Friday treat! Here’s another excerpt from the story. I dedicate this to my cousin, Khadeeja, who inspired the character you’re about to meet, because of her unceasing love of animals.
If you missed out on previous excerpts, feel free to click on the links below:
Part 1: What Was That Thing?
Part 2: Meet Andie and Max
Part 3: Poor Jules
Part 4: Two Worlds
Part 5: Meet the Rat King
Part 6: Let’s Go Mole People Hunting!
Part 7: Found: Mole People
Part 8: Shady Shit
Part 9: Home Sweet Home
Part 10: Meet the Parents
Part 11: Not Your Average Blood Suckers
Part 12: A Little Taste
Part 13: Danger Signs
Part 14: No Rest for the Weary
. . .
The sky above was a dark purple rapidly giving way to orange. They walked briskly in the cold morning air, avoiding eye contact with early risers on the street. Clothes disheveled, faces spotted with dirt and blood, and what looked like a furry paw sticking out from the bundle in Andie’s arms, passerby gave them wide berth.
Down a narrow, well-kept residential street, they came upon their destination. A small sign hung on a pole jutting out from a brownstone, announcing this as the veterinary office of Dr. Khatt Rivera. She also happened to be standing on the porch steps, smoking a black cigarette, with the sleeves of her white coat rolled up. Khatt Rivera was unlike any veterinarian Max had ever seen. One side of her head was shaved while the other side sported long indigo locks down to her elbow. Her exposed arms were covered in tattoos, one of which seemed to rise in spiky jagged black ink underneath her sleeve, up passed her shoulder, and extend on to her neck. She was wearing several thick metal rings on her fingers and the rims of her ears were dotted with small stones. She squinted her green eyes as the two approached and stubbed out her smoke.
“What’s the damage?” she called out to Andie from her perch as they opened the gate to the steps leading up to her.
“Someone broke into the apartment. Lail’s got a pretty nasty wound on her side,” Andie carefully loosened the blanket around her tiny body and passed her to Khatt’s outstretched hands. “This is Max,” Andie gestured towards him.
“Oh yeah. Hi, Max. Sarah told me your whole moledaemon deal,” Khatt said without looking up. She inspected the wound carefully, “Good work on the healing.” She took a finger and swiped the wound, a trace of blood glinted in the sunlight on her fingertip, as if metallic. She sniffed it carefully and then swiftly licked the red stain. “Definitely poison in there though. Still, I’d like to see what happened to the poor bastard that did this to her,” she said before motioning for them to follow her inside, “come in before those effing joggers start coming around.”
They walked into a waiting room with a floor strewn with chew toys and tiny fake mice stuffed with cat nip. The walls were decorated with “Thank You” cards from grateful owners, pictures of happy dogs, mildly interested cats, and other assorted animals. Nothing to suggest this was anything other than an ordinary animal hospital.
“The receptionist doesn’t come in until 8, so we’ve got some time,” Khatt unlocked the door leading to the back room, but she didn’t stop in the sterile examination room or the even more aseptic surgery room. She only paused at a door with three heavy bolts to unlock them with three different keys which, when opened, revealed, quite unimpressively to Max, a narrow ascending staircase.