hugged him and lifted him effortlessly. “I’m the luckiest cat in the whole world!”
“So, looks like someone enjoyed the party,” said Earl, waiting for them in the living room together with Jill. The Sandwiches went to take each a pet in their arms. They couldn’t believe how lucky they were to have such fantastic children. Even the fears and the scare that assassin dog had inflicted during her attack were nothing, compared to the dread of losing Grape to the Richmonds, to see Peanut destroyed by pain… Of course they loved their pets, but now more than ever they were part of the family.
Grape broke her mother’s hug. Showing her a big grin, she said, “Guess what? Peanut asked me to marry him! I said him yes, of course! He explained how the wedding communion works on our way home! We’ll invite everyone, it’ll be a great… Mom..?”
Both woman and man were, to say the least, flabbergasted. For a moment, they just stared at Peanut and Grape… Then Jill almost squeezed the life out of her cat! “My babies are gonna get married!!”
Earl looked every inch the happiest Dad on Ole Blue-Eyed Earth. “My boy, I can’t tell you how proud I am of you!” He and his wife, since the day their pets had decided to declare to each other, had fantasized about a marriage. They knew it was a symbolic token, but the idea that their pets felt mature and united enough for such a step was, simply, heavenly. They weren’t mimicking their parents, they wanted to walk a road together, in front of everyone and in front of God…
Earl’s cell rang at that moment. He didn’t even check the screen, he had an hunch about who it would be.
“I’m sure that by now you have learned of the great news, neighbor,” said the voice of Martin Foster. “I can hear your happiness from here.”
Earl nodded. “You’re just jealous that our children are getting married before yours, Mary Sue.”
“Touché. Anyway, I’ll handle the catering and everything else. And since you owe me big time, I’ll choose the place too: The Saint Anthony Abbot Chapel at my Shelter. Father Ghetti has been informed already. Did I already tell you that I won’t take a ‘no’ for answer?”
“You’ll take this for an answer: the place is fine, but everything else is our choice and it will be strictly on us. They’re our children, mister.”
Earl could almost hear Martin’s face opening in a grin. “We’ll see about that. You call your brother. I’ll prepare the invitations. Two weeks from now.”
Sandwich House, Babylon Gardens. Today.
The mirror in the landlords’ bedroom mercilessly reflected the image of Earl wearing a tux, complete with red band and matching bow tie. “Ugh... I look like a penguin. Couldn’t we simply rent new clothes, dear?”
From the bathroom, the voice of Jill Sandwich said, pointedly, “Earl Sandwich, woe to you if I hear you repeat such heresy! When else do you think I will get to wear my honeymoon dress, and still dazzle our neighbors to death?”
The bathroom door opened a moment later, and Jill emerged, her body wrapped by a long, black backless dress. Her only ornaments were the gold necklace she had wore at her marriage and a thin gold bracelet on her left wrist.
Earl’s eyes widened, immediately regretting his earlier words. “You look wonderful. Wow, are you sure you didn’t rent a time machine, instead?”
The woman walked to her husband’s side. “Those snobs from Poe Plaza are so going to turn green, hmm.”
Earl gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Ah, honey? Let’s not turn this nice day into some contest.”
Jill pouted. “Aww, leave a poor Mom the satisfaction to rub her uncut perfection in the faces of those fat hens. Bad hubby!”
Her husband chuckled. “You are officially a terrible person.”
“Hey, Calamity Jane and the rest, remember?”
“Oh, sure. When it suits you, you summon her... Come on, primadonna, let’s see how the children are doing. Remember our wedding? We were stalling over every possible detail. We had to be dragged out.”
Jill gave her husband a mock glare. “Primadonna? Did you call moi primadonna? Earl, you know how I can punish you, don’t you?”
He gave her a kiss on the cheek. “It was worth the risk. You’re very funny when you get angry like that. Come on, let’s go.”
In the living room, Peanut was once again rearranging the black velvet collar. Instead of a tag, it sported a black bow tie. His fur smelled of shampoo from the recent bath.
“Nervous, eh?” said Earl, entering the room. “I was always unsure of my appearance, the day I married your mother. I was sure that the moment I started walking, I would rip open my pants in front of everyone. At least you don’t have to worry about that problem.”
“Well, I feel like this collar is choking me. And I’m pretty sure I’ll stutter or say something really silly, like calling her by her pet name in front of Father Ghetti. Promise me you’ll hide me in a volcano, if I do.”
Earl sat down on the couch, and gestured the dog to join him. When Peanut had taken place, the man stroked the back of his head. “It’s normal that you’re scared, boy. You two are going to take your vows in front of the Heavens, you’re no longer just… boyfriend and girlfriend. Although nothing has changed between the two of you, now you proceed to commit to each other. You are about to promise you will stay together no matter what…” Earl chuckled. “Although I guess you wanted that already. So, relax. Everything will come natural, it will be a wonderful day to remember and I’ll be a very proud Daddy.”
Father and son bumped fists with an asplode and a ‘yeah’.
Then, Earl said, “I remember how you were scared during the return trip from Reuben’s. You barely talked to each other. I was worried that you might have had a bad fight.”
Peanut put his paw behind his head. “Grape was so afraid that you would get upset because of our relationship… She made me promise not to tell a thing, that we must be, well, just friends as always.”
Earl sighed. “Poor creature, those Richmond crooks had really traumatized her. And to say that you two were so clearly in love; Mom and I used to bet on when you’d decided to tell us.”
Earl nodded. “Grape may have been somewhat rude those times when you interrupted her naps, but I don’t think she knows of all the times you were sitting next to her bed, to ensure that no one bothered her, looking as if you wanted to protect her from the world. And when you got that bad cold, a month after she had arrived in the family, she didn’t leave you alone for a single minute until you were healed. Do you remember? You called her...”
“...Nurse Kitty,” concluded Peanut, blushing.
“You were meant to be together, you two. From the first moment you saw her, at the old shelter. Mom will cry a lot today.”
“Why?” snapped Peanut, now alarmed.
Earl laughed. “Why, all mothers cry at their children’s wedding. It a kind of natural law.”
Grape gazed with curiosity, rather than admiration, at the figure reflected by the mirror.
From the tiara on her head a white, transparent veil ran down to her neck.
Around her neck, she wore a white collar adorned with another thin veil.
A third veil was attached to the root of her tail, running along her appendage for about 12 inches.
The final touch was a thin brown ribbon wrapped around her tailtip, a brown matching Peanut’s body fur, and two golden bells attached to the ribbon.
“Just lovely, dear!” said her bridesmaids: Mary Ellen, Clarabelle and Betty Lou, Uncle Reuben’s barn cats. Grape had specifically asked their Dad for their presence. After all, the cats had played an important role in helping Peanut and her get together, they deserved this honor.
Reuben Sandwich had not only agreed with unexpected enthusiasm, but had brought whole family! Fortunately, Uncle Martin had a house big enough for all of them...
“So who is your best pet, you rascal?” asked Mary Ellen, brushing her back.
“Take it easy with that thing, I’m not a rug,” said Grape. “Felix and Max will be mine. Fido and Lucky will be Peanut’s.”
“Max is that cute black kitty-boy, right? The charming pirate?” Clarabelle said. “Your first boyfriend, if I remember correctly.”
Grape lowered her ears. “More or less... Well, he’s the only one I feel something for, aside from Peanut. He’s still got a place in my heart.”
“Dawww!” said the three cats in chorus.
“Fido is the hunky cop, right?” said Betty Lou. “Mmm, We’d just love havin’ him serve in our neighborhood.”
Grape chuckled. “The good news is that he’s a cat person.”
Three toothy smiles lit up the room.
“The bad news is that he’s already committed, and he’s very loyal.”
“You’re cruel,” said Mary Ellen, giving a last, vigorous brush stroke.
Grape started. “Hey! Take it easy, I said! “
At that moment, someone knocked at the door. “Girls?” said Jill’s voice, “Come on, we need to go. Grape must be present to sign the documents for the adoption before she say the fatal ‘yes’. “
“Is peanut coming with us?” asked Grape. Funny how much she missed him even though they were together now. It was as if she wanted to make up for all the time wasted…
The door opened and Jill entered the room. “No, he’s already gone along with – Oh my God! Love, you’re beautiful!” She went to the lavender cat and knelt before her. “My little girl is growing so fast.” She smoothed the head veil. “There, much better.”
“Mo-o-m!” Grape was dying with embarrassment, while her friends were giggling. Then Jill switched her attention to them. They had had their bath, they had brushed… but a detail was missing. “Are you kitties trying to fool a mother on her children’s wedding day?” She went to the desk, upon which lay an unopened box. She opened it and took out three blue collars. “Come on, ladies, time to become presentable. You won’t attend this ceremony looking like a bunch of ferals.”
Any protest the cats could think of died on their lips the moment Jill threw them a warning scowl. Reluctantly, they were helped to wear collars for the first time in their life.
“Gah, ah feel like ah got a yoke around my neck!” said Betty Lou in disgust, her sisters no less happy. “How can y’all wear this stuff every day?”
“Well, you can become guests of the Shelter. It’s not so bad, in there.” She undressed Grape and put her garments in a blue box. The last thing she’d risk was to see that stuff stained or dirty before her daughter entered the chapel!
“Still nervous?” asked Jill, giving Grape a kiss on her head.
The cat nodded. She felt her throat dry. “I really want Peanut. I feel so… empty without him. Heh, I must seem so silly…”
“And why is that bothering you?” said Mary Ellen, taking her hand. “Sugah, yer young an’ in love. Would be way weirder the other way ‘round.”
“You should’a seen ole Rufus, when he started wooin’ us,” said Clarabelle. “Reuben scolded him at least three times a day. Don’ worry, ye’ll get over it.”
“Clarabelle!!” said her sisters in an indignant chorus. “Beg yer pardon, lass. She really forgets how to use that trap, sometimes!”
Grape smiled again. “I know what she meant. And anyway, I am convinced that my life will be anything but a boring routine, with Peanut. He can make me feel happy over the simplest things, and he can make me feel safe.” Jill gave her cat one last kiss. “You’re really sweet, darling.” Then she took the box and stood up. “Time to go to the Charm, ladies.”
The Chapel of the Lucky Charm Grove for the Abandoned and the Ferals. 10:00 am
“One last time…” Lucretia straightened the red collar around the neck of her only female cub. “Perfect! You cut some dashing figure, girl!”
“It makes me itch my neck,” said the cub, scratching her neck.
“Well, it’s pretty, and you too are,” said the little Awesome, wearing his golden-yellow collar. He was holding his basket containing the flower petals to scatter in front of the bride, together with the wolf cub.
Sly, Betty Lou’s son, kept an eye on the hyperactive pup, who looked more than ready to dash for the nave. The jet black cat was tempted, for a moment, to tell him to go and begin to sow the petals. For some reason, Awesome trusted Sly blindly, who had pranked him from time to time… But Sly was also sure that his fur would’ve been scattered in the place of the petals, if his pranks had spoiled this day.
Someone knocked at the door, then entered Peanut. “Hey, y’all right in there?”
“UNCLE PEANUT!” Awesome jumped like a small rocket to the dog’s neck. “Thanks for inviting us, this place is so much more beautiful than the old shelter, there are a lot of things to play with and Sly ate soooooo much food and the wolves are really cool—” Peanut ruffled the puppy’s head. “I’m glad you’re so happy, little one... And you guys? Everything okay? “
Lucretia nodded. “Thanks for the invitation, Peanut. It was very kind of you.”
“Ah, don’t mention it. If you consider me part of your pack, the least I could do in return, was to invite you.”
Lucretia wagged. “Daryl is organizing a camp-out for next weekend. Maybe you and Grape could join. Bring your tent, so you can enjoy a bit of romantic privacy under the stars...” She winked.
Peanut discreetly covered Awesome’s ears. “Err... We’ll give it a thought,” he stammered, blushing. Yet he had to admit it, spending some time with the wolves would be awesome! He had always wanted to be with the pack, in the open! “Where are the Milton ferrets? We invited them, too.”
“Oh, they’re inspecting the shelter, since they skipped the inauguration. Said they didn’t want to steal the spotlight from Mr. Foster’s work.”
Peanut nodded: the ferrets had a way of getting at the center of the attention, it was their second nature—
His thoughts were interrupted by the peck Lucretia gave him out of the blue! “Guh!”
The she-wolf hugged the dog. “If you were a wolf, you’d make a great Alpha. I’m proud to be your friend. And remember, whatever you needed, we’ll be there to help you.”
At that time, Earl leaned into the room. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything, folks.”
“Da-a-d!” the poor dog turned brick-red.
The man shook his head. “Peanut, Mom and Grape just arrived.”
“Ah, here you are,” said Martin Foster. “I was worrying, you know?”
The Sandwich family almost crashed into the register of adoptions office. Martin was waiting behind the desk, wearing a Brioni tuxedo. “Beautiful collar, Peanut. The black looks fabulous on you, did you know?”
“Thank you, Uncle Martin,” he said, taking Grape by her paw.
“So, is everyone ready?” They all nodded solemnly.
Martin turned on a tablet with a scanner attached to it. “Well,” he said formally. “Let’s start with your documentation, please: driver’s license and social security card.” He took the four cards that were handed him, and placed them on the scanner. The device scanned them and transferred the data to the tablet.
Martin gave back the cards. He dragged the files into the box ‘adopters’ of the guest ‘Princess Periwinkle’. When the match was done, he handed Earl an e-pen. He turned the electronic page with a finger and slid it until he showed the signature lines. “Here. Sign there, there, and finally there... Good. Miss Sandwich, your turn.”
When Jill had signed, Martin took the tablet. “By signing this document, you certify to possess the financial resources and the will to take care of our guest. You further agree that in case of misconduct or default, the Lucky Charm Grove for the Abandoned and the Ferals will claim custody of Grape Jelly Sandwich to find a more suitable home. You also accept that the shelter performs periodic surprise inspections to check the welfare of the adoptee.”
Earl shook his head. “You couldn’t wait to tell us this line, could you?”
Martin grinned like a fox. “I’ll never get another chance like this, man. Anyway, I’d say we’re good.” He placed his finger an inch from the ‘Register and Send’ command. “Ready to become two proud parents?”
Jill looked ready to bite him. “E-mail that thing, Martin Foster, or I’ll have to look for another co-guardian.”
“I yield to violence, my dear.” He pressed the button. A few seconds later, a check-mark appeared in the center of the screen. The scanner-printer started spitting out paper copies of the form. “Done. The pet registry has received the documents, and the former adoption has been officially invalidated. Congratulations on your choice, gentlemen.”
As that was a really important day for the Sandwich family, this simple bureaucratic act was undoubtedly the most important thing. The family exchanged a long, tight hug: all fears of being separated were really over!
There remained only a wedding, to be celebrated.
|Author:||valerio [ Mon May 16, 2011 2:46 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread|
St. Anthony Abbot Chapel of the Lucky Charm Grove for the Abandoned and the Ferals, Babylon Gardens
There was room for fifty people, or seventy animals in the facility for the religious services. Since Martin was unable to build a church for the one thousand animals that the shelter could accommodate, Father William Ghetti had accepted an honorable compromise, making himself available for at least two services a weekend.
Today’s ceremony was truly a first in the history of Babylon Gardens – funny, come to think of it. In places like Los Angeles and Vegas they celebrated wedding communions of a fashion, typical showing off of eccentric owners. This marriage, instead, was being taken quite seriously, and Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich were the most popular pets. Ghetti would have made a sacrifice to Cthulhu (forgive me Lord for I am a fan of Lovecraft!) to officiate this event. Even the reporter of the blog Simon says..., otherwise known as the voice of the Babylon Gardens animals, was present.
Simon Says… had gained quite a bit of fame by publishing the confession of a certain zoo-mafia member who had worked in the business of burying empty coffins at the Remembrance Hill Pet Cemetery, and for selling stale pet food to the old shelter for a hefty price…
This service could convince other pets to marry here, the religious man hoped.
Martin had reserved the front rows for the pets, both for respect toward the Order of Saint Anthony, and to avoid the humans blocking the animals’ vision.
The buzz from the crowd quieted the moment the groom entered the church first, accompanied by his parent, followed by his best pets.
Peanut was barely stifling the desire to swallow nervously and run a finger in his black collar, or to pant for that matter. Instead, he squeezed Earl’s hand tight.
Earl smiled, proud of his son and amused to see him nervous just as he was on his wedding day. It was funny how much their pets had taken from their adoptive parents... “Relax,” he whispered. “You’re doing great.”
“What if I falter on the vows?” Peanut whispered back, looking at him. “I’ll put up a horrible show, I know it!”
“You’ll do great,” whispered Fido, his best pet together with Lucky.
“Don’t worry, we’ll prompt you, just in case,” added the malamute.
“Thanks.” Peanut tried a smile, getting half a grimace instead. Someone in the audience chuckled. Peanut blushed violently, and that was unsettling him even more ...
Lucky and Fido glared toward the row from which the laughter had come. The audience fell silent with a sound of snapping mouths.
“Thanks,” Peanut repeated to his friends. Too bad he and Grape couldn’t invite Res, but he wasn’t supposed to leave without an escort. And Ms. Auburn would’ve definitely stolen the general attention. This was a marriage, not a fanservice stunt.
The group stopped beneath the glass arch dividing the nave from the pulpit. The arch’s left side was delicately painted with white stylized bones, mirror images of Peanut’s tag. The right side was likewise decorated with orange stylized fishes, in the shape of Grape’s tag. From the middle of the arch hung a bouquet of white jasmines and golden zinnias.
Milton, Masterson (& Danko) House
“Ugh. Do we have to watch this farce?” asked Celia Milton from the kitchen, while preparing the dough for a pie. She had never cooked in her life, preferring microwaveable foods once she had lost the money to pay for her own cook. She had unexpectedly proven herself a natural talent, much to the satisfaction of her brother and their ‘guardian angels’.
In the living room, Sergeant Ivan Danko and Janet were watching the wedding live. It was the first time that the former policeman and private detective, and her dog, showed sincere emotion. “Say it again and I’ll break your legs,” she said, wiping her eyes with a handkerchief.
Enjoy it while you can, darling... Thought Thomas Milton, lying on his bed, intent on staring at the ceiling. For the first time since he had been forced to work for that crazy Foster guy, he was smiling.
Soon you will see who holds the knife by the handle… The events had taken an unexpected lucky turn already…
House Milton, Masterson (& Danko). Two weeks ago
When they rang the bell, Thomas said, “I’ll get it,” with the tone of a dead man walking – and how else should he feel? Despite Martin’s promise not to shred them into mincemeat with his bare hands, the man was pretty upset about the Richmond affaire. Those two crooks wouldn’t have been able to claim Grape and Lucky to squeeze money from Martin’s pockets, if Thomas and his sister Celia had filled their adoption paperwork, instead of forging it to save on costs and time.
Thomas would never forget the face of Martin when he had promised he’d kill them. If the eyes were the window to one’s soul, then Thomas and Celia had seen the Abyss. They had managed to collect enough information to uncover the plot of the Richmonds, but that didn’t mean they were safe. Martin Foster was a man of retribution, and they better accept it.
Thomas opened the door. And Martin was there, sharp as always, smiling happily. Thomas knew that that smile could turn into a grimace of hate in a split second. “Hi,” he just said, resigned.
Martin, instead… extended his hand. “Thomas, congratulations.”
The last male of the Milton family looked at the limb. He wasn’t getting it. “I’m sorry?”
Martin nodded. “I said, congratulations. You and Celia were pivotal in saving Grape and Lucky.” He grabbed Thomas’ hand, who by now was too surprised to react. “I want you to know that I’m gonna remove your internet restrictions, and from now you’re allowed to move freely in the Gardens. Of course, Janet and Ivan will keep supervising you, but no more watching over your shoulders.”
“Uh, thank you?” was all Thomas managed to utter. Celia, beside him, eyed the man suspiciously. “Why the angel attitude all of a sudden, Martin?”
Martin shrugged. “Even if you helped me out of fear for your lives, you did an excellent job. I’m sure you can do even better if properly encouraged. And nothing else does miracles for loyalty like more freedom. So be good and enjoy your new found freedom…”
Celia’s mind was working frantically, at those words. Oh, she would enjoy it all right, dear call-me-Martin poor fool!
“See? Didn’t I tell you?” Fox whispered to King, sitting next to him. “The girls are all in raptures. During the party, you’ll have to set up turns to speak with them!”
King gave a puzzled look to his husky friend.
“Changed your mind?” Fox asked, worried.
“No, no! Just... no rush, okay? One step at a time.”
“All right. I’m sorry.”
King swallowed. What kind of trouble he had thrown himself into?
The same thought was going through, albeit for different reasons, the mind of Bino.
Sitting beside him, Sasha looked down the aisle as if she wanted to be there. Bino had never seen her candy-pink eyes shine like that.
“Wouldn’t it be really romantic if we celebrated a communion ourselves?” asked the female.
Now don’t misunderstand: Bino loved Sasha, really loved her, and although their relationship might not seem the most stable, no one who knew them would have questioned their feelings for each other.
Nevertheless, those words spoken by Sasha started an alarm bell in Bino. His first reaction was to reply, “My love, there really is no hurry if *irk!*” His whisper almost became a cry of pain when he felt her paw squeeze his with the might of a press!
“You said something, darling?”
“I said that I promise I’ll think about it, my love, I swear!”
Sasha turned to give him a peck on the cheek. “You’re so sweet.”
“We will be next,” said Alcor to Mizar.
“I know. That’s why you waited to ask, right?” said the German shepherd.
The cat, fur as white as his mate, nodded. “It was right that they should take the first step. Although I still think that we should’ve been the first.”
Fido, for what concerned him, had eyes only for the black cat sitting in the front row, sitting next to his housemate.
Sabrina greeted her beloved dog with a nod. She was so sorry for not being close to him, when his colleagues had forced him to put a stop to his own career because of their prejudice against their relationship… But what she was doing now simply couldn’t be postponed. In fact, much to her shame, she and Tarot had come because they needed to make sure that the last steps to the final confrontation with the restless spirits of Whiteman House were made in security, while Pete did his part.
Karma was such a strange thing: Martin had involuntarily woken up the dark presences by destroying and rebuilding that place of horrors and sadness. Yet when he had destroyed the old shelter, and its crematorium, erecting a statue in memory of those who had passed through the grim chimney, he had given peace to those souls.
The same souls that now were there, floating in mid-air, or close to the ground, smiling, watching over the work of Martin, watching over the future that was becoming within those walls…
Then the spirits on the ground split in two rows. They stood like sentinels, their expressions solemn.
The time had come.
All rose to their feet.
The audience was silent. Everyone thought the same thing that was crossing Peanut’s mind.
She’s beautiful! The young dog felt his heart stop, and an unbridled joy burning in his stomach and mind. To him, his kitten was always beautiful, but today she was worthy of being called an angel.
Fiddler and Keys nearly forgot about the song they were to play for the occasion, but quickly resumed, and a moment later the notes of Grape’s favorite song, Scarborough Fair, echoed through the chapel. Then, the voice of Selene, along with that of Cornelia, joined in a wonderful performance of the lyrics.
Grape walked with her mother, and the witnesses Felix and Maxwell behind them. Before the group, the Milton wolves’ puppy and Awesome sprinkled flower petals as they had been taught, even if the puppy’s wagging tail scattered most of the petals like the blade of a helicopter before they fell to the ground. The public allowed themselves amused giggles.
Grape wore the Bulgari tiara of white gold, a gift from Martin, who almost had to physically extort Earl. Her white veils moved as if an invisible breeze brushed them. Only Sabrina and Tarot could see the ethereal paws touching them, sharing their affection for this mortal who brought joy and promises in a place where hope had been but a lost dream for so long…
At each step, Grape issued a gentle tinkling from the golden bells tied to her tail by the brown ribbon. According to an ancient tradition unearthed by Jill, if the golden bells jingled softly, they would keep away bad luck.
Grape walked like in a dream. She knew that song by heart, and proceeded slowly, so to reach the arch only when the song was finished.
Irony has worked overtime today, thought Grape, holding back her tears of joy. Jasmine wished happiness in marriage, the zinnias evoked memories.
This was the song that Sabrina sung at that Yarn Ball. It seemed only yesterday that Max had asked Fiddler and Keys to play it to help him teach Grape to dance, to free a grumpy cat from her shell of shyness. Back then Max had been so close to winning her heart, or so he thought... Because she was already in love with Peanut, just too hesitant to tell him, too scared to admit it to herself...
yes, that fateful night had been her first step toward this day, and she had to thank Maxie for it.
Maxwell whispered, through that toothy smile so characteristic of him, “I promised I would at least take you to the altar, ma belle, didn’t I?”
“Silly,” she whispered back, not losing sight of Peanut. Of her handsome dog, her brave knight!
The song came to its last note, while Grape stopped under the archway.
Father Ghetti drew a deep breath. With a clear and firm voice, he said, “Brothers and sisters. All of us children of God, regardless of species, we are gathered here to witness a rare event in our community.
“Although the laws of man, Be it emanated by governments or by the Holy Church, don’t acknowledge this wonderful union, God is my witness, and His is the voice of blessing for Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich, who found the purest expression of love in spite of the species barrier. Today, all our hearts sing along with theirs, and I am honored to be able to witness their declaration to the highest high.
“Like St. Anthony Abbot did with the first union he celebrated, so I shall leave these two souls to speak before the Almighty and their beloved ones.”
At that point, Peanut and Grape turned toward each other and crossed their fingers to hold each other’s paws.
They knew what to say. Peanut remembered everything very clearly, as if all worries of making a mistake had been swept away by a gentle, warm breeze. They spoke to each other as they had done not so long ago on Uncle Reuben’s barn.
“The tests we have been through didn’t weaken us...” said Peanut.
“...They made us stronger,” said Grape.
“Our fear of losing each other has become our determination to remain united...”
“...We are one heart, one soul, one destiny.”
“Nothing can I promise you or give you, because everything I am and all I have is already yours.”
“Nothing can I promise you or give you, because everything I am and all I have is already yours.”
“May time be kind to us...”
“...And always give interesting years.”
“May time be generous with us...”
“...And allow us to spend it together until our last day.”
“Together,” They said at the same time, to sign the pact.
Father Ghetti nodded. “The Lord is your witness. Give me your heads, children.” As soon as the two pets had obeyed, leaning slightly forward, the priest plunged his fingers into the stoup. He didn’t see, as not even Peanut and Grape saw, the image of the gryphon appearing in the rippling water when the priest lifted his fingers…
Through the water in the bowl, Pete saw the priest brush his wet fingers against Peanut’s forehead, then against Grape’s. Only he, like his temporary allies in the church, saw the bright streaks of light that the holy water traced on the animals’ heads
“It is done,” the gryphon said, satisfied. The blessings had been given. The main players were, in truth, ready.
The moment was nigh.
Father William closed the stoup. “‘Tis the Word of the Lord. Now, before Him as in front of your family and your friends, you are married. Peanut, you may kiss the bride.”
Peanut simply overcome with emotion, first wrapped his arms around her hips, and after she had done the same, brought his muzzle close to hers… and licked her on her nose.
Grape was a little surprised, but she let him continue. Giggles were coming from almost everyone – yup, just like Peanut, that’s why she loved him. And so, Grape continued to giggle and let a frantically wagging dog lick her snout.
The church burst into a long applause.
|Page 8 of 64||All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]|
|Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group