Here’s another excerpt from The Otherworlders. It picks up where Bestia Medicus left off.
To catch up, check out the previous posts 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
Part 15: Bestia Medicus
**Also, check out this short story I wrote last week: The Thing
. . .
Despite the let-down, while they climbed up the stairs, Max assumed this was where all the unordinary things occurred. The room at the top of the stairs was dark, the windows were covered by heavy curtains to block out light and unwelcome stares. It also had the same strange feeling of rushed air that came to a still right before they entered Max felt back at Andie’s parents’ house.
He looked around the room. Even in the dark he could make out that this was much bigger than the rooms downstairs. In fact, it took up the entire floor. There was a wide variety of odd looking gleaming instruments hanging on the walls, a long counter with pots and bottles and pouches stood opposite them, several metal gurneys fitted with metal restraints. Khatt flicked a light switch near the door, and a sudden hum filled the air as a fluorescent lights turned on one by one, slowly awashing the room in white. Something in a cage on the opposite wall moved suddenly, making a rattling noise.
Khatt placed Lail on a gurney. She began whimpering, pawing at the blanket wrapped around her.
Khatt lay one tattooed hand on Lail’s body, “Whoa, there little buddy. Ain’t nobody gonna hurt you. Your mama’s right there,” Khatt pointed to Andie. Lail’s eyes were still uneasy but she relented.
“The healing spell you used worked well,” Khatt said. She grabbed an instrument off one of hooks on the walls; it was ring with three magnifying glasses in different sizes. She used each, examining the wound and Lail’s mouth and paws. “No teeth marks. No claw marks. There’s barely any sign of a fight. The cut is deep but it’s a clean slice. This was done by a blade.” Khatt straightened up and turned to Andie, “Was anything taken from your apartment?”
“It didn’t look like it, no,” Andie was surprised by question.
“Did anyone know you were out?” Khatt pressed on.
“We were out since the morning. Maybe someone noticed,” Andie replied.
Max walked along the wall of the room. There were pictures here, too. Other cats Max figured were werecats and huge dogs that looked like wolf hybrids. Occasionally, there would be a picture of animals that looked completely unfamiliar; birds with cruel beaks and scales instead of feathers, small fox-looking creatures with forked tongues, and the largest spider Max had ever seen. He was close to the opposite wall now and saw a plaque hanging on it. It was a certificate in Latin and right above Khatt’s name, in bold scripted, were the words “Bestia Medicus.”
“Hmmm.” Khatt walked to a counter and grabbed a half dozen pouches, measuring spoons, a scale, and a small pot. Her back was turned to the both of them as she worked deftly, dumping carefully measured ingredients in the pot.
The cage underneath the sign rattled. Max bent down to take a closer look at what looked like a brown and white ball of fur. The light didn’t quite reach this area and the animal had retreated into the shadows of its cage. Slowly, two big brown eyes peeked out at him, and a quivering nose sniffed cautiously at the air.
“What are you thinking?” Andie moved closer to Khatt.
“You’re out the entire day, the apartment is ransacked but nothing taken, and your werecat is wounded but not killed,” Khatt turned around with the pot in her hand. “Even the poison they used wasn’t lethal, just enough to incapacitate her.” There was purple smoke issuing from the pot now and a strong smell of something like licorice filled the air, “Why do you think someone would do all that?”
“To send a warning,” the words came out of Max’s mouth before he realized what he was saying. The thing in the cage jumped, sending its floppy ears bouncing, and rolled itself into a ball, startled at the sound of his voice.
Andie and Khatt both snapped their necks to look at him.
He felt he was already in it so he might as well continue. “Whoever it is wants to give you a taste of what they can do. Distract you, get your guard down, and attack those you love when you’re least expecting it.”
Andie was stunned. Not only by Max’s pronouncement but that the night’s series of events seemed to bring her closer to the nagging thought in the back of her mind. Khatt moved to Lail’s side, coaxing her to drink the potion she had made. With just a few laps from the pot, Lail folded her paws underneath her body and put her head down on the table to sleep. Khatt let out a low tired sigh.
“Hey, Khatt? What kind of animal is this?” Max asked after waiting for the creature to unfurl itself.
Khatt narrowed her eyes at him, “That’s called a rabbit.”
. . .