Will Cohen was not one of those kids who got good grades or won the spelling bees or shined the teacher’s shoes. He was one of those kids who couldn’t sit still, was disruptive, and whenever he got any sheet of paper it always ended up covered up in doodles and wrinkles. But he had a good heart, and when he wasn’t in school, he was always trying to communicate with animals. One might think that his ADHD would hinder his relationship with them, but he could be surprisingly calm at times. In fact, he was so good at this that when he made a certain sound all the squirrels in the neighborhood would come running, and he would give them peanuts. With cats he knew he could say something and they would run to him and he would pet them. One day when Will came into his house after school, something strange happened. “How was your day at school?” his mother inquired. “Your face!” He replied and sprinted outside. In his backyard there were two lawn gnomes he had named “Your” and “Face!”. “Hi,” he said to the shattered remains of Face, whose head had been taken off by his soccer ball one year prior. Suddenly a furry arm grabbed him and pulled him into a bush, clamping a a cold metal hand over his mouth. “Don’t struggle,” the voice said. “Climb into the hole.” Will did as he was told and climbed down. Suddenly the ground gave way beneath him and he began to fall. He looked down. Big mistake. There was no bottom in sight. He looked up. There was a cat with a metal throat doing backflips above him. “Don’t worry,” he said. “sit back and enjoy the ride.” This was one weird afternoon for Will. “You...You..sp-p-p-p-eak En-En-En-English?” He stammered. “Yeah,” said the halfcat, busy with trying to do a double flip. When they had been falling for about nine minutes a large grill appeared with an enormous fan rotating below. A cushion of air broke their fall, and eventually they touched down on a platform that appeared above the grill. “What is going on?” Asked Will. “Follow me,” was all the cat said. He led Will through a maze of rooms into a room with four large screens covered by a veil. He hit a button and a holographic image of the Earth with longitude and latitude lines made a grid across it. It zoomed in on a spot in the Pacific ocean, labeled the Mariana trench. It focused on the deepest part, known as the Challenger Deep. “This is the-” started the halfcat. Will cut him off. “Hey I know you, you!” he exclaimed. “You’re Pooky, my cat friend!” “Actually I’m a halfcat,” he replied and Will could just hear the fact that it was a compound word, “And my name is Liam.” The halfcat glared at Will. “Like I was saying…” the halfcat continued. “This is the-” “Wait, how come I didn't notice your metal throat?” asked Will. “What’s going on? Where is this? Are you a demon? A ghost? A mutant? My mom says not to trust strangers, and-” Within the next 10 seconds Will was gagged and tied to a chair, and poor Liam could finally talk. “Like I was saying…” Liam started but was interrupted again. “Hey! Will t’sup? Hows it goin’ man?” A cat with a blue and red tail walked into the room. Liam glared at him. “Let me explain what’s going on,” he said. “So basically in 2020 your grandfather worked in government genetic engineering facility. Another employee there, who was an idiot, tried to splice human and cat DNA. Two and a half years later, the cat escapes, and injures the idiot who worked with your grandad. So he builds an underground shelter and meets a real cat, and they have kids. The government never found them and their kids had kids with cats, and some of the human traits were lost. Size, opposable thumbs, and a voice box, but we had a partial voice box, and developed our own language. When our technology was advanced enough we get artificial voice boxes and paws, like Liam’s, which can be covered up with fur patches for disguise, but those are scratchy. We develop civilization a bit, and we discover these disturbances in the ocean. Can we take off his gag? I think he needs to talk. Poor guy’s got maybe a million questions at least.” he finished. “Cool story, but what does this have to do with me?” asked Will. “What are the disturbances?” Liam responded this time. “Well, we thought that we needed someone who could communicate with animals, and who had a talent for improv.” Will beamed. His hyperactivity prevented him from planning ahead, but gave him an uncanny knack for working with whatever life threw at him. “ The disturbances are… well… When Hairy built his shelter, he found a manuscript. It depicted men fighting a great storm with white creatures within. It was in Latin, and it predicted that these creatures would rise again out of the deep and challenge humanity and another creature.” On the holographic screen appeared an albino dragon with magenta eyes with red slits for pupils. It seemed to have a pig-like snout. “We have some evidence. A superstorm is generating in the Mariana Trench. Flashes of white and a head body and tail were sighted. If this is happening, let us hope these creatures are not as bad the manuscript says they are.” “Dude! Easy on the melodrama!” exclaimed Punky.
“Put away your books, it’s time for recess.” said Will’s teacher, Mr. Mathews. Punky had told Will to tell his best friend, Kenny about the halfcats, though he would never have believed it. Will tried to explain this to Liam, who just told him to bring him to the halfcats for a briefing, but the last time he had been there his Mom had freaked out, because he had been gone for so long. He had told her he was just trying to freak her out, but she was suspicious. He went into his locker and pulled out his lunch. As Will walked outside he took in the misty, yet beautiful day. The overcast sky was a light gray, not at all the dark clouds you see during, or before, a rainfall. There had been a downpour, in fact, that morning, and there was a miniature lake in the far corner of the field, showing the reflection of the enormous tree behind it. There was a small patch of woods there, and there had once been a couple boys who had killed a squirrel in it. The school grounds rang with the sound of birds chirping, and the whole of it had an eerie, serene quality. Will was playing a game of tag and having a blast. The other kids were quite fast and cunning runners, and Will was very tired out after having been “it”. He finally caught another player, who then proceeded to chase his friend down. This particular friend who was being pursued was much the cheater, and although he knew he head been tagged, he argued against that, pulling all the players into a fight. Everybody took sides, though most had not seen the event, and the whole game just broke up and each kid went his or her separate way. Will was exhausted from the game of tag, and having nothing to do for the last five minutes of recess, he went to rest on the far side of the field, the corner opposite to the one with the “lake”. The field was very large, and it took him a while to reach his destination. When he got there, his eyelids drooped and he stumbled. He was so exhausted from the game, that he became completely oblivious to the rising wind around him. He tried to lie down but couldn’t sit still, or rather lie still. There were dark clouds advancing on him with ominous white flashes in them. The wind was tearing the field apart, and even he had to notice it. The trees swayed in all directions, and a leaf went flying past him, but was torn into pieces by the gusts. The sound. Like a child screaming, it ripped through the place. Whatever words escaped a person’s mouth were lost to anyone farther than half a foot away, let alone across the field, so any student’s cry to Will wasn’t heard. A shame too, because if Will had heard, he would have hit the ground in time. Sadly, life doesn’t always go as planned. While Will was gaping in horror nothing occurred to him. Suddenly he thought It’s THEM! But it was too late. “Screech!” The claw came down on Will. It didn’t hit right, and thank God it didn’t, because the claws of THEM are as sharp as razors. Will was knocked down and saw one of the monstrosities, exactly like the holograph the halfcats had shown him. He stumbled to his feet and started running. The field was soaked with rain, and Will stumbled. “BOOM!” There was a blinding flash of cold magenta light and suddenly the ground behind him erupted in a flurry of dirt, sending Will flying forward. Another lucky save, as if the concussion blast hadn’t moved him, one of THEM would have literally taken his head off. He hit the ground and went rolling into the mud. He tried to get up. Stuck. The magenta flashes- they weren’t regular lightning struck closer and closer. One hit the mud and he was able to pull his arms out. “Go back to your stupid trench!” Will cried. A harsh series of screeches filled the sky, like fingernails on a chalkboard, but he heard the voice in his head, and the tone sounded amused, but in a horrifying, cold iron-clanging type voice. “Oh, we are not from the trench… we are from Næmûlnk.” The name sent a shiver down Will’s spine. He tried to pick himself up but was stuck. One of THEM came around. Doom was inevitable. “BAM! BAM-BAM-BAM!” Will looked up. Kenny was hitting one of THEM with a green stick with a couple of leaves on it. “HISS!” The dragon-like creature hissed, and it hovered in front of them, wings beating the chilly air. “Swoosh! Thud.” With one slice of its claw the branch split in half and fell. With a terrible cry it flew at Kenny. He hit the mud, on top of Will, who gave a surprised shout as the THING passed over them and flew back into the storm clouds. Meanwhile, Kenny used a half of the stick to pry Will out of the mud, and they both ran to the blacktop area where all the other students were watching the two of them run. There was adrenaline coursing through everyone’s veins, and the scene was all anyone wanted to talk about, though by the time lunch was over nobody remembered any of it, except for Kenny and Will. Will had a sneaking suspicion that the halfcats had done this, and he and Kenny resolved to meet at his house after school.