Chapter 1.9 (by Grace)
While Penelope and Rowena reviewed the data Rowena had collected, Edgar stretched languidly in his chair. Horatio and Eric were still flitting around the room in a frenzy. Their panicked flight path brought them closer and closer to Edgar’s chair. Before either bird realized how close they were to the big-face cat, Edgar deftly jumped mid-air between both birds and gently snatched both birds in his paws.
“Hmph. Chelsea learned all her moves from me, you know,” Edgar told the birds.
Eric and Horatio were so stunned, they froze. Horatio found his voice first. “What’s a Chelsea, Big Face?
Indignant, Edgar growled, “My face is perfectly proportioned to my head and body!”
“S-s-sorry Big Fa- M-Mr. Big Fa…ce? We don’t know your name. You were just…a face…we saw in the glass…and your face was…(big)…” Eric trailed off as he realized his explanation was making the not big face angrier.
Edgar sighed heavily. Must he do everything? Teach everyone? “My name is Edgar Percival Crane. I am the most majestic animal to ever grace this planet. When I one day pass from this earthly plane, the heavens will cry at the loss of my presence to grace their view. I am…A CAT.”
Horatio and Eric Exchanged confused expressions. “But everyone knows cats aren’t real!” Horatio blurted out.
“Yeah!” Eric chimed in, “cats are just make believe stories mamas make up to make fledglings behave! What are you really?”
Chapter 1.8 (by Naomi)
Dr. Glyndor stared down into her tray of medicines. They were useless now. The small window of time she had to administer them to Chelsea had expired in the chaos of Dr. Crane’s re-entry into the facility. She muttered something incomprehensible under her breath.
“What was that?” Dr. Crane asked snidely.
“I said, ‘my name is Penelope.’ I’m going by Penelope. Fiona’s my middle name. Last year I decided to go by my –”
“Stop, stop! Is this really what you want to say right now?!” Dr. Crane whirled around to face Dr. Glyndor, eyes flashing. “You could’ve corrupted all of my data!”
“I’m sorry, Rowena. It wasn’t intentional…” Dr. Glyndor trailed off, unsure of what to say.
Dr. Crane pulled back her lab coat and pulled down the elastic waistband of her pants about an inch to reveal a quarter inch clear nylon zipper on her right hip. She carefully unzipped the compartment and gently extracted a micro memory card. “Well, let’s see if you ruined everything,” she sighed. She handed the card to Dr. Glyndor.
From his chair, Edgar sighed along with her. He might be all feline, but he wasn’t unmodified. His only enhancement was an ability to communicate across species. It was time to comfort the other two birds. Another undignified task.
Across the room, Dr. Glyndor was wrangling Chelsea onto a table across from a projector screen. She gently pressed Chelsea’s front left paw, causing Chelsea to sit upright. She inserted Dr. Crane’s memory card into a slot in Chelsea’s chest and briefly folded her left ear. Chelsea’s eyes emitted an eerie light.
Chapter 1.6 (By Naomi)
“Chelsea, please!” Edgar implored. They had both nestled into Edgar’s favorite chair, favoring the worn tweed to the slippery leather sofa.
“Wha? Wha’d I do?” Chelsea looked around the room absently.
“Your tongue!” Edgar felt helpless trying to train this ridiculous creature.
With a flash of sterile fluorescent light, the door leading to “the back” swung open. Dr. Glyndor’s silhouette filled the doorway. She slowly approached Edgar and Chelsea, taking care not to alarm them. She carried the usual metal tray filled with pointy needles and small shiny glass vials filled with foul liquids. Edgar bristled at the sight of her. Although she gave him grief, Chelsea was still his ward.
“Chel-sea!” Sang Dr. Glyndor. “Time for your meds!”
At that very moment, a clicking noise caught the attention of all three. Edgar’s birds! The teeny tiny one was pecking at the glass of the window.
Before Edgar could stop her, Chelsea was on the table, deftly turned the lock and slid open the window. She stuck her arm outside and scooped all three birds into the room and closed the window, locking it with a click.
The little brown birds flitted nervously around the room as Edgar’s and Dr. Glyndor’s jaws silently fell open.
Chapter 1.5 (by Grace)
Eric shook himself in disgust. Horatio thought he was brave, but Tiny wasn’t afraid of anything. This did not bode well. He turned to Horatio.”Don’t just sit there with your beak open like food is gonna come to you! We have to catch up to her before she does something dumb and goes into the box!”
Eric pushed Horatio off the branch and took off after Tiny. Horatio took off after Eric.
When the boys caught up to Tiny, she was hopping back and forth on the ledge, pecking at the glass. They could hear her calling for the face.
“Hello? Big Face? Are you there? Hello? Are you okay?”
Horatio and Eric landed on the ledge by Tiny. They were both really nervous and kept fluttering up high trying to see, and also in case they needed to get away quickly. Eric narrowed his eyes.
“Hey! I think I see something in the back where the light is…” he trailed off, “…um, guys? What is that?!”
Tiny and Horatio flitted up to where Eric was to see what he was looking at in the back of the room.
Chapter 1.4 (By Naomi)
Chelsea scrambled clumsily onto the end table with Edgar. While he pretended not to notice, she reared back before pouncing on his head. While she engaged in a one-sided wrestling match with his shoulders, Edgar watched helplessly as the birds fluttered away.
Edgar sighed heavily and resolved to stay calm. His flickering tail was the only thing betraying his slight annoyance.
Finally Chelsea gave up and slumped down into a lounging position. She gazed up at him with a blank expression. Edgar averted his gaze. She was just so undignified. All of these new hybrids were.
Unlike Edgar, Chelsea had never known life outside of this home. She had only recently been released into the house section of the facility. She was created in “the back,” as Edgar thought of it. A result of designer gene modification, she was mostly feline like Edgar, but with just enough canine to cause minor frustrations in Edgar’s daily life.
For example, the utterly embarrassing pounce technique. He had worked with her for hours the day before on stealth philosophy and yet he could hear her moments before she appeared in his peripheral vision.
Edgar sighed heavily. Chelsea’s tongue lolled lazily out the side of her mouth.
There was so much work to do.
Chapter 1.2 (by Naomi)
Subconsciously holding his breath, Edgar eased from his chair to the end table. He wanted a more clear view of the brown birds. The rain seemed to to be easing up, and one of his would-be friends seemed to be venturing towards the window. Sitting very still on the table under the window, nothing moved except Edgar’s eyes.
The little ball of soft-looking feathers didn’t seem to realize he was there, so Edgar allowed himself to relax a little. A small circle of fog expanded and retracted on the window where Edgar’s pink nose just barely touched the glass.
Seemingly without realizing, the tiny bird hopped closer and closer to Edgar’s enclosed perch. “This is my chance!” thought Edgar. Finally he would make contact with the outside world.
Suddenly in a clatter of tractionless claws on hardwood, Chelsea made her typical entrance of concentration-shattering racket. She most definitely did not count as the outside world. “Harrumph,” thought Edgar.
Chapter 1 (by Naomi)
Edgar sat pensively in his favorite chair, watching the rain fall through the window. It had been two years since he had set foot outside. Every day he evaluated the goings on of the neighborhood, or at least that which he could see through the windows of his house. He especially enjoyed watching the small brown birds that never seemed to walk. Perhaps their legs were too tiny – they just hopped about until ready to flutter away. These little birds made him smile, but at the same time made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck.
To be continued…