This here is the third story in the lives of Duke, Racheal and all their friends. By now I figure you know what’s in this story, nothing much actually. A little profanity, non graphic sexuality. Anyways this crazy crew is still co. Aaron Jeffery 1998, what can I say somebody had to take responsibility. Don’t go writing anything new about them or drawing them ‘less I know about it and have okayed it, kapeesh? E-mail this story, print it, give it to friends, hell make copies and dump them from a plane for all I care, just don’t change it or remove the disclaimers, and don’t charge no-one for them. And above all please send me comments and crits.

Night Dreams

By Skunkaholic

It was one of those nights that have to make the most scientific mind wonder. Too much to be coincidence. The explanation I offer is much simpler; three furries, a brother and sister, and his best friend, so close that some sort of psychic link is formed. Although skeptics will no doubt point out that this is the only time such events took place. Still three simultaneous nightmares, one has to wonder if something weird wasn’t transpiring that clear September evening.

I’m not sure which link in the chain the problem originated from, I had been thinking about mom and dad a lot lately, not surprising, it was only days before my annual trip. It could have been Racheal or Leeroy but at the time I couldn’t know for sure, all of us refused to talk about specifics at the time.

Duke’s Dream

As I awoke I was immediately aware of two things; I was not in my apartment, and I had to use the bathroom. Something about this room was familiar, the fighter jet wallpaper, the little radio on the shelf beside the bed playing Christmas carols. On the shelf across from the bed was a junior league bowling trophy. I knew this room, it was my room when I was a kid. Without even thinking to I slipped back the covers and noticed for the first time that I was wearing pajamas, something I hadn’t done since elementary school. They were white flannel with bluish green vertical stripes. As I got out of bed, I noticed the trophy again; something odd there, that trophy had been broken when . . . No! Not this again! I realized what was happening as my child body made it’s way to the bedroom door. There were two minds here, the child mind that controlled the body, and my adult mind which was an unnoticed stowaway, along for the ride. I also knew what day this was, December 24th 1989, I was 11 years old.

My body was now opening the door, as it swung inwards I saw a pawwritten sign tacked to it’s surface; “Bruce’s Room, No Sisters Allowed!” My brain gave a violent twitch, between the sign and the hallway that it opened onto were undeniable proof that this was happening, but why was it happening? Wasn’t going through something like this once in a lifetime enough? Or twice... Or five times? Why did I have to relive this day again, and again?

Now I was walking into the hallway, turning left past Racheal’s room. My adult mind wanted so badly to go in, hold her, say something to help prepare her for what was about to happen. My child body, however, was under the control of the other mind and was already walking down the hall. Off to my left was the washroom and past that the stairs down to the area between the living room and the kitchen. My child mind was thinking how cool it would be to sneak downstairs. “ I couldn’t take a peek at the presents under the tree or at the stockings, Uncle Sean would be watching for me to try that,” He/I reasoned.

“That’s right.” I answered. “So don’t bother trying. Just use the bathroom and go back to bed.” My pleading went totally unnoticed by my younger self.

“But I could sneak down and use mom and dad’s bathroom.” Even though mom had been dead for 8 years I still thought of it as mom and dad’s then. Tomorrow it would be the master bathroom.

“No!” I screamed, wishing that if I yelled loud enough my child’s mind would hear me and heed me. “That’s a bad idea. Just use your own bathroom and go back to bed. You can use their bathroom tomorrow night, every night for the next eight years, just not tonight.”

Failing to obey me my body was already on it’s way downstairs.

I could hear my child mind reasoning that Uncle Sean would surely be sitting somewhere where he could see the foot of the stairs. That would make his/our little adventure a little trickier. Acting again on my other mind’s instructions my little paws grasped the wooden banister which ran along the side of the staircase. It took a fair bit of effort, I wish I could say because of the fight I was putting up, but we were finally able to scramble over the banister. then we climbed down the other side, with me screaming the whole time, using words I wouldn’t have dared speak if my kitten’s ears could hear what I said. Even though it seemed futile I had to try and get word to the mind controlling the body. If I could do that I could at least spare myself reliving the worst moment of my life. Maybe then I would stop having this dream . . .

While I was fighting an uphill battle against the past, on the other side of the wall Racheal was engulfed in a dream of her own. For the time being her dream was pleasant, but that was soon to change.

Racheal’s Dream

Racheal was aware of the presence and the intent of the person sharing her bed but not the identity. His kisses were setting her whole body atingle and she could feel his fur brushing against her, it was short and fairly course, That eliminated cat, rabbit, fox and a sizable list of other species. Who ever he was his tongue was absolutely magic.

For a spell Racheal relished in the soft licks and caresses of her invisible Eros. For a moment it occurred to her that she had to be dreaming, no real man was this attentive.

Then from behind there came a shaft of light. Racheal turned to gaze upon the doorway, suspended in midair, and filled with a brilliant glare. As she turned she caught a glimpse of her phantom lover. When she awoke she would remember his face only, fortunately that was enough, he was a black horse, that certainly explained the tonguework.

She held up a paw to block the light from blinding her, in the doorway she could see the silhouette of another furry. “Racheal,” she immediately recognized her brother’s voice, but for some reason it was seething with shock and outrage. She watched as her brother turned and started walking away.

What adds an element of mystery to this tale is Leeroy, If it were just Racheal and I involved, then one could say it was something environmental, the apartment was too warm, strange noises or such, but Leeroy didn’t live anywhere near us, his house was clear across Surrey, up near River Junction on the north end of town, and he was at the time staying at Surrey Memorial Hospital, recovering from his injuries from those humans. But what Leeroy dreamed would remain a mystery to us for quite some time.

Leeroy’s Dream

There was only the darkness. This was not the beginning but at this time there was nothing more than the black emptiness, and the hollow pain gnawing at his bones. At the far end of the room there was a single window and through it’s dirt plastered glass filtered the faintest sliver of light from the streetlamps outside, but he wouldn’t go near that end of the room even if his chain could reach. Somehow he liked the darkness, it protected him from sight, seeing his hideously deformed muzzle in the mirror. The muzzle which had gotten him locked down here. He also wouldn’t have to look at his security blanket, he knew what it was but he didn’t like to look at it. It was the one thing of hers that he had seen since he was locked down here. It was a simple black jacket, she had begged for it for weeks, until her mother bought it for her. She was outraged when after having it for less than a week Trista had “ruined” her new jacket by getting a stripe of white paint down the back. All involved knew that it wasn’t by accident, but Trista’s mother refused to accept that.

Strange situation, he didn’t want to look at it, but it felt so comforting to clutch against his chest, and rub the side of his muzzle. It was like having a little piece of her that he could curl up with. The roles were reversed now, it was her making him feel safe and protected, she gave him something to hold onto, physically and psychologically. He loved holding it, it just felt so comfortable. He could almost imagine that he was holding her again. She always loved to lay on his chest and use his thick fluffy tail as a blanket. He was her own life sized plushy. And he had loved it that way, for some reason he never felt more at peace than when he was laying on his back with Trista cuddled up against him.

He heard a skittering sound from the corner, seemed like Todd was coming to visit. He could hear the tiny claws scratching against the concrete floor, a little beyond the reach of his chain. It must be almost feeding time, Todd only came by near feeding time. He must have some sort of animal sense of timing, because Leeroy never knew what time it was. His only indication of the passage of time was when the Television could be heard from above. He remembered the Television, he and Trista had sat and watched it together, she in her favorite position, and his tail across her. They had watched all the classic cartoons: Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Bugs Bunny, Trista’s favorites were always the cartoons with Pepe Le Pew. But she always wondered why he didn’t smell like Pepe, she said he smelled nice, like her daddy’s aftershave lotion. Leeroy could smell Todd now, he was sitting nearby, within Leeroy’s chain reach, but out of sight. Not that there was anything down here to facilitate sight. The only light was the slightest glow through the heavily muddied window across the room, and Leeroy’s chain couldn’t reach anywhere that the light touched. Todd was waiting, waiting for him to arrive so that after the beating Leeroy would be fed, and he always shared with Todd.

Then there was a blinding light, searing Leeroy’s eyes. He closed his eyes, trying to block out the blazing illumination, but still he could feel the rays cutting deep gouges into his eyeballs. He curled up in a ball, folding his arms across his eyes, whimpering in discomfort. He heard the footsteps pounding against the stairs, in clumsy, clumpy, steps.

“You, animal,” the man’s voice bellowed. It was hard, and dripping with raw gravel.. “Look at me damn it.” Leeroy forced his eyes to open, despite the burning in his eyes from the light. He liked the darkness, he missed the darkness, he was used to the darkness, and its absence filled his eyes with pain. Still he forced himself to look at the man. He looked huge, because Leeroy was laying on the floor at his feet. His jeans were well faded and worn in, Leeroy remembered jeans, he’d worn them before he was locked down here, before she died. The man also wore a white shirt, which was loose fitting against his chest, but pulled a little tightly over his expansive belly which flowed out over his belt. What hair remained on his head was a miscellany of black, white, and various shades of grey, but most of it seemed to have slid down his face and settled a new colony on his chin. He spoke again in his thick, gravel voice, but he wasn’t really speaking to Leeroy anymore, more aside. “I don’t know why we keep you. You kill my daughter, drive my wife crazy and I have to put a roof over your head and food in your gullet. There ain’t no justice in the world these days.” Leeroy didn’t really care about the words which spewed like wet concrete from the cement mixer throat, all he did care about was what the man held in his hands. The one hand had a red bowl, which would be filled with water, cool, and soothing water. And the dark green bowl in his other hand would hold food. An identical pair of bowls lay empty on the floor, left from the last feeding. Slowly the man placed the bowls down, just out or Leeroy’s reach. “Before you get your food, it’s time to take your medicine.” Slowly he made a production out of stripping the belt from his waist. Leeroy shied away, he always hated this part. “Where are you going you sick freak? Get back here.” Leeroy slunk back towards the man, and presented his back for the belt. “You sick disgusting animal.” He lashed out with the narrow strap of leather flaying the fur on Leeroy’s back. “If it my wife hadn’t asked me to take care of you, just before she had herself committed...” Another lash, burned as it fell across both kidney’s. “But you drove her out of her mind when you killed Trista with your filthy animal diseases.” Once again the leather cracked and stung his back heavily. “And so I became saddled with the care of a disgusting degenerate animal.” As the beating progressed Leeroy was berated with a constant barrage of insults.

“Sicko. Freak. Animal. Disgusting. Abomination. Monster. Mistake of nature.” For some reason this scene caused Leeroy’s brain to twitch, it was so familiar, like it had happened recently. Finally the man grew tired of whipping the skunk and drew the belt back through his belt loops and fastened it again. Leeroy simply cowered on the floor, he could see Todd now, his whisker’s twitching in time with his nose. He knew that soon it would be time for a feeding, and his little rodent eyes glimmered in anticipation. Finally the man took the food from where he had placed it and put it on the floor beside Leeroy. Then snorting in disgust he turned and left the room, turning off the light as he went. Alone in the dark Leeroy buried his muzzle in the water dish first, lapping it up with his tongue like the animal that he was called.

Todd scurried forward headed for the other dish. Leeroy listened as the scurrying sound of claws ceased and was replaced by a quiet nibbling sound. Fortunately Todd like the high nutrient kibble far more than Leeroy, must be better than garbage he supposed, but not much. His back burned from the vicious lashing as he now shoved his paw into the bowl and scooped up a pawfull of hard dry food. He loaded the kibble into his muzzle, and choked it down. His gag reflex tried to force it back up but Leeroy choked off the back of his throat, blocking it. It was debatable which was worse, the taste of this food, or the pain of starvation. As Leeroy reached for another helping of the foul animal food he felt his paw close around a small furry body. Startled, Todd thrashed around until twisting to bite Leeroy fiercely. Startled the skunk dropped all that was in his paw, that being Todd and a helping of kibble. The air was filled with the dry clatter of kibble raining upon concrete, it was like the bones of a dead man settling in his grave as his forgotten body slowly wasted away. In the cacophony Todd scurried away headed for the corner or some hole, in which he secreted himself. Still in shock that he had hurt his only friend Leeroy clutched Trista’s coat against his muzzle and wept. And that is how he awake from his dream, clutching the blankets to him, tears dripping down his muzzle.

Racheal’s Dream: Part Two Racheal ran through the glimmering radiance chasing after the fleeing form of her brother. Even though he was walking and she ran he was still slowly pulling away. His shadow grew smaller and smaller and fainter until finally it just disappeared like a bubble blown by a kit. Racheal put her head down and ran harder, trying to catch up with him. Suddenly the light was gone and Racheal found herself tumbling through the darkness. She crashed on her belly, landing so hard that she knocked all the wind out of herself. She lay on the ground for a moment with her cheek pressed against the cold concrete while she tried to regain her breath. Finally lifting herself up Rachel looked around, she was in a deserted area of a city, possibly Vancouver, fortunately she was clothed now. Where the clothes had came from Racheal wasn’t sure, but they were skimpy, even by her estimation. The skirt was made of black latex and barely reached past her bottom, it was so short in fact that it needed no tail slot. The top was a black leather halter with a zipper up the front that only closed it halfway up, leaving a startling amount of cleavage visible.

Racheal was shocked to feel two rough paws creep up her skirt from behind for a second. Then after a rough squeeze and a pinch they were gone and a cold chuckle filled the air. Something about the laugh sounded wrong somehow, as though she was listening to it through water. Racheal spun around to face whoever was there, and caught another glimpse of the horse. Only his muzzle was visible in the streetlight. Still his cold chuckle caused icy needles to do the minute waltz up and down her spine. “Goodbye, Racheal,” he said in a voice to match his laugh as he faded into the inky blackness behind him.

“Wait,” Racheal cried after the now vanished equine, rushing towards where he had stood. Almost as soon as she moved there was a furious burst of thunder and a flash of lightning exploded overhead. Racheal was surprised that the force of the thunder had not knocked her back to the pavement. Then out of nowhere, the sky exploded forth a torrential downpour. The rain was freezing cold, especially with what little Racheal had to wear. By the time Racheal reached the alley that her mysterious black horse had disappeared into she was thoroughly soaked. The rain was forming an uncomfortable little icy waterfall that channeled right down her cleavage. Her headfur was plastered against her forehead, and obscuring her vision. Stepping into the alley seemed to do absolutely nothing to solve this problem as the cold rain pelted her equally when she sought shelter between the two abandoned looking buildings. From up ahead she could hear the steady clopping of horse hooves on pavement, her mystery man was still here. Racheal ran deeper into the alley following the sound. After a minute the alley came to an intersection, a building had sprouted up directly in the path of the alley causing it to split in both directions around it. Racheal glanced quickly down both paths for some sign of her horse.

No one in sight, only buildings and the odd piece of garbage. Racheal listened carefully to the sound of the hooves; it echoed through the backways, seeming to come from everywhere. Was it right or left? Was it coming from ahead or behind? Or was it coming from directly beneath her footpaws. It even seemed to be coming from inside her head. Racheal looked around, all three directions seemed almost identical, the only way she could tell which direction she had come has by seeing which path had a wall opposite it. Unable to discern where the sound was coming from Racheal started off down a path at random, choosing the right. As she walked down the alley she noticed that the hoofbeats sounded slightly louder, closer than before. Realizing this she picked up the pace, running with the droplets of rain stinging her as they dripped along her already soaked fur. She would have sworn that no water could be that cold without starting to freeze but here it was.

As Racheal charged down the alley it began to grow clearer where the hoofbeats were coming from, it was almost definitely further down this alley. The alley turned up ahead as another building blocked it’s course. As she approached the corner the sound she was following was drowned out for an instant as the sky went gold, and a deafening crash ripped overhead, instinctively Racheal ducked, as though she feared being struck by the lightning if she stood to full height. She turned the corner and saw another intersection, this time going all four ways. Was it her imagination, or was the alley getting narrower? Racheal ran through the rain to the intersection, and brushing the matted headfur out of her eyes looked in all four directions. All the streets continued for a pace before coming to a corner. Once again, which way she had come from was a mystery. Another roar of thunder and blinding light boomed overhead. Racheal tried one direction only to find the guiding clip-clop getting more and more distant. She tried another direction, no longer sure which way she had originally come. This time her search yielded success, the hoofbeats where definitely coming from this branch of the alley.

Out of nowhere came a huge gale that nearly sent her tail over head. How it was navigating this twisted series of passages Racheal wasn’t sure, but it was and blowing the rain dead on into Racheal’s face in the process. Racheal leaned into the wind which now assaulted her ears with it’s banshee wail. Still she pushed on against the storm which raged around her. Somehow even over the howling of the wind and clatter of rain on street she could hear the hoofbeats ahead, CLIP-CLOP CLIP-CLOP.

Further and further into the alleys, high overhead the old fashioned shutters on the windows rattled and trembled, fighting against being torn free of their hinges. Come to think of it the further she delved into the abandoned corridors the less and less modern the buildings appeared. Right now it was like something out of the 30’s. Before the last corner it had been circa 1960’s fare. The pavement still looked the same however, the piles of garbage, rotting food and McDonald’s wrappers. Puddles overflowing the potholes as the surface of the water danced under the constant assault from the clouds that loomed somewhere high overhead. Racheal took stock of this as she pushed on. Another corner ahead.

After two false tries Racheal again located the proper trail, by now she was sure that there would be now turning back, she would not be able to find her way out again. The tempest was so fierce now that she had to use her paws to shield her eyes from the stinging slap of flying rain and had to turn her muzzle aside from the wind just to breath. It felt like she had someone hanging off her back, just trying to move forward. And still even over the deafening roar of the gale and the thunder overhead she could hear the sound, the siren’s call which had lead her down this passage, Clip-Clop, Clip-Clop.

The walls were definitely closer than before, this alley was narrowing as she moved on. A particularly strong gust of wind rocked Racheal causing her to stumble. She spread her footpaws to try and provide a more stable base to keep from being blown off her feet. She waved her arms trying to maintain her balance, until one of her footpaws stepped into a small pothole. This threw her balance even more off and sent her flailing wildly to the ground. Again she crashed heavily against the ground, kicking up a huge splash of water. Feeling the rain pelting her back now instead of her chest Racheal lifted herself to her feet, only to be knocked back down again by the wind this time being thrown directly backwards. She cried out as she landed hard on the base of her tail. Racheal realized that trying to stand up again would be an exercise in futility in this wind, and so she rolled onto her stomach and crawled forward. Inch by inch she struggled forward, the hoofbeats echoing on ahead of her, drawing her forward like a leash around her neck. The sound seemed to have slowed, so as not to loose her, staying just far enough ahead that she could hear but not see. As she crawled around the corner Racheal shivered when the wind drove through her soaking fur. It’s touch was colder than ice, and sharper than any knife, leaving a throbbing numbness along her back, even her barely existent clothing offered no protection. She crawled forward noting the wind at ground level to be no softer than when she stood. The howl of the wind wrestled for a moment with the roar of another thunderclap for dominance of her ears, with neither fully winning out, the effect being a brutally painful sort of white noise. Racheal lay flat on the ground, paws clutched over her ears, until finally the ringing of the thunder dropped off. She could barely hear the hooves now, clip-clop, clip-clop. Her ears flattened against her head in frustration at the possibility of coming this far only to loose the trail. Racheal scrambled like a mad animal, surging ahead as swiftly as she could manage, doing her best to ignore the ice-razor winds and the stinging swat of the rain upon her back. Her lovely tail, which normally stood proud behind her while she walked was now as limp as an overused dishrag, and dragged through the mud behind her. She was gaining on the horse again, she would catch him. As Racheal lifted her head to view the passage ahead, she noticed how narrow it had become. It was now barely half a body wider than her, for a moment she thought that the passage had come to a dead end. But looking again she saw that it was merely a pile of trash, a large pile, but trash none the less. It was as wide as the alley and seemed to rise forever, almost reaching the second floor windows of the turn of the century style buildings that made this still strangely modern passage. Racheal still crawled forward, cursing the wind under her breath, the feeling of her breasts pressing into the ground growing increasingly uncomfortable. Finally she reached the pile of trash and starting using it to pull herself up. Fortunately it was taller than she was, and so it actually succeeded in breaking the wind slightly. Although the rain still pelted her, from behind now. It took Racheal a minute to realize that this should not be possible, the rain was traveling against the wind to splatter against her body.

Finally she managed to pull herself into an upright position. The ever present hoofbeats called her from the other side of this mountain of refuse. There seemed to be no way around, so Racheal sighed, resigning herself, and started to climb the trash, at least most of the junk seemed to be cardboard boxes or in garbage bags. Carefully she picked her pawholds, making sure to avoid the broken glass and other assorted hazards that protruded through the various bags or occasionally just jutting out of the pile on their own. As she climbed her nose was overcome with the foul scents of wet and rotting food coming from somewhere inside the pile. Still she didn’t question her quest, she had to catch up with this horse, whoever he was. Just then her footpaws slipped on a plastic garbage bag and she felt herself falling. Flailing her arms about she grabbed at the side of Mount Trashmore to catch herself. She felt her claws dig into something unfortunately her grip was too good and her claws to sharp because the garbage bag shredded like wet tissue paper. She plummeted backwards, as the wounded bag seemed to vomit the trash it contained after her. She struck the ground, not nearly as hard as she had expected, by all means it should have hurt like hell. As the rain fell into her eyes forcing her to shut them she heard trash raining all around her, and on top of her. After a moment she recovered from the shock of falling and opened her eyes, warding the rain away with her paw. Spaghetti lay on the edge of her vision, tangled amongst her headfur, as she looked herself over for the trash. A banana peel was spread out like a four armed starfish upon her belly, and somehow a half eaten pickle wedge had managed to slide into her top and was now nestled uncomfortably in her cleavage. Racheal picked the banana peel up with her clawtips, and threw it back at the base of the pile. Then she removed the pickle and dusted her body free of garbage before picking as much of the spaghetti as she could out of her headfur. As Racheal stood up again, nearly being knocked down once again by the wind, she noticed the reason for her soft landing. The bag which had slipped from under her footpaws had dislodge several others on it’s journey down the pile, and she had landed smack in the middle of a couple. Choosing another spot further along the mound Racheal started her ascent again, this time taking care to watch her footing as much as her pawholds.

Finally Racheal managed to surmount this latest obstacle and fighting the horrendous gusts that were once again driving the rain dead against her muzzle slid down the other side, not really caring if she upset the pile this time. As she reached the bottom of the pile she remembered the sharp objects which had made the climb so treacherous. Quickly checking herself over for cuts, or scrapes she was relieved to find that either this side had none, or she had been lucky enough to miss them all.

She could hear the hooves still, they were close. There was another corner ahead, and the sound seemed to be just around it. Leaning into the wind and again turning her head to the side Racheal pushed forward. She fought to get breaths even with her muzzle turned out of the wind as she pressed on, making progress like a snail traveling through hot tar. As Racheal staggered forwards she was once again thrown to the ground by a particularly strong gust. Taking to her belly again she scrambled along towards the next corner. Finally Racheal reached it, turning her body she slithered around it, the corridor was even narrower now, her shoulders almost brushed the wall on each side, and still there was no sign of her mysterious guide, only the faint hoofbeats. Grasping the wall Racheal pulled herself up, the building she grasped seemed ancient in both style and condition. Bracing herself against the wall she was able to remain upright, and pull herself forward by grasping the walls. The corridor continued to draw tighter around her as she struggled forward. Then the hoofbeats stopped!

Racheal looked at the path ahead of her, it yielded nothing, eventually narrowing to a point where she would barely fit through if she turned sideways and flattened her breasts, then there was the obligatory corner. Coming from all around her now was that twisted underwater laughter, and then there was only the rain and shrieking wind. Feeling completely lost Racheal glanced around in panic for some sign of the horse, nothing. Then as Racheal was looking through a window into one of the buildings there was a flash of lightning overhead, and a clear shadow was cast upon the wall inside. There was a figure climbing the stairs, it was wide of shoulder and sturdy of muzzle, but most importantly the silhouette was bushy of tail, a skunk. Then Racheal realized whose outline was painted on the wall by the lightning, It was Bruce. Then the lightning was gone and with it her brother. But Racheal wasn’t going to give up that easily. She was driven now to catch up with her brother, as driven as she had been just a moment before in her pursuit of the horse, whoever he was.

Racheal hauled herself forward by whatever pawhold she could find on the side of the buildings, the door loomed before her just five feet ahead. As she pressed forward Racheal went to take another of the shallow breaths she had been stealing, her muzzle away from the wind, only to find that she couldn’t do it, the wind was too strong for her to breath even this way. In a blind panic she struggled forward, pushing to reach the door, while the terrifying scream of the hurricane winds blasted her ears, making her shiver under her soaking fur, and sluttish clothing. Her ears pounded as she pushed herself forward, making inches of progress as her lungs started to ache from lack of air. The door was no more than a foot away, perhaps she might make it. Then there was a blast of wind so strong that it rocked her back on her heels. She stumbled back, to avoid falling on her tail again. The door seemed to flee before her eyes, as she was driven away by the wind. Finally she managed to grab two windowsills that were exactly opposite each other, this was where she had stood when she had seen her brother’s silhouette inside the building to her right. Anchoring herself between the two windowsills she was able to turn her head sideways and steal another few short breaths. Then breathing as deep as she felt she could Racheal sunk her claws into the wooden building and hauled herself forward more. Inch by inch by inch she gained ground, the door seeming to be right on the edge of what she may reach before the lungful of air she had stolen would expire. She pulled, fighting the wind with every tiny creeping step. She could feel the wood beneath her claws, providing something to keep her from being forced back further by the wind. As she fought onwards she stole one last tiny gasp of breath, having to fight to gain that much, and then she was pressing ahead again. Soon she could barely keep her eyes open from the wind and rain blasting her muzzle directly on. But the door was just beyond her reach, she could practically touch it. She could feel a stabbing pain in her chest as her lungs screamed for air, she only had a few more seconds before she would pass out, she was sure of it. God, the backs of her claws brushed against the edge of the door frame, she just had another two steps. She pulled on the wood, hoping that it would hold against the additional pressure of her using it to pull forward, she forced her one leg to slide forward, raising her footpaws again would be disastrous. After sliding forward another couple of inches with her one foot Racheal moved the other one, watching as the door drew closer. She could see the old fashioned handle just beyond her reach, taunting her, she could practically grasp it. Racheal began to feel lightheaded, as the lack of oxygen started affecting her brain. Throwing herself forward against the wind Racheal flailed her arms wildly, hoping that she might find the door handle. Racheal felt the wind starting to push her back again, she got the sensation of freefalling, as though she had jumped off the side of a tall building. Then suddenly there was a jarring stop, for an instant she thought that she had fallen to the ground again but then on the edge of her consciousness she became aware that her paw was wrapped around something hard and cold. She forced her eyes to focus through the rain, through the oxygen deprived darkness, it was the handle, she had it seized in her right paw. She pushed on the door and felt it give throwing her upon her chest in the doorway. Racheal gasped like a beached trout, now that she was out of the wind storm outside she created a wind of her own sucking down air greedily. After who knows how long the throbbing in her chest faded into the background and her pulse slowed to normal as it retreated from her head, until she couldn’t feel it anymore unless she concentrated. She lifted herself to her feet, finding it much less cold now that she was out of the storm.

As she went to brush herself off she realized a second reason for this, her clothing had somehow changed itself again. The micro skirt and leather halter were now replaced by a matched royal blue sweat suit. As loose fitting and baggy as her previous garb had been tight and revealing. Racheal started walking towards the staircase, she had seen her brother’s shadow going upstairs. He had to be up there somewhere. As she walked she looked around the room, this had once been some kind of foyer, with three doors into other rooms and the staircase stretching up to the walkway above. The floorboards were covered in dust, much like everything else, and cobwebs filled the upper corners of the room. Suddenly a loud crash from behind her made Racheal spin around in terror. The door had been pulled shut again by the vacuum affect caused by the storm that still raged on, rain pattering against the windows. Relieved at the harmless source of the noise Racheal turned back towards the stairs. She could hear the wind wailing as it pounded against the walls. It sounded like some poor soul trapped in eternal torment wailing in freakish misery, praying for release from the unholy hand which grasped it.

Racheal tiptoed up the staircase watching the landing for some sign of where her brother had gone. Unfortunately it was too dark up there for her to see much. As she lowered her paw onto the forth from top step the whole room echoed with a tremendous groan. A shiver passed down Racheal’s spine, although this time not from the cold. She felt a deep trepidation as she prepared to surmount the last few steps of this staircase. It was just the atmosphere she assured herself, that was all, it was dark up there and this was having the natural effect on her. She swallowed her fear and forced herself to climb the last few steps. As she reached the landing one of the doors ahead of her closed. That must be where Bruce had gone, she reasoned. strangely though it didn’t seem possible that anyone had been down this hallway in quite some time as an abandoned spiderweb hung undisturbed across the hall, blocking her path.

Racheal swept her arm into the web, tearing through a portion. Then pulling the sleeve of her sweat shirt over that arm she swept enough of the web away that she could follow her brother’s path down the hallway. Equally strange as the web, there were no paw prints in the dust, save those that Racheal was leaving behind her. She cautiously made her way along the landing towards the door that Bruce had entered. It all seemed like something out of an old horror movie, The rain pounding against the windowpanes, and the shrieking of the wind among the rafters. The floorboards creaking under her footpaws, and the faint light which seemed to be coming from nowhere and everywhere at once, with no reason to be coming from either. This light cast eerie shadows everywhere, shadows which could be hiding anything.

Finally Racheal reached the door she wanted, As she reached for the doorknob it swung open of it’s own accord, the hinges creaking loudly, causing the fur on the back of Racheal’s neck to stand at attention. Stepping into the room Racheal looked around. It appeared to be some sort of bedroom, against the one wall stood a four post bed with a tattered canopy hanging over it. The sheets had yellowed from age, and, like every thing else in this house, where covered with about an inch thick coating of dust. A vanity of what appeared to be oak lay against the wall with a heavy yellowed sheet over the mirror. Resting next to it was a chair with a thick velvet seat, likely a crimson some years ago, now faded badly with age.

Racheal felt the mirror drawing her towards it, almost magical in it’s attraction. She grasped the sheet in her paw and tugged it away. This action kicked up a cloud of dust that blew into her muzzle. It tickled her nose, causing her to sneeze, after a minute of such a fit she finally managed to clear the dust from her nose. Sniffing to make sure she had go it all, she looked into the mirror, just in time to see a thick white and black striped tail disappear out the door. This was getting stranger, before Racheal had thought that maybe Bruce was looking for her, and didn’t know that she was behind him. But if he had been hiding somewhere in this room, he had to have seen her come in. But where could he have been hiding, the only features in this room where the bed, the vanity and, the wardrobe! That must have been it, but still why was he avoiding her. Racheal decided to ask him all these questions when she caught up with him, and why he had left when he saw her and the horse together? She dashed to the door, pushing all her fears to the back of her mind.

When she finally reached the hallway again there was again no sign of Bruce, but his trail was fairly clear at least. The stairs that led up to what was presumably the attic were drawn down. A cold wind raced through the hallway from the attic as Racheal approached the stairway. Even through the heavy sweat suit it chilled her. It felt like some hand of pure ice was drawing it’s ghostly fingers along her bones. Despite her best effort she shuddered. “It’s just the cold.” She reasoned, not truly convincing herself. “What else would it be?” Swallowing her resurgent fears Racheal stepped onto the first step of the staircase. The hairs along her spine raised themselves as her footpaw made contact. “This is ridiculous.” she admonished herself, “It’s just a house, there is nothing to be afraid of.” Steeling herself she stepped up to the next step, and then the next, by the time she got up to the top step, her heart was beating a mile a minute in her throat. She looked around, no sign of her brother, but if he was trying to avoid her, for what reason she couldn’t even hazard a guess. There were just so many things for him to be hiding behind. It would take a month for a person to find anything up here. Still something the size of a furry couldn’t be that hard to find. She started towards the one corner, hearing the boards groan under her footpaws. Drops of water fell here and there where the roof wasn’t quite sealed properly.

Then from beneath her paws came a loud cracking sound followed by the sensation of freefall. Everything in the room flew upwards out of her sight, as she fell. Just as she realized she was falling she hit the ground, the impact drawing all the breath from her lungs. She just lay there for a while gasping for air, which her aching lungs rejected as soon as she breathed it in. She saw a dark form lean over the hole in the ceiling, Bruce. He had seen her fall, knowing him he would probably have her taken to the doctor on the spot, paranoid that she had broken something. Although from that fall Racheal had to admit that it was a distinct possibility. Somehow the image of her brother looking over her, comforted her and calmed her lungs enough that they began accepting the air she offered them more readily. Then her brother’s muzzle opened and he began to speak, “Goodbye Racheal.” he uttered darkly, and then as suddenly as he had appeared his muzzle was gone.

Goodbye? What did he mean Goodbye, he wasn’t just going to leave her here. He couldn’t. Bruce was more overprotective than any one she had ever met, furry or human. He couldn’t just leave her here, still something in his voice seemed to indicate that he had been serious. She would have to find her own way out, and catch up with him before he got out of the house. She groaned in pain as she sat up and got herself vertical. Looking around she first searched for a door. There was nothing in this room, literally nothing. No doors, no furniture, just a barren room and in the direct middle of the ceiling some 15 or better feet overhead was the hole through which she had entered. With no doors her only way out was the hole, but there was nothing in the room for her to stand on, or even pile up to reach the hole. There was no way that she was going to get out of this room without help, and both her horse and her brother had abandoned her, and left her here lost and alone. Unable to stop herself Racheal dropped to her knees and cried. Burying her muzzle in her paws she felt the tears running down between her fingers. And when she awoke, she found her pillow damp from a combination of her tears and sweat. Somehow the loneliness, and fear she felt in her dream carried over to her waking hours and the tears resumed.

Duke’s Dream: Part Two

My body was acting on it’s own as it turned the taps to a trickle so as not to make any noise. I had all but given up on avoiding this. I couldn’t change history. All I could do was keep reliving it, over and over, year after year. So I just tried to numb myself, maybe lull my adult mind into a sort of coma, and cut myself off from this dream. What ever happened to the idea that once you realize you’re in a dream, you either wake up or can control the dream?

Still, no matter what I tried I couldn’t force my child body to close it’s eyes, nor prevent myself from being tortured by the events about to occur. Finally my other mind decided my paws were clean enough and turned around to dry them on a towel. Now all we had to do was go back upstairs and go back to sleep. If only it would be that easy.

We walked out through mom and dad’s bedroom right up to the bedroom door. Then we slowed to a creep, moving cautiously down the hallway, towards the foot of the stairs. Just as we were getting close, the doorbell rung, practically scaring my child mind to death. Unfortunately it had a similar effect on me even though I knew it was coming, because we shared the same heart and it was beating a mile a minute. “Don’t worry about getting caught!” I screamed, “Just run upstairs to your room, go back to bed.” But of course my body paid me no heed, and ducked back, flattening itself against the side of the staircase. We heard Uncle Sean walk up to the door an open it.

“Good evening officer.” Uncle Sean greeted, surprised.

“Good evening, are you Sean Forbes?” A man’s voice asked. My child mind decided to venture a peek. And so we moved down further to see.

“Yes, I am.” Uncle Sean replied as we moved.

“And you are the brother of Nathaniel Forbes?” By this point we had moved far enough along the stairs that we could poke our muzzle over the top of the stairs and see what was going on. Uncle Sean stood by the door, speaking to a cop. Nothing we hadn’t figured out on our own, except that the cop was human, of course.

“Yes, why? What’s happened to him?” Uncle Sean was obviously getting worried.

“I’m afraid he’s been in an accident.”

“Is he all right?”

“I’m afraid not sir, when he arrived at the hospital there was nothing they could do, I’m sorry.”

A scream erupted from my tiny throat, for the first time both minds thinking alike. “No!”

I bolted straight upright in bed, panting from the heat, and trembling uncontrollably. Now that I was awake, I felt the opposite of my dream. That I was a child trapped in an adult’s body, being forced to live the life of an adult. Having had to have spent the last nine years, being not only a brother to Racheal, but brother, mother and father. Sometimes I wondered, whether having to fill all these roles didn’t hamper my forging my own identity. So much of my life was eaten up by taking on the parental responsabilities, whenever Racheal went out on a date I could hardly keep from going insane worrying that she was alright. It was my responsability to approve of all her boyfriends. She hated that, she always said that she was old enough and mature enough to decide on her own dates, and maybe she was. On the other paw, maybe she wasn’t, if she could make a reasonable estimation of a male then she never would have had that disasterous relationship with Neil Towner. Not to mention any of the other dozen or so short term relationships that she had been in over the last four years. Out of those 4 of which I had voiced my disapproval of. First there was Kenneth, a badger with a foul temper. Just before Neil had been Jesse who she dumped after she found out he was a crack dealer. One who left her the minute something better came along, two who didn’t appreciate her, and at least 3 that simply didn’t work out. On the good side their had been Ulric, who made up for Neil as far as wolves were concerned. It was a shame that he had to move back to his family’s home in Iceland.

Sometimes I wondered if I was strong enough to bear the weight of the responsability. If I was qualified to watch over her. Unfortunately I was the only applicant for the job. I was her only family and it was my responsibility to look after her. Whether she resented my protection or not.