Path: physics insights > misc > Felix Resilleserre > The Iemy Papers >

A Walk in the Dark

The following is the forteenth installment of the tale which began with Takeoff, and continued with Shopping Trip Parts I. through IV  and The Test Flight.  All prior installments should be read before this page, as that may help to render the following events marginally less obscure.

This installment was also very kindly provided to us by Professor Johann Schnarchhund of Miskatonic University.  Johann again assures us that this first person account, narrated by Isis Resillechat, is very much as it was received by his daughter, Taurina.  For additional information please see the Iemy Papers.

Previous Installment: On the Road Again

Star Date 50.87

I wasn't along on this trip, so this was pieced together from what I heard afterwards.  I've told it using the tried and true Omniscient Narrator style but I'm afraid I'm actually anything but omniscient.  I got most of the story from Snidly, and a few bits of it from Dad; take it with as much salt as you like.

Unarmed, apparently alone, Felix walked along the gravel shoulder which served as the sidewalk for this town's main street.  The cats serving as his "bodyguard" had vanished into the shadows shortly after they left Aftershock.  They were out of sight, but not out of touch; Snizz was in mental contact with Felix, and was relaying some thoughts from Snidly as well.

To Felix's left, a row of dark buildings were set back a dozen feet from the road.  Street lights were an innovation that hadn't yet arrived in Durva.  As Felix passed the darker blackness of a yawning alley mouth, he heard a faint scraping noise.  The hair on the back of his neck stood up, in a useless attempt at making him look more formidable.  "It works for the cats," he found himself thinking.  His hairs didn't quite seem to realize that they were a million years too late.  They were still giving it the old college try.

Snidly's thoughts broke in on his thoughts of his hairs' defensive posture.  "Two humans behind you.  Snizz says no good."  And then, for a fraction of an instant, Felix saw his silhouette on the leaves of a tree a few dozen feet in front of him, outlined in the light of a blue flash from somewhere behind him.

Snidly's thoughts came again.  "Staggers fix."

Felix was shocked.  "No -- don't hurt them!"

"Why not?  They would have hurt you.  Felix worry too much.  But will be fine.  Probably.  Will be up again in six hours, maybe twelve ... probably."  The tone of the thought seemed a little impatient, a little amused -- Snidly's thoughts were turning out to be more expressive than his voice ever was.

Felix kept walking.  A few yards farther along, a black limousine was parked in the deeper darkness of the shadow under a tree.  As Felix approached, the headlights suddenly went on.  A voice called, in Russian, "Stop right there, Felix!"

He stopped.  "Is that you, Vlad?"

"Yes, of course.  There's been a change in plans.  We'll be having our meeting, but not right here.  Please get in the car, and we'll get right to it."

"Trap!" Snizz's voice sounded in Felix's head.

"I don't think so," Felix said, aloud, backing slowly away from the car.  "We meet in the restaurant, as agreed, or I leave, right now."

"Boris!  Joseph!  Help Felix into the car!"

"The two who were behind you.  The ones you were so worried about hurting," came Snidly's voice in Felix's head.

"I'm afraid they won't be joining us.  Something unexpected came along," Felix said, aloud, and laughed his best diabolical laugh.  (Which isn't very diabolical, I'm afraid -- I've heard him use that laugh when he's playing chess sometimes and it mostly sounds silly.)  "So let's just stroll over to the restaurant without them.  Shall we?"

In Which Things Go Exactly As Planned Sideways

As they passed through the glass doors of the Broiled Palm, the first thing Felix noticed was the tacky decor, which involved large numbers of plastic palm trees, some of which were revolving slowly in mock rotisseries.  The second thing he noticed was a large banner, emblazoned with "Welcome Veterans", in Russian, in two foot high Cyrillic letters.  It matched the banner he'd seen hanging above the door on the front of the building as they crossed the street.

There were at least a half dozen people in the foyer, apparently waiting for tables.  The dining room, visible to the right, looked packed.

"What -- a convention?  Veterans?  Which army, Russia or Chechnya?"

"Convention, yes, there's a convention," replied Vlad.  "But why are you asking about armies?"

Before Felix could answer, the cats slipped through the slowly closing door behind them, and Felix realized, with a terrible shock, how senseless his question must have sounded.  There was no veterans convention at the restaurant.

The shock started with a despairing squeak from Snizz, accompanied by a new word appearing in Felix's head.  At first he couldn't understand it -- it seemed to contain all possible despair and horror rolled into a single package, but he couldn't make out what it actually referred to.

And then the meaning came to him, at the same instant he realized his error in reading the banner.  It didn't say "Welcome Veterans".

It said "Welcome Veterinarians"  [i.e., "Ветеринари"].

In Which Damage Control is Attempted

Felix and Vlad were seated in a corner booth.

Under a table near the door, a small furry drama was taking place.  Snidly had Snizz pinned down, and was licking her face, all the while purring loudly.  With the noise level in the restaurant there was little chance anyone could hear them.

But it wasn't getting Snidly anywhere.  Surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of boisterous vets telling doggie jokes, singing catty songs, doing vet dances on the tiny dance floor (the Frozen Donkey was a popular one), and just generally letting themselves go in all directions at once, Snizz was reduced to a trembling ball of panic.

In Which we Arrive at the Inevitable Conclusion

Despite the loss of his "secret weapon", Felix felt the negotiations had gone pretty well.  They'd discussed the details of the fuel and packaging over a dish of Russian-style nachos (topped with cheese and borscht) and all seemed settled.  One point still worrying Felix was Vlad's attempt to drive him somewhere else, and Vlad had refused to explain, saying only that it would have been much quieter than the restaurant.  He seemed distracted, which also worried Felix.

"Vlad, I cannot say it too often.  We will know if you've really brought the goods.  So don't try to cheat!  Remember what happened last time!  You were lucky, nobody got hurt.  Bring us another truckload of donuts, and you may not be so lucky!"

"Yes, yes, there will be no problem," Vlad agreed, in an absent tone, while munching on a chip.  And then his cell phone rang.  "If you'll excuse me?"  He stepped out of the booth and into an alcove a few feet away.  A moment later he came back, looking more relaxed than he'd been since Boris and Joseph failed to show up.

Shortly after, the conversation drew to a close with Vlad's repeated assurances that there would be no hitch on his side, and Felix's assurance that, if the goods were delivered as promised, the fee would be paid, in the form of solid gold bars.  The exchange was to be made at a field several miles south of the town.  Though isolated, with trees on all sides, there was access by a road which Vlad said was adequate for their tractor trailer.

After finishing off the last of the chips, Vlad dropped some money on the table, wished Felix a good night, and headed for the door.  Moments later, Felix followed him out.

As Felix stepped out the door of the restaurant, someone stepped in back of him.  Before he could turn around, a smelly rag was shoved in his face.  The world spun briefly, and faded away.

Meanwhile, Back on the Ship

The collars the cats wore were not just weapons.  They were also communicators.  We'd been in contact with Snidly since he left the ship.  So we knew, as Auntie put it, that they'd taken our strongest piece off the board before the game began.

In addition to Snidly and Snizz, Staggers was in the restaurant, hidden under another table.  Dad was pretty well protected -- or so we thought.  Dense was outside the restaurant, just kind of keeping an eye on things.

"Done talking, Vlad leaving," we heard, from Snidly's communicator.  Then, a moment later, "Felix leaving, too."

Then there was a pause, as Snidly waited his chance to slip out of the restaurant without being seen.  We could hear the sounds of talking, clinking glasses, and other "restauranty" noises as he waited near the door.

Then quiet, as Snidly slipped out of the noisy room -- and then we heard Dense's voice, in a frantic wail.

"Snidly heeeeelp!  Felix gone! Heelp Help!"

"Gone how?  What happened?"

"Gone!  Help help help help!"

"What happened!?"

"Felix stolen!"

"Stolen how?  By who?"

"Don't know who!" followed by a mournful yowling.


"Put hand on face.  Felix lay down.  Carried off."

"Felix put his hand on his face?"

"No not him!  Other him!"

At that point we heard a hissing sound.  I think Snidly was getting frustrated.

"Did someone else put his hand on Felix's face?"

"Yes.  And Felix fell down."

"Did someone carry him away?"

"Yes.  Two someone."

"Where did they take him?"

"Don't know.  Gone!"

Snidly hissed again.

"What did you see them do?"

"Carry him away."

"Where did you see them carry him?"

"Right here, behind bush."

"No! No!  You were behind the bush.  Where did the men carry Felix?"


There was a brief silence, and then Snidly's voice came again.  "Car not there.  So they've taken Felix somewhere."

At that point Mom broke in.  "I'm going after him!"

"Yes!" added the Captain.  "And take Skritch and Benga!"

"And me!" added Auntie.

"No -- you stay here.  Not distract Snizz."

Mom was taking us back to the field where we'd dropped off Felix and the cats.  It was a clearing on a hillside some distance from the town.  The screen in front of me was set to show infrared, with a lot of intensification.  The resulting view looked almost like a cartoon of the field.

"I'll follow the road closer to town -- we need to find the truck.  I'll spend half the night just getting there, if I have to walk the whole way."

"Wait!" the Captain said, before Mom took us out of the field.  "What's that?"  He had jumped down from his perch, and was pointing at something on my screen.

"Cell phone tower," I said.  "May be the only one in the area."

"Oh.  Now go find truck."

Mom flew us over he road toward town.  By the time we found the truck, we were over the outskirts of the town.  Mom's screen was showing us the "visible light" view; it was an eerie green, lit by the glow of the engine exhaust.  The houses here were small, close together and, from what we could see in the dim green light, they looked dilapidated.  The few pedestrians were staring up at us, and looked amazed.

"Now go!  Nim-nim, take over piloting!"

Mom left the bridge at a run.  We waited what seemed like an hour, but was really not much more than five minutes, as Mom picked up some things to take along and she, Skritch, and Benga went down a tube to the ground.  Eventually, though, we saw the three of them arrive at Aftershock.  A moment after all three were in the truck, there was a spray of gravel, and it tore off down the road toward the center of town.

"Nim-nim -- back to the field, fast!" said the Captain, as soon as the truck had vanished from view.  "Land on the cell tower."

"Take out service for whole town," Nim-nim observed, as she started us back toward the field.

"But people depend on that!" cried Auntie.

"Yes, and Vlad may depend on it, too."

"Should I look for the land line towers, too?" asked Nim-nim, as the field came into view.

Unfair:  Missed the Party but Still Got the Hangover

When Felix woke up, he wished he hadn't.  He felt awful.  He was lying on something -- a couch, it appeared -- and he was about to lose his dinner.

He sat up and said, first in English, then in Russian, "Gonna barf!"

"Uri!  Help Felix to the bathroom!"  That was Vlad's voice.

A few minutes later, feeling slightly better, Felix was back in the room with Vlad, Uri, and a third man.

Uri, like Vlad, was slim and of medium height.  The third man was about six inches shorter than either of them, and about twice as wide.  If his black hair had been orange, he'd have looked a lot like an orangutan -- an orangutan wearing back double knit pants and a tightly stretched black knit pullover, whose sleeves barely came past his elbows.

Uri was also dressed in black -- black pants and a black pullover.  And he had black hair, pulled back into a short black ponytail.  Felix wondered, blearily, if there was some sort of spy dress code they were following.  But that seemed unlikely, since Uri's pullover had a design printed on it.  "I" (in Russian), followed by a heart, followed by a silhouette of a dagger.

They also both were in stark contrast to Vlad, who was dressed in a pure white suit with cream shirt and blue plaid tie.  Felix wondered if they were playing some sort of "good cop, bad cop" game.

"Sorry you're feeling so poorly, Felix.  Uri, what did you knock Felix out with?"


"You nitwit!  No wonder he's sick!  I told you to use chloroform!"

"Drug store was sold out of chloroform."  Uri sounded sullen.

The black-haired orangutan spoke up, in a voice that sounded like a whale gargling marbles.  "Should have blackjacked him."

"I told you before, Georgi, we need him alive.  Half the people you blackjack never wake up again.  Now be quiet and let me talk to Felix."

But the next thing Felix heard wasn't from Vlad.  It was a voice in his head, a voice with an urgent question.  "Where are you?"

"I don't know -- in a room, somewhere..." was all that came to Felix in response.

"Who are you?" Vlad was asking him.

"Huh?  Felix Resilleserre."

"Ask Vlad where you are," came the voice in his head.  Felix, still woozy, finally realized the voice in his head was Snizz.

"No you, idiot.  I know who you are.  Tell me who else you are."

"Where are we?"  asked Felix.

"What do you care?  Tell me who you are."

"I'm -- uh -- a college professor..."

"No, no, don't be dense!  Who are you working for?"

"Ask him for the address."

"He won't tell me."

"Ask him anyway."

"Who are you working for?  Tell me!"

"Uh .... what street are we on?"

"Felix, start talking, or I'm going to get angry!"

"Thank you.  Vlad thought of the address, and I heard.  We'll be there soon."

"I'm working for Miskatonic University."

"What does Miskatonic University want heavy hydrogen for?"

Felix hesitated.

"Vlad, I'm going to tell you the truth.  Need lithium deuteride for fuel for flying saucer."

"You expect me to believe Miskatonic University has a flying saucer!?"

"No.  Our group has saucer."

"Ahhhh.  And what is the name of your group?"

"No name.  Just myself, my wife, daughter, and wife's aunt."

Vlad snorted.  "Who else?"

"No other people."

"I thought you were going to tell the truth."

"Truth.  No other people."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Felix paused, then, speaking slowly (slowly for Felix, anyway), he said, in a low tone, trying to sound ominous, "Aliens, Vlad.  Aliens need the fuel."

Vlad said nothing for a moment.  Then, "This is getting us nowhere."

"Doing it wrong," said Uri, in a sullen tone.  He was digging black stuff out from under his fingernails with a long, thing stiletto.


"Let me break a few of his fingers, to get his attention, and then..."

"Shut up," interrupted Vlad.  Then, "Where's Markov?  We need the scopolamine."

"Said to call him if we wanted him," gargled Georgi.

Vlad made an annoyed sound and felt in his pockets for his phone.

"Can't find your street.  Ask him how to get there from the corner of Main Street and Yurt Way."

Felix asked.

"What?  What, are you wearing a wire?  Uri, is he wearing a wire?"

"No.  Searched him.  I'm not stupid, no matter what you think."

Uri was playing mumbletypeg with his stiletto.  The knife hit the floor point first and stuck, wiggling a little.  "Let me cut him, just a little, and he'll sing whatever you want."

"Shut up, Uri.  You're creeping me out."

"So, how do you get here from there?"  Felix asked again.

"Shut up!"  That seemed to be Vlad's favorite phrase today.  He didn't sound happy.

"It's OK, he thought of the directions.  We'll be there soon."

"Vlad," said Felix.  "Surrender now.   I'll see that you're not hurt.  Not much, anyway."

"Shut up!" Vlad had his phone out and was dialing.

"Phone's not working.  Uri, try your phone."

"No good -- says there's no signal."

"The aliens, Vlad -- they're coming for you.  If you're lucky my wife will get here first.  If you're not, it'll be ... them..."  Felix faded out into what he hoped was an ominous-sounding whisper.

"Shut up!  Uri, go call Markov on the land phone."  Uri left the room.

A moment later, his voice came back to them.  "This phone's dead, too -- no dial tone."

"The aliens, Vlad -- they're coming for you.  You can't reason with them.  You can't stop them.  They have no empathy -- they're not human, Vlad.  Surrender now and I'll try to save you from them."

"Vlad said shut up!" gargled Georgi, and with a ferocious backhand blow, knocked Felix out of his chair and partway across the room.


Rambo Time

Felicia had stopped at the restaurant and picked up the rest of the cats, and the little group had been tearing up and down the back streets of Dovna looking for the street Felix had named.  Almost none of the streets had signs, which made it harder.  Failing a sign, they hoped to spot the black limo, but had struck out on that score, too.

Eventually they'd given up hope of finding it on their own, and Felicia had stopped the truck while Snizz picked some clearer directions out of Vlad's head.  And now, at last, they were turning onto what they all hoped was the right street.

"We've already been up and down this street three times tonight," Felicia commented.  "No sign of the limo."

"Parked in back, maybe?" wondered Snidly.

"I'd feel better about barging in if we could be sure it was the right house."

"Not just Rambo in, anyway -- need a plan.  Send somebody in through a window, see who's there, where Felix is."

"How d'you know about Rambo?  I didn't think cats watched macho adventure movies," Felicia asked, as she pulled up in front of a house that looked just like all the other houses.

Before Snidly could reply, Snizz announced, "Felix hurt -- someone beating him."

Felicia gave a short shriek, grabbed the AK-47 from the floor of the truck, and was out the door before it stopped moving.

"Rambo in, never works outside movies," Snidly grunted, as he struggled to shift the truck into Park.  "Skritch, lend paw here."  The two cats together finally did the job, and the truck stopped with a jerk, a dozen yards past the house Felicia was storming single-handed.


Vlad was not happy.  "Georgi!" he was yelling, as bent over Felix.  "Get out of here!  Get Uri, and the two of you guard the front door."

As he helped Felix back onto his chair, he apologized.  "I'm sorry, Felix.  Georgi shouldn't have done that."  As he dabbed at the trickle of blood from Felix's lip, he added, "It's not an act.  He really is a bad cop."

Before Felix could ask him what he meant when he said Georgi was a cop (good, bad, or indifferent), there was a burst of machine gun fire, and a sound of shattering glass.  Someone was shooting out the windows on the front of the house.

"Sounds like my wife's here," commented Felix, as there was another burst of gunfire and a yell from Uri.  There was a crash, like a door slamming open, and then silence.

Vlad had pulled out a revolver and was pointing it at the door to the room when Georgi shambled in, the limp form of Felicia draped over his shoulder.

"What have you done!?" yelled Felix.

"Blackjacked.  From behind.  She wake up soon,"  Georgi gargled.

"Where's Uri?"


Vlad swore, went to a cupboard, and pulled out a white box with a red "+" on it.  He left the room in a hurry.  A moment later he was back, without the box.  "He'll be OK.  I think.  Idiot was standing in front of the door when she shot out the lock."

He pointed his pistol at Felix.  "Get up!  Georgi, out the back -- put her in the car.  Felix, follow him!  Move!"

"Wassa matter -- afraid of aliens?"  Georgi gargled, in a scornful tone.

"Yes.  I mean, no.  I mean, we're going to Markov's.  If we can't phone him, we'll go get him."

Felix, too stunned to think, followed Georgi to the car.

Headaches for Everybody!

At Snizz's request, Felix had looked out the car windows for the whole ride, trying to catch every detail of the route they followed.  He hoped Snizz could make enough sense of his impressions to find the place; he wasn't at all sure he'd have been able to himself.  This time, at least they'd parked the car in front of the house.  That might help the cats find the place ... if they at least got onto the right street.

But now, Felix and Felicia were tied to chairs, facing a table, and across from them was Vlad, with his pistol on the table in front of him.  They were in a cellar -- Markov's cellar -- and the dim light of an overhead bulb was just adequate to reveal the exposed rafters, some with termite damage, many with mouldering junk hanging from nails stuck in them.  It smelled damp.

Markov, however, wasn't there.  Where he was, neither Vlad nor Georgi knew.  Reaching him via his cell was impossible, of course.  Georgi was upstairs, searching for the scopolamine.  They could hear occasional crashing noises as Georgi tore closet doors off their hinges or ripped drawers from dressers and tossed them on the floor.  Vlad sighed and rubbed his temples.  He didn't look optimistic.

He picked up his pistol and pointed it at Felicia.  "Tell me who else is in your gang!"

"As I said --" Felix began.

"Shutup!!  Not you!  Felicia!  Talk!"

"My head hurts."

"So thank Georgi for that.  You shouldn't have shot at him.  Now tell me who else is in your gang -- and I don't want to hear about your aunt and daughter!"

"I've never had such a headache..." Felicia rubbed her temples, and then, very gently, touched the back of her head and grimaced.

"I've already told him --" Felix started.

"Shut up!  I'm asking Felicia!"

Felicia massaged her temples some more, and said, "If Felix already told you..."

"Go on!"

"Vlad," she said, in a solemn voice.  "They're aliens."

"No! Not this story again!  What, did you arrange this in advance?  You're both crazy!"

"But they are aliens, Vlad.  They're about ten inches tall, covered with fur, and with long, wiggly tails."

"And big yellow eyes, with slit pupils," said Felix.

"But they're really cute!" Felicia added.

"And they're implacable," said Felix, in English.

"They're im-what?"

"Um -- what's that in French?" Felix asked.

"Same," said Felicia.  "Implacable."

"What's in Russian?  Can't recall."

"What?  What are you saying?" asked Vlad.

"Ah!" exclaimed Felicia.  "They're relentless!  That's the word you wanted, Felix!"

"Just shut up," interjected Vlad.

At that moment Georgi came crashing triumphantly down the cellar stairs.

"Found it!" he gargled, and plopped a black physician's back on the table in front of Vlad.

"Excellent work!  Where was it?"

"On a table in front hall, next to front door.  Had note attached, said 'Vlad: Scopolamine'"

Vlad looked disgusted.  "So to find it, you had to tear the house apart.  Markov will be thrilled to hear it.  Georgi, you are an imbecile without peer."

Georgi made a gargly questioning noise.

"It's a compliment.  It means you never give up.  Now get out of here -- go guard the front door."

As Georgi clambered back up the stairs, Vlad opened the black bag.  He took out several small vials, and a pair of hypodermic needles.  He was grinning like a cat who's been accidentally locked in an aviary when the staff left for the weekend.  "Now we'll get some answers!" he said, and picked up one of the syringes.

And then the lights went out.

"Georgi!  What's with the lights?"

"Don't know," came the gargled reply.

"Aliens, Vlad -- they're coming for you.  And now Felicia's not there to hold them back.  Surrender, Vlad, maybe I can still save you."

"Shut up!"

Vlad reached for his pistol, but in the dark he missed and knocked it off the table.  He made a grab for it as it fell and then yelped, and cursed.

"What happened?"

"Shut up!  I stuck myself with the #%^ needle."

A moment later there was a crash.

"Are you alright?" asked Felix.

"Shut up.  Fell over the chair trying to find the stairs."  Then, "Georgi!  Look out the window!  Are there lights on next door, or across the street?"

They heard a gargling noise, and then a yell, "Don't know, too dark to see anything."

"Idiot," they heard Vlad mutter.

"Aliens, Vlad.  They've taken out the phones and the power all over the town, just to cut you off."

"Shut up!"

"Do you really think so?" asked Felicia, surprised.

"Do you really think Boots would just sit and wait for us to come back?"

There was a scraping and a clattering, and a grunt from Vlad.  "I think Vlad's back in a chair," Felix observed.

"We see the car," came Snizz's voice in Felix's head.

"They're here, Vlad.  Surrender -- now or never!"

"Shut up!"  Then, yelling up to Georgi, "Mind the door -- and make sure all the windows are closed!  Don't open up for anyone!"

"I think he's finally getting the idea," Felix observed to Felicia.

"Shut up!" interjected Vlad.

And then there was a blue flash from upstairs, and a sort of "Phrump!" noise which might have come from outside the house.

Georgi yelled.  "Car!  Someone torched car!"  There was a sound of a door opening.

"Idiot -- he's going outside," muttered Vlad.

"They're coming for you," added Felix.

"Shut up!" Vlad's voice cracked.

They heard the door close again.  "Nobody there," gargled Georgi.

And then, "Hey!"

And then, "Who?" and then, "Stop!"

And then there was a gunshot.

And then two more, close together.

And then a gargling scream.

"Georgi!  Georgi!  What's happened!?" yelled Vlad.

"We need Vlad alive!" yelled Felix, at no one in particular.

"Shut -- " Vlad started, then cut himself off.  "Why did you say that?"

"Because it's true.  Somebody could make a mistake."

In the darkness near the stairs, there was a faint "thump!"

"Who's there?" called Vlad.

"Do not move.  Do not even breathe heavy."  It was Snidly's obviously inhuman voice.

"What happened to Georgi?" Vlad asked, sounding panicky.  He was ignoring the admonishment not to "breathe heavy":  his ragged breathing was audible to everyone present.

"Georgi shot at Skritch.  And missed.  Bad mistake."

Snidly's voice had moved away from the stairs.  Felix felt something brush his hands.  The ropes on his wrists suddenly loosened, and then something jabbed him, hard, on his left thumb.


"Don't move while I'm cutting these."

"I didn't."

"Did you ... is he alive?" Vlad asked.

Snidly called, in Iemy, "Is Georgi alive?"

Benga's voice came from the top of the stairs, also in Iemy.  "Most!"

Snidly said, in English, "Mostly."

"Mostly alive?  What's that mean?"

"Silence.  We will ask the questions."

The silence was brief, however, as Felicia gave a yell.  "Watch the claws!  That was me, not rope!"

"Said not to move," was Snidly's only reply to that.

And then, from Vlad, "But who are you?"  Vlad wasn't good at keeping silent.

Snidly snorted.  "Felix, turn on flashlight, just for a moment, let Vlad see."

Felix grunted something.  It sounded like his mouth was full.  He fumbled in his pockets, and then, for a few seconds, the room was lit such that humans, as well as cats, could see.  Vlad certainly wasn't expecting what was revealed.  Skritch was sitting on the table, directly in front of him, staring him in the face; her nose was not four inches from his.  She hissed as the light came on.  And then it was dark again.  There was a crash and a yell from Vlad, whose chair had gone over backwards.

"Stay there.  And answer questions.  We will know if you lie."

In Felix's head, Snidly's voice came to him, relayed by Snizz.  "Ask questions.  Vlad will answer, and I will comment.  More dramatic than if you comment."

Felix grunted, and then said, "Oo 'r' oo rkngn fr?"

"What?" was all Vlad had to say.

"What's wrong?" asked Felicia.

"Vv  thm 'nm th."


Felix took his thumb out of his mouth, and explained.  "Thumb's bleeding.  Making mess.  Oh, well."  And then, "Who are you working for?"

"Nobody.  Myself.  I told you that to begin with."  Vlad's voice came from the floor, behind the table.

"Heeee's lyyyying," Snidly drawled.

"He's working for the government." said the voice in Felix's head.

"Ch ggt rrr ywrk ngn ffr?"  Felix had his thumb back in his mouth.


"It's dripping."  Felix had his thumb out again.  "Oh, oops ... messy."

Felicia called to Benga.  There was a faint "thump!" on the table, and Benga's voice came from the darkness, asking for Felix's thumb.

"Ouch!  What are you -- Ow!" said Felix.

"Done," said Benga.

Whatever she'd done, it had stopped the bleeding.

"You were about to ask Vlad something," Felicia prompted.

"Who are you working  -- no, wait, I asked that.  Thumb hurts, hard to focus."

"And my head feels like I was kicked by a mule -- or clobbered by an orangutan.  Let's try to pick up the pace a little."

"Which government did you say you're working for?"

"I'm -- wait -- I didn't say that!"

Snidly said nothing.  In the quiet cellar, a faint sound of snoring could be hear from under the table.

"Snidly, wake up!  Or we'll never get out of here!"  Felicia sounded annoyed.

Snidly snorted.  Then added, "Lyyyy-ing."

No little voice spoke in Felix's head.  He hoped Snizz wasn't napping, too.

"What part of the KGB are you working for?" Felix asked, taking a wild guess.

"I'm not with the KGB!"  Vlad sounded offended.

"Thank you for a truthful answer," came Snidly's meow.  Then he added, "But we need more than that.  Skritch, please encourage him."

Vlad started yelling. "NO! NO! Get it off me!  I'll tell you everything, anything!"

"Stop her, Snidly -- what's she doing?" said Felix, in Iemy, sounding worried.

"Skritch is standing on him.  Nothing more."  Then, in English, "Talk!"

Vlad talked.

Continued in Episode 15:  What's in the Box?


Page created on 13 May 2017 from some faded notes found in an old binder.  And a map -- we also found a map.