Cat In The Apartment
He paid attention to the one spot on the back of his paw, as though he’d found the most incredible feeling in the world. But that was secondary to the spot on the floor where the sun shone. Zachary purred lightly, his eyes closed as he enjoyed himself. It was the normal morning routine in the apartment. And his human was preparing for work.
Zachary had felt it best to stay at the apartment, after all, there would be no visits to the aviary today. A visit to the aviary always meant an opportunity to show those large birds who was superior. After all, Zachary’s mere presence was enough to convince the raptors of this. He heard a thunk on the floor and turned his head to see what it was that made the sudden sound. Ah yes, water. Excellent, my human.
The human walked about the house gathering what he needed before leaving for work. And, as always, he would make platitudes to Zachary, to which the nimble feline would purr and meow his approval. As the human left, the apartment settled back in to what would be a calm day. Zachary would rise and patrol his realm, ensuring that everything was in it’s proper place. And once that was complete, he would sit on the window sill and survey his kingdom.
The subjects were of little interest to him. The ones that busied themselves with the hustle and bustle on the ground, and the brightly coloured ones that rushed past. Zachary couldn’t believe that there was anything in the world that would make people rush about so madly. The thoughts were pushed back as a slight rush of wind and a flapping of wings could be heard.
Zachary looked to the direction of the sound and seemed to smile, calling out with a meow as the falcon landed on the ledge outside the window.
Good morning, Zachary.
Good morning, Tamara.
You look as though you’ve had a productive morning.
It has been a good hunt this morning. I found a group of mice near the shore.
Ah, excellent. If only I could have joined you.
Yes, unfortunate. How is your human doing?
Quite well, really. He has to attend to his charges in the large building near the mountain.
More of that education, if I am correct. He seems to treat you with respect and dignity. I understand that he is caring for my mate. Tragic, I thought he was lost when his wing was broken. Imagine my surprise when I discovered he was being tended to.
That would be the hallmark of my human. Tamara, I must admit something to you.
I find that I am most fond of you. Had things been different, I believe that we could be much closer.
You flatter me, Zachary. And yet, while I await for my mate’s release with great anticipation, I too find a fondness for you. You have been a dear friend, Zachary.
I am glad you feel that way, Tamara.
I am afraid I must depart, Zachary. My hatchlings will have need of me. But I shall return. Do take care.
Be well, Tamara. And give my best to your kittens.
The bird of prey took to the air quickly and Zachary resumed surveying his realm. Left to himself again, he lounged in a new sun spot. Perhaps tomorrow his human would take him to the buildings by the mountain. He’d enjoy that. After all, the giant birds needed to be reminded of his regal presence. And then again, he might be able to tell Tamara’s mate that she still thinks of him.
Maxwell finished serving up his dinner and placed everything on the table, then made sure that Zachary had his food as well. The cat waited patiently, after all, it was a lot of hard work to get a good meal ready for him. He needed everything just right. Zachary, that is, not Max. After seeing to Zachary’s needs, Max sat down at the table and began eating. He didn’t have the radio on, nor the television. Eating with him was always quiet and peaceful, one of the few things he felt he needed without distraction.
He thought about the past few nights and the seeming whirlwind of events that landed him in Regina. He had applied for a position in the Biology Department that would see him dealing with birds of prey, especially those brought in that needed tending too. Max wouldn’t be teaching classes just yet, although the Dean did say the looked over his references and found his historical knowledge of Native history was impressive. Perhaps in the next semester they would want him to assist in the history department as well. He shrugged internally and kept eating. The move would be a good one. No need to get worked up over it all now.
He finished his meal and washed up his dishes. Zachary meowed and trotted into the livingroom to sit on the window sill and watch the world outside of the apartment. Too bad the sun was going down, no sun spots to lounge in. Max took down a few books and set them at his desk, research for the devices he had began to build. He also had a few papers to to sign and hand in to the University. By the time he was finished it was 9 o’clock in the evening. He rose from his desk and went over to Zachary, scratching him behind the ears. Zachary pushed his head up, meowing at the attention, then hopped off the window sill and followed Max as he walked to the basement.
Boxes filled the basement of the house. A workshop was beginning to take shape, even if the contents of the boxes remained where they were. Mostly books, some extra clothes and a few tools. He sat down at a workbench and organized a few papers as he produced his equipment. The papers had drawings, schematics for an odd device. His hobbies had helped him, interests as a child, and those continued on now into adulthood. He had grown quite used to fixing small components of electronic equipment, and had even managed to modify a few things in his day. But this was being built from scratch.
The device looked like a high tech aspirator. It had three small speaks on it, and what appeared to be USB ports. It fit around the nose and mouth of the wearer comfortably, at least. Or so it would appear. The straps and bindings were a soft leather, a strange contrast from the very modern day tech that had been used to create the device. You couldn’t even tell that it contained the parts of an old iPod. Max’s idea was sound, to take the cries of hawks, falcons and eagles, recorded into mp3 format and loaded onto the storage compartment of the device. A second device, which would wrap around his left wrist, would hold the play list, as it were. A quick tap on the play list would load up the next track and play it. As the sound would come through the speaker system, it would become highly altered, increasing the intensity of the sound to the point where it could damage.
This was the first step that Max would use to investigate the disappearance of his daughter. He was more than convinced that she was still alive, and that the multinational biogenetic company Mandrake Biogenetic was behind her disappearance. But in order to convince others of this, he needed evidence. And he needed to do it in a covert manner. The amplification rig was the only high tech piece he had. The rest of his armour was very much a throw back to his ancestry. Combining solid body armour and old markings from his family’s stories, he managed to create something that looked very similar to what Dakota warriors would wear when on the hunt.
As he finished at his workbench, he smiled. The device would need to be tested, but at least this step was complete.
Hawk’s Scream would rise and take flight very soon.
He pulled off the return fax from the Regina City Hall. They instructed him to register at the front desk as soon as he entered the city. He never gave them his full name, just the monicker. He’d spoken with one of the registrars at great length a few days ago. And she had promised to push the proper paperwork through, even though it was rather unorthidox to apply for registration when you didn’t live in the city.
Next, he checked his e-mail. For the past few days, he’d been waiting for a message about a job he had applied for. He smiled as he saw the message from the University of Regina.
Dear Mister Running Cloud;
We have gone over your recent application to join the faculty here at The University of Regina. You’re credentials are most impressive indeed. We believe you would be a perfect fit to our staff.
We look forward to seeing you. We are hoping you can begin work in four weeks time. Looking forward to your reply.
Maxwell smiled and dashed off a quick e-mail. Four weeks was more than enough time to get himself set up and comfortable. He’d sublet this apartment, there already was a few offers.
He had it planned, once he arrived in Regina, he’d get settled into an apartment, get his registration completed and then begin the hunt. Even though he researched Mandrake Biogenetic and found them to be quite powerful, he’d also received word that there was a great number of people in Regina who were none too happy with Mandrake. He made a note to seek them out. Perhaps they could help him look for his daughter.
That would come in time. For now, he had some packing to do. The furniture would stay, he offered the apartment as fully furnished. His computer, laptop, clothes… those would all come with him. He didn’t have a lot, he never really kept a lot since his wife died. Just the basics.
He cooked himself some dinner, and then packed away what he needed to into boxes. His car was too small to hold it, so he traded it in for an SUV. That would be fine enough, plus it would get all of his stuff to Regina in one piece. He planned on heading out in the morning. Which meant he had to get to sleep. The day was slowly coming to an end, and if he wanted an early start the next morning, he’d better get to sleep now.
I want to be a hunter again
want to see the world alone again
to take a chance on life again
so let me go
lyrics from Hunter as performed by Dido
He sifted through the broken glass and the overturned furniture. Aside from the vandals that had spray painted a few things on the walls, the place was untouched. Maxwell Running Cloud looked around at the room for a moment. His family was here once, it had been eight years since he had even thought of this place. He had a wife, and a daughter. But now, well, that was gone. He moved out back behind the house. There in the backyard facing the trees was a small marker. His wife wanted to be buried on the Rez. And he made sure that it was done. If I have to dig it myself
he remembered telling her.
He had to leave, this place brought back too many memories, painful as they were. He knew what had happened to his wife, but his daughter… For years, he hadn’t given up hope. Now, he was reserved in facing the fact that his daughter was gone.
“Hey Max,” he heard the voice. He turned to see Chief Big Bear approaching him. “I just heard, Max. Headin’ back to university again?” The burly man shook his head. “Wish more people around here thought like you.”
Max smiled. “I’ve made an impression on some of them.” The some of them Max spoke of was a few of the high school students that attended classes on the Dakota White Cap reserve. He tried very hard for the students to enjoy learning, and for the most part, he’d been successful.
“We’re gonna miss you around here, ya know that?”
Max shrugged a bit. “I’m actually gonna miss this place. Only place I can really study them without taking them out of their environment.” The two of them looked up as if on cue, a red tailed hawk circle above them, letting out a cry.
“You gotta do what you gotta do, Max.” The Chief shook his hand and walked off, knowing Max would want some time alone. That’s all he really had now. Time alone.
He took one last look around the place before heading back to his car. It was a slow walk, and at the same time, so very long.
He hardly noticed the man standing at the front door of the broken down house, he seemed to meld with the surroundings, such as they were. “Max Running Cloud?” he called out as Max walked by.
Max turned a bit and looked in the man’s direction. “Yes?”
“Max Running Cloud? Who’s wife an’ child be gone?”
Max narrowed his eyes. “Yes.”
“Ya can mourn yer wife,” the strange man said. “But don’ mourn the daughter. The girl’s still ‘live.” The man giggled incesantly.
Max’s heart jumped into his throat. He approached the man, being quite forceful in his questions. “Where is she? Who did this? Who has her?”
The man cowered in fear. Max wasn’t a small man, by any means, for a scientist. And his size was rather intimidating to some, comforting to others. “They…they…they have ‘er. The company Crey took ‘er. They wanted ‘er fer themselves an’ they took ‘er. An’ killed the love…killed the love.”
“Took her where?” Max asked, his voice putting emphasis on each word.
“Ta the city o’ steel an’ glass. City on down south. The city o’ gov’ment.” The man began to back away.
“Stop talking in riddles. Where is she?” Maxwell was getting very irritated with this man and his constant babbling.
“The City o’ the Queen! Far from here, far from the safty of the Whitecap, far from the City o’ Bridges, far from the mighty Saskatchewan.” Maxwell Running Cloud let the man babble. He finally had two names to go by. It was time to try and find his daughter and he’d deal with this Crey at the same time.
He got into his car and started the engine, leaving the man to continue his ramblings. He had an apartment in Saskatoon which had his experiments. He studied birds, an ornithologist. His specialty was birds of prey. Maxwell had won a scholarship to the University of British Columbia with his thesis on the cry of such birds as the Red Tailed Hawk, the Osprey, Peregrin Falcon and even the Eagle. In later years, he’d even learned to mimic an eagle’s mournful sounding cry, and even amplify it. The experiments scared him a little, as he discovered the damage that could be done.
He was starting to think his idea of the costume wasn’t so bad after all. Hawk’s Scream. Well, he had some more work to do before heading to Regina. There was things he had to arrange.