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The Layers Burn

The memories stopped returning and the cat was able to catch his breath.  He gripped his head, and got to his feet slowly regaining his bearings.  He was in the devastated cathedral, standing a few feet from the man who had almost destroyed New Babbage for his dark master.  The furry bag was laying on the floor next to him, and he was still wearing his sword and the outfit that Junie had given him still.  The boy hadn’t moved except to lower his hand behind his back.  Now that the cat had focused on him again he gestured towards the gaping hole in the center of the building.  “You have seen the truth of your sad and wretched existence.  Will you choose to bury your head in the sand once more, or do you accept the release of oblivion?”  

The cat didn’t reply as he turned down and looked back at the dark pool of memories.  They were still fighting their way across the surface, and he could see moments of terror and sorrow, but what he was really watching were his neurosis.  Washing his paws six times, thinking his own friends were trying to poison him…he had even developed a hatred for pie, something he now loved, over something ridiculous.

“You’re too late, Moriarty.  Arnold is dead.”  He turned towards him and deliberately straightened his hat and urchin tie.  “He died two months ago, when Henry Cortman shot him in the head.” Moriarty didn’t reply, he simply scowled and allowed his hand to begin accumulating it’s puissant energy, which caused more flesh to fall off, as the feline continued, “That cat you just showed me, that was not me.  That cat, that sickness, that was Arnold.” The feline actually cat smiled, “It is a very fitting name for what that thing had been.”

“So you choose to deny that existence is nothing but suffering.  It is regrettable that when you have been shown the truth that you have chosen to return to lies and ignorance,”  Moriarty chided with disdain as he slowly raised his destructive hand.  “But do not worry, I shall destroy these lies and expose them for you one at a time, beginning with that fur-bag.”

The cat’s fur stood on end as the boy began to take aim for the bag that Lisa had given him, and he acted without thinking, drawing his wooden sword he leapt for Moriarty, who sneered in contempt.  The cat swung the sword at Moriarty’s blackened and decaying hand as he unleashed his lightning.

The sword which had proven itself during the fight against Cortman exploded into a shower of splinters and the cat fell back from the force as the pirate clothes burned away.  His body twisted so that he landed on his front paws, but he was stunned and still landed roughly.  He got to his four paws and then began to bat at his burning clothes.

“Pirates,” Moriarty spoke with disdain as his hand glowed and all of the flesh on his index finger had evaporated, “Are pathetic fools who have deluded themselves into believing they are free, unaware of the puppet masters that have manipulated their actions for centuries.  But you were never a pirate.  You wearing that garb is even more pathetic, an outfit for tourists to gawk at or children.”

Moriarty’s tone made it apparent that he still thought that riding him of the garb had done him a favor.  The cat finished patting down, but every vestige of his gift from Junie had burned away.  Now he was in the white hero’s uniform again.  “This outfit is even more ridiculous than your last.”

The cat quickly grabbed the bag, putting it in his mouth as he ran for the alter to hide behind it as Moriarty fired a stream of energy where he had been, ignoring the damage to his hand.  The feline ducked behind the alter and took a moment to think about what he was going to do next, when suddenly it was as if someone had grabbed hold of him and had begun to shake him violently.

He struggled to push off the unseen foe, and he could hear a voice, Zaros shouting, “Come on Arnold, rise and shine!”

For one brief moment he felt the world slipping away, as Moriarty was closing on him.

No!  Not now!” He shouted, but she didn’t relent and he pushed Zaros away roughly as the two worlds bled together in his vision.  He had to stop waking up, he ran from her, but found himself fleeing in the other world from behind the alter as he did!  The cat turned and headed for the pews while Moriarty waited a moment, judging his speed and then fired his energy at the fleeing cat, who turned suddenly because he had become trapped in a locked room where people were shouting to not let him get away.  

He needed to be in only one world, he couldn’t let his memory of what he was doing slip away now.  He jumped behind a set of pews and hid himself for a moment, and tried to focus only on the world where he was in real danger of being destroyed.  Moriarty’s force erupted behind him, blasting the pews and setting them aflame.

He was out of weapons, but he checked his pockets for anything that he might have.  All he had left was part of the cane, the bag, the string, the crystal, and the newspaper clippings about him being a murderer.  He threw the paper into the fire, the creature that had committed those crimes was dead now.

Moriarty had finally come over the bend, half of his fingers had fallen off and the coat he had been wearing had burned off revealing an arm in similar condition.  His eyes were those of a demons as he aimed directly for the cat.  The feline didn’t know what else to do, as he took off his hat and held it up like a shield between him and Moriarty who fired once again.

The top hat lasted longer than the pirate sword, but it explodes into flames and the concussion sent the cat flying backwards and the brilliant heroic clothing burned away.

“Simple minded people often find false heroes and set them upon pedestals.  They can never live up to the expectations and so they always fall,” Moriarty commented as the clothing burned away.  The cat batted at the flames, and then when he was finished he found himself in the urchin clothing that Mumsy had thrown at him from the beginning.

“This is more appropriate.”  Moriarty smirked lifelessly from his blackened face, his hand fingerless now, but ready to fire again.

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  1. Mack Blackwell Mack Blackwell March 10, 2013

    Just a thought but, how can a cat be out of weapons?

    I would say you have a mouth full of weapons and four paws worth.


  2. Avariel Falcon Avariel Falcon March 10, 2013

    Not a nurse, not a hero, not a pirate, not a murderer…

    Just doomed?

  3. Mr. Arnold Mr. Arnold March 10, 2013

    “Arnold, you’re running about weirdly,”  Zaros guarded the door as Arnold finally seemed to have dived into a corner of Stormy’s room, near a large stuffed animal. “It’s weird!”

    Stormy turned to her and Lilith, “Would someone just tell me what he was doing in my bed, ruining my sheets!”

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