Chapter 32: Escapee
"Run!" cried Greg. No one seemed to hear him. No one seemed to car. He ran anyway. He kept running. He couldnít stop. It was behind him. He wasnít quite sure what "it" was, but "it" was there all the same. Fear was his only thought. He really didnít need this. He leapt over the chasm and landed on the other side. But he missed. He began to fallÖ
Greg woke with a start, sweating so much that his fur was damp. He looked about. His clock loudly declared that it was time to wake up anyway. Greg pulled himself from the bed and shook his head. What a miserable way to wake up. Greg walked down the stairs to see that no one else was awake, or had any intentions of waking up anytime soon. He went to the kitchen and poured himself some cereal.
"Greg?" asked Angie.
"Oh," said Greg. "Good morning. Did you sleep well?"
"NoÖ" said Angie. "You kept screaming during the night. Tammy got scared and came and slept with me."
"I did what?" asked Greg. "That doesnít sound rightÖ"
"Well it is," yawned Angie. "Whatís wrong?"
"I donít know," said Greg. "Iíll make an appointment to see the doctor."
"You might be interested to know that you kept ME up all night," said Julie, walking into the kitchen.
"Youíre an insomniac anyway," said Greg. "Thatís not my fault."
"But what is your fault is the three alarm clocks in your spare room," said Julie.
"Thatís so they can get up at whatever time they want," said Greg.
"But the fact that you have them spaced out at half hour intervals throughout the night is just a tad bit sadistic," said Julie.
"That must have been Geno," said Greg. "He was the last one to use it."
"You donít have very many people over, do you?" asked Angie.
"Apparently not," said Greg. "Though I suspect that Iíll be having a few more over in a bit..." Greg clapped a paw over his muzzle and shook his head.
"What?" asked Angie.
""Nothing," said Greg. "Anyway, whoís up for a walk?"
"Greg, itís the middle of winter," said Angie. "Itís way to cold for a walk."
"How about a movie then?" asked Greg.
"Iíd like to go for a walk," said Tammy.
"See? Itís never to cold to go out," said Greg.
"How about breakfast first?" asked Angie.
"Where ever did you learn to cook?" asked Julie. "Mom certainly never taught you. She wouldnít even tell me her secret recipe for thanksgiving stuffing."
"Itís in her will," said Greg. "Apparently itís a national secret."
"Mr. Greg," said Tammy, "may I have another waffle?" Greg dropped another waffle on her plate. Tammy immediately emptied the remaining syrup onto it, congealing the waffle to the plate.
"Anyone else?" asked Greg.
"Iíll lose my girlish figure if I take another," said Julie.
"Thatís a girlish figure?" said Greg. Julie punched Greg in the arm and glared at him. Greg rubbed his arm.
"You hit surprisingly hard," said Greg.
"Its called boxing lessons," said Julie.
"Ah, my sister the street fighter," said Greg. "Donít you ever do anything constructive?"
"Define constructive, doofus."
"Doofus?" asked Greg. Julie rolled her eyes got up to wash off her plate. Greg rubbed his muzzle. "I kind of like that. Good name. Hmm."
"Hello, Dr. Kitís office," said a chipper voice across the phone lines.
"Hello, this is Greg Procyon. I need to make an appointment."
"Certainly," said the mouse, typing away. "What time is good? We have an opening for next week on the 14th."
"Thatíll be fine," said Greg. He gave them the information and hung up the phone. The mouse turned around and looked at the name.
"Yo, Doug!" yelled the mouse. A fox poked his head out of an office and looked at her.
"Pencil in a 3:30 on the 14th for a Greg Procyon," she yelled down the hall. The fox sighed.
"Angel, youíre my secretary," said Dr. Fox. "Thatís your job, remember?" The mouse shook her head, wrote the message on a Post-It note, and stuck it to the inside of the date book, knocking three others out of the book in the process. She then tossed the book over her shoulder and sifted through the mail. She looked over the pile of mail and picked out the ones that came from private addresses. She carefully worked open the seals and glanced inside. More resumes. She put them through the shredder and continued with her game of solitaire.
"Why do you keep her on staff?" asked the minx sitting across from Dr. Kit.
"Because, Laura..." began Dr. Kit. He stopped, thought for a minute, and shook his head. "You know Iím not really sure."
"She really is a bad secretary," said Laura. "Really, how many appointments has she lost this year? 15?"
"Well, maybe she is a bad secretary, but I keep posting job notices, and I never get any applicants.
"Ever think she may just no be giving them to you?" asked Laura.
"Of course not," said Dr. Kit. "Sheís a good secretary, she wouldnít do that."
"Right," said Laura. "And sheís also up for sainthood."
"Is that sarcasm?" asked Dr. Kit. "I never can tell with you."
"Tammy, Julie, and I are going out to the mall," said Angie. "Weíre off to spend copious amounts of money on this cute kid of yours."
"Thanks," said Greg. "Stay out of the lingerie store, Julie."
"Oh, me?" she said innocently. "Iíd never do anything like that."
"Right," said Greg, checking his watch. They left in Angieís car, leaving Greg to his devices. He shook his hand and took off his watch. It had stopped running again.
"Youíd think that a Swiss watch would actually run," he said to no one in particular. He took it off and pitched it into the in box on his desk. Greg sat down and began punching keys on his computer. His email popped up and it noted that he had 5 Spam messages, a letter of praise, and an unknown address. He opened the unknown address first.
I know itís been a long time, but I really need to talk to you. I donít know what youíre involved with anymore, but I need your help. I canít explain here, but I need you to call me immediately. (740) 555-1654
Greg was immediately on the phone.
"Hello?" asked a small voice on the other end.
"Hello, Sam," said Greg. "Whatís wrong?"
"Ah, good afternoon, Mr. Procyon," said Dr. Kit. "Please have a seat." Greg sat down and looked at the fox. He wore glasses and his orange fur was so dark, it was almost red. He obviously took very good care of it.
"What seems to be bothering you?" asked the fox.
"Well, apparently, Iíve been screaming in my sleep," said Greg.
"You donít know this for sure?" asked the fox.
"Well, Iíve never slept with anyone in my house before to notice it," said Greg.
"I see," said Dr Kit, scribbling something down. "So youíre not married." Greg started to explain, but decided against it.
"Iím a widower, actually," said Greg.
"Ah, my regrets," said Dr. Kit. "Did you ever seek counseling after her death?"
"Yes, briefly," said Greg. "It didnít seem to help very much."
"Well, these things take time," said Dr Kit. "But you know that."
"I suppose I do," said Greg. "But thatís not why Iím here. I need to find out whatís causing these nightmares."
"Well, have a seat." Greg sat down on the couch across from the doctor. Dr Kit looked Greg in the eyes and backed away slightly. "Your eyes are very frightening," said Dr Kit. "Have they always been black?"
"What?" asked Greg. "My eyes are grey."
"Iím afraid they are not," said Dr. Kit. He pulled a mirror from his desk and handed it to Greg. He looked into the mirror and saw a pair black glowing eyes staring back at him.
"Iím sure thatís not normal," said Greg. "Thatís never happened befo..." He stopped in mid thought and the fur on the back of his neck stood on end. His pager chimed. Greg took one look at it and sprang for the door.
"Mr. Procyon?" asked Dr. Kit.
"I have to go Doctor," said Greg. "Something is wrong with Samantha."
"Whoís Samantha?" asked Dr Kit.
"No time to explain," said Greg running out of the office. He charged out past the secretary and burst through the door into the street. He took a minute to get his bearings and started running west.
"I hope I can make it time," he said, breaking into a run. He bolted round a corner and ran into a police officer.
"Hey!" yelled the shepherd. Greg ignored him and kept running. He didnít have time to stop for simple things like the law. His friend was in trouble. He turned another corner and ran over the railroad tracks. The industrial section loomed ahead as he ran on.
"Dispatch, this is Officer Shepherd in pursuit of a suspicious person, request back up on Steel Mill Avenue," radioed the officer.
"Copy, back up is in transit," replied the radio. The officer pulled the car down the road, pursing Greg. However, the raccoon did not notice him. He was too busy thinking about if he would make it in time. He jumped a culvert and continued running. There was no time to think about his aching legs; Greg had to get there before He did.
"Greg, you still think weíll be as good a friends as we are in a few years?" asked Samantha. The little rabbit flashed her best smile at Greg, and twirled about, spinning her skirt behind her.
"I donít know, Sam," said Greg. "The future is kind of hard to predict. Who knows? Seven years from now I could be a washed up, alcoholic writer."
"Oh, youíre so cute," said Sam. "Why wonít you be MY boyfriend?"
"Because, Sam," said Greg. "Your parents are so set against you dating and Iím determined to be single."
"Donít remind me," said Sam. "Youíre just so great though. You know every girl in the senior class wants to be your prom date."
"I never noticed," said Greg. "Besides, I have my eye on someone."
"Oh ho!" she said jumping across the bed. "Our little raccoon is growing up!"
"Oh, hush," said Greg. "Itís not like I can work up the guts to ask her anyway."
"So who is it?" she said. "Huh? You can tell me. I know! Itís Suzy, that tigress. Isnít it?"
"Itís Candy," she said with a wink. "You always did have an eye for the vixens."
"No," said Greg, plopping down in the bean bag chair. "The cheerleader types are not really my style." Sam crossed her legs and stared at him from across the bed.
"Hmm, then who could it be?" she asked. "Is it me?"
"Good guess, but no," replied Greg.
"Darn," she said, snapping her claws. "I hoped I would be the lucky one."
"Iíll tell you, but you canít say anything," said Greg. "Promise?"
"I promise," she said. Sam secretly crossed her fingers behind her back. She knew Greg would never work up enough courage to ask whoever the lucky girl was. Sheíd have to "encourage" the situation a bit more than Greg wanted, all, of course, without him knowing.
"So whoís the lucky girl?" asked Sam.
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