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They had been driving for some hours, and their escape was starting to seem easy, even if they couldn’t agree on a radio station.  Caitlyn, for her part, wanted a nice simple “mix” station, something light, something to divert her from her troubles.  But the back window of the truck was open, and Kim-na kept shouting from under her tarp that she wanted to hear “good music,” and it took Caitlyn some time to realize that “good” to Kim-na meant “gangsta’ rap” to everybody else.  Add to that that Kim-na wanted her to crank up the volume to the point where Caitlyn’s eardrums felt like they’d explode, and they ended up compromising on a Motown “oldies” station until they were too far away to hear it, and then, to Caitlyn’s chagrin, Kim-na won, and she found herself driving the next hour with gritted teeth to pounding rap music.

When they’d crossed the Virginia state line and were passing Woodbridge and were just starting to finally feel free and safe, the lights flashed and the siren blared and their rustbucket of a truck was hauled to the side of the road.  The State Trooper had glared at Caitlyn sweetly as he walked up, thinking he’d just be giving a cute girl a ticket for a noise violation — it was a shame her tastes in music were so awful, especially given how bad his dating luck had been lately — and then he saw her sporting a stolen motel towel instead of pants, and then he saw the tarp move, and in a moment, Caitlyn and Kim-na were both whisked out of the truck and handcuffed.  This business with the horse girl in the back was unsafe, it was weird, it was fishy, it probably violated some kind of law or two, and when Caitlyn had the sorry misfortune to lose her composure for a moment and suddenly sprout extra legs herself, well, that was all the excuse he’d needed.  Freaks.  Toss ’em in the clink and let a judge sort it out.  They had to be guilty of something.  Besides, that ancient truck couldn’t have been safe even if they were both human and normal.  It probably hadn’t even been retrofitted — how many cars still ran on gasoline these days?

So away they went.  They were photographed, and fingerprinted, and at about a quarter to three in the afternoon, their cell door slammed shut.

This was a large cell, probably once designed for holding dozens of criminals, but this cell was properly “separate but equal” — for Changed female arrestees only.  In the corner, a sullen-looking blond mermaid sat on a bench with her tail wrapped in a wet towel, her green fin sweeping the floor like a slow broom.  The absurd makeup, skimpy dress, and excessive jewelry all screamed “exotic call girl.”  There was a black-haired, black-tailed naga wearing a black leather jacket, coiled  up in another corner, and everyone else was obviously avoiding her.  Nearby, there was a gigantic creature that neither of them could identify that looked nothing so much as an eight-foot-tall round layer cake made of dripping brown mud, and when they entered the cell, eyes opened in the side of one of its layers to watch them.  There were two girls sitting on another bench, and their pupils told a story of an ambitious night of M pills.  Well, their pupils did, but the random body parts that seemed to be growing out of the sides of their torsos and heads told it better.  They were lucky:  After a few trips, most M abusers weren’t even recognizable as once having been human — if they were still alive at all.  There was a circle of trees still standing in Central Park that had once been a love-in of M users before its dangers had been well understood, and once a year the anti-M crusaders descended on the spot to hold a rally.

Add a few more random furries, a pair of satyrs, a sphinx, and a strange thing that looked like a walking hat rack with a blond wig and a purse, and the large cell was actually quite full.

“Well, now what?” said Kim-na, brushing away somebody’s cat tail.

Caitlyn shrugged.  “I don’t know.  At least we’re safe in here from whoever’s chasing me.”

Kim-na looked at the motley assortment of creatures surrounding them.  “Yeah, just what a ghetto girl needs, a nice, safe, crowded prison.”

“Well...  we each get a phone call,” said Caitlyn.  “I’ll call my sister.  She’s not that far away.  Maybe she’ll help.”

The mud cake glared at her.

“Sooner’d be better’n later,” said Kim-na.

They called for the guard, who was a big, clean-cut, burly but friendly-looking African-American man in his early twenties, and Caitlyn requested her phone call.  The guard was skeptical but sympathetic, and ushered Caitlyn out to the pay phone.

Her sister...  Caitlyn choked for a moment.  Ellen had been nice the last time she’d called, but, well, this time she was calling from jail.  And asking for bail.


“Hi...  El...”

“Caitlyn?  Is that you?”

“I...  um...  yeah.”

“Where are you?  Are you on your way yet?  Can we expect you for dinner?”

“I...  El...”

“Cait?  What’s the matter?”

“I...  I’m in jail.”

The other end of the line was silent.

“The Virginia State Police arrested us for unsafe driving.  El...  I have nowhere else to turn.  We’re only about ten miles from you, I think.  They want five hundred.  For bail.  The court does, I mean.  Can...  can you bail us out?”


“My friend Kim is here too.”

The line was silent again for a few heartbeats that seemed like a few years.

“Alright.  I’ll...  talk with Jeremy.  We’ll come up with the money.  Sit tight, Cait.  Your little sister’s coming to the rescue.”

The phone went click, and dissolved into silence and then a dial-tone.  Ellen hadn’t sounded terribly happy at the end of the conversation, but, well, she was on her way.  Hopefully.  Caitlyn hung up the phone and nodded to the guard, and he escorted her back to the cell.

They waited.
*   *   *

Three hours later, the guard rapped on the door of the cell.  “Caitlyn Camberley and Kim-na Yu?”

“Yo, ain’t no ‘-na’ in my name, nigs,” grumbled Kim-na irritably.

The guard glared at her just as irritably for a moment, shook his head, and turned to Caitlyn.  “Anyway, you’re both outta here,” he said.  “You’re being remanded to the custody of Ellen Stockwell.  The rest of you step aside and let ’em out.”

The door swung open and Caitlyn and Kim-na paced through under the gaze of both guard and camera.  The door swung shut with a loud metallic clang, and the women inside began hooting and hollering at them, and a few began to claw through the bars — some with actual claws.  “See ya, baby!”  “Uh huh, you go, beeyotch!”  “Bring back some sugar, sugs!”  “Woo!”  “Y’all come back now, y’hear?”  The catcalls dissolved into derisive laughter.

The guard led them out to the main part of the station where there were several desks and a handful of people hard at work at them.  A young woman was bent over one of the desks, signing papers.  She stood upright as they entered, and locked eyes with Caitlyn for a moment.

Ellen was short, perhaps not more than five feet tall, not including an inch or two from her high heels, and her black hair was smartly coiffed in a style that only a lot of money could explain.  With the black skirt and the white blouse and the black vest and the tie, she was every inch the executive Caitlyn knew she’d always wanted to be.  Even if there weren’t very many inches.

“Alright, Mrs. Stockwell, they’re all yours.”

“Of course,” she said, nodding.

“Thank you,” said Caitlyn, her eyes glued to the floor.

“I struck a deal with the judge,” said Ellen.  “I said you were being stalked, and you needed a little lenience.  You’re getting off with a warning.”

“What about our truck?” said Kim-na.

Ellen shook her head.  “It’s staying.  My mechanic said it’d cost more to make it road-safe than it was worth, so it’s a cube of scrap metal now.  If you want, I’ll cut you a check for a hundred bucks for it.”

“Nevermind,” said Kim-na.  “The guy probably didn’t expect to get it back anyway.”

She paused.

“On second thought, make that out to Yu Kim, that’s ‘Y’ as in my big yellow —”

Caitlyn smiled at her sister and thumped Kim-na on the head with a fist.  “Come on, let’s go home.”
*   *   *

The ride home was uneventful and quiet.  Caitlyn and Kim-na lay in the big empty back of the van, and Ellen sat up front in the driver’s seat.  The radio was off, and no-one spoke, leaving them only road noise for company.  Caitlyn wondered where her sister had learned to drive a stick-shift.

They rolled into a driveway in a nice neighborhood of expensive two-story colonials a few miles outside of Woodbridge and came to a stop.  Ellen unbuckled and got out, and opened the back doors of the van for the two centaurs.  Caitlyn clambered out, and Kim-na followed her.

“Well, let’s have a look at you,” said Ellen, holding her sister’s shoulders.  She took several steps back and shook her head.  “My God, what have they done to you?”

“It’s been a long couple of days,” said Caitlyn, trying to straighten her ruined mud-and-grime-stained blouse.

Ellen walked closer and gave her sister a large hug.  “Don’t worry; it’ll be alright.  We’ll make it alright.”

“You two must be hungry,” she added, turning up the front walk.  “I’ll get Jeremy to make some sandwiches.  Come on inside, and we’ll get you cleaned up, and you can tell me all about what happened.”

They went into the house, and Ellen led them down one hallway and down another and into the kitchen.  A man was sitting at the table, reading the newspaper, and another man sat beside him sipping a cup of coffee.  Both were clean-shaven and well-dressed in dark polo shirts and slacks.  The room smelled faintly of nutmeg and cinnamon.

“This is my husband Jeremy,” said Ellen, waving her hand at the man with the newspaper as she walked past.  “Cait, I think you remember him,” she added.

“Yes, a little,” said Caitlyn.  “We’ve only met once.”

But the tall, thin man at the table was standing and smiling, and shaking her hand.  “Welcome, welcome,” he said.  “Why don’t you two have a seat?”  He waved his other hand at the extra chairs at the table.

“Yo, centaurs,” said Kim-na, still irritable and grumpy.

“Of course, of course, yes, that would be impractical then, wouldn’t it?”

Caitlyn remembered him from the wedding, the first and only time she’d seen him before.  He had seemed a bit more taciturn then, a fitting match for the Ellen she’d remembered, but here he was, grinning and shaking their hands, his gaunt face grinning from ear to ear like he was shaking hands with the President.

“Coffee?  Tea?  Orange juice?” asked Ellen, standing at the refrigerator.

“Just water,” said Caitlyn.

“You got beer?” asked Kim-na.

“Draught, ale, or lager?” said Ellen.  “Jeremy’s fond of microbrews, aren’t you, dear?”

“Don’t matter,” said Kim-na.  “I had a shitty day.  I’ll take any booze ya got.”

“So now tell us all about your adventures,” said Ellen, coming back with a glass of ice-water and an open beer bottle.  “You were actually chased through Central Park?”

Caitlyn took the glass and nodded.  “Big guys, with dark sunglasses, and guns, and these weird dog-wolf-things.”  She sipped the glass; it was incredibly refreshing, like she hadn’t drank anything in years.  “My day was going fi — well, actually, I’ve been having a lousy month, honestly.  My apartment got broken into, my purse got stolen, I got — I got dumped, and, man!  Then Central Park, and her weird uncle, and the sewers, and that awful motel, and jail — I don’t know what the hell’s going on, but my life went from normal to crazy in only a day or two.”

“That sounds awful,” said Ellen, sitting down at one of the kitchen chairs and crossing her legs neatly.  She sipped at a cup of coffee.  “Well, things will get better.  I’m sure of that.”

“I don’t know,” said Caitlyn.  “I don’t even know who these guys are.  I think — I think they’re after me because of Daddy, though.  He — ”  She shook her head.  “He — I think — I think he had something to do with the Change, Ellen.  I don’t — know what — but — ”

“Cait?  Are you okay?” asked Ellen, setting down her cup of coffee.

“I — I don’t know.  That jail — cell — ”

The last thing Caitlyn remembered was the room spinning and then her head striking the floor, and Ellen and the two men leaping out of their chairs and rushing over to her.
Caity's World, Part 17. Part 16 can be found here, part 18 can be found here, and the introduction and author's notes can be found here.


I want to apologize for Kim-na's speech: She uses several words here that are highly inappropriate in any context, words that I personally would never be caught dead speaking, but she has a considerably different background than I do, one where those words are still somewhat inappropriate but where they're more commonly heard. Writing Kim-na's speech is one of the more difficult parts of writing this story, since she's urban ghetto and I'm suburban pale-white, the sort of person she'd probably dislike immediately. That said, I think Kim-na's behavior or speech should never be copied by anyone. Ever.

That said, I'm not going to mark this as mature content, because I know some of the readers of this story are under 18, and I don't want to deny them a piece of the story based on an arbitrary age boundary.


Anyway, so there you have it: They've made it safely to Virginia, finally, despite a ton of obstacles. Except... What just happened to Caitlyn!? Caitlyn!? Oh no!

...and you can find out next week in Part 18 ;)


As always, whether you loved it or hated it, please comment! Comments keep me going on this.
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minecraftbob Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
dont sweat it, bout kimna's speach. when u gotta charachter, u gotta make it real, or no one will buy that the charachter is authentic. love the story so far.
Catgoyle Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2010
I smell... DRUGS!!!
Kramnhojpapermario Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2009
not bland at all
Calyptra Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Quit apologising about Kim already!
She's an interesting character and we understand she's a CHARACTER!

Now, onwards ho!
(No pun intended XD)
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm not so much apologizing for Kim as apologizing for the fact that nowhere has the story been marked as "mature" and hidden from young innocent eyes, despite some of the more, er, interesting things that happen in it and the somewhat colorful phrases some people say. But I think that's justified: You'll hear far worse on the evening news and see far worse on MTV, so why should I force younger readers to lie about their age just to read successive chapters of it? I don't think that's reasonable, so I've left these marked "all audiences," and I stand by my decision.
Calyptra Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I stand by it too :B
worry not!

and yes, there is MUCH worse stuff on TV these days. Besides I love how Kim is such a multifaceted character. I get so annoyed with flat evil or goody-two-shoes types! Urgh!
wynnesome Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2009  Professional Photographer

I don't think they were in Kansas to begin with.

But nice touch.
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heh... y'know, I didn't notice that phrase matching up with a certain Midwestern lady when I first wrote it. So, uh, just ignore all Oz references from here on out; there shouldn't be any, but who knows what other weirdness my subconscious may have injected in the story without me realizing it?
wynnesome Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2009  Professional Photographer
Haha. I think it works out ok, considering the merging of real and fantasy worlds in the story! Now you have to get a fan group looking for all the "hidden" parallels, listening to "Dark Side of the Moon" in sync with the Wizard of Oz movie WHILE reading your story! :P

I really enjoyed the story though, read all the way through from your DD chapter to the end!
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heh, I wonder whether that would produce anything if you did it? I guess I'll have to someday borrow my friend's copy of "Dark Side of the Moon" and see whether anything interesting happens :)

I'm glad you liked it, though! It was no small feat to write the whole thing, and it's gratifying to see people now enjoying it :)
wynnesome Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2009  Professional Photographer
I think it's fully something to be proud of, to think out and plot the whole story and get it all written. I really did enjoy the read!
Uncle-Ben Featured By Owner May 11, 2009
She drugged her! She's in cahoots!

She's a witch! No, wait ... that one's not right ...
Manjaro-Wolf Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2008  Student General Artist
still good :D
AuthorNobilis Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2008
Well done. Looking forward to part 18.
dawntheif Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2008

your actually updating fast!
aurisano Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008
Yeah, there was definitely only one man introduced... Ellen's behavior at the end was very suspicious - the neatly crossing her legs... that's not the behavior of someone who just heard such an outrageous story, and her husband was way too happy for something not to be up. It's bad times when you can't even trust a glass of water from you sister. I'm betting that the drinks were spiked since you mentioned that the beer was open.

I'm looking forward to hearing more info about these M pills - those are a nice touch.
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You'll get a lot more about the history of M in part... uh... 20 or 21. And there's a very important little bit about it after that part, too, but I haven't written that into the story yet so I can't tell you offhand what part that'll be in.
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008
Well, it's moving right along. Keeps me guessing, and wondering what will happen next.
Rogue7 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008
Poor Caitlyn definitely in need of a :hug:

The question is, has the adrenalin finally run out, or did loving sis' spike her water? I hope it's the former...

I did notice that the other man wasn't introduced... hope he's not in with the MiB...
GGCrono Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008
You really don't need to apologize. Some people are just potty mouths, and that includes fictional ones. :D
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She's a hard character to write for me, too; I'm originally from the rural Midwest, so I'm far more likely to say stuff like "Howdy, folks" and "Where y'all goin'?" than I am to ever say stuff like "Yo, foshizzle!" Putting words in her mouth is a constant struggle, but hopefully she's coming across as believable.
GGCrono Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008
Oh, definitely believable. :)

I'm writing a character with a similar attribute, and more than once I've had to backtrack and add an extra "fuck" or two.
DeadlyVampireUnicorn Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008
YAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! you got it up!!! YESH!!! as usual, it wasfreaking awesome, and U BETTER HASVE THE NEXT CHAPTER BY TUESDAY!!!!!!!
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The next chapter's already written, so it'll be posted on time. I could post it right now, even...

...but it's more fun to make you all wait ;) ;P :D
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