Edited by: Luke ‘SonikFox’ Dillard
We had been driving for probably two hours before we reached Kalm, but finally we made it. I had expected Kalm to be an active city. However it was more of an easy-going, laid back town. Which was fine with me, all I really cared for then was some food. As Mervin and I exited the truck, I noticed that people had stopped whatever they were doing to simply stare at us. I wondered if these citizens had ever seen a truck before or if Mervin was a popular stallion. Then I realized that they were all staring at me.
Mervin then said to me in a low whisper, “Don’t expect a warm welcome. You have to remember that you are a panther. Your race has been causing a lot of trouble lately. I will try to convince the citizens that you are no threat.”
I then saw a particular person approach Mervin and me. He was a staggering, slouched, and mean one-eyed looking rat.
“That’s Sloan,” said Mervin “You will definitely need to stay away from him. Why his presence is tolerated in this town I don’t know.”
“What ‘cha got their Mervin?” said Sloan in a lisping-like manner with a large scow on his misshapen face.
“A young one named Silvercast. He is going to be staying with me for a while” replied Mervin.
“You know I don’t like panthers Mervin. Dump him into the sea! He is no good, none of his kind are.” Suggested Sloan with a rude leer coming across his face.
“Now Sloan, Silvercast is good. He is just as welcome here as you, maybe more.”
“Well I’m not going to welcome him.” Said Sloan who then attempted to spit in my direction, but his saliva clung to his face and ran off the side of his cheek.
“Sloan may be a drunken fool, but we cannot allow a panther to enter this town” chipped in a female white cat.
Then about 7 other persons began to agree. It was 9 people total, including Sloan and that cat, that were walking towards Mervin and me to usher us out of town. When this mob was no more than 5 feet away from me, I heard a male child-like voice yell, “Please stop”.
To my comfort, the group stopped immediately. Then a blue-coated weasel that looked around the age of 6 came running to my side.
“Silvercast has not done anything wrong, but you treat him like a criminal. Why? It is all of you who act like heartless criminals. Ready to hurt the innocent.” said the young boy.
The crowd then dissolved and went their separate ways in shame with there heads hung low, All of them except Sloan.
“Don’t listen to that little son of a whore. That panther will kill the entire town. It’s what panthers do best.” returned Sloan. He pointed his bony, swollen, arthritis finger at me.
Fortunately, no one listened and Sloan gave up his hate speech. He went into the nearby bar swearing profusely. Turning around once in awhile to throw some obscene gesture. The little weasel then looked up at me.
“Hi!” he said with a bright, cherry face.
“Hello,” I replied “Thanks for saving my neck little guy. What’s your name?”
“My name is Deacon.” Then he looked up at Mervin who stood next to me “Hi Mervin, I haven’t seen you in a long time sir.”
“Hello their Deacon” said Mervin “Yes, it has been a while.”
“Well, I’ll let you guys be on your way. I have to get back to the mission. Bye.”
And with that my new friend took off towards a small church.
“Deacon has lived in the mission all his life. He is a very well mannered boy and loves to talk to everyone.” Mervin said to me. “Well, I guess it is safe to go into town now. Let’s run by that place over there and get something to eat.” He motioned with his slender head.
Mervin pointed to what appeared to be a fruit vendor. To my dismay, a sign above the vendor read vegetables. The both of us walked over to the stand. Nothing looked familiar. Mervin could tell that I didn’t remember what these vegetables’ names were by my upset face. He graciously told me all of their names so that I could identify them. The female rabbit vegetable seller looked at me with confusion.
“Excuse me,” she said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but do you not know what a tomato is?”
With a smile I said, “I guess I do now.”
Mervin purchased a dozen carrots and that was our breakfast. Not much, but it was healthy. Being a loner, Mervin probably couldn’t spare money on fancy food.
“Let’s go into the fabric store and I will buy some clothing.” Suggested Mervin.
As we browsed the shelves of the clothes store, something came to my mind. I noticed that the townsfolk were wearing different clothing from different periods in time. For example I saw a fox in a business suit, but then saw a dingo in plain pants with a long red shirt and brown leather belt on. The dingo looked like someone out of medieval times. I told this to Mervin.
Mervin explained, “Kalm is a poor town. We eat what we can grow and wear whatever fits. Even if some things are outdated. Kalm is recently becoming more ‘modern’ slowly but surely.”
“Since that is the case, then what year is this” I asked.
“1102 g.t.” Mervin replied.
“Would it be all right if I walked outside?” I asked. I needed to be alone with my thoughts.
I left and walked behind the building deep in thought. I tried thinking back. But I couldn’t remember anything. It was depressing. I had hoped coming to Kalm would stir up memories, but nothing came to mind. Even the date didn’t make sense to me. Staring ahead I saw the beach. I probably lived in another country far across the ocean. Maybe I had a family. Maybe I was a rich man. Maybe I was a fugitive. I didn’t know and I didn’t care at that moment. Even if I had done something wrong, I couldn’t remember any of it. I could start over. That is what I decided to do. I will forget remembering and live a different life. That was what I was going to do until Sloan appeared.
“Can I help you?” I asked hoping to show him that not all panthers are villains.
“Spare me the pleasantries cat. Your not getting away for what you did to me,” he said.
What did I do to him? I didn’t have time to think. He punched me across the face with a brass knuckle that sent me to the ground. The whole world started spinning in my head. I rolled over facing Sloan. Still amazed that the old guy could still have so much strength.
“You have no idea what patience I have. I was ready to kill you as soon as you walked in town. You have ruined me!”
I looked hopelessly at him. I couldn’t move. My head hurt badly. What was worse was that his face suddenly became familiar to me. Remembering who he was one thought flashed through my mind, “Oh no.”