Callie

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Callie

Postby Miateshcha » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:49 am

I figure some of you guys haven't seen this yet, so here goes. Written a fair while back and posted elsewhere. Thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams?
Content: minor paw stuff, accident-type violence.
===========================
There's a reason why New Maxis, California has a certain statue in one of its immaculate parks. The best statue in the park, at that, a sensible bronze with dozens of copper adornments kept gleaming bright in any weather. There's a reason why it's a tourist attraction, if not pilgrimage destination, for hundreds of miles around. And yes, there's a reason why the base of the statue has a thick inlay of '1:15 scale. '

See, it's like this.

Callie Rivers is a border collie. Not just any collie, mind you, but an anthropomorphic female one at that, as is the usual in cities during this timeframe, just a few years after the Fifth Interface. As with any good conformist-minded dog, her appearance is absolutely ordinary for her breed, right down to the same fur markings in the same places. She wears sensible clothing and lives a sensible life on the outskirts of New Maxis, California, triumphantly rebuilt after the liquidation calamity of Interface Four. As we join her story, she has just spent the night at a dorm party in the human/fur co-ed facilities, arranging refreshments liquid, solid and gaseous for the other guests on a bet. She has behaved... insensibly.

Hours after she finally slumped over, but not nearly enough hours, grubby solar heat surges over her body and slams sticky eyelids open. She can feel she's in a very cold stream, wearing clothes roughly as cold and wet. Her head does not want to move, and every drop of moisture surging past her sodden body feels like it came right from her mouth, throat and sinuses. It feels like her skull is full of bone-dry sponge.

For some time she merely stares into the blank blue sky, eyelids squinting as her ventral fur dries in the sun (being a sensible collie, she only wears shorts, her super-luxurious fur shrouding anything topside from ogling.) She thinks of the party and how she got here, since the only forest around is outside city limits, away from any dorm housing. Sure was awesome though. Finally the sun's nasty heat- amplified by all that dark fur- forces her neck to give in and her head lolls to the side, the collie gratefully lapping up cold water with a parched tongue. A few more minutes of this and she might be able to stand up!

Her contemplation is rudely interrupted by something more than water slopping up her tongue and down the hatch. Coughing and spluttering only sucks it in deeper, and it takes a concerted effort to get her sore throat to dislodge the critter from somewhere above her larynx, gracelessly slopping it into a waiting palm in an unladylike display of slime and a hearty "Cleurgh!"

She narrows her eyes and squints down at the water, all these operations complicated by being stuck on her side and plastered with sopped, ex-fluffy hair. A little squirming and wriggling gets her positioned juuust right to sit up, wincing at every vertebrae that clicks into position, and it gives her unexpected vertigo to look into her palm. The distance feels all wrong, somehow. When she finally gets a straight-on view at the morsel it takes her a second to grasp just what it is.

The fish is a pike. Pike are far too big to fit in aquariums, and she is holding one in the palm of her hand. Her vision flicks down to find the stream adorned with little specks that are bobbing depth markers. It's the ship-transit canal just outside town she has her soggy butt soaking in. One good stretch on her back and her toes would be ninety feet and change away from mural-scaled peepers.

Time passes.

An idea eventually comes to mind. Very slowly, fighting through the conflicting logjam of impulses, horror, cultural memory and scientific inquiry. It eventually nestles into a suitable brain fold and grows, is analyzed further. After all, she is a border collie...

A shy grin breaking on her features not unlike dye diffusing in liquid, she stands up from the stream, and starts walking towards the city. She walks carefully so as not to step on anything sharp or fragile en route.

Now, if this were most any other macro story, here is where she would begin a devastating rampage, flattening the populace she didn't eat as she idly ripped down buildings for fun. In fact, I suppose you can almost visualize her now, smashing and stomping her way through the crowded city square as the military and police vainly try to bring her down before getting introduced to her digestive system and/or soles. However, since Callie is a bit more considerate than that, things turn out differently.

Deep, cratered footprints stretch from canal to suburb in a minute flat, demolishing suburban lawns and knocking glass from planes. No sound drifts up to her ears, whipped as they are by higher-altitude air currents and the hum of rooftop air conditioners as she trots past the outlying homes and into the city. No screams, sirens, or clinks of car against car disturb her as she walks deeper in.

It's all her new domain, she knows, all of it waiting to be put under her personal control and dictatorship. She grins doggishly as she wanders from careful tiptoes around the sidewalks to the middle of the street, stepping past garbage trucks and minivans with deep craters.

One- and two-story homes crowd around her ankles, soon giving way to higher townhouses and her goal up ahead, the six-story county seat. Higher buildings loom ahead, but she wants to restrict herself to a tutorial before taking on that part of her realm. Emergency vehicles are already rushing every direction in the canyons, the phone lines crackling with frantic calls- military vehicles rumble, miles away. Meanwhile she kneels before the elaborate limestone edifice, her knees sinking into the asphalt parking lot. Workers scramble inside the building, some rushing outside on the three sides of the building she's not hugging.

The dog squints for a moment at one of the security officers staring at her white-faced through a window and gives the window a light tap with her claw. It shatters, and she nibbles on the same claw in a quick ‘didn't do that', her ears laying back. Which they would have done anyway at the squeal of vehicles tearing away from the lot, bumping into each other. She licks her chops and tries to work through something she can say. Some historic words to inaugurate her reign over the town, maybe a question as to where the children are so she can get some orphanage-hugging in... when the scent of meat wafts up to her nose level, finally, and she looks down to see an abandoned hot-dog cart.

"Hope you don't mind," she yips with the eardrum-warping power of her new body. Fingers that used to be dainty descend, their blunt claws pinching the sides of his hot dog cart, and lift her prize to taut black lips. Hot water sluices down her throat, speckled with innumerable boiling weenies. A few bold survivors that watch the expected carnage tense as one, watching her heft the emptied cart in her hand, and thrum with hesitant relief as she carefully sets it down where she found it instead of flinging it into the distance. The other ninety-five percent of the population is still busy scrambling for basements and reinforced hallways.

A news helicopter hovers out of arm's reach, meriting an annoyed glare and flattened ears from the dog. While the chaos of the city boils outward and leaves its aftershock of bemused, frozen spectators, Callie neatly pushes a few cars aside to make sitting room and folds one leg in her lap, gingerly massaging a sore footpaw. Walking on asphalt is painful enough when one is normal weight and doesn't have to worry about stepping on hydrants. Her fingers discover a dog that didn't get away fast enough during her march in, which is quickly scraped off with a sad groan and a bloody streak.

Movement in one of the windows catches her right in the instincts and she leans forward, her breath warping the glass, trying to see who's inside. All she can distinguish is a white shirt and a moving mouth. The brave soul's mouth keeps yapping away despite her inability to get a word of it, so she gives it another restrained flick, narrowly avoiding a shard of glass under the claw, and gives him time to dust himself off.

Acute canine ears zero in on him despite the hubbub beyond, and as she carefully lowers her head- tilted non-threateningly to the side- he says the one thing that crashes her meat-byproduct contentment and fixes the course of New Maxis through decades to come. For not every vehicle had stopped in time for the occupants to get out and gawk, not every soul had restricted the panic to screams.

"Clean up after yourself. Men are dying." On cue enough of the crowd vanishes into buildings and distant streets that she could finally hear sirens. The world bottoms out from under.

For all her size, she doesn't move as quickly as she can- she could have hurt something else en route. Her huge pawpads scrape against asphalt and concrete, the dog occasionally yipping in dismay as a posted sign or planted tree flattens into her pads- or worse, the tender, bare flesh of her arch. She's entering the greater districts now- her arrival had been too sudden, just outside the city, no time to enact the Greater Civil Defense System that had been in place since '81. These houses are only sporadically aware of her arrival, just of a generalized chaos in the district, and fresh gasps and coughs arise on all sides as she runs parallel to one of the sirens, losing speed from her careful mincing walk.

There's the problem. She rounds a corner, gingerly lifting her toes over an overturned pile of wreckage, and finds a pileup of vehicles and pedestrians jammed together, the wounded- and worse- already bleeding out. The collie thinks for just one moment- all the thought a collie, needs, really- and remembers the most important part of accident care: don't move the victims. But, now that jagged car wrecks and gas-main fires block off the main entrances to this entire housing block, there is something else she could move... Amidst hoarse shouts mingling with screams of pain, the enormous dog carefully hotfoots it towards the nearest approaching ambulance, unnoticed bullets from a valiant police officer plowing to a stop in a deep morass of collie fur and dead skin.

For once she's doing something completely free of complications. Helping an ambulance get to the scene of an accident is blameless as a baby on Sunday. She pounds right back down the street with more generalized destruction of anything fragile in the vicinity, glass panes or wall-hanging TVs, almost stomping a few people milling in the street. And there! She spots a wailing squadron rushing down the street and ducks out of sight (or their sight, at least) behind a seventy-foot dormitory, the shouts and bellows inside drifting out of open windows. Two emergency vehicles slow down into the turn only to get snatch up, one in each hand, by an eager collie.

She pounds right back down the straightaway and manages to plant a bare footpaw right on a wrought-iron fence. The dog shrieks in abrupt pain and hobbles forward, holding the cars up all the way, and collapses with a bent metal pole wormed through her instep. The hammerblow of her weight kills two patients on the spot, pounding their organs and shaking the clots out of severe injuries, but the EMTs survive their descent with nothing worse than broken bones. Callie forces her sprained wrists to follow through with their impact, cushioning the ambulances those last few feet to the ground, and blacks out.

The ensuing trial could be made into a book of its own, and has been several times. Theses have been written on minority rights as applied to physically impossible height, endangered species, the legality of the 82nd Airborne serving as bailiffs. It was a brave public defender that went unsupervised to visit a distraught, emotionally violent giantess, but the verdict came through clearly. The Good Samaritan Law was still in effect. For the dozen counts of manslaughter, not guilty. For the countless millions of property damage, community service.

It isn't their fault she took it to heart...
So it is written, so shall it be done.
Miateshcha
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Postby TShaw » Sat Apr 14, 2007 4:21 am

Now thats a clever and new approach. Very well done.
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