The Oracle Paths

Chapter 8 Encounter

market? In the end, the cat chose for him. As soon as he headed for the front door, Crunch followed him like a faithful dog.

After all, it was originally a stray cat. The street was his previous home.

He wished for how to finish his shopping in the shortest time and Prediction quickly gave a result. A fetch of himself appeared, guiding him efficiently. Coaching gave him a quick report of the expected risks and rewards, and thankfully everything was fine. That should be an easy matter.

It was supposed to be.

Jake hurtled down the stairway leading to the street level. He lived on the fourth floor. A bulletproof glazed door prevented access to the inside of the building for the non-residents. He just realized that the cat also somehow had to pass the entrance before climbing the stairs to his front door. He wouldnt even be surprised if the cat had used the elevator.

Although the temperature was near 40 degrees Celsius, the sky was blue, with no clouds on the horizon. The supermarket was a bit less of 10 minutes away on foot, so he took the decision to walk. The Shadow Guide that was waving to a cab immediately adjusted to Jake change of mind.

Not even three minutes after leaving his apartment block, Jake became painfully aware of how empty were the streets. The alien ship terrified people early in the morning and now most of them took a day off like him, opting for staying with their close ones.

He just realized how weird he was.

He should have been worried about all this alien bullshit, but here he was, feeling almost too happy for his own good. Obviously, he could feel something was wrong with these Oracle devices, but what was not fucked up these days?

Global warming, nuclear winter, lost his parents when he was a baby, take your pick.

Anyway! Jake strutted alone in the street and he liked it. In a way, he experienced a kind of freedom and peace that he rarely enjoyed. It would not last forever.

In the end, his purchasing took him the rest of the morning and most part of his afternoon. The grocery store was practically empty, only one female cashier holding down the supermarket.

Jake bought many things, not only the cat essentials. Litter, cat kibble, scratcher, claw clippers, he got them all. He also bought some beef meat for the first time in a year. He had probably forgotten the taste of a good flank steak by now.

No vegan campaign in the early 22nd century. Everyone was vegan by default. Considering the meat price, the cattle lived in better condition than him. Well, at least he was alive, while this beef steak would finish in his stomach, before being pooped to oblivion.

However, it didnt mean humans were not the livestock of some other species. Survival of the fittest. Alien ships, remember? His paranoid side was manifesting again. It was time to go home.

The sun was still high in the sky when he walked back. As nobody cared, he just left the store with a shopping cart, intending to bring it back the next day. A lazy man always knew how to save himself.

When he was halfway from home, something happened.

”Hiiiiisssss ”, ”MEOOWWW ”

Typical cat fights. He heard them hissing and spitting at each other from the back alley on his right. It was quite dark there and it contrasted with the bright sidewalk illuminated by sunrays he was walking on.

This good Crunch should have been one of these proud cats fucking around undefeated, as despite his short legs, he was surprisingly exempt from scars. Most stray cats had some tears on their ears or small scars on the nose.

He immediately understood how wrong he was. Crunch was shaking behind his leg, his straightened up hair and arched back showing he was on flight or fight mode. It didnt quite fit his previous placid temper.

Suddenly, there were scratching and biting noises, followed by a sharp cat shriek. Another cat yelped, there were some muffled noises closing to them. A few seconds later, a horrifying sight froze his blood.

One Siamese alley cat came out of the darkness covered in blood. It was crawling, missing both of its hind legs and an eye. It didnt make even one meter outside the dark alley, before falling dead on the ground a few meters in front of him.

Then something even worse happened. The dead cat was dragged back inside and devoured, letting both him and his new cat partner frozen under the summer sun. And what was the monster that did this?

A mouse. Just a little mouse.

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