The Eye of the Giant
(corrections with help from Rogue)
Tarrone stood silently. His mind was bouncing all over the place, cluttered with so many questions that he couldn't concentrate on any one thing. His slow, ragged breathing was caught in his own ears, and he swallowed hard to maintain his composure. It was all like a dream gone horribly wrong... then all right again.
He stared at himself in the bathroom mirror, his bloodshot eyes glimmering in his reflection, pulsating red around his pupils. His logical side wanted him to go and get help, to find out what this all meant, to eradicate this monstrous horror from his life. His emotional side, however, echoed the insidious laughter from earlier, and the surge of revenge that was building up inside him was overwhelming. If there was something behind all this, if indeed the mouse could control this giant fox, then he would certainly never be scared again.
No. People would be scared of him.
"Tell me," The mouse spoke softly, his eyes not leaving the mirror. He knew the eye was outside that window, silently tempting him to do the impossible. "What can you do for me?"
Anything you want. The voice was so pure, so kind. I am here to tend to your needs.
Marcus turned towards the window, glaring into that black pupil that adjusted to focus back on him. "They're processing my insurance claim right now. I'm getting a new set of wheels. I should feel guilty that I even asked for this, let alone that it actually happened. But I don't. I don't feel a thing."
Perhaps you still haven't grasped the fullest extent of your new situation.
"No... I understand," he mused, but deep down he knew he didn't. He could understand what was going on at face value; how and why this was happening was a different matter. A side of him wanted to press that matter.
A side of him just wanted this for himself.
"I suppose you could get me a million dollars, or eternal youth?"
I could. But you have to remember something. Your wishes will cause dire consequences to someone else somewhere. Your desire for a new car will bring the downfall of the construction company which caused it. Financial gains and attempts at immortality will destroy other lives.
Tarrone chuckled to himself. "I suppose that's true. Right now though, I don't care what happens to anyone else. I want things that will benefit me."
The eye was silent for a moment. That is not what you truly want.
The mouse perked up. Who was this creature to tell him what he wanted? Logic kicked in, screaming at him not to argue with something so huge that it could crush him like a bug. But.... There was something else.
"What is it that I truly want?"
The eye simply glared at him.
"TARRONE!" The scream interrupted his thoughts, the mouse turning around to see Charlie storming into the bathroom. He stomped up to a mere two inches from his nose. "What the hell are you doing in here? Jacking off? I swear to god if—"
"Sir, I was just washing my hands!" It was only after he said that did Tarrone realize the implications of his comment.
Charlie was just annoying enough to grasp those implication. "Oh... oh.... Management is gonna LOVE hearing about you shooting your shit all over the bathroom walls. I'm gonna love the look on your face when they finally fire your worthless ass."
Tarrone bit his bottom lip. Nothing in the world explained why Charlie was so mean to him. At first he thought that it was just part of the joke played on him when he first began working there. But two weeks later, Charlie still kept ripping him apart, making threats of having him fired, complaining about his "lack of work ethic," and just causing his life to descend into hell.
"You better get out of here and head back to your damn cubicle before I really crack down on your ass." Charlie threatened. He turned and left the bathroom swiftly.
Tarrone stood there, letting his breathing return to normal. His tail would have been strangled to death in between his fingers, but he knew he no longer needed it. He didn't need anything; he knew what he had. He knew what he wanted. The eye couldn't have been clearer.
I can't believe I'm contemplating murder.
Tarrone was supposed to be working, but all he could really do was stare at his computer screen. His fingers were motionless on top of the keyboard. His task at hand was nothing compared to the debate raging in his head. He hated Charlie, but was that reason enough to kill him? Normally, no; nothing could justify murder.
But he had the power. His mind wandered to his new car, slick and shiny, perfect working condition, and realized he truly had gotten off Scot-free. Killing Charlie would happen the same way; everyone would view it as an accident.
Still, it was cold-blooded murder. In addition, he wasn't sure about the giant's words. Wishing for good things would cause bad things to happen. Would wishing for bad things cause even worse things to happen?
Tarrone yawned deeply. He was tired; even though it was only nine in the morning, all this thinking caused him to grow weary. I suppose no one ever gained control of a giant beast and felt energetic twenty-four hours a day. He chuckled to himself, not realizing that a shadow loomed nearby. As his vision grew slightly darker, he jumped and turned towards the equine from before.
"Geez, you are jumpy." She said jokingly, but not harshly. She was a tall mare, as all horses tend to be, but was striking nonetheless. Her muzzle was a bit shorter on average, and her blond hair was a slight contrast to her golden brown fur. Up close, she seemed nicer than perched on a cubicle wall in mid-pounce; she even offered a hand to Tarrone to confirm it. "I just wanted to apologize. We usually play a prank on all the new guys. It's tradition... sort of."
Tarrone sat for a moment, surprised a bit, especially after not seeing this sort of kindness for a few days now. Is there another prank in the works, perhaps? Still, he wanted to clear his mind, and a casual conversation with a co-worker seemed to be the perfect way to do so. He shook the hand a bit reluctantly. "Yeah... er, it's okay."
The equine nodded. "Good! Now we can start on better terms. I'm Rita. Welcome to Fontrek Industries!" She winked at the mouse.
Tarrone stared at her while his nerves went into overtime. Talking to women was one of the top things he was scared of. It took him a full two weeks to talk to Dr. Hunt. He spent his school days in his room alone rather than out "getting chicks", and in situations like this he was completely clueless how to respond. Underneath his desk he felt his tail, as if controlled by its own will, slip into his fingers. And as he let out an awkward "Thanks," he felt the squeezing return.
Rita smiled, unaware of the mouse's nervousness. "It's a good place here. Good pay, cool people, even most of the bosses are swell. Most of them." She emphasized that word, and Tarrone knew exactly who she was talking about. He felt a little less calm about his thoughts of destroying Charlie's life, but murder was still a huge decision. Maybe he could simply hurt or maim the feline.
"And don't let Charlie get to you," the horse said, as if reading his mind. "He can be a grouch, but he's really sweet when you get to know him." Rita's smile, to Tarrone's immediate surprise, was genuine.
"RITA! Can I see you in my office?" Charlie's voice echoed across the cubicles, causing both the rodent's and the equine's head to turn. Tarrone watched helplessly as Rita turned and head over towards the back office, where the cat's head stuck out the door like a peeping Tom. He wanted to do something.... Or at least say something to comfort her before her descent into hell. But something bothered him greatly.
...he's really sweet once you get to know him.
After all he's seen, and after all he heard, he couldn't believe that someone would ever stand up for a cretin like Charlie. Rita seemed like a nice lady, strong willed, ready to forgive, a good head on her shoulders. Why would she think Charlie was so 'sweet'?
It had to be blackmail, or something along those lines. Maybe she was really pushing for a promotion, or a good referral, so she was constantly speaking well of Charlie even though he was treating his employees like crap. Or maybe that he was getting the brunt of the cat's anger since he was a mouse and all. All those thoughts that crossed his mind made him fearful again, and as the word 'kill' bounced around his head, he only tightened his grip on his tail.
But that all was about to change.
He froze. His eyes squinted as he struggled to see between the Venetian blinds of Charlie's office, but he knew what he was seeing was perfectly clear. He slowly let go of his tail; he no longer needed to debate the matter. The decision was made. Tarrone's anger increased tenfold as he silently watched the incident behind those windows, and witnessed the apparent exchange of shouting voices, the threatening gestures he was making towards Rita, the slamming down of books, the slap across her face—there was no need to decide.
Somewhere, he knew, a giant was watching.
Doctor Linzi Hunt awoke slowly as her phone began to ring. She yawned, annoyed that some caller would ever call her at such an ungodly hour on a Thursday evening. Reaching for her glasses, the lioness slipped them on her face and checked the time.
She sighed a bit as the phone rang a second and third time, in conjunction with the flashing caller ID, and then, as her senses came to her, she realized that this could be an emergency. Maybe from a family member or a close friend. Or even a patient—for those rare, rare cases, she gave her most disturbed and needy patients her home phone number, provided they would use it only when it was important—and for the most part, it worked to her favor. By the fourth ring, she picked up, cleared her throat, and spoke. "Hello?"
She let out a silent gasp. "T... Tarrone?" God, she hadn't heard that voice in such a long time, and even then she remembered him like it was yesterday. Immediately she began to play word association—fits of panic, extreme nervousness and depression, social anxiety, rare cases of hallucination and schizophrenic activities—and carefully tried to devise the proper method of talking to him. For the mouse to call her up now, at this hour, so randomly... she knew something was wrong. "My goodness... it's been so long."
"I know," the voice on the other end said. "And I apologize if I disturbed you in anything. I wanted to talk to you about something. I promise this won't take long."
"Yes... sure. Is everything okay? Is there something that's bothering you? Triggering your condition?" Dr. Hunt wished that she had Tarrone's file in front of her, but, unfortunately, it was locked away in at her office. She tried to think of the therapy sessions, the test results, anything. She desperately hoped that this wasn't anything drastic.
"No. I'm fine. In fact, I've recently been having a string of good luck." There was a short chuckle. "But I have to ask you a question. As a doctor, I guess I feel you're educated enough to... devise an answer."
The lioness shifted uneasily. Tarrone's voice was an eerie calm, despite her memories of what he used to be like. Was he taking some sort of new medication she hadn't known about? Her whole technique of talking had to change. "Yes, please. Um, go ahead."
There was a short but tense silence. "Doctor Hunt... if you could save your friends, for a price, would you?"
"Tarrone... I can't answer that." Linzi tried to find out the details without making her voice sound too forceful in pressing the matter. "Not without knowing more. What's the price? Saving your friends from what?"
"Save them from evil. Deliver them. Isn't that what the prayer says? If you had that power to deliver them from evil, would you?"
Dr. Hunt knew that once religion got involved, things were intensely serious. "As a doctor, Tarrone, I can't really mix science and religion like this. Maybe I'm not the best one to talk about this too. A moral decision is best left for a priest. I can only help you with a psychological or mental problem."
Another short silence ensued. "Miss Hunt... you've heard the phrase 'evil exists if good men do nothing' right?"
"Yes, and it's a phrase I for one would support."
"And if you can stop evil, should you?"
"Yes, I imagine so. But Tarrone, it would strongly depend on the price. Would it outweigh the saving grace itself? Do the ends justify the means? We should really get together and talk about this, especially if you plan to do anything hasty."
"Miss Hunt, I want to thank you for everything that you've done for me. You helped me become a person for once. I value your opinion more than anything in the world." There was a brief sigh. "But I'm afraid there is no time to meet. Evil comes this way, and I must be swift to deal with it. I can assure you that the ends do justify the means, and my friends will thank me immensely for my deeds. You will see. Perhaps one day our paths will meet again. Thank you again, Dr. Hunt. You have a pleasant tomorrow."
As the phone clicked, the lioness rubbed her eyes and thought about it. Her brain said that this wasn't a problem, but her heart said it was. She found herself wide awake now, a chill running up and down her spine as she contemplated the entire situation.
"I'll worry about it first thing tomorrow..." she said to herself, but reluctantly. The caller idea only gave off a location, and if she called the police, with no evidence or anything, they would be helpless as well. She wished she could call him back, but the ID lacked a number. She was helpless, and as she lay back down on the pillow, her eyes staring up at the blank ceiling, watching the darkened swirls of the night roll across her vision, she could only pray that he didn't do anything hurtful.
Tarrone hung up the pay phone. The cool night air blew across his grey fur, and he adjusted his jacket to keep it from slipping along his neck. It was a foggy night, the moon barely peeking itself over the clouds. The mouse stepped lively down the alley now, his paws splaying with each step as he reached the edge of the street and looked up at Charlie's apartment.
The light was on, and he knew the cat was a bit late. Tarrone watched Charlie every night, and around this time he headed out to some diner for a meal. He supposed the cat didn't know how to cook, and wasted his money on greasy foods. The fat from such foods wasn't killing him fast enough.
"Get me the usual Maud. One bacon cheeseburger, side of fries, one coke. And don't be stingy on them potatoes." Tarrone found himself mouthing the exact order Charlie made the night before. He could still remember him eating his dinner, bite by bite, his feline teeth tearing into the ground beef patty. It crisscrossed with his memories of his constant yelling and screaming at the various employees, and the image of that slap across Rita's face sealed the deal.
He saw the light go off, and a few moments later he saw the brown furred feline exit the building in his cheap jacket as he walked briskly down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. Tarrone followed him slowly, and like clockwork he took the same path, including through that other dark alley. As Charlie entered it, Tarrone followed right behind.
"Evening Charlie." Tarrone greeted him as if nothing was wrong.
"What the...?!" Charlie turned around suddenly, and as his eyes fell on the mouse from work, he glared angrily. "What the fuck? Are you following me, you fucking queer?"
Tarrone grinned and took one step forward. "Well... I was. But I won't be any longer. You won't have to worry about yelling and screaming and people making you so mad any more. I'm gonna help you out."
Charlie pointed a finger at Tarrone. "If this is some sort of piss-poor joke..." The cat gritted his teeth furiously. "I swear I will kill you dead right now."
Tarrone only grinned harder. "Funny you should say that." He looked up over Charlie's head, and gave a simple nod.
The giant fox stepped out from behind the building and into the street. Like a magical ninja, his massive paws made not a single noise; he moved like a gentle wind as he presented himself on the other side of the alley, watching the two little figures confront each other within it. Lowering his muzzle down, he crouched onto his paws and knees and slipped his head into narrow passage, his nose and black lips hanging over the cat like deadly scaffolding.
Charlie turned around, and Tarrone could only chuckle to himself as the cat searched desperately for something that was obviously in front him. "You got your ass a punk posse? I can fucking take 'em. Bunch of queers!!" He shouted the last phrase as he stared through the muzzle, the giant still invisible to him.
Tarrone laughed out loud. "Show yourself to him. I want him to see the horror before he finally accepts his fate."
Charlie looked between him and the muzzle that wasn't there, his dukes up, ready and poised to fight. Tarrone wished to himself that he could watch what exactly unfurled before Charlie's eyes as his face went from confusion to unsurpassed terror. "Wha... what the.... Oh... oh my god!! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!"
The muzzle finally reached Charlie's line of vision. Tarrone supposed the giant fox moved in some sort of fourth dimension, allowing him to appear and/or interact with this world at its own choosing. And yet somehow the mouse himself could interact with this fourth dimension, or at least see the giant within it.
But none of that mattered now. He could only grin as the stunned kitty backed up slowly in his unbridled terror, his eyes unable to leave that massive muzzle over his head, the fox breathing calmly, expressing not a single emotion. He was waiting for a command. His command.
Tarrone gave another nod.
It happened in a snap—those massive fox jaws lunged forward like an alligator attack, his sharp teeth snatching Charlie off the ground. His screams of terror were muffled by the enclosure of the monster's muzzle, his entire upper torso hidden within, his legs kicking and flailing wildly.
Tarrone looked up at Charlie's helplessness, the feline fighting in vain and in horror—and the mouse felt alive. His eyes were wide open and he didn't flinch at all. This was greater than his crushed car could ever be. His sworn enemy was essentially at his mercy, and he was going to watch him die, and he was going to enjoy every blessed second.
"Bite slowly. I want him to feel every moment of pain before his death." He spoke solemnly, bluntly, coldly.
A cool wind blew through the alley, and the waves of reddish fur on the giant fox blew like a hellish field of grass. Tarrone's large, round ears billowed forward over his eyes, which he brushed away so he could fully witness his boss's murder. The pale half moon peeked over a passing cloud, which, in addition to a half flickering florescent on a nearby building, was the only light around. A moment of foreboding silence filled the alleyway before the beast did what it was told.
It was gruesomely beautiful.
The fox's snarled and his fangs began to sink into the flesh of the feline caught between them. The screams from Charlie's mouth were piercing through the howl of the flowing night breeze—pure music to Tarrone's ears. Blood trickled down the fox's chin messily as the teeth penetrated the skin. Red spray paint fired forth along the walls and ground as Charlie's body practically twisted against itself in the tightening jaws, bones cracking, vein's popping, organs exploding. Yells of helpless agony grew silent as death pervaded the giant's muzzle. A final sickening *splat* was the last noise heard before those muzzle lips snapped shut. Blood and fur were the only things left. Charlie's lower torso lay sickeningly splattered against the ground, mangled guts and massive amounts of blood drooling from the dissected half.
Tarrone walked slowly up to the massive fox muzzle, rubbing his paw against the nose. The heated breath of the giant blew all against his front, warming his body up in an instant. But the mouse's mind was already on fire, flickering with the realization of the true immense power he really had. No longer was he scared—not of the things he had been through, not of the things at work, not of the creature at his control. And especially not of Charlie.
Poor Charlie. A mouse paw reached out, and grasped a piece of Charlie's tail that had been severed by the violent bite. He gawked silently at it like a trophy, letting the piece of appendage drip in his fingers. Poor Charlie? Poor me, he thought to himself ironically.
Is there anything else you'd like me to do Tarrone?
Tarrone stared up into the fox's eyes. He could see his own reflection, but he couldn't recognize himself: a mouse, blood-colored, fearless. A new Tarrone meet his eyes, a Tarrone that was more than he ever wanted. He could see the throngs of people celebrating Charlie's death, freed from that feline's tyranny and abuse. He was the secret hero, the Clark Kent of his office, a mouse that would float on Cloud Nine for the rest of his days.
It was when he read in the paper the next day that Charlie was killed in a "freak garbage dumpster accident" that he realized he truly was a god.