[Now Loading:] [Kids- Next- Door Mission]
Kids Accidentally Transformed -
Now Adorable Pets
"Over the past month we at the Kids Next Door have been receiving reports of children in town disappearing under mysterious circumstances. We've done background checks on all the victims and have found no common link between them. After many satellite scans we've pinpointed the radius of the disappearances to this block. We began our investigation examining the various residents in the area for any motive to abduct and have come up with nothing. Which is why we have taken our investigation to the streets- and why we are here."
Numbah 1 occasionally peered over the top of his sunglasses as he spoke, getting a good look at the elderly woman sitting across from him. She was calmly rocking in her chair, stopping momentarily to sip from a cup of tea.
"We're not accusing you of anything." He paused to push his eyewear back up the bridge of his nose. "But seeing as how your home is central to the area of the disappearances, is it possible that you might have seen or heard something?"
He finished with a small nod to Numbah 5, who took a small recording device from her pocket and placed it on the table. Between the two of them Numbah 2 happily took another handful of snacks from the bowl on the table and munched on it as his teammates spoke.
"I know you must be worried about your little friends," the old lady began, her voice quavering with age. "But children don't usually come around here."
"We don't really know them actually." Numbah 2 corrected between crunches. "We're just trying to find out what happened to them."
"We fear there may be something sinister afoot that we don't know about." Numbah 1 added. "It's very disturbing the lack of clues we've-" He was cut short by the squeaking sounds coming from the opposite end of the couch the ten- year old agents were all sharing.
Numbah 4 was fidgeting uncomfortably, the soles of his sneakers rubbing against the plastic slip- cover that coated the couch, as he tried to shoo away the large cat that was presently using the hood of his baggy sweater as a batting toy.
"Ca'mon ya stupid cat. Go away!" The young aussie flailed his arms in a futile attempt to scare the feline.
"Aww, it likes you." Numbah 3 giggled, popping up from behind the sofa. She dangled the frilly end of a cat toy in his face producing an annoyed grunt from him as he folded his arms and waited for her to use the toy to lure the cat away from him.
A small group of cats quickly gathered around the giddy girl, each trying to tackle the colorful frill at the end of a string suspended from a stick that she playfully kept from their reach.
Numbah 1 turned his attention back to the old woman, who now was staring beyond him with a certain level of unsettling intensity.
"Hey lady!" Numbah 2 waved his hand near her face to regain her attention. Which seemed to work as she snapped back to her warm smiling face.
"Oh, so sorry. What was I saying?"
"About the missing neighborhood kids." Numbah 1 reminded.
"Oh, yes. As I was saying, there haven't been any children in this house since my own moved out years ago. They don't visit very often either nowadays. It did get lonely at first, but that's when I stared taking care of my cats." As she spoke she picked up the white ceramic creamer from her tea tray and poured its contents into a large saucer.
Drawn by the smell of fresh milk the cats behind the couch abandoned Numbah 3 and her game and leaped up onto the coffee table to lap up some creamy goodness. A few of the felines jumped on the kids en route causing Numbah 4 to yell in protest.
"Ey! Watch where ya goin'! Oof!" Another cat landed in his lap before hopping to the table. "Stupid cats."
Four had a right to complain though, for the room was literally loaded with cats. Some were perched on shelves and furniture, curled up in corners, littering the floor in various sizes and colors. Where there were no live cats, cat-shaped bric-a-brac filled the space. The very sight of so many cats in one place made the mop-topped lad shutter slightly. Such a fixation on cats didn't seem right.
With the kitties' attention now on something else, Numbah 3 turned her own to the google-eyed cat clock on the wall, its plastic tail wagging with every tick.
"You certainly do have a lot of cats." Numbah 1 said, surveying mass of purring bodies of fluff scattered about the room. A very fat tabby leapt into the old woman's lap, allowing itself to be caressed by her bony wrinkled hand.
"They're my life." She smiled "I take care of them as if they were my own flesh and blood."
"This isn't about cruddy cats." Four mouthed off "This is about missing kids."
"Well the only children you'll find in this house are my kitties." The granny pulled the tabby off her lap and began nuzzling it affectionately. It purred back, glad to be the center of attention.
Numbah 4 stuck out his tongue at this action. Numbers 1 and 2 simply stared at its awkwardness. Numbah 5 took her recording device back and turned it off. Nothing useful was coming out of this conversation.
A tiny voice squeaked from below the coffee table. Numbah 4 looked down as something nudged his foot. A small orange kitten sat there, mewling and pawing at his sneaker.
"What? Go away!" He whined, kicking his foot. "What do you want from me?"
"Mew!" The adorable thing piped again. Jumping onto Four's shoe.
"Go on, off with ya!" He gave the kitten a soft kick, sending it on it's back. Undaunted, the puny thing scampered to Numbah 3 and began pawing at her leg.
"Aww, cute kitty." She cooed picking it up and rubbing its head. "Such a fluffy cute kitty." It gave a happy purr as she continued to coddle, making girly cute noises that between her and the blue- haired granny was making Numbah 4 sick.
"Struth, it's just a bunch of dumb cats." He scoffed.
His words caught the attention of their elderly hostess who furrowed her brow at him and looked just about ready to yell at him when Numbah 3 and the kitten caught her eye.
"Could you put him down?" She asked, "I don't really like other people touching my kitties." Three frowned looking at the cuddly kitten, then sadly placed it on the floor. The kitten let out a tiny meow before his master picked him up and started snuggling him. "They're so sensitive. I wouldn't want them to get any stress. They've had such hard lives you know. Living out in the streets, all alone, abandoned. But now they have me to take care of them." She hugged the kitten tighter as it struggled in her grasp. It oddly seemed desperate to get away from her. "I love my kitties and they love me."
Numbah 2 quietly spoke up:
"That one doesn't seem to like you very much."
The woman turned to him, the look on her face suspended between warmth and annoyance.
"I only recently found this one. Poor thing, it's still adjusting to it's new home."
As she explained, the kitten managed to wriggle free and escape back to the side of Numbah 3, who happily pet it on the head when the old lady wasn't looking.
"My other cats are so much more behaved. I'll show you. Here kitty- kitty!"
"Really ma'am," Numbah 1 tried to explain, "That isn't necessary-EE!" he shrieked as a horde of cats stampeded to their mistress. A very large group, much larger then the one drawn in by the milk, gathered around the matron as if called by telepathy. Numbah 4 fidgeted again trying not to get trampled by the encroaching felines, only to loose his balance and slide off the slipcovered sofa.
"Cruddy plastic couch!" he moaned getting back up, rubbing his bruised bottom.
"Man, she like the cat masta'." Numbah 5 stated as one hopped past her.
"They probably think she's going to feed them." Numbah 2 concluded.
Within a matter of a minute, what could be estimated as about three-dozen cats were crowded into the small room surrounding the old woman who was smiling with glee. All except the orange kitten, who remained fearfully snuggled next to Numbah 3's shoe.
"Look at all the kitties!" She squealed before looking down at the kitten. "Aren't you going to play with your friends?"
"Mew." It squeaked, nodding its head as if to say no. It then pulled at her pant leg and meowed with a certain urgency in its voice.
"What is it kitty? You want me to follow you?"
This time a nod of yes was given and the kitten scampered off. Three giggled and gave chase.
"*Ahem! *" Numbah 1 regained attention to himself. "As impressive as this is, if you don't have any information to give us, we should be going." He got up off the couch and dusted the liberal amounts of cat hair off his sweater.
"Oh that's alright." The elderly lady smiled. A dinging from another room then caught her ear. "Ooh! My catnip cookies are done!" And faster then a woman her age should move, she was off and gone.
"That lady was a FREAK!" Numbah 4 shouted now that the person in question was out of hearing range.
"And here I was sure she would at least have some form of information that we could use." Numbah 1 sighed rubbing his chin.
"Eh, she's too obsessed with 'er cats ta notice anything."
"At least she was a nice lady." Numbah 2 added, scooping one last handful of crunchy treats from the bowl. "She put snacks out for us."
Numbah 1 gave Two a perturbed look, now noticing exactly what his teammate had been doing since they sat down.
"Um, Numbah 2, you do realize you've been eating dry cat food this whole time?"
Numbah 2 paused in mid munch to do a spit take.
"Let's get outta here." Four skulked "These cats are getting on my nerves."
One retook his thoughtful pose, running over in his mind what else could be done.
"I could run a double check on all residents and victims. Maybe there was something we missed. Come on team, we'll regroup at HQ and come up with- -" He looked around taking a quick headcount of his comrades. "Where's Numbah 3?"
"Is anyone in here?" Three asked as she wandered into a small dark room. The orange kitten took place ahead of her mewing ever more. Groping her sleeve-covered hand along the wall, the bubbly girl found a light switch and flipped it to behold an awesome sight.
"More kitties!" She screamed delightedly, eyeing the many open cardboard boxes strewn about the room. Each with adorable kittens in them all mewing at the sight of her. "Aww, you all so cute." She melted picking one up and snuggling it. "Did your mommies have you here?"
The black kitten she was holding meowed sadly, as if the mention of the word mommy had upset it.
"Do you miss your mommy?" It nodded yes. "Is she around here somewhere?" It nodded no. "Aw, you must miss her." Three hugged the kitten gently, letting its purrs tickle her ear, causing her to ignore the approaching footsteps from behind.
The dark furred kitten yowled and hissed at the shadow casting over them, its back arching up threateningly.
"What's wrong kitty?" The young girl asked, holding it out at arms length.
"I thought I told you not to touch my kitties."
Taken by surprise, Three almost dropped the kitten as she turned to the voice behind her. An exhale past her lips seeing it was only the old woman.
"Hi lady!" She smiled putting the kitten back into the box. "We were only playing."
The elderly mistress did not move her gaze from Three, not did her face change its steely expression. What was once a warm grandma smile was now the face of a predator protecting its young.
"You can't take them from their box." Her voice had also lost its warmth. "They haven't finished adjusting yet."
"I'm sorry." Three dug the toe of her sneaker into the carpet in an apologetic stance. "They just looked so lonely in those boxes."
"You want to take my kitties from me!" The woman snapped, a nearly demonic undertone in her voice.
"What?" Numbah 3's eyes glanced up innocently. "I didn't say I wanted- -"
"You can't take my cats! They need me!" The madam of the cats pouted, "I won't let you."
"I'm not stealing them silly," the girl smiled blissfully "I wanted to keep them company."
With that said Numbah 3 returned to petting the boxed kittens. Their owner stood steadfast, then smiled, reaching for something in her apron pocket.
"Keep them company my dear?" She said under her breath "Alright then."
"Numbah 3?" Numbah 2 opened a closet door, only to be greeted by an avalanche of kitty litter bags. He called out from underneath the pile. "She's not in here!"
"Keep looking." Numbah 1 ordered, "She couldn't have gotten far." He looked behind some flower patterned curtains but found a few sleeping cats curled up in the sunlight on the windowpane.
"Ca'mon Numbah 3, I wanna get outta here"
Numbah 4 opened the door to the bedroom, gasped and shuttered at the sight of cats. Cats completely covering the bed, cats scattered randomly on the floor. A writhing pit of claws, tails and haunting yellow eyes all staring at him. He quickly slammed the door and leaned up against it before they could get the idea to pounce or something of the like. He paused to let out his breath and regain his composure, running a hand through his moppy blond hair.
Numbah 5 entered another room but found nothing but a horrible stench. She quickly covered her nose and repressed the urge to vomit.
"Kitty litter, nasty!"
Running out without a second thought she concluded that if Numbah 3 had a working nose, she wouldn't be down here.
"She ain't in the bathroom." Five reported upon her return to the living room.
"Where could she be?" Two looked around nervously. Three had a habit of wondering off and it always lead to trouble.
"I wouldn't be surprised if she wah buried unda' all these cats." Four retorted, but secretly hoped he was wrong.
"Did you look everywhere?" Numbah 1 demanded.
"Man, we couldn't find her with all these cats getting in the way." Five answered
A piercing scream suddenly filled the room calling all attention to it.
"That wasn't a cat!" Numbah 2 gasped, "That was Numbah 3!"
Numbah 5 located the source of the sound.
"It came from over there!"
They ran to the rescue in the direction Five had pointed. Four leaped ahead of the rest and rushed to the closed door before him. Swinging it open with his fury channeled into tight fists, he entered and shouted.
"Numbah 3, what's the prob - what?"
Three was absent from the room. Odd how he could swear her voice had come from here. Instead, standing before him was the crazy cat lady holding a strange looking kitten in one hand and an even stranger looking device in the other. And it was pointed directly at him.
"Another naughty child." She cooed as a wide bright light fired from the device.
It burned. God how it burned. Like every cell in his body was on fire. And a horrible ripping pain surging through his spine. He cried out in agony until his voice caught in his throat, refusing to come forth any longer.
Numbahs 5, 2, and 1 rushed in, their pace quickened by their friend's cries. Their eyes widened as they witnessed a pulsing green light spawned from the barrel of a tubular gun, spreading over where Numbah 4 was standing. But as the light subsided, standing in his place was a small ball of wiggling fluff.
The petite creature wheezed out a squeaking sound as it pawed about, getting its bearings straight. A halo of yellow fur hung in its eyes as it swayed its head looking around, flicking its tail with a look of curiosity and fear on its face.
The three children looked down at the tiny critter with pity. They knew what it really was by the little orange hooded sweater it was wearing.
"How cute." The old lady smiled plucking the blond kitten off the ground by the scruff of his neck. He gave a low hiss and attempted to slash her face with his new claws only to be too far out of his reach. The woman smiled at this, as if the endeavor to lacerate her face was a normal and non- threatening occurrence. She took the kitten in hand as well as the one she was already holding, cream colored with a long black mane of hair trailing from her head over an oversized green sweater, and placed them both in an empty cardboard box on a nearby card table. Once inside the latter playfully pounced on the former, much to his annoyance.
Numbah 1 tried to firm his slacked jaw as he made the effort to make sense of all that had just transpired.
"You - turned them into kittens."
The lady turned around with a disturbing smile gracing her wrinkled lips.
"They're so much better now." She said sweetly, "Children are always so naughty and mean. Many of my cats I rescued from horrible children who hurt them. They have no respect at all. They never visit, only stand outside and make fun of me and my cats."
Her pruned face narrowed to a pout daring to look for sympathy from the very people she was insulting.
"Well, maybe if you didn't have so many." Two timidly suggested.
She ignored him, fingering the laser in her hand.
"And when they don't mock me they want to take my precious kitties away. I can't let them do that. So I add them to my family so I can show them what a nice lady I really am."
That was about enough for Numbah 1's tolerance. Not only had this adult transformed innocent kids and well as two of his teammates into felines but also she had the audacity to try and make herself out as the victim. That was just perverse.
"You can't turn kids into cats and keep them as pets! They have lives and families! You're the one who's wrong here! You, old cat lady, are twisted and sick!"
"And freak-Kay!" Five included.
"And where did you get a laser that turns people into cats anyway?" Two questioned along with everyone adding in their two-cents.
With aforementioned laser now pointing at the three, the cat lady was calm with her answer.
"Mail order catalogs. But now that you know all this, I can't let you leave."
The confidence level of the trio took a momentary drop with the proposal of being turned onto animals staring them in the face.
"So much for a nice little old lady." Numbah 5 quipped over the sound of the charging weapon.
"Scatter!" At their leader's command, the team did just that.
A wide beam nearly grazed the splintered group as they dashed about the room trying to escape. It would have been easy to simply run out the door, but their captured friends, the thought of leaving them behind in this state, anchored them to the room. They would have to find a way to get the transformation ray from the crazy cat lady and hope that it worked in reverse. But at this moment coming up with a plan was not first on their minds.
Two was the first to feel the sting of the ray. As he hit the ground, his body altered, now needing the hands he had used to brace his fall to walk on.
The next beam had its intent on Numbah 5 who skillfully leapt over it with the precision of a combat gymnast. Landing behind the table she watched the adult in the center of the room take aim again and fire. Five quickly ducked the blast and smiled to herself. In her moment of self- congratulation though she failed to notice the beam had ricocheted off a mirror behind her and was headed straight back. She did not realize her mistake until she felt the pain rush down her spine.
Before he knew it, Numbah 1 was alone, his teammates now helpless kittens, and the crazy cat lady targeting him with her atypical weapon. Swallowing his pride he knew his only option was escape. Somehow he would need to formulate a plan and return for the others. But first he would have to get out.
He waited for the right moment, staring down his adversary. Then, with a quick burst of speed and a short girly scream he bolted for the door, a laser blast narrowly missing him. His attempt had almost worked but he had neglected to consider one obstacle. Cats.
A half- dozen angry looking cats stood in the doorway blocking his path. They hissed at him, slowly encroaching like lions stalking their prey. The seemed to know their master did not want this boy to leave. And they, her loyal servants, would fulfill her wishes.
"Nice kitties, good kitties." He fearfully tried to mollify them, backing away slowly. The cats pawed softly towards him, starting to surround him. He continued his backwards retreat, steadily; not making any sudden movements that might provoke them.
The heel of his shoe crunched down on something behind him. His heart jumped as the pained yowl from one of the cats filled his ears causing him to jump as well. Loosing his balance and hitting the ground, One looked up at the barrel of the ray pointed at him. He only had time to expect the blast before it overtook him.
When the horrifying pain ended only a pitiful and confused mew passed his lips. He lifted a paw to examine it. Furry. He was furry all over, which was a strange new sensation especially since only seconds ago he had been bald. Not only was he furry, but if he could get a good look at himself at that moment he may have noticed that he was now adorable. Covered head to toe with soft gray fuzz, big floppy pointed ears that were hardly strong enough to hold up his now shrunken sunglasses, which presently sat askew on his face, perched on a cute pink button nose. His red sweater still remained but his shoes and brown shorts were gone in exchange for a thin tail now waving just above his heinie.
"Simply adorable!" an elderly voice rang out as a wrinkled hand reached for him.
One crouched down and started backing away fearfully, but the old woman quickly scooped him up under the arms and carried him across the room.
"Cats are so much better then kids." She mused, "They're quiet and loyal, they don't leave their mommies to go to college and they stay cute forever."
Finished with her speech she gently dropped One into the same box as Three and Four. He looked to them to see if they were all right. Three was currently distracted with the discovery of her tail, which she chased, mewing happily. Four on the other hand made low snarling noises as he clawed at the floor and walls of his cardboard prison.
The shadow of the old woman returned as she carefully dropped Two and Five into the box with their friends. Two landed awkwardly on his tail end, bounced once before scampering out of the way of Five who landed gracefully on her feet only to look up at the granny with a nasty hateful look.
"Five new kittens for me to take care of. Wonderful!" The cat lady swooned, then called out to the entire room, "There's plenty of love to go around for all of you sweethearts."
Numbah 1 managed to get up high enough on his hind legs to look out over the top of the box and survey the room. His face fell to a look of horror. Distracted by his haste earlier he had not realized just how many boxes of kittens were in the room. So many kids turned cats, trapped and helpless, mewling fearfully.
The old woman looked about the room lovingly. The warmth returning fully to her face, back to the deceptive façade that had fooled the Kids Next Door in the first place.
"I'm going to knit you all matching booties." She announced to them, "Play nice. And don't look so scared, this is your new home now." She have them a soft smile before turning and leaving. Her fully- grown cats gave the room of kittens an evil eye before following their master out. As the cat lady and her minions exited she turned out the light and let the door close behind her, cutting off the light coming from the next room. Only the light from a small window served to illuminate the room. Blanketed in near darkness, the quintet who came to help the missing neighborhood kids now found themselves trapped among them.
[TO BE CONTINUED]