(co-written by amberstrike and Harold)
Catherine rose up stiffly from her bed. A few inches away was her pimp, knocked out after five long nights of hardcore "partying". She had been the source of entertainment to a few of the guests, when they could afford it. After that, it was straight back to the pimp that she had been sold to. Holding her furry muzzle in her hand, she tried to think of better, happier times- before all this happened. But there weren't enough to distract her from her current position, and she clenched her jaw in bitterness. The only way Catherine could leave this place, would be if someone else bought her. But that wasn't likely, as she was rented for usually a night or two. The price was steep, and yet it made her feel worthless. Her body could have been worth hundreds of cash, but she wouldn't be respected or left alone to enjoy the finer things in life. Muffling a quiet sob, and getting up from the bed, she stooped low and found her morning clothes trashed on the floor. They were the same disgusting, but clean outfit, she had always worn in the morning. Though sometimes, depending on the mood of her pimp, the clothes would change to something even less desirable. Catherine however, was glad to be at least not completely naked. It didn't bother her so much as what people thought, it was more along the lines of, what people would do. Pulling on the attire, she crept over to the bathroom to fix herself up for the day ahead of her.
As Harold parked up his motor home, an Action Mobil Desert Challenger, behind the old bottle depot just across the street from the Hylton, he started thinking more about the dream he had last night. Harold dreamt of seeing his pre-apocalypse lover, Anna, and it looked as though things didn't go down shit creek after that particle collider accident in Switzerland. Just another cozy November morning waking up next to her in their apartment in Calgary. Harold remembered trying to ask Anna in his dream if what happened in Switzerland and the 60 years of post-apocalypticism after that was just a simple nightmare. And she said it was. And Harold remembered how his dream turned out to be a nightmare in itself, as just as he walked out of his bedroom in his dream to have some tea with Anna, he found himself back in the Suffering Fields, an alien landscape of towering violet crystals and raven-black stormclouds that blocked out the sun; a land of nightmares that came out of the old military base close to the old Trans-Canada Highway, located just northwest of Redcliff and the Hat. This was where Harold ended up with quasi-immortality which would explain why Harold looked like he was still in his mid-20s rather than looking like an elderly lion-cougar moreau, as he was 81 years old.
Just before he ended up reminiscing on the horrifying aberration he encountered in his dream shortly after, Harold stopped his mind from going any further. He took the keys out and got out of his motor home, locking it before he made his way over to the Hylton, the local inn and whorehouse in Redcliff. Harold still remembered the first time he went to this establishment 30 years ago, when it was just a humble inn. Now that there were now more squatters than farmers in Redcliff, the Hylton became the centerpiece of the new red light district that had popped up in the agricultural town. But that was a story that Harold wouldn't share. As far as anyone was concerned, Harold had only been visiting here for the past 2 weeks before heading over to Lethbridge. While thinking of all of this, Harold was now at the front entrance of the Hylton, and a large human bouncer of African ancestry was standing between him and the door. The bouncer wore a leather vest, brown work shoes, and denim jeans, with a large and heavy-looking pipe holstered onto his belt. The bouncer was also quite sturdily built; Harold wouldn't want to mess with him.
"What'cha here for?" asked the bouncer, to which Harold replied, "A drink and a good time."
The bouncer then turned over to the reinforced scrap metal door behind them. "Open the door." The bouncer then turned back to Harold. "Gettin' dark out. Don't get too fucked up now, 'cause nobody's saving your furry ass if you get jumped by a mugger. Now get your arms out."
Harold then stuck his arms out, allowing the bouncer to pat him down. "Get in," said the bouncer.
Harold then came in to the Hylton's bar, where only a handful of patrons were. Traders from the Hat were frequent patrons here, with the occasional farmer from the local greenhouses in Redcliff coming over for a visit. The bar was dimly lit up by fading lightbulbs, giving it a bit of a depressing atmosphere. Harold decided to sit down by a bigger man with long brown hair and a bit of unkempt facial hair. To Harold, he looked like a cross between a redneck and William Wallace.
The large, long-haired, and bearded man smiled the dumbest smile that Harold had ever seen, showing some very obvious dental problems as well. "Hi, my name'f Wandy," said the man. Randy then? Guy looks like a complete dumbass, and the lisp isn't helping either.
"Hi Wandy," said Harold, mocking Randy's lisp.
"It'f Wandy, wiffa wetta 'ow'. Howwa ya?" said Randy, continuing to smile like an idiot. Harold recoiled at the strong scent from his breath.
"I'm in a bar, about to drink my sorrows away, and I'm sitting next to a gigantic fucking idiot with teeth like a goddamn Jack-o'-lantern, and with breath like the inside of a dead skunk's asshole. How do you think I am?" said Harold to Randy. "I'm Harold, by the way."
"You found kinda mean, Hawowd. You found wike my kitty if he waf a big peopah kitty wike you. He'f not nife eifa," replied Randy.
"Well you should be thankful that your cat's not a lion-cougar mix like me, 'cause I'd fuck you up worse than your mother did when she was pregnant with you," said Harold as he got up from the table. "Fuck this, I'll go get a broad and a bed."
"Maybe a pwetty wady wouwd make you feew betta, Hawowd? Can I wait hewe fow you to hewp you back home?"
"You can do me a favor and-" Harold paused. Maybe this guy can help me out while I'm here. "Hrmph, fine. Wait here for me while I attend to important business," said Harold as he handed over just enough money to Randy to buy a beer.
Harold then walked over to the back of the bar, leading into a hallway that lead to a staircase that led to the next floor upstairs. On the next floor, a teenager dressed in a cap and hoodie greeted Harold.
"Oh hey, there's a party going on and I'm taking over for my dad right now. We've only got two girls right now, Ruby and Catherine, since all the other girls are busy partying, so if you're looking for a good time, we've got those two."
"Show me 'em both, kid," replied Harold.
So Harold and the local pimp's teenage son went over to one of the rooms, where Ruby happened to be. Ruby happened to be an older woman, and quite unattractive at that. The smell coming from her room was just as bad as Randy's breath.
"Gonna give you a good time, catboy, I'm positive," said Ruby, her voice gravelly from cigarette smoking.
"Oh yeah, you're positive alright. You're HIV positive, and I'm not going anywhere near you, miss," said Harold.
"Come on man, be nice to the girls. Let's go see Catherine then," said the teenager as he tugged on Harold's arm to the next room.
At the other room, Harold took a peek into the room, hearing someone change behind a bathroom door. "What's Catherine like?" asked Harold.
"She's one of our better girls. Furfolk like you too, but some kind of white fox. Dad bought her out from some guys that came from Brooks just a few months ago, and she's still not liking the place," said the teenager. "Just go easy on her, alright?"
"Alright," responded Harold as he went into the old and musty hotel suite.
Catherine heard the entryway door open, and sighed heavily. She was hoping to have a little bit of time to herself, before she started "working". But it seemed like that idea was going to be thrown out the window. Thumping her furry head on the bathroom countertop, she murmured, "Already?! Jeez these customers never know what a break means..." Her shoulders shook, as her composure fell from her features. Now was definitely not the time to be showing any real feelings during the time spent with whoever bought her out tonight. It never turned out well for her, and it wasn't like they cared in the first place either. To them, she was a quick boost to their disgusting lives. Including her newest visitor, whoever it was. By the time they stepped into her room, she had hidden any traces of anguish and horror from her face. This was done simply by pinching her cheeks to add more blush, and not dabbing on too much makeup. If she did put on more than what was necessary, then the customer might become suspicious of her mood, and want another girl for their tastes. Catherine did not relish the thought of getting yet another punishment from her pimp. He had already bruised not only her ego, but her body as well when she didn't make the customers feel at home with her. Being obstinate and pushy about her job was not something he took lightly. Fortunately for her, those patches of fur had grown back, and her pelt was whole again. Smoothing down any stray hairs on her white coat, she stepped out of the bathroom and greeted the guest.
"I see you've made it to my lovely room, how about we make this a quick lovely time, so you can go home again. I'm sure you wouldn't wanna be kept for too long."
Behind her back she crossed her fingers, hoping he would take the hint and only stay for a short period of time. It may not be good for business, but now more than ever, she wasn't even up to the normal challenge of pleasing a customer. Catherine waved at her employer's son and sarcastically thanked him for bringing up someone on such short notice. She tried to make it sound nice however, for the sake of keeping her emotional mask on.
"Gee thanks kid, this guy is gonna be a real hot mess after all the preparation i've gone through, in the last five minutes!" She winked, but there was no humor in her eyes. "Next customer, don't even give me time to get ready, they'll really like that." Turning to face the mix breed of feline, Catherine gestured for him to make himself comfortable. "Hey there hunter, ready to catch some prey, or do you wanna prepare for the safari first?"
Harold looked over the white vixen girl's body, savoring all of it for himself. He could feel his old engine catching up with his still-young body. Oddly enough, she reminded him of his pre-apocalypse girlfriend, Anna, but the thought passed him as quickly as it came. Harold was just looking for a good time, and a longer one than what this pretty little whore wanted.
"Doh-ho-ho, you want a fucking safari, miss?" said Harold as he pounced on top of the fox girl, smiling like an excited idiot. "Dr. Livingstone, I presume? I'll Kalulu up your Victoria Falls, girl."
Catherine panicked when he jumped her, trying to dislodge him from his hold on her. If she could somehow pin him, while occupying his thoughts otherwise, she could talk him out of anything too rash. "Woah there beast, I don't even have a doctorate yet, you gotta gimme some special time to myself if you wanna go up any falls." She pulled her legs around his waist to gain leverage, and hope to flip him over onto his stomach. If she wasn't successful, then there was always "the chase" routine. That sometimes worked with the more slow customers who didn't keep up pace with a quick moving fox.
"You really shouldn't have teased so much, it might be dangerous for you to even consider going on a safari with me. Never know what could happen."
But Harold was too excited to listen. He always loved teasing whores in foreplay to see how much he could get away with. In the back of his head, a thought tried to pop up, about how Harold was so gentle with Anna, but he was too focused on what he wanted for the thought to gain more ground. So it passed him entirely.
"Yeah, like how you probably didn't think you'd be selling your ass for quick cash, eh?" said Harold, who then proceeded to rub the side of his head against her chest, giggling like the archetypical moron, while taking his hand down her back.
Her ears were pinned back by the time he finished his sentence, but her tail had not frizzed up. She was slightly pissed, but not more than normal, since most men acted like this with her. As if to be playful, she smothered him with her chest, when what she wanted to do was suffocate him, not sleep with him. "Not all of us can be the one's who call the shots, but at least i get more attention than you could hope for!" Muttering under her breath she added, "lousy, low down, homeless, creep." Catherine smacked his hand with her tail, acting as if she were the dominant one in the foreplay. "Just try not to bore anyone for once."
She pushed down on his face until his head was level with the floor again, and struggled to get up and run to a different part of the room. It would buy her time enough to think of a better way to hurry up his adventure.
"Oh I'm sorry, miss, am I boring you?" said Harold, peeking at Catherine from under her chest. "Seems like we'll have to get a bit more WILD!"
He then turned over on the bed, putting Catherine on top of him, and the Harold proceeded to flip her over on her back. "I've got a motor home, guns, plenty of supplies, and I get to go all over the place. What do you have, girlie?"
Tucking her tail between her legs as it puffed up, Catherine thought of the things that she could call her own. But there was still absolutely nothing that would come even close. Catherine bared her fangs at him, gripping his shoulders in a most unpleasant and violent manner. "I have a place to sleep in, i have food, and i can survive in the WILD better than you ever could, you scum bagged whore favor!" She lifted her legs up to kick him in the stomach, thinking it would knock the breath out of him. All the while growling, as she spat, "You can come here for a good time and leave when you want, but i'm stuck here! You don't know the meaning of having things, you're just a prideful sack of flea fur that has to get his confidence rebuilt by someone who doesn't even want to be alive here!" Catherine rolled onto her side, lashing out at anything that came close to her body.
Harold recoiled himself right off the side of the bed as soon as he was kicked in the stomach by Catherine. He rolled himself over beside the dresser, where he tried to get his breath back. Never before had he been hit like this by a prostitute, no matter how rowdy he got. Never before had he even heard a whore talk to him like that, or even about how much being a whore sucked. All the other girls he had just didn't give a fuck because they really had nothing better to live for, but this one had a sense of self-worth. She sounded like she was never meant to be in a place or job like this to begin with. It made Harold feel full of remorse, a feeling he never felt around other people, and one he didn't plan on feeling around anyone either. In all his years he's lived since the fateful changes 60 years ago, Harold never thought he'd feel like this. The remorse made him realized just how much of a mean old bastard he really had become.
"I didn't know how crazy I was getting. I thought I was being playful. I just didn't know because all the other prostitutes I've come across just didn't care at all. They just accepted it as part of their job," said Harold, talking to himself with the remorse faintly appearing alongside meekness in his voice. He then turned his head over to Catherine from where he was laying. "Catherine, right? You sound like you never should have been here to begin with. I thought all whores just didn't care, but it really sounds like you never wanted to be one."
Harold then got back up on his feet, making sure to keep his distance from Catherine. He also put his hands up in the air, like he was getting arrested. "I feel terrible now, I really do. I came here looking to have some fun, and now I really want to help you, even though I can't do shit given the circumstances. Do you know what an epiphany is? Because I think I'm having one right now."
Before Harold could say anything else, a loud knocking came from behind the door. A loud shouting then came from behind it as well. "Okay, what the fuck is going on? There's a bar fight going on downstairs, and now I'm hearing banging and shit coming from here. Catherine, what the fuck are you doing?"
Catherine scooted away from his body, almost ashamed of how forcefully her foot had come down on him. The thrill of getting what she wanted for once, filled her up with a feeling she hadn't felt in a long time. Happiness spilled into her eyes, which was quickly replaced with fear. She had just kicked a customer! A brusk and fierce one at that. Why on earth had she even thought it was going to be a good idea to do such a thing?! Now not only would the customer man handle her, but her pimp would probably turn her out, or worse maime her in a horrific manner. Thoughts of death filled her head for her future, and she curled up in a furry heap on the bed. She stayed that way until his voice reassured her, and quelled any fears she had of being tortured by him.
"I.. i don't .. believe you." Her jaw chattered with all the shivering she was doing, making her words come out choppy. What he was explaining to her was an escape, backed up by and apology. None of the customers went this far to be tricky, so why would it be a good idea to trust him? At his question however, she bit back anger, thinking of how it was rude of him to assume she had no idea what he meant by an epiphany. Of course, not all prostitutes were as well read, so Catherine couldn't escape that stereotype from smacking her in the face. Instead she uncurled from the safety of her former position and hunched over protectively of herself.
She did want to leave, more than anything, but to trust him would be putting blind faith into a moreau that was probably more inhibited than the drunks downstairs. He could be trying to trap her, but there was no choice to be made when her pimp master's voice yelled through the oak of the door. Catherine had to answer him somehow, but nothing was coming to mind.
Suddenly, an epiphany of her own struck her head. "We're having a uh..wild time in here! It's too fucking crazy for anyone to understand!" Catherine shuddered, listening to see what would next come out of his mouth. She didn't wait long however, and crawled off the bed to scamper over to the closet to hide. There were only a few blunt objects inside but anything would be useful to fend for herself, if her customer really did want to save her life. Whispering to him, Catherine made sure not to be heard by anyone else. "Psst! Try and make it convincing..please!"
"Convincing? Sure, I've watched enough Scooby Doo to know where this is going," said Harold quietly, but in a sarcastic tone. He hoped that maybe Catherine knew about Scooby Doo from an old DVD collection or something, so that she wouldn't think he'd be weird on top of being a scumbag from the slip he just had.
Harold then walked over to the door. Opening it revealed Catherine's pimp; a balding man dressed in a dirty old business suit, and holding a handgun at his side. He didn't look too happy.
"Fuckin' had it with this furry bitch scaring off customers... oh, I'm gonna show her!" said the pimp as he stormed past Harold. He then pointed his gun at Catherine. "Oh you fuckin' skank, you're gonna-" said the pimp, but pointing his gun at Catherine was the last mistake he would make.
Harold witnessed it, and then went up behind the pimp to dig his claw-like nails into his neck and literally rip it open. The handgun was fired into the ceiling, and blood splattered all over the place as Harold took the pimp's handgun before letting the man's body fall to the floor.
"Looks like this is your ticket out of this dump, Catherine," said Harold to her. He could hear the pimp's men running doing the hallway outside the room, wondering what the hell had just happened. He then motioned for Catherine to get behind him, right behind the corner of the hotel suite's door.
"Scooby doo?" Catherine shook her head as an unwarrented memory of sister watching that show popped into her head. The sudden reality of the situation didn't quite dawn on her because of it. She felt lost in the day dream of both depression and joy, not paying much attention to anything else in the room. Her almost peaceful moment was shattered by the dull sheen of a gun stuck in her face.
Belting a yell that hollowed out her insides, Catherine shielded herself with a discarded boot that someone had left behind in the closet. It was a futile effort to save her life, and she knew it, but it didn't stop her from scoring a hit on the pimp's detailed shoe. Before the thoughts of getting out of the Hylton could enter her mind, she slumped over with the pressure of dying.
Having blacked out for a few moments saved her from seeing the male moreau, rip apart the pimp's windbox. Though once the blood spattered everywhere, Catherine came out of her dark moment to wake up to an even darker one.
"His blood is on me..it's everywhere! This could be my ticket to a fate worse than prostitution!" Catherine rose up however, unsteady on her feet, as she tried to wipe off the bloody grime from her body. Getting behind him would be better than in front, since he now had the gun the pimp used. In fact, she might even be able to catch him off guard if he turned on her! So, making up her mind to only pretend to go with him, Catherine took a defensive form behind him. There was a very slim chance that one of the guards would protect her if she was able to persuade one of them. It was of course an impossible idea, but shock had stolen her good sense from her for the time being.
"Well you're not going to be a prostitute for any longer, and you're not going to end up with a worse fate if you follow my lead and listen to me," said Harold.
Just then, one of the pimp's goons attempted to rush into the suite, in which Harold promptly slammed the door on the goon, slamming with such force that the door broke off its hinges. Harold backed away from the falling door, and fired a round into the goon's skull, while his buddy came up from behind where the door was and tackled Harold to the floor. The man tried to strangle Harold with one hand while he held Harold's right arm holding the gun down.
The man was much bigger than Harold, and had pretty much overpowered him. Harold thought about how this might be the last mistake he would make himself.
When the door fell to the floor, Catherine hopped backwards, sneering at the words he had just uttered. Though she would love to believe everything that he said, it was hard to imagine he was right, when the situation turned out so bleak.
"If this isn't a worse enough fate for you, i don't know what is." She sidestepped their fighting, prone bodies, careful to steer clear of the handgun. Her more sensitive side seeped out of her though, for he had tried to rescue her from the most awful situation. Now was not the time to be snippy with anyone. Taking a running bound, she pounced on the goon's back and ripped her teeth into his sweaty back, clawing at the hand that held back the gun. Kicking it away from both of them, so there would be no accidental shootings, Catherine twisted the man's leg into an awkward looking angle, breaking it in the process.
"Come on, we gotta go!" Catherine tugged on the male moreau's arm, hurrying him to leave the suite room and get out of there. "You better have not been lying about having transportation, or we're screwed."
Harold coughed and massaged his throat briefly before getting back up and rushing out of the suite as Catherine pulled on the sleeve of his sweater. He then motioned to Catherine for her to get behind him. Panicking whores ran through the hallways, running down the stairwell to frantically get out. While running over to the stairs, Harold caught a glimpse of the pimp's teenage son cowering in a corner.
"I need you to stay close to me here," said Harold as he took Catherine's arm as he went down through the crowded stairway. No other guards seemed to be here, but as the stairwell lead down into the bar, it appeared that there was a large bar fight going on, including patrons that Harold didn't remember seeing when he was down there.
"Hey you, Hawowd! Ova hewe!" shouted a familiar voice at the entrance to the bar, right behind the massive fight. It was Randy, who then used his large size to clear the way a bit. This allowed Harold and Catherine to get through the worst of the fight. As soon as Harold, Catherine, and Randy were able to get out of the bar and outside, Harold pointed over at the ruined bottle depot across the road from the Hylton.
"My motor home's just behind the bottle depot. Quick!" said Harold as he motioned over for Randy and Catherine to run over there with him.
"What the heck is this, the day whores ran wild?!" Catherine looked around in terrified shock, not knowing where they would all go once they were out of the Hylton. People just didn't shelter prostitutes like they were adoptive children. Releasing her hold on him, and allowing him to tug her along, nodded frantically. She was sure now that he really was sincere about rescuing her, after all the trouble he went through.
"No wonder my pimp came up to the room in such a hurry, he didn't want another hubbub like the one going on down here." The puzzling thing was figuring out why the fight had started in the first place. It got rowdy down there sometimes, but this was beyond the normal bar fight spat. It almost felt comforting to be taken care of in this manner. "Alright, but i'm not completely helpless, i can help."
This went unnoticed as someone who knew the moreau's name, cleared a way for us to leave. What had the drunkard called him? Hawwod? That couldn't be it. Catherine thought of what his name could be, until he motioned toward where his transportation would be waiting for him. He had parked somewhat close, but they still had a ways to go to reach it. The drunk followed them out as well, and Catherine panted out a greeting to him. "Hey, are you- coming too?" She charged ahead to reach the motor home, careful not to lag behind too far, but close enough to still be within helping range.
Harold ran as fast as he could to his motor home, hoping that no one would have damaged or hijacked it. Thankfully, no one did, so Harold then took his keys out of his cargo pants and first opened the side door into the home itself, then ran over to the driver's seat, unlocked it, and then got in as fast as he could. He then hit the horn for Catherine and Randy to catch up.
Meanwhile, Randy ran over with Catherine to Harold's motor home. He then ran over to the driver's side and called to Harold. "How do we get in, Hawowd?"
Harold responded, "I've opened the side door up. Just pull the stairs down and open the door!"
Randy then went over to the door on the right side of the motor home, and pulled the stairs down. He then opened the door, went inside, and held it open for Catherine. "Get in, fuwwy wady!"
The horn blared so loud that Catherine thought someone else was going to know they had escaped from the Hylton. She wasn't exactly sure who would turn against them, but it was better to power on her sprint and keep running for the motor home. It was odd to be outside of the Hylton for once, and she relished the feeling of wide open freedom it gave her. 'It's almost like being out and traveling again.' Catherine thought to herself.
While she was doing so, the drunk human asked a question that was on her own mind as well. Getting into the vehicle seemed easy enough, and she trusted both the human and the moreau enough to wait for him to help her up into the vehicle.
Rocking back on her heels, Catherine leaped into the open doorway, past the oddly talking human, and onto the harsh floor. It didn't hurt as much as it could, so she recovered quickly. "Shut the door, whoever you are, you don't wanna fall out do you?" A worried look graced over her facial features as compassion tucked itself inside of her again. It wasn't actually a question, as anyone could guess his answer. She stood up and called out to the moreau who was driving. "Hey hero, you can start the engine now, everyone's safe!" A light chuckle filled her throat when she turned back to the human, thanking him for making it possible for all three of them to leave that horrid place. "You were very brave, and i'm very grateful that -" Here she raised her voice, "Both of you helped me more than i could have imagined. So thank you!"