From the Country to the City. (outside my usual series)

Archive of the "Macro Story" forum.

Postby DreamspinnerSethan » Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:16 pm

DTF, you continue to make me glad you're writing ;) Keep up the good work . . . .

looking forward to moer on Rick and Sylvia though.
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Postby Duct Tape Fanatic » Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:53 pm

Yeah, don't worry, I'm planning some more with them. I just figured I'd get one story done at a time so there wasn't four five with endings that hung off.
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Postby Duct Tape Fanatic » Sat Apr 24, 2004 3:56 am

And now (drum roll) it gets interesting.

*************************************************************
The rest of the week there was no school. Rachel stayed close to either her aunt or to Joey and his friends throughout that time. The city of Free Greens had undergone a major transition since she first arrived here. Before, it’d almost shared the quaint, pleasant atmosphere of her hometown, but now, she saw few people on the streets. Shutters were closed on windows and the most prominent reason to venture outdoors was to get food from the supermarket---which was understaffed.

And there hadn’t been tanks and attack helicopters patrolling the streets back home either. Rachel could tell that nobody was fooling around here. The military had all but declared martial law, and the citizens were willing to tolerate it as long as they had the reassurance that the soldiers would be in the macrofur’s path instead of them.

Due to the possibility of it being a changeling, there was also a curfew on furs---no one out later than nightfall. If they disobeyed, they’d be lucky to get arrested. It was unfair, of course, and totally biased, but as Rachel heard a tank commander tell a civilian, “If any giant humans start rampaging, then we’ll put them under lockdown too.”

So, the ends seemed to justify the discriminatory means. But even so, every time they passed a human or group of humans, she felt eyes glaring into their backs. In fact, she wondered if the soldiers were there more to prevent a riot than actually stop the macrofur, since the former could potentially cause more damage and loss of life than even a giant.

A hundred furs and humans had been killed by the macro the previous night. Rachel learned that the majority hadn’t even been directly attacked---they simply were either in a building or car that strayed too close to the macro and was crushed or demolished. Those that hadn’t been lucky enough to either escape or die quickly---well, she learned that only a handful of mangled bodies had even been FOUND yet.

And from a few hysterical witnesses claiming to see their friends and family whisked up into the air, never to return it appeared that the macro had been a carnivore as well. The reports had it vaguely identified as a member of the canine family: a dog, fox, wolf, or a coyote could have been behind it. No one was sure of the gender since the macro knocked out a power plant first thing and plunged the city into darkness before its rampage.

“Town’s really screwed up,” Vinny noted as they walked down the sidewalk. He looked up to a pair of copters buzzing by overhead. “You know, it’s probably a good thing the military’s here, but they’ll never catch the macrofur. Whoever it was is just going to waltz out of town some time today or tomorrow and we won’t hear about it until another attack happens somewhere else.”

“Yeah, why risk getting a rocket or a tank shell through your head when you can keep a step ahead of the authorities,” Joey replied. “It always goes like this. Something happens and the cavalry shows up too late. Then, something happens elsewhere, and before you know it the macro gets free reign of the cities with the troops running around like chickens with their heads cut off.”

“Which was a common image back on the farm,” Rachel added with a grin. Just as she figured, they all broke into laughter at her comment. She also smiled. It was good to relieve some tension from all this. Even if the severity of what was happening immediately returned, Rachel sensed that her friends were a little bit less worrisome right now.

Could it have been me? She asked herself for the thirtieth time. Her aunt claimed that she couldn’t have gotten out without her knowing, and if Rachel had really been in a trance that resulted in a rampage she probably wouldn’t have gone so far away before starting. But the only other explanation for that was that there was another macrofur out there.

And they were just like her.


*************************************************************

General Voorhse wasn’t the type who enjoyed civilian relations. It was always telling large numbers of panicky people that they had the situation under complete control---even if they didn’t. Right now they had control over the city, yes, but control over the macrofur, no, of course not. The gruff badger straightened his uniform as he thought. Though not as tall as a human, he was nevertheless a muscular and imposing figure—even without his claws and teeth that were inches long.

So, now he stood in the gym of Bradford High, which had been turned into an auditorium, saying the very words he disliked the most to the townspeople who crowded around like frightened sheep, and making just as awful a racket. “We have the situation under control,” he announced, but meeting the eyes of the reporters and the school principal he could tell they all knew that was a lie. “The macrofur, if it appears again, will be dealt with quickly and precisely without any heavy civilian casualties.”

To them, last night was a case of heavy casualties, but to Voorhse, who’d been fighting macros since he practically joined, that was about the best amount of collateral damage they could hope for in bringing this thing down. In fact, battles between the vicious giants and the military were sometimes more destructive than the giants themselves.

But it was in order to keep the giants from continuing their destruction that was why they had to do this. A macrofur wouldn’t just go away after a city or two, no, they’d grow bolder and more twisted in their actions if they weren’t stopped. The general didn’t necessarily hate macrofurs---he just simply believed that he’d never see one that wouldn’t consider using a hospital and an orphanage as a buffet line. To him, they seemed to be creatures put on the planet to remind everyone that there was always someone more powerful to whom you were insignificant in comparison to.

“About the curfew,” he continued, “first, being a fur myself should prove that I’m not biased. Second, the majority population is human, and finally, this way we can keep the city running while at the same time keep a watch out for the next attack.” Just how long this went on would be dependent---that was, dependent on how much time passed until the next big “incident” somewhere else that called he and his men to rush in only just in time to pick up the bodies.

The rest of the conference went about like that. The press and the public asked question after question sometimes satisfied, others, and more frequently critical of what they were doing. Voorhse made a note to find someone on his staff to do public relations next time. Finally, after several hours of this he called the session to an end and basically told them all to go home.

Except for the faculty here. Voorhse had singled out the principal and several of his teachers to conduct his own “interview” upon. And now he approached them. The principal, Earwood his name was, stood in a semicircle of his underlings, looking nervous like all of them. “You’re the head of this installation?” Voorhse said gruffly. The others were a mix of furs and humans. In the former group he saw a coyote, a wolf, an otter, and a lion.

“Yes, sir, I am.” Earwood replied steadily, despite trembling.

“And your school was where the macro evidence turned up first? If I’m not mistaken it’s where the first report of a possible giant came from?”

He nodded, and Voorhse turned away so they wouldn’t see his puzzled expression. Macrofurs weren’t very picky in choosing their targets. Generally speaking, one would immediately destroy what was in the current vicinity, be it fur, human, or edifice. And then he noted that not a single thing had happened that day. Whatever this thing is, he thought, it sure isn’t acting like a normal macro.

“So, Mr.,” he turned to the wolf, “you are the one who claims to have studied macrofurs your whole life?”

“Oh yes,” the lupine eyes lit up, “they’re such beautiful, powerful creatures---why, they’re in fact the true masters of the world. Let me tell you of my theories on---.”

“That will be enough, Harrison,” Earwood said quickly. “Don’t mind his sayings, sir, Harrison Linskie has always been a little bit wrapped up in ANYTHING he studies, macro size or not.” Voorhse couldn’t care less, but he then saw a slight look of resentment towards Earwood pop up in the wolf’s eyes. Teacher politics, he thought, how pointless.

“As I was saying,” the general continued, “what would you make of this? A macro shows up here and does nothing, then, the next night there’s an attack. Does that seem predictable?”

“Hmm,” Linskie said, stroking his chin fur, “you know, I have wondered it myself. In fact, I actually have a theory.” He looked at the general and principal and said, “there must be TWO macrofurs. One that is doing the task of asserting its strength, and the other that is shy to come out and join its brethren.”

“Now he says it’s shy,” mumbled the coyote.

Linskie gave him the same look as Earwood. “This could be a fascinating experience. Very rarely has there been more than one macrofur in one area. Whether or not this has anything to do with hunting territory is unknown, but I like to think of this---.”

“As trouble,” Voorhse said sternly, “I don’t care what you science types think, but my goal is to deep six any and all threats to the city here. You can make your field reports if you like, but you’ll have to settle for an autopsy and dissection in this case. Sorry.” At this, Linskie stopped in midsentence with a huff and strolled off.

“He’s always like that,” Earwood sighed, “now, Voorhse, how may I help you?”

“Ah, yes, about that.” The badger paused, then said, “I have my own theory. The macrofur is one of your students.”

“What?” Several teachers said it at once and began chattering and protesting about how unlikely this was.

“Hold it,” Voorhse said, “let me finish. As you’re all aware, it is possible for a few macros to change size, in fact becoming indistinguishable from others. These are usually the ones that cause the catastrophic losses you know so well. Now, therefore when you mentioned the school having macro evidence, yet being unharmed, it hit me. A macro-changeling posing as one of your normal teens could hide in the student population as long as the facility operated.”

“You’re accusing everyday, normal children of being MONSTERS!” The otter pointed a finger at him and practically chattered in anger. “That’s preposterous. I have twenty-seven, perfectly normal, lovely students who wish only for a finely developed education, and you, SIR, are not going to disrupt their lives through your personal witch-hunt!”

“Mrs. Brown, that will be enough,” Earwood tried to intervene. “General Voorhse only wants what he thinks is best. I’m sure that he wasn’t implying that anyone like your students would be capable of such as thing. Take Rachel Smith for example, she certainly is as kind-natured as anyone I ever met, and she’s in your first period chemistry class.”

“What I want IS the best,” Voorhse growled. “Like it or not, every kid out there isn’t a saint. There have been rampages by macros thought to be as young as fourteen, so, therefore this entire school’s student population is suspect.”

Mrs. Brown grew quiet at this, but she still muttered under her breath about Voorhse being, “paranoid.”

And I go to all this trouble to protect people like her, Voorhse wanted to shake his head. “Well, general,” the human said, “so, what would you suggest we do?”

“For the moment, play it cool,” the badger said, “I’m afraid for now we’ll just have to see what happens.”

*******************************************************

“Joey, you don’t have to walk me home,” Rachel said to him that evening. “Really, I’ll be fine.” Though she would have enjoyed another evening alone with him, a part of her was a bit nervous that she might start spontaneously growing again due to all the macro-talk and such going around.

But he was adamant in his resolve. “I’m not letting you go alone,” he said, “it’s dangerous after dark---even more so now with the city agitated. The soldiers aren’t everywhere, Rachel, you could still find lots of space where anything could happen and not be detected. Trust me, I’ve lived here long enough to know these things.”

Well, that’s true, she thought, but I’m hardly one to call helpless. Her immediate response was to accuse Joey of thinking her weak because she was female, but then, he’d probably just hit her with a comeback like, “yeah, so what if I think a girl needs escorting? I’m still sticking with you no matter what.” So she sighed and gave in to his request.

It was after dark, so technically they were breaking curfew, but just as Joey had pointed out there was nobody around. Rachel hadn’t noticed it before, but this part of town suddenly seemed a lot less friendly, or clean. True there were large buildings here and there, but the farther they walked the more it seemed that she was crossing the slums to get to her otherwise clean house.

The rest of the gang had left for their closer homes back in the soldier-patrolled area. It was just she and Joey, a fox fur and a canine fur casually walking through the darkening streets. “You know,” she said aloud, “I need to make a note not to come through here at this time of night anymore.”

“That can be arranged,” a nasal, slinking voice said from behind them. Joey and Rachel spun in surprise to see a tall, thin human with no hair except for some green spikes protruding from his scalp. “I really dislike furs---so do my boys.” As he said this last part a chorus of snickering came from the alley as several more punks with similar appearances stepped forward.

************************************************************

Joey moved instinctively between Rachel and them. “Look, he said, “we don’t want any trouble. Just let us go and we’ll never come near your turf again.”

“Damn right you won’t,” said a bald-headed brute with a chain that he cracked as he advanced. “No hairball enters this place without respecting their superiors.” Terrific, the fox thought. He was hoping they’d just be after money, but no, of course they were going after them because they were furs. Every last one of them was human. He’d been afraid of this. The recent macro attack had stirred up some of the old prejudice between humans and furs.

“It’s money, you want, right?” Rachel said, finally showing them her open purse, “take it if you want, we don’t wish to fight you.”

“They don’t wish to fight us,” Green Spikes mimicked a girly voice, “oh, look who’s suddenly gotten brave.” He grinned at Joey, “your girlfriend’s got more balls than you!”

“With furries there’s no telling!” Someone cracked up from behind, breaking them into a chorus of raucous laughter. More chains, a couple of knives, and a bat appeared. He swallowed hard. Well, he thought, there’s no way we’ll be able to stop them or both escape, so I guess I’ll just have to let them tear me apart while she runs.

“Listen, Rachel,” he said quietly to where only she could hear, “in a minute I’m going to charge them, when I do, I want you to run as fast as you can and don’t look back or stop.”

“Joey, no,” she replied, “I won’t leave you in their hands.”

“It’s either one or both of us,” he said back quickly, “I don’t want to see you hurt, or worse,” he said as a few catcalls aimed at the canine fur rang out. “No time for debate, GO!” With that, he gave her a quick push backwards and then true to his word Joey blasted towards the gang, full steam, grabbing a lid off a garbage can as a shield.

This caught them completely off guard, and for a few precious seconds they merely stared in disbelief at the fox who was yelling at the top of his lungs and holding his can lid like a medieval piece of armor before plowing directly into the center of their group. He smashed it into a knife-wielder’s face, dropping him to the ground, then spun around again to dash against an overweight punk’s gut, doubling him over.

A human with orange and purple hair thrust a knife at him, but Joey caught that one on the lid too, and as he spun with the parry he brought his free hand around and used his claws as his own set of weapons. He felt soft flesh under his fingers as the human screamed and sunk down, clutching his face.

Then his luck ran out as Joey felt a heavy impact on his back. He barely got a glimpse of a bat rolling by, then he was kicked sharply in the stomach and knocked flat onto his backside. Stars exploded in his vision, and Joey looked up to see Green Spikes standing over him with the bludgeon held high and a look of rage twisting his already ugly features.

Then a gray blur slammed him from behind and Spikes when sprawling to the ground. Joey felt someone pulling hard on his arm and to his surprise it was Rachel helping him up quickly. “I told you to run,” he snapped.

“I didn’t say I would,” she shot back, “now let’s BOTH get out of here.” There was no point arguing it, so the two furs put on a burst of speed in an attempt to get as much distance between themselves and the thugs, who were now recovering from their shock and getting a whole lot angrier. Their howls were more frightening than any wolf or canine fur’s.

As Joey and Rachel neared the street they suddenly were flooded by the blinding glare of a car pulling up. They froze, but then it turned to the side and a human face they recognized leaned out the window and yelled, “Joseph, Rachel, get it.”

“Earwood?” Joey said incredulously, “what are YOU doing here?” But he and Rachel were already throwing open the doors and hurling themselves into the vehicle moments before a shower of garbage pelted the side of the automobile. Earwood gunned the engines and the car gave a lurch before roaring away from the mob.

“Are you kids all right?” Earwood breathed frantically. “You’re lucky I thought to follow you home to make sure you’d get there safe. The whole city is in an uproar, and I actually was planning to give you a ride---but it seems I was too late.”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Joey groaned, rubbing his back, “fortunately that was an aluminum pipe. Good thing you were in the area, and thanks for helping us.”

The human smiled, “yes well, I couldn’t let something awful happen to two of my students, now, could I? I may only be the principal in school, but even out here I like to think of myself as continually helping.” He then turned towards the matter of driving, and seeing as how they weren’t being chased he settled into a normal, easy pattern.

“I’m okay,” Rachel said, “thank you, Mr. Earwood.” She was quiet after that for several minutes. Of course, Joey thought, she’s not used to stuff like this happening—shoot, neither am I, but at least in the city you EXPECT it to get rough in the alleys after dark. There were probably just as many urban threats, but places like this were frequently considered to be heavy on crime. “They were so hateful,” she said softly, “I find it hard to believe they’d want to hurt us because of what we are.”

“Human beings constantly fear that which is different,” Earwood said solemnly. “Why, my grandfather can tell you of when furs weren’t allowed in public schools---for no reason other than that the humans wanted to stay separate from what was considered by many to be a subspecies. And of course, there were the macrofurs to take into consideration, a lot of people feel resentment towards the ones that they can bully or torment because they’re the same size as them.”

“But, you furless dudes aren’t all like that,” Joey said encouragingly, “I mean, you helped us, and a lot of furs have human friends, myself included, even though we’re not necessarily as close as me and the gang.” Rachel nodded, showing that she understood, but even so the young vulpine thought that she wasn’t just thinking about his associations.

Before Joey could ask what she was thinking about, Earwood suddenly slammed on the breaks and through the car into a sideways turn. The next second the occupants of the vehicle stared as the building directly beside them simply CRUMBLED from the inside out, and then there was a large shape emerging from the rubble.

A foot, Joey realized with horror. And attached to that foot was an ankle, and further up he made out the shape of a leg. And of course, now peering down at them was a massive face from well over a hundred feet high. “Looks like we found the macrofur,” he whispered to no one in particular.

It was only a moment that passed, but Joey knew he’d remember this for the rest of his life---however long that was. Due to the power shortage there were no lights to show what it really looked like. He couldn’t even tell if it was male or female, but he did know that it was larger than anything was he’d ever encountered. The films in history class with Linskie could have never prepared anyone for seeing the real deal.

And as the large, yellow eyes locked onto them, Joey realized two things. First, they were staring into the face of a predator. And second, it couldn’t have cared less about their lives—they were puny, insignificant bugs next to this dark titan. But it still had some interest in them.

“Out of the car, NOW!” Earwood yelled. “It’ll go for the biggest target.” He, Joey, and Rachel threw the doors open and bailed out. An instant later the car they’d been in was lifted high into the air and crushed in a massive fist. The paw released and the remains dropped to the street a dozen yards away and burst into flames. This time, Joey saw a flash of gray fur. He couldn’t help but notice that the color was similar to that of Rachel.

His mind was racing. How would he be able to save the other two? They could try scattering, but it might still be able to sweep them all up in a single motion. The macrofur was mostly behind the building, so all they saw were its limbs and face. And then true to his fears an instant later it dropped on all fours and peered down at them. Joey, Rachel, and Earwood found themselves staring down an open maw like the portal to hell.

For the second time that night Joey saw a flash that was Rachel jumping into harm’s way. “Don’t!” He yelled, but it was too late, an instant later she was between them and the macrofur. Then she did an extraordinary thing. Rachel threw up her arms and with a defiant look she stared the macrofur, stared down what had to be over a hundred feet tall, with a clear intent not to let it come another inch closer.

*************************************************************************

Rachel knew that she could grow up to her old height quick enough if need be. She didn’t want to reveal her true self to Joey and Principal Earwood, but if she had to lose their trust in order to save their lives, well, it was a sacrifice she was willing to make. For now, she focused on how to stop this thing from killing them all.

It had actually stopped, no doubt trying to comprehend why such a tiny thing thought it could be a deterrent. It leaned closer, Rachel braced herself for the change, but then the macro stopped, and sniffed. It was a canine fur, she realized, similar to her except---except that it was a male. Other than that, she reflected, there’s really not that difference between us!

She did what her instincts told her. Rachel sniffed back, and as she did so she realized why this---this member of her own kind acted the way he did. He smelled DIFFERENT. It was faint, certainly not strong enough to be picked up by one not looking for it, but there was a slight twist to his scent that Rachel and the macrofur instantly were connected by.

Rachel’s heart was pounding, but despite that she felt a deep sense of almost relief. I finally have found one of my own, she thought. Were this not the tense situation it was, she might have even felt happy. But then she saw the debris and reminded herself of what she was dealing with.

“Let them go,” she said to the macrofur, “please, I ask you to spare them.” Rachel hoped that a request from one of its own kind would convince the beast. The macrofur lifted his head up slightly, and then glared back down at her. “They yours?” He said gruffly, a voice booming over their ears because of their tiny size.

“Yes,” she lied, “I was planing to have a little fun with them. I want these two all to myself, thank-you very much.”

“Oh,” he raised a giant eyebrow, “fine, then.” He then squinted down at her, “I haven’t seen you with the Pack, lately, what’s your name?”

“Clarice,” she replied. A pack of macrofurs? She felt her heart leap, I could truly find others like me at last. She tried to constantly remind herself that she probably didn’t want to be like them, but even so Rachel couldn’t shake the fact that at least among the macrofurs she wouldn’t have to hide her true self.

“Okay, then,” the macrofur stood back up fully, “I hope those guys either taste good or at least wiggle a-plenty.” With that, he turned and left with a ponderous thundering of footsteps. Rachel watched the macro crush several more cars and demolish a thankfully empty edifice before disappearing.

“Rachel?” She turned to see Joey standing there, puzzled, and almost in a state of shock, no doubt from his first macro-encounter. “I didn’t quite follow your conversation, but did you just say that you were saving us for yourself?”

Though she hadn’t transformed, though she could put this off as a lie, Rachel knew it was impossible to hide it anymore. It would come out eventually, best to have told him herself so he wouldn’t think she had never trusted him. She looked Joey in the eyes and told the fox the truth.

“Yes, Joey, I said that. And he believed me because he knew I was a macrofur too.”

*************************************************************

TO BE CONTINUED (don’t worry, I’ll update soon)

And that’s all for now, next time we’ll see what comes of Rachel’s confession.
Last edited by Duct Tape Fanatic on Sat Apr 24, 2004 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Heartwing » Sat Apr 24, 2004 5:48 am

I know Rachel is taking a hell of a risk to tell Joey that, but I don't blame her at all. She had to take that step to save them, and is strong enough to deal with the concequences. I do hope for it to work out great, but I suspect that Joey will be afraid for a while none the less.

Great chapter DTF, I love this story.
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Postby Ransom » Sat Apr 24, 2004 7:16 am

Ah, I'm always disapointed when I find no more text to read. :(
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Postby Kusanagi » Sat Apr 24, 2004 7:54 am

Ransom wrote:Ah, I'm always disapointed when I find no more text to read. :(
agreed no rush but please finish the next chapter as soon as possible DT. :)
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Postby Draconic Lord » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:23 am

Indeed, this is a wonderful piece of work. I am also looking forward to the next installment.
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Postby padfootsm » Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:05 am

I'm just going to keep on hitting the refresh button on my screen till the next installment comes up. That will only take...what? A few days?
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Postby JennaKarst » Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:11 pm

My my quite the read. It flows, it rolls. And all that other gratuitous grace one expects to be uttered for such a story. For all the hype and love, I personally find this story to be a bit too....... Common. As nice as it is on the eyes, and as dramatic as the twists and turns to the plot are, it still reads like a drama piece.

Now this is in no means anything negative, just harshly worded, because let's face it, if you keep filling a balloon it will burst and there will be no real hopes of rescuing it.

Whilst I would love to dig in and pick it apart piece by piece and get truly thorough, I am at my co-op placement, and it was a rather slow day so I spent the latter of it reading this.

Do keep up the work and mind yourself that you are still just a mind amongst minds that can convey in words what we see with eyes.
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Postby Duct Tape Fanatic » Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:00 pm

Yep, you got me. Common and Cliche were two words that popped into my mind when reading this. Well, I got the idea at two a.m. in morning so I can't claim I was very fresh of mind. My other stuff is probably of a similar nature.

And yeah, I do like drama, along with the whole good-versus-evil thing. Thanks for your honest opinion, and be my guest if you want to dissect this and tell me what's wrong or that I could have done better on sentence by sentence.

They're just words on a screen, and I know the only way to get better is to get critique, so i'm not stupid enough to get all angry or offended, by all means, say what you think.
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