In which the truth is revealed; Samuel talks to a cat; extended metaphors are utilised and we receive a history lesson.
Samuel awoke to darkness. It was, in fact, so dark it was a few minutes before he even knew he was awake. He wasn’t sure if it was the sudden lucidity of his newly wakened mind that tipped him off, or the sharp and sudden pain of a cats claws digging into his side. In hindsight, it was probably the latter.
He sat up very quickly, and felt the claws recede into the blackness. He strained his senses, searching the emptiness around him for something that was in fact not emptiness. All he could hear was his own heartbeat, thudding in his chest. There must be a cat near him though. He’d felt the claws, and he hadn’t heard it leave, so by the power of elimination it must be close by. He started to flail his hands around wildly, hoping to strike something. He did. It didn’t move.
There was a sharp low yowl and the room was flooded with bright fluorescent light, rendering him temporarily blind. As his vision adjusted, he heard more yowls, growls and hisses from various parts of the room, then one low purr, silencing them all. Now he could see what was right in front of him, and it was big. Big, black, and apparently very angry. Samuel gulped.
It was quiet again in the room, apart from the hum of the now activated lighting strips above. However the stares of the watching animals made for a much more oppressive atmosphere to the darkness of before. Samuel almost wondered if one of them was going to start talking and interrogate him. The revelation that was witnessing an animal talking would actually be preferable to being glared at in this manner. Though, of course, the act of being kidnapped by domestic cats is something that might well have the effect of softening such a normally world shattering blow. It made the thought more of a progressive policy than a revolutionary coup.
“H…Hello?” Stammered Samuel, still unsure whether talking to a cat was a wise life choice, “Do you, er, cats want something from me? I’ve never hurt any of you that I know of…”
“Do be quiet, foolish boy. You are seriously trying my patience,” A deep male voice issued from the big black tomcat’s direction, which Samuel now noticed had scratch and a bruised down one side, missing some fur. Sort of like something heavy had landed on it. He gulped.
“Are you really as idiotic as you seem, boy? Most people lose the idea that animals may have speaking capacity under the age of ten. You are twice that age. Maybe my choice was misguided, though that has of course never happened,” the voice continued its sarcastic tirade. There was no clear place for it to be issuing from, and yet it continued to insult him.
“Now listen here. I represent a certain gathering of important people, and I have brought you here for a task I wish you to undertake. I will attempt to furnish you with certain details. I just hope they penetrate your skull,” at this, the voice sped up. Samuel could barely keep up with what he was saying.
“Three hundred years ago, or close enough to, a group of like-minded men and women decided to form a company to protect their interests. The public front dealt with their business in the various British colonies, but it was what was happening behind the scenes that was of the highest importance. Money changed hands, certain powerful people rose or fell, the world subtly changed and nobody batted an eye.
“By the time the American colonies had their little paddy, our esteemed friends had people in all the right places. They may well even have caused it, and certainly helped set wheels in motion, even if they weren’t directly responsible. By now these were of course not the original founders, but their children and grandchildren running the show. And despite problems along the way, they all knew the show must go on, and on it did. On and on, better and better and into its third act.
“By the dawn of the twentieth century they were no longer setting wheels in motion or greasing them, but making the wheels, spokes, hoops, tires and all, then fitting them the vehicles and sending them in whatever direction they pleased. And of course, this new century was the age of the motor vehicle, and their little group rode it straight down the road to the future until they controlled the whole production line,” the voice paused here for clarity, “Are you following my metaphor? I know it’s rather extended now, but what I’m saying is they control most of the world’s gears and drive belts. Oh, sorry, there I go again. I see you’re nodding so I can only assume you’ve grasped what I’m saying somewhat.
“These days they do their best in keeping things running smoothly, but managing a planet of selfish, self-serving, violent and sadistic glorified monkeys is a difficult job even for them. But they struggle on. They serve you and you serve them. It’s a symbiotic relationship on a scale of planetary proportions. Do you doubt anything I have said? Consider, please, that I brought you here using only ordinary domestic cats and am currently monitoring everything about you using the eyes of the big black tom in front of you. Now ask yourself again, is he telling the truth?” The voice finished on a flourish, leaving Samuel reeling from the huge influx of information. He didn’t know what to make of it all.
“But what does that have to do with needing me?” Samuel looked at the black tom, assuming that’s where the body that was presumably attached to the voice somewhere in the world was watching him from, “I don’t exactly see how I’m all that important in amongst so much power.”
The voice quickly answered his question, “You, Samuel, are needed for one important reason. There are eight families associated with our little group. A while ago there was some internal trouble and one of the families, which I will refer to as the eighth, fell into some difficulties caused by rogue members of another family. We disciplined the members of the rogue family, but some managed to evade capture. The rest of us agreed the eighth needed to fall off the grid if our organisation was to survive. We couldn’t afford to have the rogues compromise us again.
“Unfortunately, we buried them too deep. We knew the rogues would be out there looking for them, but we lost track of our friends. It has taken us many years of searching, but we have finally tracked them down. Unfortunately if we have, then so have the rogues. Unbelievably the only two remaining members of the eighth family are you and your mother. I’m sure you’re as shocked as we were. And now I must ask you to help us take down the rogues…for good,” The voice paused again, “As in kill them. I wasn’t using metaphors there. Dead serious… Oh, I swear that wasn’t on purpose.”