It was the hottest summer in at least four years. Especially for all the creatures who didn’t shed their fur coats during the summer season. School would start back in a few weeks and a blue eyed white wolf by the name of Chris Beaumont was more than happy to start his senior year of high school at Southwood High. He had a girlfriend to see and football to try out for. He didn’t understand why he had to try out for the team this year, he made the team every other year so why not this one. Plus with him having to do his senior essay this year Chris had a lot to do. But today was just as boring as any other day during summer break and he mostly stayed in his room on his computer trying his best to write a book about something.
He had always had the passion to be a writer and he loved to read, but he couldn’t let that get out to his team because they saw stuff like that as unmanly. Apparently in this world a man had to be a tough jock, who does nothing but plays sports, video games and sleeps with all the girls he can. At least that was what the football team expected of him. He had made up several lies about experiences with girls just to make himself more popular with the group. All the girls were his friends so he convinced them to go along with the stories Chris told, even though he had only ever had sex with his girlfriend, Julia. Chris sat at his computer trying to find a good starter for a book but he gave up after he had sat at his computer for about an hour with a blank document in front of him.
He laid down on his bed, took out his phone and texted Julia ‘Hey what you up to?’. A reply came back less than a minute later ‘Just out with my mom buying new clothes for the school year what about you?’.
He texted back as quickly as his paws allowed. ‘Nothing just lazing around the house. I still haven’t gotten any idea for a book yet’. Julia was the only person who knew his passion for reading and writing. ‘Ah don’t worry I’m sure one will come to you’ she texted back and another text came through ‘I’m sorry I have to go mom is wanting me to try on some clothes for her I love you bye’. He texted back ‘I love you to bye’. He sat his phone on the nightstand beside his bed and decided, since there was nothing else he could really do right now, to doze off and take a nap.
Chris awoke hours later to his mother knocking on his door.
“Chris dinners ready come on you’ve been in that room all day”. Chris sat up in his bed and rubbed the sleepiness out of his eyes. He couldn’t recall at all what he had dreamed about but whenever he removed his covers to get out of bed he had a good idea of what the dream was about. He got out of bed and put a fresh clean pair of clothes on and headed to the kitchen. Chris’s home was a two story house with a basement that his dad had transformed into a man-cave, despite his mothers debates of turning it into a storage area instead. Chris’s room was on the first floor so he didn’t have to walk much to get to the kitchen. His room was close enough to smell the food that was being cooked. Even for creatures without a wolves sense of smell. But the keen smell of a wolf allowed him to know what was being cooked before he even stepped into the kitchen. Chicken sided with macaroni, mashed potatoes and biscuits. Seconds later Chris’s father stepped into the kitchen wearing his usual dress shirt and dress pants with his patriotic print tie. Apparently he had just got home from work because he still had his pager hooked to his pants. Chris’ father was an accountant, one of the best in the state. It was one of the reasons his family was a little bit wealthier than your average family. They sat together at the table not saying much until Chris’ mom piped up.
“Chris school starts next week” she said, Chris already knew this from the countless times his mother had reminded him, “I was needing to go to the mall tomorrow do you wanna tag along and see if you can find any new clothes or school stuff you would need?”
“Sure” Chris said almost immediately. He had nothing better to do tomorrow so why not. The family finished their dinner and Chris went off to his room when his mother started to do the dishes. He laid down on his bed and looked up at the ceiling thinking about what the new school year would bring and what he would do after he graduated this year. He had a couple of colleges in mind but none of them had contacted him yet in any kind of way. He finally drifted off to sleep some twenty minutes after laying there staring at the ceiling.
The next morning Chris woke up panting. He didn’t know why and he couldn’t remember the dream he had had. His alarm clock read 2:47 pm. He had slept through the whole morning. He sat up and stepped out of his bed walking drowsily to his dresser to pull out some clean clothes before walking to the bathroom to take his morning shower. He took his shower and brushed his teeth while standing under the bathroom fur drier. His mother knocked on the bathroom door.
“Chris hurry up if we don’t leave soon we’ll get stuck in traffic” she said. Chris opened the door and saw his mother standing there in a dress.
“Mom do you really have to dress like that it’s just the mall” Chris said.
“I like this dress and I think it’s pretty casual” she said “but hurry up we have to beat the rush hour”.
“I’m coming” Chris said walking out of the bathroom and through the front door to the car. The mall was packed as it always was during the week before school started. All variety of species wondered around the place looking for school supplies. Chris followed his mother until she walked into a shop comprised of nothing but girly stuff. His mom looked back at him and said
“If you don’t wanna come in then you don’t have to just make sure you call me when you want to leave”. Chris nodded towards his mother and veered away from the shop. He sniffed the air and smelt something delicious causing his stomach to growl. Since there wasn’t much to see in the mall , and he was apparently hungry, he made his way towards the food court until something caught his eye. A average height brown bear was walking in his direction, a bear that Chris recognized. It was Jason a bear he had been friends with since kindergarten. Jason was the first to see Chris.
“Hey Chris” he called over and then made a beeline straight for his friend. He stopped a couple feet away from Chris. “What are you doing here?” he asked.
“My mom dragged me here” Chris said.
“Same here” Jason said “she thought I would find some school supplies even though I have everything I need”.
“Me too” Chris said “I was just about to head to the food court to grab something to eat you wanna come?” Jason sniffed the air just as Chris had and his stomach rumbled.
“Sure” he said “I kinda just got hungry”. Jason and Chris laughed together as they walked to the food court. They made it to the food court and found a table close to the front entrance. They placed their jackets on their seats and headed to different food lines. Five or so minutes later the two returned to their table and took a seat. Chris had ordered a healthy foot long sub with a sweet tea while Jason had gotten a burger with a side of fries and a coke. Jason looked at Chris’ plate and laughed.
“Man when are you going to start eating real food?” He asked. Chris looked at Jason’s plate.
“Well I’m not a lineman like you” he laughed “we quarterbacks have to stay fit and not eat to much junk food”.
“Nothing wrong with a good burger” Jason responded taking a bite out of his burger.
“Yeah if you don’t mind gaining a few pounds eating it” Chris said laughing. Jason took another bite of his burger and washed it down with a sip of his coke.
“You ready for tryouts Monday?”, Jason asked.
“Am I ever not?” Chris asked rhetorically.
“Well I heard there where some good transfers coming to the tryouts and a lot of them come from big league high schools” Jason said. This worried Chris a little. If big league high school players where coming to the team would he really stand a chance to make it on the team? Hopefully there was only a few and only maybe one or two of them was a quarter back. That would mean a definite position for Chris. He didn’t want Jason to know he was worried so he spoke.
“So what just because they come from a big league high school doesn’t mean they’re any good” he said taking a sip from his tea and a bite from his sub and added “just because they have money doesn’t mean they have talent”. Which was true in Chris’ eyes. Most of the big league schools where expensive to attend and most of the kids didn’t even make the team. They could have failed making the team there and would be coming to Southwood for a better chance. Chris had started on the team all his years at Southwood so he had no doubt he would make it on the team but if someone from these big league schools came and was better than him what would that mean for his starting position? He let that thought sit in his head while he and Jason ate but soon thought it was silly to think that and pushed the thought away. When they were finished Jason and Chris said their goodbyes.
“See ya Monday” Jason said as he was walking away from Chris.
“Yeah see ya” Chris responded. He was looking forward to Monday and he was sure this year wouldn’t be different from any other year. He walked around the mall for maybe another hour or so when he remembered he promised to call his mom when he was ready to leave. He dug his phone out of his pocket and pressed on his mothers contact pressing call and putting the phone up to his ear. She picked up on the second ring.
“I’m guessing you’re calling because you wanna leave” she said. Chris’ mother knew him so well.
“Yea” he replied.
“I’m sorry but I still have some shopping I need to do you don’t care to take the bus home do you?” She said.
“Sure” Chris said “I can do that”.
“Thank you” his mother said “get home safe I love you”.
“Love you to mom and I will” he responded hanging up the phone and stuffing it back into his pocket. There was a bus stop on the side of the mall so that’s where he headed. He made it to the bus stop and looked up at the sign which pointed out that the next bus would be arriving in thirty minutes which gave Chris some time to call Julia but as he was reaching into his pocket for his phone something caught his attention that made him stop and freeze. He could hear someone screaming in the alleyway a block down from the bus stop he stood at. It sounded like a guy. Another voice came to his ear it said, “Come on put up a fight you're making this too easy”. Chris took off at a sprint towards the voices. He was always a good guy and wanted to help whoever was in trouble. He rounded the corner into the alleyway to see an old rat standing over an otter who was streaked with blood and was clutching his stomach. The rat punched the otter in the side of the head.
“HEY!” Chris yelled at the rat “LEAVE HIM ALONE”. He ran towards the rat wanting to tackle him to the ground but the rat fled from the scene so he ran up to the otter and kneeled in front of him.
“Hey you okay?” Chris asked the otter. He could see clearly now that the otter had a nosebleed a black eye and was clutching his stomach from being punched, no Chris saw it now, from being stabbed by the rat. The otter looked up at him and tried to speak but he fell to his side and passed out. Chris dug his phone out of his pocket immediately and dialed 9-1-1. The operator picked up.
“Southwood emergency services what is your emergency?”.
“Hi” Chris said “I need an ambulance quickly at the bus stop outside of Southwood mall I just found an otter who has been beaten and stabbed he is unconscious at the moment”.
“Paramedics are in route hold your position they should arrive in less than two minutes” the operator said then hung up. The otter could be dead in less than two minutes. Why were emergency services always so slow? Chris took off his jacket and pulled up the otters shirt pressing his jacket firmly to the stab wound in the otters stomach. The otter was lean. He had no muscles as far as Chris could see but he was as small if not smaller than Chris himself. The paramedics arrived and rushed a stretcher down the alleyway and lifted the otter onto it.
“Keep that jacket held firm on the wound” one of the paramedics said to Chris. He followed them out of the alleyway and stepped in the back of the ambulance with them. The doors to the back closed and the ambulance sped off towards the hospital. Chris grabbed his phone from his pocket and the paramedic across from him looked at him sideways while putting a breathing mask on the otter.
“I just have to call my mom and let her know where I’ll be” Chris said and the paramedic nodded.
“Just make sure to keep that jacket held on his wound we don’t want him to lose to much blood” the paramedic said. Chris dialed his mothers number and she picked up this time on the first ring.
“Did you forget your house key Chris?” She asked.
“No mom I just wanted to tell you I might get home a little late” he said. He could hear the worry in her next words.
“What happened? Are you okay? Where are you?” She asked all three questions at once.
“Mom I’m okay but the otter in front of me is not” Chris said and he told his mother everything that had just happened up to him getting in the ambulance.
“Oh so you're helping someone out okay that’s very nice of you dear but be sure to get home before your father does I don’t want him to be worried” his mother said.
“Okay mom I’ll see you later bye” Chris said hanging up his phone and stuffing it back into his pocket all while keeping a firm hold on the jacket. The otter was still unconscious. He looked at the otter and noticed something he hadn’t noticed before. The otter had muscles and abs. They weren’t exactly the kind you would get from body building but they were there. So why didn’t he defend himself?
“Is he going to be okay?” Chris asked the paramedic.